tv The Situation Room CNN September 20, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT
here's who we've asked today, the coalition command in afghanistan, the pentagon, authorities in afghanistan, none of them could tell us where the man who shot greg buckley jr. is. promise you we'll stay on it. you can watch my full interview. go to cnn.com/brooke. now "the situation room" with wolf blitzer begins now. >> brooke, thanks very much. happening now, another day, another new strategy for the romney campaign. voters are about to see a lot more of the republican nominee. also, recent polls show momentum shifting to president obama. we're about to find out which way the state of nevada is moving. and new developments in the hunt for the suspects in the attack that killed the united states ambassador to libya and three other americans. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
with only 47 days to go until the election, the romney campaign's about to roll out another new strategy. voters will be seeing a lot more of mitt romney. in fact, we're only minutes away from his speech at a rally in florida. our national political correspondent jim acosta is joining us now live from sarasota to set the scene. jim, what's going on? >> reporter: wolf, we expect mitt romney to be out here in sarasota, florida, in just a few minutes from now. this is where his advisors say after a relatively light schedule over the last couple weeks, mitt romney and his campaign will be picking up the pace. and after seeming to defend those comments on that hidden camera video on government dependency, romney appears to be shifting again on that message as well looking for something that will stick. after being caught on tape writing off 47% of voters as obama supporters who are dependent on government, mitt
romney was checking his math at a candidate's forum with the spanish language tv station univision. >> this is a campaign about the 100%. my campaign is about the 100% of america. and i'm concerned about them. >> reporter: later in front of a crowd in miami, romney went onto share a personal story about how his father received government assistance after moving to the u.s. from mexico as a child. >> they came back to the united states and my dad had to get financial help, the government helped his family to be able to get on their feet again. by the way, that's the way america works. we help people, we get them on their feet. and then they build a brighter future. >> reporter: but the romney campaign is doing more than cleaning up that video leaked to "mother jones" magazine considering what the gop nominee said on the similarities between the president's health care law and his own. >> now he says i'm the grandfather of obama care. i don't think he meant that as a compliment but i'll take it.
>> reporter: noting what romney said about the past in the law. >> i will repeal obama care and i'll kill it dead on its first day. >> reporter: one of romney's top surrogates, louisiana governor bobby jindal hopped on a conference call with reporters to sayhe candidate is not trying to have it both ways. >> governor romney's made it very clear, one of his very first actions will be to repeal and replace this bad law. >> reporter: after a rocky couple of weeks that's seen more fundraisers than rallies, the campaign is planning to pick up the pace. the gop ticket will wrap up a series of stops in florida this weekend moving onto a bus tour across ohio next week. it's a road trip that offers a chance for a wayward campaign to get a message back on course. >> both campaigns on both sides say things that get off the message. the message is, let's stay focused on jobs because that's what the american people want us to stay focused on. >> reporter: now, as for that schedule, romney won't have much time to put the pedal to the metal with less than two weeks
to go until his first presidential debate with the president, mitt romney will also need time to prepare for those faceoffs. earlier this afternoon the obama campaign put out a strategy memo saying the gop nominee appears to be ready with what they called a pretty good attack line on the president, wolf. >> florida is such an important state for the white house. saraso sarasota, where you are, how is the crowd turnout for romney today? >> reporter: this is a big crowd for mitt romney today. we don't have a crowd estimate just yet. we should get one from the campaign shortly. but last night in miami he had about 3,000 people there as well and it was a loud and boisterous crowd. i talked to ana navarro who we know is a cnn contributor, also a republican strategist, and she noted that even though there has been a sense of malaise surrounding this campaign that republicans have been concerned about what mitt romney said in that hidden camera video that the crowd last night in miami did seem charged and you happen
that would be the same case here as well, wolf. >> jim acosta, we'll standby once romney starts speaking we'll check-in hear what he has to say. let's bring in our chief political analyst gloria borger right now. she's been talking to her sources about the romney campaign and what's going on. do you have any sense what the new message and the new recalibration, whatever we want to call it, is going to be? >> well, i've been talking to people in the romney campaign and outside advisors who talk to the romney campaign. it seems to me what they're trying to do is broaden the economic message, particularly after that 47% secret videotape and to personalize the message. as one senior advisor said to me, we need to reassure all americans that mitt romney can fix things. they want to be less reactive. they want to speak in a more specific way about policy, for example about energy, maybe talk about the keystone pipeline for example or lifting a moratorium on drilling in the gulf. things like that. and telling people we can help you. because they understand that
they have a deficit by about 3 to 1 about when you ask people who understands your problems, barack obama wins that by that huge margin. and you cannot sustain a winning presidential campaign if people don't believe you understand their problems. >> you know, there's a lot of speculation that they were going to try to jump start the campaign october 3rd, which is the first presidential debate. but i take it that timeline has changed. >> there are a lot of people saying you can't wait that long. you've got a couple of weeks now where you can actually try and set the agenda instead of just react to the agenda. so one senior advisor i spoke to, wolf, did not rule out a major domestic policy speech, for example, from mitt romney. maybe some more ads in which mitt romney talks directly to the camera to the american people. you know, they now believe you can't wait. it's also putting way too much pressure on the candidate to say, okay, you've got to jumpstart your campaign in that first debate. i mean, debates change things.
al gore learned that. he lost a lot of altitude after his first debate. i think eight points. but you can't depend on that. you have to have something at your back going into a debate. >> he needs to work in certain specific areas. >> he does. >> and you've been doing some research. >> i have. first of all, he's got some discouraged republicans he has to worry about. but look at this graphic. we put together a bunch of polls on key groups on obama versus romney. if you look at women, look at the large difference there. obama/romney. hispanics, even larger. independent voters, this is where romney has his opportunity. you see it's only four points there. and catholic voters of course who are so important in that key battleground state of ohio. so while mitt romney does well with some places with men, if he can't raise his numbers with women just a few points, even his advantage with men in certain places is not going to help it out. so these key groups are places
they are looking at. we saw romney speak in a univision event yesterday. these key groups are things they know they have to do better with. >> yeah. the hispanics are going to be 66-26, he's in trouble. >> on top of it, wolf, they've also got a bunch of republicans who are not as enthusiastic about coming out and voting. so they've got to get their base fired up. that's why you see mitt romney out there on the stump today. they have to get some enthusiasm back. >> he's going to be a lot more visible, according to jim acosta. we'll see how that works out. >> we'll be watching. >> gloria, thanks very much. more trouble in the middle east. jack cafferty is following that in the cafferty file. jack. >> wolf, protests raging on in the middle east today. it could get worse tomorrow on the muslim day of prayer. in islamabad, pakistan, thousands protests the anti-islamic film and cartoons of muhammad outside foreign embassies including america's. and police responded with tear gas and warning shots. in kabul, afghanistan, hundreds
chanted long live islam, death to america. in iran, demonstrators in tehran protested against the same film shouting anti-american and anti-israel slogans. all of this following the killing of america's ambassador and three others in libya last week along with more anti-u.s. protests in yemen, the sudan, egypt and tunisia, just to name some. back here in the united states the obama administration is facing questions about embassy security in the wake of those murders at the consulate in benghazi. secretary of state hillary clinton was scheduled to testify to congress in a closed intelligence briefing today. it's been suggested the u.s. was warned about that attack in libya three days before it happened. the administration insists they haven't seen intelligence about "significant advanced planning" for that attack. but interestingly the white house is now calling the deadly assault on the u.s. consulate in benghazi a terrorist attack for
the first time. and it happened on the anniversary of 9/11. fancy that. u.s. relations with israel at least on the surface appear to be getting much worse as president obama continues to say he doesn't have time to meet with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. iran continues to march toward nuclear weapons. syria continues to murder its own people. it all suddenly feels much worse than it has for some time. here's the question, how satisfied are you with u.s. policy in the middle east? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. post a comment. or go to our post on "the situation room" facebook page. wolf. >> jack, thank you. meanwhile, there's another important development in the race for the white house. we have brand new poll results that have just come in from the state of nevada. the state mitt romney's hoping to take away from president obama. we'll see. but because of business people like you, things are beginning to get rolling.
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mitt romney gets ready to speak in orlando. we'll go there live in a few minutes. we're getting a new poll coming into "the situation room" from the all-important swing state of nevada, which president obama won in 2008 but could go either way this time. our brand new cnn/orc poll shows that right now the president leads mitt romney 49% to 46% among nevada's likely voters. some interesting trends if you dig a little bit deeper. let's do that with our chief national correspondent john king over at the magic wall following these numbers. what are you seeing in nevada? that's a pretty important state. >> an important state. and as close as they come in terms of battleground. you noticed a statistical tie. look at nevada and see what's driving the poll. let's start here. this is fairly typical when you look at some states. we've seen some changes in this recently. nevada among men governor romney leading. among women you see the gender gap swing the other way. president obama leading rather
comfortably among women. 54% to 41%. look at other reports, income, those under $50,000 a year, the lower income voters, they support the president by a 20-point margin. those making $50,000 a year or above support governor romney not quite as big of an edge, but an income gap as well. one more point is the age difference here. younger voters decidedly for the president. those 50 and older not influenced so far in nevada at least yet not widely 54% to 45%. a narrow lead. some impact of the medicare debate, social security debate, but governor romney holding a constituency he needs to hold. the latino vote the president's counting on also one of the states where you have a large mormon population, that's part of governor romney's base. as for today 47 days out, as close as it comes. >> how does it look like in other key states? >> that's interesting. move these polls out of the way. nevada is a dead heat. the trend this past week is
troubling for romney campaign. the national polls show a very close race. but we pick state-by-state. i just got back an hour ago from michigan. new poll shows the president comfortably ahead in michigan. new polling in ohio the past week, again, the president with a slight edge there. slight edge just outside the margin of error. an advantage for the president there. out west like nevada, colorado is a battleground. it's going to get crowded. this one's a dead heat. 48% to 47% in the state of colorado. the only battleground state where we find governor romney on top and this is within the margin of error, all of these except for michigan and perhaps ohio, governor romney is leading slightly in the state of new hampshire. i'm going to come down and look at the state of virginia. the president, this is a must-win for governor romney. he can get to the presidency without virginia, but it is hard. the president, this is a compilation of several polls showing the president ahead there. you've been talking to jim acosta in florida, wolf, that's
the last one i'll pull up. toif make room for it. the president also seems to be edging ahead in florida. i want to caution everybody, in most of these cases the president has a three-point, four-point, maybe five-point lead. that means it's very close. if you look at the electoral map and you're the romney campaign, you're figuring you need to win most of these states. the president can give up and still get to 270. for governor romney the path is more difficult. when you're behind a littlen colorado, ohio, michigan, wisconsin, blind e behind in florida, you can do the math at home. that means governor romney's task is much harder. >> he's speaking at a rally right now in sarasota, florida. let's listen in. >> you've got to find a way to pay for it, so you raise taxes by $500 billion. but then this, i hope the people in florida understand this, he cut medicare by $716 billion. and if i'm president of the united states, we're going to put that $716 billion back into medicare, back into the care of our seniors.
that $716 billion represents $1.4 billion in sarasota county alone. think of that. and what it means, the medicare actuary and the medicare trustees looked at what's going to happen by virtue of this $716 billion cut to medicare. what they say it's going to do is that about 4 million people who have medicare advantage are going to lose it. and in addition about 15% of america's hospitals and nursing homes will stop taking new medicare patients. what he has done to medicare to pay for obama care is wrong. i will reverse it. i will save medicare and protect it for our seniors of today and our seniors of tomorrow. and so with all the challenges we face in our economy, with all the challenges we face around the world, the president came to
give the address to the america people at his convention in charlotte. and i expected him to lay out a vision. to describe his plan for getting america working again. perhaps it had been two steps or five steps or some ideas. in fact, after his long speech was finished, there was no plan. he has no plan to make washington work. he says he can't change it from the inside. he has no plan to get our economy working again. well, i have a plan. i have five steps that will get this economy going. create 12 million new jobs, save medicare and get our incomes rising again. there are five things and you've probably learned them by now. if you haven't, number one, to get this economy going in a big hush ri immediately, we're going to take advantage of our energy resources, our coal, gas, nuclear, renewables. we're going to rebuild america's energy economy.
[ cheers and applause ] and secondly, and number two, to get this economy going, we believe in the usa, we believe in the ability of american men and women to compete. we're going to open up trade around the world. and we're going to crack down on china or any other nation in trade when they cheat. >> all right. we're going to continue to listen in. hear what mitt romney has to say. he's going through his stump speech. we'll watch what's going on, share any news that emerges from this speech, mitt romney in sar s sew ta, florida, a key battleground state. what happened in the dayingses and hours before the deadly attack in libya? a top official makes a major
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secretary of state hillary clinton headed to capitol hill today. she and others briefed on the attack in benghazi that killed ambassador chris stevens and three other americans. our intelligence correspondent suzanne kelly is joining us now. what's the latest? >> a source in the intelligence community today acknowledged contradictory information on whether there was a protest prior to the attack. they're continuing to collect information and evaluate exactly what the circumstances were
prior to the attack itself. this as officials try to collect further evidence about just who was behind it. officials are looking closely at individuals who may have had connections to al qaeda affiliate groups like al qaeda's north african affiliate better nonas aqim. another group, jihadist organization, led by a former guantanamo bay detainee. suggested no one person or one group has been zeroed in on. there's no evidence to suggest that the leader of that group was either at the scene or directly involved in the attack. national counterterrorism center director matthew olson told a congressional committee that the intelligence committee is still looking at several suspects. >> a number of different elements appear to have been involved in the attack including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in eastern libya, particularly in the benghazi area. >> reporter: the fbi is leading the investigation.
their team now on the ground in libya responsible for collecting the evidence intended to help whittle down that suspect list. >> we are conducting interviews, gathering evidence and trying to sort out the facts working with our partners both from a criminal standpoint as well as in the intelligence community to try to determine exactly what took place on the ground that evening. >> reporter: there are significant challenges facing u.s. investigators and the intelligence community. for one, getting a level of granularity that will allow them to identify individuals and their associations with various groups. another challenge, sifting through whatever information or evidence was left behind at a crime scene that was never really secured. all against a backdrop of concern for the investigators' safety. >> the fbi has a track record of being able to go into these places that are volatile and be able to put together a criminal case. we've done it in yemen with the coal bombing. we did it in east africa with the embassy bombings.
>> now, more than a week after the attack and the details are just as tough to nail down as they were in the hours after it happened, wolf. >> matthew olsen, head of counterterrorism. he yesterday said flatly this was an act of terrorism. other officials now jumping on that bandwagon? >> that's right. he was the first official to say that yesterday during that congressional hearing. he said according to the administration's definition of terrorism that it does fit within the definition saying it was carried out for political reasons, wolf. >> i know there's more going on. we'll check back with you. the stars and stripes go political. the obama campaign is selling its own version of the american flag. is that appropriate? our strategy session next. that's why liberty mutual insurance policies come standard with accident forgiveness, if you qualify. learn more at libertymutual.com. mid grade dark roast forest fresh full tank brain freeze cake donettes rolling hot dogs g of ice anti-freeze wash and dry diesel self-serve fix a flat
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and the first-ever es hybrid. this is the pursuit of perfection. let's get right to our strategy session. joining us now two cnn contributors. democratic strategist donna brazile and republican strategist ana navarro. ana, you're in sarasota, you heard romney speak before the univision forum yesterday, the president today. give us a flavor what was the reaction inside the room? >> reporter: actually, wolf, i'm in miami. both of those forums took place at the university of miami down here. the one with obama just ended right now. and the president's forum will play tonight at 10:00. they were two completely different moods in the room. yesterday the romney folk did a very good job of packing that room with huge supporters. each of the campaigns got 300 tickets from the organizers. but today's crowd, the democrat crowd, was much more subdued.
there was a lot less energy in the crowd. the obama forum was significantly longer than the romney forum. i think in part that was because of the time that each candidate allowed and allotted them. they both got pressed. they both got asked tough questions. a lot of them on immigration. some on foreign policy. fast and furious was discussed. i saw in both barack obama and mitt romney preparation -- debate preparation that has happened. they were both cool and prepared. and they answered some very tough questions. >> you know, donna, the president obviously does a lot better with the latino vote out there than romney does. but the question and ana just raised it is enthusiasm, getting that vote out. there was enthusiasm in 2008. is there going to be that similar enthusiasm this time that will make a difference? >> oh, absolutely, wolf. i think the enthusiasm gap has narrowed over the last couple weeks following the democratic convention. there's still a level of
intensity. and some of us know that when it comes to getting democratic voters and many independents who lean democratic, we have to call them a couple times, knock on the door. and of course help them make sure they can navigate all of the new voter id rules. i had a couple friends also in attendance last night as well as today. the difference is of course that the democrats gave some of their tickets to the lottery. republicans insisted only partisans get in. so we did provide tickets to people who were so-called independents so tickets were not given out to democratic partisans, but when it comes to turning out on election day early voting, the obama campaign, the democratic party, we have a really good a-team, a good ground game. and i believe we'll narrow that enthusiasm gap in the closing weeks of the campaign. >> ana, let me play a little clip from the secretly recorded fund raising event that romney attended last may. this is probably the most controversial line of what he said.
listen to this. >> my job is not to worry about those -- i'll never convince them. >> he's referring to those so-called 47%, they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. the past couple days we've gotten various reactions. mary matalin said romney was right, there are producers and parasites, she said, referring to the 47% presumably as parasites. david frum who wrote speeches for president bush, he called mary's remarks unfortunate and deplorable. i'm curious, ana, where do you stand? >> i absolutely do not think that 47% are parasites, wolf. i think it was misstated. i think it was inelegantly worded as mitt romney has stated. many are folks that are serving abroad, serving our country abroad in the military, many are senior citizens. these are not smoochers.
there are some people who abuse the system. and that is something we must recognize. but certainly not all 47% are abusers of the system and also pay taxes in other ways. so i don't agree with the gist of that comment. and actually that comment came up yesterday in the univision forum, it was asked of romney and he immediately pivoted back to 100%. he's changing the conversation to 100%. it also got asked today of president obama his thoughts on that 47% ree mark. and i think a president needs to worry about 100% of americans regardless of race, of income level. and i think that mitt romney is acknowledging that. >> yeah. he certainly did not phrase whatever he was trying to say well. donna, there's another issue that's come up. i don't know how serious it is, but anxious for you to weigh-in. the obama campaign now selling a version of the american flag complete with an o presumably for obama. there it is right there.
that's the version of the obama american flag. a tweet from the obama campaign saying a poster to say there are no red states or blue states, only the united states. then there's a link to buy the poster. i guess the question is, is it appropriate to use the american flag like this for campaign purposes? >> you know, free speech, wolf. look, i know there are some right wing bloggers who are already gone through their level of outrage. i often think of this as just another distraction. but this is just artist for obama to generate excitement, interest and of course get a couple dollars into a campaign that really needs a lot of money right now. i hope this is not another distraction like god in the platform, which didn't really look at the fact that we had more than six chapters on god. but we often get called into
these sidebar conversations because we don't want to talk about the big issues facing this country. ana is right, it's 100%. we're all in this together. while mitt romney is talking about people not paying taxes, we should talk about corporations that don't pay their fair share. it's time he release his own taxes to the american people to show what he's paying as well. >> ana, very quickly, what do you think of that obama campaign flag? >> i don't like it, wolf. look, i'm a naturalized american. i think one of the things that unites us all as americans is the love and respect for some of our national symbols like the flag, like the constitution. i don't think having the obama states of america is a good thing. do i think mr. obama is unpatriotic because of this? no. i think both governor romney and president obama love this country and want to serve this country. but i don't like our national symbols being used as political paraphernalia and being sold as that. >> ladies, thanks to both of you for coming in. appreciate it. so who are the foreigners fighting alongside rebels in syria? we're going to the front lines of this deadly civil war. the pace of change is accelerating. the way we...
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thick black smoke and burned out cars. this is the aftermath of a government air strike in syria today. war planes targeted this gas station triggering an explosion that killed at least 55 people. it's a fraction of the more than 184 people opposition forces say were killed today as well. cnn has obtained video from a journalist who spent time with the rebel units in aleppo.
cnn's nick payton walsh is joining us now. nick, who did this journalist find? >> reporter: he spent time with a libyan student who still by his own civil war decided to join the ranks of syrian rebels to assist in their fight. doesn't perceive himself as radical, seeing himself as another muslim trying to help his fellow muslims, wolf. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: here in aleppo the fight is mostly syrian-to-syrian, street-to-street. but on the radio is a foreign fighter. he is libyan. he says he braves the regime's tank shells because his fight for libya compelled him to also fight. >> we felt this morning so, you
know, as it was in libya. you cannot say this is not freedom fighters. i don't know why they only watch. they don't give us support. they don't give a no-fly zone. >> reporter: libya got nato's help, syria for now gets his. >> looks like to speak, he likes to bark. you know, barking. for one, one, two hours. he never stops. he never stops lying. >> reporter: the syrian regime blames foreign radicals for the uprising trying to conjure up fears of a takeover by islamic extremists. while he embraces religion, he expresses extremism and al qaeda. >> i'm only student.
i left my money, my student, my family. we're not al qaeda. we're not coming to broke this country. we came here to help. >> reporter: some radical, some night, while rebels may want battle hardened fighters here now, they may regret that when the extremists decide to stay says one expert. >> i don't think they have any benefit in having them. but i think at this point because of their weaker weaponry and training and ability, they may need them to fight if you assume the fighting is going to be finished, i think they are there to stay. and what we might witness is something like yemen where the foreign fighters will be able to control certain areas or cities. >> reporter: he does say he wants an islamic government for syria, but he wants to go back home. that's where he learned about
loss. he still wears the shirt of his brother who died fighting in libya. and in syria he's already lost a libyan friend to a sniper's bullet. >> and the sniper was shooting, one here and the second one here. and the third one -- you can see this. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: in the brutal syrian battle for every corner, the foreigners here and the concerns they bring of radicalism might be attracting more attention than their numbers merit. but the u.n. believes their influence is growing and that some of it is radical. and that as this war drags on may well grow. the syrian regime seizes upon the presence of foreigners, libyans, to support their contention that the rebellion is effectively of foreign extremists. today in fact they claim they killed 100 afghans in the
commercial heart of aleppo. highly unlikely they killed that many rebels on one occasion. and they would exclusively be from afghanistan. great controversy here. many observers really aren't sure about the numbers. >> bottom line, nick, how much influence do the foreigners have when it comes to fighting in syria? >> reporter: i think on the ground at this point they're really limited. you can't get an exact idea of how many there are. it seems to have some al qaeda affiliation and very small minority that are helping fellow muslims. interest is pretty extreme, particularly on the obama administration at this point many u.s. officials sunligggest should not arm and perhaps step back and many observers say that's convenient because the obama administration doesn't want to intervene at this point. the u.n. though clear in assessment earlier on this week that the longer this conflict
goes on, the more opportunities it provides for potential foreigners, potential extremists come in and radicalize the syrian rebels, wolf. >> nick, thanks very much. amid the rising tension, the anti-u.s. demonstrations across the world, we're going to hear from a crucial u.s. ally, pakistani foreign minister, she is here in "the situation room." that's coming up. [ male announcer ] now you can swipe... scroll... tap... pinch... and zoom... in your car. introducing the all-new cadillac xts with cue. ♪ don't worry. we haven't forgotten, you still like things to push. [ engine revs ] the all-new cadillac xts has arrived, and it's bringing the future forward.
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east is. it's hard to be satisfied with something that seems to make no sense. another bob, this one in florida, i think we should bombard the middle east with thousands of cartoons and images daily in an effort to desensitize them so they can get it all out of their systems. maybe then they can live in a world with civilized people. sara writes, not happy. president obama needs to do a 360 on his playing nice-nice with the middle east. we're the united states of america, for pete's sake. we value freedom of speech. if a movie trailer sets off the middle east like a powder keg after all the billions of dollars we pour into that place as well as the lives of our precious soldiers we forfeit every day, we need a reset over there as well as with our presidency. dave in florida writes, i'm not at all satisfied with our policies. i'd like to halt any and all aid to any of those countries that have done harm to us either by their actions or inactions. i realize that many or even most
of the citizens in these countries harbor no ill will toward us and may even like us. but if they can't keep in order their own house by dealing with their lunatic fringe, that shouldn't be our problem. we have our own lunatic fringe to worry about in this country, let alone there's. laura in massachusetts sa the fact that u.s. ambassadors fear for their lives speaks volumes about a failed foreign policy. are we not supposed to protect these people when they're serving abroad? they're supposed to be protected under u.s. law. i have zero faith in the current foreign policy. and derek writes, what u.s. policy in the middle east? flying by the seat of your sand dune doesn't count. if you want to read more about this, go to the blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile. or our post on "the situation room" facebook page. >> thanks very much. police use teargas against hundreds of angry anti-u.s. protesters.
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the challenges homosexuals face in aftuganda. most gayes and lesbians are physically attacked and treated as social outcasts. a florida mom says her teenage son was being bullied. so on wednesday she walked him to his bus stop and she took matters into her own hands. >> words kept going back and forth, whatever. he called me out my name and i smushed him in his face or whatever. that's what they need. a good old fashioned whoopin. and we're not able to do that because we end up in jail. >> wow. okay. she is a 35-year-old woman. the boy she went after is only 17. she now faces charges of child abuse and trespassing on school property. she says she doesn't regret attacking the teen whose family says he is not a bully. you know things are out of control when the parents are getting involved in all that. the bullying, the attacking, the fighting, way too much, wolf. >> when the parent sees the kid
being bullied, the parental instinct does sometimes manifest itself in an inappropriate way. >> the best solution i've ever heard for a parent taking action, there was a lawyer in houston. and what he did was his daughter was being cyber bullied on the internet, he actually filed a lawsuit against the parents and girls who were cyber bullying his daughter. you better believe that stopped that activity right away, wolf. that's the way he handled it. >> thanks very much, lisa. >> uh-huh. each year cnn heroes receive thousands of nominations from you, our viewers, from around the globe. today we're revealing our top ten nominees. they each received $50,000 and a shot at the top honor. you'll choose the cnn hero of the year who takes home another $250,000. >> i'm anderson cooper, all year we've been introducing you to everyday people who are changing the world. we call them cnn heroes. now we announce the top ten cnn heroes for 2012. the hon rees are in random
order. connie, helping for children caring for ill or aged loved ones stay in school and hold onto their childhood. thulani organizes his community to educate hundreds of their next generation. mary enlists man's best friend to give fellow veterans a way to move beyond ptsd and into life again. malya has turned personal trauma into a fight for justice for thousands of rain survivors in haiti. after using sports to fight his own addiction, scott strode now helps former addicts to stay fit and sober. wan da butts brings water safety and swimming lessons to those most vulnerable, catalina escobar ensures healthy deliveries and solid futures for columbian teens already facing mother hood. leo mccarthy's tragic loss of his daughter sparked his mission to end the culture of underage drinking. and where terrorists stop at
nothing to keep girls from being educated, razia fearlessly opened her school each and every day. congratulations. the ton ten cnn heroes of 2012. tell us who inspired you the most. go to cnnheroes.com online or on your mobile device to vote for your cnn hero of the year. all ten will be honored live in an all-star tribute hosted by anderson sunday december 2nd. but only one will be named cnn hero of the year. go to cnnheroes.com to vote. up to ten times a day, by the way. every day for the most inspirational hero. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, violent clashes near the united states embassy in pakistan. amid stepped up protests over an anti-islamic film. a stepped up u.s. warning about a key u.s. american ally as
well. and did the united states take the proper precautions to guard its diplomats in libya? the state department answering accusations from libyans and harsh criticism from lawmakers. plus, bill clinton talks about the future in the latest issue of "time" magazine. is he also hinting a little bit about a possible hillary clinton presidential run in 2016? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." anti-american protests and violent clashes as rioters try to reach the united states embassy. this time the location, in pakistan, a key u.s. ally. and the violence comes as the united states steps up a warning
to americans. in just a minute i'll speak with the foreign minister of pakistan, hina rabbani khar. but first let's go to the capital, islamabad. and reza is joining us from islamabad. extraordinary measures being given right now. what's the latest as far as americans and pakistan are concerned? >> reporter: wolf, just to be clear, this is a renewal or a reminder of a longstanding travel warning been in place in pakistan for a long time right now. the u.s. embassy, the u.s. state department telling americans, if you don't need to come to pakistan, do not do it. essential travel only. the fact they're reminding americans of this warning is a sign of the growing tensions. that follows more anti-american protests in the capital of islamabad today. it's critical to point out that despite the dramatic pictures and violence, this was a relatively small protest. 1,500 demonstrators approached the diplomatic enclave.
this is a walled compound, a highly secured compound, where you'll find the u.s. embassy, the french embassy and other embassies. it's an incredibly difficult place to penetrate. even so these protesters tried to do it. once they got there, the clashes started. protesters throwing objects, rocks, sticks. police responding by firing teargas and shots in the air. protesters managed to burn several of the small police check posts. eight police officers were injured according to the police chief. again, we can't repeat enough there's 180 million pakistanis. this was 1,500, a very, very small fraction, wolf. >> sell us, reza, about the latest u.s. efforts to communicate directly with the pakistani people. >> reporter: obviously the u.s. government is concerned about the rising tensions. they want to do everything to ease the anger. that's why they bought a lot of ad time fm radio to air psas
where hillary clinton, barack obama, condemning the anti-islam video. the psas are subtitled -- or do we have a clip? let's take a look. >> since our founding the united states has been a nation that respects all faiths. we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. >> let me state very clearly. and i hope it is obvious that the united states government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. we absolutely reject its content and message. america's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. >> reporter: secretary of state hillary clinton and u.s. president barack obama in a psa condemning the anti-islam video in an effort to ease the anger
here. will it work? we'll find out tomorrow, wolf, when more protests are scheduled. >> big ones, indeed. reza sayah on the scene for us in islamabad. thanks very much. let's dig deeper with the foreign minister of pakistan, hina rabbani khar is here, foreign minister, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> the state department issued this strong travel warning to all americans, as you just heard from reza, threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where u.s. citizens and westerners are known to congregate or visit. terrorists have disguised themselves as pakistani security personnel to gain access to targeted areas. are you agreeing with the state department that this is a bad time for americans to visit pakistan? >> wolf, i think if you look at how what sort of a response there was in pakistan to the condemning of the video that secretary clinton and president obama have already condemned -- >> that stupid 14-minute trailer
out there on the internet causing this -- >> exactly. a threat to religious harmony. >> i want to get to that. it is so idiotic. it is so stupid. is it bad for americans to visit pakistan right now? >> wolf, as i said, i think in pakistan the situation has been much better than in other countries. we were the first country to condemn the killing of your u.s. ambassador in libya. we give restraint. we will have holiday tomorrow in order to make sure everything passes by peacefully. >> i'm worried about that. the pakistani government has declared friday what you're calling a national holiday to honor the prophet muhammad. i assume there are going to be massive demonstrations on the streets of islamabad, karachi, other cities in pakistan that could potentially, hope they don't, turn into anti-american violence. how worried are you about that? and why are you doing this in
response to the stupid 14-minute trailer? >> you have to respond to sentiments as they show on the street. i think the best response was call for holiday. your system might be very different, but in our system means very different. >> it seems to be encouraging people to go out in the streets. >> absolutely not. it will make sure if people do get together it is in a peaceful manner. and make sure that those people trying to get to offices and schools do not come into harm's way. >> i've been to that u.s. embassy in islamabad. you've been there as well. it's a fortress. are you beefing up -- as the host country, protection of american diplomats there? >> wolf, we have already done a pretty good job of it. and we actually called in the army in a small section of the city also. so i think so far things have gone well. let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that we will be able to manage this. >> i had this exchange with professor fouad ajami yesterday here in "the situation room." we were talking long-term, is this going to get better, the relationship between america and the islam and muslim world?
listen to this exchange. >> bottom line, is this ever going to get bet sner. >> no. i think that is the honest answer. when you have these positions so sharply drawn, we believe in the west. we believe in the western tradition. >> you agree with professor ajami? >> i hope not. i hope it does get there. >> as someone educated here in the united states obviously the foreign minister of pakistan, do you see this ever getting better? >> i see that this certainly can get better. i think what we need is more tolerance for each other's views. we need to be able to give mutual space for us to be able to demonstrate what is culturally religiously important to us and not to hold each other -- not to judge each other for that. to give that space and to be able to create some space for ourselves. and really, wolf, i think we have to be sensitive to religious sensitivities. i think it's not good enough to say it's free speech, it should be allowed. i think if this does provoke
action against americans citizens or americans anywhere else in the world, then maybe we do need to rethink how much freedom is okay. is freedom to the extent of harming lives also okay? so i think we need to find a way to manage this in a civilized manner in trying to bring all of our, you know, all of our minds together. >> because you know there's plenty of ugly things said about other religions in the arab and muslim world, whether christians or jews. you hear awful things. but you don't see massive demonstrations, you don't see violence emerging as a result of that. >> well, i don't want to get deeper into that discussion because i quite frankly think in islam there is a lot of respect for both ju dayism and christianity. i think this is a common battle because islam is a religion of peace. prophet muhammad's life is a life of peace. he's called the messenger of peace. this is very different when you see that street violence. we need to correct that. we need to come to the same page
and look at things as they are. not how we have portrayed them to be or made them to be. so i would not let those 1,500 people define what islam or prophet muhammad's messages. we would like the majority of muslims and pakistanis to be able to find the peaceful islam we are proud to call a religion. >> you're here in washington. i assume you'll be meeting with members of congress and others. yesterday senator ran paul of kentucky was here in "the situation room." he says he's going to withhold any u.s. aid to pakistan until you free the doctor arrested in connection with the killing in abbottabad. when you hear that stuff, what are you going to do? >> i had a long session with the foreign relations committee. and we are hopeful that we will be able to build on the relationship rather than break it. and, wolf, let me really take this opportunity and thank you for giving it to me to see that how can we -- a person up for
hire including harming your interest and ours. this doctor who is portrayed to be a hero has come in the way of polio campaign in pakistan has come in the way of being able to ensure polio is no more prevalent in pakistan. >> but if he was trying to help the united states kill bin laden -- >> let me categorically tell you he did not know he was on this grand mission to get obl. getting obl was as much part of our plans and our effort as it was yours. so this is not what divides us. obl unites us. osama bin laden is a common enemy. terrorism is a common enemy. your people are dying, our people are dying even more than yours. these are all things that unite us. why do we portray them to be things where we disagree? these are points of agreement. so please let due process is dpoing on in pakistan. we should all have respect for the rule of law. we should allow the process to run course. and we should not make heroes out of people wlo don't deserve
to be that. >> so as far as the pakistani government is concerned and you're the foreign minister, he's going to spend the next 30 plus years in jail? >> no. as far as the pakistani government is concerned, the due process of law will go through and we will all be patient to see what comes out of it. >> on that note, i'll thank you foreign minister for coming. good to see you here in washington. last time we saw each other was in washington. >> i remember. the united states declares the attack in libya a terrorist attack. could it have been stopped? we have the latest on the investigation what u.s. officials are now admitting. but, first, tough questions for the president as he takes his campaign to florida to court latinos.
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mitt romney, whose had a rough few weeks to put it mildly, is under the most pressure to use the first presidential debate to try to turn things around. some actually think that october 3rd could be his last best chance. which is probably why he's been practicing a lot. according to politico, romney recently did five mock debates in 48 hours. he's apparently told his advisors that it might be hard to win a debate against the president. probably will be. if you're on mitt romney's staff, the debates have got to make you a little bit nervous. see, their candidate famously puts his foot in his mouth when he goes away from the tell prompter. but the debates could also be a challenge for president obama who can give long-winded answers that sound more like a college lecture than a game plan for a second term. this is a man who once gave a 17-minute answer in a town hall meeting, 17 minutes. the president can go on and on. no surprise team obama's out lowering expectations this week saying the president has not
debated in four years while mitt romney got a lot of practice during the primaries. we know how half of the first debate in denver's going to focus on the economy. we also know that other topics now will include health care, the role of government and governing. pass the no doz. debates can be a defining moment for a presidential candidate. think kennedy nixon, october 3rd promises to be huge. so here's the question, how much do you think the presidential debates are going to matter? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile post a comment on the blog, or go to the post on "the situation room" facebook page. >> i think they will matter with the undecided and switchables who may change their minds. those debates will be critical. jack, thank you. the battleground state of florida is back in the spotlight right now where both candidates are fighting for a voting block so powerful it could hand them the election in november. yesterday mitt romney made his case to latino voters. today was president obama's
turn. our white house correspondent brianna keilar is standing by with details on what happened. brianna. >> reporter: hi, wolf. the topic of immigration dominated this forum. president obama saying his biggest failure has been not getting comprehensive immigration reform done. but he said it wasn't for lack of trying or desire. and he blamed congressional republicans. as president obama courted the hispanic vote in a forum on the spanish language univision network, he got some tough questions. co-host jorge ramos asked about his 2008 pledge to tackle immigration reform in his first term. >> this is very important. i don't want it to get lost in translation. you promised that. and a promise is a promise. and with all due respect, but you didn't keep that promise. >> i did not make a promise that i would get everything done 100% when i was elected as president. what i promised was that i would work every single day as hard as i can to make sure that
everybody in this country regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they come from, that they would have a fair shot at the american dream. and i have -- that promise i've kept. >> reporter: the president touted his recent executive order to buy time from deportation for so-called dreamers, young, undocumented immigrants. >> if you heard their stories, there's no way you would think it was fair or just for us to have them suffering under a cloud of deportation. >> reporter: but the national association of latino elected and appointed officials says voters still have concerns. >> president obama still has some explaining to do. there's some more outreach that needs to be done. the latino community is suffering because of the downturn in the economy. there have been more deportations done by this administration. >> reporter: if president obama has some explaining to do to this growing voter block, mitt romney has much more. >> candidate romney has taken some positions that really clash
with the priorities of the community. >> reporter: romney tried to soften his language on immigration while at the univision forum wednesday, he said in the republican primary he would veto the dream act calling instead for a more permanent immigration solution. he also called for making it so difficult for illegal immigrants to find work that they would "self-deport," and he called arizona's controversial citizenship verification law a model for the nation. the latest gallup poll shows president obama with a 40-point lead among hispanic voters. that's roughly equivalent to the margin then-senator obama had over john mccain in 2008 when hispanic voters helped propel him to victory. his panic voters are increasing in number. and they could be crucial in key battleground states like florida, north carolina, virginia, colorado and nevada. it is a must for president obama to maintain his lead with hispanic voters over mitt romney because, wolf, you'll remember
in 2004 george w. bush did uncharacteristically well with hispanic voters for a republican. and that was key to keeping him in the white house. and really to john kerry not getting in there, wolf. >> i think the president will do well with hispanic voters. the key though is to get them to vote, to show up. >> reporter: show up. >> they have that enthusiasm, that's going to be critical. they had it four years ago. we'll see if it occurs this time as well. brianna, thank you. former president bill clinton is out campaigning for president obama this year. but he also is hinting, hinting at least a little bit, at least at a possible run by his wife four years from now. what's going on? we're going to show you. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." i'm interested in neurolaw because it's really where the rubber hits the road in neuroscience. i'm david eagleman and i'm a neuroscientist. we incarcerate everybody. we treat jail as a one-size-fits-all solution. for some people they're addicted
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mortgage rates hit another record low. lisa sylvester's monitoring that and some other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's the latest? >> hi, wolf. i think it's a good time to refinance. the average 30-year rate fell to 3.49% down from 3.55% the previous week. according to mortgage giant freddie mac and after the fed's decision to buy billions in home loans for the foreseeable future, the news didn't seem to help wall street where stocks have been stuck in a little bit of a rut all week long. items from the temporary memorial formed in the wake of the summer's deadly colorado movie theater shooting are being dismantled and stored by the aurora history museum. victims families will still have access to the items at a secure location. meanwhile accused gunman, james holmes, was back in court today. prosecutors added new charges and amended others among the 142 he's already facing. the judge also granted the defense access to a notebook
holmes allegedly mailed his psychiatrist the day before the shooting. and if apple has its way, your iphone may one day make getting through airport security just a little easier. according to public patent documents, the phone would automatically send electronic identification to a tsa agent once the traveler gets in line and could also check your bags. neither apple nor tsa is commenting on the patent. and amazing video released just from nasa of the journey of "endeavour" making its way on the back of a 747 from florida to los angeles where it will be put eventually on display. the shuttle touched down at edwards air force base in california just over an hour ago. and it is scheduled to arrive in l.a. tomorrow. i know they were flying it low enough for people to actually -- for spectators to actually get a glimpse of it. a little piece of history there, wolf. >> great pictures indeed, lisa. thank you. meanwhile, new information
coming into "the situation room," the investigation into the attack on the american consulate in libya. and it's coming directly from libya's prime minister. you're going to hear what he's now telling cnn. uncer ] when a major hospital wanted to provide better employee benefits while balancing the company's bottom line, their very first word was... [ to the tune of "lullaby and good night" ] ♪ af-lac ♪ aflac [ male announcer ] find out more at... [ duck ] aflac! [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. [ yawning sound ]
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new libyan prime minister. arwa is joining us from tripoli. arwa, what did the prime minister tell you? >> reporter: here's the very latest information, wolf. he's saying eight people have been detained. these individuals were directly affiliated with the attack itself. he said that they are pursuing others including the leadership. now, these individuals according to the prime minister not linked to any one group. the entire group that he believes was behind the attack made up of around 30 to 50 people a loose coalition it was described as being again not affiliated with any one group. he also said that these were not people who were tied to al qaeda. that this was not an attack linked to al qaeda. it was however preplanned, wolf. >> if the u.s. were to decide, arwa, to take military action to try to deal with those who killed the americans, would the prime minister support that idea? >> at this point in time most certainly not.
it is very well-known that there has been an increase in drone activity over suspected sites of these training camps, militant training camps that exist in the east. the u.s. has also moved two of its naval warships into the region. the prime minister was very clear though when he made the point to say, no, there can be no outside interference. this would be viewed as being a foreign attack on libyan soil and that it would create complete and total chaos. as for what the libyan government is willing and prepared to do, he says they will be pursuing the individuals that are responsible for this attack saying that they fully realize that they have no other option and that they are determined to bring those who carried this out to justice. when it comes to the bigger picture and how the libyan government has to deal with these various extremist militant groups, that the government initially wants to try to approach politically. because to try to take these groups on, that would create a blood bath. at this point libya can really not afford. >> arwa, thanks very much.
arwa damon reporting for us from tripoli in libya. so did the united states do enough to protect its diplomats in libya? there are harsh accusations being leveled right now. and officials are responding. our foreign affairs correspondent elise labott is working the story for us. cnn reported senator john mccain has suggested very bluntly there were warnings about the security of the american diplomats in benghazi, warnings apparently that weren't heard. what are your sources telling you, elise? >> well, wolf, senior state department officials, top officials really that have been scrubbing all this and going through a detailed account are saying if there was such a warning, it did not go up the chain of command, if you will, to the top levels of the department where it could have been acted upon. they knew the general threat of extremists in the area. they knew that they had to watch. they saw some other previous attacks including the attack on the consulate in june and other convoys attacked, foreign convo convoys.
but they said there was never any specific threat on the embassy. and there was never any discussion about whether they should close the facility because they felt they knew the risks, but they were doing very important work there. >> did ambassador stevens have enough security at that consulate in benghazi especially coming on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 when there should be heightened security procedures for u.s. installations around the world? >> well, ambassador stevens had two guards for himself, two guards detailed arm shooters. and the consulate itself had three guards. so that was five guards for about two diplomats thatere there on the site. and officials say, wolf, in the months leading up to the weeks attack after a failed ied attack failed in june, state department took measurements to improve security, barb wires, cameras, also a safe room, steel door on some of these safe rooms to make sure that the personnel was safe. and also all of these armed guards. so they say, wolf, that obviously even though they took
all of these precautions, they weren't predicting the kind of onslaught that they saw. some of the other attacks out there, minimal damage. these are the kind of attacks they were warned about because of these other attacks. and the pattern out there, they weren't expecting the kind of onslaught. and it was no match for these security measures. obviously they have to re-examine security at all posts. >> elise, thanks very much for that reporting. the story is obviously not going to go away. we're continuing to watch this issue. the libyan story is taking center stage. by the way right now on capitol hill, the secretary of state hillary clinton and the country's top intelligence officials in a very rare close door classified briefing with all, repeat all, members of the united states house and senate. we're going to go there live right at the top of the hour. standby. see life in the best light.
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bill clinton is on the cover of the latest issue of "time" magazine, our sister publication. inside he's optimistic about the future. but he says those better days will have to be fought for. let me quote from the president, the truth is the future has never had a big enough constituency. those fighting for present gain almost always win out. but we are trying to create a whole different mindset. we are in a pitched battle between the present array of attitudes and the future struggling to be born. let's talk about the new issue with "time" magazine managing editor, rick stengel joining us now. i think he's at a record high
right now, how do you explain that, rick? >> well, part of it, wolf, is i call him in my editor's letter the global philanthropist in chief. even though he has become president obama's number one surrogate, he does have a day job. that is running the clinton global initiative. he is doing things, he's raising billions of dollars to wipe out inequality around the world, to alleviate children's poverty and disease. so i think people just look at him now as one of the good guys who's doing stuff that benefits everybody, not just one particular party or person. >> and the speech he gave at the democratic convention in charlotte was obviously one of the best that he's given. and he's gotten really, really great grades for that. let me read another quote from the article. this is president bill clinton. "i see evidence all over the world that women are gaining social and economic power that they never had before. it's been proven that women tend to reinvest economic gains back into their families and communities more than men do." you know, when i read that quote
from the former president, my mind immediately soared to 2016 and the possibility that one woman, mainly his wife, might run for president once again. did you get the same impression? >> no, wolf. my mind did not go to that at all. not one iota. he has been a supporter of women's equality, as girl power as he sometimes talks about it. girl power has a multiplier effect. you educate a a man, you educate one person, you educate a woman, you educate a village. i think he's seen that at cgi. and obviously his wife, the secretary of state, has been an outspoken supporter of girl power as well. >> yeah. he's not ruling out the possibility that she might consider running once again for the democratic presidential nomination then running for president. we'll have to wait. >> he's not ruling it in either. >> no. he's not ruling it in. he's not ruling it out. we'll see what happens down the road. my own suspicion is i think she will. that's my own guess.
i have no inside information. it's very intriguing at the cgi, the clinton global initiative, next week there will be two big speakers in addition to bill clinton. mitt romney is going to speak, barack obama is going to speak. not surprising that the president is going to be at the bill clinton event, but mitt romney a little intriguing. what's going on? >> well, again, as i was saying before, i think cgi, the clinton global initiative is a worldwide platform. and it's nonpolitical. it's nonpartisan. he's looking to do the most good around the world as possible. it doesn't have a political point of view. he's trying to leverage philanthropy to help people around the world. i think it's smart, frankly, for governor romney to go there. it shows that he's concerned about those issues. and as you mentioned, wolf, clinton's own personal popularity is so high. it probably wouldn't be bad to have clinton put his arm around his shoulder and have everybody see that. >> do you know what the format will be when the president
attends the cgi conference and when the republican presidential nominee attends? is it just speeches? do you have any idea what the schedule is going to be? >> i'm not sure, wolf. i do believe that president clinton will be introducing both president obama and governor romney. after that i'm not sure what the format is. i think both men will though have a chance to speak their minds on something that's important to them. >> it's amazing how much good work the clinton global initiative has done over all these years. i know you write about it, how much money have they raised for all these good causes? >> well, they estimate that they've actually gotten commitments of almost $70 billion since i think they started in 2005. when you think about that, that's real money that's going to problems around the world. when you compare that to fa foundations which only spend 5% of their endowment, it's really an enormous effort that they've made that actually doesn't have a rival anywhere on the planet.
>> talk about the cover picture for a second. there he is. he's holding a globe. the clinton global initiative i guess, that's what it's referring to, right? >> yes. i mean, you know they told us originally that the president doesn't do props. but i thought the idea of him holding the globe so that you would see it's not a story so much about president clinton, which it's not. it's a story about optimism, a story by him about the five big important things going on around the world making the planet a better place. so we have him holding the planet that way would signify that. >> rick stengel of "time" magazine, good work as usual. thank you. >> thank you, wolf. so how much will the presidential debates in october really matter? that's jack's question. he has your answers. and that's next. to go time, and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue,
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jack's back with the cafferty file. jack. >> wolf, question this hour is, how much will the presidential debates actually matter? first one coming up october the third. perry writes, if they would answer the questions truthfully, they would matter. but as it is, they matter not. ed in texas, i think they'll be critical for mitt romney's candidacy. at this point he can't win the election unless he wins the debates. kim in kansas says if both candidates were on an equal footing intellectually, it might mean more. romney's managed to become worse in front of a camera and lacks the human element required to connect with people. that complete lack of charisma is magnified on the television camera. so it will be even worse than the nixon/kennedy debates. brad in oregon writes, it will matter a whole lot more to romney than obama. romney better put on a good show, or he'll just confirm what everybody thinks of him right
now, that he's just too stupid to be president. and george w. bush set a very low bar for that already. matthew on facebook writes, none, because they'll both evade and dodge the questions in order to say just what they want to say. and bob in long island says the debates will be the bane of mitt romney's the bane of mitt romney's candidacy. it will be all over except the counting. wolf? >> jack, thank you. today cnn revealed the top ten cnn heroes of 2012. each of them will have a chance at earning $300,000 and the top honor. cnn hero of year. anderson cooper shows us how you, how you can decide who that person will be. >> now that we've announced the top ten cnn 2012, i want to show you how you can vote for the cnn hero of the year. it is very easy. this is the main page now, down
here, you'll see all top ten cnn heroes. each one will receive $50,000, plus a shot at becoming cnn hero of the year and that's where you come in. here's how you can vote for your favorite cnn hero. as an example, i'll randomly click on razi over here. you can read a stora bout her work providing free education to girls in rural afghanistan. the same kind of information will come up if you pick any of the top ten cnn heroes. once you pick the person who inspires you the most, click vote which is over here in red. a new page comes up and shows you all top ten cnn heroes. you choose the person you want to vote for. here's an example leo mccarthy. his photo will show up down here under your selection. then you enter your e-mail over here in step two and enter the security code and you click on the red box right down here at says vote. you can vote up to ten times every day with your e-mail address and through facebook and then rally your friends through sharing your choice on facebook over here or on twitter.
and, remember, you can vote from your computer, your phone, your tablet or pretty much any mobile device with the browser. go to cnnheroes.com and reveal your 2012 hero of the year during cnn heroes and all-star tribute which is a cnn tradition that promises to inspire. >> remember, all ten finalists will be honored live at the cnn heroes all-star tribute hosted by anderson on sunday december 2nd. you may have heard of replacement referees, but what about replacement candidates? we'll explain, that's next. ♪ [ female announcer ] pop in a whole new kind of clean. with tide pods. just one removes more stains than the 6 next leading pacs combined pop in. stand out.
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here's a look at this hour's hot shots. farmer harvest wine grapes in china exhibition goers for new buildings. ind innia, park trucks symbolize a national protest against foreign supermarkets. in germany, a tourist hand feeds a sparro. with so much chaos erupting out there on the campaign trail right now, you have to wonder if the candidates ever wish they could be replaced. let's go to cnn's john berman. john? >> wolf, mitt romney is trying to move his campaign forward now. move ahead after that 47% comment. right the ship. barack obama has been there, too, trying to turn things around after a campaign mishap. one solution you never do really hear from candidates, why not just take a break and have someone else fill in? it's what they're doing in football right now, sort of. there's something different on america's professional football
fields. league officials have locked out the regular referees and, instead, we have replacement refs with varying degrees of success. okay, the situation might not be perfect, still, it might be attractive for other professions these days. take presidential candidate -- >> i'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility for care for their lives. >> reporter: maybe mitt romney wishes he could find a replacement now and then. >> it's not eloquently stated. >> reporter: if it's elegance he wants, how about henry higgins from "my fair lady." >> the rain in spain stays mainly in the plain. >> reporter: that guy drips elegane elegance and with connecting with the 47%, that was his job.
♪ ♪ on the plain on the plain ♪ >> how about a replacement for barack obama. there was this comment about egypt. >> i don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy. >> reporter: maybe a good fill-in might be james taylor. ♪ yes i'll be there you've got a friend ♪ >> reporter: paul ryan, well, replacements could include alaic baldwin, harrison ford or ben afl affflack. they all played jack ryan in the movies and paul gets paul and jack confused anyway. finally, a tough one. joe biden. how about meryl streep. honestly, she can play anyone, plus, she swears like a sailor. [ bleep ] not just a big deal if you're playing joe biden, but -- the problem with politics,
though, is no matter how good merrill or alec might be, no good way to replace a candidate. to an extent, elections are the candidate, which is why everything they say and do matters so much. they're simply no substitute. wolf? >> john berman, thank you very much. you can watch john berman and zoraida sambolin on "early start" 5:00 a.m. eastern. they go until 7:00 a.m. eastern. happening now, secretary of state hillary clinton gives lawmakers a top secret briefing on libya and the anti-american violence in the muslim world. new poll numbers from one battleground state as the race for the white house moves to another. plus, romney, obama and israel. mideast politics complicate the presidential race. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room."
we begin with extraordinary briefings up on capitol hill today. the secretary of state, the director of national intelligence and other high-level officials briefing the entire congress. the house and the senate behind closed doors about the consulate attack that killed the united states ambassador to libya and three other americans. with rulers and speculation rampt, lawmakers were seeking facts, but many were not satisfied with what they heard and they are fuming right now. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash has been talking to some of them. dana, these briefings just wrapped up. what are you learning? what happened? >> what happened to according to members of congress in both parties is apparently not much new and that is not making some of them happy, especially those who are already the most vocal critics of the administration on what happened and their administration's reaction to the bombings in libya and other unrest throughout the middle
east. listen to what john mccain said after he came out of the briefing for the senators. >> i learned nothing that i had, in fact, less than i had read or seen in the media. it's pretty obvious that there's very likely that there was a terrorist organization that affiliated with al qaeda that was in benghazi that had at least some role in this attack, which had mortars, had the equipment and rocket-propelled grenades. not exactly a spontaneous demonstration. >> senator, that was not something you were just told by the briefers in there. >> of course not. >> now, john mccain, of course, is a supporter of mitt romney. he is a staunch republican who has, again, before a very vocal opponent of the administration on many foreign policy issues. in this particular case, wolf, i talked to democratic senators, as well. they weren't as worked up but they shrugged their shoulders
and said we did not learn anything that we did not learn from you all at cnn and other media outlets. >> one of the other big questions is whether the americans who were killed in libya had adequate security to begin with especially on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. what are lawmakers saying about that? >> this is really a political test. it depends on who you ask in a big way. i want you to listen to what the republican chairman of the house armed services committee buck mccann said about that. >> i think pretty obvious he did not have adequate security, otherwise he would probably be here today. so, i'm, i'm really disappointed about that. i think when we put our people around the world at risk and don't provide adequate security, shame on us. >> now, i want you to listen to what the ranking democrat on that same committee, of course,
both of them coming out of the same briefing said whether or not there was adequate security for the ambassador and the rest of them. >> he had adequate security and this was a pretty heavy armed a group that came fast and unpexected. that's the other thing that they were very clear in there, no prior intelligence telling us of anything even remotely resembling the attack that took place. so, you know, this was certainly a dangerous part of the world. that's why they brought security, but no actionable intelligence prior to this indicating this type of attack was going to happen. >> again, no actionable intelligence. that is something we are hearing from our administration sources, our colleagues over at the state department and else where. that is somhing that republicans, john mccain and others say that they are talking to their own sources in the region and getting different information about. one other thing that adam smith, the democrat from washington also said is that the ambassador had five state department security guards that is something they learned in this
briefing and that is something that our own reported this morning and i think it maybe isn't keeping with the frustration up here that they are learning more from our reporting and maybe they're getting from official channels at the white house and else where. >> a lot of frustration up on capitol hill right now. dana, thank as very much. let's get a little bit more on what is going on and joining us now cnn national security analyst peter bergen and also national contributor fran townsend serves on the cia external advisory board and kate baldwin is here with me, as a usual, as well. you know, a lot of speculation peter who may have been responsible for killing these americans in benghazi, libya. listen to what the chairman of the house arm aed services committee said because he has his suspicion. >> al qaeda's the name that has been used and i think that's probably, probably what we're going to find out. >> all right, you're an expert on al qaeda.
what do you think? >> i'm struck by something that hasn't happened, which is no claim of responsibility. you know, if al qaed or al qaeda affiliate had done this, which is, after all, a pretty big deal, we would have had on a jihadi website a claim of responsibility and i was struck by arwa damon's interview where she said this is a loosely knit jihadi group with no links to al qaeda and that fits with this link of claim for responsibility. >> what do you make of that, fran? because arwa damon had suggested, and she's quoting the libyan prime minister as saying there was, in his words, a loose coalition of people, including presumably some al qaeda affiliated folks. >> well, wolf, what the question you just asked highlights is the many different versions of this that we've heard. i tend to agree with peter that the fact that there's no formal claim of responsibility is very sort of unathal qaeda-like.
although, i do think what we're hearing from sources in the intelligence community, what the prime minister statement suggests is that these, this jihadi group, whoever it was that perpetrated the group that killed the ambassador has some links with that region. so, look, i think this has been a big game of sematics. is this an al qaeda-related group. was it planned or preplanned? was it one attack or two separate attacks of protests and then the attack on the safehouse. there is a lot of sort of gamesmanship going on in the words that are being used. some of it may be intentional and some of it may be, wolf, we're still in the earl days of the investigation and it took the fbi almost a week to get on the ground because of security conditions. >> and, fran, i know this is one other thing we have talked about quite a bit is this element of did ambassador stevens have enough protection? was there enough protection in benghazi. you heard during dana's report,
there is a split on capitol hill as members of congress are leaving these briefings. buck mckeon saying it is obvious that the ama basder did not have adequate security and adam smith saying something very different. what is your take on this at this point then? >> well, look, it's easy to say, we had the tragedy of the ama basder's death. it's easy to say he didn't have adequate security. the right question to be asking that nobody seems to give us a clear answer on is, given what was the intelligence you had prior to september 11th about the threat in benghazi? what we know from all of our sources is that the threat environment was increasingly dangerous and what did the government know in the classified arena? did they have and how specific was the intelligence about that threat and then to judge what his security was, was it adequate against that threat? i think it's fair to say that this looked like a very sufficie sophisticated arm aed
that killed the ambassador. that is the standard which we ought to judge, whether or not his security was adequate. >> cnn reported, peter, last night that the ambassador had apparently told some people that he was on an al qaeda hit list, if you will. the secretary said hillary clinton was asked about that today. listen to what she said. >> i absolutely no information or reason to believe that there is any basis for that. >> i mean, if these things suggest to people he was on an al qaeda hit list, what do you make of that? >> any american ambassador with an al qaeda presence, even a small one, is on an al qaeda hit list. whether it's pakistan or yemen or, you know, the parts of libya where benghazi is where so many jih jihadists based and over libya and over the region of benghazi. to me, a matter of logic that
somebody in his position would feel threatened by these jihadists whether they're al qaeda or something much looser. >> many are saying on this hit list notion but a dereliction to allow these americans in such a sensitive, dangerous area like benghazi, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. >> we give tremendous amount of authority -- the ambassador is known as the chief of mission and he really is. he is the representative of the president and the united states government. so, i agree with peter that given his position, he would have been a target of al qaeda. i think it is important to say to our viewers the notion that when you hear this phrase, an al qaeda hit list, there's no list. nobody is walking around with one through ten in their pockets so they know what their priorities are. they are targets and some are targets of opportunity and based on one's influence and what they
represent. in the ambassador, it was the united states. to go to benghazi was left to his discretion and the security team would have advised him on where he was going what the security requirement was. >> fran townsend, peter bergen, thanks to you, as well. to las vegas and beyond, we're going inside our brand-new cnn poll numbers from the battleground state of nevada. mom's smartphone... dad's tablet... or lauren's smartphone... at&t has a plan built to help make families' lives easier. introducing at&t mobile share. one plan lets you share data on up to 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. add a tablet for only $10 per month. the more data you share, the more you save. at&t.
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[ tires squeal ] and if you get into an accident and use one of our certified repair shops, your repairs are guaranteed for life. call... to switch, and you could save hundreds. liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? strong words from both presidential candidates today as they hit the battleground state of florida. president obama made a big omission in florida when he was asked about his failure to bring change to washington. >> i think i've learned some lessele lessons over the last four years and the most important lesson i learned is that you can't change washington from the inside, you can only change it from the outside. that's how i got elected. >> mitt romney, no doubt, seized on the president words at a
rally in sarasota just a short time later. >> we face a washington that's broken, that can't get the job done. the president today threw in the white flag to surrender, again. he said he c't change washington from the inside. he can only change it from outside. we're going to give him that chance in november. he's going outside. >> we've got some brand-new poll numbers out from another battleground state, nevada. has six electoral votes up for grab. john king is joining us with the numbers right now. first of all, john, what are we seeing in nevada? >> a dead heat when you look at the overall race and that is important because nevada is one of the nine toss-up states in our electoral map. nevada one of the two western battlegrounds and colorado being the other. let's take a closer look at our numbers. why do you have a statistical tie? you have a statistical tie, a slight edge for president obama because of what is going on in
the state. among men, governor romney leads 52 to 43%. a flip side among women. 55% of the women for the president, 41% for governor romney. that's one way to break down the numbers. another way is by income. voters who make under $50,000 a year a big advantage for the president. those who make $50,000 or more go for governor romney by a smaller margin, but still a majority. one more way to look at this is you look here at the age. we had a big debate about medicare and big debate about social security. the republicans would end medicare as we know it. 51% to 45% and a narrow edge and an edge there among narrow voters. a slight advantage for the president, 11 points. small state, not that many electoral votes, just six. but they can prove very important. >> very important, indeed, if it's very, very close. how is the presidential race, john, shaping up in some of the
other key battleground states? >> what we get from our nevada poll when you see what we have seen in recent days in context. we had so many battleground state polls that are all just about the same. meaning very close. one exception is michigan. i just got back from michigan a couple hours ago. hard to call this one a battleground any more. other polls have shown as much. michigan we would lean blue in the president's flavor right now. look at the other battleground states. you will notice a trend, ohio, slight advantage for the president. this is a fox news poll. some have shown tighter and a slight advantage for the president. that is a warning sign to the romney campaign. seven-point lead in the poll and mitt romney has to win ohio. new hampshire is a battleground state where you see a narrow race, a statistical tie and this is the only one where it is romney on top for three points. statistically, that is a tie, but governor romney would rather be the guy slightly ahead than slightly behind. wolf, you can click through them quick.
look at the state of colorado. a statistical tie. the president on top, 48-47. but that one is a tie. we come over to the state of virginia. this is several polls combined and what we call a poll of polls. we average them all out. again, a warning sign, just like ohio for governor romney. he needs the state of virginia. he can win without it, but the president with an edge there. few others but let me give you one more in the state of florida this, again, another new fox news polls and recent polls in florida that do the same thing, five-point advantage for the president. so, you look at ohio and you look at florida and the romney campaign meets both of those states. if you look at more than half dozen state battleground polls we had in the last week, wolf. statistically, they're ties but the president has a slight edge in most of them and he can afford to lose a few. governor romney has to win florida and ohiond his path to 270 is a lot harder than the president's. >> he has to do great in the upcoming debates in november. thanks very much, john, for
that. foreign policy playing a growing role in the race for the white house. especially the issue of israel. we're taking a look at the tangled triangle. i i had pain in my abdomen...g. it just wouldn't go away. i was spotting, but i had already gone through menopause. these symptoms may be nothing... but they could be early warning signs of a gynecologic cancer, such as cervical, ovarian, or uterine cancer. feeling bloated for no reason. that's what i remember.
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president obama and mitt romney spoke at their party conventions a few weeks ago they each focused largely on domestic concerns but each made it a point to single out one foreign country in particular. in addresses that largely focused on domestic concerns, one country in particular was singled out by both candidates in their speeches. >> president obama has thrown
allies like israel under the bus. >> president obama came to office determined to make middle east peace his foreign policy, even if it meant exerting what some of his advisors described as tough love on israel. he took a harder line on palestinian territoryies. >> in my conversations with president netanyahu i was very clear about the need to stop settlements and make sure we are stopping the building of outposts. >> that angered many allies, including president benjamin netanyahu and early trips to turkey and egypt with high-profile addresses to the arab and muslim world without a stop in israel further exacerbated that relationship. the push for middle east peace has been stuck ever since and that rocky personal relationship with netanyahu was further underlined during a tense oval office meeting in may of 2011,
when the prime minister seemed to be lectrring the president. >> israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace. it cannot go back to the 1967 li lines. >> still, at least in public, they seemed to have moved on. >> as i said to the prime minister in every single one of our meetings, the united states will always have israel's back whent comes to israel's security. >> on some of the most sensitive issues, obama and romney seem to agree, at least when it comes to the big picture. jerusalem is israel's capital. a final peace agreement should include what's called a two-state solution, israel living alongside palestine. and iran must be stopped from building a nuclear bomb. but there are differences when it comes to specific details on how to achieve those goals. romney charges that president obama hasn't been a strong enough ally to israel in opposing iran's nuclear
ambitions. >> israel doesn't need descriptions on how to weigh decisions of war and peace, it needs our support. >> if i'm president of the united states, my first trip, my first foreign trip will be to israel to show the world we care about that country. >> and he underscored that during his july visit to jerusalem. >> the palestinians say we're not an independent nation. >> in a tape from back in may, romney said israel didn't have a strong palestinian part . >> committed to the destruction and elimination of israel and these thorny issues and i say, there's just no way. >> during an interview that i did with him during his recent trip to israel. >> the decision as to where the borders would be as we move to a two-state solution, which i support. that is a decision on borders that will be worked out by the israelis and the palestinians. >> romney says obama has
rebuffed israel security concerns. however the defense minister barack told me in july that the relationship with the united states is solid. >> they should tell you, unhastily, the different administration under president obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that i can remember in the past. >> and, indeed, when it comes to the military-to-military relationship and cooperation among intelligence services, israeli officials, high-ranking israeli officials insist to me that things have actually never been better between the united states and israel under the obama administration, the united states has provided israel with huge amounts of aid for a missile defense system, other military programs, the two countries have worked together on cyberprojects aimed at damaging iran's nuclear program, as well. so, it's a complicated relationship and we're going to get into more details on this shortly. >> a complicated relationship where we're going to be digging much deeper into all of this
with dan from the romney campaign and former democratic congresswoman jane harmine, they're standing by and walking in right now. we'll dig into this middle east politics, coming up next. ♪ [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks... ♪ ...to our city streets... ♪ ...to skies around the world... ♪ ...northrop grumman's security solutions are invisibly at work, protecting people's lives... [ soldier ] move out!
[ male announcer ] ...without their even knowing it. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well. there's a health company that can help you stay that way. what's healthier than that?
a thing that helps you wbuy other things.hing. but plenty of companies do that. so we make something else. we help make life a little easier, more convenient, more rewarding, more entertaining. year after year. it's the reason why we don't have customers. we have members. american express. welcome in. a lot to talk about and we're going to talk about all of that. president obama, mitt romney with dan seymour and former democratic congressman jane harman. welcome to both of you.
>> i'm confused -- thanks to both of you for coming in. mitt romney in may when we spoke at the fund-raiser, he said the politicians want to destroy israel and no real hope for peace. when i interviewed him in july in jerusalem, you were there at the king david hotel. he laid out hope. two-state solution and negotiated boundary. what is it? hope or no hope? >> his position has been at it should be a two-state solution. democratic states, mutual respect, recognition, security. >> president obama agrees on that? >> what governor romney has also said when you just have a sober assessment of what is going on on the ground which is in gaza. you have hamas which supports terrorism and wants to wipe israel off the map and firing rockets into southern israel. in the west bank, you have fatah which was led by political players that don't have the local, you know, moxi to deliver -- >> the president or the
palestinian authority, i'll let jane weigh in, mahmoud abbas, the prime minister of the palestinian authority, don't you think they are committed to a two-state solution? >> prime minister netanyahu has been trying to sit down and engage in negotiations and for a while, nothing has materialized and what governor romney simply said is either he isn't committed to a deal or isn't politically strong enough to do it. when you combine the fact that you have hamas and gaza, he's being realistic. a lot of obstacles. >> i think it's a missed opportunity. missed opportunity by the obama administration, too. i think abbas and fiad are the best people to represent. there is a hamas problem. however, hamas has been degraded by the turmoil in syria and hamas has, i'm not defending hamas, but maybe there's a chance that some kind of a resolution could be worked out where hamas would drop some of its more vicious requirements
and the myth that israel could be recognized and so forth and stop the violence against israel. and i would exploit that. i think it is in israel security interest to make the right deal with the palestinian state and i think it is in the u.s. security interest to have that deal made and i think the clock is ticking on any chance of a moderate leadership in the palestinian -- >> romney differentiates between hamas and the palestinian authority -- >> absolutely. >> in that return fund-raiser, he just lumped all the palestinians -- >> he was doing a high-level, making a high-level observation about how dysfunctional the situation is. one entity control in gaza and one entity control in the west bank. this is one important point. it is true that we should get the parties to the table. it is true we should move a process forward. we are asking u.s. policy, the u.s. government is asking israel to take real risk for peace and it is hard to ask israel to take real risk for peace when they're
questioning how, to what extent the obama administration stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the israeli government and past peace processes have been successful when u.s. presidents stand -- >> i want you to weigh in, jane. but looking at president obama over the past four years, you could argue that he has made some mistakes in his handling of isra israel, as one. one most recently that has gotten attention was this back and forth of not meeting with netanyahu and not visiting israel since he has been president. wolf did an interview with the chairman of the house homeland security committee peter king. i want you to listen to this and then we'll talk about it. >> if the president can go on david letterman and if he can, you know, meet with rappers and hold fund-raisers all over the country, he can find time to sit down with our closest ally in the middle east who is undersiege and literally facing a life and death situation. >> now, that interview, that entire interview will be playing later on "ac 360" but respond o
to. >> i wish president obama went to israel during his first term if he was re-elected. i predict he will go into israel shortly into his second term on this meeting gate controversy, i think it's way overblown and i don't think the discussion of the two leaders should be on the public airwaves. they met many times and they talk all the time. our military and intelligence cooperation with israel has never been stronger and i suggest, personally, that this issue be toned down by, certainly, by netanyahu because i don't think it serves his interest interests. >> i think he met with netanyahu more than any other leader. >> he hasn't traveled to israel. the president makes a statement by where he travels. he chose to travel to cairo, to
istanb istanbul. meeting, no meeting, meeting gate -- there's a history and therefore this gets elevated. >> i covered israeli/u.s. relations for a long time. did he ever visit israel? >> let me answer that. that is a fair question. presidents who visit israel and the presidents who haven't. what is going on right now in israel where the arab world is up in flames and israel feels like it's being pressured to pinch a tent in the middle of a hurricane. iran is getting close to getting a nuclear weapon. there is a special onus on the president of the united states to show solidarity with the prime minister. >> remember the tensions in the middle east and the '80s from ronald reagan -- >> it is worse today. >> when ronald reagan was president in eight years he did not visit israel once. >> iran is on the cusp of developing a nuclear weapon. israel feels that its security, it's a threat and why can't the president just get on a plane, he is in the region. it's a 40-minute flight from cairo to tel aviv. >> i'm fond of you and your passion and i think we need calmness now and a hand on the
tiller that is very steady. i think there are huge tensions in the middle east and now is the time, quietly and privately, to work on resolving those tensions. there is no question, in my mind, whatsoever, that the obama administration is a strong supporter of israel and i was in the room when he told apac about his red line on iran getting the bomb and i believe that red line and i think it's the right red line. >> do you think, jane, over the last three and a half years we have seen spats between the israeli and u.s. governments, not between the defense ministries, but between president and prime minister that should not have been played out in public? >> i think a lot of this shouldn't play out in public. i was talking to ambassador michael orrin and he doesn't think a lot of this should be played out in public and he is trying to calm it down. what i really wish for is that this campaign rhetoric would die down, your candidate, dan, would focus on the strength, which is
the economy and applaud some of the good moves that the obama administration. in fact, if he joined them, that would perhaps help his candidacy. >> when the prime minister of israel feels compelled to hold a press conference in jerusalem to speak out, scream from the mountaintops about his concern about the administration, our administration's policy on iran and it leaks out that there is no meeting even though the israelis want one, that's not my candidate, that's not domestic u.s. politics that is the democratically elected prime minister of israel. >> hold on a minute, i want to continue this conversation. we have to take a quick break and a lot more to discuss. kate, gone go away either. while energy development comes with some risk, north america's natural gas producers are committed to safely and responsibly providing generations of cleaner-burning energy for our country, drilling thousands of feet below fresh water sources within self-contained well systems. and, using state-of-the-art monitoring technologies, rigorous practices help ensure our operations
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jane harman and ceo of the will droe wilson center. >> picking up on the discussion we're having. i want to ask you first. look at this poll. president obama's approval rating on his handling of foreign policy. it's dropped five points in the last month from 54% back in august and now at 49%. what do you think of this? there is a lot that has been happening in august and in the month of september in terms of bringing foreign policy back to the forefront of voters' minds. what do you make of it? >> it's a dicy time in the middle east and people are uncertain how it will turn out and it's not just the two wars. fairly clear and solid policies, which i support about ending the iraq war which we've done and withdrawing from afghanistan in a safe and fairly measured way. but the rest of what is going on in 20 countries and these
protests and the murder of our ambassador in libya have people unsettled. so, they're waiting for better answers, which is why i said just a few minutes ago, we need a steady hand on the tiller. we need a lot of this stuff handled in private. we do need an investigation of the security in libya. i wonder whether that was adequate. >> are we going to get a major foreign policy speech by mitt romney? >> i'm not going to preview any statements -- >> wait for him to make some ground. >> look, i think, i don't get in the business of polls, but what i think you're seeing is people reacting to this sense of unraveling. i mean, there's unraveling going on in the region. you just said uprising in 20 capitals and syrians dead and you have iran getting closer and closer to nuclear weapon and people storming our embassies. you add all this up and take a step back and not shocking that people would get a sense that something's not going well. there is an unraveling. >> major foreign policy speech.
isn't that a missed opportunity here? >> he talks about foreign policy all the time and i would just say that, there's a lot of information coming out of the region right now. a lot of information coming out of the administration. we take a step back and answer a couple of questions. one is, what happened over the last week and, more importantly, what is it symptommatic in terms of what were the factors that contributed to the last, heard over the last few years? >> let me say, making israel and iran into political footballs, i don't think serves the romney campaign well and i don't think it serves america well and i know it does serve iran well. let's not go there. as far as trying to make sense of this, it will take time. democracy is messy and i think this is a long-term project. i think we have our foreign policy place -- >> hold that thought. we're out of time. let me ask you about that mo maureen dowd column, referring
to your service during the bush administration when you were in iraq working with the u.s. ambassador. >> we were surprised to see the obama campaign was pushing it out. look, governor romney and paul ryan have very strong developmented views on foreign policy. paul ryan has spoken about foreign policy quite a bit before he was chosen for the ticket. a little bit of research would have dug that up. i was surprised with the direction she went. >> name calling doesn't help, you know, to my friend maureen. i think dan is a patriot. i think he wants to do the right thing. i may disagree with a lot of what he's suggesting lately, but i think taking the longer view, we have to work at this together and we have to be bipartisan in our foreign policy and we have to win the argument about why, what america stands for. just playing whack-a-mole in any version isn't going to win this thing for us and to win it, we have to persuade people who strap on a suicide vest.
>> jane to serve in the obama administration. they're taking her advice. be in better shape. no, no in the next few months before the end of his term. great if jane could help close out the single soul obama term. >> thanks for coming in. iran is believed to be developing its own internet right now. why does the government want to separate the country from the worldwide web. i'm anderson cooper. all year we have been introducing you to everyday people who have been changing the world. we call them cnn heros. now, we announce the top ten cnn heros for 2012. the honorees are in random order, connie is helping for children. pushpa saves insent children from growing up behind bars with their incarcerated parents.
educate hundreds of their next generation. mary enlists man's best friend to give fellow veterans a way to move past ptsd and into life, again. turned personal trauma into a fight for justice for thousands of rape survivors in haiti. after using sports to fight his own addiction, scott now helps former addicts to stay fit and sober. wanda brings water and swimming safety to those most vulnerable, black and latino children. catalina ensures healthy delivery for columbian teens already facing motherheed. leo mccarthy's tragic loss of his daughter sparked his mission to end the mission of underaged drinking. where terrorists stop at nothing to keep those educated, razia jan opens her school each and every day. congratulations to the top ten heroes of 2012.
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internets. one military, one civilian. they say they're in response to cyber attacks, but there's another motive, too. iran claims its nuclear program is under cyber siege, saying in recent days, that lines were sabotaged. the virus had set iran's nuclear program back a year. how is tehran countering it? with its own internet. a top iranian official rekrebtly bragged that iran will develop a separate military internet. a national intelligence network where the precious intelligence of the country won't be accessible to its powers. >> connects to each and every one of their nuclear facilities as well as nuclear insulations, some of which are down in the southeast part of the coup tri. >> and cnn has learned iran is developing a civilian version of that. colin anderson is publishing a report on it in the coming
weeks. he tells cnn he recently discovered unusual activity in blocks of addresses in iran, separate from the worldwide web. anderson believes the iranian want to be able to disconnect from the standard internet when under attack. maybe permanently, and function on their own in cyber space. here's how they're doing it. this is the login page for a site, here's where you sign into it. colin anderson says this is iran's alternative. a competitor really, to g mail. it's publicly available in iran. people can send e-mails on this. it's not completely separate from the internet right now, but anderson says in iran, the government can disconnect from the world wide internet service and users would have access to this service. he says right now, iran's internet connects people with businesses and internal
ministri ministries. i asked cedrick layton about the iranian's claim that they're building their own internet for their own protection. is that the only reason they're doing it? >> they're using this as a way to control their population and in a way that is very, very ubiquitous. it is going to cover all aspects of iran's special connection to the internet. >> he says on that mail.iran.ir service, the government can read any correspondence and certainly does so. >> thanks for that. up close and personal with the world's fastest land animal. an unforgettable encounter coming up next. ahhhh drill sound chirping electric shaver shaking remote tapping sound shaking drill chirping tapping shaking remote wouldn't it be great to have one less battery to worry about? car honking irping the 2012 sonata hybrid.
safaris offer a chance to glimpse africa's wildlife, but one tourist got more than that. >> reporter: it was just another safari in kenya when the cheetah decided to hitch a ride. or at least a seat. and thus began 45 minutes of eye to eye contact only a foot or two from a creature one couple dubbed rita. kate's husband was the one shooting the video. >> how are you feeling there, girsk? >> although not known for viciousness, they easily kill their pri. >> i'm not sure that i was breathing. my whole body was shaking. she was stunning. >> when the cheetah leaped up, the safari guy told the tourist what not to do. >> don't move.
don't talk. >> an expression made famous by "the lion king." ♪ >> he wasn't interested in us at all. >> for her, the vehicle was just a perch with a view so she could stand with prey. after 45 minutes, edward the guide, started the engine and secon seconds later, rita, the cheetah, stood up. >> don't spray us now. >> not at all farfetched. there's a famous animal planet in which a cheetah answers the call of nature. >> no. >> through the sunroof into the napkin of a zooologist down below. they realized the license began with kat. finally -- >> yes, thank goodness.
oh, man. >> i can breathe. >> oh -- bye bye. >> it was elation and relief. >> they had but one request of their guide. >> if they could get a lion up. >> actually, cheetahs parking themselves on cars are pretty common on youtube. it's as if it's raining cats. jeanne moos, cnn. new york. >> ever been on safari? >> i got to botswana, 1998. >> i've been to botswana. did not have such a close encounter with a cheetah. i just did the zoom to get a little bit closer. >> you're braver than i am. we recommend botswana. that's it for us. i'm wolf blitzer