tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN May 24, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
we're doing an investigative report on this. on an amazing custody battle. an outfront investigation. let's go "outfront." outfront tonight, two heroes on the prowl. ♪ i need a hero ♪ he's gotta be strong and he's gotta be fast ♪ >> yes, bonnie tyler, holding out for a hero. and yes, we think we found them. first stop, senate majority leader harry reid. today in an interview with "politico" he said the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts set to begin on january 2nd should go as is. i am not going to back off the sequestration. that's the law we passed. we did it because it wouldn't make things easy for us.
it made it so we would have to do something. of course we're in this position because democrats and republicans failed in the super fail super committee to reach a grand bargain and deal with our country's debt crisis. but still what reid said was absolutely right. and he follows another hero on this front. his buddy ole pal john boehner, who says he doesn't want to wait for the election to leave it to be solved in a lame duck six-week window. >> it took me eight months to get people interested in talking about fixing the problem. so -- >> so you're going early now? >> let's start now. why are we going to wait until after the election? >> boehner is dead right. and so is harry reid. we need to do this before the election and not mess around with shifting money from one side of the sequestration ledger to the other. that's a waste of time. now, of course the problem is that boehner and reid could end up like thelma and louise, they end up choosing death over compromise. >> you sure?
>> yeah. yeah. >> that was going out in a blaze of glory. of course, it ended in a fiery pit on the ground. harry and john are heading at high speed for america's great fiscal cliff. and the problem is that we, the people, are in the backseat. outfront tonight, a man who has made this the cause of his life, david walker, ceo of comeback america initiative. good to have you with us. david walker, let me just start with you. you have some really terrifying numbers here. first of all, you have a number for our overall debt obligations which makes the $15.7 trillion formal debt number look like peanuts, and you note our financial hole in this country is growing at the mere rate of $10 million a minute. >> that's correct, erin. if you look at the financial statements, the u.s. government
for september 30, 2011, our total liabilities of unfunded promises for social security, medicare, et cetera, were $65.5 trillion. in addition, if you look at the latest trustees report which came out two or three weeks ago, i suspect that's going to rise to about $70 trillion by september 30, 2012. and when you do the numbers, the federal financial hole is growing by over $10 million a minute, 365 days a year. >> john avalon, is this something that they can do as john boehner heroically said before the election? is there any hope? lame duck, six weeks after between then and the end of the year. >> they're essentially saying there's no way we're going to be able to do our jobs until election day. and think how absurd that is. that's an admission of failure, of impotence in the face of the political contest this fall. look what's been failing is a failure of political will. the problem is there's a bunch of gutless wonders in washington
who are happy to demagogue deficits and debts before the election, but they're scared to death to deal with it. the problem is, they have to deal with it. we all depend on them. >> david walker, why are they so afraid? when it is true we can argue around the margin of well, how much tax cuts do you want in there? how many spending cuts? everybody knows some of the major changes that need to be made to some of the entitlement programs in this country. they don't need now until election day. they don't need the six-week lame duck session. they could do it in a day if they decided they wanted to do it. >> here's the problem, erin, our politics today are dominated by career politicians who may or may not have had a job before they came to washington, but once they come to washington, they don't have a real job and they want to keep it for life. special interest groups have too much power. in addition to that, you know, you've got a situation where people think the politicians think that people can't handle the truth. they're wrong, the people are ahead of the politicians, they're tired of partisanship, they're tired of stamate.
they want progress. you know, people don't like change, but they love progress. and in order to get progress, we're going to have to have change. >> you know, it's funny, john avalon, one thing bill clinton said at the fiscal summit last week, which was sponsored by another hero of the debt crisis. he said, people, generally when they get elected do what the people who elected them want them to do. and that's why you're seeing all these people say my way or the highway. that's what they were elected to do. in a sense, bill clinton said, look, this is the american people's fault. >> it is part of the problem. the polarization of the parties reflects the base of each party being deeply divided. but to deal with this problem, we need principled compromise. people who approach it all or nothing have to understand they are part of the problem. and principled compromise is the way washington has worked in the past. we can get this done if they rediscover that concept. if they insist on all or nothing, we're going over that cliff. >> david walker, the total hold growing at $10 million, unfortunately, a minute, is $66
trillion. just about. but you know, robert kessler, a major investor, you and i both know him. he's done the math saying when you add all the wealth, take out the debt, including the public debt, you have $66 trillion in assets, slightly bigger than your sense of our obligation. is that something that optimism something we should at least say take a step back and say, look, it's still a great country, we've got a lot of wealth. >> it's a great country, and our future can be better than our past, but you can't spend more money than you make, charge it to the credit card and pass it on to our kids and grand kids, self-deal in your own debt and expect there's not going to be a day of reckoning. the only way we're going to solve this problem is committed, inspired presidential leadership and the first three words, we, the people, to be able to force members of congress to do what's in the interest of the country rather than their personal or party's interest. that's the only way, and it must happen in 2013. >> all right.
final word. >> one more thing. no pledges. no pledges but the pledge of allegiance. this whole pledge to grover norquist, part of the problem, big time. >> thanks very much to both of you. well john boehner and harry reid are the heroes tonight. come on, more heroes come in and then we can get a deal. outfront next. president obama called out for being a big spender. do mitt romney's attacks add up? and new video of george zimmerman inside the sanford police station. what the video actually shows when he turns away from the camera. we've got it. and an auction involving an item of ronald reagan's, an item is an interesting word. it sparked so much controversy that his family demand it be called off. we know what it is. c'mon dad! i'm here to unleash my inner cowboy.
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i'm in favor of cutting spending -- it's high time to bring those principles of fiscal responsibility to washington, d.c. i'm mitt romney, and i approve this message. >> calling the president a big spender is popular with the gop. polls show the label is sticking with independent voters too. but does it add up? obviously there was an interesting article getting a lot of conversation that was pushed out by the obama campaign, but it was done independently by cbs market watch saying the president's spending record is, well, it's grown the least of any president in the past 60 years, ryan. and in a lot of ways, this really does seem to add up. some other ways, debt is growing at 13.6% a year versus spending at 1.4%. so it doesn't -- there are some real issues here. one thing i thought very interesting, though. a lot of what the president's wanted to push through failed because tea party republicans shot down his efforts to increase the spending in washington. ironically he gets the benefit of being the least spending guy
in 60 years thanks to the tea party in a sense. >> there's that, and also the fact that in 2009 much depends on who you credit 2009's fiscal year to. president bush passed -- he approved a continuing resolution that said we're going to keep spending at 2008. we're going to keep it on autopilot and then president obama signed a fiscal year 2009 budget in 2009. so there was a big gap of $3.1 trillion in president bush's proposed budget for fiscal year 2009 and $3.5 trillion in the budget that we eventually got. so i think that report from cbs market watch tries to kind of glide over that distinction a little bit. and there's also the fact that the cbo assumed that from 2009 to 2010 spending would go down considerably. and in fact, it actually stayed level. that was a big change. >> i mean, look, there's all kinds of ways you can cut it. but when you add those things in, the president has -- you know some real things he can point to on this front. i'm curious why the campaign hadn't made a big deal about this to try to push this
themselves instead of waiting until someone else did it for them. >> well, i think the democrats recognize that the campaign is not really going to be about spending. the campaign is really about -- you look at every poll. the campaign is about jobs and the economy. the spending and the deficit argument is far, far far down in second place. when you look at these numbers, what they found, independent organization, media organization, what they found is that the president's spending went up about 1.4% every year under president obama what had gone up over 10% under president bush. and that means it was basically flat. you do have the problem of the deficit going up because tax revenues went down because of the recession. so it's not -- you've got to really play with these numbers to see. what we do see, though, there hasn't been the explosion in spending that romney has been saying. >> no, and i don't want to get into the details of the numbers, but they also found federal spending under obama as a percent of gdp is higher than most of the past 60 years and
the obama health care plan isn't even included in any of these numbers. so i understand numbers can be made to look a lot of different ways. but i think one thing to take away from this is the president's story on this is much better than a lot of the american people give him credit for. i just don't understand why he wouldn't make more of a stink about it. i mean instead of talking about war on women or gay marriage. this is something he can tout. >> well, there is one really important reason. i will push back against jamal a little bit. when you look at the spending issue and the deficit issue, it's not the big issue in most of the battleground states, but in a state like new hampshire, and also iowa and virginia. these are states where the unemployment rate is relatively low yet you have a ton of voters who are actually very concerned about the size of the deficit. so the thing is that mitt romney has to make an appeal based on jobs but he also has to make an appeal based on spending and deficits because that does resinate with a lot of voters. who are concerned about the future trajectory of the country. >> i'm curious how in the
debates this will play out. people do have a perception. you get a good conversation. as we're heading into memorial day weekend, though, jamal, michelle obama today said that if she were able to trade places with anybody in the world she picks beyonce. that's what she told "people" magazine. what do you think? >> i guess i could understand it. i mean, look, beyonce's got a lot of money, she's got a great family, looks like. so, you know, why not have a little fun and be beyonce and have a good time. >> i guess i ask that question -- i put you in an awkward position. >> what am i supposed to say? beyonce, are you kidding me? >> good lord. >> no, ryan, what i like about this is the fun that the obamas have. why can't mitt romney come out and pick somebody cool or fun or somebody he wants to be like -- >> you and i both know the answer to that question. no one would believe him. if he said he wanted to wake up tomorrow morning and be beyonce, you would be confused, possibly alarmed. in a beautiful weave, it could
actually suit him. bring out the highlights in his eyes -- >> would be able to compete in miss universe -- >> and that would be a whole other revelation. is he actually an american citizen? or is he a secret transsexual canadian, erin? i believe the answer is no. >> i'm going for george clooney. >> yeah, he could get away with that. transsexual canadian, okay. i didn't know this was going there. ahead, an international custody battle gaining the attention of another person a lot of people would like to wake up and be, angelina jolie. and the search for the florida mom who disappeared six months ago and hasn't been seen since. [ kate ] most women may not be properly absorbing
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our miguel marques went "outfront" to investigate the story. >> it's my worst nightmare coming true. >> reporter: laura calder, an american fighting for her 6-year-old son leo two years ago she fled parma italy and an italian husband she grew to fear. >> you feared for your life? >> i feared for my life and my son's life. >> neither parent wanted to show leo's face when calder left italy with leo who was born there and then filed for legal separation here in california, her italian husband filed charges of his own. kidnapping. >> i'm not a bad mom. i didn't damage my child. i was protecting him. i was protecting him. and all i did was come to my family. you know -- i don't have a right to come to my own family for help? >> calder claims her husband physically and emotionally abused her and sexually abused her son and may have hired a
hitman. she won her first case, but a california appeals court in december found only the claim of emotional abuse credible and ordered that she return leo to italy and let the courts there sort it out. >> i don't see myself as a child abductor, i see myself as a person who saved her child. >> reporter: calder's husband used international law to compel his son's return. he claims the abuse came from her and in taking their son to california, she went too far. >> she break the law. she did bad things. she claims a lot of stuff that weren't true, you know. >> but calder has support from high-powered celebrities like angelina jolie whose foundation believes the convention's rules are being abused by vindictive spouses. >> all of it has been taken away from him. for what? to go back to an abusive man? >> i'm ready to care about his needs, you know. and i will -- with all my
patience all my love -- >> calder and leo will return to italy june 1st. upon landing in rome, leo will go home with his father until a full custody hearing two days later. calder fears that separation could be devastating. >> my son has never spent a single night ever alone with this father in his entire life. >> a bitter custody fight. a 6-year-old boy at its heart. leo's fate soon in the hands of an italian court. >> miguel, a powerful story. could laura be arrested, tried for kidnapping? she talked about potentially that happening when she arrives. could it? >> it is possible. her husband has dropped the kidnapping charges, but the prosecutor there just like the american system says that he can bring those charges back if he wants. but talking to her lawyers in parma, they say she stands a pretty good chance of getting him back, it's just going to take time and a lot of patience. >> and miguel, what about this
abuse claim? that was -- i mean she's claiming he sexually abused the son. obviously no one's sure if that's true or not. but if she was abused, how could this happen? >> well, the haig convention has two parts to it, two tests. one, they have to prove there's an extreme reason she can't go back to that country. that the abuse has to be completely proved and it also has to be the case they're being sent back to a country that doesn't have the ability to deal with it. in this case, italy has a child care service, they have prosecutors in courts and specialists there that can help deal with this. so in the case of italy, she doesn't meet both of those tests. >> and, miguel, obviously we've all seen the high-profile cases, a difference between u.s. and italian law. but when do you think this will be resolved? i know she's planning on staying there until it is. how long do you think that will be? >> she's going to have to get an apartment there, prove to the
courts she can support leo. if she has to stay there, her work visa there may have expired at this point. she may need some help from the u.s. consulate there. it's going to be a very long difficult time. it could take months before this is all sorted out. >> all right, miguel, thank you very much. and still "outfront" in our second half, new video of george zimmerman. what it shows when you're actually going to see the back of his head. plus, mitt romney says he'll make china play by the rules. you know what? we'll ask his former opponent, jon huntsman whether that's smart or stupid. across our country... ... scientists, technicians, engineers, machinists... ... adding nearly 400 billion dollars to our economy... we're at work providing power to almost a quarter of our homes and businesses... ... and giving us cleaner rides to work and school... and tomorrow, we could do even more. cleaner, domestic, abundant and creating jobs now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power, today. learn more at anga.us.
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you heard chen guangcheng talking about his nephew in a situation where he's been beaten so much. is this the sort of thing that happens to chinese dissidents? how they treat them? >> there are stories like this in many parts of china. i think the good news with chen guangcheng, number one, he's here, and he'll be studying at nyu for the next year or two. i think that's a good outcome. second, people are learning about his journey and about the challenges he faced and what it challenges he faced and what it was like dealing with the brutal regime. problem with all of this is he still has family behind. he has his brother who made his way from the province all the way to beijing in a similar
fashion to chen guangcheng. they've got family members, i believe three or four other brothers in the family, they have kids. and it seems many of them are in harm's way. that's the challenge going forward. and i would say the chapter has not been finally written in this whole saga until we know they're all out of harm's way. >> and one thing about this that's so fascinating is if they're doing all these things and he talks about the way he was treated himself as unimaginable. hep didn't go into detail. he didn't want to talk about some of the details. would the chinese government really have let him go if they thought he was that much of a threat and lose face in that regard? that's one thing i don't understand. >> they had to do the analysis in realtime. and that is by keeping him in beijing in the middle of the house in the u.s. embassy. how does that play out in terms of the way you're seen internationally. how does it at affect foreign investment and trade. how are you seen in if eye of the international community? that's a tough thing to endure. they wanted to get him out.
they figure out a way to send him over here with a student visa. >> right. >> knowing full well once he was here, he was likely going to talk about these issues. >> right. >> right. >> and i think it's a healthy thing. what we're seeing in china is unlike what i've seen in any other year and that is that the airing of all of these casing -- >> a lot of dirty laundry out there right now. >> all in the run up to leadership changes in october. it's spelling out the inadequacies of the communist parties is what it's doing. and this is a conversation worth having for the chinese people. >> we just played mitt romney saying he would go tough on china. he said he called them a currency manipulator on day one, he said that in the past. here's what you said about mitt romney on china at the abc debate in january. >> it's important to note as they would say in china. court"
to resolve a dispute over her engagement ring. he has been labeled someone police are looking at in the investigation. it has been six months and no arrests and no michelle. her family has been relentless in its search for answers, and today made this emotional appeal. >> i'm a mother. this is my first born child. and i don't know where she is. and i don't know who did it for sure. sure. i don't know where they put her. i want my baby back. and if somebody never goes to jail, i don't really care. i just want my girl. >> michelle parker's mother is "outfront" tonight. along with their attorney matt along with their attorney matt i'm glad you all are here.