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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 4, 2011 4:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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thus her sweet. facing sweet dilemmas, paying off word series bet with ice cream. i meant splurge. yes, i did. chocolate. this is even though mccasskill has been trying to lose a bunch of weight. before and after, looking very good. let's send it off to washington to wolf blitzer "the situation room" starts now. >> thanks very much. happening now -- >> you know, i've been in washington all week and i've attracted a little bit of attention. >> the attention, though, may be turning very soon toward one of herman cain's sexual harassment accusers. we may be hearing from her this hour. stand by. democrats have already turned their attention to mitt romney, as he unveil as new plan for deep government spending cuts. they call it something only a
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billionaire could love. and the latest jobs numbers. the unemployment rate dropping a bit. we're going to show you some americans are now looking for and finding jobs in asia. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we may be hearing any moment now from one of the women who reportedly accused herman cain of sexual harassment. her lawyer is waiting for approval from the national restaurant association, which was once led by herman cain, to issue that statement. you're looking at a live picture. the cameras are set up outside his office in washington, d.c., the office of joel bennett. brian todd is standing by. what are you learning? we're about to hear, we suspect, from joel bennett on whether or not they worked out an agreement with the national restaurant association. >> wolf, we're hearing that something could come soon from mr. bennett within way or the other to let us know if we're going to get some kind of a statement from his client, who
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is one of the accusers of herman cain. he says his client wants to set the record straight. we believed we could get a statement fairly soon from mr. bennett distributed by him on behalf of his client. what we're not going to get is her identity. she has apparently said to him she wishes to remain private but she does want to rebut herman cain's claims that the charges -- the accusations against him are groundless, which he's been saying all week. so we should be hearing from joel bennett fairly soon we believe that is coming up, wolf. in the meantime we do have some information. we talked to a former national restaurant association employee who knows one of herman cain's accuser. this loyy met with the accuser on the day the employee left the nra. he said the accuser said she was not getting along with her bosses. the accuser said she was getting a severance payment, which was about a year's salary. the source estimates that to be
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between $32,000 and $37,000 year. the accuser has not interacted with her co-workers. we're told mr. bennett is coming out. he is coming to camera so stand by. here he comes. >> brian is joining us on the often. as soon as we see joel bennett come to that camera, we're going to hear what he has to say. gloria borger is standing by as well. he's passing out a written statement. >> are you all ready? okay, thank you. thank you all for your patience. in 1999 i was retained by a female employee of the national restaurant association concerning several instances of sexual harassment by the then ceo. she made a complaint in good faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances from the ceo.
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those complaints were resolved in an agreement with her acceptance of a monetary settlement. she and her husband see no value in revisiting this matter now nor in discussing the matter any further publicly or privately. in fact, it would be extremely painful to do so. she is grateful this she was able to return to her government career where she is extremely happy serving the american people to the very best of her ability. she looks forward to continuing to work hard for them as we face the significant challenges that lie ahead. she wishes to thank the media for the restraint they have shown her and thank her family for their love and support, her colleagues and supervisor for their patience and forebears and and her advisors for their wise counsel and her dear husband for 26 years. everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.
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sexual harassment is unfortunately very much alive and with us even today and women must fight it in all kinds of workplaces and at all levels. my client stands by the complaint she made. thank you. i'll take questions at this time. >> don't know. i'm sure she would disagree with the statements she made concerning the complaint. >> reporter: what was her level of interesting in responding to something specific because of the fact that mr. cain had in your word bad mouthed her and her reputation. wasn't there a desire by her to refute that matter? >> she believes the statement does refute that. one at a time. she's been married for 26 years. the incidents were in 1999. >> mr. bennett, can you describe the nature of the harassment that she alleges by mr. cain? >> beyond what's in the statement -- sorry. beyond what's in the statement she has decided not to relive
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the specifics of the incident. so can i not give any further details. >> reporter: is that because she is not able to do so because she's limited by the confidentiality agreement? or is that because she's made a decision that she doesn't want to but could if she wanted to? >> the latter. she's made a decision that she does not want to do that. >>. >> excuse me? >> is the group going to lift the nondisclosure? >> we have not asked them to lift it beyond making this statement. >> reporter: how long did the actions -- >> i don't remember the exact time period of the incidents, but it was over a period of time of at least a month or two as i recall. >> reporter: can you tell us the extent to which you were in consultation with the cain campaign? >> zero. >> reporter: how many incidents are you talking about? >> more than one. we're not going to get more
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specific than that. we resolved the case at an early level. it never got to that point where i could evaluate it as a case for litigation. >> reporter: is there something more than just a number of instances where she was made to feelin comfortable? is there any evidence? >> if we had needed to bring a case in court, we would have marshalled the necessary evidence. i never got to that point. >> reporter: do you have -- >> no. other than the fact that it was a monetary settlement, we're not going to disclose the exact amount. >> reporter: was it more than a year's salary? >> we're not going to get into how much of a percentage of salary it was or any further details on the monetary settlement. >> reporter: when you say inappropriate behaviors, did that include any physical contact with your client? >> we're not going to get more specific about what was physical, what was verbal. it qualified as sexual harassment in our opinion. >> reporter: were there any
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witnesses involved to corroborate this to make sure she's not misinterpreting any actions of mr. cain? >> i cannot recall at this time whether any third persons were present for any of the instances. i'm sorry. >> reporter: is mr. cain bound by this agreement? >> that's a legal issue. i'm not going to get into that. excuse me? >> reporter: do you believe he violated it? >> it's a legal issues because, first of all, he did not sign the settlement agreement. and secondly, he may have been gone from the nra at the time it was signed. so whether it could have bound a ceo who was no longer there who didn't sign it is a legal issue that i haven't had to get into and i'm not going to express an opinion on it. say that again? >> reporter: did the nra come out and make a statement? >> we have a settlement agreement that has both confidentiality and nondisparagement provisions in it that i signed and my client signed and i did not want to expose us to any liability under
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that agreement. i felt this was the prudent way to go. >> reporter: do you think these behaviors in any way make -- or does your client believe that it's makes him unsuitable to the president of the united states? >> my client has not expressed any opinion on that to me and i don't believe she's going to express any opinion on that. >> reporter: what are her emotions this week as all this has played out? >> she's been anxious about it understandably and she's relieved we've been able to resolve it the way we have today. >> reporter: mr. cain has said he did not hit on anybody, didn't call anybody hot or anything like that -- >> those statements are inaccurate factually. as to my client. i'm not aware of the other instances for the other women. >> reporter: is your client aware or does she understand by not being more forthcoming about the facts that she opens up herself to the claim by the cain
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cam pan that she doesn't have a case and there isn't enough evidence? that's sort of the way things may play out. >> mr. cain knows the specific incidents that were alleged. my client filed a written complaint in 1999 against him specifically and it had very specific indecidents in it. if he chooses to not remember or not acknowledge those, that's his issue. what? >> reporter: (inaudible). >> internal with the nra with whatever procedure they had at the time. >> reporter: does your client have the money to pay back -- the money to receive in the settlement plus any penalties to pay back if she decided to break this nondisclosure? >> i never discussed that with her and it's not something we expected to do. >> reporter: after the statement was given to the supervisor, did the behaviors and the activity
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stop? >> i honestly do not recall whether he was even there when she filed the complaint. i believe her complaint was filed in july of 1999. we settled in september of 1999, and i don't know what contact, if any, my client had with mr. cain after she filed the internal complaint. >> reporter: did you personally hold a deposition with herman cain? >> i have never met him, i have never spoken with him. we filed an internal complaint and it was settled. you don't take a deposition of someone when you file an internal complaint. depositions are taken in court proceedings. >> reporter: did she make her grievances known to her colleagues in the office? >> i do not know. >> reporter: can you describe the best you can her emotions when she filed these complaints in the 90s and the impact it had on her? >> i'm sure she was very upset at the time. i don't have a present wreck ligs of her exact emotional state at the time. having reviewed the internal
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complaint recently, i'm sure she was very upset at the time. >> have you all considered any future litigation or suits against mr. cain for what he said? >> we have not considered it. >> reporter: one of the things mr. cain said is this was just a severance agreement as opposed to a claim. is that true? >> that is an inaccurate description of the settlement agreement. a severance agreement is when someone is leaving employment and there's an agreement to pay the person usually a certain number of months of salary for whatever reason. it could be just because the person is leaving. that's very common in companies having economic problems that have severance policies that are unrelated to any misconduct or performance issues. this was a settlement of an internal complaint of sexual harassment. it was not a severance agreement. >> reporter: do you know if mr. cain knew about it at the time?
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>> i don't know. i don't know the exact procedure that my client followed in filing the internal complaint at nra but i would be astounded if the complaint was not brought to his attention. >> reporter: did she continue to call witnesses? were there witnesses? >> i honestly do not recall whether any of the incidents involved third parties or other people being present. it's very common in sexual harassment cases for almost all the activity to be one on one with no third parties or witnesses. >> reporter: did she write this -- >> i don't recall. that was 1999. i just don't recall those details. i'm sorry. >> reporter: did she write this complaint with your assistance? >> i don't remember that. i'm sorry. >> reporter: and did she continue to go to work after she submitted the complaint? >> i don't remember the timeline as to exactly when she left, but as far as i can recall she continued working there after she filed the internal complaint for at least a month or so. but i'm not absolutely certain
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on that. >> reporter: and your reaction to the fact that this is not the only claim that, we have another claim. there is now a third woman who said she did not file one but she has complaints and we're hearing about it. >> there's an expression where there's smoke, there's fire. the fact that there are multiple complaints tells me it's more likely than not that there was some sexual harassment activity by this man at that time. all of that is subject to proof. he would be allowed to rebut all of them, but i -- but the fact that there's more than one complainant is meaningful. >> reporter: so why bother having her lawyer come forward to rebut any claim? why not remain anonymous and go on her way? >> because she's concerned about the statements mr. cain has made. >> reporter: she's remained anonymous any. >> i'm trying to answer your question. mr. cain has made statements after politico initially revealed that there had been one
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or more sexual harassment complaints against mr. cain. there were at least two sexual harassment complaints filed, one by my client. the statements mr. cain has made make it unclear who he's talking about all the time, but he has generally said these complaints were baseless, i did not engage in sexual harassment and my client felt that she wanted to respond to those statements in a prudent way and it's her position that it's most prudent for her to do it this way rather than exposing herself personally. >> reporter: is she concerned she's going to be exposed soon? >> she prefers her privacy and not to be a public figure. if the media chooses to publish her name, that's the media's business. she would prefer that it not be published. any other questions? yes. >> reporter: are you making copies? >> i gave out a number of copies. i'll make some more copies just when we finish the conference.
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just let me know. she and i wrote it together. any other questions? okay, thank you very much. >> thank you, sir. >> sorry about the delay. >> so there you have it. joel bennett, the attorney representing this one woman who worked in 1999 at the national restaurant association and filed sexual harassment allegations against the then chief of the national restaurant association, a lobbying organization here in washington. that would be herman cain, who is now the republican presidential candidate. clearly coordinated with this statement from joel bennett, we have just received the statement from the national restaurant association. the statement from the association president and ceo don sweeney. let me read it to our viewers because there's news in here as well. i'll read it in full. we have seen the statement joel bennett released earlier today on behalf of his client, a former employee of the association. the association consented to the
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release of that statement at the request of mr. bennett's client. the statement goes on to say based upon the information currently available, we can confirm that more than a decade ago in july 1999 mr. bennett's client filed a formal internal complaint in accordance with the association's existing policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. mr. herman cain disputed the allegations in the complaint. the association and mr. bennett's client subsequently entered into an agreement to resolve the matter without any admission of liability. mr. cain was not a party to that agreement. the agreement contains mutual confidentiality obligations. notwithstanding the association's ongoing policy of maintaining the privacy of all personnel matters, we have advised mr. bennett that we are willing to waive the confidentiality of this matter and per montana mr. bennett's client to comment. as indicated in mr. bennett's statement, his client prefers
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not to be further involved with this matter and we will respect her decision. the association has robust policies designed to ensure that employees with concerns may bring them forward for prompt investigation and resolution without risk of retaliation. the association is fully committed to equal employment opportunity and to an environment that is free from any discrimination or harassment. that statement from dawn sweeney, the president and ceo of the national restaurant association. our brian todd is there at joel bennett's office outside. gloria borger, who has been reporting on the story is here as well. let's go to brian first. we heard the statement, brian, that joel bennett made, a very carefully crafted statement. you've just heard me read the reaction from the national restaurant association saying they were okay with this woman waiving her confidentiality agreement conditions, but she has decided she and her husband of 26 years, they don't want any
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police i publicity, don't want to go public other than what joel bennett said there. give as you little bit of context. what else is going on? >> well, it's a very highly anticipated news conference with mr. bennett coming out. if you look at the statement that he gave, there are a couple of key phrases in here that are at the beginning and at the very end. at the beginning mr. bennett on behalf of his client says "she made a complaint in good faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances from the ceo." at the very end, the last line of the statement he says "my client stands by the complaint she made." those first and last lines pretty much of this statement indicate that she is basically rebutting what herman cain has said, that her complaints were in good faith and that she stands by these complaints. these were complaints she said she made in good faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors by herman cain. other than that, there are really no specifics in here, nor did mr. bennett give any
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specifics about the alleged incident. so, wolf, that is what you have. she is standing by her complaint. she said she made it in good faith and that is what mr. bennett has just expressed. >> based on the notes i was taking when joel bennett was reading that statement, didn't he say at the very beginning that his client, this woman, alleged, quote, several instances of sexual harassment? that would be more than one, several instances. is that in the statement? >> that is not in the statement that i can see right now. i don't believe it is in the statement. but he did say something later that there was more than one incident. and then he said he wanted to leave it at that. he did not want to get into specifics about that, wolf. looking again over the statement, i don't see anything immediately saying that there was more than one incident in the statement. but he did say there was more than one incident separately. >> we'll look at the tape i think at the beginning in his remarks he said there were several instances that she alleged. gloria borger is with us as well. we got the statement from the attorney representing this woman who used to work at the national
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restaurant association. we have the reaction from the national restaurant association. she stands by what she alleged back in 1999. she could go public. the nra, the national restaurant association, is ready to waive the confidentiality agreement but she doesn't want any publicity. >> well, and what's interesting about what joel bennett, her attorney, is saying is not only in addition to there being several instances that it was inappropriate behavior and unwanted advances. and it's clear if you do the math that she was a married woman at the time, she's been married 26 years. this happened in 1999. when you look at the restaurant association statement, which is clearly written very carefully as well, it allowed that there had been an internal investigation, that herman cain had disputed the allegations in the complaint and that they entered into an agreement without any admission of liability. herman cain has come out and said publicly in his own defense
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that he was essentially cleared internally of any wrong doing or any sexual harassment. the statement from the national restaurant association does not go that far. it doesn't say what the results of their internal investigation was. it just says that there was an agreement. and, by the way, they use the word agreement rather than settlement, which is the word that herman cain uses. they say -- so they're not saying what the results of their own internal investigation showed. >> they do say that he disputed the allegations. >> exactly. >> in her complaint. but not saying whether or not they felt that he was right or she was right. >> that's right. >> they're not getting into that other than acknowledging there was an agreement to resolve this matter between the national restaurant association and this woman and that mr. cain was not a direct party to this agreement. >> that's right.
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and so we still do not know what the results of any internal investigation were. we just -- we don't know that. and clearly this woman, as her attorney mr. bennett has told me, he put it to me this way, he said she doesn't want to become another anita hill, she wants to remain a private person. and so she didn't want to take this -- she didn't want to take this any further and wanted just to sort of go on with her life. >> were you surprised, gloria, that the national restaurant association was ready to waive all those confidentiality restrictions on this woman? >> well, i don't know how much they've waived because from their statement it sounds like they've waived it all. and from listening to mr. bennett, it sounds like he didn't ask them to waive anything more than allowing her to issue the statement she issued today. so i'm not quite clear what that was. i think the national restaurant association probably felt some kind of obligation to let people
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know that in fact they had taken her complaint seriously, they said that we take these things seriously and so in order to keep their own reputation, you know, they decided that they needed to do something and allow her to release it to show that in fact they had given her the due process that she felt she deserved. >> in the statement from the national restaurant association, they say specifically, i'll read that part, notwithstanding the association's ongoing policy of maintaining the privacy of all personnel matters, we have advised mr. bennett that we are willing to waive the confidentiality of this matter and permit mr. bennett's client to comment. now, see has commented on this heart right now in the statement that mr. bennett just released. but she herself has made this decision she doesn't want to reopen all of the specifics of the allegations that she made back in 1999. >> but what she is saying with
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this statement is that when mr. cain said that the complaints were without basis, she clearly is making a point here that in fact this wasn't frivolous and that it was something that was taken seriously, not only by herself but also internally at the restaurant association. i mean, without the details, though, wolf, this is a difficult story right now because we don't know the details, her identity remains private, the charges are out there, mr. cain has denied them. we don't know what the results of the internal investigation were at the time restaurant association. we know that she did receive a settlement. so there are still an awful lot of questions out there. >> many questions out there. i want everybody to stand by. brian's over at joel bennett's office. gloria's here. stand by. much more of our coverage. the breaking news here, we have finally gotten a statement from one of the women who worked at
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. just getting this in. the white house now officially rejecting the congressional subpoena for solyndra documents. they're calling it a significant intrusion. lisa sylvester has been working this story for us. tough words from the white house to the republicans in the house of representatives. what's going on? >> this is actually a very sharply worded letter that the white house sent to congressional lawmakers. the house energy and commerce
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subcommitted voted to issue subpoena to the white house over the issue of solyndra. the panel has been investigating whether or not political ties led to a $535 million loan to the company that california solar panel company went bankrupt in august after it received this department of energy loan. taxpayers are now out a half a billion dollars. now the white house says, though, that this records request by republicans is unprecedented and unnecessary. they are also calling the subpoena overbroad. we have quotes from this letter we can read to you. quote, this is from the white house counsel, quote, earlier this week we made a good faith effort to work with the committee to accommodate its legitimate oversight concerns. you rejected our offer without explaining how it fell short of your legitimate oversight purpose. i can only conclude that your decision to issue a subpoena authorized by a party-line vote
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was driven more by partisan poll tex than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible investigation. another part of that quote of that letter, quote, there is no basis for such a broad request beyond a vast fishing expedition. another quote, we suggest that the committee focus first on communications between the white house and those agencies directly involved in the solyndra loan guarantee. the committee has rejected that approach without any justification other than a general curiosity about internal white house communications. in many ways this mirrors what democrats on the committee were arguing yesterday during this meeting on whether or not to authorize these subpoenas. democrats being very clear that they think that this is overbroad, that they think that this is largely being driven by partisan politics and an attempt to embarrass the president. we are now waiting for a response from the committee to see what's next, wolf. >> we're just getting further clarification also from jessica
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yellin, our chief white house correspondent. she's saying that the attorney for the white house in this letter and conversations apparently with the republicans, the attorney is refusing -- the white house is refusing to comply with the specific subpoena but is not necessarily refusing to comply all together. she's leaving the door open that would allow them to turn over some further internal white house dauks ocuments, if they c negotiate the terms of the subpoena, given the breadth of the subpoena, i hope the committee's public statement that it intends to negotiate the scope of any document production is sincere. so it's a story that's creating a lot of tension, shall we say, between the white house and the republicans in the house of representatives. >> right. and the white house has said, look, we are willing to share some documents, we're willing to share some records but we just don't want it to be overbroad. we don't want everything that is related to solyndra because it
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would be unnecessary that it would include things like, for instance, the president's visit when he visited the company in california, that it might have secretive information about the presidential visit and such. they said really we've got to limit the scope of this. what republicans are saying, though, is they're saying the white house has been stonewalling, that think been going back and forth and having these conversations and the white house has really been dragging its feet, reluctant to produce the documents. the white house on the other hand saying we produced 20,000 pages of documents this week, you have a lot of internal documents also related to the various agencies, department of energy, office of management and budget, start there. certainly the committee has a lot to go through before doing what's in the word of the white house is what they call a fishing expedition. >> let's not forget the issue here was some $500 million in u.s. taxpayer money, loans that went to solyndra to try to build up the solar energy company but the solar energy company went
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broke and that $500 million that taxpayers funded for these loans gone. that's the issue right now. was there any inappropriate political activity or other activity that was involved in this decision to make this $500 million loan to solyndra go forward. i know you're working the story. we'll stay in close touch with you on that. let's get back to our other top story, the breaking news we've been following. we have now received a statement from this one woman who used to work at the national restaurant association alleging that herman cain engaged in a series of sexual harassment instances back in 1999 when she worked there there was an agreement worked out between her and the national restaurant association. we've heard from her lawyer. we've now from the national restaurant association as well. let me play the little clip of what joel bennett just said at the top of the hour making the announcement on behalf of his client. >> in 1999 i was retained by a female employee of the national
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restaurant association concerning several instances of sexual harassment by the then ceo. she made a complaint in good faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances from the ceo. those complaints were resolved in an agreement with her acceptance of a monetary settlement. she and her husband see no value in revisiting this matter now, nor in discussing the matter any further publicly or privately. in fact, it would be extremely painful to do so. she is grateful this she was able to return to her government career where she is extremely happy serving the american people to the very best of her ability. she looks forward to continuing to work hard for them as we face the significant challenges that lie ahead. she wishes to thank the media for the restraint they have shown her. and thank her family for their love and support, her colleagues and supervisors for their
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patience and forebearance and most of all her dear husband of 26 years. everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. sexual harassment is unfortunately very much alive and with us even today and women must fight it in all kinds of workplaces and at all levels. my client stands by the complaint she made. thank you. >> that's joel bennett. let's discuss what's going on, the breaking news we're following, our cnn political contributor, democratic strategist donna brazil is joining us and will cane. first to you, will, what do you make of this latest twice in this saga? >> i almost see it as a non-event, wolf. we're still missing the main ingreendent in the story, the details of the allegations.
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we do not know any of details in the sexual harassment case, the details are all that matter. >> he denied any wrong doing back in 1999, herman cain, donna. mr. cain according to the national restaurant association statement that was just released disputed the allegations in the complaint, although she did get this financial settlement as part of the agreement as you well know between the nra, the national restaurant association, and this woman. donna, what's your assessment? >> well, i think this is still a murky event and mr. cain has done a really poor job in handling this crisis. we've learned a lot in the way he first responded the ol gagss when questioned about it and over the last five days we've had five different explanations and, quite honestly, mr. cain right now seems to be enjoying himself because of his standing in the polls and the amount of money he's raised over this. look, i have to agree with the woman in question, that, you
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know, she put out a statement, she stands by her original complaint, she's decided not to come forward publicly to rehash this in the media. i totally agree. there's nothing in it for her at this moment to relive these painful moments in her life, and i think at this point herman cain, if he wants to pivot to another conversation, fine. let's get back to 9-9-9 and the 9 cents that that adds up to. for now i think mr. bennett has made it quite clear that his client would like to move forward with her own life. >> will, herman cain was speaking before a conservative group here in washington today. i'm going to play a little clip of what he had to say, but we're trying to get some reaction, first of all, from his campaign to what we just heard from this woman's attorney, joel bennett. also what we heard in this written statement that the national restaurant association just released as well. both of you stand by for a moment. we'll take a quick break.
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when we come back, i'm going to play for our viewers what herman cain said about all of this today. ...was it something big? ...or something small? ...something old? ...or something new? ...or maybe, just maybe... it's something you haven't seen yet. the 2nd generation of intel core processors. stunning visuals, intelligent performance. this is visibly smart.
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spoke out about a sensitive subject, the billionaire koch brothers and their influence on republican candidates, the tea party movement and more. listen to this. >> you know, i've been in washington all week and i've attracted a little bit of attention. and there was an article in the "new york times" today that has attempted to attract some more attention. the article tries to make a case of how close the koch brothers and i are. i'm proud to know the koch brothers. i'm very proud to know the koch brothers. they make it sound like that we've had time to go fishing together, hunting together, skiing together, golfing together. but just so i can clarify this for the media, this may be a breaking news announcement for
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the media, i am the koch brother's brother from another mother. yes! i'm that brother from another mother! and proud of it. >> let's bring back donna brazile and will cane. a lot of our viewers never heard of the koch brothers but they're very, very well known in republican circles and certainly democratic circles aswell. and think about the answer because first let me play this little clip of what he said back on october 17th when john king asked him about his relationship with the koch brothers. listen to how he phrased it then. >> i know the koch brothers. i have also attended some of their seminars and have found them very informative. so i don't have a close relationship but i know them and i respect them and they know me and they respect me.
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>> i don't have a close relationship but today he's saying something a little bit more dramatic, that we're brothers from a different mother. go ahead, give us a little context, will. who are the koch brothers and why are they so controversial in this current political environment? >> the koch brothers are a couple of billionaires from kansas who have funded a the love organizations behind the tea party. they're contributing to some of these big conservative movements. they have a strong libertarian strain to their ideology and i got to say, wolf, there was a couple weeks ago where herman cain gave a speech and he had a fedora and he stood up a and said i'm not supposed to be here, i'm not supposed to here in this race, i'm not supposed to be standing here in this hat but why anyways. you're not supposed to say you're a brother from another mother with the koch brothers that you're fans of the koch brothers. but this is evidence piece number 56 of why this conservative base likes herman cain, because he will say these things you're not supposed to
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say. the conservative base, there's nothing nefarious about the koch brothers political activism. >> donna, what do you think about the coke brothers? the democrats make them sound to be the right wing equivalent of the billionaires funding some of the left wing organizations out there. >> first of all, let's help that at some point in his short presidential career herman cain will become a consistent candidate because, wolf, if he says it today, he could chang it tomorrow and god knows that the right-wing tea party would like to applaud inconsistency, then they should get ready for mitt romney because he is the darling of inconsistency. but, look, the koch brothers, they're antiunion, antiworkers right, anticollective bargaining, antiteachers, antifirefighters. i could go on. mr. cain has been a spokesman for the koch brothers. he has traveled on their behalf. he's attended rallies, he's attended events. he's very close.
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i don't know if they're kissing cousins or sister, i don't know but herman cain loves the koch brothers. >> is it fair to say the koch brothers to the right are what george soros is to the left? >> honestly i don't know how much money george soros has given liberal causes but i know know the koch brothers have given to the tea party and other right-wing causes hundreds of millions of dollars and they're prepared to spend millions of dollars in this campaign season. as you know, mr. cain as campaign has also caught up with controversy in wisconsin with the state laws in terms of the coke -- american for prosperity of wisconsin chapter, mr. block has been their executive director. so, i don't know, look, god bless herman cain, take a nap, get on that midnight train back to georgia and get your campaign back to track. >> it does bring up an interesting general election question. the koch brothers are becoming
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the left wing's boogie man. when will herman cain chart to run a general election campaign? mitt romney is starting now. if herman cain is for real, things like this conservative bases may like it but you can't say you're buddies with the left wing's boogie man. i don't think that will work in a general election. >> stand by, good discussion. we're going to continue to follow this story obviously. it's not going away. we'll take a quick break. when we come back, i'll speak with joel bennett. he's the attorney representing this woman who made these allegations against herman cain back in 1999.
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we're following the breaking news. the woman who back in 1999 accused the then head of the national restaurant association, herman cain, of sexual harassment, she's now released a statement through her attorney, joel bennett. joel bennett is joining us here in the swaeituation room. thanks very much for coming in. >> you're welcome. >> i know you don't want to get into details and she's been married for 26 years, she doesn't want her name published, she's got a life right now, she doesn't need all this public aggravation but tell us what you
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can in terms -- when you told as you little while ago that there were several instances, i believe that was the phrase you used, of sexual harassment, what can you tell us about the nature of this sexual harassment? >> i'm sorry, i would like to be able to reveal all the details, but my client prefers not to do that and all i can say is there was more than one incident, they qualified as sexual harassment under the law in my opinion as a lawyer and my client chooses not to get into the details again. the details were filed internally with the national restaurant association in 1999 and i assume they were brought to mr. cain's attention. >> but you don't want to explain what she meant at the time by sexual harassment or what else you said in your statement a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances. you just want to leave it in those sort of vague, general terms, is that right? >> that's my client's choice,
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yes. >> even though -- and correct me if i'm wrong. did the national restaurant association agree to waive the confidentiality agreement that she worked out back in 1999, she could if she wanted to go ahead and speak to the news media, do whatever she wants. she doesn't want to do that but did the national restaurant association allow her to do so? >> they said they would. we have not actually had an agreement to do that, but they said they would do that. >> because in their statement they put out this and i'll read it to you -- >> i've seen the statement. >> it says notwithstanding the association's ongoing policy of maintaining the privacy of all personnel matters, we have advised mr. bennett that we are willing to waive the confidentiality of this matter and permit mr. bennett's client to comment. when they say they're willing to waive the confidentiality matter, would that allow her to go public, do a long interview, explain what she meant at the time by sexual harassment?
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>> yes. theoretically it would and earlier in the week i used the phrase "waive the confidentiality" but i was using it in the sense of allowing us to make the kind of public statement we have made today. my client never had any intention of revealing all the details of the complaint she field in 1999. >> you know that several news organizations know her identity, but they have made a conscientious decision not to release her identity to protect her privacy. i assume you appreciate that. >> i appreciate it and my client appreciates it. it's in the highest standards of the media. >> how worried, though, are you that given the fact that several people, a lot of people outside of the national restaurant association, your client obviously, you, but outside of this inner circle, how worried are you her name will eventually be made public? >> i'm not worried about it. if it happens, it happens and
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she'll deal with it. we just appreciate people respecting her privacy. >> when they say in the statement, the national restaurant association that at the time mr. herman cain -- i'm reading from their statement -- disputed the allegations in the complaint. he flatly says that whatever she was alleging was not true. i want you to respond to that. >> in almost 40 years of being a lawyer, can i not recall anyone who has been accused of sexual harassment who said i did it. >> so you're just saying what? >> they always deny it. very simple. >> but there was no formal investigation, shall we say. he says he recused himself, this agreement was worked out between the national restaurant association, the general council, i assume, and you representing her at the time, right? >> and their outside counsel at the time. >> they had an outside counsel, private lawyer whom they retained. >> correct. >> where does this go from here
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from your perspective? >> my client hopes it's over from her perspective. there are other complainants out there and what they choose to do is their business. >> how many other women as far as you know made other allegations of sexual harassment toward herman cain? >> i know there was one other complaint filed, although i have not seen it, and i understand from the media that there are one or two other people who claim that he sexually harassed them but i don't know any more details about them. >> is that your own knowledge of the one or two others, is that only from the news media or is that from other legal sources shall we say? >> from the news media and there was one other person who actually called me and left a voicemail and told me -- and left a voicemail saying she worked at the nra and had been
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sexually harassed by mr. cain. when i returned the call, she said she decided not to go public. >> was that phone call back in 1999 or recently? >> this week. >> this week in the aftermath of the politico story that was posted sunday night. let me read to you by the way, we just got a statement in from herman cain's campaign. let me read it to you, mr. bennett, and we'll get your reaction. this from j.d. gordon, the spokesman for the campaign. >> we look forward to focusing our attention on the real issues impacting this country, like fixing this broken economy and putting americans back to work through the 9-9-9 plan swes strengthening national security. clearly they want to move on, they want this thing to be over with. is that okay with you? >> it's fine with my client, fine with me. >> what about this -- >> as long as i don't -- >> the reason it's generating so much interest as can you imagine is together with mitt romney, he
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is the republican presidential front-runner right now. he's doing amazingly well nationally in the key states like iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, florida, and he's raising a lot of money in the aftermath of these allegations. do you want to tell us how you or your client have reacted to this? >> my client has no reaction. my reaction is people are free to support any candidate they want. i'm sure if some people feel strongly about this, i've received hate e-mail, obscene phone calls from people who apparently are -- >> we just lost our feed unfortunately. we just lost our feed with mr. bennett. we'll try to fix that. but you just heard him saying he's been receiving hate e-mails, obscene phone calls because he's representing this woman who has made these allegations back in 1999 against herman cain. so once again we got reaction from the cain campaign.
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they want to move on. we'll take another quick break. more on this story and all the other important news of the day when we come back. [ technician ] are you busy? management just sent over these new technical manuals. they need you to translate them into portuguese. by tomorrow. [ male announcer ] ducati knows it's better for xerox to manage their global publications. so they can focus on building amazing bikes. with xerox, you're ready for real business. [ daniel ] my name is daniel northcutt. [ jennifer ] and i'm jennifer northcutt. opening a restaurant is utterly terrifying. we lost well over half of our funding when everything took a big dip. i don't think anyone would open up a restaurant if they knew what that moment is like. ♪ day 1, everything happened at once. ♪ i don't know how long that day was.
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we went home and let it sink in what we had just done. [ laughs ] ♪ word of mouth is everything, and word of mouth today is online. it all goes back to the mom and pop business founded within a family. ♪ when i found out i was pregnant, daniel was working on our second location. everyone will find out soon enough i think that something's happening. ♪ ♪ let's check in with lisa sylvester. what else is going on? >> a texas district attorney says he cannot file charges against a judge seen beating his daughter in a 2004 video to the
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statute of liof limitations. the daughter said she released the tape to show her father what he was doing. the judge questions the daughter's motives and the timing of the video. police are looking to file criminal charges in a federal court. and this holiday get ready for fewer travelers but higher fares. a new industry report shows there will be about 37,000 fewer passengers than last year, a 2% drop. but since major carriers are reducing the number of flights or destinations, chances are your plane will still be crowded. >> and dipping dots ice cream is filing for bankruptcy. the company says it's due to an failure to reach an agreement with its secured lender. they have $12 million in liabilities. it will absolutely stay in business. it is popular at malls and amusement parks.
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>> and after spending 526 days in seclusion, six astronauts have ended their simulated mars mission. they showered rarely and survived on only canned food. the trip replicated all aspects of a mission to mars including orbitting the planet, landing and returning to earth. wolf? >> lisa, thank you. to our viewers you're in "the situation room." the lawyer for one of herman cain's accusers says she stands by her allegations of sexual harassment and claims he made very specific and unwanted advances. i spoke with that attorney just a little while ago. stand by for all of new details that are coming in and the cain campaign's reaction as well. plus president obama is heading back to the united states from france. he claims progress towards solving europe's huge debt crisis and slamming republicans in congress for inaction at
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home. and syrian security forces respond to friday's protests with new bloodshed. demonstrators are calling the government's promise to end its crackdown a lie. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we didn't hear from herman cain's accuser herself but her lawyer says she still believes she was the victim of sexual harassment by herman cain back in 1999. joel bennett responding specifically to cain's denials by saying where there's smoke, there's fire. brian todd is standing outside of joel bennett's office. it was a very dramatic moment when he walked out, brian, where you are and he read that statement. >> it was, wolf, very dramatic, very highly anticipated. we were waiting here for a couple hours for mr. bennett to come out and he did and delivered a one-page statement on behalf of his client, who is
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one of mr. cain's accusers, a couple of very operative passages from that statement, essentially standing behind her complaint, which mr. bennett says was filed in 1999. the operative parts we're taking from this statement right now, quote, she made a complaint in good faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors, plural, and unwanted advances from the ceo. this was very strong indication that there were more than one incident involved in this. mr. bennett later said there may have been more than a couple but then he came back and said he only wanted to leave it at more than one incident. and then at the end of the statement he said the client stands by the complaint she made. she's delivering a strong rebuttal to mr. cain. mr. bennett was asked a short time after that about mr. cain's denials and his claim she had no evidence for they are claim. >> mr. cain knows the specific incidents that were alleged. my client filed a written
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complaint in 1999 against him specifically and it had very specific incidents in it. and if he chooses to not remember or not acknowledge those, that's his issue. >> and just a short time ago we got a statement from the national restaurant association kind of in coordination with all of this. the statement reads in part "in july 1999 mr. bennett's client filed a formal internal complaint in accordance with the association's existing policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. mr. herman cain disputed the allegations in the complaint. the association and mr. bennett's client subsequently entered into an agreement to resolve the matter without any admission of liability. mr. cain was not party to that agreement." that from the national restaurant association, kind of in coordination that association saying they had essentially
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signed off on mr. bennett coming out and giving this statement, wolf. >> we just received a statement from the herman cain campaign. i'll read that as well. we look forward to focusing our attention on the real issues impacting this country like fixing this broken economy and putting americans back to work through our 9-9-9 plan as well as strengthening national security. brian, stand by for a moment. i also want to bring in our chief political analyst gloria borger. is that possible right now in the current environment, gloria, that mr. cain will be able to get back on message? >> well, he's certainly go to try. we have to see how this story unravels. as you pointed out in your conversation with the attorney, there are lots of people who know who this woman is or these women are and it's sort of like a question of how long you can keep these women private. as the attorney said, if it happens, it happens. she'd rather remain a private individual but you know how
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these stories proceed. i want to add one thing also, though, wolf. we don't really know what the result of the internal investigation was that was done by the national restaurant association. when mr. cain spoke at the press club earlier this week, he said, and i quote, that it was concluded after a thorough investigation that it had no basis. in the statement from the national restaurant association today, all we know is that there was an agreement that -- without any admission of liability. the statement doesn't even mention the matter of a settlement. so that is the big question that still remains out there. what happened, was there sexual harassment? and so we don't know the answers to those questions so herman cain can continue on with his campaign because we don't know the specifics of this yet and this woman has decided to remain
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private. >> sri wants to protect her privacy, she works for the federal government right now, doesn't want to be in the spotlight. listen to what joel bennett said about that agreement, that settlement, the severance pay, what ever it was called. >> a severance agreement is whether someone is leaving employment and there is an agreement to pay the person usually a certain number of months of salary for whatever reason. it could be just because the person is leaving. that's very common in companies that are having economic problems, that have severance policies that are unrelated to any misconduct or performance issues. this was a settlement of an internal complaint of sexual harassment. it was not a severance agreement. >> he's very specific, gloria, on that. he made an allegation of several instances in his words of inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment and she then and joel
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bennett was her attorney back in 1999 worked out an agreement with the national restaurant association in which she was paid a certain amount of money because of these allegations that she made. >> right. and so, you know, it could be go away money or it could have been that they felt that there was a real issue and that this needed to be settled before it was litigat litigated. we have mr. cain's statements on the record saying that it was concluded that it had no basis and that is clearly not what joel bennett is saying today. and also he added, and this is of course he represents this woman, but in terms of the other women he said "where there's smoke there's fire." i should add, though, wolf, one thing about the cain campaign since sunday they've raised $1.6 million. in the entire last quarter they raised just over $2.5 million. so they've done very well fund-raising off of this.
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>> since sunday night when politico broke this story. >> that's right. >> let me play that little clip of what joel bennett, the attorney representing this woman, said when he was asked if there are other incidents out there. >> there's an expression where there's smoke there's fire. the fact that there are multiple complaints tells me that it's more likely than not that there was some sexual harassment activity by this man at that time. all of that is subject to proof. he would be allowed to rebut all of them and but i -- but the fact that there's more than one complainant is meaningful. >> we know there's at least one, maybe two other women out there who have expressed their concern that they were sexually harassed by mr. cain as well. so while this one woman represented by joel bennett decides she doesn't want to go public, we don't know what these other women might be doing. >> right. i think that's why, wolf, when you say can herman cain get beyond this, what will happen to
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the story, honestly at this point we don't know. we just don't know. what we do know is that herman cain wants to talk about, as his spokesman said in the statement, 9-9-9, national security and the rest of the issues and we also know that in the polls at least right now he is not suffering within the republican party. >> he and mitt romney are the two front-runners in the national polls and several of these early state polls as well. stand by. herman cain did get a brief break today from his nearly week-long fight against sexual harassment allegations. he and mitt romney held duelling appearances before a conservative group here in washington. we watched the two republican fruners in action. jim, tell our viewers what happened before this conservative audience. >> wolf, herman cain may be facing allegations of sexual harassment but you would not know it from a response he got at a big tea party summit here in washington.
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he and mitt romney gave speeches at this event but the reactions were very different. >> thank you. >> reporter: after one week in a political storm, herman cain came thundering back at a big tea party summit for the group americans for prosperity. conservatives were dancing in the aisles. >> the biggest crisis we have is a severe deficiency of leadership crisis in the white house. >> cain, who once worked for americans for prosperity did not hold back. he all but blew a kiss to the group's fonder, the koch brothers, the libertarian billionaires who have bank ruled much of the movement. >> this may be a breaking news announcement for the media. i am the koch brother's brother from another mother. >> excuse me. >> after a week of conflicting responses to allegations of sexual harassment, cain and his supporters are playing offense. look no further than the latest ad from a pro-cain political
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action committee. cain is still a front-runner, nearly tied with mitt romney. what's more, 55% of republicans say the harassment allegations are not a serious matter and 70% say the accusations make no difference in their vote. >> thank you. >> reporter: in his own speech at the same summit, romney was less red meat in his remarks than he was in his new plan to dramatically cut spending. in his own speech, romney would cut $500 billion per year until 2016 and would partially privatize medicare for future seniors, allow states to run medicaid, eliminate the president's health care law and cut funding for foreign aid, pbs, planned parenthood and amtrak. >> the future of medicare should be marked by competition, by choice and by innovation rather than by bureaucracy, stagnation and bankruptcy. >> reporter: romney can boast
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he's the one democrats want to destroy but it was cain who got the rock star welcome. jackie wilson drove all the way from north carolina with her new herman cain become in hand. are you bothered by all the stuff that came out this week is it. >> absolutely not. no way. >> reporter: what do you think about all that? >> i think it's a bunch of junk. >> reporter: a lot of the conservatives in this crowd may still love cain but there are rumblings inside the republican party that some out in states look iowa, new hampshire are growing weary of cain's campaign staff. one iowan republican told me he would like to see cain's chief of staff, mark block, resign. there are signs that cain is trying to put this matter behind him. on monday he's going on the late night talk so with jimmy kimmel. that's is not the sign of a candidate who thinks he's in trouble. >> thanks very much. more on this story coming up. also we're getting new information revealing just how worried the obama administration
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is right now about a possible israeli strike against iran. stand by for that. and we'll also show you the secret cia videos that helped ronald reagan prepare for some major moments in his presidency. lots of news happening today here in "the situation room."
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the u.s. economy. he may think wrangling with word leaders over europe's debt is a walk in the park compared to the harsh ralt he faces back here in the united states. republicans are blaming him for a sharp slowdown in hiring last month, even though the overall jobless rate improved slightly, dipping to 9%. the campaign season battle over america's economy followed the president to the g-20 summit in france. he's on his way home right now but our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is still in camp. jessica? >> reporter: well, president obama has said solving the euro's own crisis was a top priority for this g-20 summit,
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but at the end europe's leader seemed no closer to filling in the details of their rescue plan. president obama's marathon 35-hour trip to the g-20 summit didn't change his stark view of the global economy. >> the recovery has been fragile. the world faces challenges that put our economic recovery at risk. >> reporter: but on the most pressing issue facing the group, resolving the euro's own crisis, he insisted -- >> here in cannes we have moved the ball forward. >> reporter: the u.s. isn't going to fund europe's bailout. instead the president and his aides offered advice, prodding the europeans to get their house this order quickly. >> i know it isn't easy, but what is absolutely critical and what the world looks for in moments such as this is action. >> reporter: but even as he pressed europe to right its economy, the president couldn't escape questions about troubles at home. >> the house will be in order. >> reporter: with his jobs bill and deficit reduction plan stuck on capitol hill --
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>> as soon as i get some signal from congress that they're willing to take their responsibilities seriously, i think we can do more. >> reporter: and the nation's sluggish growth. last month the u.s. added just 80,000 new jobs, sounding like candidate obama, the president offered this take on his stewardship of the economy. >> when i came into office, the u.s. economy had contracted by 9%. a little over a year later, the economy was growing by 4%. and it's been growing ever since. >> reporter: from there the president attended two events that could be helpful in french president sarkozy's own bid for reelection. he sat for a rare joint interview with mr. sarkozy and attended a ceremony marking the end of the nato mission in libya. >> together we have stood up for our ideals around the world, and today we pay special tribute to all those who have served and
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given their lives, french, american and forces from our allies and partners. >> reporter: for now europe will have to find bailout funds in its own back yard. no outside country, not even china, made a new financial commitment to help troubled economies here. wolf? >> jessica yellin on the scene for news france. the republican party chief says today's jobs report underscores what he calls the devastating toll of president obama's record on whether it comes to the economy. we're joined now by one of the president's top advisors, the director of the national economic council, gene sperling. thanks for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. >> you know in order to really see some improvement in the unemployment, you need at least 150 to 200,000 jobs a month given the growth of the population this month. october 80,000 jobs, better than losing jobs but still not where you want to be. >> absolutely. you know, what we've seen is that there has been steady progress.
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you saw numbers were revised up. so at this point in the year the united states economy, the private sector, has created about 1.5 million jobs. but we've lost jobs at the state level, at teachers level that has hurt job growth some. but even at 1.5 million private sector jobs, that is not even close to good enough when you are digging yourself out of what is the worst recession since the great depression. i mean, this president inherited what we call the great recession, and it is a long way out. and that's why we're not satisfied one bit and that's why this president is putting his focus on passing the american jobs act, wolf, because those who are opposing it and putting no alternative of their own on the table are essentially saying they're satisfied with the current pace, they're satisfied to be at 9% or to have projections of just 2% growth next year. you have it exactly right. in order for us to get job
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growth at the level it needs to be to start bringing down unemployment at a quicker pace, we need to spark this economy, we need to inject demand and that's why what is so disappointing, wolf, is not even so much they have blocked the president's american jobs act or refused to pass major components but they have not even been willing to put on the table anything credible at all that would do something to give the type of significant job growth you were just talking about to help us start bringing the unemployment rate down and get americans back to work. >> well, they have their own proposals, the republicans, and they sort of emulate what the u.s. chamber of commerce said in their reaction to today's jobs numbers as well. i'll put up on the screen. weep need to stop saddling employers with burdenson regulations and uncertainty. we need to restructure the tax code, reform entitlement programs that are pushing the
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nation toward insolvency. until we do those things, we can expect anemic growth. they want the private sector unleashed. do you have a problem with that? >> you know, there are many important things we need to do for the long term. this president is leading on common sense deregulation beep just passed three free trade agreements, we passed patent reform. these things are all important. but it's time to be serious. what you just read there is what the chamber of commerce and many of the republicans would have put out at any moment at any time. this is not a time to just be putting out your old, stale agendas. and if you're for long-term issues you'd like to debate wushs let's talk about them in that context. none of those thing, not one single one, has anything to do with sparking job growth, sparking demand next year. people -- top experts project that next year we're likely to
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grow at only 2%, that our job growth would not be enough to bring unemployment down. if the president's plan was passed, top independent forecasters project it could add up to 2% growth, wolf. that's the difference between some have projected 1.5% growth and 3.5% growth, between 50,000, 60,000 a month and over 200,000 jobs a month. this is absolutely essential. so if people do not like the american jobs act, then put up a real plan, not a bunch of old, stale, you know, positions, whether they have merit or don't have merit in our long term, we need to inject demand and spark this economy. if we don't, we're going to allow more are of maybes to be out of work and what's the message from those who take that position? the message is things are good enough, we don't have to take bold action, we're going to sit on the sidelines. that is absolutely the wrong
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position, nobody should take that position. >> it doesn't look like the republicans are going to allow any of these measures to pass. they've been rejecting them one by one by one. do you believe the so-called super committee, they have till november 23rd, it's not a whole lot of time, will in fact reach an agreement to cut $1.2 trillion in government spending? >> el witi hope so, wolf. for that to happen you need legitimate, genuine compromise. i think people should feel very good about the fact that the democratic leaders really led by president obama over the summer have been willing to compromise even on very difficult entitlement savings as part of a grand compromise. but it takes two to compromise. the public wants shared sacrifice. they want to make sure if they're being asked to go without a little for our common good that those who are most fortunate are also contributing a little in terms of higher revenues. that's the grand compromise that we need. that's the sense of balance.
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and as long as the republicans insist that the only way to get that 1.2 trillion is to put it on the backs of seniors, of students, of people who need health care, there's never going to get to be an agreement and it would not be one the public would support anyways. so i remain hopeful and optimistic but we need to see some real compromise on revenues from our republican colleagues. >> gene sperling is the director of the national economic council over at the white house. thanks for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. >> heightened u.s. concerns israel could be on the brink of attacking iran. there's new information just coming out of the pentagon. we'll have a live report. and new hot water for the former governor of new jersey, jon corzine. we y he now has a criminal defense attorney.
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now to new information we're just getting about serious u.s. concerns that israel could be about to strike iran' nuclear program. let's bring in our pentagon correspondent barbara star. what are you hearing over there? >> we go through these periods of rising public rhetoric in israel and iran but today i asked a senior u.s. military official if the u.s. military is worried that israel might be about to strike iran and he said absolutely. that is not an answer you get every day covering the pentagon. people's hair is not on fire but what we do now know is the u.s. military, the u.s. intelligence community is definitely keeping a closer eye on things. any potential movement of
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troops, equipment, military gear in either israel or iran. there is concern israel's rhetoric could lead to some sort of action against iran, against their nuclear program. nobody is saying it's about to happen but what we are seeing, wolf, is this increased awareness, this increased vigilance and a lot of concern. because of course what the u.s. wants to happen is reliance on diplomatic and sanctions initiatives and if can came to that, if there was military action, the u.s. wants israel to consult the obama administration first before it does anything. >> everyone is bracing for the international atomic energy agency report that's coming out next week. you know, in the middle east a lot of the military action is certainly contingent on geography, barbara. what does israel have to worry about against iran's nuclear
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reactors? >> spot on. in the middle east any military action is dying tated by keig if i -- geography. if this were to go with a manned aircraft option, look at the terrain they have to cross there. they have to get across pretty hostile territory. they have to be able to refuel, they have to be able to get past iran's very effective air defenses, its radars, its antiair missiles. israel has miss else, the jerichos, that could reach into iranian targets. we saw them conduct a miss el test this week of one of their missile systems. but militarily, history tells us the israeli like that manned aircraft option. that is very risky. the bottom line for the u.s. in all of this, they don't want to see any hostilities break out. it would be a disaster for the
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oil shaping lanes in the persian gulf and the u.s. has tens of thousands of troops in the region, main live iraq. >> thank you, barbara. >> other news, the former new jersey governor jon corzine might be in hot water. he resigned as ceo of mf global, a brokerage firm and hired a criminal defense attorney, this after $600 million in customer funds vanished. lisa sylvester has been reporting on the story. what's the latest? >> jon corzine has been very quiet since the story first broke. today we got a first statement in which he expresses regret. meanwhile the investigation into what happened to the missing money continues and subpoenas are now being issued. jon corzine voluntarily stepped down as the head of mf goebbels agreeing to forego any severance package.
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it's a hard fall for corzine. former governor of new jersey and once the head of goldman sachs. corzine has not been accused of any specific wrong doing but he has now hired a defense lawyer. a new york bankruptcy court ruled that the trustee overseeing the case can move forward with subpoenas to try to unravel what happened to about $600 million in missing customer funds. the federal regulator, the u.s. commodity futures trading commission, is also conducting its own investigation. commissioner bart chilton calls mf global a poster child for the need for tougher regulation. >> customers fund are supposed to be segregated and protected and they're not there. they need to do a tom cruise and show us the money. that's a big problem. >> mf global had invested $6 billion in risky european sovereign debt after its rapid collapse and news of the missing funds, mf goebbels customers
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found their accounts frozen. jim mindling is outraged. >> i think they should go to jail. this is the problem with wall street. they trade in derivatives, mf goebbels is leveraging the money 40-1 to buy sovereign daet. >> the agency tasked with helping investors at failed broker firms, it has been working to help transfer mf global accounts it other brokerage houses. now that they have subpoena power, it will help shed light on the money trail. >> they need to be able to take testimony to unravel why assets are missing and who is responsible for that if in fact it turns out that assets of missing. it's a powerful tool that helps him to find assets and find out why they are not where they're supposed to be and, in fact, to retrieve them for the benefit of
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investors. >> forensic accountants from the trustee's office are at mf global offices in chicago and nosh. witnesses are expected to cooperate. the trustee will issue a report of its finding to federal regulators. the report will eventually be made public. there was a report from bloomberg news at that indicated that the missing funds might have been found in an account at j.p. morgan chase. we have just received a statement, literally only about five minutes ago from the trustee's office investigating mf global that reads in part, quote, the trustee's office has been aware of a number of accounts of jp morgan. the investigation will attempt to gain a full accounting of the location and the nature of these assets. i just got off the phone with the trustee's office. they're saying that there is still, still an apparent shortfall. what they have to do is they've known about these accounts at jp
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morgan chase and they have to line it up to see if this money was accounted for and not part of this missing money. the bottom line there is still an apparent shortfall of $600 million of customer money. >> all right, lisa, thank you. the fire storm surrounding herman cain is growing more intense by the day. we're going to get reaction from iowa where the first votes will be cast this primary season. also, hundreds of thousands of americans have been powerless and in the dark for near lay week. what's going on? what will their ordeal be over? [ multiple snds ng melodic tune ] ♪ [ malennounc ] at northrop grumman, makthworld a feplace. th's value performance.
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>> i'm not worried about it. if it happens, it happens and she'll deal with it. we just appreciate people respecting her privacy. >> when they say in the statement, the national restaurant association, that at the time mr. herman cain -- i'm reading from their statement -- disputed the allegations in the complaint, he flatly says that whenever she was alleging was not true. i want you to respond to that. >> in almost 40 years of being a lawyer, i cannot recall anyone who has been accused of sexual harassment who said i did it. >> so you're just saying what? >> they always deny it. very simple. >> all right. let's see how this controversy is playing in the heartland out in iowa where the first ballots will be cast in the republican presidential race less than two months from now, january 3rd. our chief national correspondent, john king, is joining us from des moines.
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how is it playing, the herman cain uproar in iowa? >> he leads in the polls here. he's tied with massachusetts governor mitt romney. conservatives say they see no evidence of damage. they do say he's going to have questions to answer and needs to campaign more. i spoke to one can't who would perhaps benefit the most or more than others, the pormer pennsylvania senator rick sanatorium. he needs evangelical voters. rick sanatorium told me remember what we've been talking about for the past five days. he said he's had 20 town halls in iowa and not once has a voter asked him about this controversy or raised a question about it. to rick that was proof it's not a huge concern of the voters now. i will tell you this, wolf. i sat down for a cup can of coffee a few moments ago with the governor here, the veteran
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iowa governor. he knows this state very well. he says the voters care most of all about the economy but he said herman cain to put this behind him is going to have to be more forth right and more detailed. so the governor, while not wanting to wade into the specifics saying he takes mr. cain at his word but he's going to have to, in the governor's view, do a better job of explaining this to the voters of iowa. >> i'm sure issue number one is certainly the economy. that's what herman cain would like to address. i suspect this current issue is going to keep on coming up. i have no doubt about that. john, what else is going on? what do you have for our north american viewers at the top of the hour? >> it's a fascinating time to be here. five of the candidates for president here are here for a big dinner tonight. we're trying to get the pulse of this state. there's no question cain and romney are atop the pack now. the tradition is you have to be here, do more retail politicking. we'll have live the man making the biggest move in the race, newt gingrich. he'll join us live. plus more of that conversation with senator santorum and
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governor brandstead. it's a great time to be out in iowa. 60 nights from tonight the first official votes in the 2012 presidential cycle. >> yeah. and newt gingrich, by the way, he's moving up as you point out in these polls. so we'll be watching at the top of the hour, john. thank you. >> we're also getting new information coming into "the situation room" about a senior u.s. general in afghanistan who is highly critical of the afghan government and president karzai. there are breaking developments.
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another u.s. general in deep trouble because of comments made about what's going on in afghanistan. let's go back to barbara starr. what's going on here, barbara? >> if this were just coming in from afghanistan, major general peter fuller, one of the top u.s. commanders in the effort to train afghan forces relieved of duty, fired by the top commander general john allen. this follows general fuller making remarks to a reporter from politico here in washington yesterday where he certainly disparaged, there's no question about it, the afghan government.
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he made remarks that afghan leaders, including hamid karzai, the president, are isolated from reality. at one point he told the politico reporter quoting, you've got to be kidding me, i'm sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you're it willing me i really don't care? general fuller not disputing we are told that he made those remarks, that he was quoted accurately, now relieved of duty after saying these sorts of things publicly, there was no way he could continue in that position, which really is a nato and u.s. job, helping train afghan forces. $12 billion a year in taxpayer money going to try and help the afghans. wolf is it. >> thanks very much. coming up, a never before seen look at secret cia videos designed to brief president reagan to prepare him for trips abroad. not white collar or blue collar or no collars. we are business in america. and every day we awake to the same challenges.
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for our north american viewers erin burnett continuing the coverage of herman cain's crisis and a look at the illegal weapons business in the u.s. and around the world. erin's joining us with a preview. what are you finding out? >> it's amazing. you saw there, victor booth, the merchant of death, selling
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weapons to people who wanted to kill americans down in south america, al qaeda, the taliban. he -- one woman spent 15 years tracking him, 15 years. she's the biggest expert in the world in terms of illegally trafficked weapons, kathy austin. angelina jolie's playing her in a movie. she's going to be our special guest. stunning. the ak-47 is the most trafficked weapon in the world. there are 100 million around the world. if you compare that to the u.s. competitor weapon, the m-16, there's only 5 million to 7 million of those around the world. the ak-47 jones by things like rocket propelled grenades and things that have gone missing in libya, we don't know where they are, whether falling into the hands of terrorists, used against commercial aircraft. it's amazing. you know to get a new ak-47, according to the sources i've been speaking to, it's 240 but to buy one on the black market where you can get it readily
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around the world, any idea what it might cost you? >> no idea. >> i'm going come out with a guess? $30. >> wow. >> $30 for a semiautomatic that can fire at a rate of 600 rounds a minute. these are everywhere. these are the tip of the iceberg. falling into the hands of terrorist groups. we're going to be talking about that. >> we'll be watch, 7:00 p.m. eastern. "erin burnett outfront." al maliki scheduled to be here in washington next month. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. other top stories in t"the situation room" right now. >> the iraqi prime minister will sit down with president obama at the white house on december 12th, according to a statement released today. the visit comes just weeks ahead of the planned u.s. troop withdrawal at the end of the month. the president announced the final withdrawal deadline last month after a plan to keep thousands of troops there longer fell through. and the israeli military says its sailors have intercepted two
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aid ships headed to the palestinian territory of gaza. no resistance reported but activists are calling the move illegal and vowed to continue the effort. officials say those on board attempted to violate the security blockade in place and ignored calls to turn back. and the daily deals website groupo in made a strong debut on wall street with stocks soaring 40% above its initial offering price. raking in $700 million for the company. it's the second largest tech ipo ever, behind google, which raised $1.7 billion back in 2004. almost a week sense the freak october snowstorm slammed the northeast and mid-atlantic, hundreds of thousands of homes are still dark. connecticut light and power hopes to have 99% of its customer restored by sunday. half a dozen people died from
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suspected carbon month objectionize poisoning. the region is bracing for colder temperatures. >> hope there's no repeat any time soon. but you never know. thank you. it turns out the cia made secret videos for president ronald reagan. >> having begun operations in 1977, the childrernobyl nuclear plant is one of the largest in europe. >> the unique way the movie star turns president of the united states was briefed by the cia. stand by. they've just released these videos. it's me? alright emma, i know it's not your favorite but it's time for your medicine, okay? you ready? one, two, three. [ both ] ♪ emma, emma bo-bemma ♪ banana-fana-fo-femma ♪ fee-fi-fo-femma ♪ em-ma very good sweety, how do you feel? good. yeah? you did a really good job, okay?
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insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. aspercreme breaks the grip, with maximum-strength medicine and no embarrassing odor. break the grip of pain with aspercreme. a fascinating, new glimpse into reagan's presidency and the novel way he was briefed on national and security policy. the best way to school the one-time actor was to roll the video tap. here's our foreign affairs correspondent, jill dougherty. >> this teleproduction a current assessment of the nuclear dent at chernobyl was propduced from the directorate of intelligence. >> reporter: how the intelligence community briefed reagan, america's cold war enemy
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the soviet union. >> the soviet space program might be described as something with a dual personality. >> reporter: for the former movie star president the cia found the perfect way to get its information across. for the first time, the agency created videos on issues like the soviet space program. >> here again, we note the jekyll and hyde nature of the soviet space program. >> reporter: or the devastating accident at chernobyl nuclear plant. >> the hydrogen bill up until an explosion which destroyed the reactor hull roof. >> reporter: the travelogues. >> following the airport arrival, motorcade will pass through the center of moscow. a city of 8 million people. dominates the political and economic life of the soviet union. >> reporter: preparing president reagan and his wife nancy for trip as broad, complete with mood music. ♪ ♪
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>> reporter: the cia material also includes top secret memos and intelligence briefings that reagan read daily. to get the flavor of what was going on back in the ussr, the cia videos were unique. >> this propaganda network encompasses over 4,000 newspapers, a large book publishing empire, a nationwide radio and television system, and an insist an stream of public lectures. >> pretty amazing stuff, wolf. you know, intelligence officials who are familiar with how presidents are briefed tell cnn now they taylor briefings to the needs of individual presidents and use the latest technology, including things like interactive videos. >> why did they decide to release the video now, after all of these years? >> they've been releasing a lot of vid and i think in a way it buttresses they're points

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