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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  November 17, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EST

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you're in "the situation room," happening now, a growing death toll and growing concern over deadly fighting between israel and hamas. a scandal plagued general on capitol hill. david petraeus testifies about benghazi. and mitt romney speaking out about his election loss, blaming what he called gifts the president gave to people who voted for him. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following the fighting between israel and hamas. the two sides trading rocket and missile fire with deadly
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results. let's take you now to the cnn center for the very latest. >> all right, wolf, thank you very much. israeli troops are amassing on the border, waiting for the world to shoulder their weapons and cross into gaza. for people in both gaza and israel, this war is well under way. that is what this war sounds like in israel. wailing sirens warning an hamas ha rocket is only seconds away. this is video from the israeli defense force, a missile hitting a home of a hamas leader. they're proof that the exploesers are stored in buildings. spearheading talks aimed at ending the violence. it's impossible to know how this will play out. just remember that four years ago, the last time israel invaded gaza, 13 israelis were
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killed while 1400 palestinians died. ben wedeman joins me. does it look like we're about to witness a ground war here? >> well, it certainly looks like preparations are being made for it. we have seen a lot of heavy armor going by on the road right next to us, tanks, armors personnel carriers all evening long. there's a lot of soldiers in the area, so obviously the israeli military is gearing up for a ground incursion. just heard a very loud explosion. i guess you heard that, too. more over there. so yes, definitely, that's the case. but obviously, don, they have to wait for the political leadership to make a final decision. and while all the preparations for a possible ground invasion are going ahead, there are also diplomatic wheels spinning. tomorrow, the secretary-general of the arab league and four arab foreign ministers are going to go into gaza to check the
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situation out. we know there are intense contacts going on between egypt, israel, the united states, and others powers to try to head off a possible ground invasion because as everyone here knows, when troops' boots are on the ground in gaza, the civilian casualties will be very high. don. >> ben wedeman, thank you very much. appreciate that. if anything happens, we'll get back to him. >> every u.s. president hopes to be the one that ends the israeli-palestinian crisis, but peace has rarely seemed less likely. i spoke with a senior fellow at the hoover administration. he singled out the obama administration for what he calls its indifference. >> we have to go back and re-examine the diplomating setting, if you will. people will be pushed to say we can't afford to ignore this region. we can't afford to ignore this conflict because we look back on the last four years and the indifference, if you will, of the obama administration to what
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is happening on the west bank and gaza. and i think there will be pressure. there will be pressure from egypt, from turka, pressure from qatar, the three countries that are most sympathetic to hamas. pressure to produce some kind of settlement. >> discussing the u.s. response to the israeli-palestinian crisis. if izrail launches a ground attack in gaza, experts say the battle could be as bloody as the 2008 invasion that killed 1400 palestinians or worse. since then, hamas has gotten better weapons and better trained its foot soldiers as well. brian todd explains what a ground war in gaza might look like. >> reporter: a precision strike from the air killing the chief of hamas' military wing, but it appears israel is getting ready to go beyond pinpoint hits like this to contain the hamas threat. an israeli official says the army has already moved nearly a division's worth of troops, as
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many as 2,000, to the border of gaza. israel has sealed off the main roads around gaza. will israel invade on the ground? >> i think the chances are going up. >> reporter: jeffrey white, a former analyst with the defense intelligence agency said an israeli ground invasion of gaza would be a brutal, bloody grind. >> there's a high density of population throughout the strip. highest in the major areas, rafa, gaza city, but there are a lot of civilians in other places as well, and the other part is hamas fights from inside the cities. >> cities of narrow streets, bazaars, apartment building. a punishing building to building slog in a place that is slightly twice the size of washington, d.c. we used a googp map with james spider marx. >> what kind of close combat are we talking about? >> this is called combat in restricted terrain. what we have in gaza city, there
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are about 500,000 people who live in this city. you can only imagine the type of combat that has to take place in this very restricted terrain. >> terrain where marx says israeli troops will be exposed to ambush, sniper fire, suicide bombings. if a ground invasion is launched, analysts say it could be eerily similar to a conflict four years after a series of hamas rocket attacks on israeis. in late 2008,u early 2009, isral led a short period of air strikes follow by a long ground invasion of gaza. estimates are up to 1,400 palestinians were killed. many of them were civilians. about a dozen israelis were killed in the operation. then they were able to split up gaza, cut supply lines. this time analysts say hamas could make it tougher. >> they have much better anti-tank capability with the
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concourse. russian atgm, a better sand capability. >> white says in 2008-2009, hamas units were not good at close combat with the israelis. he says they broke and ran, didn't coordinate well. he says since then, they have made an effort to improve that with iran's help. brian todd, cnn, washington. >> thank you very much. president barack obama should be landing in thailand in about nine hours. he's on a three-day journey to asia where he'll attend the east asia summit. he'll also stop in cambodia and myanmar. his visit to myanmar where welcome signs are already up, will be the very first visit from an american president. i'm don lemon at the c nrx nrnn headquarters in atlanta. we'll have much more on the conflict in the middle east in the next hour, but in the meantime, wolf blitzer is back in "the situation room" after a very quick break. [ female announcer ] today, jason is here to volunteer to help those in need.
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fresh off re-election, president obama faces a battle with congressional republicans as the country faces drastic tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year, the so-called fiscal cliff. it was at the top of his agenda when he meet with the bipartisan congressional leadership on friday. >> what folks are looking for and i think all of us agree on this is action. they want to see we're focused on them, not focused on our politics here in washington. so my hope is that this is going to be the beginning of a fruitful process where we're able to come to an agreement that will reduce our deficit in a balanced way, that we will deal with some of these long-term impediments to growth and we're also going to be focusing on making sure that middle class families are able to get ahead. >> let's talk about it with our chief political analyst gloria
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borger and ron brownstein. this is the second time they have really tried to achieve this goal. the president is in a different position now. >> he is. if you just looked at the picture, you would say it's status quo in washington. the president got re-elected. the republicans maintain the majority in the house, democrats in the senate. however, it's not really as much status quo as the picture would portray because this is a president who believes, and i think rightly so, that he's come back with some more leverage here, that he doesn't have to start negotiating with himself, that he can put something out on the table that he actually believes in and that it's the republicans who are going to have to give because they were the ones by and large who lost and they lost the presidency. so he, you know, i see a president that feels much stronger about going into this. >> we're getting some intriguing sound bites from republicans indicating they understand the president has some more leverage now. >> they're willing to go one step and there's another step he
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wants to go. i couldn't agree. the election and the facts on the ground are very different than it was with the debt ceiling in 2011. two big things, he won re-election, democrats gained seats in the senate and probably won the popular vote in the house, and stalemate doesn't work in the republicans' advantage. if there's stalemate, all of the tax cuts expire at the end of the year. what the president has been very clear about in the last week since we talked about this last is just closing loopholes which is what republicans want to do, is not enough. he's going to insist that the top rate on the top earners goes up. >> he seems a lot more confident in the news conference especially when he was asked about susan rice, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations who is rumored as a candidate to become secretary of state. john mccain and lindsey graham said they will do everything in their power to block her confirmati confirmation. >> if senator mccain and senator
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graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. and i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. >> we haven't seen the president like that in a while. >> testy. defiant. kind of his make my day moment. go after her, make my day. i mean, in a way, and you could look at this two ways politically. you could say, okay, did he do that because now he's going to nominate her to be secretary of state when hillary clinton leaves or did he do it to get it on the record so when he nominates something else like john kerry, he is on the record saying you didn't cow me to not
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elect her. >> an unprecedented var eed shae vote being nonwhite, do republicans really want the first thing they do in 2013 is filibuster the nomination of a black woman secretary of state. >> in that same press conference, he called her an easy target. i'm not sure what he meant, but it might have been what ron was talking about. >> a little postmortem mitt romney suggesting for whatever reason he lost the election because of so-called gifts. you wrote this, and i'm going to put it up because there was a parallel to the democrats in the political wilderness. democrats only overthrew that dominant coalition after they finally acknowledges in national campaigns, their opponents were appealing to a broader range of americans they they were. such a painful recognition is the indispensable first step toward revival of the
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republicans now. you were talking about bill clinton. >> democrats have now won the popular vote in five of six elections just as republicans did in five of six from 'ski6 - to-'88. they began a process of introspection and reflection and change that ultimately produced bill clinton and the new democratic movement and a victory four years later. they acknowledged they weren't speaking to as many people on the other side. if this coalition was a muyoert this year with all of the headwinds, it's a majority. and romney's response to say this coalition is being bribed, that's not ways to make friends and influence people. >> the way to win elections is not to insult people, and it's kind of insulting, and for the republican party, they have to go through the stages of grief. some of them are now in denial.
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as soon as they get past denial, they can look at exactly what went wrong. for mitt romney to talk about gifts and insult american voters is something that is not good. and what surprises me is how quickly republicans have run away from mitt romney. >> he said almost exactly the same thing the night he won the nevada caucus. almost the same quote. >> obviously these ideas have been in his mind for a while. what does the fiscal cliff mean for you? we're taking a closer look at what almost every american stands to lose in a matter of weeks. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." n from unitedhealthcare. with this plan, you can get copays as low as a dollar through a preferred network pharmacy like walgreens -- where you'll find 8,000 convenient locations. best of all, this plan has the lowest part d premium in the united states -- only $15 a month. open enrollment ends december 7th. so call today or visit your local walgreens.
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when it comes to the so-called fiscal cliff, you have seen the charts, the graphs, the
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illustrations. you have seen the serious faces of president obama and members of congress as they stand in front of the congress. you have watched the stressed out traders trying to figure out what their next moves are on wall street. but what does all of this impending fiscal cliff really mean for you? our lisa sylvester has that. lisa? >> wolf, when you talk about the fiscal cliff, there are really two parts. one, a sharp reduction in government spending that will hit hard particularly the defense industry, contractors and subcontractors all around the country. the second part is the expiration of tax cuts, and that would likely mean less money in your pocket. at the whitlows on wilson restaurant in arlington, virginia, plenty of food and drink, but something else is cooking up, worry. the co-owner concerned about the impending government fiscal cliff. >> there's a real simple correlation. people have jobs, they spend money. if people are worried about losing their jobs or don't have
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a job, they're not going to go out much. they're going to cook at home or stay at home. >> just a couple miles from the pentagon, many of the patriots here work directly or indirectly for the defense department and its contractors. the defense industry is facing $55 billion in discretionary funding cuts next year unless congress acts to avertthis so-called fiscal cliff. in addition, several key tax cuts are set to expire that will have a direct impact on many americans. take a look at a couple with one child living in new york earning $100,000. their tax rate jumps from 25% to 28%. they could be hit by the alternative minimum tax, the child tax credit drops from $1,000 to $500, and payroll tax could be $2,000 more the next year. for a single person in michigan going to school half time, his tax rate would stay the same,
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but he would lose the american education tax credit and have to pay more than $600 in payroll taxes. and even though it's weeks before the changes take effect, the impact is felt because of uncertainty. 401(k) companies have taken a hit. and the next thing to watch for, the retail sector which makes most of its money in the final weeks of the year. black friday is already next week. and retailers are just hoping it doesn't turn into bleak friday. >> i'm shortening down the list a lot. doing the essentials, taking care of the priorities first and trying to be, you know, penny wise and not dollar stupid. >> the national retail federation did a survey that 64% of americans are watching closely the negotiations in washington over the fiscal cliff and a lot of consumers are taking a wait and see approach, reluctant to go on a spending spree wrfrb. >> david petraeus steps out of the shadow of scandal to try to set the record straight about the benghazi libya attack.
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we'll talk about the controversy surrounding him. and some fellow republicans are pouncing on mitt romney and his eye-popping take on why he lost the election. the louisiana governor bobby jindal vets his disapproval right here in "the situation room." what if there was a new way to deal with money that focused less on fees and more... on what matters? maybe your bank account is taking too much time and maybe it's costing too much money. introducing bluebird by american express and walmart. your alternative to checking and debit. it's loaded with features, not fees. because we think your money should stay where it belongs.
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in the midst of scandal, the former cia director general david petraeus went to the capitol to answer questions on the attack on american diplomats in libya. he managed to avoid reporters and cameras, but he couldn't avoid the awkwardness of the moment when he faced lawmakers. >> a certain amount of awkwa awkwardness, sure. all of us in the room, we have a great regard for him. i have known him for nine years now, so i actually urged him to run for president a few years ago. so i have been to dinner with him, i consider him, i know him fairly well. >> his comments basically were he was very sorry that this incident occurred and anything that occurred with respect to his personal situation had nothing to do with the way he handled benghazi at all and he also clarified this because this was out there, too, that his resignation was because he
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didn't want to testify. clearly, that was thought the case. end of snotory. >> we're joined by two cnn contributors. tom fuentes and james marks. thanks very much for coming in. you think he's finally put this benghazi thing to rest, general petraeus, by his testimony, or are there still lingering questions out there? >> this is a store thaet won't go away for some time. there truly is a disconnect between what was earlier in the process reported and what dave petraeus is now saying inside the room, and even that is being discussed and debated. >> what about the confirmation potentially of season rice, the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. you think because of what happened in benghazi, what she said five days after september 11th on those sunday morning talk shows, is that legitimate to go after her on this as opposed -- the president says, you have a problem, come after me, don't go after her.
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>> we need to stop attacking ambassador rice. she was on message. she didn't make that up when she went on the talk shows. she was not rolling her own intelligence jrb she had talking points. she stayed on message. the challenge we have to come to is was it the right message five days after the event and what are the disconnects that still exist. >> petraeus facing a lot of questions on benghazi and also personal questions about the affair he acknowledged having with the woman. where does the fbi investigation stand right now? >> in terms of general petraeus, it's been winding down. it was winding down the first week it went public in november. there was no evidence found he had committed a crime, and no indication he had improperly sent classified material out or in any way breached national security. >> was it winding down -- if it was winding down, why did this
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explode publicly? do you have a good handle on why it became such a sordid sex scandal, if you will? >> any time an investigation concludes, if it's not being prosecuted or it's just being finished, these type of things start to get out. >> the fbi hopes since it was winding down, there weren't serious criminal allegations if you will or violations of national security, they would have liked to have kept this quiet. >> they would have kept it quiet until such time as the case is over and make whatever notifications, but the no notifications of the white house would be determined by the attorney general, and the attorney general could say at this point make the notifications and have a meeting with the intelligence committees of the senate and house and inform them there was no breach. at the time it's being conducted until such time there is a criminal violation established or a breach of national security established, there's no notephics going to be made and the fbi has to protect the
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privacy of individuals who are under investigation. they do not want these cases being public until they're concluded. >> general marks, take us inside the u.s. military. how does this play among the men and women who serve, listed senior officers, when you have somebody of the stature of general petraeus and general john allen, the u.s. and nato commander in afghanistan, they're both being questioned about relationships, if you will. how does that impact the fighting men and women? remember, we almost have 70,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan. they're in a war right now. >> wolf, that's the point, is that we have soldiers, marines, we have our service members in combat. that's what's most important, and general john allen has a job to do over in afghanistan. the morale of the fighting force is fine. they're going to go through any mission they have to do. they'll stay absolutely focused on those tasks. inside of dave petraeus' world, this is a matter of great shame, and he has let down the service
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he's been a part of for the last 40 years. he obviously lost his bearings, lost the grip on his values, made this terrible mistake and now he's got to live with that. that certainly has a message. as a result of those challenges and some other challenges with general officers, the secretary of defense has announced we're going to have a values review for the senior leaders in our military. >> same question to you about the fbi. you served a long career in the fbi. you have a shirtless fbi agent, his picture circulating out there. he was involved, apparently, in some way in getting this information publicly. how does this impact the murail of the fbi men and women? >> the fbi agents in particular were not happy about the characterization of the shirtless agent and the pictures that went out. it's been established that picture was sent a long time ago, had nothing to do with this, and it was a joke on the part of that agent who had this picture taken in between two dummies and make it look like he
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was a target at the range, and he sent it to a number of people including the media. >> the fbi has really been amazing over these past few decades. since the sordid days of j. edgar hoover in rebuilding its reputation. an incident like this could have a negative impact. >> it could but it won't. the agents should not have got outside of the fbi. that's why these protocols exist. that's why the white house wasn't notified, because of what happened decades ago, particularly the nixon administration. the white house doesn't want to be accused of meddling, as president obama said, meddling in an ongoing investigation. if there's no immediate evidence or immediate national security concern, it's going to be kept as quiet as possible. >> tom fuentes, thanks very much. spider marks, thanks to you as well. appreciate what you're both doing. >> mitt romney angers a key supporter with comments about president obama's re-election
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mitt romney is speaking out about his election loss for the first time and blaming it on what he calls the gifts that president obama gave his supporters. that remark is drawing serious criticism from some of romney's fellow republicans including louisiana governor bobby jindal. thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. great to be back on the air with you. >> let me play a little clip of what he said to some of his big donors that's causing quite an uproar. here's mitt romney. listen to this. >> what the president, the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them
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extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote. >> now, that's caused a lot of uproar. gifts that the president gave. i guess the implication is was he bribing some of the coalition, minorities, hispanics. bribing young women with all sorts of, quote, gifts. what do you make of that? >> wolf, this is completely unhelpful. this is not where the republican party needs to go. we want -- if you want voters to like you, the first thing you have got to do is like them first. it is certainly not helpful to tell voters that you think their votes were bought. that's not a way to show them you respect them, you like them. we need to stop talking down to voters. as the republican party, we need to fight for 100% of the electorate, not 53%, not 52%, but 100%. we have to stop trying to divide people by race, by gender, by class, instead, we have to show
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them our conservative principles will help them pursue the american dream, do better. this is not helpful and not where the republican party needs to go. we need to stop being the dumb party. we need to offer smart, conservative, intelligent ideas. we don't win elections by insulting voters. if you want voters to like you, they have to like you first. tell them their votes were bought is not helpful, not true. >> it reminded me of that really controversial comment he was overheard at that fund-raiser in boca raton last may down in florida speaking about the 47% who were effectively, i'm paraphrasing, natures, including recipients of social security, anyone who gets government assistance, if you will. that caused him an enormous amount of problems in the campaign as well. do you see a similarity here and there? >> absolutely. look, as a party, as a country, we're an aspirational party, an
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aspirational country. we believe the best days are ahead of us. we're a country that believes everybody wants their children to do better than their parents have done. what that means is we want our kids to get a great education, great paying jobs. i believe people who are on food stamps, who are on government assistance don't want to be there. they're there because they don't have the ability to get better paying jobs. it's our responsibility to grow the economy, give them the better opportunities to have a better quality of life. we don't advance the discussion or debate by insulting folks. we need to stick to our principles and treat others with respect. we naed to show them we respect them, we respect their beliefs, their prisples. we can disagree without being disagreeable. republicans have done a lot of damage to the brand, a lot of dumb things. you saw it in indiana, you saw it in missouri. as a party, we need to stop talking down to voters. we have great ideas on school choice, on putting teachers in
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the classroom, on a flatter tax coat with out all of the loopholes for the wealthy. let's put those policies out, let's have an honest intellectual debate with the other side. let's stop insulting peep. we do have too many people on unemployment, but there's not there because they want to be there. they're there because there aren't enough good paying jobs. >> did you convey these same thoughts to the governor when he was the republican presidential nominee? >> look, i don't know how much benefit there is to continue to look back. mitt romney is a good man, an honorable man, the reality is i don't think his campaign laid out a vision how his policies would benefit every american. they ran largely on his biography, very impressive biography, impressive career, but as a party, as a country, we need to look forward. we need to congratulate the president on his win. we need to look forward and
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fight for every vote in america. the way to do that is treat people with respect. we don't need to divide people into special interest groups. we don't look at people as members of racial groups or gender groups or geographic or class groups. we treat every person as a individual. the circumstances of your birth don't determine the outcome of your life. we're going to offer policies to help them and their children be better. that's what we have to do to win national elections. the reason we have 30 republican governors is they are working to improve schools in their states, balance their budgets, grow their private sector jobs. we need two parties. the republican party doesn't need to moderate our principles. we need to modernize our party, however. >> comprehensive immigration reform, all of a sudden, republicans and democrats are talking about it.
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lindsay graham is trying to get together with chuck schumer to see if there's an opportunity. are you in favor right now of major ledge slashz that would deal with comprehensive immigration reform, securing the border, and also having a pathway to citizenship for some of those illegal immigrants who were in the country? >> wolf, several things. absolutely i am for comprehensive approaches. let's stop making it a politicalishi. let's solve the issue. the president four years ago said he was going to present the proposal. let him present the prosal, but we need to be clear with the american people that we welcome folks who want to come to the country, who want to follow the rules, who want to work hard, make this a better, stronger country. we need to dramatically increase the number of people we allow into the country illegally. it's good for them, good for our country. our immigration policies aren't good for our country. we have folks who come here, we educate them, we kick them out.
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we welcome the folks who want to come here and make a better, stronger country. it takes a lot of risk to take the chances to want to get good paying jobs to work very hard. those are the kind of people who made this a great country. whether your family has been here five minutes or hundreds of years, that's not what makes you an american. it's unique, something that's exceptional about our country. yes, i think there's an opportunity for a comp henrehen approach. we shouldn't be negotiating with ourselves. let the president put the proposal on the table. it's got to incluse a substantial increase for legal immigration. let's stop kicking people out that want to make this a better rucountr country. >> governor jindal, thanks for coming in. good luck with the new assignment. we appreciate it very much. >> thank you, wolf. >> the dream of becoming a professional soccer player shattered by the violence in syria. just ahead, how one boy is learning to live with the scars of war. loans.
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as the battle between israel and hamas heats up, it draws the world's attention, the syrian civil war rages on with dozens of people dying every day. and a steady stream of refugees fleeing into neighboring countries. syrians of all ages are now living with the scars of war. we have a report from arwa damon. it contains pictures some viewers may find disturbing. >> like many other boys his age, 11-year-old abdu wanted to be a professional soccer player when he grew up, but like so many others in his homeland of syria, the violence shattered his dream.
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>> reporter: he doesn't say much beyond that. at times, simply nodding or smiling sweetly in response, or seemingly lost in his memories. tears he can't control fall silently. the thoughts of what his baby brother endured are so much for the 21-year-old. >> mom woke me up, stand up immediately. what's happening? she said, he went out and the airplane is roaming, circulating above, and you need to get him back to the house. >> omar was too late. he found his brother in the hospital. >> once he saw me, he shouted,
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"omar!" shouted with all his strength. when i got closer, i saw his leg and i just started crying for around five hours. >> reporter: his leg was amputated, in a makeshift field hospital, the basement of a mosque. >> after he woke up, i was crying, i couldn't control myself. he said, please don't cry. if you love me, don't cry. >> reporter: and that is when omar made him a promise. that he would walk again. >> he starts to handle that idea. so i'm going out and he kept saying to me, when are we leaving? because once -- every time the fighting jets come, he said, when are we leaving? we should leave. >> reporter: omar is now an expert at changing his brother's bandages. he started to save money for a prosthetic, but realized that it was going to take too much time. he began asking around, and a
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group of visiting egyptian doctors told him about the global medical relief fund, a small u.s. ngo, dedicated to helping children badly injured in disaster and war zones. its founder, alyssa monotanta was quick to respond. but had to get to turkey. a car drove them as close to the border as they could. driver's last words, "you're on your own now." omar's arms were aching as he carried his brother and their three bags across the muddy field. the brothers eventually made their way to ankhra in turkey, but the boys don't have passports. their visas to the u.s. were denied and now they are waiting to see if the state department will grant them humanitarian parole. for omar, watching his brother suffering is agonizing. >> he had nightmares, and sometimes day dreams, bad day
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dreams. the most important thing, at this time, i think it's to be aware of everything. and to grow up. he's not a child anymore. >> reporter: arwa damon, cnn, ankhra. >> if you would like to help him, go to to find out how you can impact your world. arwa, thank you. as president obama prepares for his next four years in office, our john berman has a tip for him. read up on recent history, mr. president. a closer look at second-term scandals. that's next. [ male announcer ] it started long ago. it's called passion. and it's not letting up anytime soon. at unitedhealthcare insurance company, we understand that commitment. so does aarp, serving americans 50 and over for generations.
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here's a look at this hour's hot shots. in italy, the sun rises behind the vatican. in india, people watch fireworks at a park during the festival of lights. in florida, people wait in line for turkey as they prepare for thanksgiving. and in nepal, look at this, police dogs are decorated with paint and garlands for a hindu festival. hot shots, pictures coming in from around the world. president obama's inauguration is still a couple months away, but with all the talk of scandal dominating washington right now, it's starting to feel like his second
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term has already begun. here's cnn's john berman. >> so, wolf, it took like 76 hours for the president's re-election to get subsumed in the whole petraeus/broadwell/alan/kelley mess. it may be the perfect introduction to the realities of re-election. it really is enough to give you second thoughts about that second term. >> reporter: president obama, you were just elected to a second term. what are you going to do next? go to disney world? doubtful. embark on immigration reform? possible. avoid the fiscal cliff? maybe. but if history has taught us anything, perhaps the first thing he should do is lawyer up. we're not suggesting the president is in any kind of legal jeopardy, it's just that second terms have become synonymous with scandal. richard nixon's second term -- >> well, i'm not a crook. >> reporter: he resigned in the wake of watergate.
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ronald reagan's second term -- >> a few months ago, i told the american people i did not trade arms for hostages. my heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not. >> reporter: the iran contra affair. bill clinton -- >> i did not have sexual relations with that woman. >> reporter: impeached after the lewinsky mess. and george w. bush, well, there was the valerie plame spygate scandal, not to mentioning the handling of hurricane katrina. that's trouble for roughly 100% of re-elected presidents since 1972. yes, it's enough to give you second thoughts about that second term. so is there anything the obama team can do to prevent this? now, as bill clinton might say. >> it depends upon what the meaning of the word "is" is. >> reporter: the fact is, if there is going to be a second-term scandal, its seeds were probably sewn in the first term. the watergate break-in, nixon's
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first term. the actual iran contra deal, reagan's first term. bill clinton's liaison with lewinsky, first term. the actual plame leaks, first term. so if the obama team was going to mess up, history suggests, they already did. maybe it's something that has made headlines already, but maybe not. remember, the lewinsky scandal didn't surface until 1998. maybe the obama administration will make its own history and avoid a second-term scandal. but if not, disney world may seem very appealing. you know, it was interesting, in the president's news conference, he said he was well aware of the history of presidential overreach in second terms. that's a little bit of a different subject, but you get the sense that anyone that much aware of presidential history knows that second-term scandals can be a problem and most likely will be really, really careful. wolf? >> john berman, thank you.


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