Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Syrian President Speaks Out; Time to Fire Donald Trump from Political Arena?; Rag-tag Fighters Versus Gadhafi; Arming the Libyan Rebels; Libyan Rebels and Al Qaeda; Syrian Leader Stands Defiant; The Reagan Shooting; Talk Back Question; Acapulco Child Sex Trafficking

Aired March 30, 2011 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. I'm Suzanne Malveaux, want to get you up to speed.

Cheering supporters met President Bashar al Assad at parliament today, but he didn't give government opponents anything to applaud. They had hoped he'd roll back the 1963 emergency law. But Mr. Assad did not announce reforms. Instead, he defiantly blames Syria's unrest on outside meddlers. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (through translator): We are now a target of a conspiracy, a worldwide conspiracy, and this is the events on what has happened in the Arab world.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Libyan rebels are in fast retreat today as Moammar Gadhafi's forces unleashed heavy weapons. Rebels have given up about 150 miles of territory. Today the rebels are near the oil port of Ras Lanuf. Gadhafi's forces appeared to have reclaimed the town. But rebels say the situation is still fluid.

Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who said Libyan troops gang-raped here, hasn't been seen since Saturday, even though the government says she was released. Obeidy's mother says her daughter broke a barrier that no man could break. She also told CNN Moammar Gadhafi and his aides that they are dogs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AISHA AHMED, EMAN AL-OBEIDY'S MOTHER (Through Translator): No, I'm not afraid of Gadhafi. If I were to see his face in front of me, I would strangle him. When we go all the way to Tripoli, we'll cut his head off and bring it here.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: There is trouble at a second Japanese nuclear plant. Smoke rose from a nuclear reactor's turbine building for two hours today here at the Fukushima Daini plant. Officials didn't explain the cause. Fukushima Daini is six miles from the nuclear power plant that's been in the news since the earthquake and tsunami. Officials say that seawater at the Fukushima Daiichi complex is 3300 times more radioactive than normal. A sample was taken 1,000 yards offshore. This is the highest level radiation found in the ocean yet. And officials say the contamination is not an immediate threat.

America's top nuclear regulator is just back from Japan, answering questions on Capitol Hill right now. Gregory Jaczko promised to take action if developments in Japan pointed to shortcomings at American plants. Well, some senators say the U.S. should rethink the wisdom of having nuclear plants in vulnerable or densely population areas.

President Obama says Japan and Libya show America's energy security is at the mercy of world events. He says Americans demand alternatives when energy prices shoot up, but they also go into a trance and ignore the problem when prices fall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I was elected to this office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. By a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one- third.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Investigators in Alabama are looking into the deaths of nine hospital patients. All received IVs contaminated by bacteria. Ten other patients got the IVs and reportedly are not doing well.

A Birmingham company sold the -- the bad IV bags at six hospitals and officials say the bags have now been recalled.

After weeks of violent protests in the streets, Syria's president Bashar al-Assad addressed his parliament today. In a televised speech to the world, he dismissed the protest in his country as part of a conspiracy.

Mohammed Jamjoom is in Abu Dhabi with the story.

An Mohammed, we have been here what is taking place. We've been some brutal crackdowns by the security forces on the streets of Syria. And reports today even more violence on a coastal town.

Tell us what these rallies are about and tell us what these huge rallies supporting Assad are about.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Suzanne.

We're just starting to get more information about the rallies that are taking place today, the protests from eyewitnesses and activists on the ground. We're told that at least one person, one man was killed and one boy injured after clashes between security forces and anti-government demonstrators. That's in the coastal city of Latakia. We've heard a protest going on there throughout the day. We've also heard of protests in several other towns northwest of Daraa, with the protest movement started there including Da'el, Jasem, Al-Jara (ph), and Sanamein.

Now the people that we've spoken with, the activists, the protesters, the people that are out there in the streets, the eyewitnesses, they're saying that what the president said today just wasn't enough. They didn't expect him to offer enough and what the message that he delivered today wasn't enough.

He didn't even say when the emergency law that is so reviled by these protesters would will lifted. But you have to contrast that with scenes that we see on Syrian state television over the past week. Today we saw what appeared to be thousands of supporters in the Damascus. They were there supporting the president after his speech. And that's the message that Syrian state television has repeatedly tried to put out over the past few days.

In fact, when we hear about clashes, when we hear that there are protesters that have been injured or killed, usually that's contrasted by scenes on Syrian television of wounded security forces. The Syrians will say their state apparatus will say that these security forces were attacked by rioters, by armed rioters.

MALVEAUX: Right.

JAMJOOM: Or foreign infiltrators. So very difficult to try to verify since we're not there on the ground -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: So Mohammed, give us a sense here. You see these competing protests, these competing pictures. Which is the bigger group here? If you were to assess the situation on the ground, does he have a lot of support or does he not? Is he losing it?

JAMJOOM: Well, the president in Syria clearly does still have support among Syrians, but the anti-government demonstrators that we speak with they say that this movement is growing, that it's taking root there, that it's gaining momentum. And clearly from the people we're speaking with on the ground there, the eyewitnesses and the activists, they say more and more people are coming out by the day in lots of different cities.

It started out as more of a localized protests in the city of Daraa, in parts of the south of the country. They were wanting economic reforms. They wanted this emergency law lifted so they could express their grievances in this way. Now it's becoming more of an anti-regime message is taking root in other cities of the country -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Mohammed Jamjoom, thank you very much.

Donald Trump says he is really concerned about where President Obama was born. And now there seems to be a controversy about Trump's own birth certificate which brings us to the "Talk Back" question and to Carol. What's going on, Carol?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, where do I begin, Suzanne?

In the 2012 presidential election, at least one potential candidate is shaping up to be a joke. It's like with the economy, we'll still be struggling and we'll still be at war in at least two countries. Serious stuff, but what do we get? Donald Trump.

Bear with me. So Mr. Trump, presidential wannabe, is apparently a birther. You've heard him on "The View."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESS TYCOON: Why doesn't he show his birth certificate? And you know what? I wish he would. Because I think it's a terrible pal that's hanging over him. He should show his birth certificate.

The other thing. If you go back to my first grade and my kindergarten, people remember me. Nobody from those early years remembers him.

(CROSSTALK)

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: In a masterful attempt to prove it's easy to produce your own birth certificate, Mr. Trump proudly presented what he thought was his own birth certificate, except it wasn't. It was a hospital birthing record. Oops.

Mr. Trump even accused Hawaii's governor of a cover-up about President Obama's birth place. The governor shot back, calling Trump a fool.

Besides his birther sympathies, here's another reason why Mr. Trump thinks he'd make a fine president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I mean part of the beauty of me is that I'm very rich.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: That is sure to thrill Main Street because you know how he feels about Wall Street. But all of this is really beside the point. Donald Trump is not likely to become president despite what the polls say, unless American voters like the fact he's distracting from an important debate that should be taking place in this country.

So "Talk Back" today, is it time to fire Donald Trump right out of the political arena? Write to me, Facebook.com/CarolCNN. Facebook.com/CarolCNN.

I'm eager to read your responses later this hour. MALVEAUX: You're fired up, Carol. You're so fired up.

COSTELLO: I am.

MALVEAUX: I am. Yes. Donald Trump was not -- he was not right. Well, the birth certificate is one issue. But he was not right on that whole idea of people not remembering who he was in kindergarten. I did a documentary. I went to Hawaii, I talked to people who knew him as a kid.

COSTELLO: You talked to a secret sister that no one has ever heard of, didn't you?

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: That's all part of the conspiracy, huh?

COSTELLO: I know. It's ridiculous.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Sure.

MALVEAUX: Appreciate it.

Here's a look at what is ahead on the rundown. Arming the rebels in Libya. Could it backfire on the coalition?

Also who are those rebels that are fighting Gadhafi? Are flickers of them al Qaeda?

And President Obama's high hopes for clean energy. Just how viable is his plan?

Plus the ripple effects of the tsunami. How the dwindling car supply in Japan is being felt here at home.

And also a moment that changed the nation 30 years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I didn't know I was shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ran my hands up under his coat, felt all around his belt with my hands.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And feeling for blood?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking for blood. I took my hands out, no blood. I ran my hands up under his arm, no blood.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Libyan rebels are trying to regroup after losing ground to Moammar Gadhafi's forces. As the fighting intensifies, so does this debate over whether to arm these rebels.

We're going to talk with a retired general about that in a minute, but first I want to bring in our Reza Sayah who looks at who these rag-tag rebels are actually fighting.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just last month, they were civilians. All ages, all walks of life.

Twenty-two-year-old Wisam (ph) was in college. Ahmed is 32, a husband, father, an engineer. Eighteen-year-old Adris was a student studying business.

Today they're amateur soldiers in the rickety rebel army of Libya's opposition, united they say by one mission, to topple the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I come to here in Benghazi after I saw Gadhafi dictator. He kill my people here. He kill Libyan people without any reason.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want my country to be free. I want freedom for my country.

SAYAH (on camera): The opposition's leadership is just as much of a motley mix as the fighters. It's a group of 31, made up of local politicians, military leaders who have defected, and prominent figures, like lawyers, doctors, academics, activists. They call themselves a transitional government and they too at this point appear to have the same objective.

HANA AL-GALLAL, OPPOSITION'S MEDIA COMMITTEE: The main objective of the National Council, it is the main objective of the Libyan people. It is that removal of Gadhafi and his regime.

SAYAH (voice-over): With the rebels pushing west, gaining momentum in territory, a Libya without Gadhafi appears more likely by the day, whether democracy will follow is far from clear.

Libya has long been a patchwork of tribes in rival sects, kept largely intact in the grip of Gadhafi's autocratic regime. Although they've joined hands in a common quest, two of the opposition's leaders have already criticized one another.

AL-GALLAL: Well, it's normal. I mean these differences is normal. This is what we like. For 42 years we have a unified opinion and nobody expressed their opinions. We didn't have this freedom. So it's good. It's good to have rivalry.

SAYAH: The opposition says the path to democracy won't be easy. But whoever derails it, they say, will face what Colonel Gadhafi is facing now.

AL-GALLAL: We broke the wall of fear, does not exist, and we have no more fear to come out again and again and again until we have the right governments governing us.

SAYAH: Reza Sayah, CNN, Benghazi, Libya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Want to focus now on the debate over arming the opposition fighters in Libya. President Obama says that he's not ruling it out, but he's not ruling it in either.

So joining us to give us some perspective on this is CNN contributor and retired Army general, Russel Honore.

General, thank you so much for being with us here. First of all, when you talk about arming the rebels, providing weapons here, what's the downside of this? What are the pitfalls?

LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we've had mixed results with that going all the way back to -- starting in Vietnam and when we armed the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. More recent examples in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

The issue becomes trying to arm them while they're in contact is almost impossible without Special Forces or without CIA people on the ground that can call in the airstrike. The big issue is arming them while they're in contact is almost impossible.

So how that can be done, Suzanne, will have to require to bring them off the battlefield and put advisors in to train them so to be able to fight effectively with those weapons.

MALVEAUX: And what kind of weapons are we talking about, General?

HONORE: Normally in that scope, I know what it probably won't be. It probably won't be shoulder fired air defense. Based on our experience with the Mujahideen we gave them a lot of redeye or stinger type missiles for which we still are trying to work on accountability.

I would think it will be Soviet type weapons, which they are more familiar with, ranging with heavy machine guns, rifles and RPGs that can be used to fight the tanks with, would be the most probable weapons they would get.

MALVEAUX: General, I'm assuming that this is not as simple as dropping off weapons, saying, here you go, fight the enemy here. But that we would also have to supply some sort of line of logistics here, sustaining this army with food, with shelter.

Is all of that included when you decide to make that decision that we're going to go ahead and arm folks?

HONORE: Absolutely, and this might be one of the most difficult missions of this type we will have undertaken in recent history of our military because you're talking about uniforms, you're talking about body armor, you talk about a pay system so these soldiers can get paid so they can take care of their families. You're talking about logistics, fuel trucks, food trucks, all of that would have to be organized while you're in contact.

The big issue I see is who's going to make the decision from the coalition to put Special Forces or CIA-type advisers on the ground to give the freedom fighters an opportunity to win. And that's what they need now, somebody that can call in precision airstrikes to kill those tanks and to kill Gadhafi's artillery.

MALVEAUX: And you had mentioned, too, the previous times that we have armed rebels in Afghanistan and Nicaragua, didn't really turn out so well. Do you think it -- in general, do you think this is a good idea for us to move forward in this way?

HONORE: I think it's an option that we need to consider and we need to do it quickly. But again, what's going to make those weapons effective, Suzanne, is advisers on the ground, somebody from the coalition is going to have to make a decision to put advisers on the ground that he can control due to precision airstrikes and train the rebels simultaneously how to effectively use these RPGs and to get them into organized formations, platoon and companies.

Now this war is different than any one we've fought in recent history, but those enduring lessons must be remembered and that needs to be done immediately if this freedom fighter army is going to survive.

MALVEAUX: All right. General Honore, thank you very much. We appreciate your time and your perspective. Thank you.

Well, the question of arming Libyan rebels raises another concern. If Gadhafi falls, who's going to take his place? And could al Qaeda be lurking in the corners?

Our Michael Holmes is going to be break down the possible threats in our "Globe Tracking" segment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: We have three stories, but only one of them will air this hour. Which one do you want to see? We want you to vote by texting 22360. Vote 1 for U.S. companies helping Middle Eastern governments censor the Internet. Vote 2 for Acapulco child sex trafficking and what is being done to stop it. And vote 3 for what your TV knows about you and who's getting information on what you watch.

The winning story will air in the next hour.

So who is exactly the U.S. helping in Libya? A NATO commander says that there are, quote, "flickers of al Qaeda among the Libyan rebels."

Our Michael Holmes is here to discuss the possible risk of the terror group gaining influence in Libya. That is today's "Global Tracking." Michael, good to see you.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Good to see you. Yes.

MALVEAUX: It seems that people around the world, they want to help the Libyan rebels, they want to help the opposition overthrow Gadhafi. And yet there could be al Qaeda among them, we are learning.

HOLMES: Almost certainly there would be elements of al Qaeda or individuals. You --

MALVEAUX: How real is that?

HOLMES: Well, you could follow it under sort of shades in gray. You know, there's nothing in Libya that's black and white right now. That's for sure. There is obviously a humanitarian crisis that's going on in Libya, no one really is arguing that Gadhafi should stay, but let's talk about if Tripoli falls, Gadhafi's regime crumbles. And you know there's a lot of pretty justifiable fears about what a new Libya would look like.

Now as you said the U.S. NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis, he told the U.S. Congress yesterday that the intelligence about the rebels is showing that most of them are responsible men and women. You know good folks fighting for a cause, they want their own freedom, they want tyranny gone, et cetera.

But another unnamed official is backing up Stavridis' statement and says that while there are a sprinkling, let's say, of extremists, nobody should think that the opposition is being led by al Qaeda.

MALVEAUX: Is there a real risk here, Michael, when you think about it?

HOLMES: Well, you know there's a real risk any time you get an impoverished country like we see in Libya in the Arab world and it becomes unstable. Al Qaeda is expert at beating on that hopelessness. There are people who are poor, angry, disenfranchised, people who see no other way out.

Al Qaeda can step into that breach and say, well, look to us. No one is saying that Osama bin Laden is leading the assault here, that there's -- you know, but there is a distinct possibility that if tumult enthuse after Gadhafi, stability and some brand of democracy doesn't replace him, then anything is possible. And that outcome is very possible.

The thing to remember about al Qaeda is it's not so much an organization as it is an ideology, which is what makes it so hard to fight. You've got various groups around the world who buy into the ideology then they become al Qaeda, and that's partly why, as I say, it's so hard to battle.

There's no al Qaeda HQ. Very little structure there. It's just about (INAUDIBLE). Now the global community will want to keep a close eye on the influences that vie for control obviously in Libya. MALVEAUX: So when we talk about the rebel groups here, they are very different. Doctors, teachers, volunteers.

HOLMES: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Former military generals, all -- kind of a hodgepodge, if you will, of folks. How do we make -- how do we understand how influential this group is and who really makes up the rebel?

HOLMES: Yes. You know that is right. It s very much -- let's call it a melting pot, if you like. Mixed in there, you could have elements of al Qaeda as well, or al Qaeda leanings. You know just one more example of how complex and layered the situation is in the Arab world right now.

And there's one final thing, too, that's worth pointing out here. Al Qaeda documents that were recovered in Iraq and studied and verified at West Point showed that one in four, 25 percent of the foreign jihadists fighting Americans in Iraq -- guess where? Came from Libya, mainly eastern Libya where these rebels are based. It wasn't a massive number, but I think the percentage is significant and that's what's worrying a lot of people.

MALVEAUX: All right, Michael. Thank you for your perspective. Still a lot of questions about who these folks are and whether or not they should be supported.

HOLMES: Absolutely. Yes.

MALVEAUX: OK.

HOLMES: We don't know what's next.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Michael.

Another country in conflict that we are watching very closely, that is Syria, where after weeks of protesting and violence, Syria's president is doing all he can now to cling to power.

Stan Grant has more on the fascinating character of Bashar al- Assad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was the second son, a man deep in the shadow of his father. Bashar al- Assad was never meant to rule, but his older brother's death in the 1994 car accident thrust him into history's crossroads.

Now scenes like this posted on YouTube in recent days are defining his rule. Bloody bodies and violent protest fast becoming a daily event in southern Syria.

CNN can't authenticate this video, but human rights groups say it shows Syrian's security forces firing on their own people. State TV disputes these claims. With revolts spreading across the Middle East, political analysts say force has worked in the past, but not this time.

PROF. ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: The government is going to try to continue to use the tactics that it has used for a very long time which is just to snuff out any protests. But what we just heard, which I think is most important, is the wall of fear is coming down.

GRANT: Syrians have suffered in fear of political repression for decades. Bashar al-Assad's father Hafez first ruled with an iron fist. In the 30 years before his death in 2000, Hafez al-Assad ruthlessly put down dissent, dissidents were jailed, opposition crushed.

Some estimates from human rights groups put the number of those killed into the tens of thousands.

Critics say his father's security machine still holds a grip on the country and even the president himself, speaking to CNN in 2005, Bashar al-Assad rejected those who suggest he's not in control.

ASSAD: But at the same time, they say that I'm a dictator. That's (INAUDIBLE). You cannot be a dictator and not be in control.

GRANT: He denies he's a dictator, seeing himself as a modern leader, trained as an ophthalmologist, married to a Syrian woman born in Britain. A young, attractive first couple. This was meant to be a new era of reform, transparency and democracy.

(On camera): There has been some change, some economic reform, but largely the promises have not been delivered. Human rights watch call the 10 years of Bashar al-Assad's rule, the wasted decade. The media is monitored, the Internet monitored and censored, and dissidents still fill up the prisons.

(Voice-over): And now the protests. Activists in Syria say the president cannot look away.

WISSAM TARIFF, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INSAN: He has to start listening. It's the time to start listening and acting. He doesn't -- he can't afford any more promises.

GRANT: How he responds will answer the question, is Bashar al- Assad truly the son of the father?

Stan Grant, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: There are new worries today for Japan. The country orders immediate safety upgrade at all of its nuclear power plants. And a troubling concern at a second plant near the crippled one. We're going to go live to Tokyo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

** 1230 BELOW (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: This just in. Some new video and breaking news. We are confirming -- CNN now that one Marine is dead after a Marine Corps CH 53 FC-style Helion helicopter went down in the waters of Kanoi Bay in Hawaii. This happened around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. We understand that one of the crew was discovered removed from the helicopter, pronounced dead by the state medical examiner. Later taken to the Tripler Army Medical Center.

The other three crewmembers were transported to the Marine Corps air station, Kanoi Bay, to Queens Medical Center. The last check, from what we understand, those two were listed in critical condition, one in stable condition. Again, one crewmember dead and three others injured from this helicopter crash happening in Kanoi Bay in Hawaii. Just new video that we are getting in.

Now the latest on a serious new concern in Japan's nuclear crisis. Smoke now detected today in a second nuclear plant. It is near the crippled plant in Fukushima. Our CNN's Martin Savidge, he is live from Tokyo. Marty, what have we learned about this second plant that they have seen smoke coming from?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the second plant is called Fukushima Daini, which means the number two in Japanese. And it is sister facility to Fukushima Daiichi. And the problem here is you've got smoke rising over another nuclear reactor.

Now, the good news, I guess, if you can call it that, is that it appears to be rising as a result of a fire in the electrical panel, not as a result of some sort of problem with the nuclear reactor. Fire department has been called in. They have investigated, shut the electricity off. The smoke has dissipated, and they're still trying to find the cause right now.

But I do have to tell you, any time you hear a report now in Japan of smoke rising over a reactor, it raises people's concerns. But right now, not said to be serious.

MALVEAUX: And Marty, another development here. Tests are showing that there are high radiation levels in the ocean water near the Fukushima plant more than 33,000 the normal level. How significant is that?

SAVIDGE: Well, it's the highest levels they've ever recorded since this disaster began, so that clearly is significant. However, health officials - and those experts we've spoken with will tell you that you would have to drink almost the entire ocean for that to really have any harmful affect on human beings. They say that this is radioactive iodine. It's got a half life of about eight days, so it dissipates relatively quickly, and it's not expected to have a significant impact on people because there aren't any right around there. And not much of an impact on sea life.

However, here's the concern, Suzanne. On Saturday, that level was about 1,500 times what is the legal limit. Now you're saying it's 3,300 times, so it's more than doubled and they don't seem to know why. Where is the leak coming from? It's clearly coming from the reactor site. How it's getting into the ocean, the company says they really don't know.

MALVEAUX: OK. Martin Savidge, obviously a lot of unanswered questions still there. And a potentially a very dangerous situation. Marty, thank you.

The turmoil in the Middle East, rising gas prices, the crisis in Japan. New concerns about nuclear safety. All of these events overseas are raising some serious questions about the future energy needs here at home.

For the last hour, President Obama called for reducing America's foreign oil imports by a third over the next decade.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So today, my administration is releasing a blueprint for a secure energy future that outlines a comprehensive natural energy policy, one that we have been pursuing since I took office. And cutting our oil dependence by a third is part of that plan.

Here at Georgetown, I would like to talk in broad strokes about how we can achieve these goals. Now, meeting the goal of cutting our oil dependence depends on two things: first, finding and producing more oil at home, second, reducing our overall dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: I want to bring in our Chad Myers to talk more about clean energy. And Chad, I guess we can start with the obvious question here, what is clean energy? How do we define that?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: My producers wanted me to make a couple of different categories: clean, muddy and dirty. I was like, I don't know what muddy means.

Clean energy, something that requires no output of CO2 -- renewable, completely sustainable, and it's just going to keep on going for years and years and years. Typical: wind farm, another one, solar. So, let's just kind of focus on solar, because over the past couple of days, I have heard a lot of people say we just can't do it. There's just not enough land to make a solar panel to power the world. Probably not, it's probably not feasible to power L.A. by making a power grid and covering half of Nevada with power cells. Probably not feasible.

But I have gotten on to these guys, SPG Solar. They're out of California and they have a number of offices. I want to you take a look at this picture. This is actually Girgichills Winery (ph). They have covered the inside of their winery -- you can see this is the roof -- with solar panels. They are making their own power, they're saving $70,000 a year by not buying power. When the sun's out, they are actually sending some of that power back onto the grid. And they are making their own power. They are completely green.

OK, another couple of things. What else can you do? Look at this picture. This the picture of a car port. OK, all solar and wind farms are ugly. You wouldn't even know that was there, on top of a car port. Amazing. And the solar power that comes out of the Southwest and even up the East Coast is enormous.

How much does it take? How much land does it actually take to put this together? Well, if you want 20 kilowatts - or 20 megawatts of power takes about 100 acres. What does that mean? About 4,000 houses could be powered by a 100-acre piece of land. That doesn't seem so bad when you're in Greensburg, Kansas or in Salina or in Wichita when land isn't like New York City, where you have to build thousands of feet high to make a building.

I think we can do this. I think we could reduce some of these numbers that the president is talking about. Not completely out of the question.

MALVEAUX: All right! Good. Ray of hope there.

MYERS: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Ray - ray of hope. Sun -

MYERS: Got it.

MALVEAUX: Got it?

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Chad.

Japan's catastrophe now means that some U.S. factory workers are going to see smaller paychecks. And they're not the only Americans that are feeling the pain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: The tsunami aftermath in Japan is leading to rationing here in the United States for some car dealers. U.S. car factories are also now taking a hit.

Our Alison Kosik, she joins us from the New York Stock Exchange with the details. Alison, what are we learning?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And also, Suzanne, consumers are going to feel this because if you need your car fixed, you may have to wait. Toyota is rationing 200 types of parts that come from Japanese suppliers that have been affected by this disaster. Toyota Lexus dealers can only order a specific part only if they need it. They can't stockpile parts like they used to do before the earthquake. As far as Honda and Subaru go, they are scaling back production in the U.S. because of this parts shortage. There just aren't enough cars to go ahead and build. As for Subaru, they're slowing down production at its plant in Indiana. That's where they make the Outback, the Tribeca, the Legacy. And Honda says it's cutbacks are going to vary plant by plant. And new car production in North America will be reduced.

Now, keep in mind, one analyst says we could really start to seeing this parts crunch happen in April or May. He puts it this way. A missing $5 part can stop an entire assembly line. Kind of troubling.

MALVEAUX: Wow. And Alison, we've been hearing almost every week a new development on how the disaster in Japan is affecting car production here. Do we think there's going to be a problem, any long- term changes in the supply chain because of all of this?

KOSIK: You know what? One analyst says that the industry might end up rethinking how it sets up its supply chain. But, you know, the big issue here is that tens of thousands of parts are in one car. You know, question is, can all of those parts be made here in the U.S.? And at one time, they were, but now outsourcing really makes things cheaper. Basically it has to make sense for the bottom line. You know, where is it cheaper to get those supplies? And apparently right now it is from Japan. Just we're having a shortage of supplies for obvious reasons. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Alison.

Well at first, he thought he was firecrackers. But instead, it was gunshots. Fascinating new details about the assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan, 30 years ago today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: It was 30 years ago, a stunned nation today learned that President Ronald Reagan had been shot. But it was perhaps the president himself who was most shocked. Special Investigations correspondent Drew Griffin recounts the events of that fateful afternoon in this excerpt from Sunday's documentary, "Stalker: The Reagan Shooting."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I heard a noise and we came out of the hotel and headed to the limousine and I heard some noise and I thought it was firecrackers. One of the Secret Service agents behind me just seized me here by the waist and plunged me headfirst into the limo.

JERRY PARR, SECRET SERVICE AGENT: And as we go in, I go in on top of him. I'm sure I hit my radio or my gun or something, hit him on -- in the back.

REAGAN: And then I said, Jerry, get off. I think you've broken a rib. And he got off very quickly.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Inside the limo, Parr checked whether Reagan was all right.

REAGAN: I didn't know I was shot.

PARR: So I ran my hands up under his coat. I felt all around his belt with my hands.

GRIFFIN (on camera): You're feeling for blood?

PARR: Looking for blood. I took my hands out, no blood. I ran my hands up under his arm. No blood.

REAGAN: And just then I coughed and I had a handful of bright red frothy blood.

PARR: Well, he took out a napkin out of his pocket. He took it out and he spit up on it. And there was a lot of blood that got on my London fog raincoat. And he said, I think I've cut the inside of my mouth. And I said, let me look. And it was pretty profuse, bubbly, bright red.

REAGAN: So I said, and I guess that the (ph) broken rib has pierced a lung. Well, he simply turned and said, George Washington Hospital, and we were on our way.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): When the president's limo pulled up to the nearest hospital that day, Reagan wanted to walk inside.

PARR: He hitched his pants up and walked out.

GRIFFIN: This is a magazine artist's sketch of what happened next.

PARR: He walked in about 18 to 20 feet and collapsed.

REAGAN: And a nurse met me and I told her I was having a little trouble breathing and what I thought it was. And the next thing I knew, then were my knees began to turn to rubber and I wound up on a gurney and --

PARR: And I thought when he was lying there on the gurney, I did think we had lost him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Unbelievable. Drew joins us.

So that shooting, obviously, changed the president and really changed the country.

GRIFFIN: You know, it did. But it changed him most effectively. He realized, according to his friends, his own mortality. And he realized how little time he had on earth and especially in the presidency. And it really urged him to do things quickly and more determined.

And it also, Suzanne, he was just elected and he was a controversial guy and a lot of people didn't want him in the White House and it kind of -- you know, the country kind of rallied around Reagan and made him politically stronger and I think his friends will tell you, as they did in our documentary, it really did make him a better president.

MALVEAUX: What was the one thing that you took away from the documentary that you really learned that perhaps you didn't realize before?

GRIFFIN: There's a couple of things I think will surprise people. We talked to the doctors who had him on the operating table. How close Ronald Reagan came to dying in those minutes and how two or three split-second decisions saved his life. Jerry Parr, the Secret Service agent, saved his life by turning to George Washington Hospital. If they stayed to the White House, the president would have died that afternoon. The other thing you're going to find -- the reason we called the report "Stalker," John Hinckley Jr. was stalking not just Reagan, but President Carter and was in position several times to kill either one of them.

MALVEAUX: Wow. Drew, that's very powerful. We'll take a look at it this weekend.

GRIFFIN: Thanks.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Drew.

Be sure to catch Drew's documentary "Stalker: The Reagan Shooting." That is Sunday night at 11:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

MALVEAUX: Well, we've been getting a lot of responses to Carol's "Talk Back" question. Is it time to fire Donald Trump from the political arena? Kathleen says, "how could he ever relate to the common person, the middle class, that is." More of your responses straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Potential presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to know where President Obama was born. Well, Trump released his own birth certificate to show, right, how easy it is. But that document turned out to be an unofficial hospital form. Our Carol Costello has been following this in the "Talk Back" segment and I know a lot of people weighing in on this, huh?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people. Almost 300 today. The "Talk Back" question for the day, it time for Donald Trump to be fired from the political arena?

This from Chioma. "Trump is drinking the 'Charlie Sheen juice,' 'the Winning Juice.' He's beginning to sound like him."

This from Manny. "Donald TrumpED is just trying to find a way to make himself seem relevant in an otherwise ridiculous debate on whether or not he should run for president. He should stick to what he knows, going bankrupt."

This from Tom. "I think we should try him. He's a great businessman and maybe that's what we need to get our country back on track."

This from Juan. "Money doesn't win American people. Trump needs to get off his little soap box and get back to reality."

This from Jacqueline. "Yes, I would vote for Donald Trump. I'm glad he asked Obama for his birth certificate. Everyone just ignores this topic and it is so simple, just show the document already! Duh!"

And this from Shawn. "Suze Orman for president 2012!"

Facebook.com/CarolCNN. Please, keep the conversation going.

MALVEAUX: I don't know why they don't believe the government of Hawaii, who has produced this birth certificate numerous --

COSTELLO: And it's online and --

MALVEAUX: I don't understand that.

COSTELLO: I don't either.

MALVEAUX: All right.

COSTELLO: I don't either. But apparently it's -- there's no convincing some people.

MALVEAUX: Right. Right. OK.

Carol, thank you very much.

COSTELLO: Sure.

MALVEAUX: Very interesting topic.

We've counted up the votes for the "Choose The News." The story you want to see just moments away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: One of Mexico's top tourist destinations is struggling with an ugly reality, child sex trafficking. It is the story that you wanted to see. Our CNN's Rafael Romo reports from the streets of Acapulco.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's early in the evening, and they're already on the streets looking for customers. They are all very young. Some still in their teens. This is Acapulco's dark secret and the reason why the Mexican beach resort has gained a sad notoriety with tourists who arrive here seeking children for sex.

Rosario Santos runs a shelter for street children and says that customers are mostly foreigners coming to Acapulco on cruises or by planes.

ROSARIO SANTOS, "NEW HOPE" CHILDREN'S HOME (through translator): We have rescued children as young as 10 and up to 15 and even 18. There have been many in the time that we've operated our ministry.

ROMO: One of the children she rescued is Irene Lopez. The 20- year-old says she was only 16 when she got caught in the trap of prostitution.

"We would do things with them after making a connection," she says. "Sometimes in broad daylight too. Often under the influence of drugs."

ROMO (words on television): Was it tourists asking you to do that?

IRENE LOPEZ, SHELTER RESIDENT (words on television): Yes. Yes.

ROMO (words on television): Were they from Mexico or from the United States?

LOPEZ (words on television): The United States.

ROMO (on camera): This is the main square in downtown Acapulco. Children rights activists say foreign tourists would come here and sit down, waiting for children to walk by to make a connection. That's why this place was also known as la pasarela, which means "the catwalk" in Spanish.

ROMO (voice-over): Children's rights activists, like Rosa Maria Cruz Muller, have pressured officials to increase surveillance at the catwalk while they try to get children off the streets.

ROSA MARIA CRUZ MULLER, CHILDREN RIGHTS ACTIVIST (through translator): Children used to tell me that people would pay them $4, $9 to do it. I would always tell them it was not worth their life.

ROMO: Melissa Monroy, who works at a shelter known as the Acapulco Children's Home, has repeatedly heard the same stories of abuse.

MELISSA MONROY, ACAPULCO CHILDREN'S HOME: So this international tourist come here and abuse them and it is so sad. And we have many, many cases. Most of the cases here in this home is like that.

ROMO: Back at the New Hope shelter, Irene Lopez is singing a worship song while some of the children join in. It's her way, she says, of trying to forget the dark life she used to live.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Acapulco, Mexico.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX: CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Randi Kaye, in for Ali Velshi.

Hey, Randi.