tv The Situation Room CNN June 27, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT
things. people feel better when they're healthier, but it also helps bring down these costs. i don't know if this is so much forcing people to become healthy, but i think there are things within the plan that potentially incentivize people to become healthy. no co-pays for preventive services, things like that. people try and not get sick. >> right. there's so much else beyond the individual mandate. we're going to have all our questions answered tomorrow morning. sanjay, thank you. candy crowley, take it away. "the situation room" begins now. happening now, the countdown to a supreme court decision likely to ripple into every home in america. we're looking at the real world impact of tomorrow's ruling on health care reform. also, a historic vote looming in the house. will eric holder become the first sitting attorney general to be held in contempt of congress? and a colorado wildfire explodes overnight doubling in size and sending 32,000 people fleeing. one chief calls it a firestorm
of epic proportions. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm candy crowley and you're in "the situation room." all eyes on the supreme court and congress with a potentially historic day on tap tomorrow. one that could be especially bad for president obama. we're expecting the justices' long awaited ruling on health care reform. the president's flagship issue in one that impacts virtually every american. at the same time, eric holder could become the first sitting u.s. attorney general ever held in contempt of congress. the planned house votes stems from accusations the justice department is withholding documents on a failed operation that put guns in the hands of mexican drug cartels. president obama and his staff are bracing for all the possibilities.
cnn white house correspondent, dan lothian, has details. dan, what are you picking up there as they do sort of brace for two really important decisions tomorrow? >> reporter: they really do. and on health care they do still believe and are confident that the health care law is constitutional. they've been focused on implementing that law. but as you know, there were some tough questions from the justices during oral arguments. and so this administration is prepared for victory, defeat or something between. since the u.s. supreme court is leak-proof, how the justices will rule on health care is mostly a guessing game. on the line, the president's signature legislative accomplishment, which he continues to tout as the right thing to do. >> i believe it was right to make sure that over 3 million young people can stay on their parents' health insurance plan. i believe it was right to provide more discounts for seniors on their prescription drugs. >> reporter: if the high court doesn't agree completely, what next? top white house aides refuse to
speculate. at a recent women's town hall at the white house, health and human service secretary painted a dark picture if the court strikes the law entirely. >> it has some pretty cataclysmic impact. >> reporter: she said the administration was prepared for contingencies for whatever the court ruled. but when pressed about gaming different scenarios, white house spokesman jay carney, didn't answer it. >> you know, i don't know how useful it is to spend at least our time doing that. >> reporter: president obama will learn of the ruling about the same time the public does. carney says there is no war room set up in anticipation of the court's decision. but on capitol hill, key democrats and republicans are gearing up to respond with pre-written messages to three different scenarios. senator john kerry has already announced a news conference. house speaker john boehner has set up a rapid response team
that will flood tv, radio and social media. and he's laying the ground work for a battle in congress. >> if the court does not strike down the entire law, the house will move to repeal what's left of it. >> but the obama administration still believes the health care law is the most effective and efficient way to ensure americans so as the clock counts down, there is some tension here. but, candy, i don't know if you were watching the briefing earlier today. a moment of levity when white house spokesman jay carney was asked where the president would be when his announcement made, he said in the war room. he earlier said the war room was his own office. so we don't know exactly where the president will be. and it's unclear whether or not he will step before the cameras to make some sort of reaction comment to the ruling. but this is no joking matter. this is a big deal for the president. he put it all on the line on health care reform. and now they have to wait to see what the supreme court will decide. >> dan lothian, get some sleep
tonight. it's going to be a busy day over there. >> reporter: certainly will. >> appreciate it. it could be a double whammy for the white house tomorrow if the house votes to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt of congress. he's accused of withholding documents about the controversial gun running program called fast and furious in which federal agents let weapons fall in the hands of mexican drug cartels. joe johns is on capitol hill for us. joe, is this a forgone conclusion considering that the house is dominated by republicans? >> reporter: well, to some degree, candy. first i got to say i just ran back here to the bureau which isn't far from the capitol. but the last-minute maneuvering on this contempt citation really is not over yet. just a little over an hour ago a top democratic, elijah comings called on the speaker to end this. broadsides the republican effort as riddled with errors,
mischaracterizations, it's likely parts of this letter will serve as the basis for the pleadings once all of this gets into the courts. but as it stands now, the house is still set to vote on contempt tomorrow. who would have thought for the first time a sitting u.s. attorney general, the country's top law enforcement officer, could be held in contempt of congress? but that's where things stand. >> we're going to proceed. we've given ample opportunity to comply, even as late as yesterday. the white house sat down with some of our staff to outline what they'd be willing to do. unfortunatel unfortunately,. >> reporter: the white house claims executive privilege and blames politics. last-minute negotiations with the administration have failed. >> house republicans have made the strategic choice to try to
score political points by focusing their time and attention on a law enforcement operation from 2009 that was botched and that everyone agrees was botched. >> reporter: there's no dispute operation fast and furious will go down as a bad idea allowing hundreds or even thousands of guns to go walking south of the border in hope that they might lead to bad guys in cartels. but now a very important interest group is ratcheting up the political pressure. the national rifle association wants members of congress to vote for contempt, which could even influence democrats to vote against holder. which raises this question. >> what the heck is the nra doing getting involved and scoring votes on an issue of a contempt citation? >> reporter: the nra says the obama administration was hoping operation fast and furious would lead to new gun control measures. >> it sure looks to me like they facilitated a criminal enterprise to further their political agenda of more gun
control laws in the united states. >> reporter: it's an opinion shared by congressman darrell isa. >> we have e-mails from people involved in this that are talking about using what they're finding here to support basically assault weapons, or greater reporting. >> reporter: but that he means greater reporting requirements on people with certain firearms. we've asked for the e-mails but haven't gotten them yet. we also asked speaker boehner for the evidence too, but he wasn't going there. >> i've never indicated that was the case. i don't know that was the case because we don't have the documents. >> reporter: now, the nra, congressman congressman issa, nobody have asserted that any higher-ups had any knowledge of the controversial tactics used in the operation. that's why these people say they want all the information out in
the open. candy. >> joe johns in our washington bureau. thank you, joe. we want to get more on this with cnn chief analyst gloria borger. the health care decision, the contempt decision, this is also a big political day for the president. >> it's a huge political day. look, fast and furious, no matter which side of this argument you're on, is a partisan sideshow when you compare to the impact that the health care decision is going to have on the american public. and for an administration that made health care reform the centerpiece of its domestic agenda, no matter how you spin it, candy -- and believe me, there are people spinning away right now planning how to spin, no matter how you spin it, you have to say that if part or all of the health care reform bill were to be overturned that it would be a big dis appoiappoint for this white house considering how much time, energy, effort
they put into this. >> is it necessarily then a plus for mitt romney? >> no. >> let's say -- >> it really isn't necessarily a plus for mitt romney. i mean, as i say, you can argue either side of it. but think about republicans. what's been the rallying cry of the republican party that we've seen throughout the primaries and in this campaign? it's anti-health care reform. okay, so if that is taken off the table, then maybe you lose some of the enthusiasm among your base who says, okay, we don't love mitt romney that much, but this issue's taken care of, so maybe we won't turn out to vote for him. there are all different ways to spin this. you will hear mitt romney spinning it himself. and there are all kinds of questions that will remain depending upon -- >> what are those? it does open up -- let's say the mandate is thrown out. that seems to be the most likely thing. the rest of it stays. there's now still a whole set of political questions. >> it's one of those, be careful
what you wish for situations, because you might get it. say the republicans are thrilled that the health care mandate is thrown out. the democrats will turn right around and say to the republicans, okay folks, health care mandate thrown out. what are you going to do to keep all those goodies that people really like? like a question of pre-existing conditions, keeping your children on your health care, et cetera, et cetera, for a longer period of time. and republicans will turn around and they're going to say to the democrats, you know what, that's your problem. that's not our problem. we're not going to come up with a 6,000 page bill overnight. you're going to have to figure out how to fix this and what to do. and by the way, candy, nothing will get done until after the election. what you're going to have is a lot of finger pointing and a lot of uncertainty. and republicans and democrats each asking each other the question of, what's going to happen next? >> right. >> what's your plan b? >> right. you ask a democrat and they say
the plan in the supreme court, that was our plan a and b. >> and they'll be finger pointing within the democratic party also about, why didn't you guys ever really take the notion that this might be unconstitutional seriously? i mean, whenever we used to ask questions about it, everybody say of course it's constitutional. just read the commerce clause, right? well, maybe not. >> yeah. our chief political analyst, gloria borger, thank you very much. see you tomorrow. >> yeah. all day. >> much more on tomorrow's expected health care reform ruling. we'll look at how it impacts all of us with cnn chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta, and our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. also new polls give president obama an edge over mitt romney in three states. jack cafferty is standing by. and former president jimmy carter is slamming the obama administration. his scathing op ed in strategy session. and cheddar bay biscuitsd then choose one of 7 entrees plus dessert!
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look who i found. jack cafferty's here with the cafferty file. jack. >> candy, always good to see you. thanks. fresh new polls out today in the battleground states, florida, pennsylvania and ohio. three states that went for president obama in 2008 but are expected to be toss-ups in november. mr. obama leading romney by four points, 45 to 41 in florida. that's within the poll sampling area. the president was helped out with strong support from florida's latinos. in pennsylvania the president leads romney by six points. his lead bolstered by a strong gender gap. mr. obama leads romney by 12 points among women in pennsylvania. and in ohio the president's up nine, 47% to 38%, once again, a big gender gap. history suggests president obama will almost certainly win a second term if he can keep these leads in these three key swing states through election day. in every single presidential election since 1960, the winning
candidate for the white house has carried at least two of these three states. they have a combined total of 67 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. but the word battleground has a special meaning in some cases. remember the hanging chads in 2000? the supreme court wound up deciding the election in george bush's favor because florida was mired in an antiquated system that kept the vote count there in question for weeks. and then there's ohio. remember the voting machine fiasco in 2004? you could make the argument that until they learn how to do it, florida and ohio should not be allowed to vote in anymore presidential elections. but the fact is florida, ohio and pennsylvania hold the keys to the white house. and that's a fact, jack. right now things look pretty good for president obama in those three states. here's the question, should the same three states, florida, ohio and pennsylvania, be able to determine the outcome of virtually every presidential election? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post
a comment on my blog. or go to our post on "the situation room" facebook page. candy. >> thanks, jack. we will see you with the answer shortly. whichever way tomorrow's expected supreme court ruling on health care reform goes, it will put mitt romney in an awkward position. not only is the presumptivive republican nominee sharply critical of the affordable care act, he also helped inspire it. cnn national political correspondent, jim acosta, has more. jim, romney -- this much is clear, we know how he wants the court to rule. >> reporter: that's right, candy. mitt romney has said he thinks the president's health care law is unconstitutional. he hopes the supreme court strikes it down. and at the heart of conservative objections to the president's health care law is its individual mandate. but, candy, that individual mandate is something mitt romney held up as a potential national model in an interview with cnn three years ago. if the supreme court does not bring down the president's health care law, mitt romney
vows he will. >> if it is deemed to stand, then i'll tell you one thing, we're going to have to have a president -- and i'm that one, that's going to get rid of obama care. >> reporter: and president obama is warning voters to take mr. romney at his word. >> mr. romney wants to roll back the reforms that put in place that prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people who are sick. i believe it's the right thing to do. >> reporter: as most voters now know, the president borrowed heavily from the plan romney signed into law six years ago when he was governor of massachusetts including a mandate on people in his state to buy health insurance. the same kind of mandate conservatives say is unconstitutional. but in an interview with cnn three years ago, romney touted the mandate as a free market alternative to the president's original proposal to give americans the choice to buy into a government insurance program, a so-called public option that was later scrapped. and do you think this plan, the massachusetts plan, could be a
model for the country? >> i think there are a number of features in the massachusetts plan that could inform washington on ways to improve health care for all americans. the fact that we have portable insurance and that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model i think they can learn from. >> reporter: but there is an individual mandate and that is something a lot of americans aren't accustom to. >> there are a number of ways to encourage people to get insurance. what we did is said you're going to lose a tax exemption if you don't have insurance. i don't think mandate is necessarily the word people want to think about, but incentives to get insured is a good way to help get everybody in the pool that brings down the costs and at the same time make sure that people don't have to worry about losing their coverage. >> but it is a mandate? >> it's a kind of mandate -- >> it's a requirement. >> it's a requirement we said in order to get your tax exemption you would normally get, you've got to have health insurance because we want everybody in the system. no more free riders. >> reporter: romney since said on repeated occasions his plan was only meant for massachusetts. >> our plan was a state solution to a state problem.
and his is a power grabby the federal government to put in place a one-size fits all. >> reporter: in this video democrats noted that's not what romney said the last time he ran in 2008. >> back away from mandates on a national basis -- >> oh, no, i like mandates. >> reporter: this time around he spent much of the primaries fighting off attacks from rivals like rick santorum who stood on the steps to blast romney as the worst candidate to take on the president on health care. >> there is one candidate who is uniquely disqualified to make the case. it's the reason i'm here and he's not. >> reporter: if the president's law is struck down, romney has vowed to bring back some of its protections. his campaign released a statement saying, romney supports reforms to protect those with pre-existing conditions from being denied access to a health plan. but the insurance companies say they are worried if the health care law is upheld, but that individual mandate is killed.
they say their industry could be in trouble because those consumer protections, they argue without the mandate, are simply not affordable for their insurance industry to cover. and that, candy, people could be dropped from their insurance policies as a result of that. it could be damaging, they say, to the entire industry and consumers as well. candy. >> and you have to assume either they get dropped or the price for that insurance goes unaffordable in some way. >> reporter: that's right. now, the insurance industry will say, some of these companies out there are saying they are going to continue some of these protections that are in the president's plan if it all goes down tomorrow. but obviously there's no guarantee that they will do that. they had those opportunities to have those kinds of protections before the law was implemented. and they chose not to do so. a lot of critics of that industry say they can just go back to that square one if all of this is thrown out. candy, i will tell you, we do expect some kind of word from mitt romney tomorrow after the health care law is either upheld or struck down or something in
the middle, we just don't know what kind of comment he's going to give us. it could be like what we saw the other day after the arizona immigration law was decided on at the supreme court. it could come in the form of a statement and not much else later on in the day. we'll have to wait and see what happens, candy. >> okay. jim acosta in virginia. thank you. we are gearing up for one of the biggest supreme court decisions in decades. we don't know how the justices will rule on the president's health care law. but we have a pretty good idea what it will mean for you regardless of that decision. and the colorado fire doubled in size overnight. we're expecting worse news. strong winds that could send it spiraling even more out of control. great shot.
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rule. we want to talk about it with cnn chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. and here with me, a rare treat, cnn legal analyst jeffrey toobin. jeffrey, after the supreme court ruling on arizona's immigration law, we saw the white house praise the court. >> absolutely. >> are they now in somewhat of a box if the supreme court comes out and undoes part of obama care? because can they then come back and say this court is right-leaning, it's political. haven't they put themselves in a political box? >> notd necessarily. i don't think so. when you combine the two biggest decisions of the roberts court, citizens united and health care, if they lose health care, that is a pretty clear democratic -- capital d, indictment of the supreme court. now, this is a challenge for the white house how they handle this because president obama has not really attacked the supreme court very much. that hasn't been something he's done. he made a somewhat critical comment after the oral argument, but then they backed away from
it a little bit. it's unclear to me how much they want to take on the supreme court. >> well, he took him on in the state of the union pretty good. >> that was citizens united. >> right. so he's not shy about doing it. >> he's not shy, but whether he wants to make it a big campaign issue or not, it doesn't seem that way. at least not at this stage. but obviously we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. >> yes. sanjay, i want to let -- throw out some scenarios for you. tell me what would happen in this case should the entire law be struck down, which i think is probably the unlikeliest of the scenarios. but what if i've reached my lifetime cap with benefits? what happens to me next week when i show up at the doctor's office? >> keep in mind before i answer that, some of these provisions people are talking about have not gone into effect yet. that one for adults, for example, supposed to go into effect in 2014. for a child, it's already gone into effect. it would be the same tomorrow as it has been for the last several years. you could try and negotiate with
your insurance company, but the fact of the matter is if you reach your lifetime cap, you may be starting to get stuck with some pretty big bills. the provisions of this particular plan were lifetime caps and annual caps, doing away with those things, you wouldn't have that protection anymore. >> and i suppose the same holds true for pre-existing conditions which is applied generally just to children at this point. >> that's right. with children and then again with adults it was suppose today go into effect in 2014. so the insurance companies would no longer under law have to charge you -- they could charge you higher prices based on a pre-existing condition. under the law, they would have to charge you the same price as someone your age living in your community. now, we have talked to some of the insurance companies, some of the big providers, candy, i'll throw in as a side. and some of them say they will continue to, you know, not discriminate based on pre-existing conditions for children. so it's not going to be bound under law. but at least that's what some of the bigger providers have told us. >> can i ask sanjay a question? can i just be clear on this,
sanjay? if they only throw out the mandate, those lifetime caps remain in tact, the age 26, kids on their parents insurance remain in tact, kids pre-existing condition, all that remains in tact if they just throw out the individual mandate? >> that's what they would essentially be doing. now, obviously there's potential problems with that in how it would get implemented for reasons you well know. the mandate was supposed to be, if you will, the financial arm of this whole thing. and the idea you could do a lack of discrimination, that's been tried at the state level in for example, kentucky, and everybody's premiums went up. people perfectly happy with their insurance, didn't even hardly pay attention to that law. all of a sudden they saw premiums go up 40%. everyone ended up paying for that. >> let me ask you, we've heard so much talk after the arguments that, boy, the government lawyer didn't seem to do very well.
the justices were extremely seemed critical in their questioning. >> some of that talk came right from me. >> exactly. which is why i'm asking you. how many times -- i think everyone came away or has the impression now that the most likely scenario is mandate goes, everything else stays. how many times has the supreme court really just dropped a bomb of a decision? >> sometimes, but not often. ever since william rhenquist, when he was chief justice, set up an informal rule that good fences make good neighbors, that didn't interact very much. so oral argument became the time they used to communicate with one another, to lobby one another. >> so while they were questioning the lawyers. >> exactly. they used their questions as arguments. so you don't see a lot of playing of devil's advocate in the supreme court. that's why i thought the questioning, the hostile questioning of the solicitor general was so significant is that 100% of the time?
absolutely not. i think the oral argument in the immigration case showed a more hostile court to the government than the decision turned out to be. i think the government did somewhat better than you might have expected based on the argument in the immigration case. however, the justices, the conservatives, were much more hostile, i thought, in the health care case than the immigration case. so it would be a bigger surprise if the justices turned around and affirmed the law in its entirety. but that's certainly a possibility. >> we'll find out tomorrow, won't we? >> 10:00. >> that's right. jefr ri toobin, sanjay gupta, thank you both. talk to you both tomorrow. stay with cnn for the supreme court ruling on health care reform. special coverage starts tomorrow morning at 9:00. and we'll have all the latest reaction and developments right here in "the situation room." the colorado fire doubled in size overnight. we are expecting worse news, strong winds that could send it spiraling even more out of control. plus, jimmy carter's scathing
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the policy that's right for you. liberty mutual insurance, responsibility -- what's your policy? that fire in colorado doubled in size overnight. lisa sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa, what have you got? >> hi there, candy. over 15,000 acres are burning. and a fire official says only 5% is contained.
thunderstorms are expected, which sounds like a good thing, but the strong winds will likely push the fire in multiple directions making it even harder to put out. it's also closing in on the air force academy where over 2,000 residents are evacuating. at least 32,000 people have left their homes behind because of the fire. president obama will head to colorado on friday to view the damage and thank the responders battling the fire. we will have a special report coming up at the top of the hour. the food and drug administration has approved a new weight loss drug. it's designed to help a person eat less and feel full from smaller amounts of food. but it's only meant to be taken with a reduced calorie diet and exercise. it's been approved for adults clinically obese or overweight and have high blood pressure, type ii diabetes or high cholesterol. and it's being called a significant milestone on the road to reconciliation. queen elizabeth shaking hands with a former irish republican army commander today.
it comes 14 years after a conflict that claimed 3,500 lives. northern ireland remains under british rule, but many including the man shaking the queen's hand want the province to join the republic of ireland. that meeting would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. can candy. >> i do think that's amazing. a lot of times in the news you're covering things rather a fibrillation than a heartbeat, that handshake really does go down in history. >> yeah. it's just a moment in time. as i said, it's something that would have been unthinkable in years passed. but it's nice to see that progress has been made. that these two sides have been able to come together. it really is a moment in history, candy. >> it is. and for all our talk about war, there's some peace. thanks so much, lisa sylvester. appreciate it. joe biden says womens rights are in trouble. the vice president takes a new line of attack painting a dire picture of the supreme court under president romney. and president carter is not happy with u.s. tactics to fight
terror. romney doesn't mention him by name, the former president seems to be taking a direct hit at a member of his own party, president obama. let's do this i am from baltimore south carolina... bloomington, california... austin, texas... we are all here to represent the country we love this is for everyone back home it's go time. across america, we're all committed to team usa.
joining me for today's strategy session our cnn contributor and democratic strategist donna brazile and mary madeleine together again, ladies. good to see you. >> it's been a while, candy. >> it has indeed. let me read you a part of an opinion piece. this is from former president jimmy carter. caught my eye. he is talking about drone attacks here. at a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the united states should be strengthening, not weakening basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the universal declaration of human rights. but instead of making the world safer, america's violation of international human rights abets
our enemies and alienates our friend. again, mary, he's talking about the drone attacks that go into pakistan aimed at al qaeda. they go into yemen aimed at al qaeda. so doesn't he have a point here? >> one, he's a meddler, but he's an equal opportunity meddler. he's meddled in every president's -- all presidents of both parties since his own failed presidency. two, he is wrong. you give up those rights afforded to combatants. and if you're hiding terrorists, then your complacent. so my issue and issue rather assassination by drone is available of intelligence. he's coming at it from the wrong perspective, which says a lot about his presidency, not his commentary. >> donna, i'm not sure, but i think mary is defending what president obama is doing. i will tell you that the bush administration as you know received a lot of criticism from
the left about his war on terror and many aspects of it. but with respect to the president's counterterrorism drones, there haven't been much. do you think this is worth at least a conversation? >> oh, absolutely. look, let me just say, first of all, i think jimmy carter was an exceptional president. that was my first presidential campaign. so i thank president carter each and every day for giving me my steppingstones into national politics. but, look, i think it needs to be reviewed for two simple reasons. we're using some secret legal criteria to target people, in some cases american citizens. and i think we need to know what the criteria is. and secondly, most importantly, maybe we're setting a dangerous precedent that other countries that may not have a "legal" basis for killing citizens abroad may use in the future. so i think from a human rights point of view, president carter has made a very clear legal argument that we need to have more transparency and more
accountability in our so-called drone attacks when we go after not just the bad people, the terrorists and others, but in many cases -- in some cases i should say, in some cases we have killed innocent people. that is the concern that he's raising. and by the way, candy, the aclu and others, center for constitutional rights and others on the left have criticized the obama administration for having this targeted secret program. >> mary, do you think former president carter is out of line for this criticism? there's -- there is a way to do this. and there is a small number of commanders in chiefs -- and the way they do it, and they do all communicate, is one he's never chosen. he did one good thing if he hired donna, but he has never brought his concerns -- i shouldn't say he never has, but he likes to get in these forms. and he likes to pop off.
and it's very unhelpful to any president of either party. and in this case this is difficult. this drone policy is difficult. instead of offering suggestions privately or saying how can we help mitigate some of the issues that donna raised with the left, he just goes and -- it's like a show-off thing. he's been doing it for 30 years. and, yes, i do think it's out of line. the way in which he expresses himself in that small club that largely respects each other and hasn't -- no one else has behaved like this. >> i don't believe you should take the first amendment from former presidents. so if they want to talk about what others are doing including current presidents, i don't think there's an issue. look, we hear from former presidents all the time. again, what president carter i think is saying in this article is that we should have transparency, accountability, and we're setting a dangerous precedent that other countries who may not follow international law may use to target and strike
at its citizens and abroad in other countries. that's what he's saying. >> let me turn you both to another subject. that's the supreme court. it's been in the news lately if you've noticed. first on the arizona immigration law, now we're waiting for this health care reform decision. i want you to just listen for a second. this is vice president joe biden out on the campaign trail in dubuque. >> close your eyes and picture what the supreme court would look like four years after romney? no, no, for real. after romney. president for four years. tell me what you think are going to happen to womens rights in this country? civil rights? right. >> so the suggestion here is that if romney gets into office, he is going to select right-leaning justices. and they will take away womens civil rights. mary, first to you. >> yes, because everybody knows republicans and conservatives don't like women and they don't like minorities.
that's part of the obama strategy. it is absurd. this is more division. it is more derision. it's embarrassing for someone who's been a senator and esteemed one and a vice president to make such a ridiculous argument. is the supreme court nomination to that going to be as it always is a big issue? yes. not on those issues. it's a big issue because we are going through a transformative age. and so much of these transformative issues are being pumped over or punted over to the court. so it should be a big issue. and the topics are not going to be the ones that biden, like his boss, is using to divide americans. >> donna, you get the last word. >> first of all, i think the division is apparent. when you see 5-4 decisions from bush v gore -- >> didn't you like the arizona law? they sided with obama. >> the decisions were upheld and i think that's important. i do believe that as a supreme court should follow legal
precedent. what's happening in modern times is that this court and some of its rulings have no basis in legal reality. so i look forward to seeing what happens tomorrow. i won't be surprised if they uphold the so-called individual mandate. but i think to mary's point and she's absolutely right, we are going to constantly talk about the next commander in chief who possibly appoint maybe one or two justices. we say that every four years. maybe it's true. let's hope that president obama will get two more good justices like sonja and elena kagan and i'll be happy with that, mary. >> i bet you would, but it ain't going to happen, girl. >> we'll see on november 7th. after the election on the 6th. >> donna brazile, mary matalin, great to see both of you. >> you too, candy. at the top of the hour we told you about the raging colorado wildfire. now we're talking to the front lines with one of the families forced to leave everything behind. plus, if you ever thought
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jack joins us again with the cafferty file. this time with the answers. jack. >> thanks, candy. the question is, should the same three states, ohio, florida and pennsylvania, be able to determine the outcome of every presidential election? and they do. every one since 1960. andy writes having been born and raised in ohio, i'll say yes and no. on the one hand, the electoral college is outdated and getting rid of it would avoid this whole issue. that said, it does feel nice to know that your vote seems to count a little more when you vote in a swing state. although you have to suffer through far more political ads than the rest of the country. tyler in pennsylvania says as a proud pennsylvanian and democrat, i enjoy it. makes up for being irrelevant most years in the primaries. ed in texas says i'm okay with ohio and pennsylvania, but ever since the election in 2000, florida should be on some kind of election. bob in iowa writes, jack, you
forgot about iowa. they tell us we're first in the nation here. well, sir, no sweet corn for you, and it's early this year. bob in ohio writes, better yet, we could find out which key areas in these three states determine the electoral vote outcome in that state and then only have them vote for president. just think of all the aggravation that would save the rest of the country. james writes, jack, it's the system we have. it's like being married. not what you dreamed about, but what else can you do? and tom in atlanta writes, let's just be thankful it's not california. if you want to read more about this, go to the blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile. or through our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. candy. >> it's official, jack, i like you and your viewers. thank you. >> thank you. it was once the envy of the world. and now america's infrastructure is crumbling. >> we're looking at patches on the concrete deck, these areas where the concrete has deteriorated over time. you can see there are existing patches and there are areas that are marked where new patches
have to be installed. >> cnnize lizzie o'leary looks at the growing crisis and how little is being done about it. and coming up at the top of the hour, the unfolding wildfire disaster in colorado. 32,000 people evacuated. some of them share their stories with us. that'll be $973.42. ya know, your rates and fees aren't exactly competitive. who do you think i am, quicken loans? [ spokesman ] when you refinance your mortgage with quicken loans, you'll find that our rates and fees are extremely competitive. because the last thing you want is to spend too much on your mortgage. one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze. ♪ our cloud is made of bedrock. concrete. and steel. our cloud is the smartest brains combating the latest security threats. it spans oceans, stretches continents.
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we've just gotten word that after a thousand days, congress has finally reached a tentative deal on a bill to upgrade our bridges and highways. joining me now is lizzie o'leary. it's a huge problem, assuming all goes well and they vote this bill and send it to the president and he signs it, is it enough? >> as you said, this is a handshake deal. they've gone a thousand days without having a big fix here. and this is hardly the five-year overhaul that was john boehner's number one priority going into this congressional session. it's a two-year deal. it's not likely to make a huge dent in the problems in roads and bridges that everybody drives on. and we took a little trip around town to show you. we're starting here at the capitol where congress couldn't
pass a long-term transportation plan. and you don't have to go far to see the roads that americans drive on aren't in great shape. just nine miles away, this bridge is missing big chunks of concrete. it's 45 years old. the average age of most bridges in the u.s. >> you can see the staining of the piers. you can see where some of the concrete has popped away. >> i see rebar under there, yeah. >> reporter: nic roper is in charge of maintaining bridges in virginia. this one like one in eight across the country is structurally deficient. that means it can still safely carry passengers but needs a major overall. >>ed longer you wait, the more costly it becomes, the more expensive the repairs come. hopefully we won't be waiting 25 years for this particular bridge. >> reporter: waiting is probably the one thing every commuter is familiar with. americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic. this wait that we're doing right
now, this costs each commuter $750 a year? >> uh-huh. yep. $2 billion -- 2 billion gallons of wasted gasoline. >> reporter: put a grade on this for me? >> i think it gets a passing grade, in this congress which has not quite passed much. >> reporter: then there's transit, like buses and this subway. civil engineers rated u.s. transit systems a d. they said it would take $260 billion and five years just to bring them up to speed. the money to pay for all this traditionally came from a gas tax. but nobody wanted to raise it, especially in an election year. and that brings us back here where a long-term plan to fix all that crumbling infrastructure got stuck in legislative traffic. now, this is still a tentative deal. we don't have a final dollar figure yet, but it does peal in comparison to the price tags civil engineers put on u.s. transportation needs for a real fix. without getting money from
raising that gas tax, and congress didn't want to do that, they just don't have that much room to maneuver and that much to spend, candy. >> but it's progress, right? >> progress. >> lizzie o'leary, thank you very much. you're in "the situation room." happening now, tens of thousands of people are living in fear that their homes will burn to the ground at any minute. we're tracking an explosive wildfire in colorado that's now twice as big and dangerous as it used to be. plus, syria says a deadly attack on a pro-government tv station won't go unpunished. the al-assad regime is blaming the west and declaring the country is in a state of war. and in the midst of dangerous flooding in florida, a bill to guarantee flood insurance is being held up by one senator. the reason, he wants a vote on whether life begins with fertilizati fertilization. welcome to our viewers around the united states and the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm candy crowley.
you're in "the situation room." this is why 32,000 people were told to grab a few things, get out of their homes and essentially run for their lives. firefighters say the huge blaze raging near colorado springs is nowhere near being contained. and it doubled in size overnight. they're warning that conditions for fighting this inferno are as bad as can be. and today it could get even worse. roads were clogged with residents escaping from flames they could see through their windshields. even the u.s. air force academy campus has been evacuated. officials don't know yet how much damage has been done, how many homes have been destroyed. some describe the scene as armageddon and could go on for days. we'll go live to colorado in a moment and our weather center where we're tracking the awful
conditions making the fire worse. first to lisa sylvester with a look at what people in the fire zone are going through. >> the wind picked up more and more. and then you could just see it coming down the mountain. it just -- the fire was -- i mean, you could see like it was across the street. it was time to leave because the smoke and ash was falling and coming into the house. it was scary. >> reporter: the most threatening fire at the moment, the waldo canyon fire, is pressing down on colorado springs. it doubled in size overnight. >> this is an active fire. it's not even remotely close to being contained. so please do not be deceived by what you see across the valley with the smoke laying down the way it is. >> reporter: there are now ten major fires encompassing 150,000 acres. 32,000 colorado springs residents have been evacuated. >> we're just encouraging everybody to be very, very careful. you know, we ban fireworks in any place where there are woodlands or grasslands. >> reporter: members of the colorado air national guard are assisting ground crews using
c-130s to air lift water and fire retardant to the fire's front lines. the largest of the blazes is the high park fire in northern colorado near ft. collins. that one's been burning since june 9th. it's destroyed more than 250 homes. and the costs of trying to contain it have soared to more than $33 million. the newest threat, the flagstaff fire near boulder. residents are preparing for the worst. >> we packed things that we thought were momentos, photographs. >> reporter: back in colorado springs, russell wolf has operated the landmark flying w ranch for 60 years. he wonders what lies ahead. >> what happens when -- if everything burns down and all those buildings i built? i just hope it stays okay. but i don't know. i'm 87 years old and i don't know what i'm going to do next. i'll do something. >> so troubling for those folks.
well, the federal emergency management agency has authorized the use of federal funds to help fight the waldo canyon fire after colorado springs and surrounding el paso county declared an emergency, candy. >> just that one -- 83 -- >> 87 years old. heart goes out to these folks. really does. >> it does. lisa sylvester, thank you so much. some of the flames from that waldo canyon fire spiked as high as 20,000 feet into the air. fueled by hot winds and hot dry conditions. thunderstorms are in the forecast, and you might think that would help, but apparently it won't. we want to bring in our severe weather expert, chad myers. >> it's the lightning that hurts. and also what happened last night was the wind. let me describe what happened. colorado springs here, the western suburbs, this red zone right through there. that is the fire. there was a thunderstorm 30 miles to the northwest last night up through queen's canyon. the thunderstorm was right here. when that storm died, it blew all of its wind out the bottom
of the storm right down through queen's canyon. queen's canyon lit up. it wasn't even on fire. it lit up with embers jumping miles ahead. and then the ridge line caught on fire. and the fire went straight down the ridge line. and that right there is the flying w. not much left of it as we know now. there are also more suburb areas here. these are all homes here that were also in the fire line. those are the pictures we showed you yesterday. let's get to a couple of those pictures now because they are dramatic. you can go to denverpost.com and see more -- home, home, home on fire. amazing shots. devastating pictures for the people that live here. we don't know whether there's dozens or hundreds of homes that are gone tonight. but here is the problem that i see in the next couple of hours, candy. we have more thunderstorms developing in the same places that we had storms yesterday. if those same gusty winds blow
down those same canyons making the embers fly again, we could have another night tonight like we had last night. and i watched it online until at least midnight or so. it was devastating to watch. >> so essentially these thunderstorms are like giant bellows? >> that's correct. a couple of things happen. when you put hot air into a hot air balloon, it wants to go up because the air rises. when you take air in a thunderstorm or even a rainshower and push it into dry air, relative humidity's like 10%, when you push it into the air, it evaporates and cools off. kind of like the alcohol on your arm when you get a shot, it gets cold because of the evaporation. that evaporation makes the air want to go down even harder. when it goes down to the ground, it can't go any farther. it has to go out. when it goes out, it blows down the canyons and we had fires in the canyons. and those fires were a big bellow last night and got worse and worse all night long. >> as you look at your weather map, beyond those thunderstorms you pointed out, which could
mean more danger because of the winds that they're going to carry, is there anything out there that says to you a couple days they might get some help? >> not a couple days. i think maybe the el nino pattern trying to develop in the pacific over a month maybe be able to put down enough rain to at least alleviate the drought. we've had like 30% of what we need for rainfall to be average over the past two years. this entire area is just parched. trees are dying because there's not enough rain. trees are dying because of what's called the rocky mountain pine beetle. it's just waiting to happen. and with the lightning here, i suspect we could have five or ten more fires by tomorrow. >> wow. chad myers, thank you very much. i know you'll keep an eye on it for us. thanks so much. >> i will. right now, thousands of colorado residents are helplessly waiting to find out if their home survived this monster fire in one piece. they've already been through a lot. cnn's jim spellman is in the fire zone and talking to
evacuees. jim. >> reporter: hey, candy. after seeing those photos that chad was talking about and seeing this fire firsthand, the people that are now in today's new evacuation zones are wasting no time getting out. take a look. after a brutal night of out of control wildfire in colorado springs, tough choices for families forced to evacuate. was it difficult to decide what to bring and what to leave behind? >> oh, yes. you want to take everything. but you know you can't. >> reporter: stan and darlene are one of the last families in the evacuation zone to leave their home. they waited hoping the fire would subside, but after watching the flames from their back porch, they knew it was time to go. normally this would be a pretty great view, but all i can see now is smoke. >> that's all we can see today. it's pretty disheartening. >> reporter: they can only bring what will fit into the back of this pickup truck and this jeep. >> as soon as we close the hood we're going to roll out of here. >> reporter: not everything fits into the colbert's car.
the dune buggies will stay behind. the family photos are packed up. >> after 20 years in your home, you must have a lot of memories. >> lots of memories. that's why the photos. and we have -- it's hard, you know. but it's hard for everybody. all we can do is keep praying. >> reporter: finally, they lock the doors for what may be the last time. when you pull out of the driveway, drive away knowing that there's a chance you may never come back to this home again, what do you think that will feel like? i've already c. >> i've already cried about that. i don't know how to start over. as long as we have our life, i guess we just figure it out. >> reporter: they pull away knowing that even though they face an uncertain future, they're safe and together. candy, every single hotel room in colorado springs is full and there are people staying at a handful of shelters. the bulk have been taken in with friends like the colbert's. it's amazing how the community
has come together to take care of each other. >>ed quote at the bottom of the screen, which i know you can't see, the sky is on fire, which pretty much sums it up. we're hearing federal funds will be made available to help fight this fire. at this point, is colorado throwing everything they've got at it and it's just not working? or do they need more help? do they need more planes? do they need more firefighters? >> reporter: they tell us they have all of the resources they need. it's really that the weather just overwhelms them. they flooded this area where the fire is with fire crews of all sorts. federal fire crews and state and local crews here. people come from all over the state and around the country to join this effort. only so many crews fit into a certain amount of space. when the winds kick up and it moves the fire beyond the fire lines, last night it went beyond two fire lines, there's nothing you can do except pull out, move back and start over again. they put out an all points bulletin last night. they added about 400 firefighters to this. there's over 1,000 battling this now. there are still resources that
they need. and they also c-130s have been in the air for two days helping this blaze. when you've got 60-mile-an-hour wind gusts with these kind of conditions so hot, so dry and such a lack of humidity, it's almost impossible to really stay ahead of it until you get a break from mother nature. >> and tell me how much time these evacuees generally get before they say get out and do it this second? >> reporter: last night some only had a matter of a couple of hours. first they do what's called a pre-evacuation and let people know it's time to go. and if you have somewhere comfy to go, go now. then they make a mandatory evacuation. last night i couldn't keep up with the updates of subdivisions and neighborhoods. advanced several miles north in probably less than an hour. at that point, neighbors -- police are going door-to-door telling people you got to get out right now. i've never seen a firefighter -- a wildfire change complexions so fast as it did yesterday
evening, candy. where it went from in the canyons and relatively under control to just out of control in maybe two hours. it was amazing how fast those winds came in and changed the whole complexion of the fire for everyone involved. >> wow. jim spellman, we may see more of that tonight at least according to the weather report with more of those windy storms coming in. thank you so much for covering this for us. we will be talking with you. >> reporter: thank you. syria's president says his country's in a state of war. and now he's blaming the west for a deadly attack on a pro-government tv station. plus, there are new allegations fueling a scandal in the u.s. air force. instructors accused of sexually assaulting female cadets. and floodwaters are up to the roofs of some homes in one florida community hard-hit by debby's slog across the state. as a doctor, i do everything i can to make
sure my patients get the very best care. but look at our health care system. everyone agreed we needed reforms -- but this new health care law -- it just isn't fixing things. president obama promised my patients that they could keep me -- but what if because of this new health care law -- i can't keep them? i've looked at this law. i know the consequences: delayed care and worse yet -- denied care. studies show the president's health care law is projected to add hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit -- and increase spending by more than a trillion dollars. and the truth is -- we still don't know how much this law will eventually cost. i don't want anything to come between my patients and me -- especially washington bureaucrats. we need real reform that improves care, and the president's health care law just isn't it. it just isn't worth it. this is where health care decisions should be made. not in washington.
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file. what are the chances? >> indeed i do, thanks, candy. no breaking news here. a lot of americans are hurting big-time from a lousy economy. but that doesn't stop the politicians, shameless creatures that they are, from holding out their hands for campaign contributions. it's an election year you know. the latest scheme comes courtesy of president obama who wants people to give him money in lieu of giving graduation, anniversary, wedding, birthday baa mits fa gifts. this new fund raising tool lets those who want to contribute set up a gift registry to solicit donations from their friends and loved ones to give to obama. this in lieu of a gift for your birthday or wedding. the name for this is hoots pa. the website says this is a great way to support the president on your big day. and it's a gift that we can all appreciate and goes a lot farther than a gravy bowl. gag. as you can imagine, critics and comedians are having a hayday
with this. jimmy kimmel suggests this is a great way of getting people to lie while you're in prison. another one "my 6-year-old just lost a tooth. he's going to be so excited when the tooth fairy leaves him an obama-biden donation receipt in his name." while the rest go on asking americans to give them money at a time when millions of americans can't find a job. and 28% of us have no emergency savings. manners and cnn policy don't permit me to use the language i would like to to describe these people. this is an idea they can stick in their gravy bowls. here's the question, where do political contributions rank on your list of spending priorities? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. post a comment on my blog. or go to our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. unbelievable. >> it really -- you're going to have some great answers. i can't wait. thanks, jack.
to the pentagon now and growing allegations that air force instructors are sexually assaulting the female cadets they're training. cnn pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence, is at the pentagon with details. hey, chris. >> hi, candy. in one case an instructor copped a plea bargain and admitted to prosecutors he had improper sexual conduct with one trainee. after the plea bargain he admitted it wasn't just one woman, it was ten. and that's the kind of problem that the air force is dealing with now. a drill instructor charged with rape. a master sergeant accused of giving alcohol and having sex with a young female recruit. the air force is reeling from a spreading sex scandal. >> there is a kabal of errors. >> reporter: two more charged and now a dozen boot camp instructors are under investigation at the texas boot camp base. >> there are people that feel
that it's okay to train these recruits and then force them to have sex with them. >> reporter: prosecutors only charged one airmen with raping a recruit he was training at lackland air base. four others are accused of sexual misconduct with more being investigated. >> the basic training environment in particular is honestly a target-rich environment for sexual predators. >> reporter: a former marine corps officer who says there's no such thing as instructors having consensual sex with young female recruits. >> you have that relationship with your instructor, which is based on fear and intimidation. if that's the person you're asking help from, well, i mean, it becomes a very bizarre scenario. >> reporter: one of the alleged victims testified that her instructor was like a father to me. another said of the military training instructors, they're mtis, and you don't say no to them. the air force investigation is spreading to four bases. but the problem goes beyond one
branch of service. >> sexual assault is no place in the military. >> reporter: the pentagon estimates there are 19,000 sexual assaults each year. but only a small percentage of these military crimes are actually reported. and less than 8% go to a court-martial. >> we take every alleged incident such as this extremely seriously. and we investigate them thoroughly. >> reporter: to be fair, many instructors at lackland have behaved professionally. >> they always made us feel safe. we never felt uncomfortable. >> reporter: but some critic says unit commanders are not equipped to investigate sexual assault accusations. >> it's too much of, we can't let this out. we've got to somehow, you know, sweep it under the carpet. >> reporter: even defense secretary panetta admits that many times local unit commanders just sort of sweep this aside and don't pay enough attention to it. it's why the pentagon is creating sort of a special
victims unit within each branch of service to put experts who know how to collect evidence and really talk to alleged victims of sexual assault to put these cases together, candy. >> chris, let me ask you a quick question if you know. i don't mean to put you on the spot, but are sexual assaults up in the military? is there a way they can tell? >> reporter: well, they are up. that's one of the big problems. as we pointed out in some of those figures, the big problem is how many are actually underreported. that's the case since the civilian world, the case in the military as well. but there is a way when women or men for that matter feel they are a victim of sexual assault, they do have some avenues. each base has sort of a sexual assault coordinator independently they can go to. they can also just call 911. you have the medical staff, chaplains, but the problem of course in the military like it is in the civilian world, is getting people to talk about
what's happened. >> sure. and turning in a superior, which you know is even more problematic in the military. thank you very much, chris lawrence. appreciate it. could george zimmerman have done more to diffuse his encounter with trayvon martin in the moments before the unarmed teen was shot to death? dramatic details of a new report just ahead. plus, how the tsa is responding to disturbing allegations it spilled the ashes of a traveler's cremated relative. [ male announcer ] trophies and awards lift you up. but they can also hold you back. unless you ask, what's next? [ zapping ] [ clang ] this is the next level of performance. the next level of innovation. the next rx. the all-new f sport. this is the pursuit of perfection.
there are new indications george zimmerman may have missed opportunities to diffuse his encounter with trayvon martin in the moments before the unarmed teen was killed. our lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa. >> hi, candy. florida prosecutors have released information from a police investigator in the case who wrote that on at least two occasions zimmerman failed to identify himself as a concerned resident or neighborhood watch volunteer. zimmerman's attorney filed the motion today requesting he be allowed to be unshackled at his bond hearing. he is charged with second-degree murder in martin's shooting death. and an indiana man is demanding
an apology from the tsa according to cnn affiliate a tsa agent sifted through some of his grandfather's remains spilling some on the floor. the tsa issued a statement saying under no circumstances should a container be opened. an initial report shows reports are inconsistent with what it believes transpired. and two cups of coffee a day may play a role in keeping your heart healthy. a new study in the american heart association's journal finds two eight-ounce cups a day gives you an 11% lower risk of developing heart failure. it looked at a decade's worth of data from more than 140,000 patients. the flip side, more than four cups seems to cancel out any benefits. and cleveland indians fans can't be happy right now. watch this as new york yankee outfielder dives into the stands for an incredible catch.
look at that. but not so fast. you see it there. a fan actually comes up with the ball. now, wise ran to the dugout like he caught it despite not having it in his glove. the umpire never asked to see the ball and called the hitter out. no doubt a terrible call. but it was a great acting job by wise. >> look at that. >> look at that. rewind that tape. yep. >> cheating in america's pastime. it's foul. he's out. all that stuff. wow. that's amazing. >> that's my favorite story of the day, candy. >> yeah. it's pretty good. thanks so much, lisa sylvester. appreciate it. we are watching the flooding crisis in florida. we'll take you to a community where some homes are almost completely under water. you might think a flood insurance bill would breeze through the senate just about now, but a debate over when life begins is getting in the way. and we'll meet a woman who
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cnn's george howell is in live oak. >> reporter: we are where the road ends and the search and rescue operation begins for these emergency crews especially since we now know that at least three people died here in the state of florida due to this storm system. i talked to the person who is overseeing the florida national guard search and rescue operation as his crews go into these floodwaters looking for people who need their help. how high the water is at that stop sign, what do you think when you see a situation like this. >> well, i look on the building and i see that it was up a foot higher than it was. so you know that the worst of it is probably passed. but your heart goes out to everyone here who lives in this community, who works in this community. and you know they're severely impacted by this event. we've had rescues take place. we've rescued people from their homes. rescued people from a tree.
rescued people from on top of their automobiles when they've driven into water that was much too deep. this one has significant water. and some of the rivers in this area are not going to crest for a few more days. so even though the sky is blue and the clouds disappeared, we're still under threat here with rising waters in our rivers. >> reporter: a live picture here back in live oak. you see these floodwaters. in some cases eight feet deep. this is the deep water. but crews also urge people to think twice about the shallow water. that water that drivers see on the road six inches deep that drivers think they can cross, they say there's a danger there, especially at night, candy, because you can never tell exactly how high that water is. >> george, how far back does that flooding go? like if we could take the camera and move on, how far would we move down that block? >> reporter: can we pan down there and take a look? that's several blocks. at least five or six blocks. and keep in mind, candy, we drove around there with the
national guard. this goes for several, several blocks. and a lot of people, believe it or not, some people are still in their homes. some people choose to stay in their homes. they believe that they are safe. they're still walking around in a lot of water. keep in mind there is still the danger these waters are still rising. so that's why these crews are out and about to make sure people are safe and to rescue those people who need them. >> george, are authorities fairly certain that there are no fatalities around? that nobody sort of stayed in their home? you're talking water rising to the rooftops, are they still looking for people? or do they feel relatively certain that they've gotten to all of the really bad spots? >> reporter: from what we can tell, it seems to be a day-by-day and even hour-by-hour affair. these crews are always out and about. they're always going down the roads to check-in with those people who decided, again torks stay in their homes despite this floodwater.
that's the way they are monitoring this situation. so far at least here in live oak, they believe they have accounted for all of the people who lived in this area. and then the people who choose to stay here despite the waters. >> george howell, thank you so much. this might seem like the perfect time for the senate to move on a bill for flood insurance. but one senator is in the way. it's a standoff until the culture wars and the debate over when life begins. our brian todd has that story. >> senator rand paul says this is very important to him that a major vote on when life begins has never been addressed by the senate. but he's taking a gamble on public perception. he wants to force a vote as part of a measure as candy mentioned on flood insurance. in the aftermath of tropical storm debby, the perception that the senate isn't moving on flood insurance isn't helping either side right now. homes and businesses ravaged by flooding in areas near two major florida cities. now, a bill that would help some
people get flood insurance in the future is in jeopardy because republican senator rand paul wants to add a controversial amendment completely unrelated to flooding. paul wants the senate to vote on whether life begins at fertilization. he calls it the life at conception amendment. majority leader harry reid is frustrated. >> i'm not going to put up with that on there. >> reporter: a senior democratic aide calls paul's move a stunt, a showboat. if every senator behaved this way, the senate would collapse. "the moment of fertilizations, the term abortion isn't actually in the amendment, but paul's office says if this ever passed, row versus wade would be effectively reversed. this is called part of a war on women. >> what senator paul wants goes beyond just banning abortion. >> it does. it would man some forms of contraception. and it would certainly reach invi tro fertilization.
>> reporter: we called, e-mailed and went to rand's office to get him to respond to the criticism. his press aide sent us a statement saying "senator paul is serious about this issue. it's an important issue that deserves the time of the senate to debate. and this issue has never been voted on." daryle west says this will help rand paul with his political conservative base back home in kentucky. but -- >> it's a sign of how the culture wars have really helped to make the senate a dysfunctional institution. people are so intent on forcing votes on key bills that sometimes they derail legislation designed to improve the country as a whole. >> so how long is this going to go back and forth? i asked both sides. senator paul's aide says he's not holding this up. it's senator reid's choice on whether to call a simple up or down vote on paul's life at conception amendment. an aide to senator reid said the choice is rand paul's. he can choose to keep objecting or drop his objection and let
the bill move forward. in the meantime, candy, flood insurance won't be there for people who may need it in future months. >> just to underscore, this doesn't effect the people we're seeing here in the florida flood. this is future insurance. >> that's right. the people in florida either now have flood insurance or they don't. it does not effect them. this bill would help future homeowners, people in flood-prone areas, they need to have insurance in order to buy their homes, this is going to prevent them from getting that flood insurance -- some of them from getting that flood insurance in the coming months. again, we're entering hurricane season here, august and september, people are wanting to buy homes are going to need that insurance. if this doesn't go through soon, they may not get it in time. >> we'll see who backs down first. brian todd, thanks. more fuel for the deadly conflict in syria. a pro-government tv station attacked. now the al-assad regime says someone will be punished. @o
it's outside of damascus. and the government says the rebels killed three journalists working there as well as four security guards. and then planted explosives there blowing the place up. the information minister for the syrian government is calling this an act of terrorism, an attack on media and journalists inside syria. and he's also blamed this attack on western governments and arab and international institutions that he claims are part of a conspiracy against the syrian regime. what is clear is that the armed opposition is operating and increasingly audacious in its attacks on syrian government targets and targets affiliated with the syrian government. and that goes with the united nations report today before the u.n. human rights commission. the deputy special envoy to syria, he said that despite a six-point peace plan put into effect months ago, not only was the syrian government apparently
trying to retake urban centers that are in rebel control using artillery and helicopters and pro-government ma alicia and infantry and tanks, but also the armed opposition stepped up assassinations of high-ranking military officials and the use of improvised explosive devices that we know so well from neighboring iraq in bloody years gone by. the problem with that, the u.n. says, is it not only kills military targets, but also syrian civilians. ivan watson, cnn, istanbul. she says it's like a death sentence. ahead, we talk to a cancer patient losing her health benefits in a city poised to become the largest in the country to file for bankruptcy. would you mind if i go ahead of you? instead we had someone go ahead of him and win fifty thousand dollars. congratulations you are our one millionth customer. people don't like to miss out on money that should have been theirs. that's why at ally we have the raise your rate 2-year cd.
stockton, california, is on the verge of becoming the country's largest city to file for bankruptcy. and for some who live there, it could become a matter of life and death. cnn's casey sat down with a retired city worker now being asked to pay for cancer care with money she doesn't have. >> this is probably the most difficult decision i have ever had to make as an elected
official. and it's heart-wrenching to think about the implications for all of you sitting in these chambers. >> reporter: bankruptcy looms for stockton, california. the results of a real estate market crash, bad civic investments and generous benefits for city workers. >> i came here 50 years ago. and i have never, ever, ever seen it this bad. >> i will not forget what you've done to my family. >> reporter: neither will 59-year-old anna who worked as a stockton police department records officer for 26 years. she retired with full medical benefits in 2008. now, the city's bankruptcy budget will require her to pay $1,200 a month for health care. >> july first, $1,200. i don't have $1,200. i need the health insurance. right now i am having some medical issues. back in 2010 i was -- cancer.
cervical cancer. >> reporter: after radiation treatment, clean bill of health in march, segura says her symptoms returned last month. >> right now i am talking to my doctor. he wants me to come in. but now i'm faced with, how can i come in? they're not going to touch me without insurance. so it's like saying, you know, i'm going to die because i don't have no other insurance. >> reporter: in 1982, the stockton police department offered segura a generous benefits package. the mother of three says she couldn't turn it down. >> they made that promise and said, anna, you work for us, we guarantee you that you will have health benefits when you reach a certain age. they promised. and they turn around and lied. you know, you can't do that. you know, i feel that they
betrayed me. >> reporter: add to that, anna is behind on her mortgage and owes nearly $200,000 on her house. like many homeowners in financially strapped cities nationwide is worth about half that. >> the doctor tells me, control your stress. now, you know with the house turning -- being upside down and we fixed that issue and now the issue with the medical, those are the two main important things in people's lives. your home and your health. yeah. and those two have now crashed. >> reporter: hundreds of other former city workers face similar problems. >> what am i going to do? just pray and ask god to help me to get through this situation. >> reporter: for stockton, bankruptcy will mean a new opportunity to renegotiate its debts and keep the city
operating for retirees like anna segura, they may never get that chance. >> not a good answer for anybody. casey wian, thank you so much. we want to take you all now -- taking you all now back to colorado springs, colorado. we've been talking all this hour about that horrific fire out there. and we want to go back to jim spellman who earlier brought us stories of people evacuating. and your backdrop has changed completely. and you haven't moved. >> reporter: that's right, candy. just take a look at this. all day long fire crews here have been worried about storms coming in the afternoon creating what chad myers described as outflow. the wind whips through these canyons in the city. it's happened in the last 15 or 20 minutes or so the winds have started really whipping through here. the temperature's dropped probably 15, maybe 20 degrees. and the -- you can see from the smoke that the direction of the wind has changed. now instead of blowing north up the mountains, it's blowing straight into the city. candy, what's concerning about
this is this is the exact phenomenon we saw yesterday when the fire got so intense and started jumping fire lines and burning houses. this is exactly what fire crews have been worried about all day. and now it's happening. we'll have to see what actually happens with the impact, if they're able to mitigate more of the fire impact, if they're able to mitigate more fire moving into the areas. it was predicted and now happening in colorado springs, candy. >> how far are you from homes that may be in danger at this point? >> reporter: a mile and a half, two miles. hard to say. there's a freeway, interstate 25 that goes north, south. everything on the west side of the interstate is closed down, all the way to the mountains, from the air force academy down to garden of the gods, which is a popular national park, state park here. it's really a wide area, and they're expanding it north, even farther with evacuations, and you can see why. one of the main concerns is an ember will pick up into the wind and fly with this kind of timber
up to a half mile, go behind the fire lines and start new fires. they expanded the evacuation area so far north. i tell you, when you feel this, it feels like an intense summer storm rolling in. instead of rain, we're getting ash. >> are there fire lines now set up? what are they trying? is this basically standing back, waiting for the weather or winds to change or are there fire walls they hope the fire won't jump? >> reporter: well, they create fire lines, depending on the geography. have to work with where they are. yesterday they were in wooded areas, tried to use existing roads and supplement with bulldozers, create a barrier. when it gets to residential areas, suburban areas with roads, cul-de-sacs and houses, they have to look at the fuel around individual houses, try to decide which ones they can save,
which ones they have to move on and save the one next to it. it becomes more complex to assess. you can't look at sort of a top down map and say this is the line. you have to play it as it goes. the good thing is there's a bit less fool as you can imagine a suburban subdivision than intensely wooded area, but it creates such different hazards because there's so many more people around it. that's what set this fire apart from all of the other fires this season, how close it is to so many people in this community, candy. >> jim spellman in colorado springs, thank you so much for that update. you have probably heard of rock, paper scissors, but what about rock, paper, robot? if you challenge this thing to a round, you're definitely going to lose.
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this easy-to-understand guide will answer some of your questions, and help you find the aarp medicare supplement plan that's right for you. here is a look at this hour's hot shots. in germany, south african and german wheelchair basketball teams compete in a friendly match. in india, the sun peeks over a skyline. in england, olympic torch bearer holds the flame on a coastal beach. only 30 days to opening ceremonies. in china, two children enjoy playing in a beijing fountain. hot shots, pictures coming in
from around the world. and all of those beautiful pictures, time to check back with jack cafferty. >> thank you so much. the question this hour, where to political contributions rank on your list of spending priorities? robert in alabama says ranks just below my contribution to the big oil companies at the gas pump so that i can have a productive day standing in an unemployment line. ralph in texas, below sending money to star registry gift offers that sell off a star in a loved one's name. as for any political campaign donation request, what galaxy do they think i come from? kirk in minnesota, on a scale of one to ten, minus 37. cee they don't, jack. my 50 cents would be lost among the list of large contributors. and so is my voice. the supreme court silenced the voice of masses with its citizens united decision. susan, right up there with elective root canal procedures.
martha, a few items south of room fresheners. if you want to read more, go to the blog. cnn.com/caffertyfiles. or on our facebook page. always a pleasure sharing this air time with candy crowley. nice to see you. >> nice to see you. want to tell you no one ever bought me a star, just saying. >> maybe i'll be the first. >> it's a deal! a new robot is putting a unique twist on the game rock, paper, scissors. and chances are high, 100%, in fact, if you challenge this gadget to a round, you're going to lose. jeanne moos has a look at why. >> reporter: when robots start to play rock, paper, scissors, humanity may find itself caught between a rock and paper. because humans lose to this
machine 100% of the time. it was designed at a laboratory at university of tokyo. slow it down so you can see paper losing to the robot's scissors, or the robot's paper beating rock. only way to beat this thing is to invent new rules as they did on "friends." >> what is that? >> that's fire, beats everything. >> reporter: how does the robot do it? a high speed camera recognizes which shape the human hand is making and within one millisecond chooses. rock, paper, scissors, you cheat, robot, you cheat. cheating really fast. it is like a card shark who sees your hand. but what about the folks that organize championship tournaments? what does the world rock paper cyst or society think of the robot? >> it is extremely impressive.
>> doug last walker doesn't consider it cheating. he says humans try to determine what sign a human will throw. >> the highest percentage do look at the hands. >> reporter: for humans, rock, paper, scissors resonates from childhood. not sure what the robot is good for practically speaking. the same lab designed cloth folding, egg catching, rope knotting robots. rock, paper scissors society had one criticism of the robot's vertical paper sign. >> which is technically bad form. >> reporter: instead of vertical handshake motion. >> this is correct position for paper. >> reporter: take that, cheating robot. you have lousy form. you're no better than the simpsons. >> always takes rock. >> reporter: lisa simpson's vertical paper. >> rock, paper. >> reporter: sticks out like a
sore thumb. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. that's it for me. thank you so much for joining us today. i'm candy crowley in "the situation room." situation room." the news continues next on cnn. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good evening. john king. they prepare to hold the highest law enforcement officer in contempt. we retrace the fast and furious debacle. and the supreme court will tell us if the health care law passes constitutional muster. a look at the options and how it may impact your next doctor visit. calling them relentless doesn't do them justice. the swathe of wildfires wreaking havoc in colorado. on the eve of a dramatic day
in washington. start with this afternoon's partisan fireworks on capitol hill. a preliminary skirmish before tomorrow. the first time in history the attorney general will be cited. house republicans are spearheading this attack of eric holder because he won't share key documents concerning a now discredited program, "fast and furious." it was supposed to trace weapons smuggling, and helped mexican cartels acquire guns from the united states. one of those guns turned up at the scene of a murdered u.s. border patrol agent. first, he told them he didn't know anything about allowing guns across the border. turns out that wasn't the case, he had to change his story. now, darrell issa wants to see the whole paper trail. he defended holding holder in contempt for only offering congress some of the documents. >> congress was told something that was untrue, many people inside the justice department
apparently participated for ten months before it was corrected and we were told the truth. >> democrats like the ranking member of the oversite committee, elijah cummings, want to get to the bot om of what went wrong in "fast and furious" but say it is a witch hurnt. >> why are we steam rolling on a matter of such gravity? my opinion, the answer is plain and simple. politics. >> crime and justice correspondent joe johnson is with us. get to the deep, important stakes. was there any last minute effort, anything to head this off or is this vote happening tomorrow? >> certainly looks like it will happen tomorrow. few minutes ago, house rules committee meeting, john, broke up. they had been working on the two votes. win is a criminal referral for the most part, the other a vote on civil contempt citation. this afternoon, members of the house oversite committee, one of them actually attending that
meeting, top democratic congressman, elijah cummings, released a letter that attacks the republican effort as riddled with 100 errors, omissions, and mischaracterizations, some of the arguments we heard before from the democrats, including that attorney general holder is being asked for information he is required by law not to release. the letter also asks the house speaker to intervene, in other words, to take direct and personal role, it is not clear frankly that the speaker will suddenly have a change of heart. he does certainly appear at this stage planning to see this thing through, john. >> and one of the escalations plit tli, national rifle association deciding to get involved, saying it supports holding holder in contempt, to go beyond that, for all the house members, it will score this vote. if you live in a district where you're grade from the nra matters, if you vote no, this will hurt you. >> absolutely. well, you think you have the republicans who are going to vote for this, and the question
is what about democrats? is it going to look like a purely partisan vote? and now with the entry of the national rifle association, certainly the potential there for 20, possibly 30, maybe even a few more than that democrats coming from those districts that are influenced by the national rifle association saying in an election year, i'm not going to vote against the nra, because it could come back to bite me. and talking to some of those house democrats who are saying hey, i'm going to vote against holder at this stage, even though he's from my party. >> even though he's from the party. did they say they were voting against him because they believe maybe he shouldn't be held in contempt, believe he mislead congress, close enough or afraid of the nra? >> always seeing justification, justification that it is time for this thing to end, the administration should have been more clear earlier, so they made justifications on point, on the issue. they don't say i'm just going to side with the national rifle association. but the end of the day, we know
the power of this lobby in washington, and we know what guns mean to some americans out in some parts of this country. >> john, tracking this story. be in touch tonight and tomorrow. thanks very much. let's step back, look at the key issues and moments in this contentious show down. they launched fast and furious september, 2009. allowed 2,000 guns to pass the border to suspected gun smugglers, the idea to trace the weapons, help identify and eliminate arms trafficking negotiation. december, 2010, a gun from fast and furious operation was found at the scene where border patrol agent brian terry was killed. in february, 2011, as congress began to ask questions, the justice department sent chuck grassley saying any allegation is falls. nine months later, had to eat those words and acknowledge the letter wasn't truthful. >> february 4th, 2011, the department sent me a letter,
also assuring me that allegations of gun walking were untrue. it reads, quote, aff makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to mexico, end of quote. that statement is absolutely false, and you admitted as much last night that you knew by april, 2010 that atf walked guns in operation "wide receiver." that's correct, yes? >> yes, senator. >> that's all i need to know. >> head of criminal division saying yes, senator. the house committee says they need the documents to see if this statement from the president stands up. >> first of all, i did not authorize it, eric holder, the attorney general did not authorize it. there may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made. if that's the case, then we'll find out and hold somebody accountable. >> and house republicans say there also could be more documents to help settle the question of just when attorney general holder first learned of
the "fast and furious" debacle. in may, 2011, the attorney general said this. >> i'm not sure of the fact date, i probably heard about fast and furious the first time over the last few weeks. >> five months later, from that statement, five months after that statement, republican lawmakers release memos they say prove holder was told about the operation nearly a year earlier than he acknowledged in that testimony. the attorney general says he can't read every line of every memo sent to his office, insists he told congress the truth. some republicans say this. now that the president invoked executive privilege to keep documents from congress, the republicans have new questions about whether the white house has something to hide. >> brian terry's family has the right to know what happened. the american people have a right to know what happened, and we're going to proceed. we've given them ample
opportunity to comply. >> what will happen when the house votes tomorrow, let's get perspective from two members of the oversite committee that recommended to hold the attorney general in contempt. jason chaf its of utah, and mike quickly of illinois. congress nan chaffetz, i'll start with you. first time the attorney general will be held in contempt. list tone the ranking member of the committee say this is a huge mistake. >> i think that we take this attorney general and find him in contempt tomorrow, i am telling you, it is a stain on us as an institution, particularly when there isn't effort to work things out. >> why, congressman, do you disagree, why would it not be a stain on the institution? >> i wish it hadn't come to this. the only thing i disagree with mr. cummings on, congressman cummings, is the idea there's an effort to work this out.
brian terry was killed in december of 2010. this bogus letter from the white house or department of justice came in february of 2011. here we are in june of 2012. the subpoena issued by congress was issued in october, and for me it is about the principle of abiding by the subpoena. the beauty of the united states of america is no one person is above the law. but you have a dually issued subpoena and it ought to be complied with. it is not about eric holder, but it is about department of justice and justice in the united states of america. >> congressman, you're the democrat in the conversation. to be fair, i will play some chairman issa saying he tried, but he has to go to this step because he hasn't gotten answers. >> all we're asking for and the reason for contempt is we were told a lie, we want to know about the deliberation for ten months between the lie and the truth, and that's the information we seek, and that's the information the attorney general has said no, i won't
give you because it doesn't serve my purposes. >> did the justice department, congressm congressman make this? >> in the end, fast and furious, investigation of the attorney general is his great white whale. remember what he said before he even took the gavel. he said i want to have seven meetings a week for 40 weeks to investigate the most corrupt administration in u.s. history. let's remember the time line was a little off, with due respect. gun walking under a program like fast and furious started under the bush administration. but the republican curiosity ends the day before president obama took office. why not bring in attorney general na poll ski, ask him if anyone was hurt, how many guns crossed the border there. they were both horribly conceived and implemented program and investigation on a criminal basis, inspector general basis should continue. this vote tomorrow has nothing
to do with investigating fast and furious. >> congressman chaffetz? fast and furious began under obama administration but there were sister programs under the bush administration. why hasn't the committee scrubbed those as this one? >> if you look at the request, it talks about any attempt of gun running, not just fast and furious. you find operation wide receiver started in the bush administration was put to a halt in 2007 because the line attorney in the phoenix office refused to prosecute because the tactics were so egregious. in 2009, under lan ee brewer, head of criminal division that started this up. we have a dead border patrol agent, 2,000 weapons, mostly ak-47s given to the drug cartels and congress should stand down? i am tired of this, bush did it, it is okay.
yorng the american people are buying it. i don't care what administration, what party, it was wrong, gun walking was wrong, whether bush administration or obama administration, it's wrong, and we have to work to solve it. so far, we have not lived up to what the president promised, which was openness, transparency, and if there was something wrong, we would fix it. that hasn't happened. >> curiosity is very selective. 2,000 weapons crossing the border is extraordinarily inappropriate and disaster. let's remember under existing gun laws allowing straw purchasers, several hundred thousand weapons crossed the border. >> straw purchasing is illegal. >> and atf agents said in committee punishment for straw purchasing is no more than a moving violation. you want to talk about gun safety, let's have that conversation. >> let me ask you here, sometimes this is a serious investigation, and i see the disagreements here. substantive disagreements between the two of you. sometimes you look at it this broadly, hard to sort the facts and issues from the politics.
and on the subject of executive privilege, which the administration invoked late in this, a lot -- the speaker says he is going ahead with the vote, says the president is doing the wrong thing. they go back to george w. bush. listen to john boehner then when the president invoked that privilege. >> it is clear while the president made a good faith effort to provide the information, we've got democrats here on capitol hill that want to have a political side show. >> hypocrisy? >> it is simple. there are 140,000 documents relating to fast and furious. we have been given less than 8,000 of those. congress has a right, duty and responsibility to get to the bottom of this. this shouldn't be a partisan issue. we have a dead border patrol agent, over 200 dead in mexico. you have a program that attorney general holder called fundamentally flawed, then we have a right and duty to follow up on this. if there are specific documents
that the president himself believes that we should not see because they were part of that process, then he should specify item by item what those are. to just put this blanket out in the 11th hour and say we shouldn't do that because i just don't want you to see them, that isn't good enough. >> again, talking about a chairman who in forbes magazine was criticized for the manner and quality of his investigation. who are you dealing with, someone that's predetermined, who already made up their mind, attempted from the first day to embarrass the obama administration? this is his best shot. >> appreciate your time this evening, gentlemen. appreciate the civil conversation, even though you disagree. big day tomorrow. we'll stay in touch. thank you both. >> thank you. >> that contempt vote one of the potential headaches he faces tomorrow. next, we set the scene for the ruling on health care reform. and a closer look at what colorado fire chief calls a fire storm of epic proportion. with the spark cash card from capital one,
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now perhaps the most polarizing debate in history. >> understand we don't need to refight this battle over health care, it is the right thing to do. >> if the court does not strike down the entire law, the house will move to repeal what's left of it. obama care is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers. >> hard to remember, but back in the very beginning, there was a brief flirtation with bipartisanship. >> if we come together and work together, we will finally achieve what generations of americans have fought for, and fulfill the promise of health care in our time. >> emphasis on brief. >> every single republican and every thinking democrat who knows something about the private sector would realize the
wrong thing for america is to get government into the health care. >> the democratic solution is a 1990 page trillion dollar overhaul of the health care system we know. a sweeping new entitlement that raises taxes, cuts benefits to seniors. >> the choice to defer reform is nothing more than a decision to defend the status quo! >> this will wreak havoc on our country, wreak havoc on the future for our kids. >> we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it. >> you remember that day. vice president biden delivered that famous bfd line when he signed that into law march 23rd, 2010. some provisions don't kick in until 2014, but some changes
already including insurance companies can't deny coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions. young adults are allowed to stay on parents' insurance through age 26. and insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime dollar limits on essential health care benefits. 16 hours from now, we will learn if the supreme court considers that health care law to be constitutional. senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin, is here to breakdown. what are the options the justices have in settling this? >> the preferred option for the obama administration is to affirm the law, it remains a distinct possibility. after that, things get complicated. at the other extreme, they could take all 2700 pages and say enough is unconstitutional, we have to throw it all out, start from scratch. more likely is declaring individual mandate, the requirement that every american or certainly most americans have insurance, declare that
unconstitutional. then that's where the complexity begins. then the court and the administration will have to figure out how much of the rest of the law can be politically and financially sustained without the mandate. >> and that's kind of the mystery. >> correct. we will know, and i want to emphasize, affirming the whole thing is a possibility, but once they pick it apart, it becomes a puzzle and challenge to determine how the remaining parts will work, if they'll work. >> a lot of people don't understand all of the pages and provisions to begin with. in terms of day-to-day life, if the court throws out all or part, what happens? >> well, again, if they throw out all of it, the three provisions you read, they go out the window. people can't stay on their parents' insurance until age 26, that could happen tomorrow. if they rule out just the mandate, which is the most
controversial part of it, those provisions remain intact, but the question then becomes without the requirement that people who don't have insurance get it, how do the insurance companies have the money to expand the coverage and how does the government have the money to expand the coverage. that's going to be the big challenge. it's possible. it is possible that if the mandate goes down, much of the rest of the law will go into effect, but that's the real complexity. >> hard to find out where the money comes from. for a few years now, we called this the roberts court. tomorrow, we really learn about the roberts court, don't we? >> absolutely. and the way the division of labor works at the supreme court is you can usually tell who's writing the remaining opinions because they like to divide all of the opinions more or less evenly. it is virtually certain the chief justice will be writing the health care decision, and this will be the bush v gore of the roberts court. this will be the most celebrated
or notorious opinion of the roberts court, and frankly, i think it is fitting and appropriate that the chief justice take responsibility and take the heat for his biggest decision. >> be sitting outside the court when you come racing out with details. you want to switch seats? >> no, i'm sticking with my -- i got my pass. >> season ticket. see you tomorrow. big day. thanks so much. if you do the math right, numbers don't lie. still ahead, latest poll numbers in swing states tell the full truth about the race between president obama and mitt romney. and next, what's hanging down on london bridge? [ mechanical humming ]
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welcome back. here is kate baldwin with the latest news you need to know. >> hi there, john, good evening, everyone. secretary of state hillary clinton says she's keeping her calendar open for a possible international meeting this saturday to discuss a new peace plan for syria. she says the plan which was drawn up by u.n. special envoy kofi annan could be a turning point because it includes a road map for political transition in syria. a court ruling means microsoft won't get a refund for a fine for the way it did business between 2008 and 2004. it started with the refusal to share information that would
have helped rival companies' products work with windows software. even without that refund, microsoft has $60 billion in cash on hand. a new tech toy trying to take on the ipad. google introduced the nexus 7 tablet at a developer's conference today. this 7" tablet will sell for $199 today. aimed to directly compete with amazon kindle fire tablet. this comes a day after google lost a lawsuit claiming the galaxy tab tablet copied parts of apple's ipad. more to check out. london had to jump through a lot of hoops to prepare for the summer olympics. now some real hoops are in place to mark a month before games begin. looking at it there. olympic rings were lowered on tower bridge. each, probably can't tell because of the television screen, each about the size of a double decker bus. the chairman of the games says they deliver a message of confidence about final preparations. getting excited for summer
games. >> that's going to give you a drum roll. >> i thought it was funny. >> there you go. >> my attempt at humor. >> keep trying. see you in a little bit. flames from one of colorado's wildfires came dangerously close to the air force academy main campus. the governor says there's so much destruction in some places, it is surreal. we take you to the fire lines next. in the past hour, mitt romney leveled a new blast at president obama. [ manager 1 ] out here in the winds, i have to know the weather patterns. i upgraded to the new sprint direct connect. so i can get three times the coverage. [ chirp ] [ manager 2 ] it's like working in a giant sandbox with all these huge toys. and with the fastest push-to-talk... i can keep track of them all. [ chirp ] [ chirp ] [ male announcer ] upgrade to the new "done." with access to the fastest push-to-talk and three times the coverage. now when you buy one kyocera duracore rugged phone, for $49.99, you'll get four free. visit a sprint store, or call 855-878-4biz. [ chirp ]
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this half hour on john king usa, kolds's monster fire forces tens of thousands of people to get out. we talk live with the governor in a second. mitt romney gets cheers bark president obama's health care law hours before the supreme court rules on it. and team obama has to be smiling when it looks at new polls from battleground states. the truth about why his attack strategy against mitt romney seems at the moment to be working. crews in colorado are fighting a fire storm of epic proportions, those words from the colorado springs fire chief. here is what he is talking about by the numbers. vicious flames forced 32,000 to leave their homes, all of them under evacuation orders. denver post.com put up these photos, of homes burning under thick clouds of black smoke. more than 15,000 acres have been swallowed by the waldo canyon
fire. it doubled in size overnight and is only 5% contained. jim spellman is live in colorado springs. jim, that's just one of ten wildfires burning in colorado right now. colorado springs, the state's second most populous city. tell us whether the weather is helping or hurting. >> reporter: this is crunch time. late in the afternoon when the winds can pick up, being driven now by storms, several miles from here. they create what chad myers calls outflow. saw it in the last 15, 20 minutes where winds whip through the canyons and into colorado springs. that brings in this layer of smoke that you can see, and also changes the direction that the fire is moving in, so if all of the fire fighting efforts have been to the north and now winds are blowing to the east, creates hazards for embers to pick up, fly into a new neighborhood, start a new fire. that happened last night. firefighters got past the first and second fire line, forced
them to go back and start over again from populated home areas. they hope the same thing doesn't happen again, but trying to prepare for it. 1,000 firefighters battling this, john, on the ground and in the air, using everything they have. >> jim spellman on the ground in colorado springs. jim, appreciate your reporting. thank you. colorado governor john hickenlooper joins me. governor, let me start with a question, people around the country are watching, seeing the dramatic pictures. know anything more about how it started? >> still don't know yet. we know that, well, we're trying to get our arms around it. we have some indication it might have been arson, some folks thought it might also be lightning, but these guys, we have the best in the industry, and they'll get to the bottom of it. >> you talk about the best of the industry get to go the bottom of it. the crisis now is trying to control it. bring us up to speed on progress and step backs in terms of where you think you are trying to turn the corner. >> well, we're still fighting with everything we've got.
unfortunately, we had to increase the evacuations to 36,000 people today. i mean, it really is, i thought, your report describing how embers can blow with changing wind, it is like a whack a mole, all of a sudden you protected one part from the fire making progress, and suddenly you have flying embers, like small balls of fire, and suddenly the fire is behind you. so we have the u.s. forest service, their top strategic firefighters, the best on the ground teams. we stood up now a dual, what they call dual status command to make sure that we integrate the military resources with forest service resources, training a battalion of army personnel to be able to become expert wildfire fighters and also be able to help do mopup and recovery with the fire we are finally controlling up by fort
collins. >> the white house says the president is heading there friday. i know you have spoken to the president. what's the most urgent federal need? are you getting enough from the federal government? some states are pitching in resources to help as well. >> governor duvall patrick called, they are sending firefighters from massachusetts, a number of other governors. we have had great support. the president called me a little after lunch, about 12:30, saying how could we help, wanted to know if i thought it would be useful if he came out. i told him, i flew down last night to colorado springs, one of our national guard helicopters, went over the fire, and it really was amazing and person after person told me how glad they were i was there. if they're that glad i'm there, if the president could find the time to be able to come by and show the support of the nation for all of these folks that have
been evacuated, lost their homes. i mean, this is less than 1% of public lands in colorado have been effected by the fire. still have over 10,000 campgrounds, campsites, the rest of colorado is open and uneffected. but people hear these things about fires and get concerned, trying to get that word out as well. >> we'll help you do it right here. i know you don't know where the end is. but what is your estimate of the economic and financial price tag, not only for damage but you may have collateral damage of people staying away. >> we are hopeful collateral damage will be minimized. we spent about $37 million on various fires. we had a bunch of them. this is the worst drought we've seen in ages, and conditions are so dry. then we had all of the really strong winds and a bunch of lightning. it's just like the perfect storm for fires. so we are working on making a request for presidential declaration, disaster
declaration, which will help us get resources for certain unmet needs like housing, human services, recovery loans for people's businesses, that kind of stuff. again, i can't stress, you know, i talked today, last couple days to secretary napolitano from homeland security, they're in charge of fema, emergency recovery folks, talked to secretary salazar from interior, came out a little over a week ago. washington, i will say one thing, this is an example of the local municipal working with the state working with the federal government at a very high level of effectiveness. >> john hickenlooper, appreciate your time when you're so busy. wish your state the best in the coming hours and days. >> thank you. switching to presidential politics, mitt romney made it clearest not a fan of president obama's health care act and is hammering that point home with about 16 hours until we hear
from the supreme court on whether that law is constitutional. here is what he said moments ago to a crowd in northern virginia outside the washington beltway. >> my guess is they're not sleeping real well at the white house tonight. that's the way it ought to be, all right? and this is a decision, by the way, about whether or not obama care is constitutional, whether it passes constitutional muster, and so we're all waiting to see how the court will decide. one thing we already know, however, we already know it is bad policy and it's got to go. >> national correspondent live in sterling with the governor. jim, this is one of the great ironies, mysteries, not sure what to call it. heard governor romney's strong words. if you call the obama white house, they say we modeled it after his plan. >> reporter: that's right, but john, mitt romney was getting the crowd fired up in northern virginia. he went right after the president's health care law, calling it bad, not just bad
policy but bad economics, saying the president should have been focused on the economy in the first 18 months in office, not passing health care reform while he was joined on stage by not only the governor of virginia, bob mcdonald, but ken cuccinelli running for governor. he is a well known legal challenger to the president's health care law. they have both gone after mitt romney. they say the former massachusetts governor when in massachusetts passed basically the same law we have today that was passed on a national level. we did an interview with mitt romney in 2009 where he essentially touted the mandate in that health care law as a potential national model, said it was something that washington could learn from. i can tell you, john, that the former massachusetts governor is spending the night in washington tonight, he is expected to give some kind of statement tomorrow after the health care ruling comes down at the supreme court. we're not sure what kind of statement he will make. i think a lot of that hinges on what exactly the supreme court
says, if it is a big victory for romney and the republicans, mitt romney may come out in a big way. if it is a mixed bag for both sides, we may see what we saw monday where he put out a statement, didn't say much after that. john? >> jim acosta in sterling, virginia. one of the advantages of having virginia as a battleground state. cover the candidate and stay there. the truth about the president's improving poll numbers invital swing states, and whether his campaign is bark mitt romney's record at bain capital might be behind that. comes to mind for me is my high school math teacher, dr. gilmore. i mean he could teach. he was there for us, even if we needed him in college. you could call him, you had his phone number. he was just focused on making sure we were gonna be successful. he would never give up on any of us.
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you know, they say numbers don't lie. but do they always tell us the truth? if the answer is yes, june up to now has been a far better month for president obama than he had any reason or right to hope for. economic news as you know has been bleak. mitt romney is raising more money than the president, and republicans want that defining recall election in wisconsin, and the president is in statistical tie in most national polling, and in better shape in some battleground states. quinnipiac shows obama up narrowly in florida. ahead by 6 points in pennsylvania, and with a 9 point edge in ohio. team obama and its allies say the attacks on bain capital are working, which is why the vice president keeps dialing it up. >> we need to choose between
commander who can be commander in chief, not outsourcer in chief. we need people in duluth, not singapore, south korea, shanghai. >> they say that's working in swing states where most of the bain bashing tv ads run and air force one and two keep touching down. the view of romney's business record is more negative than the country as a whole. new "the wall street journal" numbers. swing states, negative views are higher than nationwide. if numbers don't lie, here is the big question, do they tell us any lasting truths? republican strategist joins us, cornell belcher, so you're having a good month, my friend. does it matter? >> you always want to be ahead. no matter what they tell you, it is a marathon, not a sprint. truth of the matter, dynamics of the race haven't set in. i think what you're seeing right now is frankly advertising
works, alex, as you know. we are beginning to sort of define him in swing states. he put bain and his business credentials as a predicate for the election. we step back, take a look, explain it to the american public. >> you agree advertising works. are their ads and their friends' ads, better than romney's ads and romney's friends' ads? >> in a sense they are. the attacks on obama have not been new information for voters. they say barack obama did a crappy job renewing the economy, getting it going, creating jobs. everybody kind of knows that. that's baked into the obama stock price. you don't change how voters vote for old information. you need new information. the information that obama campaign and his allies are giving voters about mitt romney is new. that does change things. >> interesting thing in the new
nbc, "the wall street journal" poll. it shows numbers, looking at intensity now with democrats and republicans versus the same period in 2008. see a tie now essentiallily. republicans about the same point in 2008. democrats down, intensity of democratic voters down. why? >> it is a bad economy. democrats are hurting, too, the president has to go out there, explain his record. part of our job is to jet up the base. we're not going to lose the election because democrats aren't energized, i am not worried about that. we're not going to lose the election because they're not energized. >> they're not? >> no, we are leading ohio, pennsylvania. >> he has his pen out. he wants the other reasons. >> we're not going to lose because democrats aren't energized. in the end, laying out a case against romney, layout a case for the president, and democrats will come home. they always do. >> a tie in intensity, we have
132 days if i am counting, that's okay for you, but not good enough. >> it is not good enough. so far from what we have seen in special elections and elections in 2010, republicans are more energized than what i'm surprised about these bain attacks, the out sourcer-in-chief is it seems tactically weak. one rule is you don't throw stones at your neighbor's house when yours is made of glass. we could write a negative response spot right now -- >> start writing it. >> out sourcer-in-cheer, we already got one. barack obama spent $2 billion tax dollars creating energy in other countries. i'm surprised the obama campaign -- >> they should push back. the ads are working. his favorable is down 5%, his unfavorable is up five points in
those same states. whatever the horse race number is, the favorables aren't good for mitt romney right now. >> take 20, 30 seconds each. we don't mow the ruling so it's hard to have the conversation. what's the most important thing you're looking for from the political impact of the supreme court tomorrow? >> we don't know it. it's a toss-up. if they throw out the mandate and throw out the whole health care law, health care becomes a central issue again in the election campaign. if it becomes a central issue again, historically democrats have been better on that issue than republicans have. i don't think republicans want health care to be a central issue in this campaign season again. i think they want it to be about jobs and the economy. if it's health care again, i like our odds. >> i think there's truth in that. it will energize the base of the democratic party. obama will be left without accomplishment. the only thing he's done, passed this health care law, he'll be standing there naked with a bad economy that he says he can't fix. he just says don't let it get even worse with mitt romney.
>> i don't think he said he can't fix it. >> gentlemen, appreciate you coming, cornell and alex, we'll keep in touch. erin burnett "outfront" coming up. tonight the chairman of the armed services committee who recently raised eyebrows when he suggested congress should kick the can down the road when it comes to the automatic spending cuts they're required to make. >> got a lot of people angry when he said that. his first television interview since. we he'll tell us about a meeting with the executives of lockheed martin that brings a human face to the sequestration cuts. they say they'll have to lay off about 12,600 people at the beginning of the year. that's a real tragedy. chairman mckeen is going to give us his view of why he thinks a delay will be necessary. plus amy copeland, the miraculous story of the 24-year-old who had the flesh
eating back bacteria with multiple amputations. she's amazing, i have to tell you. everything she's said is amazing, scheduled to be leaving the hospital by next monday. we'll be joined by her father. >> that is an inspiring story. early on it made me cringe. now it gives inspiration. still ahead, an environmental group ranks the dirtiest beaches in america. you might think twice before diving anywhere you're headed. atari faces a major milestone. can you guess what birthday the iconic video maker is celebrating today? one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future that puts us in control.
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country's highest civilian honor. stockton, california, is set to become the largest american city to declain bankruptcy. stockton is looking at a $26 million budget shortfall. they passed a special budget to operate under chapter 9. 209,000 people live there and the city says it plans to keep pays its employees and vendors. it's summer and the living is easy except for some coasts suffering from pollution. the natural resources defense council released its annual beach report. these beaches you may want to avoid. avalon beach in los angeles, doheny state beach and win net ka elder park beach in cook county, illinois. check out newport beach, bol is a cheek ka beach and huntington state beach. storm water runoff and sewage pollution seems to be the big
issues some people are dealing with. an annual report, but still enjoy the summer. >> a long way for here, i like newport beach, huntington beach. stay with me. to noit's moments you may have missed or maybe long ago forgotten about. it might make you feel old. atari turns 40 years old. in june 1972 the company was formed with just $500. five months later they released pong. you know that old black and white sort of like tennis game. it looks ancient now. that was groundbreaking. i love that noise. first commercially successful video game. a few years after they released the atari video computer system. games like "space invaders," "centipede" right from your couch. >> 20 cartridges with 1300 game variations you play on your own tv