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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 1, 2011 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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zakaria. restoring the american drea fixing education runs sunday night, 8:00 eastern on cnn. i will talk to fareed over the next couple of dais. that's it for me here at the world headwaquarters in atlanta. now to wolf blitzer and "the situation room" starting now. >> thank you very much. happening now -- >> when they cannot kill my ideals like 9-9-9, they come after me personally. >> herman cain said he's the victim of a smear campaign and insists he's not trying to hide anything about sexual harassment allegations made against him. each time cain speaks new inconsistencies emerge. the latest with robin meade of hn. and thousands of inmates walking out of federal prisons. why sentences for crack cocaine are being eased.
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i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." first, he had nothing to say. then he couldn't remember. after that he recalled a few details and then more. in a flurry of interviews and public appearances over the past two days the republican front runner herman cain insisted he never sexually harassed anyone when he headed the national restaurant association in the 1990s. each time he seems to say something a bit different n. the latest, an extensive interview with hln, cain said he's being deliberately targeted but that his campaign won't be sidetracked. we have extensive coverage of the important political story beginning with brian todd. >> wolf, we have spoken to former colleagues of herman cain's at the restaurant association, asked him what he was like when he headed the group. we're taking a look at what cain said after the allegations surfaced and what he's saying
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now. on monday, herman cain said this about allegations of sexual harassment against him. >> i am unaware of any sort of settlement. i hope it wasn't for much because i didn't do anything. >> on tuesday in an interview with hln, cain said his memory improved. he gave details of a financial agreement with one of the women who allegedly complained of inappropriate behavior on his part while he headed the national restaurant association. >> that sum of money, my attorney negotiated with her attorney. it got less and less because her attorney figured out she didn't have a valid claim. >> reporter: cain said the woman got three to six months severance pay. he said it involved a woman in her 30s or 40s who was a writer in the communications arm of the association. he said all he did was make a comment about her height. >> there were a couple of other things in there i found ridiculous. >> reporter: asked if he remembers the other case.
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>> absolutely not. i wasn't even aware of the second case until we saw the politico article. >> reporter: after the story came out, cain said he did find out who the woman was. someone who worked in the restaurant association's governmental affairs department. we spoke with tom kelly who worked closely with the board of the restaurant association while cain was on the board. k kelly often traveled with cain. asked if he traveled with women. >> he traveled with his wife often. a lot of the junior staffers would not travel to the national convention in chicago. i never had the occasion to see him spending extra time in a bar or in a social setting if it wasn't really business. >> reporter: kelly said he's shocked by the allegations against cain driek him as a
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professional, a magnetic personality, always encouraging people, would remember everyone's name. someone who treated women the same as men. did he have a personal style in small talk or making jokes that could be misinterpreted or maybe put people off? >> i don't know. i think a lot of politicians are, to take an old phrase, you know, backslappers. i have never heard of anyone taking that the wrong way from him or other politicians. >> i asked kelley whether after hours following board functions there may have been froma situa where the talk was more loose. he said there wasn't time for that. he said as ceo of the association cain's time was mapped out to the minute. wolf? >> does tom kelley believe cain made any mistakes in this situation? >> kelley said he does a lot of
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p.r. and branding. he said the one thing he thinks cain should have done better, crisis communication. he said the message could have been sharper. he said, of course you can't plan for this. maybe having a better crisis communication structure in place among the team may have turned things out better for him in this situation. >> i think he's right. thanks, brian. the sexual harassment allegations were first reported in a story sunday night. politico's ken vogel is investigating this and joins us again. thank you very much for coming in. >> pleasure, wolf. >> his story seems to change. i will play a clip of what he said yesterday and then what he said today to hln. listen to this. >> all we know is that they contacted my office and said they had two anonymous sources accusing me of sexual harassment. we said, what details can you give us? they couldn't give us any other
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than it occurred when i was at the national restaurant association. >> that was the wrong sound bite, but answer that question first. we'll cue up the other sound bites. he said over ten days you were trying to get reaction from the campaign he said, all you said you had two anonymous sources but you didn't provide details. that's why they didn't respond. go ahead and respond to that. >> we did provide them with a name of one of the women. it's the woman he referred to as a staffer in the political shop. we also, in our sunday afternoon interview, which we did right outside the offices of cbs's washington bureau in the hours before we posted this story, we again gave him the name of the woman. he had the specifics. he ignored them and you are seeing a response where he said he's piecing together his recollection remembering women including the woman we asked about. >> during those ten days how many exchanges did you have with
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him or his campaign? >> multiple. i can't count them because there were multiple reporters handling this. at one point they acknowledged that cain was vaguely familiar with the allegations we were raising and said they were settled. they called back to say, we didn't mean settled in the legal sense but resolved. they continued to deny settlements. now you hear a different story. >> let me see if the other clips are ready. this is what he said yesterday and how he clarified it or further explained it today. listen to this. >> i am unaware of any sort of settlement. i hope it wasn't for much because i didn't do anything. but the fact of the matter is i'm not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation. >> it started out where she was making some huge claims about sexual harassment. i do recall she was asking for a large sum of money. i don't remember what that sum of money was, but as the review of this moved forward, that sum
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of money -- my attorney negotiating with her attorney -- got less and less because her attorney started to figure out she didn't have a valid claim. >> he said, my attorney. is he referring based on your reporting to the general counsel for the national restaurant association or did he have another attorney who was personally representing him in the sexual allegation claims? >> it's unclear. there was another attorney whose name was listed on documentation on the settlement we saw. the name and the person who handled it for the restaurant association who herman cain referred to as the point person is named peter kilgore, general counsel for the association. he kept this thing under wraps. it was a small group of people at the association who were aware of this. peter kilgore took the lead. cain said the human resources director was one of the folks who handled this. she denied all knowledge of it.
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>> the h.r. person. yesterday he said at the national press club he had rekuzed himself and let the general counsel of the national restaurant association and the human resources person deal with it. he wasn't involved at all. today he seemed to know what was going on. >> that's right. he also referred to a thorough investigation. we didn't find any evidence of that. we have seen other reporting that suggested there was a special committee of the board of directors set up to investigate this. we have not confirmed that with our reporting. as far as we can tell, most board members including the directors of the organization, the chairman of the board, vice chairman and treasurer of the board were completely unaware of this as they tell us and frankly some of them were upset. >> do you have information on the nature of the alleged sexual allegations or what was going on? >> we continue to report this out as we reported on sunday night. in fact, herman cain did invite
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a woman to his hotel room. we understand it was at an association convention or meeting, probably one of these in chicago and that this woman is, in fact, the woman who worked in the political affairs shop that herman cain referred to. we are continuing to pursue those lines of reporting. >> when cain said he doesn't understand why these women are going public, trying to hurt him, is it true these women want to go public? there is a confidentiality agreement they both signed that doesn't allow them to discuss this. >> not at all. as far as we can understand the women are skittish. they don't want to go public. they happily would have left it in the past. through our extensive interviews with multiple members of the board of directors and people familiar with the organization when cain was at the helm we identified the women. we are keeping their identities private so as not to put them in
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an even more uncomfortable situation and try to respect the terms of their nondisclosure agreements. >> the washington post reported today they have identified the two women but they are going to keep the names confidential to protect their privacy as well. when he says this is a smear cam a pain, somebody put these women up to it, somebody put you up to it, what do you say? >> no one put the women up to it. it was like pulling teeth to get information on the story. we managed to do it. there were a lot of allegations about whether the original tip for this came from. suggestions that perhaps it came from another campaign. our position is look at the reporting. look at the fact. look how he acknowledged the facts that were originally disputed. we stand by our reporting on this. he has to answer to the specifics as opposed to the messenger. >> any other women out there have come forward and made similar accusations or just these two as far as you know? >> these are the women we have identified and we are prepared to identify. we continue to report on his
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tenure at the national restaurant association and his time at godfather's pizza. if there is anything to report we'll have it. >> you don't have anything yet? >> correct. >> ken vogel, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> why have there been so many inconsistencies in cain's responses? he speaks with robin meade. you will see the interview here. stand by. also assigned to help america dig out of debt the congressional super committee now apparently is deadlocked as the deadline looms. dire warnings from bipartisan budget experts. stand by. for me, and i swear by it. [ male announcer ] osteo bi-flex with 5-loxin advanced™. shows improvement in joint comfort within 7 days. osteo bi-flex. the #1 doctor and pharmacist recommended brand. the #1 doctor and pharmacist ♪ ♪ ♪ when your chain of supply ♪ goes from here to shanghai, that's logistics. ♪
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horrible day on wall street. we'll get to that nearly 300-point drop on the dow jones industrial average because of fears of europe and greece. stand by. much more on blaeking news coming up.
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jack cafferty has the cafferty file. >> think nascar where the start of the primary is a few short months away the republican race for president is on. here's the deal. once the republicans started their engines rick perry jumped out in front then crashed going into the first turn. michele bachmann's car wouldn't start. herman cain's blew a tire as he grabbed the lead. today he says he remembers why. sure. as for some of the others, newt gingrich, ron paul and others, they are back in the pack fighting for position, long shots at best at this point. that leaves mitt romney in the lead. after the cain allegations, romney is now the prohibitive favorite to take the checkered flag, win the nomination and take on president obama next november -- at least for now. romney is the same guy the republicans wanted no part of four years ago when john mccain was the nominee. polls show most republicans think romney has the best chance to beat president obama, but even if he does, so what?
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what difference does it really make? given the bitter partisanship of congress how much does it matter if romney wins unless the republicans win the senate, regain control of the house romney can't get any more done than president obama has. our country hasn't been this divided since the civil war. there was a time politicians from both sides of the aisle acknowledged their differences and worked together. no more. here's the question. with the nation so badly divide, how much does it really matter who the president is? go post a comment on my blog or go to the situation room's facebook page. >> thank you, jack. bipartisan budget experts issue dire warnings. the congressional super committee assigned to help america dig out of the enormous debt is deadlocked and a critical deadline is looming. let's go to kate bolduan.
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>> these four budget experts, the names have become synonymous with the idea of bipartisan deficit reduction. we are talking the former senators alan simpson and pete domini, ci, erskin bowles and alice rivlin. all a four budget experts offered a clear message and dire predictions of what could happen if the committee fails. the message, you cannot fail. you need to go big and you need to go beyond the 1.2 trillion in deficit savings minimum that's required by law. listen here. >> i know most of you. i have worked closely with almost all of you on both sides of the aisle. i have great respect for each of you individually. but collectively i'm worried you're going to fail.
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fail the country. >> so this is the toughest thing you have ever been in or ever will be in without question, what you are doing. you have my deepest admiration and respect, all of you. and you all know what you have to do. in your gut you know what you have to do. >> now all four of the budget experts basically laid out to the committee. what we have heard from budget experts all along is that this committee in order to succeed in their view and stabilize the country's debt they have to take on the tough stuff. politically sensitive, difficult and charged issues of taking on significant reforms to entitlement programs like medicare which democrats have been opposed to and also taking on new revenue which republicans have remained firmly against any tax increases. that is seen to be a point that democratic senator patty murray, cochair of the super committee
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wanted to drive home with a show of hands during the hearing. listen here. >> let me just ask all of you maybe by a show of hands. do any of you believe to get a balanced program that addresses the fiscal crisis, do we need both spending cuts including entitlement reform and revenue increases? show of hands. okay. >> bottom line, you know well, wolf and i know the viewers do, too, time is running out. they have a deadline of reaching agreement in the committee of november 23 which has many believing here as well as budget experts before testifying today saying it seems less and less likely, more difficult for the committee in the time we are dealing with now for them to come up with comprehensive broad-based tax reform that they would need to take on since it's a complex issue in the short time frame. we heard from witnesses today, kind of putting out a multi step
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process. putting a process in place that would require the relevant committees to later on take on additional deficit reduction. bottom line again though, time is running out and the issue of taxes of new revenue remains a sticking point and really where the committee seems deadlocked at this point. i'm told by aides on both sides they will try to work toward a deal but they are not close to one at this point. >> either tax increases by uh raising tax rates or eliminating various loopholes which could be tax increases as well. kate, we'll stay in close touch. thank you. >> thanks, wolf. we have top stories coming up including more on herman cain speaking out to hln. he told robin meade something that macon flikt with earlier statements and thousands of federal prisoners are set to go free. many as soon as today. stay with us.
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lisa sylvester is monitoring what's going on. there is word of a possible agreement between syria and the arab league? >> they have reached an agreement on the proposal to end the violent crack down in that country. details aren't known but an announcement is set for tomorrow in cairo. they have called on syria's government to end all violence against citizens including removing tanks and military vehicles from the streets and releasing political prisoners. there is a suspicious incident being investigated at chicago's o'hare airport including a
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checked bag. the chicago fire department said a baggage handler received burns after a bag of batteries either caught fire or exploded. the official says a metal strip may have triggered the incident. the fbi is interviewing the bag's owner. it is being treated at this point as an accident. and the iowa corn field made famous in the 1989 film "field of dreams" has now been sold. an illinois couple bought the 193-acre farm. according to the chicago tribune they plan to develop it into a youth baseball and softball complex to include a dozen fields and an indoor training facility. what's the famous line? if they build it, they will come? that's what they are doing. >> any idea what they paid? >> 193 acres. that's a good size. >> i wonder how much that cost. we'll tell the viewers later. thanks. herman cain calls it a smear campaign. he's speaking out to hln about the allegations of sexual
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ask your doctor today... ... about taking care with vesicare. our top story is herman cain's changing story. the republican front runner offered details in response to allegations that he sexually harassed two women while heading the national restaurant association in the 1990s. cain spoke with robin meade of our sister network, hln. >> a lot of people are asking this morning did you say one thing earlier yesterday about sexual harassment allegations against you but then something completely different hours later. let's watch a as things happened yesterday. >> okay. >> have you ever been accused of sexual harassment? >> have a nice day. >> if the restaurant association did a settlement, i wasn't even aware of it and i hope it wasn't for much because nothing happened. if there was a settlement it was
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handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at the association. so the answer is absolutely not. >> i am unaware of any sort of settlement. i hope it wasn't for much because i didn't do anything. but the fact of the matter is i'm not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation. >> i was aware that an agreement was reached. the word "settlement" versus the word agreement, you know, i'm not sure what they called it. i know that there was some sort of agreement, but because it ended up being minimal, they didn't have to bring it to me. >> there is one incident that i recalled as the day has gone on. she was in my office one day. i made a gesture saying -- i was standing close to her and i made a gesture, you're the same height as my wife. >> so i'm confused a little bit,
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mr. cain. you do sell yourself as a straight shooter. what's with what sounds like inconsistencies. were there inconsistencies? >> thank you for giving me a chance to clear the air. this was 12 years ago. i was falsely accused and secondly, the word "settlement" suggested to me some sort of legal settlement. as i recalled what happened 12 years ago, i recall an agreement. i wasn't thinking legal settlement. so the words -- i do recall an agreement. i recalled as i went through today that there was an agreement with the lady who made the charges. it's sexual harassment in my entire career period. it was found nothing took place in terms of sexual harassment in this particular case. >> and you said all along that
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they were false accusations, that they were not found to be valid enough that the accusation stood. you seem to recall more about the different cases as the day went on. now that we are fully 24, 48 hours into this are you remembering more about what happened? >> that's it. the best account was the one i gave last night on another station. the only thing i added -- remember, this was 12 years ago. i was trying to recollect this. the only thing i can remember when i was asked for specific things in the allegation, i came up with the fact that i made a gesture by putting my hand under my chin standing near this lady saying, oh, you're the same height as my wife.
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my wife is 5'0", she comes up to my chin and i was making that comparison. we were in my office. the door was open and my assistant was sitting outside. >> do you know why all of the sudden you remembered things about it yesterday? were you informed more about the case? >> no. i just started to remember more. remember, in 12 years a lot of stuff can go through your head. this wasn't exactly something i had top of mind where i was trying to recall every little detail that went on 12 years ago. as the day went on, in the middle of all the other things i had planned. >> at the same time the story where this all started was from little bito. it mentioned -- politico. it mentioned two allegations of sexual harassment. do you remember anything now
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about the other case? >> absolutely not. i wasn't even aware of the second case. until we saw the article. the first one i was aware of, but the second one, i have -- and i still haven't recalled. i didn't even know the second one existed, if it exists. remember, the article a said two anonymous sources. >> you said that regarding the first one that you do remember a little bit about now that you turned the complaint over to the h.r. person and the general counsel and that you didn't know what happened to the complaint. did you ever ask, what's she accusing me of? how did this turn out? >> i did. when he said the height thing. things i found absolutely ridiculous. >> what were those? >> they were so ridiculous, i don't remember what they were. >> you remember they were ridiculous but you don't remember what the other things were? >> the reason i forgot them is because they were ridiculous.
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i dismissed them out of my mind. i said, if she can make that stick and call it sexual harassment, fine. but it didn't stick, okay? i don't remember what they were. the only thing i remember is that one gesture i made talking about the height. >> so did you never find out -- why did you never go back to h.r. to find out what their review had found? >> because it started out -- it started out where she was making some huge claims about sexual harassment. i do recall she was asking for a large sum of money. i don't remember what that sum of money was, but as the review of this moved forward, that sum of money -- negotiated with my attorney less and less. her attorney started to figure out she didn't have a valid claim. she couldn't find people to cob rate the things she was making and so as it got smaller and smaller, it turned out to be from my perspective which is why i didn't go back and ask to see
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it. more of a separation agreement rather than some sort of legal settlement. this is why the word changed from settlement -- because the word settlement was in the politico article. i remember an agreement. in many corporations, sometimes you call them separation agreements, not separation settlements. this is why later the idea of the agreement did come back to memory. >> all right. let's get to robin now joining us live. robin, we'll have more of your interview in the next hour. i know you have been in touch with cain. when he says "my attorney was negotiating with her attorney" it was unclear to me if he had a personal attorney or is referring to general counsel for the national restaurant association. you have clarification. >> yeah. earlier when you talked about that i wasn't sure because for some people they might feel like, oh, my association's attorney is also my attorney. we reached out to the herman
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cain camp. they confirmed that, yeah, it was the nra legal council. peter kilgore. that would appear to be inside negotiations and not her attorney, my attorney in terms of outside. >> why did you notice that? >> the national restaurant association -- not the national rifle association. the national restaurant association. he was the chief lobbyist, the ceo of the national restaurant association. he says my attorney and is referring to the general counsel for the national restaurant association peter kilgore. the other point yesterday was the head of h.r. at the national restaurant association, he recused himself to let this person get involved. you heard ken vogel say they checked with h.r. and the person running h.r. at the national restaurant association said this was all news to that person. we'll continue to do reporting on this part of the story. what do you think of mr. cain in
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the interview? you had a chance to size him up, ask him really good questions. >> thank you. he was in d.c. and i'm in atlanta. i asked my team, see what he looks like. is he in a bad mood, a good mood, but the herman cain the voters and viewers needed to know was the guy who came in this morning ready to answer questions. i take it he was really ready to do some damage control. maybe we got answers on some things, but i feel we still have a lot of questions that did not get answered. for one, you know, his memory, he said, got better as the day wore on yesterday. maybe it got better today, too, when he said, i remember some items, some other items in that complaint that were so ridiculous. notice i cut him off and said, like what? what do you remember? and all of the sudden he said, i don't remember what they were, they were so ridiculous. he's known as a straight
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shooter, but when you leave things unanswered or it looks like your story has changed, the viewer may have doubts or questions about is the guy known as a straight shooter being straight still after 24 to 48 hours into it. >> we'll see what happens. i write about this, by the way, on my blog today. i was here after your interview. i met him outside the studio and escorted him to the elevator. he was in a good mood. he thought he'd done a good job. he was determined to keep on schedule, keep focus, continue with the campaign and not allow any of what he calls this distraction to hurt that operation at all. robin, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. credit to herman cain for coming on and talking at length on a day that must have been high stress for him, too. >> he's willing to go on television, answer the tough questions. you've got to give him credit for that. thanks, robin. you did an excellent job. robin meade of hln.
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watch her 6:00 a.m. to noon on hln. she works hard. she's getting ready to go to sleep now. this is late night tv for robin. thanks for staying up late, robin. damage control. is herman cain digging himself into a deeper mess with the so called inconsistencies? we'll assess what we heard from donna brazil and david strom both standing by live.
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let's get to our strategy session. joining us is donna brazil and a cnn contributor david frum of the frum you had an interesting tweet earlier in the day. you wrote what's on your menu? cain stew. hot mess and it doesn't appear he knows how to get in front of the story. now he's making uh stuff up again. making stuff up again? what's he doing? >> as you can tell over the past 24 hours he changed the story.
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first denied the accusation. went on another network to explain what might have happened. now he's saying he understands there was one case that was settled. so he's continuing to change the story. he's backtracking. you know, the first rule, wolf is to get in front and try to reframe the debate. clearly there is no one inside mr. cain's world that understands the first rules of public relations. >> that's true, but when you say "making stuff up" what's that? >> he doesn't know all of the allegations that are out there. he didn't know what was in the settlement. he's making it up to cover it up i think until he can get the full explanation. he needs to call upon the national restaurant association to go ahead, release the confidential information. waive his confidentiality, keep the women confidential so the information can come out. >> he told robin meade in an interview and we'll have more in
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the next hour, he had one of his biggest fund raising days online yesterday in the after math of these allegations. how do you explain it? >> herman cain may or may not be qualified to be president. but he's qualified to be a martyr. what's shaping up is a culture war. here is what i think will happen. the story will all come out. all the details will be there. my guess is what we are going to hear is a story that it's not so trivial that it will silence all criticism but not be so heinous to finish him off. it will be in the middle zone. people get excited about sexual harassment, take it seriously, will be angry and conservatives will say, wait a minute, what about clinton? what about edwards? why is it always our guys who get hammered? you give your guys a pass. there will be a racial angle because now we have the second time it's happened to a prominent black conservative, how an accusation like this was brought forward. >> you're referring to clarence
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thomas. >> and it will become the red hot issue of the conservatives who are uncomfortable with the mitt romney election campaign will be very comfortable with. money will be raised. this will be explosive. >> the accusation, high tech lynching. you remember the words during the anita a hill, clarence thomas trial in 1991. this was tweeted today by roland martin. hey conservatives, this is a lynching and he shows a picture of a lynching. what is happening to@theherman cain is not a lynching. >> first of all, i understand people want to make comparisons to clarence thomas because he's conservative. we have conservative blacks, liberal, moderate blacks like white folks and hispanic folks and asian-american folks. black as come in all flavors, distinct philosophies.
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i don't think it has anything to do with the thomas/hill episode. this is herman cain running for president of the united states. there is an accusation and if he had a good campaign staff they would have been in front of the story. he would have been able to pivot and move on. the only time conservatives care about race is when somebody who's so-called republican wants to discuss race. this has everything to do with sexual harassment, not race. it's not a racial -- it's not race. >> you're playing this exactly the way it is going to be played. we'll hear it's not about sex or race, it's about power. the other side will give money to cain. somebody who shouldn't be topping the polls is about to become a very visible, very powerful, very exciting conservative martyr figure. you may not like it that way or think it should be that way. >> he's not my brand of tea. sharon angle raised money when
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she was in trouble, christine o'donne o'donnell. people like to give money to people not qualified to run for public office. >> he's doing well all along. october was great for him, in part because of this h -- stand by. we'll continue the conversation. does it matter who's president of the united states? jack cafferty is reading your comments. that's part of today's question. coming up in the cafferty file next. plus, hundreds if not thousands of federal prisoners are getting ready to walk out of prison now all because of a brand new law. stand by. we'll explain. look, every day we're using more and more energy.
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jack's back with the cafferty file. jack? >> the question is with the nation so badly divided how much does it really matter who the president is. john writes it doesn't matter at all who the president is. the republicans are willing to waste four years to defeat a democratic president. if the next president is a republican, the democrats will waste another four years trying to defeat him or her and so on. congress has the responsibility to write laws that help the country. instead they act like children. i'm fed up with all of it. peter on facebook writes, yes, it is better than the direction
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of the country be nudged to the right rather than driven off the cliff to the left. rich in florida writes, i have been saying it doesn't matter who's the president. jack, if you were president there would be only so much you could do without congress going along. that's good. we don't want an all-powerful president. so let's focus instead on our congressmen. probably he's a nice guy, but is he a go along, get along guy who's part of the problem? chances are he is, so he's got to go. dan in alabama writes, only if we had a tea party president would it matter. god help the middle class, seniors and the poor if one is elected. that's okay. when we are all slave to the rich they finally have to pay taxes because we won't make enough money to. bob writes the president sets the agenda, direction and a tone of the nation. the country is now more divided than at any time since the civil war. our president has chosen to set the tone of class warfare pitting neighbor against
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neighbor, brother against brother, creating winners and losers and catering to the donor base. we need a president badly. i hope we get one soon. david in virginia writes, the democrats are ineffective but at least they are not evil. you can't vote for evil. if you want to read more go to we'll throw our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. wolf? >> hundreds of federal prisoners across the united states are now free to walk because of a pivotal change in the law. loved [ man ] it's my new malibu. [ woman ] '57 bel air -- still have it. [ both ] our camaro. [ man ] chevy silverado -- third one. [ male announcer ] people love their chevys. that's because for 100 years, chevy has offered the best value in america. come in now and help us celebrate our centennial open house, november 1st through the 7th. and fall in love with your next chevy. ♪
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aspercreme breaks the grip, with maximum-strength medicine and no embarrassing odor. break the grip of pain with aspercreme. nearly 2,000 federal prisoners could walk free today because of a new law which went into effect today reducing sentences for crack cocaine offenses. let's go to mary snow in new york. why is this change being recommended and unfolding now? >> well, sentences for crack cocaine have long been criticized as being too harsh. the bureau of prison said it doesn't have an exact number of prisoners released but a spokesman said staff members are working around the clock to process hundreds of orders coming in from judges. among inmates who stand to be
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released early from iz prison is hamida hassan. >> i'm a 43-year-old mother and grandmother serving my 18th year into a 27-year federal prison sentence. >> the aclu points out had she been convicted of cocaine charges she would no longer be in prison. new guidelines shorten sentences for an estimated 12,000 inmates. >> this has been one of the great stains on our federal criminal justice system. for 20 years or more. >> a public defender has fought for years to change crack cocaine sentences so they are similar to but punishments for crimes involving powder cocaine. while the u.s. sentencing commission changed the guidelines this summer they only now went into effect for those in prison. he says 75 of his clients were freed. >> a lot of people have been sitting in jail for a long time, not because they didn't commit crimes but because the punishment they faced was too
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harsh and unjustified compared to other people who committed similar crimes in similar ways. >> he says there has been a racial disparity, but the majority of people convicted of possession were dealing crack were african-americans. congress created harsh sentences for crack cocaine when it hit the streets in the 1980s. five grams of crack amounted to five years in prison. the same sentence for 500 grams of cocaine. in 2010, congress passed the fair sentencing act which reduced disparities. it's something julie stewart, president of families against mandatory minimums has fought for. >> yes, the person has broken the law and there should be a consequence, but how much time is too much? most mandatory sentences are so high and so rigid that judges can't get around them. people are going to prisons for extraordinarily long times, way beyond what they need to learn their lesson. >> wolf, the new rules do more
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than spell freedom for thousands of eligible inmates eligible for early release. the federal sentencing commission estimates $200 million could be saved within the first five years. >> fascinating stuff, mary. thank you. you're in "the situation room." happening now, stock prices nose dive on wall a street because of renewed fears about europe's debt. this hour, the surprise twist that has investors around the world deeply worried now. plus, herman cain's presidential campaign is profiting while the republican keeps tweaking his denial of sexual harassment. stand by to hear more of his newest, most detailed interview. also, new interviewed with president obama are being released by the white house this hour. the white house giving rare access to local journalists and hoping for something in return. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos straight ahead.
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i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." on wall street today panic set in at the opening bell. the dow jones industrial average plummeted after new that is a carefully crafted european rescue plan may be falling apart. at the end of the day the dow jones was down almost 300 points. the nasdaq, s&p 500 also sharply lower. the losses all because of a curve ball thrown by the nation of greece. erin burnett joins us now from new york. she's watching the story now. erin, explain what greece is doing now to cause a near panic on the international markets today. >> well, wolf, it's in a sense what they are not doing. we came in this morning. you know a few days ago is markets were jumping around the world because greece had a deal. a bailout deal that involved real pain in greece, cuts in
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pension, salaries, increase in working hours, working more years, but greece was doing it to get a bailout from europe which mattered for american banks, european banks and very much for the european and u.s. economy. so we all thought it would be okay. i remember coming on the show we were talking about this was not a done deal and there were issues. today, a complete curve ball from the prime minister of greece saying all of the sudden, guess what, it's not done. we'll let the greek people vote. you can imagine how the greek people feel about the austerity measures. it's tough on the average person in greece who had to endure cutbacks. 60% of greeks in recent polls don't approve of the recent package. if it doesn't go through the existence of the european union, the euro could be in question. that's crucial for the u.s., china, the world. >> explain the second part. why sis it crucial for the u.s. if the people of greece have to have a referendum on this and they vote down this deal that was supposedly in the works?
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why should anyone in the united states care? >> well, the main reason, wolf, is that even though greece, as you point out, is 2%, t2.5% of the european economy and a now probably less. it's not important in economic value but allowing greece to fall out of the 17-member e.u. could break up the european union. that's crucial for the world. the european union as a group is the largest trading partner for the united states. it matters in terms of what disarray and deeper recessions there could mean for american companies and jobs. it matters for american banks. last month morgan stanley, for example, was in deep -- there was distress around the company, a big american bank because of their exposure to european debt. once greece goes, wolf, it's the e.u. that could fall apart but it's probably not just greece. it's portugal, spain, italy.
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spain and italy are big and important economies. >> i have heard it suggested, erin -- and you know more about this than i do -- but the too big to fail nightmare we experienced in 2008 when the economy was collapsing at that time would be small potatoes compared to a collapse of the e.u., the euro zone which could be triggered with a collapse of what's going on in greece. is that a fair a analysis? >> i think it is. what happened is america led. it went through its financial crisis first. we are the world's biggest economy. still the most important by far and the banks are still perceived to be safe havens around the world despite the financial crisis. everyone thought europe may have just avoided it, but obviously that's not the case. so now you are seeing europe go through this. some said it could lead to a financial crisis bigger than 2008 and in a sense greece is to europe as bear stearns was to the united states. bear stearns was the first
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domino to fall and the bank that got bailed out, some people think it shows you have to bail greece out. others are in the minority but they do feel strongly. they think we -- meaning u.s. and europe, should let greece fail and we should deal with the repercussions. greece will become italy will become spain like bear stearns became lehman brothers, fannie mae, freddie mac and we saw how that spiralled out of control. most people think bailing out greece is the right and necessary thing to do. there are influential and credible people who think they should be allowed to fail. >> it's a potential nightmare. i know you will have more coming up on your show tonight. i want to alert our north american viewers. in addition to this, erin has a special guest, the miracle on the hudson captain, captain sullenburger. we have the video coming up this hour. you will speak with with sully
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at 7:00 p.m. eastern. erin burnett "outfront." thank you. in the presidential race in the united states republican herman cain's denial of sexual harassment is a bit more detailed today. more confusing to some at the same time. stand by to hear another large portion of his interview with our cnn sister network hln's robin meade. stand by for that. there is new evidence that her man cain is profiting politically in some ways for fr this enormous fire stomplt let's bring in joe johns reporting on the story. what are you finding out? >> it will be a while before we can draw conclusions about the long-term effect of the story on cain's campaign. republicans suggest cain is getting the benefit of the doubt for now. they are questioning whether he's under attack. simply because he's a black conservative.
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>> reporter: he's been all a over the place on the facts and the timeline but the message is he was falsely accused of inappropriate behavior and says people are out to get him. >> i absolutely believe this is an intended smear campaign. >> reporter: a witch hunt because he's been doing well in the polls, he says. it's still not clear whether, say, a republican contender for the nomination or a democrat leaked the story. in spite of that, one republican stat gist says the cain message is playing well so far because -- well, listen to ron bonnjean. >> many voters see it as a maneuver to oust cain from front runner status and could be construed as a racist move. >> here's rush limbaugh on his radio show. >> classic drive-by media hit job on a black conservative. >> that's right. in the view of some because of race cain is getting the same
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treatment as, say, clarence thomas during his supreme court confirmation hearings. thomas was slammed by law professor anita hill for alleged inappropriate behavior. thomas called it a high tech lynching. conservatives never forgot the way the thomas case was handled. if you think they aren't giving cain the benefit of the doubt at least for now, consider this. yesterday the cain campaign said it raised as much as $300,000 online. the candidate said it was one of their biggest fund-raising days so far. >> cain survives this if there isn't any more news regarding it. >> reporter: still, political lessons are being learned. before the story broke, a cnn orc poll showed cain was underperforming with women voters. only 20% supported him in the national poll. this can't be good news. then there is the old fashioned question of candidate vetting. is there anything else in cain's past that no one took the time
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to check out? >> anyone running for president should be looking into their background thinking, what can come out that's going to make me look bad and make the campaign look bad and potentially hurt my run to be president? and how do we answer those questions when they come out? clearly, his rise in the polls to the frontrunner status showed that they had not been prepared to do that. >> definitely an issue of vetting there. the apparent lack of full and complete vetting points back to something a lot of political consultants have been talking about. it's sort of the whiplash of campaign success when a candidate bolts from the middle of the back to front runner and the campaign isn't ready for it. it can be more than painful. the level of scrutiny goes up and that's happened in the case of her man cain, wolf. >> joe, stand by. this just coming in. a new report from the washington
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post quoting the attorney for one of the two women who apparently made the accusations of sexual harassment by herman cain as saying this woman would like to be released from the confidentiality agreement she signed with the national restaurant association, the trade association, the lobbying group which herman cain headed in washington from 1996 to 1999. the lawyer joel p. bennett called on the national restaurant association to release this woman. it's just frustrating, joel bennett said, that herman cain is bad mouthing the two complainants and my client is blocked by a confidentiality agreement. the national restaurant association ought to release them and allow them to respond. the statement from joel bennett goes on to say that this woman, his client attended an ivy
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league school and now works for the federal government, has moved in with relatives because the news media is staking out her home in suburban maryland right outside of washington, d.c. let's discuss a little bit of this with joe johns. you have been reporting on this from sunday night when politico broke the story. what do you make of the development? a lawyer for the woman said if she is allowed to speak freely, she says for all practical purposes, he says if -- let me be precise. i want to quote from bennett, the attorney. if this woman is released from the confidentiality agreement, bennett says, quote, then it is a whole new ball game. what she will say. it sounds dramatic. give me your thought and not only are you speaking as a reporter but an attorney as well. >> i have a law degree and i can tell you a nondisclosure agreement can be defeated by the consent of all the parties. so if herman cain is putting
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information out there that his mind is fuzzy about, he can't quite remember or whatever, there is a very easy way for everybody to figure out exactly what happened back when they were at the national restaurant association. that's for everybody to say i agree for the information to be released publically because herman cain is now running for president. changed circumstances. that's a good way to get all the cards on the table and clear the air on this story for herman cain and the other parties involved. wolf? >> let me bring in jeffrey tubin. our senior legal analyst is joining us on the phone. a lawyer is now involved representing one of the two women. you read the story in the washington post, jeffrey. that's just moved on its website. what do you think? >> it makes a lot of sense for what the lawyer is saying. a nondisclosure agreement is a contract. not a government document. it's an agreement between private parties and it says none
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of the participants can talk about what went on. but because it's a contract between private parties it can be changed. they can say this is no longer operative. we agree everyone can now speak about it. but all the parties have to agree. what makes this somewhat complicated is that it's not herman cain who was apparently the party to the contract. it's the national restaurant association. and even if cain says "i want you to release" all confidentiality, the national restaurant association may for its own reasons say, we don't want to do it. so there will be a complicated scenario here of what the national restaurant association does. they were presumably acting at the behest of cain in the past. they will have a tough decision to make. >> joe, you reported yesterday
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the national restaurant association, this trade association here in washington which herman cain headed back in the 1990s, they issued a statement saying they never discussed personnel matters, period. >> it's a blanket statement. apparently not wanting to get on the record. it is a sticky situation. there are people saying maybe cain was in trouble, but maybe the national restaurant association just wanted to get rid of this and not go any further with it. so they are going to pay out a sum of money. whatever it is, we don't know and for the presidential campaign and all the people who have to make decisions as voters, it seems to me it's perfectly logical to get that kind of information out there in the public arena so people can no longer speculate about who did this or why or what the sum
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details are, wolf. >> when a story like this begins you never know where it's going to wind up. stand by. we'll have more on the developing story. details emerging in the washington post quoting an attorney representing one of the two women, alleging sexual harassment by herman cain in the 1990s as saying she wants to go public and tell her side of the story. stand by for more on this breaking news when we come back. also, a former u.s. governor asked to account for millions of dollars missing from the books of a failed brokerage firm. and there was chaos after this emergency landing. wait until you see the drama when the jet touched down. you name it. i've tried it. but nothing's helped me beat my back pain. then i tried this. it's salonpas. this is the relief i've been looking for.
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delivering mail, medicine and packages. yet they're closing thousands of offices, slashing service, and want to lay off over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains 5 billion a year from post-office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. congress created this problem, and congress can fix it.
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more on the breaki ining ne.
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an attorney representing the two women accusing herman cain of sexual harassment in the '90s now asking for permission to go public with her accusations, an attorney for the woman causing the washington post she wants to be released from the confidentiality agreement she signed when she left the national restaurant association. we'll get more coming up. now to jack cafferty. i was saying a story like this, when it starts you never know where it's going to wind up. >> i wonder if she's willing to give back the money. she was paid in order to buy her confidentiality. now she wants to be released. seems fair she'd refund the money. >> we'll find out. >> one year from today wolfman, the u.s. elects its next president and a bunch of representatives, senators and stuff. a lot can happen between now and then. politically, we are just getting warmed up. expect more open warfare among republican candidates for the white house once the primaries
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and caucuses start in january. and herman cain may not be the only candidate with a skeleton in the closet. don't forget the infamous october surprises. there is more than politics at stake starting with the economy. as the european economy sputters on fears of a greek bailout not happening, remember in a global economy we are all in this together. if europe goes off a cliff the united states could follow suit quickly. expect more dramatic swings in the stock market here. with the ups and downs go the hopes and dreams of retirement and a college for kids for millions of americans. also, unemployment above 9%. the congressional budget office says it will stay through the end of next year. that's bad news for president obama. what about our skyrocketing national debt and deficits? washington waiting to hear the results from the super committee in the coming weeks. it doesn't matter what they do. my guess is they won't do anything. but it doesn't matter. we'll be deeper in debt a year
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from now than we are now regardless of what they do. suddenly we are running short of wars. how did that happen? president obama said all u.s. troops will be out of iraq by tend of the year. the u.s. is planning to build up military forces in other persian gulf countries, places like kuwait. who knows what that can bring? then there is occupy wall street. will it fade away with the winter chill or grow and spread? voter discontent could be a factor when america votes in 2012. here's the question. the 2012 elections a year from today. where will we be in a year? go to file to post a comment on my blog or go to the post on "the situation room's" facebook page. 12 months and another election return. >> every day is exciting as far as i'm concerned. >> it's getting that way.
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>> thank you. bank of america is dropping plans to charge the controversial fee for debit card purposes. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and other top stories now. >> bank of america announced in september it would be charging the fee next year. following widespread customer outrage and news that several rivals are cancelling similar plans, the bank is back pedalling. last week chase and wells fargo called off the pilot programs and sun trust announced it will drop fees beginning tomorrow. two people are dead and 13 injured following a string of shootings in new orleans including one at a halloween celebration. police don't yet know the motive and are searching for a suspect or suspects. one person is facing first-degree murder charges and three counts of attempted first-degree murder charges. the occupy wall street movement is now eyeing iowa.
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in decembers moins there are plans to shut down campaign offices statewide the week before the caucuses. the protesters would target republican candidates and president obama. organizers say they are not against the electoral process, just the people they say own it now. wolf? >> lisa, thank you. we'll get more on the potential political fallout for herman cain coming up including a closer look at whose support, if any, he could be in danger of losing. [ male announcer ] one-hundred-nineteen data points.
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let's get back to breaking news. an attorney representing one of the women who accused herman cain, the republican
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presidential candidate of sexual harassment back in the 1990s when he headed the national restaurant association here in washington want as to be able to tell her story. an attorney representing this woman has told the washington a post she wants to be released from the confidentiality agreement that she signed back in the 1990s that bars her from speaking publically. we're getting more on this part of the story. it's a dramatic new development in the case. herman cain, the republican presidential frontrunner right now. earlier in the day mr. cain sat down with our sister network anchor robin meade of hln. here is a portion of the interview. >> i think that for some what's puzzling is that politico reported that it gave your campaign like ten days to come back with some reaction. >> yes. >> i believe we have the tape. i want to play the tape where the reporter asked if you had been accused of sexual
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harassment but you didn't answer. hold on. >> have you ever been accused, sir, of harassment? >> last one, guys. >> sir, have you? yes or no. have you ever bipartisan accused of sexual harassment? have you? >> i'm trying to -- >> have you, sir? >> that was the last question. thanks. >> have you ever been accused of sexual harassment? >> i remember the first time i saw that, herman. i was like, oh, my gosh, he asked it back to the reporter? did it come out of nowhere for you? the campaign had it for ten days. >> we made a conscious decision with my sign-off, i'm not going to go out and start chasing two anonymous accusations. so that was a conscious decision. we didn't know what the article was going to include. we didn't know what the
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accusation was going to be. for me to even answer his question was totally inappropriate. you don't do businesslike that. it's similar to negotiating against yourself. >> well, do you have -- aren't there other accusations against you that you wouldn't know what two allegations he was talking about when he said sexual harassment? >> all we know is they contacted my office and said they had two anonymous sources accusing me of sexual harassment. we said, what details can you give us? they couldn't give us any other than it occurred when i was at the national restaurant association. i immediately recalled one. that was the one we talked about earlier. i couldn't recall the other one. the reason i wasn't going to answer his question standing on the street after i had done another interview, that could have been taken totally out of context. i wanted to put it into context like i'm doing now to explain what i knew and what i didn't know. what i remember and what i
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couldn't remember at the beginning of yesterday. >> if either of the women, one of whom you remember, one of whom you don't remember the case, you're saying. if they were watching now what would you say to them regarding their complaints? you say they were false and they were found to be false. >> i would say, why are you bringing it up now? obviously someone is encouraging them to bring it up now because i'm doing so well in this republican nomination. that's all i would say. why are you bringing it up now? secondly, are you being used to try to help paint a cloud and sabotage my candidacy. that's all i would say. i would ask a question as to why they would do it now. both of us know why they are doing it. someone downtown like the fact that we are doing so well in the campaign and i'm at or near the top of the polls consistently. >> you feel this is a smear campaign? from whom, do you think? >> i absolutely believe this is an intended smear campaign using these two cases. like i said, i'm not aware of
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the second one. it is a smear campaign. when they cannot -- >> by whom? do you know? >> we don't know. we have no idea. when they cannot kill my ideals like 9-9-9, they come after me personally. someone asked me yesterday in one of the many interviews i did clearing the air on this, is there anything else? not that i know of. i knew about that one case at the restaurant association. i have been in business. i was in business before i ran for president over 42 -- 40 years. that was the only instance of accused sexual abuse, sexual harassment. only one. what i'm saying is -- and then in the rest of the politico article which was near the end, last two paragraphs, three people at the restaurant association, members of the board of directors attested to my character and integrity. not a lot of people are paying attention to that. >> all right. you heard herman cain speaking with robin meade.
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more of the interview is coming up. but the breaking news, an attorney representing one of the women who is accusing herman cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s, that attorney telling the washington post his client wants to be released from the confidentiality agreement. we have a lot of analysis and more reporting coming up. we are following the story. gloria borger is here, jeff to toobin. more coming up after this. [ multiple snds ng melodic tune ] ♪ [ malennounc ] at northrop grumman, makthworld a feplace. th's value performance. northr gruan. [ daniel ] my name is daniel northcutt.
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[ jennifer ] and i'm jennifer northcutt. opening a restaurant is utterly terrifying. we lost well over half of our funding when everything took a big dip. i don't think anyone would open up a restaurant if they knew what that moment is like. ♪ day 1, everything happened at once. ♪ i don't know how long that day was. we went home and let it sink in what we had just done. [ laughs ] ♪ word of mouth is everything, and word of mouth today is online. it all goes back to the mom and pop business founded within a family. ♪ when i found out i was pregnant, daniel was working on our second location. everyone will find out soon enough i think that something's happening. ♪ ♪ ♪
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[ stu ] yeah. it's electric. i don't think so. it's got a gas tank right here. electric tank, right over here. an electric tank? really, stu? is that what you pour the electricity in? it's actually both, guys. i can plug in and go 35 miles gas free, or i can fill up and go a whole lot farther. is that my burger? oh. i just got bun. i didn't even bite any burger. an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement, available only from liberty mutual insurance, if your car's totaled, we give you the money to buy a car that's one model-year newer... with 15,000 fewer miles on it.
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gloria, first to you. this represents potentially a whole new chapter in this. >> it's a new ball game, wolf. if she does come out, you put a human face on the question of sexual harassment. if she is a sympathetic character and tells her story and people believe her, then i think herman cain has a problem. also things her lawyer said, one, he made it clear the money wasn't for severance as herman cain has said. it was money for a settlement for sexual harassment. he also said that cain has effectively waived his confidentiality right by talking about this. so this puts the restaurant association now right on the hot seat because she's going to go to them and say waive my confidentiality. i want to answer what herman cain is saying because he
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belittled my charges. >> i'm just speculating here and ron, i want you to weigh in. you heard herman cain earlier in the day saying why are these women raising these -- we don't know if the women raised this, but clearly one woman described by the washington post as someone who attended an ivy league school and works for the government, she's obviously been irritated by the suggestion there was no sexual harassment. >> any time there is a scandal one thing we have to remind ourselves as reporters is these are people with real lives. you watch herman cain and whatever you think about the politics you can see how much he wants to restore his reputation, his integrity, convince people he's a good person. she's had lots of questions swirling around and him raising the issues today puts her in a similar kind of role and put it is restaurant association on the hot spot in terms of allowing everybody to talk about this. >> i don't think she would want
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to come out and speak unless there were things that herman cain was saying that she felt were inaccurate and wanted to clear the air. if she does speak you can be sure we are going to be involved in a he said/she said. >> jeffrey toobin has covered a lot of stories like i have over the years. the washington post quoting the lawyer as saying this woman is upset. she had to move out of her house in suburban maryland. she's staying with relatives because news media organizations were staking out her home outside of washington, d.c. give us your legal analysis of how this could unfold. could herman cain, for example ask the national restaurant association to release her of the confidentiality agreement? would that require the national restaurant association to do so? >> well, unfortunately there is a lot we don't know at this point. the confidentiality agreement is
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a contract. the only two parties to the contract are the woman in question, women plural and the national restaurant association. like any contract it could be modified with the permission of both parties. herman cain is apparently not a party to the contract. he could encourage the national restaurant association to release the confidentiality order. first of all i think someone in short order will ask herman cain or should ask whether he would agree to that. the national restaurant association will have to make up their mind. presumably this woman wants to come out and speak so she'd certainly agree to modify it. this is a contract. we don't know what it says. confidentiality agreements follow certain forms. they basically say if you talk about it you lose your rights. you lose the money you have been
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awarded. one thing down the line we could think about is whether her lawyer could argue that cain has essentially waived entitling her to speak out. this story is not going away. the legal stories get more simple not more complicated over time. if the woman wants to tell her story, usually people who want to tell their story do. >> let me read from the attorney representing the woman who made the sexual harassment accusations against herman cain. he says, it is just frustrating that herman cain is bad mouthing the two complainants and my client is blocked by a confidentiality agreement. the national restaurant association ought to release them and allow them to respond. once you irritate two women like this and one of them is willing to go public it takes on a new
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dimension. >> herman cain could be president of the united states. now that the person involved in the confidentiality agreement has asked to step forward is it plausible for the employer, who for whatever reasons of their own want to keep it private, is it plausible for them to say, no, we are not going to discuss the details? >> and the lawyer said for all practical purposes cain waived his confidentiality although the question is -- and jeff could speak to it better than i whether legally that constitutes a waiver or not. they might argue he's done it already because he talked about one or two of the alleged incidents. >> he put his side of the story out but they are not allowed to put their side out. i suspect that will change. >> hard to believe that will be sustained. >> i suspect it will change and we'll see how the story unfolds. don't go far away. we are following breaking news just in from georgia. four men were arrested today, charged with a plot to
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manufacture a biological agent to use in attacks against u.s. citizens. the defendants are allegedly part of a fringe militia group in georgia. law enforcement authorities say they bought explosives and a silencer as part of the alleged plan to produce the deadly toxin rysin. stand by for that. also a twist in the case of a wall street giant filing for bankruptcy. ahead we have details of the millions of dollars apparently micing from the books. lots of news happening today. rg rye sin deaf r.ici.
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we are learning today there is more to the story of a wall street brokerage firm filing for bankruptcy -- a lot more apparently. a lot of money is apparently missing from the books of mf global, a firm run by former new jersey governor john corzine. what are we learning? >> this is customer money. the cme group is a giant commodities exchange where mf holdings did business, confirmed that the company didn't keep separate customer funds from corporate money. that's a huge no-no. hundreds of millions of dollars is now missing.
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federal regulators are investigating and it's been a quick downfall for a once powerful company. things spun wildly out of control for mf global holdings. the firm had star power run by a former new jersey governor, former senator and former ceo of goldman sachs. but the brokerage firm invested heavily in the european sovereign markets including italy, spain, ireland with more than $6 billion. with europe's finances teetering, mf global began to crumble. >> at the end of the day they took a very risky position. it was very large. because of its size it became risky and put pressure on the firm, ultimately resulting in a lack of confidence by investors and other parties and essentially creating a run on the bank. >> reporter: the major ratings agencies downgraded their bonds to junk status.
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corzine was close to finding a buyer but it was revealed more than $6 million in customer money couldn't be accounted for and the deal fell through. was it an accounting error or did mf global use funds from private brokerage accounts to cover losses keeping company money separate from customer funds is a bedrock of the industry. william cohan describes corzine as ambitious, determined and out to make a comeback on wall street after politics. >> his fortune was set $400 million sh million. he was set. this is about strutting his stuff on wall street. he's swinging for the fences with other people's money. he should have known how fragile his money is. it was shown in 2008 and for
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john not to realize that is o outrageous. he should have known better. i'm shocked he let it happen. >> we tried to get comment from mf global but calls weren't returned. to be clear, he's not accused of specific wrongdoing. on the quart already icon frens call he described the past months as the most volatile he'd seen in more than 30 years. he said he was confident that the company would pull through and things were starting to normalize. that was on october 25. a week later the company is bankrupt. there are reports out there, wall street journal reporting that the fbi is investigating this as well. >> i guess he was looking for a customer to buy the company and that didn't happen. >> it fell through at the last minute because of the report of missing money. no one wants to touch it now. >> thanks, lisa. the 2012 election in the united states, one year away. jack cafferty is asking where will we be in a year?
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and rick perry unploughed. -- unplugged. ...was it something big? ...or something small? ...something old? ...or something new? ...or maybe, just maybe... it's something you haven't seen yet. the 2nd generation of intel core processors. stunning visuals, intelligent performance. this is visibly smart.
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get back to jack for "the
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cafferty file." jack? >> the question, 2012 elections a year from today, where are we going to be in a year? lairfully denver writes, a year from today, nothing will change. just elections, same people doing the same thing they've done for the last four years, nothing. the economy will still be in suffer mode, people still angry, and whoever is in the senate or house will be just as incompetent as they are today. do nothing, take money from lobbyists and start their re-election campaigns. after all it's only four years until 2016. get ready, sarah. den writes we will not be better off than we are today. most likely things will be a little worse. there may be a glimmer of some hope on the horizon. perhaps the mayan prediction of the end of the world on 12/21/2012 will be correct -- merry christmas? rich, we'll be all full of hope there will be change. i want to be wrong, but it won't work out any better than it did three years ago. doesn't matter who gets elected,
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they just slip into the existing system of power and influence the pred secessor left vacant. stop electing democrats. stop electing republicans, too. everett, if the nation becomes more polarized we could find ourselves in a state of civil war. dave in seattle says, we'll be well into an economic recovery, but the ain't it awful campaign rhetoric will make us feel like things are worse than they actually are. sort of like your blog. if you want to read more on this, go to my blog, file. it's an uplifting experience, or through our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. we try to cast a little sunshine on the situation but not successful. >> stand by. i want you to watch this and i want viewers to watch as well. a dramatic landing for a boeing 767 in poland. forced to land on its belly because of problems with landing gear.
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an airport spokesman says all people on board the flight from newark, new jersey, to warsaw are safe. dramatic landing indeed. rick perry goes off the cuff. stand by for jeanne moos. ♪ [ male announcer ] what is the future of fuel? the debate is over. ♪ lexus hybrid drive technology is designed to optimize any fuel source on the planet.
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a look at this hour's hot shots. thailand, a resident pushes a shopping cart down the street. in france a protester acts with police in the g-20 summit. in pakistan, a man inspects a camel's teeth. in california, alvin and the chipmunks press their paws in cement in hollywood. hot shots, pictures from around the world. rick perry goes off the cuff, leaving some voters scratching their heads. here's cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: when presidential candidate rick perry gave a salute, arms in the upright position, kiss-blowing speech, you could have thought he was just overcaffeinated. when he opened his mouth -- >> today has been awesome, girl! >> you'll never look at this guy the same way again. >> if they print any more money over there in washington, the goal's going to be good. >> a lucy goosy.
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>> a cool state. come on, live free or die. >> i will have what he's having. >> we're into those slogans, man. it's like, live free or die, victory or death, bring it! >> reporter: what rick perry brought on was endless speculation about whether he was in an altered state. and the answer ranged from how drunk is rick perry in this video to rick perry wasn't drunk. perry's spokeman said simply the governor's passionate when he speaks and he got a standing ovation. >> you know what i mean. like 9%. >> reporter: true, we're showing his oddest moments but there were a lot of them in the 25-minute speech on fox news, they went loose with this defense. >> i think he was loose. >> because he was so lose -- >> reporter: many suggested given rick perry's back surgery, maybe pain pills were to blame. jon stewart said there is one other explanation -- >> rick perry just got back from the dentist.
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>> is this real life? >> no. >> i can't see anything. ahh. >> reporter: many thought governor perry's speech was fine. goofy, yes, drunk, no. sure looked blissfully at the syrup they gave him as a gift. not only did he swish it he clasped it to his heart, some compared this to the dean scream that more or less dashed howard dean's presidential hopes. >> we're going to washington, d.c. to take back the white house! yea! >> reporter: the bad lip reading parody video that went viral. >> save a pretzel for the gas jets. >> reporter: rick perry wasn't animated, at time his was downright flamboyant. >> or that, 20% flat tax put it on there. >> reporter: one person posted, he's channeling paul lynde in the center square. >> enough to