Skip to main content

tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 2, 2011 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT

1:00 pm
order to get them to do tricks. so a completely different cause other than the price of right. >> i like that we kept the music up. i was thinking i think wolf might get mad at us, joe johns, thank you so much for coming on as always. thank you for watching and a special edition of "the situation room" in chicago. wolf, all you. thanks very much. happening now -- >> excuse me. excuse me! >> a flash of temper from front-runner, herman cain, as the controversy over sexual harassment allegations won't go away. cain says certain factions are trying to destroy him. but it could get worse. an attorney for one accuser now says his client wants to go public. meantime, some key democrats are
1:01 pm
focusing their attention on mitt romney. paul is standing by. i'm wolf blitzer. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- as controversy swirls around him, republican front-runner, herman cain, went behind closed doors with republican lawmakers on capitol hill. just a brief respite from the storm that has blown over previously undisclosed sexual allegations. earlier today, cain suggested some sort of conspiracy is at work, but he insisted he will prevail. >> there are factions trying to destroy me personally as well as this campaign. but there is a force greater, there's a force at work here that is much greater than those that would try to destroy me and destroy this campaign. and this journey to the white
1:02 pm
house. and that force is called the voice of the people. >> cain may face a new round of controversy. one of his accusers apparently wants to go public. brian todd has been investigating this part of the story. what are you learning? >> wolf, the wheels have been set in motion for that. we're now one step closer to one of cain's accusers speaking out. now that her attorney has made contact with the national restaurant association, which cain once led. the other shoe may soon drop for herman cain. the attorney for a woman who accused cain of sexual harassment has contacted the national restaurant association. joel bennett says his client wants to speak out and would like the association to release her from the contract she signed. >> naturally, she's been very upset about this since the story broke last sunday because mr.
1:03 pm
cain has been giving the impression as though she's someone who made false allegations and that's certainly not true. >> bennett says his client got a settlement against cain. he describes his client add married, highly intelligence. asks whether she's politically active -- >> i have no knowledge. she's a current employee of the federal government. >> by most indications, bennett's clients is not the same woman who "the new york times" reports got $35,000, a year's salary and severance pay after an encounter with cain. that could be the person cain described as someone who worked as a writer in the 1990s. of that woman, all cain said was he made an observation of her height. >> they were ridiculous. i said, if she can make that
1:04 pm
stick and call that sexual harassment, fine, but it didn't stick. >> cain has described the other woman as someone who worked in the restaurant association's governmental affairs department in the 1998s. a spoke with deborah kelly about the request to lift the confidentiality agreement. >> what are the odds of the national restaurant association releasing this? >> i can't see a reason in the world why the association would want to release because all the stuff they paid to settle and have go away and have not hit the representational damage of the company would emerge. then it would get back to the very did it happen, didn't it happen, who saw it, who didn't see it that they paid to avoid. >> for now, the national restaurant association has referred joel bennett to the association's outside counsel. bennett is meeting with his clients tonight and says he'll submit his formal request probably tomorrow, wolf.
1:05 pm
>> joel bennett also believes, brian, that herman cain has already broken that confidentiality deal, doesn't he? >> he apparently does. bennett says for all intents and purposes, cain has violated that. in a recent interview, cain said of one of his accusers, quote, i do recall that her performance had been told to me by her boss, had not been up to par, end quote. bennett says there is a nondisparagement agreement in the deal. deborah kelly says if cain spoke negatively about the woman's work performance in public, he might have broken that part of the agreement. cain has vehemently denied breaking that deal. >> because that agreement was between the national restaurant association and this woman and cain was the head of the association at the time, so automatically, he was part of that confidentiality agreement. thanks very much. for a brief moment, the controversy seemed to get the
1:06 pm
better of herman cain as the candidate showed a flash of irritation. jim acosta was on the scene for us as he often is. he's joining us live. walk us through what happened here. >> wolf, we certainly saw a change in the public face of herman cain. gone was the casual, easy going style that reporters are accustomed to mr. cain demonstrating and in its place was a much more confrontational style. he refused to answer reporters' questions in virginia this morning and i tried to get him to answer the question would he call on the national restaurant association to release those women and here's what happened next. >> let me say one thing. i'm here with these doctors and that's what i'm going to talk about, so don't even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, okay? don't even bother. >> but are you concerned about the fact these women --
1:07 pm
>> what did i say? >> are you concerned -- >> excuse me. excuse me. >> now, if we were to continue showing you that video, wolf, you would see that there is a confrontation that goes on between cain's security staff and reporters trying to ask him those questions. i can tell you having been there on the scene myself, wolf, there was some pushing and shoving. cain's security staff did elbow members of the working press. there were also innocent bystanders sort of standing in the way. they were also pushed out of the way at one point. this was a very sort of rough and nasty scene, something we have not seen from the cain campaign so far. and it marks perhaps a turninging point in his campaign given the fact that he's not p really talking to reporters
1:08 pm
about what's happening here and this very confrontational style on the part of his staff. wolf? >> were there a lot of reporters and camera crews at this event, joe? >> there were. there was a fairly large throng of reporters waiting for mr. cain to come out of this meeting. also with mr. cain was his chief of staff, mark block. he is the smoking campaign manager you see in that youtube video that went viral last week. i had a brief moment to catch with up him and i asked him about whether or not calls are going in from the cain campaign to the national restaurant association to release those women. he held up a phone to his ear, wolf, and said this may be the call now. he turned away. i caught up with him another brief moment and he said, quote, this should be an interestinging 48 hours. my understanding is that they are anticipating things will develop in the next day or two that may allow these women to
1:09 pm
talk. >> thanks very much. let's bring in our chief political correspondent, candy crowley. she's the anchor of "state of the union." what do you make of the way herman cain handled this sort of q and a with reporters today? >> i think with herman cain, you still see signs of a campaign that is not quite ready for this kind of prime time drama. the idea i thought he sort of started out well, which is i'm here with these doctors and that's what i'm going to talk about. but you can't ever lose your cool. it makes you look guilty. fair or not fair. i think you can also look at cain and believe on the bright side for him that the folk who is support him are the conservative republicans who support him are quite apt to take his side on this in this way. he says people are out to get me. certainly, there is no love lost for the media in that part of the republican party.
1:10 pm
and this may well either increase his support or not have it go away. i don't think he's handled it well. i think he still shows signs of a campaign that is not up to snuff. he needs to have a consular in there saying, stop talking. he needs to have someone in there for lodgistics saying, let's bring him this way. they need someone to say to him, you were great. say here are the doctors, say i know you want to talk about things that happened many decades ago, but i want to hear about health care. it's a tough situation, but there are ways to handle it and for that, you need staff who have been there, done that. >> do you think it's going to really have an effect though on his base? the conservative base, the tea party supporters who love him right now and put him atop the national as well as so many of these statewide polls? >> right now as i say, we don't know enough. we don't know what happened here between two people in the 1990s. we may hear more tomorrow. i think it depends on what comes
1:11 pm
out, but as of right now, this begins to be a herman cain versus the media, you know, the people are after me and i think that only enhances his image among those that support him now because they do believe that the lame stream media or the liberal media or whatever, how ever they choose to describe it, is against conservative candidates. >> you know, when i heard him say there were some elements out there out to get me, personally and out to get my campaign, you could on the one hand say the liberal news media, maybe he was referring to that, but i sense he was referring to maybe some of his republican rivals. who are afraid of him, don't want him to get the republican nomination. he was pointing his finger at him, but maybe i misinterpreted what he was saying. >> listen, it could be in of the above, but in either case, people who support cain now i don't think have seen enough to
1:12 pm
make them turn away from him. i think that's my point when the question is is he going to lose his base of support. not yet. we'll have to see what happens. but i do think that this is not going to go away without some further explanation because it's not been handled that well. >> certainly, thanks very much. programming note to our viewers. watch "state of the union" with candy every sunday, 9:00 a.m. here on cnn. the "cafferty file" coming up, then the pentagon grass on capitol hill with dire warnings about what could happen to the military if the deficit super committee fails. and herman cain earlier tht week singing to reporters. today, his frustration seemed to seep through. ♪ ♪
1:13 pm
♪ when your chain of supply ♪ goes from here to shanghai, that's logistics. ♪ ♪ chips from here, boards from there ♪ ♪ track it all through the air, that's logistics. ♪ ♪ clearing customs like that ♪ hurry up no time flat that's logistics. ♪ ♪ all new technology ups brings to me, ♪ ♪ that's logistics. ♪
1:14 pm
hey, it's sandra -- from accounting. peter. i can see that you're busy... but you were gonna help us crunch the numbers for accounts receivable today. i mean i know that this is important. well, both are important. let's be clear. they are but this is important too. [ man ] the receivables. [ male announcer ] michelin knows it's better for xerox to help manage their finance processing. so they can focus on keeping the world moving. with xerox, you're ready for real business. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪ that's why right here, in australia, chevron is building one of the biggest natural gas projects in the world. enough power for a city the size of singapore for 50 years. what's it going to do to the planet? natural gas is the cleanest conventional fuel there is. we've got to be smart about this. it's a smart way to go. ♪
1:15 pm
1:16 pm
jack? >> herman cain is just the latest politician in a long line to have a potential sex scandal damage his career. we have a lot of sordidness in our political bas past, but not all has been fatal. we had bill clinton impeached over the monica lewinsky scandal, found not guilty, then finished his second term and maintained a very high profile after he left office. but not all politicians have survived this type of thing. think anthony weiner. john edwards. former new york governor, eliot spitzer and that creep from south carolina, the former governor, mark sanford, who told the world he was hiking naked on the appalachain trail when in fact he was in argentina with his lover. there are many more. some are still crawling around the halls of congress.
1:17 pm
the key in cain's case, we still don't know if he's guilty. although his clumsy handling of this hasn't helped him so r far. cain changed his story multiple times since the news broke sunday, that two women accused him of sexual harassment in the 1990s. it is unclear how much this is going to damage his campaign if at all. there are no polls that have been taken entirely after the news broke, but polls taken before show cain at the top of the republican field. the story seems to be rallying his base. cain's campaign raised more than $400,000 online on monday alone and several high pro file conservatives are sticking by cain. they're blaming the media and racism, which of course is always convenient when things aren't going your way. any way, here's the question. should, not will allegations of sexual harassment more than 12 years ago cost herman cain his run for the white house? go to and
1:18 pm
post a comment on my blog or go to our facebook page. wolf? >> when ever you have a combination of politics and any inkling of sex, you know that's going to generate a huge amount of interest in the political community, the journalistic community. this story isn't going to go away for some time. you and i have covered these stories for a long time. >> arguably, this is the most interesting thing that's happened since the republican contest began. it was a pretty big yawn up until now. at least it's put a little electricity in the deal. >> a lot of electricity, too much for herman cain. the pressure on him is enormous. thank you. a fresh drum beat of alarm for the so-called super committee of lawmakers. the nation's top military officers were up on capitol hill today and they warn what could happen if the committee fails to
1:19 pm
find a way to cut a trillion and and a half dollars or so. automatic cuts would then be triggered. ray o der know says that could reduce the defense budget by a trillion dollars. >> cuts of this magnitude would be catastrophic to the military and in the case of the army, would significantly reduce or capacity to ensure our partners abroad and deter our adversaries while threaten iing the readine and potentially the all volunteer force. >> let's go live to our congressional correspondent, kate bolduan, on capitol hill. not just the military chiefs that are ratcheting up the pressure on the super committee, is it? >> that's right, wolf. yesterday, it was budget experts. today, it's the country's top military officers as well as members of congress leaning on the super committee sounding the alarm, saying the super committee must succeed of
1:20 pm
hitting its target in at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings. democratic member of congress joined together today calling on the super committee to close oil and gas subsidies as a good starting point. but another very big group, 100 members of the house, both democrat and republican coming together, signing on to a letter to urge the super committee to go big. in their opinion, the committee should find $4 trillion in deficit savings over the next ten years, which is really the number that many budget experts say is needed in order to stabilize the country's debt. listen here to house republican steve as well as the number two democrats in the house, steny hoyer. >> when this comes out, in member can find 10, 20, 30 reasons to say no, but it's now time for the ostriches to pull their heads out of the sand, the holier than thou crowd to get
1:21 pm
out of their horses and we need to get this thing done in a big way. and there's a lot of talk about plenls in this town. people that pledge to do this, not to do that. it's time to put the pledges in a bonfire and reaffirm our conviction to the oath we all took to defend this nation. >> what we are saying is don't go small boar because we'll just have to be at that year after year after year an we will not create the confidence in two ways, both from the economic standpoint of meeting our deficit challenge and of the deficit that we have in the competence of america that it's congress can work. >> these lawmakers, this group of 100 that signed on this to letter, they all really acknowledged today that everything needs to be on the table. acknowledging that that needs to include the thorny issues of entitlement reform and
1:22 pm
increasing revenues, which could mean an increase in taxes. though the letter squels these house members were deliberately vague on what they would sign on to, saying they were not going to get into specifics, moore driving the point home that what congress faces isn't a policy issue. it's a political issue. does congress have the courage to do what's needed to be done? the reality that we all face though is that there are 12 members on this super committee. they're the ones making these decisions. they have three weeks left until their thanksgiving deadline and so far, this committee remains deadlocked around the issue of taxes. this super committee may have received some very valuable political cover today through this group of 100, wolf. >> i guess it depends if the republicans are willing to raise taxes, the democrats are willing to cut entitlements, then they'll have a deal.
1:23 pm
if not, that committee's going to be deadlocked then the automatic cuts will begin to cut. the headquarters of a magazine gutted by fire on the same day it prints a controversial cover. and herman cain gets testy, shall we say, with reporters after being questioned about past sexual harassment allegations. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." there goes dwayne's car. oh, man. there goes dwayne's house. whoa! whoa! and there goes dwayne. man, that thing does not like dwayne. [ male announcer ] state farm's got you covered. nice landing. it was. [ male announcer ] get to a better state.
1:24 pm
♪ [ 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. even those we don't use yet. because when you pursue perfection, you don't just engineer a future-proof hybrid system. you engineer amazing. ♪ you engineer amazing. sun life financialrating should be famous.d bad, we're working on it. so you're seriously proposing we change our name to sun life valley.
1:25 pm
do we still get to go skiing? sooner or later, you'll know our name. sun life financial.
1:26 pm
a magazine with a controversial cover is targeted in an apparent attack. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. what's going on? >> today, a fire ripped through the paris offices of the french satirical magazine just as it was publishing an issue appearing to make fun of islamic
1:27 pm
law. the cover features a cartoon figure of the profit mohamed with the quote, 100 lashes if you're not dying of laughter. a director says the fire was caused by a molotov cocktail, but that has not been confirmed. a soldier had been accused of spying. he was arrested on friday following a joint fbi military investigati investigation. the fbi hasn't revealed specifics about the case, only saying he was under observation and any link was stopped. he'll face charges in a military court this week and in washington, it's surprising social event. joe biden and his wife are hosting house majority leader eric cantor and his wife, diana, for dinner at the vice president's official residence tonight. biden and cantor, they butted heads during the talks in june,
1:28 pm
but staffers are saying despite their differences, the two have developed a strong friendship over the past year and tonight, they will be breaking bread together. >> i noticed that the vice president asked john biden to, excuse me, john mccain, vice president biden asked john mccain to go with him on air force 2 to pay respects to the saudis the other day when the crown prince passed away, so making up nicely with cantor. also, john mccain. inviting him on that trip. was a short trip, but they did fly over together and pay their respects to the saudis. thanks for that. >> i think definitely all this partisan bickering, i think there is an attempt to reach across the aisle to the other side. we'll see if that brings down the temperature a little bit here in washington. >> we'll see if the president's going to play some golf with john boehner, too.
1:29 pm
maybe that will help get some of that gridlock going a little bit better. beset by controversy. how does herman cain continue to rake in the campaign cash? [ male announcer ] this veterans day, we salute america's amazing service members and veterans with our proud sponsorship of the 2011 quicken loans carrier classic -- a first-of-its-kind college basketball game that will be played on the deck of a u.s. aircraft carrier this november 11th. it's one way for the quicken loans family to thank all of the american heroes
1:30 pm
who have given so much... for all of us. ♪
1:31 pm
and what it doesn't cover can cost you some money. that's why you should consider an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan... insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. all medicare supplement insurance plans can help pay... some of what medicare doesn't, so you could save... thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. call now for this free information kit and medicare guide. if you're turning 65 or you're already on medicare... you should know about this card -- it's the only one of its kind endorsed by aarp; see if it's right for you. all medicare supplement plans let you keep your own doctor, or hospital that accepts medicare. there are no networks and no referrals needed. help protect yourself from some of what medicare doesn't pay... and save up to thousands of dollars in potential... out-of-pocket expenses with an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan... insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company.
1:32 pm
call this toll-free number on your screen now... for this free information kit, including this... medicare guide and customized rate quote. back to our top story now. the controversy over alleged sexual harassment swirling around herman cain. earlier this week, cain was all smiles, even singing to reporters, but today, his frustration showed through. watch this. ♪ i'll never know why jesus came to love me so ♪ ♪ he looked beyond all my faults
1:33 pm
and saw my needs ♪ >> don't even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, okay? don't even bother. >> are you concerned about the fact these women do want -- >> what did i say? excuse me. excuse me. >> he was singing to the press club on monday. you just saw that little testy exchange from today. let's discuss what's going on in our strategy session. joining us, paul begala along with rich galen. what happened between singing on monday and getting testy with reporters today? >> sort of singing a different tune, isn't he, wolf? i guess if you can't answer the question, you sing or dance or counter attack. if i remember giving him advice, i would say it's hard to do, but one of the things in this business, you never let them see
1:34 pm
you sweat. it's hard. i don't think people want to see their potential president lose their temper like that. my heart goes out to any campaign in a crisis like this. >> i thought frankly the singing was -- i thought was a little creepier than getting testy. i don't -- he's allowed to get testy. we want people to sort of get out of my way, but this -- this campaign, this shows what happens when you have an inexperienced candidate with an inexperienced staff that gets themselves involved in a major league problem like this. they have everything you could possibly do wrong and i have no idea what actually happened to start this, but we have a saying here in washington, it's not the crime, it's the cover up. i have no idea what actually happened, but what the campaign has done starting sunday night and continuing through today has just dug it deeper and deeper hole for the campaign. >> but his numbers statewide in
1:35 pm
iowa and new hampshire, south carolina, florida poll, they're impressive and now nationally, he's impressive in this latest quinnipiac poll including republicans. listen to this. >> quinnipiac poll just came out where they did a head to head between mitt romney and i and i did defeat mitt romney by about ten percentage points in that particular poll. >> you got to admit, that's pretty impressive, paul. you're a long time political strategist. he's doing remarkably well. even if he isn't necessarily doing that well right now handling this crisis. >> that's what's so astonishing about this guy's rise. herman cain's rise. he's beating rick perry in my beloved state of texas, so it is impressive. you wonder though if some of
1:36 pm
this is not the anybody but romney problem with the republicans seem to have. for donald trump was beating mitt at first, then congresswoman bachmann, then rick perry and now, herman cain is beating mitt. mitt chugs along about 25%, not bad, but that's where he was about $100 million ago and he doesn't seem to buy a single vote from four years ago. >> in the caucuses four years ago, senator obama won with only 34% of the vote. we're talk about the terror of small numbers in a lot of these things. getting back to that polling, i saw that poll and i think it was in the field largely before this began to sink in, so we'll have to see what happens as events move ahead and we have to wait and see if there's anything else. there are other reports today, but one of the things we have to be careful of is something comes
1:37 pm
up and stops you on the street and says, i saw herman cain jaywalking and there was a woman on the other side of the street. i think he was looking at her. you just don't know. >> guys, stand by. we have more to discuss including new political ads just coming out today. a democratic group going after mitt romney. the republican national committee going after president obama. both ads are made to look like hollywood movie trailers. it's all coming up in our strategy session. [ dog barks ] [ kid ] dad? who is honus...wagner? no idea. let me see that. that's a honus wagner autograph... the hall of famer? look at this ball! yeah, found that at a yard sale. i thought pickles would like it. [ dog barks ] that a new car jerry? yeah...
1:38 pm
sweet, man. [ male announcer ] the audi a8. named best large luxury sedan. ♪ yeah, it does seven great things like giving me a healthy scalp and great looking hair. you should make that eight things. dude, why don't you just use the stuff? [ male announcer ] head & shoulders: seven benefits. every bottle. you know what else is early? medicare open enrollment. now through december 7th. can i stick with my old medicare plan? sure! or find a new plan with better coverage, less cost, or both. medicare plans give you free cancer screenings and wellness visits and 50% off on brand-name prescriptions when you're in the doughnut hole. it's part of the healthcare law. so it's time to look, compare... and choose the right plan for you. learn more at 1-800-medicare or
1:39 pm
1:40 pm
we're back with our strategy session. joining us, democratic strategist paul begala and rich galen. a lot of focus among democrats including your super pack right now that you run, paul, on mitt romney. i'm going to play a little clip from this latest ad or video you put out there on the web. watch this. >> of course they are. everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. where do you think it goes? >> wall street is romney. >> don't try and stop the foreclosure process. let it hit the bottom.
1:41 pm
let detroit go bankrupt. bankrupt. >> when you were governor, massachusetts ranked 47th in job growth. >> i would have favored justices like scalia and thomas. >> if they invest in the world's stock market -- >> there are a lot of reasons not to elect me. it's not a very pretty picture, is it? >> a pretty slick video ad. we should say. very dramatic. paul, are you even considering your super political action committee can raise unlimited sums? you don't necessarily have to disclose the donors. republicans have these similar pacts as well.
1:42 pm
are you focusing in on any of the other republicans other than mitt romney? >> i think, you know, if i was any of those other candidates, they may have their records scrutinized like that. that pack will disclose all its donors, it's filed under the federal election clause. but mr. romney, governor romney, he's got a record out there and it is one that i think is quite frightening. i do advise that pack. i love that ad, that video, but this is a guy who says that hemts to deregulate wall street. privatize social security. >> he was also when he said we should let the foreclosure process go through -- >> hold on a second. hold on one second. rich, hold on. i want to run a little clip of a republican national committee ad going after president obama. then we're going to discuss some of these similarities and
1:43 pm
differences. >> the question in the election is not are you better off than you were four years ago. the real question is will this country be better off four years from now? >> in the three years since he took office, unemployment has gone up nearly 17%. >> we haven't made enough progress on the economy. >> four years late e, they can't find a job. >> if i don't have this done in three years, then it's going to be a one-term proposition. >> 9.1%. >> so many people who simply don't think are better off than they were four years ago. >> i don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. we've lost our ambition, our imagination. >> wall street, they're also protesting the white house. the economy saying it can't wait, then why are you waiting? >> change we can believe in next week. >> all right, you got the point. these are pretty dramatic republican ads as well. i noticed the similarity between
1:44 pm
those and movie trailers, if you will. are we seeing a new jogenre comg out? >> the fact is that human beings are hard wired to love gossip and negative ads are nothing but highly distilled gossip. yes, this is the game, the video game era of tv ads. you can't have any scene longer than about a millisecond. you've got to have a booming music and i think to a great degree, this is pretty early in the go, so a great deal of this is video direct mail to raise more money to run more ads? >> we're going to continue to scrutinize these ads in the coming days and weeks. i want to pause because we're getting new information just coming in. our republican political consultant in oklahoma says he
1:45 pm
actually witnessed the alleged inappropriate conduct by herman cain more than a decade ago. gloria borger has been doing some serious reporting on the subject. what's going on? >> well, oklahoma republican chris wilson, confirmed to me this afternoon that he did witness herman cain demonstrate inappropriate behavior towards a female employee of the national restaurant association. what he confirmed was the authenticity of an interview he gave earlier today to an oklahoma radio station and let me read to you a little bit of what he said during that interview. it was only a matter of time because so many people were aware of what took place. so many people were aware of her situation. the fact she left. everybody knew what the campaign that this would eventually come
1:46 pm
up. so wolf, this is the description he gave. he would not elaborate beyond that, but also made it clear he had been the pollster for the national restaurant association at the time and he also said this. let me quote. he said, he had been the pollster and quote, i was around a couple of times when this happened and anyone who was involved with the nra at the time knew that this was going to come up. so, wolf, it seems like somebody corroborating the story of one of these women at least. there is a question here though. and let me raise this because he raised it right up front, which is he is somebody who is supporting rick perry. he is working for or with the super pack that supports the
1:47 pm
perry campaign. but to me, wolf, he dismissed the notion that he was doing this for any kind of political reason. let me read you a quote from him because of course, you'll have to ask that question. we've had lots of conversations about whether this entire matter has been politically motivated. he said, quote, i had nothing to do with leaking this in any way and i've never discussed or shared this story with any of my clients, period. wolf? >> did he explain, gloria, why he's decided to go on a radio show today and speak publicly about this, basically confirming these allegations that these two women levelled against herman cain back in the '90s? >> right. you know, wolf, he really refused to elaborate on this. he seemed quite shaken by the attention this was getting and as he said in the radio interview, i think he expected that this would would have come out before, so you know, we will
1:48 pm
continue to dig, wolf, on why these stories are coming out now, but again, when asked about his political affiliation with rick perry, he was you know, quick to say look, this has nothing to do with rick perry. this has to do with my witnessing an event when i was a consultant to the restaurant association. >> and he insists he was not the original source for politico, which broke this story sunday night. >> he does. and that much he would say on the record, wolf. >> all right. gloria, we'll continue to follow up on this part of the story. take as lot of twist. more is going to come out i have no doubt. other news we're following, just two hours or so, the president leaves for a world economic peting in france. the mood is expected to be tense. that and more news coming up.
1:49 pm
1:50 pm
1:51 pm
world leaders are now gathering in france for the g-20
1:52 pm
economic summit, but here, european leaders are in full crisis mode after the stunning move by greece's prime minister, which puts the rescue package for his country at risk. aly velshi is joining us from cannes with more. these are critical talks. i know the president of the united states will be heading out tonight. what's the latest, ali? >> you know that often they're boring, technical. they don't have much drama attached to them, but that changed when george papandreou announced he's not just going to accept this deal to bail greece out. he's going to put it to the people of greece. now, that's a big problem, wolf, because this is a deal that really takes things away from the people of greece. it claws back government spending. it makes them work more days in the year. extends retirement ages, so if he does that, there's a good chance that the bill doesn't
1:53 pm
pass and that puts this euro deal in jeopardy. they've summoned him to this meeting, so there's an emergency meeting underway right now in this building with papandreou of greece, sarkozy of france and merkel of germany and i would love to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. we're not invited in. but i can imagine the leaders of france and germany are saying what are you up to? you are jeopardizing the growth of europe. later on, the president will be coming in, about middle of the night your time, and we don't know what role he's going to play in adding pressure to p papandre papandreou, but right now, everything that was supposed to happen over the next couple of days is on the back burner. it's a side show to what is happening with greece. >> is it a simple notion given what happened here in the united states back in 2008, ali, that for the europes, for the u.s. and world, greece is simply too big to fail?
1:54 pm
>> yes. there absolutely is that concern. this is bigger than lehman brothers in terms of what will happen if greece were not to accept the deal some say imposed upon them, some say created, to help them. strategic default is probably the next likely thing. that brings us back to those days where central banks had trouble getting money to companies. it has this trickle down effect of all the way to consumers trying to get small business loans or home loans. there's a real fear that there will be a credit crisis if greece defaults. you saw the results in the stock market today. there seems to be some hope something will emerge from this, but yesterday, massive losses in the stock markets because of this concern greece could scuttle a deal crucial to europe and europe is crucial to the rest of the world. what you bring up is top of mind
1:55 pm
for a lot of people. this could be another 2008 if greece doesn't play this correctly. >> we'll stay in touch with you in france. thanks very much. jack cafferty is next, then at the top of the hour, syria vows to end its crackdown. we'll have a live report. that's coming up and a lot more news right here in "the situation room." [ female announcer ] in the grip of arthritis, back, or back joint pain?
1:56 pm
1:57 pm
aspercreme breaks the grip, with maximum-strength medicine
1:58 pm
and no embarrassing odor. break the grip of pain with aspercreme. jack's back with a "cafferty file." >> question this hour is should allegations of sexual harassment more than 12 years ago cost herman cain his run for the white house? bob writes the allegation should not run cain's candidacy, but how he handles it gives us some insight as to how he handles pressure. if he can't navigate through something like this, then how can he possibly handle the pressure of being president? meredith from seattle says of course not, jack. what should end his run is his lack of political experience and inability to clearly communicate his beliefs, policies and plans for the country. if i remember on hwere on his t shaking in my boots every time he was in front of a microphone.
1:59 pm
didn't cain himself mention something about affirmative action? any way, obama is a source of pride for african-americans. mostly because of his character, his clean track record of sex scandals. this charnl means nothing to cain's candidacy, but instead, what matters is the way he's dealing with it. that's because now he's demonstrating he has none of the above traits. somebody will vote for him, but not as many african-americans will. tom in atlanta says in this information age, i swear even mickey mouse couldn't get elected without having to defend his steam boat willie days. if cain quickly clears the air and puts it out there for the people to see and if he's clean, he has plenty of time to move on. if he's dirty, he's not the guy for the job. rusty on facebook. only if it's true or he continues to respond to questions about it with conflict lg answers and jimny writes, heck no. look at what sex did for bill
2:00 pm
clinton and teddy kennedy. bill's still a popular guy. when ted kennedy died, he was proclaimed the lion of the senate. i'm even waiting for john edwards to storm back on to the scene, but all the bad news coming out of washington these days the sex charges are a welcome relief. want to read more, go to my blog or to our facebook page. wolf? >> thank you. to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, sierra tells the arab league it will end its crack down on antigovernment protesters, but there are new deaths reported today in a hot spot of unrest. one of herman cain's accusers may be closer to going forward and now, a republican pollster says he witnessed inappropriate behavior by cain. and president obama takes a new detour around congress and the house speaker says, i'm quoting now, are you kidding me?
2:01 pm
welcome to our viewers in the united states and ornd the world. -- captions by vitac -- this stress on republican presidential candidate herman cain is starting to show. he's been in meetings behind closed doors for most of the day with republican lawmakers on capitol hill and elsewhere, a respite of sorts from reporter's questions about sexual harassment allegations. our joe johns has been following the controversy. he got sort of testy with journalists today, joe, and there's more coming out. >> certainly seem that is way. herman cain may have talked too much about this too soon is what we've been hearing from republican strategists and others, wolf. regardless of whether he is bound by an agreement, some experts say it's hard to keep a damage control effort on track
2:02 pm
if you start out with a bunch of seeming contra drixs. what was really behind this moment? all the lights and cameras behind him, pressure building and allow an accuser to go public with her allegations against him, and suddenly cain gets a little testy. >> don't even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, okay? don't even bother. >> sure, it's got to be frustrating, but if cain was also slamming the brakes on to save his campaign, it would be none too soon for many who say he's already put his foot in his mouth. chris mets lehr is a conservative independent who con summits for companies. >> crisis communication 101, you've got an issue, come out with the story. he's given at least five or six shifting accounts and that's why he finds himself in the position he's in. >> it turns out that the cain accuser whose lawyer is trying to shake her free from a
2:03 pm
nondisclosure agreement is not the only mystery guest in this confusing story. there's also a question about who leaked the details to reporters at politico who first broke the story, which could be important because some cain supporters claim it's a smear tactic to take out a strong black conservative. some say it's equally likely it came from someone in cain's own party. either another contender's campaign or some other republican who wanted this potential dirty laundry out in the open sooner rather than later. >> he lives to fight another day, i believe, so better to have this now and to if it's uncomfortable for him to go through it, well, this is politics and it matters, so i'm not sure i would even consider it a favor that somebody did bringing this out now. >> joel bennett, the lawyer for the complaint says it's his understanding the tip came from a current or former member of the board at the national
2:04 pm
restaurant association. we've reached out to the association, some current and former members just haven't gotten back to us on that. if you want to know how this is playing out in the country, it's still too early to tell. the latest poll doesn't give you any information on it. on the one hand, it does show a solid seven-point lead for cain, which is outside the margin of error, but this survey was taken almost entirely before the allegations of sexual harassment went public, so we've got to wait a little longer to see how it's playing out there, wolf. >> stand by, republican pollster now is comeing -- >> towards a female employee in the late '90s.
2:05 pm
he gave an interview on this to an oklahoma radio station and he confirmed to cnn what he said in the radio interview and he said wolf, that it was really only a matter of time because he said so many people were aware of what took place and aware of the situation, the fact that she left. everybody knew that this would eventually come up. so i think it's the circle, if you will, is getting a little bit larger. among people who claim to have some knowledge of inappropriate behavior. >> and it's certainly the legal part of this, jeffrey, you're with us as well. jeffrey toobin is joining us. jeffrey, as we take a closer look at these allegations, the fact that herman cain has said some things about one or both of these women who made these initial allegations, does that automatically nullify this
2:06 pm
confidentiality agreement? in other words, does this give one or both of these women the opening to speak out publicly because he as the former head of the national restaurant association already has? >> well, the problem with answering a question like that is that it all depends on what the agreement itself says. there is a general form for these agreements and i'm familiar with the general form, but i don't know if that's exactly what was signed here. usually, both sides are barred from speaking badly about the other. and it is not clear what the remedy is if one side breaches that. i mean frankly, these only -- it only matters, you know, the letter of the law of the contract, if there's litigation down the line. the odds that there will be litigation are extremely, extremely small. i think this woman, the woman who received this money, the two women have to decide do they want to expose themselves to the kind of criticism, ridicule,
2:07 pm
attacks they're going to get. that's really the question. it's not really a legal question at this point. nobody's going to sue them. nobody is going to try to enforce, take their money back 12 years later, but their question is do they want to get in the middle of this and start exposing themselves to what will be a lot of ugly attacks. >> would it be smart, dwlor area, politically speaking, for herman cain to go to the national restaurant association and say i waive my confidentiality. i'm authorizing you to go ahead and release all this information. women don't want to go forward. keep their names confidential. but from my standpoint, i have nothing to hide. i want to american people to know what's going on. i want to be the president of the united states. no more secrets. go ahead and let everyone know what happened ten or 12 years ago. >> i've thought all along that that was in fact what herman cain should do and there's been some discussion today that may be in fact what exactly he does intend to do.
2:08 pm
but you know, this is a political campaign. they're also worried about who leaked this. there are charges and counter charges flying. chris wilson is somebody who works for rick perry's super park and he told me in no uncertain terms because he knew he would come under criticism, he said, i had nothing to do with leaking this in any way, i've never discussed or shared this story with any of my clients, period. cain is pursuing two tracks. one, trying to figure out who leaked the story and two, trying to figure out how to manage the story and so far, we have no answers. >> and jeffrey, even if herman cain were to say that to the national restaurant association which he worked for from 1996 to 1999. he headed that lobbying
2:09 pm
organization. even if he said release the information, that doesn't necessarily mean they would. they can have their own reasons for not doing so. >> that's right. the national restaurant association, which is usually a somewhat low pro file organization. obviously, it has interests in certain issues. they do not want to be the focus of national attention. they, i assume and i am sure, want this whole thing to just go away. but cain, r again, if this is following the normal course, was not a signatory to this agreement. this was signed by the restaurant association yarks, so cain doesn't have the right to tell the association go ahead and release it. he can say, it's okay with me, but if it's just the restaurant association, they're going to have to decide it on their own and i think they're going to have to figure out what's better for them and their members. do they just dump this on the public and let the chips fall where they may or do they try to
2:10 pm
keep stone walling it? it's a tough call for them, but cain is not the ultimate authority here. >> good point. gloria and jeffrey, please stand by. new information coming in. just getting word we're about to get more information out on this. also, some other news we're watching including what's going on in syria. ben wiedeman is in cairo where the arab league has worked out an agreement with the syrian regime. much more news coming up. 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. ♪
2:11 pm
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.
2:12 pm
[ tires squeal ] 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
2:13 pm
the money to buy a car that's one model-year newer with 15,000 fewer miles on it. there's no other auto insurance product like it. better car replacement, available only from liberty mutual. it's a better policy that gets you a better car. call... or visit one of our local offices today, and we'll provide the coverage you need at the right price. liberty mutual auto insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? more on the herman cain story coming up, but right now, the syrian government is making some big, new promises to try to hold on to power and diffuse more than seven months of antigovernment unrest. the arab league announcing today that sierra has agreed to end its crack down on protesters and
2:14 pm
release jailed demonstrators. the big question is will president assad make good on his pledge to stop the violence? ben wedeman is covering all of this. he's joining us from cairo where the arab league was meeting. a lot of u.s. officials are saying and asking can they really believe the syrians. what exactly is going on, ben? >> reporter: well, wolf, this is the agreement that the syrian government reached with the arab league. very simple. covered those points that you mentioned, but there's still a variety of matters that aren't all together clear. for instance, this agreement calls for a meeting between the opposition and the syrian government. the syrian government is insisting that meeting be held in damascus, but of course, the opposition, which has seen too much blood in a sense, flow under the bridges in recent months doesn't really trust the syrian government. the arab league is proposing
2:15 pm
that this national dialogue be held in neutral ground here in cairo. that's just one of these points they can agree on. and of course, there just is sauch level of distus between the government and opposition that for instance, the government has in the past released small numbers of prisoners, but nothing compared to the total number they had behind bars. they have promised in the past to pull their forces out of syrian cities and towns, but that never really happens. so the feeling among many in the opposition is this is just a way to gain time. that the syrian government will continue to crackdown brutally on these antiregime protests. wolf? >> and there are reports, ben, as you well know, that even today as this agreement was being signed, the bloody crackdown was continuing and political prisoners, peaceful activists, still being round up. what are you hearing actually from the demonstrators, the
2:16 pm
opposition on the streets of cairo, excuse me, the streets of syria? >> reporter: one of the basic problems is wolf, there's a feeling among some of them is that al asaad, who really is a newcomer to syrian politics, isn't really in control of the country. he can tell his foreign minister to come to cairo and agree to this initiative, but on the ground, it's the syrian intelligence chiefs, the generals who are very shadowy, really calling the shots in syria. they're the ones who are conducting this bloody campaign against this antiregime movement in syria. wolf? >> ben wedeman in cairo for us. we'll stay in close touch with you. thank you. back to the top story here, what's going on with herman cain. allegations of sexual harassment by two women in the late 1990s when he led the national
2:17 pm
restaurant association. there are new developments coming in our friends at politico watching this story. they broke this story sunday night. jim vandehei is joining us now. this is a startling development because all of a sudden in your reporting it right now, herman cain is directly accusing someone of leaking, getting the story going the other day. tell us what he's saying and what is going on. >> he is accusing kurt anderson, a republican strategist who now works for rick perry, he believes that anderson's the root of these stories because he had worked for cain in one of his previous political campaigns. anderson, who we talked to, denied it. said he's definitely not the source. hasn't talked to anyone off the record about cain and respects him. >> and you guys aren't saying who tipped you off initially to the story, is that right?
2:18 pm
>> that is a very safe assumpti assumption, wolf. >> there's another development that you're breaking right now. i just got this from politico new ace lert coming in, about the associated press getting more information. tell us what's going on in this? >> i'd say there's three incremental developments on the allegation side of this story. the first, the associated press in the last hour has reported that a third woman not the two we discussed in our initial story, but a third woman has complained to them of inappropriate behavior by herman cain. we do not have confirmation, but that's what the ap is reporting and it appears to be based on one source. the person subjected to this alleged treatment by cain. we have two other incremental developments. one, there's this republican pollster in oklahoma who you guys have been talking about. chris wilson. what he told us is that he was
2:19 pm
the pollster at the time for the national restaurant association and that's where cain was ceo at the time. at a restaurant in crystal city, virginia, not far from where i am now, there was several people at a table and he was saying very inappropriate things to women at the table. so inappropriate, that people at the table were very uncomfo uncomfortable and told him to tamp it down. he's talk ed to a radio station in oklahoma, i think someone at cnn. the third development is a radio host. a fellow named steve daysy. he's told us that during a visit cain had said awkward and inappropriate to things to staffers at his radio station. did not provide anymore details, but did provad that on the record. all of these sort of build upon the story we wrote about of these two other women who have made allegations of
2:20 pm
inappropriate behavior by cain when he was at the national restaurant association between the years of 1996 and 1999. >> this third woman suggesting some inappropriate behavior. this third woman has gone public or not public? this third woman giving any specific details as far as we know? >> she is not. all i know about that, that's an ap report. an associated press report. i've read it. it appears to be based on one source and the source appears to be this woman who is subjected to the behavior by cain. so we have not confirmed that incident. in our reporting on this, we want to have at least two sources or somebody who can cob rate an allegation before going with it. that's what ap has on their side. the iowa radio host and the oklahoma pollster that you can find on politico right now. >> all right. jim vandehei, we'll stay in close touch with you. politico obviously all over this
2:21 pm
story. we're going to have much more this hour. thank you. let's go to jack cafferty. >> while millions of americans struggle under a weak economy, members of congress keep getting richer. a lot richer. role call reports that members of congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010. that was up an astonishing 25% from 2008. which was the height of the recession. and these wealth totals usually underestimate how rich congress really is because they don't include homes and other non income generating property which could come out to hundreds of millions of dollars more. this wealth is split fairly evenly between democrats and republicans. overall, about 200 members of members of congress are millionaires. there are even a handful of lawmakers worth hundred of millions of dollars. the analysis shows that 90% of
2:22 pm
congress's increase in wealth since 2008 benefitted the 50 richest members. sounds a lot like what's going on in the rest of the country. what a surprise. congress gets richer, faster than the rest of us. one economist says aggregate household worth went up 12% between 2008 and 2010. less than half of the increase congress saw. another suggests members of congress do better with their investments than the average american because they are privy to inside information. really? seriously? they'd take advantage of that, something that's clearly illegal for the rest of us? nah. they have next to nothing in common with the average american citizen and yet, we keep sending the same rat pack back there year after year. here's the question. what does it say when members of congress got 25% richer during the height of the recession?
2:23 pm
post a comment on my blog or go to our facebook page. >> thanks very much. we'll get back to you shortly. we're getting reaction from the herman cain campaign to these latest allegations. stand by. we'll bring that to you after this. also, our americans better off than they were four years ago? john boehner says he can't believe his ears when he hears the president of the united states. plus, the feds are going after a failing brokerage firm that reported millions of dollars missing. without warning?eone cs or when you're distracted? when you're falling asleep at the wheel? do you know how you'll react? lexus can now precisely test the most unpredictable variable in a car -- the driver. when you pursue perfection, you don't just engineer the world's most advanced driving simulator. you engineer amazing. ♪
2:24 pm
2:25 pm
2:26 pm
we are just getting a
2:27 pm
statement in from herman cain's campaign reacting to this report suggesting a third woman has now stepped forward making these allegations inappropriate conduct by herman cain. this statement according to j.d. gordon, the campaign spokesman tells cnn this. he says mr. cain has said over the past two days at public events that we could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues. j.d. gordon goes on to say he has never acted in the way alleged by inside the beltway media and his distinguished record over 40 years spent climbing the corporate ladder speaks for itself. he adds since his critics have not been successful in attacking his ideas, they are resorting to bitter, personal attacks. mr. cain deserves better. that statement coming from the
2:28 pm
spokesman. we'll have more coming up. it's escalating in dramatic ways today. other important news, new steps by president obama to try to repair bridges and roads, create jobs along the way across the country. his latest attempt to bypass congress is pouring more fuel on the tensions between the two parties in washington. let's bring in dan lothian with more. >> today, the president in both god and reagan, all part of his big push to create more jobs, bring down the unemployment rate. the backdrop today was the key bridge that spans from washington into virginia. it is according to the department of transportation, a bridge that needs some repair. does need some maintenance as well. the president believes thises the kind of project that can benefit from the transportation of his jobs bill that would pump about $50 billion in investments into roads and bridges. another 10 billion into an
2:29 pm
infrastructure bank. to make his point, he took a swipe at republicans an brought god into the debate. >> congress tells you they don't have time, they've got time to do it. we've been in the house of representatives, what have you guys been debating? john, you've been debating a commemorative coin for baseball? you have legislation -- reaffirming that in god we trust is our motto? that's not putting people back to work. i trust in god, but god wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work. >> republican house aide said those two things the president was referring to were procedural matters that look less than 20 minutes and the aide reporting
2:30 pm
there are more than 15 bills still stuck in the senate. i asked jay carney if it was a fair jab and here's what he had to say. >> whether it took 20 minutes or not, the fact is, they were out of town by 3:00 p.m. the point the president is making broadly is that if not for the president's insistence on pushing the american jobs act, would we be having a debate about jobs in washington? so, yeah, i think it's a fair jab if i do say so myself. >> the bottom line is that a lot of construction workers have lost their jobs because of what happened in the housing market the president believing that with investments in infrastructure, in transportation, that hurricandrf thousands of these construction workers can get back to work, wolf. >> thanks very much, dan lothian at the white house. let's continue this conversation with the former republican congressman from illinois, ray
2:31 pm
lahood. i want to get right to a direct comment the president made today on the republican leadership in the house and senate. listen to this. >> okay, so if the speaker of the house, republican leader in the senate, all the democrats, all say that this is important to do, why weren't we doing it? what's holding us back? let's get moving and put america back to work. >> always assumed looking at the president's proposal for a half a trillion dollars to create jobs, this is one area where republicans and democrats have always worked together. what's going on? >> too much politics, wolf. we need to set politics aside. hopefully, the senate will set politics aside tomorrow and pass the american jobs act. $50 billion and then a $10
2:32 pm
billion infrastructure bank. people all over america would go to work quickly. the $48 billion we received in economic stimulus money, we spent in two years and we put 65,000 people to work. in 15,000 projects. we've proved at d.o.t., you give us the money, we'll show you the jobs. you give us the money, we'll fix up infrastructure in america. people really trust in the fact that when d.o.t. has the money, we work with our partners out in the states and do a lot of good. most importantly, we put americans to work. >> if it goes down to defeat tomorrow, what happens? >> we're going to continue to press for the congress to pass a jobs bill, wolf. we need a jobs bill. everybody in america knows somebody who's unemployed. every family knows somebody. a family member that's unemployed. america's hurting. and the american jobs act, infrastructure, will put americans to work. there's no secret about how to do this.
2:33 pm
it's very simple. pass an infrastructure bill where we can build roads and bridges and runways and transit systems all over america. americans will go to work in american jobs building american's infrastructure. you know, wolf, transportation has also been bipartisan. it's never been about politics. and unfortunately, too much politics has intervened here and it's not fair to the american people. it's not fair to people unemployed. it's not fair to american workers. congress needs to pass a jobs bill. >> you were a republican congressman from illinois for a long time. one of the top republicans in the cabinet in the obama mrks. have you ever seen the atmosphere as poisonous as it is no washington now? >> it's the worst i've ever seen it. there's way too much politics. way too much gotcha politics and
2:34 pm
it's not fair to the american people. it's not fair to american workers, to people who are out of work and transportation has always been bipartisan. set aside the politics for one day, for one vote. just one vote to put americans to work building america's infrastructure. that's all we're asking. if congress were to put politics aside for one vote, for r one day, we could put americans to work. very quickly in good paying jobs, fixing up america's crumbling infrastructure. >> i want you to listen to the house speaker, john boehner, a man you know well. you worked with him for many years when you were in the house of representatives. listen to what he said today. >> the president has asked yesterday by an affiliate, american people were better off than before he took office. do you believe that sentiment? >> are you kidding me? why don't you go ask the $14
2:35 pm
million who are out of work. whether they're better off today than they were four years ago. >> are you kidding me? strong words from the speaker of the house. give us your sense. >> america's hurting, wolf. they really are and there's no question about it. the reason that congress is the lowest that they've ever been in the history, the 235-year history of congress, because they haven't done anything. they make great speeches about putting people to work. put away the speeches and take a vote. that's all we're asking. take a vote for american jobs for america's infrastructure. we've heard all the great speeches. we've heard all the ideas about how to put americans to work. now take the vote. now pass a bill. if you do that, americans will go to work. infrastructure will be rebuilt. people will have good paying jobs. and it will send a signal that we really do care about getting
2:36 pm
americans back to work. there's not a feeling about this in america right now. i think the president has shown he wants to do it and we wouldn't be having this debate, you and i talking about this on your show this evening if it hadn't been for the president going to cincinnati, traveling the country, really pushing the congress on one vote. a vote to put americans to work building america's infrastructure. it's not complicated, wolf. >> we'll see what happens. >> put politics aside and let's do it. >> we'll see what happens tomorrow, mr. secretary. thanks very much for coming in. erin burnett is standing by. we're going to speak with her. she had an spornt interview with newt gingrich today. we'll hear what he has to say about all of this and a lot more. stay with us. ♪ [ multiple snds ng melodic tune ]
2:37 pm
♪ [ malennounc ] at northrop grumman, makthworld a feplace. th's value performance. northr gruan. there's no time like the present to consider all your health insurance options.
2:38 pm
does medicare alone meet your needs? would additional coverage be better for you? well, now is a good time to take a look at an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. get started by calling for your free information kit and guide to medicare. as you probably know, medicare only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. a medicare supplement insurance plan helps cover some of it. that could save you up to thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket costs. and you can visit any doctor who accepts medicare patients. with medicare supplement insurance, you'll find a range of plans to choose from to fit your needs and budget. there are no networks. no referrals to see a specialist. and you could get a pretty good idea what your out-of-pocket costs will be every month. plus, these plans travel with you anywhere in the u.s. don't let this time go by without considering if an aarp medicare supplement
2:39 pm
insurance plan is right for you. it's as easy as a phone call. rates are competitive. and these are the only medicare supplement insurance plans exclusively endorsed by aarp. remember, medicare doesn't cover everything. medicare supplement insurance plans help pay for some of the rest. you could save up to thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket costs. and you can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts medicare patients. an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan could be an option to get the coverage you need at a competitive rate. so don't wait another minute. be sure to call today. call now for your free medicare guide and information kit about aarp medicare supplement insurance plans, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company.
2:40 pm
a family brokerage firm is in the cross hairs over millions in missing money. questions about possible wrong doing emerging as well. lisa sylvester has been reporting on this. what's the latest? >> wolf, there was a hearing in u.s. bankruptcy court in new york. it just wrapped up within the last few minutes and we learned that the amount of the missing money now stands at $600 million. the judge in that case agreed to a motion overseeing mf global to transfer some 50,000 mf global accounts to other firms. those accounts up to know have been frozen. meanwhile, the trustee and its forensic accountants have been at the offices of mf global trying to figure out where did the money go? cnn has learned federal regulators investigating mf global have voted to issue subpoenas to company executives.
2:41 pm
the position is trying to unravel what happened to more than $600 million in customer accounts that the company earlier this week reported missing. among those worried is jim middling, a customer who has about $100,000 in a brokerage account with mf global that is now frozen. >> if they invaded my funds, used it for their own benefit. that's really a serious criminal act. >> mf global was run by former senator and governor jon corzine before its collapse this week. the firm invested more than $6 billion in european sovereign debt and was heavily exposed. the large commodities exchange has said the company failed to keep separate its customer accounts from its corporate funds. >> the segregation of customer fund ss the bedrock upon which
2:42 pm
the industry is built and there are regulators and others who supervise that segregation. >> employees are still showing up for work and a bankruptcy judge granted the company an $8 million lifeline to keep them afloat until mid november. jpmorgan and deutsche bank hold more than a million each. but jim says it's the loss of trust from its main street crust mers. >> they've undermined the entire integrity of the system of protections and balances from the clearinghouse down to the segregated accounts. >> now, there is a website that has been set up for customers. it's if there is missing money, the corporation will cover up to $500,000 in potential customer losses. >> thank you.
2:43 pm
newt gingrich comes in third in a new poll. he's talking to our own erin burnett about the volatile race and more. stand by. ♪ ♪ walk, little walk ♪ small talk, big thoughts ♪ gonna tell them all just what i want ♪ ♪ i said don't stop, don't stop ♪ ♪ don't stop talking to me [ male announcer ] the most headroom per dollar of any car in america. the all-new nissan versa sedan. from $10,990. innovation upsized. innovation for all. ♪
2:44 pm
2:45 pm
2:46 pm
an interview with our own erin burnett, erin joining us with a preview. what did he say about this, erin? >> i asked him about the latest back and forth in this herman cain situation where wolf, as you know, herman cain accused kurt anderson, who advised anymore 2004, but now works for rick perry, anderson has denied it, but i asked newt gingrich what he would think if it turned out that someone in the perry campaign had been involved and he did in the mince words. >> i have no idea. i would say if it turns out that a republican presidential candidate deliberately went out and created this kind of a story about a fellow candidate, that they would pretty rapidly become a pariah among the rest of us
2:47 pm
and they better fire the people who did it. >> in the next 24 hours, wolf. he was pretty passionate about that and there's been a lot of back and forth. so the speaker talked about that. we also had a very frank conversation about his desire to cut tax rate to an optional flat tax of 15%. obviously, that is something that would be far from revenue neutral, wolf. i had done the math on rick perry's 20% tax rate, which would require an additional $892 billion in cuts. just to hit his limits in the first year. obviously, gingrich with a lower tax rate would require more. he also talked about his recent rise to the polls and the thing that's been interesting is the president's jump in the polls, which seems to me to be linked to the fact that despite the loom and gloom, you had the
2:48 pm
economy growing faster and positive market moves. that has effected confidence a little bit even though it's far from enough. he talked about that as well. >> we just got a statement in from the kerry, the rick perry campaign. ray sullivan saying no one at our campaign was involved in this story in any way. any claim to the contrary is pantly false. the first we learned of it was when we learned of the story in politico. so, there's a lot moving. i'm sure you're going to update our viewers at 7:00 p.m. eastern. erin will be watching for all the latest on that front and so many other fronts as well. thank you. jack cafferty is asking, so what does it say when members of congress got 25% richer during the height of the recession? and it's bottoms up in iran just ahead as well. jeanne moos with the video that's going viral. you name it.
2:49 pm
i've tried it. but nothing helped me beat my back pain. then i tried salonpas. it's powerful relief that works at the site of pain and lasts up to 12 hours. salonpas.
2:50 pm
2:51 pm
let's check in with jack once again for the cafferty file. >> question this hour, what does it say when members of congress got 25% richer during the height of the recession, between 2008
2:52 pm
and 2010? lenny in illinois says, "they're playing with a stacked deck of cards. they're in a position to manipulate the game and they set us up to fail so they benefit. that's what happens when you have too much power and you're not accountable to anyone and you get to make the rules. this is no accident. it's a well-thought out fleecing." rick in detroit writes, "it's called insider trading. remember that whole debt ceiling thing? when you know what laws are going into effect at a certain time, it's easy to short sell your stocks and make a profit, because you can create anxiety in the markets and then alleviate that anxiety afterwards. honest people try to follow the market. but markets are dictated by policies that are influenced by lobbyists. therefore, why wouldn't congress be 25% richer?" bud writes, "don't think it means that much, jack. most of these people are pretty well off to start, and let's face it, with the kind of cash they have available, they can growth their wealth with pretty conservative investment portfolio.
2:53 pm
but you have to have money to start with. the insider trading charge, i doubt. some might take the chance, but by and large, i think most do not. "david on facebook, "we ought to throw them all out now. if you happen to be in the house of representatives, you only have to work two days a week for your $174,000 annual salary plus solid gold benefits. peg in new york, "it says that we are a nation dangerously out of whack, jack." and susan writes, "it means i'm sick to my stomach. and we elect and pay these people to work for our needs, but they don't even know who we are." if you want to read more, go to my blog, or through our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. wolf? >> thanks very much, jack, for that. we're also just learning about a new pill being hailed as a major milestone in the fight against siss cystic fibrosis.
2:54 pm
lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room". >> a new study shows the drug helps women with cystic fibrosis to gain lung function, and fight other aspects of the disease. there is no cure for cystic fibrosis and most people die before they turn 40. new video into cnn showing the rescue of six would-be unauthorized immigrants who got stuck in a tunnel leading from mexico to san diego. authorities spotted people entering a manhole overnight on the mexican side. there were no serious injuries. and victor booth, the russian arms trafficker known as the merchant of death has been convicted by a federal jury in new york on four counts of conspiring to kill americans and provide material support to a terrorist organization. he was arrested for trying to sell surface-to-air missiles to undercover agents. wolf? >> lisa, thank you. two soccer players in iran now the butt of a lot of jokes.
2:55 pm
jeanne moos is next with the video that's going viral. is this a chevy volt? [ 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. at liberty mutual, we know how much you count on your car and how much the people in your life count on you.
2:56 pm
that's why we offer accident forgiveness, man: good job. where your price won't increase due to your first accident. we also offer a hassle-free lifetime repair guarantee, where the repairs made on your car are guaranteed for life or they're on us. these are just two of the valuable features you can expect from liberty mutual. plus, when you insure both your home and car with us, it could save you time and money. at liberty mutual, we help you move on with your life. so get the insurance responsible drivers like you deserve. looks really good. call us at... or visit your local liberty mutual office, where an agent can help you find the policy that's right for you. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
2:57 pm
what are these guys doing? [ horn honks ] could you please not honk while this guy's telling me about his chevy volt? is that that new... is that the electric car? yeah. but it takes gas too. ask him how much he spends on gas. how much does he spend on gas? how much do you spend on gas? how much do i spend on gas? if i charge regularly, i fill up like once a month. he only has to fill up about once a month. [ woman ] wow. that's amazing. aspercreme breaks the grip, with maximum-strength medicine and no embarrassing odor. break the grip of pain with aspercreme.
2:58 pm
it's the squeeze that's going viral. here's cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: giving your teammates a hand to celebrate does not include a hand on the butt. not in iran. call it a fanny pat, call it goosing, a bottom pinch, a butt squeeze. it's called immoral in iran. iran's most popular team was celebrating a goal. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: apparently it's okay to kiss, but don't try this. yikes! number 13 jumped and so did the video, to youtube, in slow-motion and with a helpful arrow. number 13 was also seen giving not quite as good as he got, a more subtle butt grab, but nonetheless, caught on camera. the two bottom pinchers got more
2:59 pm
than a spanking. the iranian football federation say both have been banned indefinitely from all football activities for commits immoral acts. and talk about getting squeezed. each player was fined almost $40,000. a member of iran's parliament called ate very ugly thing. guy-on-guy contact isn't appreciated there. remember what iran's president said. >> translator: in iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. >> that got a laugh from the audience at columbia university. >> reporter: here in the u.s., we don't penalize butt grabbing, we honor it. take, for instance, the 25 greatest butt grabbing moments in sports history, compiled on a blog. the more blatant the butt grab, the more popular. there are butt pats between the sexes and between celebrities, on the stage and in the movies. >> good