tv The Situation Room CNN August 8, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT
but drug makers can sometimes skirt those bans by modifying ingredients. and penn state is tweaking its football uniforms in the wake of the jerry sandusky scandal. a blue ribbon on every uniform will now signify support for victims of child abuse. and for the very first time football players' last names will also be featured on the jerseys. former assistant coach sandusky was convicted in june of more than 40 counts of sex abuse. i'm alina cho. i'll be back with you tomorrow. "the situation room" with wolf blitzer starts right now. alina, thanks very much. happening now, the president campaigns wage a nasty battle over welfare. mitt romney takes heat for his claims against president obama. but he's stepping up the attack. it turns out the sikh temple gunman actually killed himself after being shot by police. we have all the late-breaking details. and we'll show you the latest extraordinary pictures from nasa's mars rover and the mock-up of the vehicle scientists are using here on
earth. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." mitt romney is using ads, web videos, speeches to hammer away at president obama on welfare. romney is taking a lot of heat though over his claims about the administration's policies, but with support from an unlikely ally he's raising the stakes today. here's our national political correspondent jim acosta. >> reporter: wolf, mitt romney is not backing away from his accusation that president obama is trying to make it easier for the poor to receive welfare checks and to help make his case he's getting some help from an old rival. >> they just send you your welfare check. >> reporter: even though his ad accusing the president of weakening work requirements for welfare recipients got a pants on fire from politifact and four
pinocchios from "the washington post," mitt romney is doubling down on the claim. >> this is to help people go to work so they can stop drawing a welfare check and start drawing a paycheck. >> reporter: the new video not only touts president clinton who signed welfare reform back in the '90s, but also features a young state senator barack obama speaking out against it. >> i was not a huge supporter of the federal plan that was signed in 1996. >> reporter: in iowa romney said that only bolsters his claim that this memo guts the work requirements in clinton's law by offering waivers to states implementing the program. >> now he's president. and just a few days ago he put that original intent in place with a very careful executive action, he removed the requirement of work from welfare. >> reporter: but that accusation drew a harsh rebuke from clinton himself who said in a statement, romney's original ad is not
true. when asked about clinton's comments, romney declined to respond. but ron has kins, a former republican congressional staffer who helped draft welfare reform says romney's wrong about the waivers. >> the purpose of the waiver is to help more people get off welfare by getting employment or to help people get better jobs. >> reporter: romney is getting support from one of his old rivals, newt gingrich, who sounded a similar theme during the primaries when he called mr. obama a food stamp president. >> it's not just obama's radical but the people are even more radical. i don't think they thought it would be a big deal. >> reporter: the welfare offensive comes as a new poll shows most americans still don't have a favorable view of romney. ron haskins says the president's advisors should have seen the attack a mile away. >> if i were a political advisor to the president, i would say you better not do this now because republicans are going to
claim you're trying to undermine the welfare reform legislation. and that's exactly what republicans are doing. >> reporter: and it's not just romney and gingrich making these claims. other republicans in congress and even the party itself have picked up this banner, a sign that this issue could be here to stay. wolf. >> jim acosta, thanks very much. in the next hour i'll be speaking live with newt gingrich. he's here in "the situation room." with the republican convention only a few weeks away, the clock is certainly ticking on mitt romney's search for a running mate. campaigning for romney today, one of the presumed favorites, former minnesota governor tim pawlenty said romney has a crop of unbelievably talented wonderful people. as to who romney will choose, pawlenty says, and i'm quoting once again, we'll know soon enough. joining us now cnn contributor ryan lizzie, what are the pros and cons of pawlenty, for example, getting this pick? >> i think pawlenty of the three that everyone's talking about right now, and we should say
sometimes the people we talk about are not the ones that are being talked about in boston, he represents outside washington. he has this outside washington quality. two governors on the ticket. he's competent. he had relatively successful tenure as governor and he doesn't make a lot of mistakes. he's a pretty on-message guy. >> i've heard from some of romney's folks that one of the problems with pawlenty is when he accused him of having obamneycare. that's a sound bite that could come back to hount a potential vice presidential running mate. >> i think the criticism the guys make before they're chosen melts away. you have the old sound bite versus the guy standing now next to romney supporting him. just like the bill clinton thing with obama we just saw. you have the old comments but you also have his current comments supporting obama. i think that tends to fade away. the big picture on the vp is it's not so much about the candidate or running mate, it
tells us about what's on the top. they voted in 2008 for barack obama. they thought about what did it tell us about obama with his vp bik e pick. >> you believe pawlenty is one of the final three. but paul ryan, the impressive republican you have a new piece about him and you think he's one of the final three as do i. you quote him as saying this, romney's already endorsed these things -- referring to what he is proposing, i want a full-throated defense for an alternative agenda that fixes the country's problems. i want to show the country that we have a solution to get us out of the ditch we're in and to be proud about it. it sort of sounds a little like paul ryan could be challenging mitt romney a little bit. could he upstage him, if you will, if he were the running mate given the clout he has on the hill? >> that was the context of it. he wants romney to basically run on what the ryan budget, which is a pretty controversial budget but passed the house of
representatives with almost every republican voting for it. i think pawlenty and ryan are the two polls here. depending on what romney's theory of this election is, he would go with someone like pawlenty or someone as ryan. if his theory is the economy is terrible, there's going to be a referendum on obama and he has to be the sort of default republican standing there once the country sours on obama, i think it goes with someone safe like pawlenty. if he thinks things are getting better, he needs something big and bold, maybe high riskbut high reward, go with someone like ryan, make it an ied logical debate. >> i still think and thought this for a while that ohio senator rob portman, i think he's one of the final three as well, i still think he has the best shot. that's just me. i have no inside information. it's just the gut. >> he's the one a lot of republican establishment types really seem to like. very smart. long resume. been around a while. doesn't make mistakes. the downside is his association
with the bush administration. barack obama wants to tie romney to the bush years. and portman would let him do that to a certain extent. >> and the other names that have been out there, whether marco rubio, bobby jindal, john thune, you can they're all pushed to the sidelines? >> i don't think so. i think it's been such a black box, they've been so difficult to penetrate that i think there's just as good a chance someone that we're not actually talking about someone today, wolf. >> i know there was a lot of pressure for romney to make the selection before he begins his bus trip next week. although i'm hearing maybe that's going to be delayed until mid-next week. >> yeah. we just don't know at this point. >> well, we'll wait and see. >> we didn't -- sarah palin was not on our lips at this moment in 2008. i don't think joe biden was the leading contender as well. so i think we should be ready for surprise. >> a surprise would be good, you know? i like surprises in our business. that's always exciting. thanks very much, ryan. thanks for coming in.
good article in the new yorker magazine. while mitt romney's busy slamming obama's record, the president today is going after the record of his republican predecessor and touting his own accomplishments. listen to this from a campaign speech earlier in the day in denver. >> when it comes to the economy, it's bad enough that our opponents want to take us back to the same policies of the last decade, the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place, the same policies that saw jobs going overseas and ended up seeing people's wages and incomes going downeven as the cost of everything from health care to college were going up, policies that culminated the worst financial crisis since the great depression and we've spent now three and a half years trying to recover from. that's bad enough. but when it comes to a woman's right to make her own health care choices, they want to take us back to the policies mo suited to the 1950s than the
21st century. [ cheers and applause ] and, colorado, you've got to make sure it does not happen. four years ago i delivered on my promise to pass health reform before the end of my first term. that's what we did. the affordable care act also known as obama care -- [ cheers and applause ] -- i actually like the name because i do care. >> we're going to have much more on the political scene coming up later. but we're also getting new information on just how the sikh temple gunman died. brian todd is standing by, he'll have details from wisconsin. that's coming up at the half hour. and nasa's rover raises its mast to take a stunng
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president. according to gallup's economic confident index, july was the second monthly decline in a row. this after economic confidence actually improved during the first five months of the year. the index measures the current economic conditions and the country's economic outlook. americans were more pessimistic about both of those things during july. 59% say the economy's getting worse. that's the lowest rating of 2012 so far. americans declining economy confidence due to several factors including weaker jobs reports, last month's report notwithstanding. and europe's ongoing economic trouble. meanwhile, a new report suggests the shaky economy is hitting babyboomers especially hard. a survey by aarp, the association of retired persons shows high economic anxiety extending far beyond the issue of jobs for pre-retirement boomers between the ages of 50
and 64. no surprise a lot worry about retirement. only one-third of these baby boomers are hopeful or confident that they'll reach their financial goals. a third, almost three-fourths think they'll have to put off retirement and over half think they'll never be able to retire. sad. many baby boomers are left with smaller pensions than they expected, more stress and health care and the costs of caring for other family members. the aarp also recently reported that more than 3 million older americans over the age of 50 are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure due to the housing crisis. here's the question, as the election gets closer, are you more or less confident in the u.s. economy? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment there. or go to our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. wolf. >> you remember, jack, that question ronald reagan asked in 1980 when jimmy carter was the incumbent, are you better off
now than four years ago? a lot of people said no. that's why reagan was presumably elected as you well remember. >> if you ask that question today looking back at the financial crisis of 2008, a lot of people might answer that question differently this time around because we were at the edge of an abyss four years ago. >> right. dow jones was below and people at least invest in the stocks are better off than they were four years ago. what goes up can still go down. >> absolutely. >> jack, thank you. other news we're following, nasa's engineers just switched on better cameras aboard the new mars rover "curiosity" giving us the clearest views yet of the martian surface. cnn's john zarrella is at the jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena, california, where the lander is being controlled. these are amazing pictures. it's amazing to think how they can control that rover from where you are. >> reporter: yeah, absolutely, wolf. and some of those images that
came down today you have the mosaic -- the full frame mosaic that shows literally the gale crater wall in the distance. in the forefront you can see part of the rover itself sitting there. and also the first little thumbnails of a panorama that they're going to be putting together. and a lot of those came from a mass cam. where i'm standing now, a lot of people call this, wolf, the sand box. what you see behind me is an absolute duplicate of the rover "curiosity." it's the engineering model. and it shadows "curiosity." everything that "curiosity" doe on mars, this vehicle will do. and vandy thompkins is joining me. you helped develop rover and now you are a rover driver and everybody always says a rover driver, well, that's cool. but nobody really understands what it means to drive the rover
on mars. tell us how you do it. >> so, actually we don't command the rover with a joy stick or a steering wheel in realtime. what we do because of the time delay from mars, if we were to do that, by the time we would see we were at the edge of a cliff, the rover would have driven off of it. so instead we create an entire sequence of commands that tell the rover -- say we want to go in a certain direction, we'll say drive one meter this way, turn, take a picture to see if you've gone as far as we wanted you to go, maybe go extra if you haven't, and then once it's done it might take a picture of its surroundings and e-mail it back to us. essentially it's sending it back. and then the rover goes to sleep. and while -- when we get those images like the ones that you're talking about that you saw, we analyze them, look at them and decide where in that image we have something interesting and create a line. >> reporter: based on that you come up with a plan that say,
okay, vandy, we want you to drive it over there. >> not just me. >> reporter: well, an entire team. >> that's right. >> reporter: we're talking about the camera. show us. this is the camera up in here, right? >> that's right. so the images you saw today were taken by the cameras up there on the mast. this is the mast that until yesterday was deployed. so this mast was laying back there. if you look at that casing there, it was flat across. and that's how it landed. and then one time only we deploy the mast. >> reporter: it will stay up now for the duration of the mission. >> it will stay up there for the duration of the mission and we took pictures from it. the very first pictures you saw were from the rear. and the second set were from the front haz cam. they allow you to see the terrain right in front and give you a sense of the winds. >> reporter: this here is actually the drill and everything else. this is the arm here. >> this is the robotic arm. and it's stowed. it's stowed like this. this is joint one attached all the way. so when we unstow the arm, it rotates it off.
there's a bunch of hnges in which it's locked. it will rotate and come up to this position. we haven't done that yet. >> reporter: that will be a while before you do that. >> yes. >> reporter: it's incredibly complex. for anybody out there who thinks this is a simple machine, wolf, look at this. i mean, all of this is exactly -- the wiring and everything that's on "curiosity." one of the things we were talking about is this is exactly how it landed, right? the wheels are in this position? >> that's correct. this vehicle is exactly the configuration the wheels are as the real. >> reporter: vandy, thank you so much for taking time to be with us. wolf, again, you can see everything "curiosity" does is mimicked by this rover. if in fact they were to get in some trouble on mars, they can come here, use this rover to try and figure out what they need to do to get out of that problem. so they'll be using this for the entire two years plus that "curiosity" will be working on mars, wolf. >> they've got a lot to do over
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lisa sylvester's monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's going on, lisa? >> so, wolf, this july wasn't only hotter than usual, it is actually the hottest july since the government started keeping records back in 1895. the darker areas on this map show where july's temperatures were the furthest above average. basically we're talking the drought-stricken u.s. heartland. and french millionaires are
getting nervous about a tax increase proposed by the country's new socialist president. 75% on incomes of more than a million euros a year. that's about $1.25 million dollars. the tax would hit a maximum of 30,000 of france's 65,000 people. you can bet those 30,000 people are thinking about moving away. and china just hit by its third hurricane in a week, they call them typhoons. the latest hit near shanghai in a populous region. hundreds of thousands of people were forced to relocate and 500 flights from shanghai's airports were canceled. wow, look at that rain. that is something else, wolf. >> very much so, lisa, thank you. today the fbi released new details about the wisconsin temple shooting including word that the gunman actually killed himself. and we'll discuss the poll numbers showing president obama with a slight lead in a pair of crucial swing states while mitt romney leads in another one. ffe. like how a little oil from here
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today we learned wade michael page, the gunman who killed six people in a sikh temple in wisconsin killed himself just after being shot by police. brian todd is in the suburb of oak creek, wisconsin, following the investigation for us. brian, what's the latest? >> reporter: well, wolf, we have new information now about a woman in the shooter's life and as you mentioned dramatic new
details on his final moments. in the crucial moments when police were trying to neutralize him, we now learn suspect wade michael page was first shot in the stomach by a police officer. then -- >> it appears that page died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. >> reporter: officials say they still can't find a motive. no specific clues on why page went on a shooting rampage killing six worshippers at the sikh temple of wisconsin. but they do have an idea of what brought him to the milwaukee area. >> he was probably here because of his relationship with her, i'm not going to get into why they broke up. >> reporter: that's misty cook, identified as page's ex-girlfriend. she was arrested this week on an unrelated weapons charge. law enforcement officials are looking at connections that cook, like page, had with white supremacist groups as these pictures show. but on the sikh temple shootings. >> we do not believe she had anything to do with it. >> reporter: but the hate group connection to this case has police on ge. we went to the home of the police officer who shot wade
michael page seeking an interview. he declined. and as we were pulling away from his house we were quickly surrounded by police vehicles. they ran background checks as two officers stood by our vehicle hands on holsters. we later learned police are concerned about possible retaliation against that officer from white supremacist groups. the police tell us they don't have information on any specific threat to that officer. i spoke with the head of wisconsin's biggest police union. will this officer have to move? will he have to change his phone number? >> i'm not aware that anything like that would occur at this time. obviously this event is going to continue to unfold and we're going to learn more about wade michael page and the people within he was affiliated. >> reporter: how long do you think this officer will have to be protected? >> that's a good question. the more we know about wade michael page and the more we learn about him and his background, i think that would determine what kind of cautionary measures are taken going forward. >> reporter: now, we felt the concern by police over this officer's safety was an
important angle to bring out. but because of the sensitivity of this, we are not identifying that officer nor giving any other specific details about him. wolf. >> that's a good idea. brian, can you give us anymore detail though on the arrest of the ex-girlfriend, this misty cook? >> reporter: yes, we can. we have learned that they went to talk to her -- officials went to talk to her on sunday at her place of residence to talk to her about michael page. when they were there they searched her residence and found she possessed a firearm. because she's a convicted felon, she's not allowed to have a firearm. she was convicted previously on traffic-related charges. and those charges of course unrelated to this case. but because she was a convicted felon and possessed a firearm, they had to arrest her on that charge. they've since released her. that again has nothing to do with this investigation and they say they believe now that she had nothing to do with the shootings. >> brian todd's covering the story for us in oak creek. thanks, brian, very, very much. since 9/11 americans have been focused on the threat posed
by international terror networks, radical islamists. but does the wisconsin rampage signal a greater threat by domestic extremists? listen to this. and peter berger, our national security analyst is joining us here in "the situation room." peter, you wrote an important article on cnn.com suggesting that the home-grown white supremisist or neo-nazi are more of a danger than al qaeda. >> pose roughly the same threat if we look at since 9/11. obviously 9/11 is a different matter. but we've seen eight incidents by people motivatedy right wing ideology and four by al qaeda ideology. the total death toll is not dissimilar. so in all saying that either of them pose a mortal threat to the united states certainly. the number of people being killed in these attacks is
relatively small. but that said when people think of terrorism, they shouldn't automatically think of al qaeda. they should think of right wing terrorism. there's also ecoterrorists and animal rights liberation that haven't done lethal terror attacks but done property damage. >> trying to keep this in perspective. let me read you a department of homeland security report released in 2009. returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right wing extremists, dhs, department of homeland security, ina, which is the office of intelligence and analysis at dhs is concerned that right wing extremists will attempt to recruit and internalize radical to boost their violent capabilities. do you agree with that? >> i think that's a very legitimate concern. think about timothy mcvay, wade michael page in wisconsin on sunday, a military veteran. i think that's a very legitimate
concern. >> so this military training, do you think some of these extremists they go into the military to obtain the training and then go out and do what they want to do? or they're in effect militarized by the military? >> you know, i don't want to hazard a guess on that one, wolf. obviously mcvay had long left the military when he did oklahoma city. wade michael page had also long left the military. but having some military training doesn't hurt if you want to go out and kill people. >> so the question is, what can be done about all of this? here's what mark potok of the southern poverty law center told me in "the situation room" yestery. >> i really don't see any fault in law enforcement in this. i don't see how they might have prevented it. you know, there are just a number of people out there and some tiny percentage of them will ultimately act on those beliefs, but when they're lone wolf terrorists like this fella, page, it's almost impossible to
predict. >> law enforcement always worried about first amendment rights. you can say anything you want. the question is, do you cross the line? >> yeah. in this case, in the case of wade michael page, it looks like he didn't cross the line. indications of major nadal hasan was in touch with the yemen american cleric in yemen and anwar to kill soldiers and i think in that case the fbi should have taken the pro-active stance. by the time he was in touch in asking for this kind of advice. but mistakes are made. obviously first amendment rights are very important to protect. >> peter bergen, as usual, thanks very much. >> thank you, wolf. voters in some all-important swing states are sending a mixed message today. more of them think mitt romney's better for the economy but most
think president obama cares more about them. we'll discuss in our strategy session. that's next. our next hour right here? "the situation room," the former speaker, newt gingrich, he joins me to talk about one of the newest flash points in the presidential campaign, welfare reform. like others who braved the sky before her, it took a mighty machine, and plain old ingenuity to go where no fifth grader had gone before. ♪ and she flew and she flew, into the sky and beyond. my name is annie and i'm the girl who dreamed she could fly. powered by intel core processors. ♪ [ male announcer ] you work hard. stretch every penny. but chances are you pay a higher tax rate than him... mitt romney made twenty million dollars in two thousand ten but paid only fourteen percent in taxes... probably less than you now he has a plan that would give millionaires another tax break...
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new polls show president obama with slight leads in two all-important swing states while mitt romney's ahead in another. the polls shows romney with a five-point lead in colorado while the president's ahead in virginia and wisconsin. joining us now our democratic strategist and cnn political contributor donna brazile along with republican strategist and cnn contributor ana navarro. were you surprised, donna, by
ese poll numbers that the president's ahead in wisconsin and virginia but behind in colorado right now? >> no, wolf, i'm not surprised. this race is going to be a very close race across the country. of course the battleground states, the nine or ten states where they're running millions and millions of dollars in advertisement, that's where all the focus is right now. these national polls really don't matter. it tells us what the sauce is but not what the flavor is at the moment. i do suspect that mitt romney is doing a little bit better in some of these states given the what i like to consider all of the advertisement they've been running throughout the olympics, i try to look at the olympics every night, but of course these ads are distracting. so i turn them off and go get something cold to drink. >> a lot of people are probably with you on that. ana, look at these numbers. we're digging deeper into these three important battground states. the question is who cares more about your needs and problems? in colorado obama 52, romney 47.
in virginia obama 59, romney 44. in wisconsin, obama 57, romney 41. the folks in all three states, they think the president cares a lot more about your needs and problems than romney. what do you make of that? >> well, they should, wolf, because there have been millions and millions and millions of dollars running in those swing states against mitt romney. the obama campaign made a strategic decision and for the last three, four months, they have been bombarding us with money and with ads in the swing states. why? because mitt romney has no money to spend. he spent all his primary money during the primary. and though he's sitting in a heap of money and the tables are about to turn, he can't start spending his general money until the day he gets nominated. and so for the last few months and weeks the obama campaign has been taking advantage of that to define mitt romney early. the big question is going to be, is it sustainable?
and also, why aren't the numbers better? we have seen so many ads that are very harsh attacks trying to paint him as the unlikable rich guy who's out of touch, who kills women of cancer. you know, so it's just -- that's the question. are they going to be able to sustain it? >> let's not forget though there are a lot of pro-romney super pacs that are spending millions, tens of millions of dollars trying to help them in those swing states and elsewhere. look at these numbers, donna, we're also digging deeper, these numbers not necessarily so good for the president. which of these two candidates' policies will help your financial situation in colorado, obama gets 22%, romney 34%. in virginia 26% for obama, 28% for romney and wisconsin 22% for obama and 28% for romney. romney is doing slightly better than the president, donna. >> wolf, there's no question that conservative measure the
president against their fears, liberals against their hopes and the rest of us against our paychecks and president obama has to continue to convince the people that over the last three and a half years we've gotten out of the fiscal ditch the republicans have put us in. the same ditch they want to bring us back to. we're on a slow road to recov y recovery. the only way to speed it up is to get the republicans to work with the democrats to bring about a full recovery for the entire american people. i just want to respond, look, the reason why mitt romney's favorabilities are not high is because he ran a very negative campaign during the primaries. and over the last couple of months he's basically taken his entire bio off the table. we can't talk about bain. we can't talk about his tenure as governor of massachusetts. we can't talk about his faith. we're basically left to just talk about his tenure at the olympics. and we don't tk a lot about that either. >> when do you think, ana, romney will name his vice presidential running mate? >> i think it's going to be in the next couple of days.
i think it might be as soon as tomorrow or the next day before this weekend. and i think donna has a point. and mitt romney has some very good opportunities coming up very soon to make the sale, to get himself better known by the american people. we have the convention speech coming up. we have debates coming up. and we have a period where mitt romney's going to be able to spend -- outspend, actually, barack obama. he has been able to outfund raise obama in the last two months. and that money is going to get spent. >> it's wasted money. you guys have been spending money for three years saying the same thing and everybody is tuning you out because old song but no music. >> when you had more money, you spent it all. when we have more money, we're going to spend it too. >> don't throw good money after bad results. i wouldn't spend a dime on mitt romney. >> well, they're going to have a lot of money to spend, donna, as you know right after the republican convention when mitt romney officially gets the nomination. they can unleash tens of millions if not hundreds of millions -- >> hundreds of millions.
>> -- of dollars. it's going to be a powerful weapon that he will have in the final two months before the election. ladies, thanks to both of you for coming in. >> thank you. getting to the truth about a harsh attack on mitt romney. i'm going to ask the co-founder of a pro-obama super pac about the inaccuracies of the latest ad coming up in our 6:00 p.m. eastern hour. bill burton, former white house press secretary for the president will be joining us live. ahead, a way to get out of the airport more quickly without worrying about your checked bags, if, if, you're willing to pay. [ ross ] we are in the dades gorge,
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jack cafferty's back with the cafferty file. jack. >> the question this hour, wolf, is with the election getting closer, are you more or less confident in the u.s. economy? new hampshire writes the economy's improving slowly but steadily. even the real estate market's getting better. we were on the verge of another great depression in the fall of 2008. and it will take years to recover. overall though i'm optimistic. george in pennsylvania says with uncertainty comes fear. unless one party controls both the house and senate after the election, there's little chance for any improvement. jeff in georgia, mr. cafferty, since left wing economic policy has been and always will be a failure, i'll have confidence in the economy once every liberal is jet sinned this november. wouldn't take much to send the
economy into a tail spin and based on what i'm reading and hearing right now, we might be right on the edge. david in virginia says i've always had confidence in the u.s. economy. it's a formidable machine for generating jobs, wealth, opportunity and innovation. i get very distressed when our economy's hobbled by uncertainty and political gamesmanship among our leaders, he puts in quotes. they have no practical vision which they're willing to share outside of campaign sound bites. absent that backdrop our economy will drift and has. and ed writes from maryland, less, because they usually make it boom leading up to the election so everybody can feel good when they go to vote. if they can't do that, forget about the normal times. if you want to read more on the subject, go to the blog cnn.com/caffertyfile or through our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. things are improving, i think, wolf, but slowly. >> slowly, keyword slowly, jack, good point. thank you. a major u.s. airline is trying something new to get your
business. up next, how you can skip the baggage carousel and have your luggage delivered right to your door. and in our next hour we're going to take you to the heart of the battle for syria's biggest city. [ male announcer count the number of buttons in your car. now count the number of buttons on your tablet. isn't it time the automobile advanced? introducing cue in the all-new cadillac xts. the simplicity of a tablet has come to your car. ♪ the all-new cadillac xts has arrived. and it's bringing the future forward.
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i tell mike what i can spend. i do my best to make that work. we're driving safely. and sue saved money on brakes. now that's personal pricing. here's a look at this hour's hot shots. in bulgaria a firefighter works to put out one of the many fires that sprung up during a heat wave. in afghanistan a soldier sits and talks with an afghan boy while on patrol. in england, a woman watches a pro-surfing competition from a rocky area. and in india, check it out, if we have the picture, a boy makes bright umbrellas. unfortunately we don't have that picture. these have some of the hot shot pictures coming in from around the world.
we'll try to get you those pictures later. it seems like every time yo ahead to the airport there's a new hassle to slow you down. you may be surprised to find out one airline's doing something to try to make your trip a bit less complicated. cnn's sandra endo is joining us from reagan national airport here in washington. what's going on, sandra? >> reporter: well, wolf, you probably have this feeling more than anybody because a lot of times when you get off the plane, the last thing you want to do is wait for your baggage at a crowd carousel. now american airlines thinks it has the solution. but you'll have to pay for it. after landing at reagan national airport, dick isn't waiting for his checked golf bag. he's going straight to a business meeting. >> i think it saves me time. usually like golf clubs arehe last thing to come out with the luggage. i would have to stand there and wait for the luggage. it worked out nicely for me. >> reporter: instead this carrier is picking up the bag for him and delivering it to his final destination, in this case
a golf course. it's a new luggage delivery service through american airlines, which launched this week and it's available in 200 airports across the country. but of course it comes with the price. >> my feeling was that $30 to get the clubs to the golf course without me having to take them myself was well worth it. >> reporter: that fee is in addition to the airline's normal baggage charge. for the delivery it costs an extra $29.95 for one bag, $39.95 for two, and $49.95 for three to ten bags. >> i would think that for busy people with a lot of luggage it makes a lot of sense to do it. i just more than anything want to try it out to see how it worked. >> reporter: how has it been working? >> so far it's fine. i hope the clubs are there when i get there. >> we do full tracking on the baggage from the time we pick it up at the carousel to the time it's been delivered. the customer should be able to
see the driver's location on the map, as well as the driver's picture and picture of their vehicle. >> reporter: and here comes the courier delivering it. less than two hours later his bag has arrived. bags incorporated is hoping this elective delivery service will be a profitable way to keep these couriers busy since baggage handling at airlines has improved and less luggage is being lost. but the tests will be if people want to lighten their load or their wallets. >> perfect. thank you. >> reporter: now, last year american airlines raked in nearly $594 million for baggage fees alone. and bags incorporated says it hopes to provide door-to-door luggage service within six months and hopes to have all airlines on board pretty soon. wolf. >> i like the service. i think i'm going to try it myself. thanks very much, sandra, for that report. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, skinheads in the united states military, did the
wisconsin temple gunman use his army career to train for a race war? also, the controversial ad accusing president obama of gutting work requirements from welfare reform. we're going to do a reality check this hour. and we'll talk about it with one of the architects of welfare reform, the former speaker, newt gingrich. plus, an olympic mystery. seven athletes from one country go missing. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." just weeks ago it was a bustling city of more than two million people. an historic center of commerce and education, but now aleppo is the main battleground of the syrian civil war. opposition groups say hundreds
of government troops launched a ground assault on one neighborhood today but were pushed back by rebel fighters. at least 30 people were killed in aleppo today according to the opposition. and many residents have already fled the city. and those who haven't are struggling to survive. cnn's senior international correspondent ben wedeman has seen it all firsthand in recent days. >> reporter: this man has retrieved what he could from the ruins of his home in what's left of this aleppo neighborhood, there's little time to ponder one's loss. the situation is terrible, he tells me. we're taking everything we can. we don't know where we'll go. we've lost everything so we're leaving. his family of seven is just one of thousands of families who have fled. now one of the main battlefields between government forces and
the rebels. this 17-year-old has been fighting here for the last two weeks. he says several of his comrades were killed by syrian army snipers earlier in the day. these lightly armed fighters have managed to hold off the army. they're most potent weapon is not in their enemy's arsenal, says this elderly fighter who identifies himself simply as alexander. >> we believe in god. we can fight with them. and we will win because we have faith. we believe in god. they don't believe in god. they believe in god he don't pump -- >> reporter: the death and destructiois not restricted to the front lines. government jets regularly bomb targets around the city. the rebels fire back with their
light machine guns. the rebel-held district further removed from the fighting provides its inhabitants with the ilsion of normality, a few shops and street vendors are at work. but prices are up. a kilo of tomatoes costs four times what it did a month ago. and that's if you have money to buy it. little work to be had as the city turns into a battleground. this baker is prepared date-filled cakes for the breaking of the ramadan fast. he says he's too busy to worry about the fighting. it's an odd feeling here in the parts of aleppo occupied by the free syrian army. people are out, they're buying vegetables, the bakeries are working, but all the while occasionally you hear blasts like that as the area comes under bombardment. this man shows me his son, mus
mustafa. he cries and is terrified of the bombings. the bombardment appears to be random. i was told this house was hit in an air raid two days before killing two of its inhabitants. there are no rebel positions in the area. cut off from the rest of the city, these residents have turned a public park io a temporary graveyard. he explains that the latest grave contains three bodies no one could identify because they were so severely mutilated. the shelling goes through the night. the explosions and the uncertainty about where the next round will fall makes sleep difficult. early in the morning around 100 residents line up for bread. this is the only bakery that makes bread in the area.
bread has become the main staple here. each family member is allowed one flat loaf a day sold at a symbolic price. the flour provided either by the free syrian army or wealthy benefactors. even if more food was available, cooking is a problem. this part of aleppo has run out of cooking gas. she explains she cooks for her extended family of 16 on firewood she collects in parks and in the street. and for the children there's a sense of bewilderment as war turns their lives upside down. we're confused says this 11-year-old. we feel they want to attack us. we left this area before then we came back. now we want to leave again, but we can't. [ gunfire ] with an all-out syrian
government offensive looming over the city, she and others like her can do little but wait and hope the next bomb falls far, far away. ben wedeman, cnn, aleppo, syria. other news we're following, the fbi now says the gunman who killed six people at that sikh temple in wisconsin was not killed by police but shot himself. investigators are taking a closer look at wade michael page's military service. fellow soldiers say his white supremacist beliefs were evident even then. was he preparing himself for racial warfare while in the army. chris lawrence is working the story for us. what are you finding out, chris? >> we're finding out neo-nazi groups and skinheads have been encouraging their followers to enlist in the u.s. military for years to get combat training paid for by american taxpayers. and when the military lowered its standards and started
allowing more moral waivers about six years ago, it may have allowed more of them in. wade michael page's belief in white power was tattooed all er h bod as his myspace photo shows. but back at fort bragg you couldn't tell by looking at him. >> he didn't have the tattoos while he was in the army. >> reporter: he says page wasn't shy about sharing his views and ranted against non-white people. >> he would often mention the racial holy war that was coming. >> reporter: a criminologist who interviewed page said he started identifying the neo-nazi movement while he was in the army because he thought afrin-american soldiers got preferential treatment. >> specifically what he told me at one point was that if you join the military and you're not a racist, you certainly will be by the time you leave. >> reporter: well before pictures like this were posted on facebook, the fbi had identified hundreds of veterans involved in white supremacist incidents. and federal investigators say small numbers of white
supremisist have infiltrated most parts of the military. while page was at fort bragg in 1995, three soldiers were caught and convicted of murdering a black couple outside the banks all identified as neo-nazi skinheads. the army cracked down on racists in the ranks and kicked out dozens of soldiers. but the problem goes way beyond one base. >> every major military installation you'll have at least two or three active neo-nazi organizations actively trying to recruit on-duty personnel. >> reporter: tj leyden would know. he says some military ignore. >> i used to hang a swastika flag in my locker. and everyone knew it. the only time they would ask me to take it down is when the commanding general would come through just so they wouldn't get in trouble. >> reporter: that's not to say that happens across the board. in fact he admits in his brother's unit the commander was
very, very cautious about that. in fact, any time he saw it, that command eer in his brother unit would make sure the troops got rid of it immediately. also, some of this may be self-correcting in that now that the military is getding smaller and much more choosier, you're not going to see quite some of the people who may have gotten in in 2005, 2006 when that iraq war was brewing. some of those people probably wouldn't qualify for the military today. wolf. >> that's pretty shocking though when you think about it that a soldier would hang up a swastika, a nazi flag, on a locker in front of everyone else. are there no rules in the u.s. army that would bar that? >> reporter: there are rules, wolf, but it's what the commander enforces. like you saw there, one commander in one unit immediately makes sure it gets taken down. another commander may look the other way. the military has strict rules about tattoos. there can't be anything racist
or anything offensive in that tattoo, but, again, it's got to be checked before action can be taken. >> chris lawrence on top of this story for us. thank you. it's a shocking story. president obama meanwhile is on a campaign swing through colorado right now. polls show he has his work cut out for him in that critical battleground state. just a few hours ago in denver he was clearly reaching out to one key block of voters. our white house correspondent, brianna keilar, is traveling with the president tonight. what did the president say in colorado? >> reporter: wolf, this event was all about women. he talked about how he'd appointed two female members of the supreme court. he talked about his wife. he talked about his mother. and the hot button issues of women's health and birth control. something that's normally just a liner tune in his stump speech was really the focus of his remarks here. >> they want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century.
and colorado, you've got to make sure it does not happen. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: in denver, president obama's first of four stops on a two-day swing through the battleground state of colorado, his normal stump speech gave way to talk about women's issues, like mammograms and birth control. >> i don't think politicians should control the care that you get. i think there's one person to make these decisions on health care, and that is you. >> reporter: the visit comes as obama's lost ground with both men and women in colorado. a new poll by cbs news and "new york times" shows obama with an eight-point lead among women here and a 17-point deficit with men. in 2008 he lost male voters to john mccain by just a point. hoping to shore up the women's vote, the obama campaign is running this new ad in colorado and other battleground states.
>> this is not the 1950s. contraception is so important to women. it's about a woman being able to make decisions. >> i don't remember anyone as extreme as romney. >> cut off funding to planned parenthood. >> reporter: and in denver sandra flick appeared to rile up the crowd. she went before congress in february. she became famous when her support for the obama's administration requirement that health insurance companies provide coverage for birth control earned her this rebuke from rush limbaugh. >> it means you're a -- means you're a prostitute. she wants to be paid to have sex. >> reporter: she had this message for the prodominantly female crowd. >> we have a candidate, president obama, who understands the importance of women getting access to the care they need when they need it. [ cheers and applause ] and we must remember that we have another candidate, mr. romney, who wants to take all of
that away. >> reporter: and the obama campaign, wolf, is down playing those poll results that show overall president obama's trailing mitt romney by five points here in colorado. a spokeswoman for the campaign says they think hispanics will play a larger role on election day than they did in this poll and that seniors will play a lesser role. hispanics as you know a key constituency for president obama, romney not so much. >> every day is critical, thanks very much. thousands of tourists evacuate as the storm called ernesto churns across parts of new mexico. we're getting new information from the national hurricane center. also, the one thing newt gingrich and president obama agree on when it comes to mitt romney. gingrich is standing by to join us live this hour. we're going to talk about that and more. and an american gymnast makes a surprise statement at the london olympics. here at the hutchison household. but one dark stormy evening...
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tropical storm ernesto is battering parts of mexico this hour with heavy rain and wind. only moments ago we got our hands on the national hurricane center's latest advisory. let's bring in our meteorologist chad myers. what does it say, chad? >> it says now that the winds are down to 50 miles per hour and we knew that they would begin to come down, it was a hurricane, a significant hurricane, category 1, but it ashed the eastern coast there of mexico, moved across the northern section of honduras. here's our google map. take you all the way down to actually a port that i've been to on a cruise ship, costa maya. a small little town. it really took the brunt of this. about 85-mile-per-hour storm. that spot there is where the cruise ship docked. if you get closer you can even see the cruise ships on the map. there's the port, the town and places to op and such. this is a small storm and not going to get bigger.
when storms get over land, they die. when they get over warm water, they get bigger. there's not much more water for this storm, wolf. it's just about done. >> what's the forecast for some of the other potential hurricanes that may be brewing out there? >> there is much more to this season. now, september 10th is the peak of hurricane season for a number of storms on average in the water, september 10th. we're still a month away from that. the water is extremely warm. we have more storms on the horizon. nor little disturbances coming off africa right now that could be in our waters in about ten days. >> has it been so far a lighter season or a heavier season as far as hurricanes are concerned? >> you know, it seems like a lighter season because not much has happened and all of these storms have kind of been fish storms that kind of hit the water and don't hit land, except debby that hit northern florida and parts of georgia. but we are above normal for the season right now. and we still have three months to go. >> three months is a long, long time. let's hope it stays light. thanks very much for that, chad.
>> you're welcome. a new twist in the case of an alleged tweet threatening a popular new york city theater. up next, why twitter's role in the investigation is now changing. plus, it's the secretary of state like we rarely see her. hillary clinton struts her stuff out there on the dance floor. check it out. you're in "the situation room." well another great thing about all this walking i've been doing is that it's given me time to reflect on some of life's biggest questions. like, if you could save hundreds on car insurance by making one simple call, why wouldn't you make that call? see, the only thing i can think of is that you can't get any...
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twitter now ideifyi a us w allegedly posted threats against the popular new york city theater. lisa sylvester's monitoring that and some other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's going on, lisa? >> hi, wolf. the social media site initially refuse today disclose to authorities the user's personal information but changed course after being served with a
subpoena. authorities say the post mentioned an attack at a theater where boxer mike tyson is performing. police are taking the threat seriously after the deadly attacks in colorado and wisconsin. no comment so far from twitter. and a forecast of more than 300 housing markets is predicting we won't see a real recovery in housing prices until spring with numbers dipping another 1% between this year and next. analysts say it won't be until march 2013 before prices begin to gain momentum. they also warn any additional drop in consumer confidence could further delay the recovery process. and country music star randy travis was arrested and charged with retaliation and driving while intoxicated after being found lying naked on a remote texas roadway. authorities say travis was involved in a one-vehicle accident and allegedly threatened to shoot and kill the troopers working the case. he was later released on bond. and you got to take a look here.
this is hillary clinton as we rarely get to see her, strutting her stuff on the dance floor. the secretary of state she wowed cheering guests with her moves during a dinner in south africa. she looks like she's having a grand old time there. she is currently touring the continent. i love seeing this. it's hillary clinton unplugged. we saw her, what was it a couple months ago? she was in a bar, wolf, having a couple beers, do you remember those pictures too? love these pictures of her. >> she obviously likes to dance. she likes to party a little bit. in our next hour we're going in depth on this story. we've got a lot more. just want to tease our viewers. hillary clinton dancing in africa. thanks very much, lisa, for that. he helped implement welfare reform more than a decade ago here in the united states. so does the former speaker, newt gingrich, now defend the controversial mitt romney ad accusing president obama of gutting welfare reform? newt gingrich, he's here in "the
situation room." we'll talk with him next. i'm feeling a very strong male spirit present. it's the priceline negotiator. >>what? >>sorry. he wants you to know about priceline's new express deals. it's a faster way to get a great hotel deal without bidding. pick one with a pool, a gym, a great guest rating. >>and save big. >>thanks negotiator. wherever you are. ya, no. he's over here. >>in the refrigerator? [ male announcer ] you work hard. stretch every penny. but chances are you pay a higher tax rate than him... mitt romney made twenty million dollars in two thousand ten but paid only fourteen percent in taxes... probably less than you now he has a plan that would give millionaires another tax break... and raises taxes on middle class families by up to two thousand dollars a year. mitt romney's middle class tax increase. he pays less. you pay more.
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gingrich, in just a moment. first cnn's lisa sylvester's here with a fact check. first of all, how accurate is this romney ad? >> in a word, wolf, it's not terribly accurate. the obama administration, what they're doing is granting states flexibility when it comes to the welfare to work program. but that is very different from saying the administration is quote unquote dropping the work requirements. let's take a look at the ad. >> in 1996 president clinton and a bipartisan congress helped end welfare as we know it, by requiring work for welfare. but on july 12th president obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. under obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job. they just send you your welfare check. and welfare to work goes back to plain being welfare. mitt romney will restore the work requirement because it works. >> but the question is, is this
fact or fear mongering? here's the letter from the obama administration. what it es is actually allows for states to seek waivers to have more flexibility under this program. and the underlying goal though of ending dependence of needy parents and getting them back to work, that remains. politifact is calling this romney ad "a drastic distortion of the plan changes" and given it the lowest rating, the pants on fire rating. there's one other point todd to all of this, wolf, that is despite the fact in 2005 it was the republican governor's association -- we have a letter here, they actually asked for this waiver authority. and the letter requests that states have this flexibility in granting such work activities including granting partial work credit and coordination of state programs. and if you take a look at the page here, this is the signature page, at the very top of this here you can see it's actually mitt romney then governor mitt
romney who is at the top of the governors actually requesting flexibility and requesting these waivers, wolf. >> pants on fire, that's what they say about this ad. thanks very much, lisa, for that background. let's discuss what's going on with one of the architects of welfare reform, we're talking about newt gingrich, former speaker of the house and former republican presidential candidate. mr. speaker, welcome back to "the situation room." >> good to be with you. >> you would agree that that ad is obviously wrong and it's misleading, it doesn't tell the truth? >> no. i actually think this is a determined effort by the obama campaign to avoid reality. one, it's robert reck ter at the heritage foundation, leading expert on welfare reform said gutted, it was his language. two, the letter in 2005 was signed by the governors to the senate on behalf of a bill that increased the work requirement from 50% to 70%. and at that time as governor of massachusetts romney was
actually working to get the state legislature to increase the work requirement in massachusetts. >> what's wrong with the federal government letting states who are closer to the welfare recipients problem, normally you want the federal government out of these issues. >> absolutely. >> you want to give the states the authority to do so. that's what the president has done. >> so let me explain why section 407, which is the work requirement of the original bill, allowed for no waivers. what we had discovered was that particularly in liberal states, going through drug rehab counted as work, getting a massage counted as work, testing out your bed by sleeping -- >> but, mr. speaker, you know those are wildly, wildly distorted -- >> i'm giving you this from a governor report. >> look at who asked for these waivers, governors, including republican governors. they asked the obama administration, please, let us have these waivers so that we
can deal with welfare reform making sure people work instead of just receiving a check. >> the two governors that obama claims wanted this have both come out publicly and said that's not true. that what they've done at health and human services is ver different from what they were asking for. and i would simply say everybody should go to heritage foundation site, look at what robert said. >> here are the two governors. gary herbert, republican governor of utah. brian sandoval, republican governor of nevada. they both asked the federal government in the obama administration, let us have a waiver so in utah and nevada we can more effectively deal with welfare. >> and they both came out and said they were against what the obama administration's done. >> why would they ask for that waiver to begin with if they later change their mind? >> they weren't asking for that kind of waiver. notice, section 407 it is illegal under the law to waive
section 407. obama used a totally different part of the bill to fudge what i think is probably an illegal action. the congress made it illegal to waive this because our experience with states, particularly liberal states, was that they would redefine work to mean virtually anything. >> all right. you were at the white house when welfare reform was signed into law, is that right? >> right. >> you remember who the president of the united states was that would be bill clinton. i was the white house correspondent for cnn. you disagreed with him a lot but on this issue you came to agreement. he knows a lot about the subject, right? >> sure. >> he's a smart guy. here's what he says about the ad that the romney campaign has put out. the recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by republican governors of utah and nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment. the administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retain and had that waivers will be granted only, only if a state
can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach. so does bill clinton -- is he making that up? he knows the subject. >> first of all bill clinton i'm sure was contacted by the obama white house or the obama campaign -- >> but he wouldn't put a statement out if he didn't believe every word of it. >> he may believe it. that doesn't mean it's accurate. as i just reported a second ago, both those republican governors disagree with being used by obama as a defense for what he's doing. the fact is obama does not have the authority to waive this requirement. it was very specifically written into the law that it could not be waived. and the reason was candidly we and the conservative republican congress did not trust the president. and we did not trust the liberal governors to actually keep a work requirement if they had a chance to do away with it. look at everything obama's done. look at all of his commitment on food stamp,s all of his commitment on increase ed
dependency. >> but you want the states to be in charge more than the federal government. >> that's right. >> except when it comes to welfare reform, you don't trust the states. >> on the issue of work requirement, we felt deeply and accurately and i think robert would reinforce this that unless you made it a mandatory work requirement, it would get waived to a point where it became a joke. the american people overwhelmingly believe in the work ethic. and they overwhelmingly reject dependency on the government. >> so food stamps on medicare and other issues, you want the federal government to dictate to the states what they can do or just welfare? >> we're talking about a very specific issue. >> this is principle for someone like you who believes in states rights. >> places for example on honesty and paying for medicaid where new york state has more than a 10% fraud rate, the federal government ought to have something to say about that. that's your tax money being thrown away by an incompetent state government. i think you want to require certain things.
in this particular zone there's a fundamental question, are we going to favor the work ethic, or are we going to favor dependency? >> i think it's a good substantiative issue to debate. they will argue and i'm sure they'll make a strong case, they want to make sure that people just don't get a free ride. they don't get a check. they either look for a job or they are trained for a job but they just don't stay on welfare. nobody wants that. and you deserve a lot of credit and president clinton deserve a lot of credit for working together in the '90s to achieve that. don't go away. we have more to discuss. we'll continue our conversation with the former speaker of the house. up next, we'll talk about the role of super pacs backing mitt romney before they were attacking president obama. we're going to go through what happened. stand by. yeah, we found that wonderful thing. and you smiled. and threw it. and i decided i would never, ever leave it anywhere.
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we're back with the former speaker of the house, former republican presidential candidate, newt gingrich. mr. speaker, listen to this. this is you at one of the cnn debates back in january. seems like a long time ago. but listen to what you said then. >> i wish you would calmly and directly state it is your former staff running the pac, it is your millionaire friends giving to the pac. and you know some of the ads aren't true. just say that. straightforward. >> you and mitt romney had a rough time as i remember in iowa, south carolina, florida. >> yes. >> and now you're on conference calls supporting him as you were today. how does that feel? how does that happen? because some of the words that the two of you expressed then were pretty nasty. >> look, it was a real slugging match. you were covering it. i remember after one of the debates we came and did reaction with your show. it's painful at times. and i'd have to say we threw the
kitchen sink at him and he threw a bigger kitchen sink at us. it was a very tough campaign. >> you tried, correct me if i'm wrong, tried reeling with the super pacs and he says they was autoon mouse, but they really tried to destroy you. in iowa, if you remember, it was brutal. >> it was tough. it was brutal. part of my hope is that his campaign will be equally tough this september and october with barack obama. >> you and barack obama have something in common, you were the target. he's now the target of that romney machine, if you will. >> no question it's tough. i would say, however, obama has as big a machine as romney. there's a bigger parody between the two of them. the other part is pretty simple. i was with my two grandchildren, you know maggie and robert, over the weekend, now robert just turned 10, maggie's 12. and you look at their lives. and you say to yourself, what
kind of future do you want for them? and it's pretty easy for me to support mitt romney in that setting. i genuinely believe not just as a partisan matter but as a grandfather and historian, i think obama in a second term would be very dangerous for the future. >> so no more bad blood, if you will. no more animosity. you don't hate this guy, is that what i hear you saying? >> he's got scars from the big brawl. i have scars from the big brawl. >> do the two of you ever talk? >> yes. we were not enemies. we were opponents. we slugged it out. we did the best we could. >> it was tough. >> it was a very tough campaign. at times it was very personal. and it wasn't a game. >> who do you think he should pick as his running mate? >> i think he's got four or five good choices. >> who do you like? >> i like portman. i like paul ryan a lot. i like marco rubio a lot. i think that there are some people like senator kelly aot --
>> do you think she's qualified enough? >> she's been a very successful attorney general. she's been a very good senator. there are also some governor who is are terrific people. but i think the most important thing about who he picks, and this will tell us a lot about mitt romney, it has to be somebody he's comfortable with. i mean, these two people have to be a team hopefully for eight years. >> have they invited you to speak at the convention yet? >> we're actually working with them right now on a project that i think you will love that has a lot more time than just an evening speech. >> what does that mean? >> it means we're probably going to have something a very large amount of time working with the delegates and doing things -- >> but not delivering a primetime speech. >> not delivering a primetime speech. trust me, anybody who wants to see me will have more than enough opportunity during the convention. we'll probably have more total time than anybody thought possible. >> but not necessarily giving speeches. behind the scenes. >> oh, in public settings. we're putting together a series of workshops that will be
announced in tampa in the near future. and i think they have a tremendous opportunity to really set a stage. something i've done in different conventions starting in 1984. >> what about your wife? >> i don't want to preempt anything. >> is that possible? >> they have to talk to ka lis ta about that. >> let me ask you some questions about michele bachmann and other republican congressman who wrote a letter questioning basically the loyalty of some patriotic americans who work in the united states government including one of the top aides to hillary clinton, huma abedin. you said this seeking to understand impact in the u.s. government is a legitimate indeed a central part of our national security process.
bachmann, franks, gohmerit are showing more than the defenders of timidity, complicity and passivity. especially with huma abedin, have you ever met her? >> i may have met her in passing. i don't know her. >> it raises all these issues of mccarthyism to say she's not loyal because she's muslim, if you will. >> this is -- this is baloney, wolf. we've known each other for a long time. >> tell me why. >> there were real spies. there's a new book coming out on reagan and hollywood in the '40s. >> there are a lot of innocent people who suffered -- >> and there were a lot of guilty people. >> baseless charges. >> a lot of guilty people who never would have been uncovered if some people didn't have the courage to take them on. there's a brand new book on
reagan and hollywood in the '40s and it's appalling the number of hard core communists working in the movie industry. there's been an enormous effort to rewrite history. >> this particular case with huma abedin, she's married to a jewish guy, congressman, and she is not in a part of a muslim brotherhood conspiracy or anything like that. that's ridiculous to even put her -- to raise her name like that. >> okay. she is very high up in the state department. >> that's correct. deputy chief of staff to secretary of state. >> and presumably has some influence. >> a lot of influence. >> okay. so to ask the question, this is a question, why have we had a series of decisions and andy mccarthy, who is a prosecutor in the first world trade center terrorism and worked on this issue for 20 years lays out case after case after case where this state department has been amazingly pro-muslim
brotherhood. now, whose advice is that? i can't tell you. i'm not accusing anybody of anything. i am saying american citizens have a right to have their members of congress ask the question. >> here's my point. we will disagree on this. here's my point, you can raise all sorts of questions about the muslim brotherhood, whether the obama administration should have recognized the new president of egypt, who is obviously a leader in the muslim brotherhood, all that is legitimate. but to take a woman who is a wonderful american patriot and to start throwing her name out there as if she's some sort of spy, if you will, or insider because maybe some distant relative or whatever -- i mean, that's ridiculous. >> well, i think it was mother and father. i don't know how distant. >> i don't think her mother and father were members of the muslim brotherhood. >> that was the allegation. let's not get into distant relatives. >> i have a problem questioning the role of muslim brotherhood making sure there's no one -- >> okay. so let's agree -- well -- >> without the evidence, without
any background, that goes beyond. >> one leading figure said, i don't know her but i'm sure she's okay. now, i want -- >> i know her and i'm sure she's okay. >> i'm just suggesting to you that's when you get into a group thing that says don't even ask these questions. >> you can ask the questions, but i don't think you should smear somebody's reputation unless you have the smoking gun. >> okay. i'm willing to say they probably should have written the letter with no specific name. >> that's better. >> but the question in the letter is totally valid and shouldn't be avoided by hiding behind one person. >> i'm not -- we'll leave it, mr. speaker. see you at the convention. >> see you there. >> appreciate it very much. >> thank you. coming up, by the way in our next hour my interview with a man behind a rather controversial attack ad linking mitt romney to a woman's death from cancer. we've checked the facts. we've found that ad inaccurate. how does he defend it? standby, you'll see. i'm only in my 60's... i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans.
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here is a look at this hour's hot shots. in the philippines, soldiers rescue people from heavy rain. in india, women's protest against on-going tensions between the population and immigrants. in germany. turbines spin as a dark storm looms in the distance. in london, brazilian dancers perform in front of westminster abbey. hot shots, pictures from around the world. scientists and space fans are combing over the amazing images the rover named curiosity is sending back from the surface of mars. and many of the pictures are thanks to one photographer who's so dedicated to the martial mission, he is actually paying
what nasa won't. he spoke to john zarrella. >> reporter: mike is the first to admit he is not real animated, unless he is talking about his cameras, his mars cameras. >> take this camera higher than that, do a sweep from up there, look down on the rover. >> reporter: from nasa orbiting satellites, his cameras have taken hundreds of thousands of pictures. remember the famous face on mars? here it is close up. a heart shaped mound he calls love from mars. this one, happy face, it is a crater. here is a gulley on the red planet. evidence water once flowed there. but his crowning achievements may well be on the curiosity rover. four of the rover's 17 cameras are his. two on the mast, one on the arm. and some of the mission's first pictures sent back from mars came from his imageer. it captured these stunning
pictures as curiosity came through the atmosphere. nasa dumped the camera, it had spent $1 million on. he got some of the money needed from funds from another mars project picked up the remainder himself. >> i paid for the camera. phoenix project paid to put it on the rover, and nasa headquarters said okay, under those circumstances, do it. >> how much did it cost you out your own pocket? >> about $80,000. >> do you think it was worth it? >> reporter: this mars photographer says, no, promises, the pictures we'll see from his cameras the next two years will be worth it. john zarrella, pass tina, california. a rescue inside antarctica.
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happening now. authorities say the sikh temple gunman killed himself. egyptian forces do battle with militants, and bloodshed could hit americans. and tough questions for an obama supporter behind an inaccurate ad attack on mitt romney. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we now know the sikh temple gunman's rampage turned out to be a suicide mission.
the fbi revealing wade michael page killed himself after the shooting that left six dead in wisconsin. brian todd joins us from oak creek wisconsin, right outside milwaukee, with more on what's going on. and arrest of page's former girl friend. what's the latest? >> reporter: we have new information about the woman in the shooter's life and dramatic details about his final moments. in the crucial moments when police were trying to neutralize him, we learned suspect wade michael page was first shot in the stomach by a police officer. then. >> appears that page died from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. >> reporter: officials say they can't find a motive. no specific clues why page went on a shooting rampage, killing six worshippers at the sikh temple in wisconsin. they have an idea what brought him to the milwaukee area. >> probably here because of his relationship with her. not getting into why they broke
up. >> reporter: that's misty cook, identified by page's ex-girlfriend, arrested on an unrelated weapons charge. they're looking at connections that cook like page had with white supremist groups. these pictures provided by the anti-defamation league show. >> we do not believe she had anytng to do with this. >> reporter: but hate group connection to the case has police on edge. we went to the home of the police officer that shot wade michael page seeking an interview. he declined. as we were pulling away from his house, we were quickly surrounded by police vehicles. they ran background checks as two officers stood by our vehicle, hands on holsters. later learned police are concerned about retaliation against that officer from white supremacist groups. the police say they don't have information on a specific threat to the officer. i spoke with the head of wisconsin's biggest police union. >> reporter: will the officer have to move, change phone number? >> i am not aware of that.
obviously this event will continue to unfold, we will learn more about wade michael page and the people he was affiliated with. >> reporter: how long will the officer have to be protected? >> good question. the more we know about wade michael page and more we learn about him and his background will determine what precautionary measures are taken going forward. >> reporter: we felt concern by the police over the officer's safety was an important angle to bring out. because of the sensitivity to the situation, we are not identifying the officer or giving other specific information about him. wolf? >> brian, i understand there are newly disclosed video of the actual incident. what are you hearing? >> reporter: that's right, police are telling us that they have dash cam video from one of the police vehicles that was right there, and this video apparently captures the confrontation between wade michael page and police. the police tell us that they want to release the video, are going to try to get that to us. they can't do it at the moment, they're still analyzing it,
reviewing that video as part of the investigation. but one of the fbi agents, teresa carlson saw the video and said it captures a dramatic moment when the officer shot wade michael page. called it something like an incredible shot. >> you see him shooting himself in the head. all right. brian, we'll be anxious to see that video together with you. thanks very much. let's bring in kate bolduan. has other top stories in "the situation room." >> lots of things going on, wolf. the new york police department is resuming the search for a six-year-old missing more than 30 years. police returned to a building they investigated back in april in hopes of cracking the etan patz case. a new jersey man was arrested in the boy's killing. he is one of the first missing people to appear on the side of a milk carton. an alarming picture of a mega bus that burst into flames on the way from atlanta to charlotte, north carolina. look at the pictures. the driver was able to evacuate
all the passengers from the bus. the cause of the fire is being investigated. the accident is less than a week after one person was killed in a mega bus crash in southern illinois. amazing images. and president obama trying to regain ground lost with voters in the battle ground state of colorado today. especially women. he talked about women's health issues, claimed credit for the health care reform law. even used the law's nickname that includes his own name. listen here. >> the affordable health, affordable care act, also known as obama care. [ cheers and applause ] i actually like the name. because i do care. that's why we fought so hard to make it happen. >> mitt romney pressing a new line of attack against president obama for a second straight day, accusing him of gutting work requirements in welfare reform. listen to the republican soon to
be nominee in iowa today. >> it is wrong to make any change that would make america more of a nation of government dependency. we must restore, and i will restore, work in welfare. >> the obama camp says romney is distorting the president's position on welfare. we're talking about this a lot, this ad romney came out with, independent fact checkers say the claimsn the ad are false. have that on both sides. >> lisa sylvester checked it. >> a little of that on both sides. >> more on that later. the top contenders to be mitt romney's running mate are campaigning hard for the job as it gets closer to announcing the pick. tim pawlenty is on the campaign trail in michigan today. john king joins us with a profile of tim pawlenty. you had a chance, john, to catch
up with him in ohio? >> i sure did, wolf. on the road in ohio, saw governor pawlenty. hear romney say president obama doesn't keep promises, ran on lofty promises, hasn't kept them. tim pawlenty put it this way. he says the president of the united states, wolf, is all foam and no beer. tim pawlenty wants you to know he likes beer. and corned beef. he is more than happy to go pub to pub and elsewhere making the case against president obama. >> have you had enough of sky high unemployment across america? have you had enough of run away federal spending? have you had enough of obama care? >> why might he share the ticket? policy wise, he is in synch with mitt romney. and personally, he is the anti-romney. his economic views shaped not by personal wealth but by blue collar upbringing on the streets
of south st. paul. >> dominance were the mammoth meat packing plants, all suddenly shut down. as a young boy, i saw massive job loss dislocation, heartache, worry. it is one thing to talk about it, it is another to live it and experience it. >> friends that walked the halls of south st. paul high in the '70s say what you see is what you get. >> woke up in the morning, drove papers, bagged groceries to get through college. he has been working hard a long time. >> everybody worked hard in this community, everybody lived moderately, but not excessively. >> blue collar roots just one pawlenty asset. other assets, a catholic turned evangelical, like romney that had to deal with democrats, a record of holding the line on washington spending, no washington baggage. former chief of staff says his skills and interests hit the moment. >> time he left, average increase in state spending over
his 8 years was 1%. when he talks about education challenges, keeping up with the global economy, he gets fired up around that. >> the down sides, he raised cigarette taxes that angered conservatives. like romney, he has limited foreign policy experience. zero evidence he would put deep blue minnesota in play. >> he could bring moderate voices from different sides together. got into office, became deeply partisan, unable to get much done, and in this case, spent most of his time runni for national office. >> said tim pawlenty is a nice guy, plays a great game, did nothing, wasted eight years as governor. >> he is the leading spokesperson for the obama campaign, i would expect nothing left. >> comfort level is a big reason pawlenty is on the short list. yes, they sparred at the beginning of the campaign.
>> obamney care on fox news sunday, why isn't it that here? >> he was quick to endorse romney. >> are you ready for mitt romney to be the next president? >> they were governors at the same time and share something from the 2008 search. >> left a mark on you. does that impact how you viewed it this time through? >> we don't talk about the vetting process in the romney campaign, but in general, i have been through this before, you've done something before, it is easier, more casual and relaxed second time. i don't want to say no big deal, it is déjà vu, familiar, comes a little easier. >> comes a little easier, wolf. you hear governor pawlenty about it. he was asked in michigan about it. do you find it flattering or annoying? he replied all of it. he wants the decision like everybody else on the short list. >> i think the first runner-up four years ago. see how he does this time. he is certainly one of the top
contenders, one of the top two or three contenders. do we know his top criteria as he narrows that choice? >> pass nominees, is that person ready to be president if god forbid something happens to me. number two, i am told former vice president dick cheney stressed this in a conversation with governor romney, find somebody you never have to worry they will put their agenda above yours. find somebody you trust and loyal. if you look at the list, geography seems to play a role. what does that say? the midwest. governor romney knows ohio, michigan, perhaps wisconsin, maybe even pennsylvania all key to electoral. he seems to be looking first at a person, but geography must be playing highly on the list as well. >> we should know soon. >> some say it could come this week. most close to the process say look for next week. ann romney will make it back from closing ceremonies.
most say next week could have it. could come this week, smart best early to mid next week. >> that's what i'm hearing as well. john is going to profile some of the other republican vice presidential contenders in days ahead. tomorrow, senator rob portman of ohio. friday, house budget committee chairman paul ryan. see john's reports here in "the situation room." our fact checkers found big holes in a pro-obama group's attack on mitt romney. i ask the co-founder of the super pac, bill burton, if he can defend it. he will join us live this hour. egyptian forces fire back at militants in bloody clashes on the sinai peninsula. we have a live report from a region on fire. and hillary clinton's dance moves remind us of some other political figures who have shaken up the dance floor.
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fired his intelligence chief today because of another militant attack in sinai in recent days, an attack that killed 16 egyptian soldiers. sinai is on fire now. i suspect most of the viewers don't know the united states has hundreds of troops serving in sinai right now. they're part of what's called the multi national force and observer of mission. the mission was the peace treaty signed in 1979. originally, the united nations was supposed to operate this peace keeping force, but the u.n. refused to meet the challenge, so american troops moved into sinai in '82. they have been there ever since. eir mission over the hears been largely uneventful, since sinai was quiet. that's why most people have never heard about the u.s. military presence in egypt, but that's probably going to change right now as egypt goes after what it calls armed terrorists
elements in sinai. listen to this exchange i had in jerusalem last week when i interviewed the israeli defense minister. >> al qaeda in sinai, there are suggestions that's happening. is that happening? >> certain elements, but you hopeful once it is settled to west. >> as of last year, the multi national mission at signee had 1656 troops and 693 of them are from the united states. other countries, including columbia and fiji also participate in the mission. my fear is they're about to become a big time target, and this could get really, really ugly. let's go to sinai now. joed by ian lee in sinai. what are you hearing about this
mission, multi national force in sinai right now. are they stepping up their security? are they worried they will become the focus of attacks, ian? >> reporter: well, wolf, i can tell you that the observers are on high alert. i have been to sinai quite a few time where the bases are located. while they're fortified, they are in some of the most dangerous places in egypt, and these groups, these militants have threatened to attack these bases if the foreign troops don't pull out. if you look at the past, it is not unusual to see people surrounding the bases and using them as a political tool to get what they want from cairo, wolf. >> where is the current fighting taking place now in sinai?
>> reporter: we talked to security forces. there's an area where the army is currently having an operation against militants. they say it is an extremely dangerous place. there's only one way to get in there. they say it makes it easy for ambushes. right now, they tell us they're using air strikes to help root out militants that are in the area. >> ian lee on the ground in sinai. going to heat up there i suspect big time. thanks, be careful over there. we hear reports of syrian officials defecting, 42 minutes past the hour, we'll show you the regime's true insiders. when they start to go, you're going to know the end is near. up next, want a cup of coffee? say your name. a look at some of the stories trending now on cnn.com.
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enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, and stop joint damage. because enbrel, etanercept, suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if, while on enbrel, you experience persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. [ phil ] get back to the things that matter most. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. [ doctor ] enbrel, the number one biolog medicine prescribed by rheumatologists. here is a look at some of the stories trending on cnn.com.
did you think july felt hotter than normal? that's because it was a record breaker. the july average beat the 1936 record by three degrees. on this map we show you, the darker the color, the higher you were above normal. but you probably knew that without me showing you. and more trouble for randy travis, arrest before midnight. he was found naked, smelling of alcohol on a remote stretch of roadway. that isn't all, while he was in custody, he threatened to shoot and kill the troopers working the case. unfortunate. starbucks has a new way to take your money. not a new drink, a new technology that makes it easier than ever to pay. cnn's dan simon explains. >> you pay by saying your name. you go to a retailer, coffee shop like starbucks, and a photo of you will appear on an ipad screen. then you go and do your
shopping. then you go up, want to pay, say your name, they compare your face to the photo. don't have to take out the phone. there's no credit card, no signatures, that is it. >> pretty amazing. the other headline, a business one. starbucks is investing $25 million in the technology developer, a company called square. the ceo is the president of twitter. >> go into a store. they take a picture of you. later, you say my name is wolf blitzer, and they have my credit card number? >> i have seen square used in taxicabs. they swipe your card, it is an app thing. seems this takes it a step further. >> i am nervous. >> i knew you would say that. i could see your face. you know what, that's the way it is going. >> what if somebody looks like you. >> there are a lot of kates out there. >> they could get a skim latte.
bill burton is here to defend his new super pac ad that links a woman's death to mitt romney who worked at bain capital. cnn fact check shows us that ad is inaccurate. lots to discuss with bill burton. stand by. >> one day she became ill. to th, the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state. one that's working to attract businesses and create jobs. a place where innovation meets determination... and businesses lead the world. the new new york works for business. find out how it can work for yours at thenewny.com. and sounds vying for your attention. so we invented a warning you can feel. introducing the all-new cadillac xts.
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attack. i'll question the founder of a super pac about the inaccuracies. a medical emergency at the end of the earth, in the dead, darkness of the antarctic winter. and the dancing diplomat, hillary clinton gets down. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the white house is trying to distance itself from a controversial new ad by a pro-obama super pac. the ad appears to blame mitt romney for the cancer death of a former steel worker's wife. >> you're right, wolf. the spot by priorities usa action hasn't run yet as a paid commercial, though the group says it will run soon. >> let's bring in the co-founder of priorities usa. bill burton, former white house press secretary. i want you to take a closer look
now at the fact check on this, your group's ad that the white house correspondent brianna keilar prepared. >> reporter: joe soptic worked at u.s. steel in missouri almost 30 years, was laid off after bain capital acquired the plant, eventually closing it down. now soptic is featured in an ad by priorities usa action, the super pac supporting obama's re-election. >> when mitt romney closed the plant, i lost my health care and my family lost their health care, and a short time after that, my wife became ill. then i took her up to jackson county hospital and admitted her for pneumonia, that's when they found the cancer. by then it was stage four, there was nothing they could do for her. >> it is a hard breaking story, but the ad doesn't tell all of it. 1999, mitt romney leaves for the salt lake olympics. he remains ceo. in 2001, joe soptic loses his
job when bain closes the plant. his wife still has insurance from her employer, savers thrift store. a year later, romney leaves bain, and it is that year, 2002 or 2002 soptic tells cnn that his wife leaves her job because of an injury. she became insured without fall back insurance from her husband. she goes to the hospital, diagnosed with cancer, dies days later. soptic, an obama supporter that appeared in another ad in may for the obama campaign blames romney for the loss of his job and his insuranc >> that's the way i feel. i mean, mitt romney, he is a very rich man. i mean, it is obvious if you watch him on television, he is completely out of touch with the average family, you know, middle income people. i don't think he has any concept as to how when you close a big
company like that, how it effects families, the community, you know, it effects everyone. >> reporter: the romney campaign blasts the ad, a spokeswoman saying president obama's allies continue to use discredited and dishonest attacks in contemptible effort to conceal the administration's deplorable economic record. the obama campaign and the white house are keeping a distance from the debate. jay carney says he has yet to see the ad. >> simply saying i have not seen this, so how could i possibly assess it without -- >> will you assess it later? >> if you ask me tomorrow, sure. >> reporter: tomorrow is now today, and jay carney has been asked about this ad repeatedly by a number of reporters. no assessment from carney. the white house as well as the campaign distancing themselves from the super pac ad.
a spokesperson says they have no knowledge of soptic's story. we know he told his personal story on an obama campaign call in may, a call that stephanie cutter, the deputy manager of the campaign was on. >> brianna, stand by. bill burton is here, founder of priorities usa action. you're responsible for this ad, is that right? >> that's right. >> you stand by it? >> absolutely. >> you make a serious allegation, in effect suggesting that the republican presidential nominee in effect is responsible for the death of this woman. >> that's absolutely not true. >> he is not responsible. >> you're absolutely right, he is not. that's not what the ad suggests. >> what is the message of the ad. that's clearly missed then, bill. >> it is clearly missed by that fact check. there's no doubt. the point of this ad is that -- it is to tell the story of one guy, joe soptic, and the impact on his life that happened for years, and to this day as a result of decisions that mitt
romney made. this is one of a series of ads in which we talk about the very long lasting impacts that mitt romney's decision had on these communities, on these individuals and their families. what that fact check did was it presupposes that if joe's wife had gotten sick right after he left that company, after he was fired from that company, somehow mitt romney would be culpable. if she hadn't had health insurance for a short time in that intervening period, somehow mitt romney would be culpable. we're not saying mitt romney is culpable for that. we're saying he was fired from his job, couldn't keep health care benefits promised to him. as a result when his wife got sick, he didn't have it. >> she was diagnosed six years after mitt romney effectively left bain capital. he effectively left in 1999. >> ceo until 2002. >> he went to run the olympic games in salt lake. worked full time on that. >> when you're a ceo, you're
responsible for the organization. >> in terms of day-to-day operations. >> he was the ceo, sole shareholder. responsible for the decisions. >> he had been gone from day-to-day operations. >> his name, signed his name -- >> bottom line, i want kate to move on. you stand by the ad. you haven't placed it any place yet, have you? >> we shipped it. >> how much are you spending to promote. >> it will be in battleground states around the country. part of a $20 million project. >> what part of that 20 million? >> depends. every ad is different. sometimes you want an ad on longer. >> even though fact checkers say it is inaccurate, not responsible, misleading, you're still going to go ahead and play it. >> wolf, just like we just talked about, what this ad does is it tells a story of one guy and the impact mitt romney had. >> but it is misleading. >> this is your opinion. >> most independent fact checkers, we are independent. >> the fact checker is wrong.
>> the impression you get that he killed her. >> you're saying there's impression. >> anybody that watches that 60 second ad comes away, says mitt romney is responsible at least indirectly for this lovely woman's death. >> i just don't think that's true, we would never make that case. >> that's the message you take away from it, bill. whatever message was intended in this commercial is not what we hear. >> it is clearly lost on some folks, make no mistake about that. truth is, what this ad is about is what mitt romney wants the campaign to be about. >> i want to bring brianna into this, she did the fact check. brianna, you're with us? >> reporter: i am. >> he is questioning your fact check. tell bill burton how you did this, how you came into this, and what your thoughts are based on. he is saying they never wanted to suggest mitt romney was indirectly responsible for the death of this woman. >> look at what you're saying, wolf. of course that's not what we're
trying to say. >> reporter: if i may. >> she worked hard on it. >> let brianna have a say. >> reporter: if i may, because we were the only ones able to speak to joe soptic who obviously is the voice in the ad, and it was joe who in the ad, as of yesterday, we had spoken to him in the afternoon and it was joe who says in the ad that his family lost health insurance when he was laid off from bain, but it was joe himself that told me his wife did have primary health insurance, that she was seco secondarily insured. it was painted by joe soptic's word, put out by the super pac, and when you put it out to a reasonable person, they took away the conclusion that mitt romney was tied to her death, and i just think if you were to have told the complete story, a
person watching this might have drawn a different conclusion, and for that point, i think it is inaccurate. >> well, i appreciate your opinion on how we could have made the ad, but brianna, frankly, i talked to joe today as well. we had a conversation about, you know, what he thought of the ad and how he thought it was playing. his opinion is that -- >> he stands by it. >> he does stand by it. his opinion is that mitt romney is not culpable for his wife getting sick, but when she got sick, when their family needed health insurance, they didn't have it. and if he was able to stay in his job, if he was able to keep health insurance promised to him by mitt romney, mitt romney and bain capital when he was there, even before this period that wolf let's him off the hook for, 1997, they made a contract with the workers, said no matter what happened to the company, they would be able to keep their health insurance. he wasn't able to. they cancelled their health insurance. >> reporter: she remained in short after that. she hurt her rotator cuff.
the insurance she had was primary insurance through savers thrift store in kansas city area. that's when she had to leave her job and lost that health insurance. there's also the element if she hadn't been injured, could have kept the health insurance. there are a number of factors not mentioned in the ad. >> the point that if for some reason she didn't have health insurance during that time to take care of her shoulder that then mitt romney might be more culpable, that's not the point we're making. i just don't think that's the right conclusion to draw. >> i want to jump in quick. >> reporter: i think she had health insurance. i think maybe i missed your point. she had health insurance at that point. >> my point, even if she had not, that doesn't make mitt romney culpable for her getting sick. that's not the point we're trying to make. for thousands of people when mitt romney came to down, they lost their jobs and health insurance, the impact is felt, that community where that plant
was is still run-down. >> i want to jump in. a big part of the story is how the campaign itself seems to be running from this. >> the obama campaign. >> the obama campaign, i apologize. they have been peppered with this since the ad has come out. listen to what the reaction has been. >> this is an ad by anentity that's not controlled by the campaign. i certainly don't know the specifics of this man's case. >> you do know we don't have anything to do with priorities usa, by law, we're not allowed to coordinate with them, by law we don't have anything to do with their ads. i don't know the exact of when joe soptic's wife got sick or when she died. >> we can't speak to the super pac ads, don't have anything to do with them. i don't have anything further on that. >> you worked at the white house. you know all of these folks well. are they backing you up? >> this is funny.
>> if there's an inaccurate ad could be perceived as deceptive, you would be lighting your hair on fire. >> the reason it is funny. you showed three clips of folks affiliated with the president's campaign at the white house saying what's basic fact, of course they had nothing to do with the ad. don't coordinate our message or strategy. >> there's nothing wrong, they don't have to coordinate, they can say if it is factual or a distortion. >> they can't say if they like or don't like. >> yes, they can. when the romney campaign, bill, you know this, when they put out a distortion or when a super pac supporting romney puts out a distortion, you're all over them raising serious questions. the last hour, we had one of the pro-romney campaign on welfare reform which was a distortion. pointed that out as well. one of the reasons the american public loses confidence in
politics and presidential candidates, you don't have to distort. you can get into a serious debate or serious issues. you guys disagree. the american public's interest -- >> there are serious issues thin race. one of them is mitt romney's business experience. he says that should be the central focus of why -- what this ad does, what the other ads do, they talk about the impact mitt romney had on their lives. what they take away isn't what you're talking about, it is that mitt romney thinks his business experience are why he should be the president of the united states. they see the ads and say no, he shouldn't be president of the united states. >> let's go to break. >> kate is holding on, brianna, don't go away. take a quick break. bill burton is nice enough to stick around, defend this controversial ad. we continue this conversation after this. [ male announcer ] this is the at&t network.
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we're back in "the situation room" with bill burton, co-founder of priorities usa action. the pro-obama super pac. we're going to continue the conversation on this rather controversial ad. but brianna, the white house correspondent, wants to make a point. go ahead. >> reporter: i was going to say, wolf, i think it is interesting. today we heard from the campaign that they're not familiar with the personal story of joe soptic, but we know there's this conference call, so there at least is some familiarity. joe soptic appeared in a campaign ad in may. when i spoke to him yesterday, told me he was asked by the campaign to appear at events in
battleground states. it seems like up until now with this super pac ad running, the campaign hasn't run from joe soptic's story. it makes me wonder how well the president is served by the ad that's supposed to be helping him. i am following him in colorado, he was talking about women's issues, the white house trying to make a case about a romney ad on welfare they say is very unfair, a lot of fact checkers agreed, and instead this is what we're talking about. it makes me wonder if it serves the president well and how widely it will air. >> bill, go ahead. >> what brianna is suggesting is that there would be some sort of coordinated effort by which we would run an ad. >> reporter: i am not suggesting coordinated effort. >> she is not suggesting coordination. >> no, listen to my whole point. and that after we run an ad, maybe the president would go campaign with joe soptic, surprised she hasn't seen him on the trail, that would never happen obviously. we have our own program. we're working hard to make sure the american people know the
truth about mitt romney's campaign experience. the campaign is doing what the campaign is doing. to suggest we would be mixing the two is a distortion of what the campaign finance laws are and what would possibly even happen here. >> one point brianna makes, an important, good point here, doesn't what this ad is effectively done, doesn't it do what you don't want it to be, number one, getting the campaign you support completely off message. the president was talking about women's issues. the campaign is peppered with questions about an ad that's been found to be deceptive, inaccurate. we can debate that in and of itself. but the fact that -- it is getting him off message. that's not what your intention is. do you regret that at all? >> what we have been able to do is extend the conversation about mitt romney's business experience, and what it has meant to thousands of people whose lives it impacted. >> what about the hundreds of thousands because of capital he
invested in sports authority and staples and other companies that are hugely successful. >> you give him credit for more than he himself would take. >> say 100,000. >> all sorts of different numbers. >> pretty successful companies. >> there's no doubt there are places he was successful. there's a reason he made so much money. the point here is he says it is his business experience why he ought to be president of the united states. let's look at the decisions he made. when he forced companies into bankruptcy. >> fair point, if you look at the failures and look at the successes and add up. the american people can say he is a good business man, not a good businessman, as i get back to the point, not going to belabor it longer, we have already, when you do an ad that seems to leave the impression that he was indirectly responsible for a woman dying from cancer, that is so powerful, that is so tough, that goes beyond what you guys should
be doing. not saying you shouldn't argue and debate. that's the impression any reasonable person seeing that ad, you get that impression. >> in the thousands of stories, some of them are heart breaking, really sad. that doesn't mean they should necessarily be off limits. but he had a profound impact on impact on people's lives. thousands of people know that impact, but he walked away. >> you're standing by this ad? >> it will start this week. >> good of you to come in and talk about it. >> thanks very much. >> and go buffalo bills. we're both from buffalo. >> now you can fight with me over my colts. still 45ahead, hillary clinn cutting loose and engaging in dancedy low massey. his morning starts with arthritis pain. and two pills. afternoon's overhaul starts with more pain. more pills. triple checking hydraulics. the evening brings more pain. so, back to more pills. almost done, when...
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we're learning that the wisconsin temple massacre gunman was once interviewed for a study on extremism. erin burnett is going out front on this story. what are you finding out? >> it's pretty amazing that he was interviewed and wanted to be asked all kinds of questions. was proud of what he was doing. the man who did the interview and spent a lot of time with help in his home is going to be our guest out front tonight. we'll find out what he really knew about wade michael page. and himself you've been talking a lot about the negative ad blitz. but the obama campaign sent around an e-mail today, i'm sure you saw it, but the son of boss tax shelter that marriott international used while he was the chief of its audit committee. we reached out to our tax strike team to find out if mitt romney
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