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President Obama Reveals Budget Plan; Tragedy in New York; Republicans React to President's Speech on Deficit Reduction; Reports Hosni Mubarak Suffered Heart Attack May Be False; New York Police Update Serial Killer Case; No Verdict on Barry Bonds Trial; Dogs Rescued from Nuclear Zone

Aired April 13, 2011 - 16:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama makes his pitch, and now critics are firing back. I will talk to a top Republican about what he likes and what he hates about the president's plan.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

(voice-over): A shocking tragedy in New York.


BALDWIN: A mother and her three children dead after police say she drove them into the river. But a 10-year-old boy escapes.

FERRARA: He swam -- swam to shore and made his way to the fire department.

Find out what he's telling investigators when I speak with the local fire chief live.

Plus, a revolt forced him from office. Now former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in custody. Did he order the murder of protesters? Investigators are grilling him as we get new information about his reported heart attack. Hala Gorani live in Cairo.

And are banks telling the whole truth when it comes to fees? One group went undercover. Wait until you hear what they found.


BALDWIN: Hour two. Let's continue. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Happening right now, let's look at some pictures. We're waiting for top Republicans to come out to respond to President Obama's speech. Among those expected to speak, Congressman Paul Ryan, who essentially got this whole ball rolling in the first place by releasing his controversial proposal for the 2010 budget.

He is the House Budget Committee chair. Also, Wolf mentioned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor taking a swipe this morning at Donald Trump, likely take a swipe or two at President Obama and some of his plan he outlined. So we will be look for them and we will take that live as soon as we see that.

Also, I will be speaking live to Senator John Barrasso, another Republican, who has some choice words, I'm going to guess, for the president. There he is live on the Hill. We will have that conversation. That is minutes away.

But, first, I need to take you through, in case you missed it, what the president said, what he has to say as far as jumping through hoops here in this fiery debate over the nation's massive debt and how to start fixing it.

His goal, the big number that came out, look at all those zeros, $4 trillion within the next 12 years. How does the president plan to do that? Through what he calls shared, shared sacrifice.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget.

A serious plan doesn't require us to balance our budget overnight. In fact, economists think that with the economy just starting to grow again we need a phased-in approach. But it does require tough decisions and support from our leaders in both parties now. Above all, it will require us to choose a vision of the America we want to see five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road.


BALDWIN: So the four main points of the president's plan that he outlined today, to hold down domestic spending, cut defense spending, reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs while making both programs stronger, and make the tax code simpler, while ending those Bush era tax cuts for couples who make more than $250,000 a year.

But you see that last point, that's going to be a tough one. Republicans, many of them are fiercely opposed to raising any sort of taxes, are calling it, essentially a tax hike, a nonstarter. The president's response to that was this.


OBAMA: I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more.

I don't need another tax cut. Warren Buffett doesn't need another tax cut.

I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to their country, a country that's done so much for them.

It's just Washington hasn't asked them to. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Now, the president also addresses who oppose spending cuts. Here is that.


OBAMA: Indeed, to those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments.

If we believe that government can make a difference in people's lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works, by making government smarter and leaner and more effective.


BALDWIN: That was the president just this afternoon.

I want to go to senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash. There she is on the Hill.

And, Dana, it sounds like the president is obviously anticipating a battle from both the left and the right. And I know we have had the box. There it is in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, because we're waiting for those Republicans to come out to the microphones, Congressman Ryan, perhaps, Congressman Cantor, to react to the president's speech today.

But I know because I have seen the e-mail and I printed it out here, we're already hearing from House Speaker John Boehner. What is he saying?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He is saying what he said before the president even spoke. And I know it's not going to surprise anybody who has been listening to this debate over the past 24 hours in anticipation of this speech that the president made.

He said that he believes that Chairman Ryan, who we're going to hear from soon, in his -- Speaker Boehner's words, set the bar with the -- quote, unquote -- "jobs budget." So he's, no surprise, defending the work that the House budget chairman did in laying out his budget, which actually I should tell you the House is actually going to vote on later this week, likely Friday, which is very, very different.

You heard the president go through the reasons why he thought that the main points of the Republican budget were wrong, namely a really change in the way Medicare is done, Medicaid, giving that money to the states, and also not dealing with the tax cut issue.

He also made clear, as he has over and over again, that he believes that dealing with this by raising taxes is a nonstarter. So that's what he said. I'm guessing that we're going to hear something very similar from the budget chairman when he shows up at the microphones very soon.

BALDWIN: Well, to be fair, and it looks like actually I'm seeing some activity, guys. Do we see some folks?

Let's just go. There we go, I guess, on cue.

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: Good afternoon, everyone.

Late yesterday, myself and Chairman Ryan and Chairman Camp were invited to have a front-row seat to the president's redo of his budget. He spent approximately a half-an-hour giving us a history lesson, blaming everyone for the nation's fiscal woes but himself, attacking the "Path to Prosperity" budget, and setting a new standard for class warfare rhetoric.

I don't know about my colleagues, but I thought to myself, and I missed lunch for this?


HENSARLING: Although I was honored to receive the invitation, it's clearly something I could have watched from my office.

This was not a speech designed for America to win the future. No, this was a speech designed for the president to attempt to win reelection. This was a speech that prioritizes the next election over the next generation. It was a speech that was heavy on aspirational goals and exceedingly light on specific proposals.

But those that were present certainly deserve comment. First, at a time when millions of our countrymen remain unemployed, the president again proposes tax increases on job creators.

If I had an opportunity, I would say, Mr. President, how do you expect to help the job seeker by yet again punishing the job creator? I know of no nation that has ever taxed its way into economic prosperity.

And, Mr. President, again, the deficit is the symptom. It is spending that is the disease.

Now, I guess I'm at least heartened that the president acknowledges that Medicare is on an unsustainable path. However, putting price controls and rationing on steroids is not the answer.

Now, the president passes on Social Security, claiming that it doesn't appear to be in any type of immediate fiscal threat. Tell those to all the Americans -- tell that to all of the Americans who are scheduled to receive a 22 percent automatic benefit cut in the years to come.

So, again, it's very light on specific proposals. I will touch upon one more and then yield to my colleagues. The president claims to set up a debt failsafe. Only, he fails to include somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all federal spending in his failsafe, which can only lead to either, A., completely gutting national defense or adding implicit huge tax increases on those that are already explicit in his plan.

Now, under the leadership of our chairman, budget chairman, Paul Ryan, Republicans have a different idea. Now, the "Path to Prosperity" budget will put America on a fiscally sustainable path to help create jobs, to ensure that our social safety net, which even the president implicitly admits is going broke, is saved for future generations.

Our -- our "Path to Prosperity' is about saving the American dream for the next generation, ensuring that our children have greater opportunities than we have.

Now I would like to yield to the Republican leader Eric Cantor.


I had an opportunity today to go to the White House with Speaker Boehner and the other leaders in the House and the Senate. And we had a very serious discussion with the president.

And the request really was for all of us to be very mindful of the challenges that we face and to have an adult conversation to try and come to a resolution.

Then, what happened after that is, the president goes and delivers a speech in which the only concrete proposal that he proposed was raising taxes. And that solution falls far short of dealing with the kind of crisis that we're facing as far as the debt is concerned in this country.

As Jeb just said, raising taxes is not what we need right now, two days before Tax Day, especially while we're trying to get job creators back into the game here.

You know, we're serious. As you know, we have got the Ryan budget plan on the floor this week. We have laid out our vision in specifics as to how to manage down this debt and to get our economy back on track, and to repair the future for our kids. That's what we're about.

We're serious. We care about these entitlement programs. That's why we're trying to say you have got to have a safety net for those who need it, but not for those who don't.

We have spoken to the specifics, Mr. President. We are serious. Where are you?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm very disappointed in the president.

I was excited when we got invited to attend his speech today. I thought the president's invitation of Mr. Camp, Mr. Hensarling and myself was an olive branch. Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country's pressing fiscal challenges.

What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner in chief. I guess it's no coincidence that last week, when the president launched his billion-dollar reelection campaign, was the week we launched our effort to try and get this debt and deficit under control and get our economy growing.

Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the president created a fiscal commission. Then, with his budget, he disavowed his fiscal commission. He admitted he ignored all of its recommendations. Now he wants to delegate leadership yet again to a new commission.

How are we to expect different results? And the measurements of success of this new commission are lower than the measurements of success of the last commission that ended a few months ago.

We need leadership. We don't need a doubling down on a failed politics of the past. This is very sad and very unfortunate. Rather than building bridges, he's poisoning wells. By failing seriously to confront the most predictable economic crisis in our nation's history, the president's policies are committing us and our children to a diminished future.

We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric. When the president is ready to get serious about it, we are going to be here working. Exploiting people's emotions of fear, envy, and anxiety is not hope. It's not change. It's partisanship.

We don't need partisanship. We don't need demagoguery. We need solutions. And we don't need to keep punting to other people to make tough decisions. If we don't make tough decisions today, our children are going to have to make much, much tougher decisions tomorrow.

So, I am sincerely disappointed that the president, at a moment when we are putting ideas on the table to try and engage in a thoughtful dialogue to fix this country's economic and fiscal problems, decides to pour on the campaign rhetoric, launch his reelection, and pass partisan broadsides against us, and making it that much harder for the two parties to come together with mutual respect of one another to get things done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, thank you. I...

BALDWIN: Very, very strong words from three Republicans there on Capitol Hill, reacting to the president's speech today.

I took some notes, heard the words "speech falls short, disappointing, inaccurate." Eric Cantor, you heard from him there in the middle, saying that "the president delivered a speech in which the only concrete proposal that he proposed, raising taxes, falls short."

Let's see how John Barrasso feels, Republican senator from Wyoming. He's standing by on Capitol Hill. We will get his reaction to that speech on the other side of this break. Stand by.


BALDWIN: Like I said, we heard from Republicans moments ago saying the speech falling short. I want to go to another Republican, John Barrasso, another Republicans senator from Wyoming. Senator Barrasso, good to have you on the show. Appreciate it. We heard from Congressman Hensarling who said he missed his lunch for this. Do you feel the same way? How do you think the president did?

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO, (R) WYOMING: I expected more from him. What they got was political rhetoric and what they got were detailed. The president is going to double our national debt in the next ten years. I think we need to have the discussion.

The president offered a plan. He talked about cuts and said that he should use a scalpel instead of a machete. I know how to use a scalpel and what the president has been using is a shovel, to shovel the money out, out of Washington, taxpayers' money.

And that's why we're facing this incredible debt cry sits where the president is asking us to raise the debt ceiling, something that when he was in the Senate said was a failure of leadership.

BALDWIN: Senator, I want to ask you about the debt ceiling. But you've mentioned tax reforms and it affects every single one of us. Many are saying that the tax issues, tax hikes, total nonstarter. Speaker Boehner said that everything is on the table. One idea that is being thrown out there is simplifying the tax code. You lower the rates for in exchange of other things.

BARRASSO: We need a simpler tax code. Tax day is at the end of this week. It is a real challenge for people to fill out their own tax forms. It's much more complicated than anyone and we spend lots of money doing that. We need a simple, fair, tax system.

You talked about lowering tax rates. The president talked about raising tax rates. And I have to tell you, our problem is not that we are taxed too little. It's that we spend too much. All Washington do is spend it. I would encourage them not to send the money to Washington and impose any kind of a tax increase.

BALDWIN: We heard from a lot of Republicans. We're hearing from the DNC chair, Donna Brazile and here's what she said. "The vision behind his plan," President Obama's plan, "is straightforward and envisions an America in which we can all come together in an a responsible way to guarantee jobs for all of those that want to work, support for those that have fallen into tough times, securities for our families and opportunities for our children." What is your reaction?

BARRASSO: The best thing we can do for our children is give them a debt-free future. I know "vision" is kind of the word of the day coming out of the White House two days ago the word was balance. I think we need a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. We need to get the spending under control. Families do that. If families overspend, they cut up the credit cards. That's what you need to do, get spending under control and that's why we need an amendment to this constitution. We need to get the spending under control.

BALDWIN: I think a lot of people, senator, would agree with you, a balance needs to happen. But I think Americans have lost a little bit of faith because of what happened just last week in the 11th hour of compromise made to continue funding the government. What can you say to Americans? Point blank, can you -- is it possible for Democrats to work things out with Republicans here?

BARRASSO: Well, I voted to keep the government opened last Friday night. I thought it was the responsible thing to do. I would like to have more cuts to that number. That's a budget that should have been passed last year when the president had the house and the Senate all under his control and never passed the budget and then this year the president has passed a budget which many in the press have called irresponsible and the magazine "The Economist" has called dishonest. The president owes the American people more than what is being touted as dishonest. We didn't get either of that from the president in his so-called major speech to the country.

BALDWIN: That is your perspective and I do want to ask you about the debt ceiling. Republicans say you won't raise the debt ceiling without conditions. Senator Barrasso, you have not announced among yourselves what those conditions may be to merit that. Let me ask you, are we talking spending caps or cuts or balanced budget amendment? What are we talking about here?

BARRASSO: You're talking about something that is significant -- that sends a significant signal to the country and to the markets and to the world, to the rest of the world. I mean, we're borrowing so much money so much of our debt is owed to China, 41 cents of every dollar we spend --

BALDWIN: What are the conditions?

BARRASSO: It's a straightjacket on the spending, a balanced budget to the constitution, it is a significant signal that says, yes, we are serious about getting the spending and the debt under control and the president has fallen very short of that.

BALDWIN: All right, are the two sides going to be able to make this agreement by July before we hit the ceiling?

BARRASSO: The debt ceiling is coming. There's going to be a deadline there. At this point I'm not willing to vote to increase the debt ceiling. I think that would not be a responsible thing to do to just do business more of the same.

BALDWIN: Senator John Barrasso, appreciate you coming on. Thanks.

BARRASSO: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: And now this.


CHIEF MIKE FERRARA, NEWBURGH, NEW YORK POLICE: The 10-year-old boy came to the fire headquarters d reported that his mother had driven the car into the river.


BALDWIN: A heartbreaking tragedy in New York. Police have found the mother 25 years of age with her three children. Somehow, the son got out of there just in time. We are now hearing, though, what happened before those drownings, including the call police got. We're going to speak with the local fire chief in just a moment here. Do not his that conversation.

Also, 24 hours after reports of Hosni Mubarak having a heart attack, we are hearing that this man is in custody and he's being asked about murder. Hala Gorani is live and she's in Cairo. She's got brand-new information, next.


BALDWIN: Time now to go globe trekking, and a huge story rocking Egypt today. Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are officially detained. Let's go to Hala Gorani. She's in Cairo. Where is Hosni Mubarak right now?

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've had conflicting information about that all day. Initially the minister said Hosni Mubarak was helicoptered to a hospital here in Cairo. We called that hospital and two individual sources said, no, he's right here and then the head doctor for ministry of justice delegation who visited Hosni Mubarak at the hospital yesterday said he is indeed in the resort city and his sons were with him yesterday and that he's in stable condition.

Because, Brooke, one of the other open questions was, what condition is he in medically. There were reports that he had a heart attack, a nervous breakdown. Now we understand that he's in stable condition and in the hospital.

BALDWIN: So if I may further try to understand this, if he's in stable condition, do we definitively know if he had a heart attack or not?

GORANI: We don't know. We know he had some sort of heart condition according to several sources. We don't know how this will affect this 15-day detention ordered by the ministry of justice here in Egypt.

He is being investigated and this is the first in modern Arab history investigated for corruption, for abuse of power. His sons are in power here in Cairo, the same prison that human rights observers say were used to torture dissidents.

So it's really ironic that the sons of this leader ends up in the prison that the critic of this regime says was used to abuse people with the government. It's incredibly historic and something that the country is a marker for them, the fact that this leader now from having been in untouchable and unmovable pharaoh of this country is now under investigation and suffering from nervous breakdowns.

Now what happens after 15 days in detention? The period may be renewed, Brooke, and the very will continue.

BALDWIN: How are Egyptians reacting? We remember the thousands in Tahrir Square, they wanted Hosni Mubarak to step down and he did and now he's being detain and questioned. What are they saying about that?

GORANI: Most Egyptians -- I just arrived here. I was in Jordan a few hours ago. Most Egyptians that I've spoken with seem delighted that this leader that they considered abused his power, stole money from the country, stashed it away in foreign bank accounts. These are some of the accusations and they are delighted that he's being investigated on all of these charges.

But there is a level of worry, if I can add this, Brooke, that the transitional, the caretaker government headed by the military, controlled by the military, in a military tribunal a blogger to three years in jail for insulting the military.

These are practices reminiscent of the Mubarak regime, and many people say, we had our revolution but we're not certain that this government now in charge of a democracy will deliver on its promises. So there is a level of worry here in Egypt, Brooke.

BALDWIN: That is significant there, Hala in Cairo.

Coming up next, the story that a lot of you are talking about out of Newburgh, New York. A mother and her four kids floating in the Hudson. They were found dead in the river in this van. We're going to talk about how he escaped as this family drowned. That's next.


BALDWIN: We're getting word here following the Barry Bonds perjury trial out of San Francisco. We're getting word that a trial is being handed down. We're working on that. Sunny Hostin will have the details on that story coming up in just a moment.

But I want to get to this story, this tragedy on the Hudson River out of New York, and apparent murder-suicide in Newburgh. Police say Lashandra Armstrong put her four young children into a minivan and drove them into the freezing Hudson River. Only the 10-year-old Leshan survived because he escaped out of a window. We'll get to that in a moment. A passerby picked him up soaking wet and drives him down to the road to the fire station.


FERRARA: At about 8:00 p.m., authorities were advised that a 10-year- old boy came to the fire headquarters and reported that his mother drove the car into the river. The city police responded and after efforts of the dive team and fire department and police department.

The vehicle was towed out of the water and the mother and three of the children were located inside of the vehicle and were deceased. Orange county medical examiner's office was contacted and responded. Autopsies are scheduled for today.


BALDWIN: I have New York fire chief Michael Vatter on the phone with me right now. Sir, I want to get to the details. I know it's probably been a very difficult 24 hours for you and your crew, but first, I just have to ask, how is he? I understand he suffered a mild case of hypothermia. Physically speaking, how is he?

CHIEF MICHAEL VATTER, NEWBURGH, NEW YORK FIRE DEPARTMENT: To the best of my knowledge, you know, he's doing OK considering the circumstances. He is with undisclosed relatives at this point and --

BALDWIN: He is someone who obviously so many people are thinking about and had previously reported that this mother had let this 10- year-old out of the car. In fact, not at all the case. He saved himself, sir, from the sinking van. Chief, how did he do that? He just dropped. Well, it happens. Live television, we're going to work on getting him back up because I have a lot more questions for the chief out of Newburgh, New York.

We'll also get you information on the perjury trial Barry Bonds wrapping up and a verdict handed down. We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: We're going to go to Sunny Hostin. A verdict has been reached in the Barry Bonds' perjury trial. Do we know what that verdict is yet?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't know what the verdict is yet. We'll be hearing that in seven minutes. I'll be watching and waiting and will report to you what the verdict is at that time. The jury is on the fourth day of the deliberations. So certainly, this is either a very thorough jury or a jury that was divided. We'll know more about the verdict very shortly.

BALDWIN: What do you mean by that? Are you surprised that it took them four days?

HOSTIN: I am. Typically with perjury trials, you prove that the person lied and then you're done. Four days of deliberation is usually a good sign for the defense. It's usually a sign that the jury is somehow divided or it can be a sign that they are just a very, very thorough jury.

But with just four counts to deliberate on, four charges, it's unusual that they have been out for this long. Many people wondering whether it's a good sign for the defense. I'm not so sure yet.

BALDWIN: Remind us -- let's step back. Remind us how this whole thing came about. You and I have talked about different witnesses testifying, ex mistresses, players. Remind us how this whole thing came about.

HOSTIN: Well, interestingly enough, he's been charged with four counts of perjury when he testified before the grand jury. The grand jury was not investigating his use of steroids. They were investigating the use of steroids in general. And so certainly now they believe that he got in front of the grand jury and purchase injured himself when he said that he never used steroids or human growth hormone. There was testimony from one eyewitness that said that she had seen him injected with something by his personal trainer. And so that is really the count that many people think that the jury may have reached the decision on in favor of the government primarily because the jury did ask for that testimony to be read back, the testimony of Barry Bonds' personal shopper during which she said "I saw him being injected with something."

The difficulty for the prosecution in this case was the fact that the personal trainer refused to testify, refused to testify in the case and was put in jail, held in contempt, and was released only after this case went to the jury.

BALDWIN: Sunny Hostin, stand by. We're minutes from the verdict of the Barry Bonds' perjury trial. We have a reporter at the San Francisco courthouse. Stand by. We'll get to this report when we come right back.


BALDWIN: Again, we're minutes away from hearing the verdict in the Barry Bonds perjury trial. He's accused of lying to a grand jury, with one count of obstruction. We'll get to a reporter at the courthouse momentarily.

For now, I want to take you to New York. Long Island police told the news media today that their serial killer investigation is not an episode of CSI. Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff is in New York. Police, I know, called this news conference today. Did we learn anything new?

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Basically we learned that the search continues by land, sea, and air. The police commissioner here in Suffolk County said that the FBI will be providing helicopters that can take aerial photos, detailed photos to help them in their investigation.

BALDWIN: I know, Allan, you reported that detectives did not question a crucial witness for four months. Who are we talking about and why?

CHERNOFF: That's right, a man who lives in the small town of Oak Beach, New York. Back on May 1st of last year, Shannon Gilbert banged on his door at 5:00 in the morning. He tried to help her by calling the police. He spoke to the man and saw her flee and called police. He talked to them. He directed them towards the beach where he saw her running off to.

Now, all of that information was not conveyed to the detectives until four months later because detectives here didn't ask for it. He told me that he was not contacted by detectives looking into this missing persons issue until August.

BALDWIN: How about that, Allan Chernoff, ten separate remains found thus far. And just a reminder, CNN will be airing a one-hour special on the Long Island serial killer case Saturday evening, 7:00 eastern time. Still to come, Barry Bonds facing justice here, guilty or not in that perjury trial. We have a reporter in the courthouse in San Francisco. We will be hearing much more about the fate of this man, former MVP, seven time MVP. More on that, next.


BALDWIN: We are ten minutes away from "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer. We want to see what he has going oncoming up. You saw the Republicans on Capitol Hill, very, very strong language about the president's speech.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": It's clear that both sides are very angry at the other side, both accusing the other side of playing politics. The president's rhetoric and his speech was very, very forceful. The Republicans want to basically end Medicare as we know it. They want to end the country -- a lot of what the country has been built on over its history as we know it.

The Republicans came right back and punched really hard as well, basically accusing the president of lying. They used more polite words. But it's a very, very tough opening.

At the end of the president's speech, he said, all right, here are my ideas. I know you're not going to necessarily accept all of them, but let's start talking with each other. Joe Biden will go up and start in early May and talk to you guys, see what we can come up with.

This is a tough start. If these are their opening bargaining positions, Paul Ryan's position on the Republican part and the president's position on the Democrats part, it's going to be a tough negotiation.

One of the media crisis or one of the media battles is going to raise the debt limit. One of the conditions that the Republicans might go along with that, some Democrats might - conservative Democrats one of the conditions that they may accept.

So if this battle is going to be huge, what we saw last week, Brooke, child's play compared to what we're about to see in the coming weeks and months.

BALDWIN: Do you think - I mean, Wolf Blitzer, you've been around the block a few times in Washington. You know, when we talk about deadlines. This bicameral, bipartisan group of people proposed by the president, if you talk about this, led by the vice president meeting in May, you know, hopefully having an answer in June, is that going to happen?

BLITZER: You know, it's anyone's guess. My sense is that they have to reach an agreement first and foremost right now on raising the debt limit. Otherwise, America's credit worthiness around the world is going to be in deep trouble. Interest rates are no doubt going to go up.

It's going to have a dramatic impact on the recovery and what people have to pay for interest. That's the immediate crisis. Getting an agreement on the 2012 budget, which begins on October 1st, 2011 -- they've got some time on that.

But this is going to be a battle of - we'll see what that so-called gang of six comes up with in the U.S. Senate, three Democrats, three Republicans, a lot of ideas being thrown out there.

None of these ideas, by the way, for any time in the foreseeable future is going to actually result in a balanced federal budget. That's with 1.5, $1.6 trillion deficits right now. Balancing the federal budget is going to take a long, long time.

BALDWIN: Who do you have coming up on your show?

BLITZER: Jean Spurling, the president's top economic adviser. He's here. Jeb Hanserling, one of the Republican leaders in the House. Also, Anthony Weiner, he had a tweet today.

I got his Twitter site and take a look at what he wrote about why he thinks he will never be president because of how much he hates of what the Republicans are proposing right now. So we're going to have a lot coming up on this huge issue right here on "THE SITUATION ROOM."

BALDWIN: We'll do. Wolf Blitzer, thank you so much. Back on the Barry Bonds trial, we have some news. We'll get to it on the other side of the break.


BALDWIN: OK, let's bring my legal expert, colleague, Sunny Hostin. Come back because apparently there is no verdict. False alarm. Stand down. What? What happened?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL EXPERT: I don't know. Unfortunately, in federal courtrooms the cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, but the PIO, apparently, the Public Information Officer came out and said that there would be a verdict and the verdict would be read at 1:45 Pacific Time.

Now we learn that there is no verdict and that the jury is back to work. This is really very interesting because it's something that just doesn't happen. This jury has been behind closed doors since Monday.

Early Monday, they reheard testimony, Brooke, and since then we haven't heard a peep. So everyone has really been thinking today is the day. Four days of deliberations again for perjury count kind of unusual and it's a who knows really what happened.

I mean, everyone was reporting that a verdict would be rendered at about 1:45 Pacific Time.

BALDWIN: Let's be clear here. You know, we heard CNN. We got the guidance from the California court spokesperson Lynn Fuller that there was a verdict and now apparently she's saying, no, no verdict has been reached, but the court is reconvening. What does that mean? Reconvening? Would this just be an error? Obviously it's an error, but what kind of an error could I be? Could it be a mistrial?

HOSTIN: It could be an error. It could be a dead locked jury. The fact that the court is reconvening, it's very possible that we may hear that this group cannot reach a united verdict. So I wonder what happened here.

It is, again, unusual for a court officer to say, yes, there is a verdict, and then come back and say, well, no, there isn't a verdict. It's quite possible that we're going to hear some more about this. I can't wait to find out.

BALDWIN: I know. I'm sort of sitting in my seat, what going on? And you will tell me quickly though. I just was told that the jury is back in court and they are going to tell the judge where they stand and we have to leave it there because that's all we know so far. Sunny Hostin, my thanks to you.

Finally here, a bit of happiness for some of the residents forced to evacuate the area near the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Many of them had to leave their pets behind. They had to abandon them, had no choice.

But now one group is helping rescue people's animals. Here's the story, but first just a quick warning, some of the images are tough to look at.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Known as a 5-year-old sheba, traumatized, confused, being delivered to his distraught owners, seeing him for the first time in a month. He doesn't respond. I'm sorry. She says to her dog, he was alone chained outside for ten days.

We tried to save him, she explains, but we couldn't get in. Into the government mandated evacuation zone just a few miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Across that radiation contaminated area, animals whose owners thought they would be gone for a day now a month later remain abandoned.

Some like this one already dead of disease and starvation. The ones still alive, like this beagle, suffer. You can see its ribs. Journalists who slipped into the evacuation zone fed it but left it chained outside, hoping its owner would return to free it.

Images were seen around the world and they were too much for this woman with the non-profit group, Japan earthquake animal rescue and support. Pet owners sent the group their addresses with pleas to volunteer their animals, putting their own health on the line. Through on protective gear and entered the radioactive zone.

(on camera): This is an area that is dangerous to go into.

ISABELLA GALLAON-AOKI: Yes. LAH: Why are you doing this?

AOKI: Why am I doing it? Well, because I want to help the animals there. I want to help the people who are trying to get their animals back.

LAH: We called several layers of Japan's government, from national to local, the response was the same. That this is a human calamity and a nuclear disaster. That people need to avoid the area for their own safety and there is no discussion or current plan for animal welfare.

AOKI: I wish there was something that we could do. I'm angry that more is not being done to help these animals. I understand the nuclear danger and everything, but they have been left to starve to death, basically.

LAH: She spent a few more moments with his owners and then again has to say good-bye. These evacuees are living with their children in a building that doesn't allow dogs.

I hope everything will go back to normal, says Hiroko Ito. I want my life back. But for these evacuees, both human and animal, normal life may never return. Kyung Lah, CNN, Chiba, Japan.


BALDWIN: That does it for me. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in Atlanta. Thanks for watching. Now to my colleague Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Wolf, to you.