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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  October 7, 2010 5:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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afghanistan. and even more specifically, you can click on the different dots, you see the dots, you can click on the links in country or in the united states. it will pull up their pictures. it will represent lives lost. you can learn about their hometowns. you can learn more about their names. and in some cases, this there are even videos and if you would like, if you know -- knew him or her, you can leave messages for them. again, fallen. and now, situation room with wolf blitzer. brooke, thank you, happening now, a senator's stunning allegations linking private security contractors in afghanistan to terrorists and murderers. just in this hour, a story that's breaking. how the pentagon is spending your tax dollars and how that money may be used against american troops. also, another cnn exclusive, an interview with the controversial u.s. senate candidate in delaware, republican christine o'donnell. you are going to want to hear what she has to tell us on the
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heels of her surprising declaration the other day in a commercial that she is not a witch. and the new york mayor wants to ban the use of food stamps to buy soda. is he helping people with low incomes or infringing to on their freedom? i'm wolf blitzer. you are in the situation room. but just in this hour, a bombshell report being released, right now on the pentagon's private security contractors in afghanistan it alleges that your tax dollars are being funneled to afghan warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping and bribery. let's go right to our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence, over it he pentagon, startling allegations in this new report, chris. tell our viewers what is going on. >> reporter: yeah wolf, you know this report was just released literally just about one minute ago and do you want an example of what a lack of oversight can
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cost? one example in the report, back in february, security guards start firing on american troops, the troops start screaming, "we're marines. we're marines" but they keep firing. the guards shot and killed a u.s. marine. and went marine corps detained those guard, not only did they find that the guards were high on opium, they hadn't even been train,000 to fire their rifles. security contracting in afghanistan comes off some sort of gangster movie in this scathing senate report. one example, armor group hired a series of warlords to guard an air base and gave them code names to hide their identity. >> it is the company's naming of these warlords, mr. pink, mr. white, mr. white ii. >> reporter: sound familiar? senator carl levin says they took it right off quentin tarantino's "reservoir dogs." >> here are your names. mr. brown, mr. white, mr. blond, mr. blue, mr. orange, mr. pink.
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>> why am i mr. pink? >> warlords were variously implicated in murder and bribery. as a matter of fact, mr. pink killed mr. white i. >> reporter: the pentagon contracts with security companies which hen pay afghans to guard base or supply convoys. what did this group buy with american taxpayer dollars? >> they were found to possess landmines i and large amounts of ammunition and were determined by the u.s. military to be in league with the taliban. >> reporter: in fact, the report says mr. white, ii, was holding a taliban meting in his home when u.s. and afghan troops raided it. the armed services committee investigated 125 contracts like this and found the pentagon didn't have the manpower to oversee its own contracts. the pentagon says it has now hired 300% more personnel to audit contracts in the field. and general david petraeus has made commands in afghanistan
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responsible for overseeing contracts in their battle field. robert gates wrote to senator levin, through the new programs we have implemented, i believe dod has taken significant steps to benefit our forces on the ground while not providing aid to our enemies. analyst carl forsberg was invited to afghanistan when general petraeus took over. he has testified on capitol hill about contracting issues and says reform is no quick fix. >> a lot will try to retaliate if we cut off contracts we have to be willing to acceptsen that there is going to be some short-term difficulty but the long-term gain will be tremendous if we can actually do this. >> reporter: we mentioned armor group gave them a call they haven't got back us to yet but they are just one of the security firms mentioned in this report. and they are not one of the eight security firms that president hamid karzai banned wrought right from afghanistan, although he has issued a decree to get all 44 private security firms out of the country by the
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beginning of the year. despite all the problems we just told you about and that this report details that would be a huge blow to operations there because almost anybody here in the pentagon will tell you, they are intrinsic. they are very, very valuable to the operations going on there. >> part of the trend over at the department of defense in recent years, to use private contractors for all sorts of jobs that used to be done by the united states' military. chris, thank you. >> exactly. >> thanks very much for that report. we will stay on top of this. now let's get to one of the most talked about candidates in the midterm election campaign. she is now speaking to cnn directly. we are talking about republican senate nominee in delaware, christine o'donnell. she has been surrounded by controversy, including the recent dust-up over her past remark she dabbled in witchcraft when she was young. o'donnell said she was swear swearing off national tv interviews but a while ago she he spoke with cnn's jim acosta in delaware. here is a little taste of this new and exclusive interview.
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>> let me ask you one more thing about these video clips that have surfaced. have you been embarrassed by the those clips? >> no i haven't been embarrassed, not saying they are proud. obviously what they are trying to do is paint a picture of who i was 20 years ago. i have matured in my faith, i have match dmurd my policies. today, you have a 40-something woman running for office, into the 20-year-old some that is a big difference and i think. >> just having fun back then, that was basically your message? >> i think back then as i said on hannity's show, a lot of what i said, aid new found faith and i saw this an opportunity to talk about the faith on national tv, more as a ministry opportunity but voters need to rest assured that when i go to washington, d.c., it is the constitution by which i will make all of my decisions and i will defend their right to disagree with me. >> stand by for the full interview. she spoke at length with the jim
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acosta in delaware. we are going to air the interview for you later right here "the situation room." she speaks out on a whole bunch of issues. so don't forget, i will be asking christine o'donnell questions as well. i'm one of the moderators at the delaware senate debate, debating chris coons, the democratic candidate. see it live here on cnn, that's next wednesday here on cnn. right now the nation's most powerful gun rights group may be influencing the outcome of the battle for congress and not in the way you might think. brian todd is here and working the story for us. we tend to associate the national rifle association basically with republicans but not necessarily all the time. >> right, wolf, not this year at least. several house seats, house democrats who were running for those seats are being backed by the nra this year. some believe this is a high water mark for the nra in that regard. it flies in the face of everything we have come to associate with the gun rights group.
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>> from my cold, dead hands. >> reporter: the iconic image of the nra, hollywood maverick, the late charlton heston brandishes a musket, a legendary portrait of the gun lobby's tight relationship with conservatives, but huh? harry reid? >> pull. >> reporter: the democratic senate majority leader, shown here in a campaign video, has been endorsed boy the nra in the past. not this year. he backed the supreme court nominations of justices sotomaysotto mayor and kagan, hot nra believes don't support gun rights but the group is backing 64 house democrats this election cycle, most of them incumbent, including several who are running for seats viewed as crucial for winning the majority in the midterms. >> they are an interest group like any other interest group and they want to advance their interests. >> reporter: former gop congressman tom davis was once national chairman of the republican congressional kerk the party's arm that pushes house campaigns. >> why is it in the nra's
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interest to push incumbent democrats this year? >> incumbent democrats stood with the nra on a lot of very votes and tough reward people that are voting for you or they are not going to vote four in the future. >> reporter: it was a group of house democrats who got the obama administration to back away from reinstituting a ban on assault weapons. despite their traditional link badge with the republican party, officials here at the nra insist to us they are not a partisan organization. one official said if you're a candidate and you're sincere about fighting for the second amendment, the right the to bear arms, you will get the nra's support but also said flat out, if you don't, we will go after you. and if two opponents have earned the same rating, the nra favors the incouple bent, even if is a democrat. if you are a democrat, does the nra's backing inoculate you from criticism? >> republicans will go out and troy to labor all these democrats nancy pelosi's democrats f you have the nr a's backing, you can say i'm not a nancy pelosi democrat, i'm democrat that represents you. >> reporter: nra brings considerable financial backing when it endorses.
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an nra official told me they will spend 15 to $20 million this election cycle but tom davis stays is not the money the nra brings that is so crucial it is the fact they have people in virtually every district in the country who can pound the beat in favor or against any candidate, wolf, it is there with where they make the difference. >> the nra supports a a lot more republicans that than dough democrats. >> got cope it in per perspecti perspective, a lot more house seats for damage lot more democrats for seats than democrats, this year, every race in the house is crucial, 64 democrats they are supporting could make a huge difference. the real iron nirk the nra spores them f they win this co-help nancy pelosi retain her job, the nra could have had a hand in helping nancy pelosi retain her job as house speaker. sworn enemies politically. real irony. >> one of the weird things this political ason. thank you very much, brian todd. he tomorrowed a senate veteran in pennsylvania and bucked the democratic party
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establishment. i will ask congressman and senate candidate joe sestak why the president and his formal rival are embracing him and whether he thinks that is a plus. too many medevac helicopters supposed to save lives have been costing lives. we are going to tell you what is being done to try to make them safer. back in the 80's, it was really tough for me and my family.
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26 days in the midterm election and president obama's approval rating is on jack cafferty's mind. jack is here, he has "the cafferty file." jack? >> president obama continues to have problems when it comes to the subject of race. white independent voters helped to make mr. obama the first african-american president in our history, but now, a lot of them apparently don't like him so much anymore. a cnn poll taken shortly after president obama was inaugurated, april of 2009, showed a 61% approval rating among whites. that same poll now shows the president with a measly 34% rating among whites. meanwhile, more than 90% of blacks approve of the job the president's doing. there are more since of trouble when it comes to support from white voters, not just for the president but for democrats in general. another new poll shows working class whites are flocking to the republican party, which will make it even tougher for the democrats to keep control of the congress. the associated press gfk poll
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shows whites without college degrees prefer the republican candidates by 22 points. that is double the margin of the last two elections. compare that to whites with college degrees, they are evenly split about between the two parties. and minorities who heavily backed the democrats. but working class white as well are a key voting block, they make up about four in ten voters nationally. and the democrats cannot afford to lose any more of them. a lot of these voters never too fond of barack obama to begin w remember, mr. obama's comments about bitter, small up to voters who cling to their guns and religion in the silver lining for democrats in all of this is that almost 30% of working class whites in this poll say they may still switch candidates. but if they don't, the democrats could see a tsunami. here is the question. why have so many whites turned against president obama and the democrats? go to
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post a comment on my blog. >> jack, thanks very much. standing by right now, democrat who helped prove that incumbents are on very shaky ground this election year, talking about the u.s. senate candidate in pennsylvania, congressman joe sestak. here are some things you should know about our guest. he is a former -- retired, i should say, three-star vice admiral in the navy and the highest ranking former military officer serving in congress right now sestak broke ranks with party leaders to challenge and defeat a veteran incumbent in the primary, the republican-turned-democratic senator arlen specter. sestak claimed publicly that the obama white house had offered him a job to drop his challenge to specter. the white house eventually acknowledged offering him an unpaid advisory position through bill clinton. right now, sestak is trailing his republican opponent, pat too many mir, in the polls. recent surveys punt him anywhere from 3 to 9 points behind too many mitch the president and establishment democrats are right now circling the wagons
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around sestak. let's go to congressman joe sestak joining us from philadelphia. thanks very much for coming in. >>ed about to be back, wolf. >> why are you behind in a state which is normally should be pretty democratic at this point? >> you know, wolf, i have never been this close this far out. i was 20 points behind senator specter at this point and i was 23 points behind congressman weldon. now, we are in a dead heat. we know that this race is going to be different. pennsylvanians are pretty cautious people, because we have all all right wolf at our door. and you can see they are beginning to discriminate right now, as next door in delaware, we have got ms. o'donnell all of a sudden there. now, wolf this race is going to come down to who do want on your side? someone who believe wes should take social security, as congressman toomey does, and plunk it into wall street yes came from, to gamble or someone who stood up and bucked his own
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party and said i will always be on your side, even at the risk of my job, i will fight for them and that is the choice we have. so i feel very, very comfortable. >> even though our little bit behind in these polls, the margin of error may show you that still have, what, three and a half weeks to go. >> arlen specter, your opponent, the incumbent, a the a fundraising event, i take it the coming days, do you feel he is really trying to help you or is this just for show? >> it is a very nice gesture and he has been gracious. look, when he called me the night of the primary, here i am a wet behind the ear guy in politics and he called me and said, look, joe, congratulations, i'm gonna support you and frankly, he is coming to this event to do so. look, i want to work with everyone. i grew up in the military we don't breed liberals or conservatives but problem solver, heaven forbid a congress down there that washington, d.c.
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doesn't tend to gather. i think that as well as senator hagel who is a republican, as well as mayor bloomberg who is an independent coming in kind of says, hey, let's have someone who is going to resolve our problems. that is why you are going to see this election go the way god willing, i am the senator for pennsylvania. >> do you want president obama to come in and campaign for? >> he is actually coming in this sunday and, look, yes, i stood up and always what john f. kennedy said once with, sometimes the party asks too much. i'm not a yes man, but i do want to work with everyone. he yes, i like it when people come n the end of the day, wolf, in pennsylvania, we are all sons and daughters of coal miners. we have had the wolf at our door. for me, it was when my daughter had brain cancer and we were fortunate. we are going to make a cautious decision here a right decision in the end and they will make it on me versus congressman too many mir, someone who sides with as he wants to he eliminate all
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corporation taxes or someone who is fighting for them. no, not about outsiders coming in but a choice pennsylvanians make. >> here is an ad, a little clip from an ad that former congressman toomey is putting -- is using in pennsylvania right now, saying you are basically 100% behind everything that president obama and the democratic leadership in washington stand for. i will play this little clip. >> it's sad what's happened to joe sestak. he served our country well, then he went to washington, yes has voted in lockstep with the extreme agenda of bailouts, debt, government health care and job-killing energy taxes. he took an ethics pledge and then broke it say it ain't so, joe. >> all right. where do you disagree with president obama? >> well, i disagreed with president obama on a number of areas. for example, i really do believe that what we should have done is
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had small business tax cuts and guaranteed community bank loans in the recovery bill. i argued vociferously for that now. and i would have had that within there. because it is the private market, since small businesses lost the majority of all the unemployed that regain you and get you going again. >> he is supporting small business tax cuts now. >> yes, now. but remember, i also, i put out in my first -- his first year, i would have had a cap on discretionary spending of all the discretionary spending. i would not have the had any -- have any caveats, as we did for the pay as you go requirement or mandatory spending. look, the issue is here, not just the cis but how you shape those policies, my first two years in congress, i actually was -- passed more pieces of legislation than any other freshman member by work across ate yell on elder abuse, the
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first funding for autism in 12 years. the issue is my vote is in the middle of the democratic party.. let me just be precise though, on these points in this toomey ad, did you vote for the bailouts, the government health care, the obama-proposed health care around the job-killing, as they call it energy taxes, the cap in trade? did you vote for those three pieces of legislation? >> oh, yes. and you know as well as i do, wolf -- actually you don't, i went to congress the year of the recession. reminded me my first job of warship on the vietnam era. i was damage control officer. i had to help go control the damage. torpedoed by policies, policies that congressman toomey and president bush had actually implemented where they threw out window of pay as you go, to where toomey shaped legislation that let wall streeters actually cam goal their savings. so, those were tough decisions, wolf. i took them because they had to be done. but i have now voted to rebut in
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place pay as you go i think it should have been more stringent, as i said. i always take a vote as an independent who happens to be a democrat. but boy, you know as well as i do, we are losing 700,000 jobs a month when that first moment of january happened, mr. obama came n the previous six months, our gdp had gone minus 6% with 3 million jobs lost it is what a public servant does, regardless of their job, he does what's necessary. and as you know, mark zahndy and other economists, john mccain's adviser said, we would have had 8 million more unemployed. congressman toomey said we would have had a harder down if we had done nothing. what is a harder done than what we had? yes, leadership means actually doing what's necessary for the middle class, not wall street. >> congressman, thanks very much for coming in. >> wolf it has been a pleasure again. >> joe sestak, the democratic nominee for the united states senate from pennsylvania. we have invited congressman sestak's opponent, republican
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pat toomey to join us. we hope to see him here "the situation room." he has an invitation. so far, he said. no we hope he will join us. we are monitoring other top stories, including a police search now under way for the man behind a major security scare at a philadelphia airport. plus, imagine this, a woman applies for a marriage license, then learns she was apparently kidnapped more than 25 years ago. what is going on? we will have the story. da with clients like jetblue -- financing their fleet, sharing our expertise, and working with people who are changing the face of business in america. after 25 years in the aviation business, i kind of feel like if you're not having fun at what you do, then you've got the wrong job. my landing was better than yours. no, it wasn't. yes, it was. was not. yes, it was. what do you think? take one of the big ones out? nah. the craftsman hammerhead goes everyday. driving home nails quickly and easily
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on my orders, the united states military has begun strikes against al qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the taliban regime in afghanistan. >> that was exactly nine years ago today, president obama announcing the start of the u.s.-led war in afghanistan. demonstrations were held today to mark the day, including a protest against redeploying wounded u.s. troops to the war zones. as the afghan conflict begins its tenth year, now under president obama's command, can u.s. allies in the region be trusted? what's going on with the war? let's assess with our senior political analyst, david gergen. he is here, public opinion, attitudes toward the u.s.-led war in afghanistan going down,
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back in march, we asked how are things going for the u.s. in afghanistan, 55% said well. now, only 44% say they are going well. i suspect that number is continuing to go down as more of these reports come in about har mid-karzai. what is going on, david? >> well, wolf, you know, we are heading into the tenth year, 1300 americans have lost their lives, soldiers, but this has been the deadliest year of all. we have already lost 400. and wolf, even though we have got the best commander, the best general in the united states military there on the ground in general david petraeus, it does look increasingly likely that this is going to have a messy end. it is not general petraeus finding it is harder than it looks, u.s. military made a lot of progress, contributions, now going into kandahar, but the taliban is simply not fading away. it remains an important part of what's going on in afghanistan. there are not only the public opinion here but top-flight
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former secretary of states in the u.s., saying we are maybe on the wrong track. now got these talks under way in kabul between the karzai government and some elements of the taliban, peace talks, but there are indications that if we want -- if karzai is going to cut a deal, it may be that we would have to give up some things that we in the united states, nato have demanded, like having a chance to stay in there. so this work it out a messy end, the end of it could be as unpopular as the war itself. >> now hearing that some elements, some elements in the pakistani intelligence service, what is called theism si may, may actually be supporting the taliban, maybe encouraging the taliban to go after u.s. and nato forces, even though we are hearing from u.s. officials the top leadership in pakistan, the military and intelligence leadership, per say not necessarily part of that group.
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>> well, this is another complication and story and why it makes it less likely we will have any kind of clear-cut result that we will be happy with. we have -- pakistan, as you know is central it is critical to stability in this region. we have poured billions of dollars into pakistan and it is quite clear that there are elements in pakistan that are not friendly to us and do not share our goals in afghanistan and perhaps even in pakistan. it may not be that the top leadership of the spy agency, isi, may not be supporting the taliban and you recalling them to five. as "the wall street journal" reported on in the lead story today, a sobering piece there are people within the spy agency in pakistan who are telling the taliban, this is -- this is -- we have given these people in pakistan billions of dollars, their -- many of the people in their spy agency are telling the taliban keep fighting the united states in afghanistan, pour it on. and just in our relationship from pakistan are now becoming quite strained, we have this incident, very unfortunate
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incident, which we have apologized when our helicopters hit some of their army people, but over 100 different trucks with fuel for american troops have been blown up in pakistan in recent days. >> david, it's a very worrisome situation, as i say. >> very worrisome. start year ten now of this operation much the stakes are certainly enormous for so many americans much appreciate it very much. >> thank you. mary snow is monitoring other top stories "the situation room" lie rite now including a major security incident over at the philadelphia international airport. mary what is going on? >> police are searching for the map behind the grounding of a bermuda-bound u.s. airways flight. he was seen loading a plane but when approached by two of the baggage handlers, failed to identify himself. bags on the plan plane were rescreened by bomb-sniffing dogs but tested negatives for explosives. authorities say they don't believe the incident is terror relitted. a sizable number of speeches have been issued in the investigation of former democratic presidential
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candidate john edwards. a federal grand jury is examining payments the former senator's 2008 presidential campaign allegedly made to his mistress, rielle hunter, who worked as videographer for his campaign. edwards' attorney says his client is innocent. ed and his wife, elizabeth are now legally separated. and a woman suspected of abducting her own daughter over 25 years ago is in custody in nevada. authorities were tipped off when nancy fielder's adult daughter, eva, applied for a marriage license. an old missing child report turned up in a background check. now, police say that nancy fielder fled new jersey with her then 6-year-old daughter during a 1984 custody battle. eva fielder apparently had no idea about that until the police went to arrest her mom. wolf? >> what a story that s thanks, mary, thanks very much. the house speaker, nancy pelosi, thought woe be a great running mate for barack obama. now, chet edwards is running away from nancy pelosi. we are going to tell you why.
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the federal government is cracking down on helicopter safety in the aftermath of a
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number of recent fatal accidents. let's go to our homeland security correspondent, jeanne meserve. she has the details. >> reporter: wolf, too many life-saving medevac helicopters have been costing lives because of crashes. today, proposals intended to make them sever. the irony is never lost, helicopters designed to save lives instead crashing and taking lives. four died in this 2008 crash of a medevac hell had copter just outside washington, one of 139 air ambulance crashes in the past ten years that have killed 130 people. >> these people are out there doing a humanitarian service and they end up losing their lives in the process. to improve safety, the federal aviation administration is now proposing new rules for medevac chopper, requiring ground warning systems, stricter flight time and crew rest rules,
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dispatch center to monitor weather and track flights and programs to analyze flight risk. no question about it, there will be fewer helicopter accidents as a result of what the faa did this morning. >> reporter: many of the choppers have crashed at night and gary robb says there is one additional safety measure the faa should require, night vision goggles. that is the most significant omission and is that the number one thing that would have had the most dramatic effect in decreasing helicopter crashes in this country. >> reporter: the organization representing medevac helicopter operators issued a statement saying it had not had time to carefully review the faa proposal and would withhold comment. the faa estimates the new rules would cost the industry $136 million over ten years but there is no telling how many lives could be saved. wolfe? >> thanks, jeanne meserve with that. a congressman in texas is
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trying to save himself by turning against the house speaker, nancy pelosi. he's democrat. and we will have cnn's exclusive interview with the republican senate candidate, christine o'donnell. our reporter in delaware, jim acosta, asked her about sarah palin. >> is sarah palin qualified to be president? >> is she running for president? >> i don't know, you tell me.. well, again, hypotheticals. >> i have heard you talk on the phone with her much does she advise your campaign? >> she does not advise our campaign. >> she give you advice? >> she gives me you go girl, advice, don't listen to them. >> tell to you speak through fox news? >> i heard that -- she didn't tell me personally.
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in texas, house speaker nancy pelosi's choice for president obama's 2008 running mate is fighting for his political life and doesn't seem to be turning to either of them for help. cnn's ed lavandera has the details. >> reporter: wolf, you remember this town well, crawford, texas, home to the we were white house. george w. bush keeps his ranch just down the road. this area is deeply conservative, deeply republican but it has been represented by a democrat for the last 20 years in congress, but this year, that
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spells trouble in nearby clifton -- >> business are kept. >> reporter: smoked brisket attracts people from all over central texas to the bunkhouse barbecue joint. many here feel their long time congressman chet edwards is just too cozy with washington democrats. burl hammonds support edwards in the past but not this time. >> done his good stuff, he is moving into the area. >> how are you doing, rob snrt it is good to see you. thank you. >> reporter: chet edwards defied the political odds, a democrat elected since 1990 in one of the most republican districts in the country, with heavy support from military veterans but in this year's campaign commercials, edwards sounds more like a republican. >> when president obama and nancy pelosi pressured chet edwards, chet stood up to them. >> reporter: two years ago, edward was on the short list to be obama's vice presidential nominee. now had his republican opponent, bill flores, a former oil executive, never shies away from
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linking edwards to owe bam in and nancy pelosi. >> i think chet edwards and president obama are wrong. >> if i'm one of those disgruntled voters out there, how do you win me over? >> well, i think my message is what it's always been that i have always put our district first and whether it is fighting for our jobs, quality education, fighting for our veterans, champ i don'ting the cause of our veterans, our military troops, those shall use shouldn't be partisan. >> you there go. >> reporter: that argument suspect muff to win over most of the lunchtime crowd at the bunkhouse. even if they don't know much about chet edwards' opponent. >> a lot of people don't know much about flores. >> i don't. and i'm one of them. >> you are fine with that? >> chet has been around for so long. maybe it is a good time for change. i don't know. chet edwards for congress? >> chet edwards for congress. >> if you whip this year, would this be your most impressive yet? >> they have written my obituary so many elections over the years that i'm not sure which would be
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the favorite. >> we are still the underdog. >> the question is whether this democrat can defy the political odds one more time. >> and ed, what are the campaigns themselves actually saying about how close this race is? >> well, just gotten some poll numbers that the -- chet edwards campaign released to us, they had done a similar poll back in september, showed he was 10 points down and according to their own polling that he has cult that lead to 4 points. however, bill floor remember the republican in this case, put out a poll toward the end of september had him up by almost 20 points what ever you believe there is up in the air. regardless this is a very difficult fight and everyone, even chet edwards' campaign realizes that he has a tough road ahead this next month. >> a sign of the tames for this political season. ed lavandera for us. thank you. a job that propelled him to the presidency but can president obama keep his former senate seat in democratic happeneds? plus, the white house
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♪ free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ free-credit-score ♪ you won't regret it at all! ♪ check the legal y'all. >>offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage.® all right. this just coming into "the situation room," the house ethics committee has just set a date for the ethics trials for the two powerful members of the house. we are talking about new york democrat charlie rangel.
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he will tried on ethics charges november 15th. california democrat, maxine waters, she will be tried -- her trial held on november 29th. the panel clearly rejecting calls by some republicans to hold those trials before the november 2nd elections. the two trials happening later in november. it says a lot about this midterm election campaign that president obama is heading become to his home state to try to save his old senate seat. stand by for our strategy session. also coming up, our exclusive cnn interview with senate candidate in delaware, christine o'donnell. the delaware republican trying to explain her controversial "i am not a witch" ad.
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all right. right to the strategy session and joining us are our cnn political contributor, democratic strategist donna brazile, and the democratic speaker, dennis haster. >> and you know the speaker had
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a majority in the house, and you tried to cut spending but the debt doubled, so why should the americans right now believe the republicans when they say they will cut spending and pay down the budget? >> well, when i was speaker, we paid down the public debt, and it has not happened since. >> and that happened with the bush administration? >> and yes. and we promised after 9/11 that at a tack would not happen in this country again, and so basically our national security spending and homeland security spending, and we created homeland security, and two wars and veterans to take care of and everything else was flatline and we stayed within the president's budget as speaker. that is the discipline that the republicans are talk about now. we can start to cut spending and the toughest legislation i ever had was to cut into nontraditional spending. and so, but, you can do it, and
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it is a tough thing to do. >> well, it is certainly not easy, but you accept the explanation of what was happening when the republicans controlled both branches of government, the executive and the legislative? >> well, he is right under clinton and gore, we had the best budget ever, and under bush/cheney, we also forgot the medicare prescription program in 2003 that was not paid for that contributed to the debt. >> and the democratic support, too. >> well, he was the speaker and he held the gavel. there you go, and the earmarks double and many other items, but we are on a course now where the country is finally beginning to grow some jobs. the economy is coming back. it is feeble, but it is still coming back, and i think that the american people have a choice of election, to go back with the republican policies or
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go forward the democratic plans. >> and we will see with the numbers tomorrow with the jobless number tomorrow. >> i hope it is good. >> and what does it say to you as somebody from illinois to go back to help someone from the democratic candidate to get re-elected? >> well, the president and juliananis are good friends. >> well, he could be helping others? >> well, it is a close race and the problem in illinois is that 1 of 5 families are unemployed or underemployed and basically the state of illinois under democratic control is basically bankrupt. i think that the american people and the people of illinois don't want to see the same people bankrupting the country at the same time. so, that is a tough race. i think that is up for heads. >> if giannulias loses, that
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would create a different world for the democrats? >> well, they have him up for a few percentage points, but it is a tight race and the president can make a difference of encouraging the enthusiasm gap, and bringing out the independents. and also, president obama is there to rally the base. >> and speaking of illinois, chicago, your kind of town, and is rahm emanuel the next mayor of chicago? >> he has a good chance. i think that he has to prove whether he is a resident of chicago or not, and that is a hurdle, but there are good candidates out there, and tom dart is a candidate, and houlihan is a candidate, and we will have to see how it plays. >> it is not a slam dunk, is it? >> and reverend james meek is a candidate and many others, so this is an interesting race to watch. i want to let you know, wolf, the speaker looks good. >> fabulous. how many pounds did you lose? >> about 90. >> just by diet and exercise? >> yes. >> and we will come back and
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talk about your diet and weight. >> he is a wrestler. >> i know that. >> good to be here. >> and next up, tea party icon christine o'donnell is speaking exclusively with cnn and why she is telling voters, "i am you." "in case ya didn't see it, that's probably why "msn autos called the cruze "the class of its class right now. that seems pretty clear, doesn't it?" the all-new chevrolet cruze. starting under $17,000. get used to more. ♪ (announcer) everything you need to stay balanced on long trips. residence inn.
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to see how our multi-faceted approach... can benefit your multi-generational wealth, look ahead with us at we need directions to go to... pearblossom highway? it's just outside of lancaster. sure, i can download directions for you now. we got it. thank you very much! check it out. i can like, see everything that's going on with the car. here's the gas level. i can check on the oil. i can unlock it from anywhere. i've received a signal there was a crash. some guy just cut me off. i'll get an ambulance to you right away. safely connecting you in ways you never thought possible. onstar. live on. jack cafferty is back with the cafferty file. jack? >> as the midterm elections inch ever closer the question this hour is why have so many whites turned against president obama and the democrats?
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jack writes from florida, a better question is why haven't blacks turned against him? why do more than 90% of them still support a president who has been a miserable failure in every sense of the world? there is racism at work but it is not coming from just the white people. mark writes, jack, i am surprised at you. if this is not a racist question, i don't know one. i know just as many people of color who are just as disgusted with obama's policies as whites. and this one from gary in arizona, obama creates too many questions without straight forward answers. his smooth talk about change during the campaign has not materialized and in fact, he is now perceived as talking down to the american's white working class. his talk about the debt, have caused a genuine disconnect.
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tom in florida says i won't support obama again and i don't regret my vote for him. i think we need a box for "none of the above." when "none of the above" receives the most votes all of the candidates are reject and cannot run again and a new primary is held to vet new candidates. john from vermont says it is the economy and the health care bill that will penalize most people. ron says that i have been a democrat for almost 40 years and i voted for obama but i hesitate to vote for him again, and i don't care about the coer lo, because i don't care if he is as irish as the blarney stone, but it is about courage, and confidence. and rafael says that the ku klux klan never went away, but went inside to wait for the tea party. if you want to read more, you will find it on my blog. >> jack, thanks very much. here in "the situation room," happening now, an exclusive interview with the republican senate candidate christine o'donnell in delaware after weeks of shutting out the
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national news media, she sits down with cnn to face some tough questions about her controversial campaign. stand by for that. also, president obama uses his veto power for only the second time since becoming president, killing a bill that would have changed some rules for home foreclosures. plus, the casting controversy behind a new republican political ad, and these actors were told to look like quote hicks. were residents of one state being stereotyped by the republican party leadership? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, and you are in i'm wolf blitzer, and you are in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- >> i'm not a witch. i'm nothing you have heard. i'm you. >> her upset victory in delaware's republican senate primary suddenly thrust her into the national spotlight and just as suddenly christine o'donnell
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all but disappeared to the national news media as controversial past comments came to light. but with the election less than four weeks away, she is resurfacing with colorful new campaign ads and exclusive interview with cnn's jim acosta who is joining us from newark, delaware, where he had a chance to speak with christine o'donnell a moment ago and what can you tell us, jim, about the interview? >> well, wolf, she says she wants to reintroduce herself to the voters in the final weeks of the campaign, and she has not done a lot of media interviews in the last three weeks since the clips surfaced on cable talking about her days of dabbling in witchcraft and so forth. she wants to put all of that behind her and start talking again with the voters one-on-one, and she is also starting to do more public appearances, and more public events and getting to know the voters and getting the voters to know about her, and she is taking reporters, including this one. >> reporter: you won the republican primary and then your
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world sort of got turned upside down. >> that is right. >> reporter: and there were video clips coming out of the woodwork, and what happened and how have you dealt with it? >> well, for one, you know, we won the primary. we challenged the political system as we know it. we busted up the backroom deals, and we made a lot of people afraid. and i think that one of the reasons why, you know, what you see going forward in this campaign is my opponent is trying to attack me, because my positions are right on the issues. i'm concerned about what is concerning the people of delaware. i want to restore the economy through private business and people to be innovators to turn into a thriving business, and my opponent can't attack me on that. she wants to stop the tax hikes to put people out of business. shame on her. >> reporter: but yet, the latest ad says i'm you. >> right. >> reporter: it is as if you are trying to reintroduce yourself
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to voters? >> yes, yes. >> reporter: is that what you are trying to do? >> absolutely. my goal has been since the primary to go out the meet as many voters as possible so they can get to know me and i can know them and i have to hear what is on their minds so i can help in washington, d.c. my whole goal and candidacy is about putting the political process back into the hands of the people. i'm not a career politician. i'm not someone who has been groomed foroffice and i'm not someone who has been hand picked by the party elite by the party bosses, obviously. i'm an average american citizen, and i'm an average delawarean, and i want to go to washington, d.c. and do what most people from delaware would do. i would not have voted for obama care and i would not have voted for the bailouts and i would not have voted for more of the spending bills to put us more into bankruptcy and neither would you. that is my message "i am you" means, i will do what you would do in washington, d.c.
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>> let me ask you one more thing about the video clips that have surfaced. have you been embarrassed by those clips? >> no. i haven't been embarrassed and i'm not saying i am proud. you know, obviously, what they are trying to do is to paint a picture of who i was 20 years ago. you know, i have matured in my faith, and i have matured in my policies and today, you have a 40-something woman running for office, and not a 20-year-old. so that's a big difference and most people -- >> were you having fun back then? is that basically the message? >> well, back then as i said on hannah hannahty's show, i had a newfound faith and opportunity to talk about the faith on national television more as a ministry opportunity, but voters need to be rest assured that when i go to wshlashington, d.c it is the constitution to which i will make my decisions and defend their right to disagree with me. that is the most important thing. >> reporter: and last night, you
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said that you would vote to extend the bush tax cuts. i have attended tea party rallies and how would you extend the tax cuts and cut the deficit at the same time, because most experts say it is impossible. >> no, because when the taxes decreased, revenue has increased, because you are putting the money back into the private it is 1ecitizens who go start businesses with money based on the private sector who go to spend money on the new businesses. it happened under kennedy. it happened under reagan. when you decrease taxes, revenues increase. >> reporter: let me ask you about the health care reform law, because there are protections for consumers who some republicans say are important such as the law would ban insurance companies from deanything coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. would you scrap that as well? >> what i want to do is to
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create real health care reform, things like that are absolutely crucial. we have the make sure that people with pre-existing conditions get the coverage and care that they need. >> reporter: so you would keep that? >> i want to scrap the bill and start over with real reform. piece by piece. nobody is disputing that we need health care reform, but this bill is a massive government takeover of the health care system that gives the government way too much power. uncle sam has no business coming into the examination room, getting between you and your doctor, and that is what this bill does. we need to repeal it so, that we can reenact real reform. >> reporter: is that realistic? because i know that the republicans say they want to repeal the bill, but the president would have to sign any bill that you sign through the congress, so isn't repealing health care reform really unrealistic? >> that kind of throw in the towel mentality is what got us to this mes ths in the first pl. repealing obamacare is
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realistic. i heard a statistic that 1 of 4 democrats are in favor of full repeal of obamacare. >> reporter: so you think they will override a veto, and have enough votes for that? >> well, here is what is realistic. a lot of the democrats are saying we want to start over, and scrap this bill and we made a mistake and we didn't read it and know about the unintended consequences, as elected officials the priority needs to be taking care of the most vulnerable in our society, and we need health care reform, but if the house and the senate passes a bill to fully repeal obamacare so we can clear the way to start over to help the most vulnerable, and the president goes to veto that bill when the will of the people has been made clear, and if barack obama vetoes that the year before the election, he is setting himself up vulnerable, and i have seen many hillary for
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president ads running, so if he chooses to thumb his nose at the will of the american people, and ram this unrealistic, uncon constitutional bill down america's throats, then there will be consequences politically for obama. >> and we asked christine o'donnell a series of other questions, and one about sarah palin and is she qualified to be president. she took a pass. should jim demint be the next majority leader, and she took a pass on that. and asked about whether human activity contributes to climate change, and she did not answer that question, and said that her opinion did not matter on that, so wolf, there were other questions that she did not want to get into during the interview that one thing that she did say towards the end of the interview, she looking forward to her debate next week in delaware with you at the university of delaware. she says she will be there for that and she won't duck that debate, and she will be showing up. wolf? >> stand by, because i want to play more of the interview that
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you had with christine o'donnell and i want to hear precisely what smee is saying and how she is answering your questions. more of the interview later this hour. jim acosta on the scene in newark, delaware. jim, don't go too far away, because i want to debrief you as well. okay. as a reminder, you can see the senate delaware debate between christine o'donnell and chris coons right here on cnn. i will co-moderate that debate next wednesday on october 13th, and you will see it right here on cnn. for the second time president obama is using his veto power, this time on a bill that would have made it easier for courts to clear home foreclosures. the national political correspondent jessica yellin is here with a story that affects a lot of people. passed suddenly in the house and the senate without any fanfare, and now the president says veto. >> it was a surprise to a lot of people. wolf, the decision was that the administration was concerned that this law could have made it
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easier for banks to illegally foreclosure on homeowners. right now, there is a growing controversy about foreclosure fraud, and so bad that the major lenders have all frozen their foreclosures in 23 states. one of the key problems is that in these instances banks are sometimes submitting paperwork on homes they don't own or saying that the homeowner is behind on payments when they may not be. the white house was concerned that this law could have made it easier for a notary to approve bad foreclosure documents saying it is legal and final and making it harder for people to fight in court if their homes are taken away from them wrongly. >> so the president is vetoing this, and only the second time he has used the veto pen. how did it get this far, and i want to explain to the series why the democratic majority in the house and the senate allowed this to go forward if the president and the white house hate this so much? >> well, a bit of a head scratcher, right, wolf? well, even the white house says
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that increasing foreclosures would have been an unintended consequence of the bill, and the bill's sponsor says it is to help court reporters and attorneys and has no connection to the foreclosures, so they thought it was uncontroversial, and they didn't see the foreclosure increase, so they moved it out for a vote which they do for a nonpartisan measure, but they wanted to remove any possible measures to add to the con trover si, and we are in an election season, and the white house said we don't want to do anything that might bounce back saying we are doing anything against the consumers. >> it will be interesting to see which lobbying group got this legislation inserted there and allowed on a voice group without any opposition at all. we will see if that comes
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forward, and i am sure it will. thank you, jessica. new developments on the s r story we brought you here yesterday. governor chris christie has pulled the largest infrastructure project in the united states. it is a massive rail service between manhattan and new jersey. they were paying the bulk of the price tag, but the state would have to cover several billion in unexpected cost overrun, and the governor of new jersey says that they cannot afford it. a critical vote now, with 26 days away. the midterm elections, and jack cafferty is here with the cafferty file. jack? >> if the primaries are any indication these midterm elections might well set records when it comes to voter turnout. "usa today" reports that the number of voters casting early ballots in the primaries up 50% over 2006 midterms. that is a huge increase. about 6 million people took part in early voting in the 13 it is
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as that they reviewed. the increase in early voting is a game changer, because it forces the campaigns and the interest groups to alter the tactics as they reach out to the voters ahead of the november elections even though the midterms are three weeks away, early and absentee voting is already under way in 13 states and will kick off in 17 states and the district of columbia in the next two weeks. the experts say for campaigns, an early vote for you, and that is like money in the bank, but an early vote against you is a lost vote that no tv ad or speech can change. others point to a trend where early voters tend to hold back and file the ballot closer to election day, because they have not made up the minds as quickly as they have for presidential candidates for example. midterms are notorious for lack of voter interest and turnout, but maybe not this time if the electorate is as angry as we are hearing, things could be different if people want their
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voices heard when it comes to the economy and the skyrocketing deficits, and the health care and everything else, the war, and you have to turn out to vote, and apparently a lot of them are going to. here are the question, why are so many more people voting in the midterm elections. go to cafferty file, and post a comment on my blog. >> great question, jack. jack cafferty will be back. controversial candidate christine o'donnell from delaware on gun control, afghanistan and how involved sarah palin is in her campaign, and the rest of the exclusive interview with jim akos tashgs and -- acosta is here, and we will have the rest of it here in "the situation room." and a controversial ad that is offensive to west virginiians, because there was a search for actors who were supposed to look like, quote, hicks. and allegations of those who tried to hide worst-case scenarios in the gulf oil disaster.
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president obama twice interrupted a speech at bowie university to call for help for people who had fallen ill in the audience. look at this. >> go ahead and sit down. >> thank you, mr. president. all right. we got another bottle of water? if we could get another bottle of water up here and a medic up here. >> a local emergency official tells cnn that two dozen people were treated for fainting, and dizziness and dehydration before
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and during the event and he was there to stump for the democratic governor candidate martin o'malley. a lot of folks getting sick at that event. and there is new controversy over a ad in west virginia. they say it stereotypes the voters. the people shown in the ad are not definitely who they seem to be. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash back from west virginia knows about the state. what is going on with the ads, dana? >> well, at the end of the political ads you see something on the lines that the national senatorial committee is responsele for this ad, well, taking responsibility is a group taking an ad off of the air. >> reporter: a gop ad aimed at west virginia's voters about candidate joe mansion. >> joe is not bad as governor, but when he is with obama. >> he turns into washington joe. >> and washington joe does what obama wants. >> well, we better keep joe
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mansion right here in west virginia. >> reporter: but those men are not in west virginia. they are actors 250 miles away in philadelphia. republicans paid a talent agency to hire them for the ad, and the casting call obtained by cnn asks for a quote hicky blue collar look. these characters are from west virginia and think coal miner and trucker look. and they asked them to bring specific items trucker hat, and not brand new and preferably beat up. flannel shirt, check. and a dickey's shirt with t-shirt underneath. right there. they said they did not know about the casting call and pulled the ad. the thing is they didn't have to go to philadelphia to capture concerns over mansion, because we went to this diner and heard the sentiment unscripted. >> people are generally happy in the state, but i won't vote for
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him in senator, but i will be voting for somebody who is going to straight up oppose obama's agenda. >> reporter: no trucker hat or flannel, and the real foul play with the ad seems to be stereotyping virginians. >> somehow they were hicks and red necks. >> reporter: even ad consultants say they do use paid actors. >> well, as a second or third resort because of time lines, you may have to go there. >> reporter: take this ad against senate republican roy blunt. >> his wife, great. >> reporter: that woman is an actress. still democrats in ohio are complaining about another gop ad about guber na toirl ad that john strictland destroyed ohio jobs and that steel worker is an
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actor and not a steel worker. >> fascinating. dana, thank you for the report. we will have more of jim acos acosta's interview with christine o'donnell, and he asked her if sarah palin is qualified to be president of the united states, and wait until you see what she says. and is the u.s. army sending wounded soldiers back into combat before they have healed? we will tell you about a veteran's protest on capitol hill today. stay with us in "the situation room."
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bombers bring carnage and horror to a religious site. mary snow is watching that and more stories. mary? >> well, a pakistani group is claiming responsibility for a pair of attacks near a religious
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shrine in karachi. 60 people are injure and seven are dead. this happened when people were gathered to distribute food at the shrine. and there is controversy over veterans being deployed before they are healed from being wounded in combat. one soldier told cnn that the group is asserting their right to heal. and a report that two companies will be joining forces on a new iphone. a verizon iphone will be released in the first quarter of next year and the iphone is currently only offered through at&t and many analysts believe that in the next exclusivity deal set to expire through 2011 has been renegotiated. and christine o'donnell of delaware has broken weeks of
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silence with the national media, and her exclusive interview with cnn. she talks about sarah palin's role in the campaign. part two of the interview is coming up. ♪ where'd you learn to do that so well. ♪ ♪ where'd you learn to do that so well. ♪ the new cadillac srx.
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>> that is a brand new campaign ad released by the delaware republican senate candidate christine o'donnell and the second ad of this week in which the tea party backed o'donnell tried to convince the voters she is like everyone else, one of them. after the initial upset primary win, o'donnell largely shut out the national news media, but now she is breaking her silence in an exclusive interview with cnn's jim acosta. >> reporter: let me ask you about gun control, because you are at an event today with a gun rights organization who endorsed you and you said at the event, quote, i will ensure that you and dozens others will supersede the rights as well. are you saying that the united nations has the ability to supersede our rights? >> no. they do not. unless they secede to the sovereignty of the nation. >> reporter: but not right now? >> well, the u.n. is considering massive reforms and that will
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severely restrict our second amendment right. when goi to washington, when it is on the second amendment or any other issue, i will fight to make sure that we don't see any of the sovereignty is going over to the united nations. >> reporter: let me ask you about afghanistan, the president's timetable withdraw, good or bad idea? >> we need to make the withdrawal based on effectiveness and not time. we need to take a serious look at what is going on over there and before we make decisions we have to examine if it is weaking our own security. >> reporter: is sarah palin qualified for president? >> is she running? >> reporter: well, is she? >> well, hypotheticals. >> reporter: well, i heard you talked to her on the phone, and does she give you advice? >> well, she gives me go girl advice. >> reporter: did she speak to you through fox news? >> well, she did speak to me through o'reilly, because if anybody knows about the politics
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of personal destruction, it is women politicians like sarah palin. >> reporter: if the republicans take the senate, and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell or jim demint. what i have to see -- is jim demint running? >> reporter: you tell me. >> i love jim demint and i love what he has done when he runs, and he is a principled man, but i don't know that as a outsider. right now, i'm a candidate and not a u.s. senator. >> reporter: is the unemployment problem in the country barack obama's fault or george bush's fault? >> it is a combination of politicians in washington losing their way. like i said, whether it is republicans or democrats, our so-called leaders in washington have lost their way and no longer in touch with the needs of the delaware, or any citizen and not just delaware. so i think that what we need to do to get our country back on track is to replace career politicians with citizen politicians.
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>> reporter: last question, your staff was reluctant to have you be asked about the past statements in the past. i wanted to ask you, why is that? aren't they your statements? >> this campaign is about the future and not the past. this campaign is about what each candidate is going to do to address the needs of the people in delaware. how to get private business jobs back in delaware. how to get the economy back on track. how we are going to empower the individual and the entrepreneur to open up the ma and pa businesses back on main street, and that is important to the delawareans, and that is what should be important the both candidates in the race. >> reporter: is you will never talk about your time with bill maher? >> why? what i did or said on a comedy show, you know -- over a decade ago is not relevant to this election. >> all right. let's bring in jim acosta who did that exclusive interview with christine o'donnell. jim, thank you for the interview, but take us behind the scenes and give our viewers here in the united states and
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around the world, a little flavor about this woman and something we didn't necessarily see in the interview. >> reporter: well, you know, what a lot of people know about christine o'donnell now is the clips from bill maher and she appeared on his talk show "politically incorrect" that aired on nbc in the '90s and in those interviews she made a lot of provocative statements, ap now she is paying for the statements in many ways, because the poll numbers for her have dropped here in delaware and it could cost her the election. she knows that. that is why she is putting out the advertisements that you ran a few moments ago and that is why christine o'donnell will do more interviews and make public appearances for example at an event today and she took questions from reporters, and that is something that the campaign has not advised her to do in the past. and i asked the campaign manager, is this something that you have pressed her to do, not
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the take questions, because you saw that she is pretty happy to get engaged in the lengthy issues going on right now, including what she talked about in past, and they sort of acknowledged that perhaps they need to get her out more. of course, i mentioned to her that she could speak through cnn any time, wolf. >> i am getting a lot of e-mails from the viewers and tweets on twitter as well, saying that she seemed more poised than i thought, and more knowledgeable about the issues. jim acosta, thank you so much for doing the interview with christine o'donnell. and this reminder to the viewers, you can see the delaware senate debate between christine o'donnell, and her democratic opponent chris coons right here on cnn. i will co-moderate that 09-minute debate next wednesday at the university of delaware and that is october 13th, 90 minutes, rite heght here on cnn the white house have tried to keep worst case scenarios
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from the public on the gulf of mexico oil spill. and the white house is saying what? >> well, it was a damning report, and the question today is when did the administration realize the magnitude of the disaster on their hands and whether they were candid with the american people about what was going on. >> reporter: a commission set up by the president, himself, to look at the administration's own response to the oil spill released a damning preliminary report. it stated that the white house vastly underestimated the tens of thousands of barrels of oil pouring into the gulf after the deepwater horizon disaster, and despite contrary information from scientists who used different measuring methods. the commission says that the white house stuck with the number of 5,000 barrels a day through may 27th, a month after the initial explosion, despite eestimates from outside experts and even, bp, itself, suggesting a much higher figure.
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white house spokesman robert gibbs said, not true. >> no information was altered, and no information was withheld, and nothing in the report had anything to do with the robust response. >> reporter: the report also accuses the white house of refusing to use figures of the worst-case scenario, and a spill potentially releasing 100,000 barrels of oil a day. the report says that bp gave the government those higher numbers three days after the explosion. but the office of management and budget knew about the higher estimates, but prevented the public from hearing them. nonsense says the white house, gibbs pointed to public statements made early on by administration officials, appearing on cnn and other outlets. >> the worst-case scenario, you could have 100,000 barrels or more of oil flowing out. >> reporter: but it was clear that the white house was using a great deal of caution to elevate the scope of the disaster and releasing new numbers as more information came in.
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>> we are estimating 1,000 barrels a day, and noaa experts believe that the output can be as much as 5,000 barrels. >> the current estimate is 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day. >> reporter: and it also criticizes carol browner for saying that 75% of the oil had been scooped up or burned or naturally dispersed, and gibbs says that the white house quickly corrected the error. >> it is fair to say that carol did hundreds of hours of interviews and misspoke once, which is a pretty darn good track record and one that we made sure was accurate and certainly just a few hours later. >> reporter: so, wolf, the report concludes that by initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then at the end of the summer to appear to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was not fully competent to handle the spill, and not fully candidate with the
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american people, and now, wolf, this is a working paper, and obviously, the final and the official report in january, and we are hoping that more information from the commission and greater context can help us to understand whether or not this white house was in fact forthcoming and transparent. >> because if we didn't learn what went wrong the last time, we are bound the repeat it down the road. and we don't ever want to do that again. >> that is the goal of the commission the make sure they have enough information so it won't ever happen again. >> thank you, suzanne. a new republican campaign ad suggests that harry reid voted to give viagara to convicted sex offenders. john king is standing by about the impact of the bare knuckled advied advertisin advertising.
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there's a new campaign out in the heat of nevada senate race in which a tea party-backed republican candidate sharron angle slams senate majority leader harry reid. listen to this. >> you want to know how out of touch harry reid is? spending $770 billion on a stimulus that failed is a start. or voting to give illegal aliens a tax break and reduce social security benefits, but this is the one, voting to pay for viagara for child molesters andis ex offenders and what else could you know about harry reid? well, let's talk about this ad
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with john king who hosts "john king usa" which begins at the top of the hour. what is sharron angle referring to? >> well, here is the kicker, nobody who voted in the health care reform voted to specifically give taxpayer dollars to provide viagara for sex offenders. they voted for a number of amendments to kill the legislation, and made no secret, and many of them predicted that many of them would end up in campaign ads. this is one of them. tom coburn said that it is possible in the state exchanged health care bill that if they did not specifically prohibit or forbid giving viagara to those in prison, then they could decide to make that benefit available. he proposed the amendment, and democrats, including harry reid said it is a stunt and prank and voted it down. so harry reid did vote against it, but did he explicitly vote as the ad says to pay for
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viagara for child molesters andis ex offenders, no he did not. but they say, if you didn't vote against allowing it, that is what you are going to do, and this is tipping the truth-o-meter a little bit. >> and we know that harry reid is responding to this ad. let me read to you what he is saying in the response. a reid spokesperson saying that sharron angle continues the pathological path of lying to the voters of nevada in her extreme, and political agenda in nevada. this is a close race in nevada, and some polls in the last couple of days have shown her slightly ahead of harry reid. >> well, a new poll last night showing a dead heat, but with likely voters a two-point lead, but dead heat. and so, if you are a democratic incumbent, that is trouble. so, this ad is a hard-hitting bang-bang campaign and this viagara allegation is suspect. the middle part of the ad where
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it talks about social security benefits for the illegal aliens is something about this race, because the latino vote is part of that race, and sharron angle is clear that she won't get part of it, so she wants independents and others who don't want any tax benefit going to illegal aliens, so both angle and reid have ads that would not make the polite hall of fame. >> no, it is a tough race and less than four weeks to go. we will see you at the top of the hour, john. >> okay. thank you. and should one state tell people on food stamps they can't buy soda? they could have shipped it too. saved ourselves the hassle. i'm not too sure about this. look at this. [ security agent ] right. you never kick off with sales figures. kicking off with sales figures! i'm yawning. i'm yawning some more. aaaaaaaand... [ snores ] i see your point. yeah. [ snores ] [ male announcer ] we understand.®
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new york city waged war on salt and transfat and now it is taking on soda. it wants to ban the use of food stamps to buy sugar-sweetened drinks. mary snow has more. >> reporter: if new york has its way buying soda or sugar-sweetened drinks with more
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than ten calories is going to be banned if you use food stamp. the mayor says they are trying to reduce obesity and they are making the case to the food stamp program which currently only bans cigarette and liquor sales. >> well, for something that all experts tell you is detrimental to your health and contributing to the number one health issue repla remaining in this country which is getting worse is not unreasonable and not picking on anybody. >> reporter: 45% of adults in new york city are obese, and among public schoolchildren, that rate is closer to 40%. christy lancaster is a nutritionist who is working to reduce high obesity rates in harlem and one problem is that healthier food tends to be expensive and leaving people with fewer options and soda does not help. >> it has more calories and the more calories you drink, you don't compensate for them in the
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same way when you eat more calories. >> reporter: not all public health doctors are applauding the city's approach to ban soda for people on food stamps. >> even if we can do it and should do, it is the right thing? >> reporter: should we? >> i'm not so sure. this doctor has been also been working to reduce obesity. >> food stamps pays for a bucket of high processed chemicals that you could not call them food, and so out of the bucket of things that food stamps covers, why are we picking out one thing, soda? >> reporter: now the u.s. department of ak ri -- ak gricu who administers the food stamp program, is asking for a study to weigh the program. >> another study. okay.
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he made his debut in this photo, and now cigar guy has gone viral.
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why are so many people
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voting in these midterm elections? millions can vote any time of day because they don't have a job. they don't have the money to go shop. the rest are so disappointed and discouraged with obama's first 18 months we need to event our rage in the voting booth. paul in texas says why, because the movement of term limits is real. i don't really like the tea party movement but one thing they've been able to do is vote in blocks in order to get people out of office when all they want is a job for 60 years at our expense. connie writes, they actually think that their vote counts. too bad they are limited to a two-party monopoly when the big corporations and donors take over the agenda of the party leadership. pat in michigan writes, we're fed up. we're going to see if the republicans can deliver in two years. they will be able to be on their collective rear-ends.
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hope and change meant innovation and improvement. if they were paying attention to obama's writings and speeches, they would have realized his vision of hope and change would have sent us somewhere near the 1970s soviet union territory. they brought us visible vision and now they want their money back. maybe because change is needed and they don't want to wait until 2012 and iowa and texas write, it's highest when things are very bad. maybe if politicians did any work while they were in office, we could have a peaceful stay at home midterm. if you want to read more on this, find it on my blog at a most unusual bystander. the ryder cup is at the center of an internet manhunt. it's just outside of lancaster. sure, i can download directions for you now. we got it. thank you very much! onstar ready. call home. hi, daddy!
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a photograph from a ryder cup has produced the most unusual celebrity. >> all he wanted was to watch golf but now he's a wanted man. he even has an alias. >> called quite simply cigar guy. >> who is cigar guy? >> reporter: the answer to that, you could win $1,000. this started with the amazing golf photo. the ball was captured midair, headed straight for a photographers camera. >> it was actually perfect. >> reporter: for a brief moment,
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the shock was the story. but then -- >> no one cared. almost immediately they noticed cigar guy over on the side, his eyes all bug dee. >> reporter: and in the blink of the eye, he's being photo shopped into countless other pictures, and from marilyn monroe to martin luther king to madman. >> we love him. >> reporter: the prevailing theory is that he was dressed up to look like a cigar famous spanisher golfer and though it may look like he's wearing a turbine, this is actually a wig. now there's a bounty on his head. a $1,000 reward is being offered by be frugal blog for information about cigar man's identity. be frugal wants him as their
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spokesman. >> he is the cheapest man on the planet. did you see his pants? those are mighty cheap pants. >> reporter: he's even landed on the moon in a famous golf ball shop. he's been photo shopped on to everybody's head, even the ball. the website got a loefd photographs from a california high school teacher who made it an assignment ranging from hitler to a streaker, the cigar figure so prominently in the monica lewinsky affair, no wonder he ends up there. but who is cigar guy? the most common guess is it's borat. >> what? >> reporter: it's cheech from cheech and chong. it's a cigar. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> thank you, jeannie. thanks very much. always follow what is going on here in "the situation room." i'm on