tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN October 18, 2011 4:00pm-6:00pm EDT
look at time.com. you can go through and ty'll explain what you need to buy. they were talking about the baby bump, the ewan tarunitard. >> i just want to go as wolf man. >> as in mr. blitzer? >> he's coming up next. >> thanks for reminding me. wolf blitzer, take it away. live in las vegas. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com happening now, the count down to a debate that could change everything. we know about the republican race for the white house. a race that's already undergone very dramatic changes in just a matter of a few days. herman cain is now at the front of the pack in a dead heat with mitt romney. on what could be the most pivotal night of his campaign so far. i'm wolf blitzer in las vegas. you're in "the situation room."
we're live on the las vegas strip where in just four hours, the republican hopefuls will face off in a cnn western presidential debate. tonight, herman cain is the candidate to beat. since the last debate one week ago in new hampshire, herman cain has continued to rise in the polls and is now the front-runner for the republican presidential nomination. he is joining me now. he's here in "the situation room." we're in las vegas. mr. cain, thanks very much for coming in. how does that feel to be called the front-runner running for the nomination? >> the way it feels is that you got this big bull's eye on your back so that keeps gets bigger. it feels great, but as you know, the challenge is how do we continue that momentum and we believe we know how to do it. >> they're all going to come after you tonight. >> i'm ready. >> have you been practicing?
what are you doing? >> what i always do. in other words, i make sure i know where i stand on all the solutions i'm putting on the table. i stay on message more than i worry about how they're going to attack me and because i've been talking about my solutions, i know what some of those attacks are going to be. >> let's talk about the other front-runn front-runner. mitt romney. now, do you believe he's a true conservative? >> if you define a true conservative the way i do because mine is not blurred. not a true conservative in the terminology of most conservatives. i am pro-life from conception. >> he says he's pro-life, too. >> i am pro second amendment. so it just depends upon which of those items you want to include. >> defining him as a true conservative is what? >> i don't have a big problem defining him. the biggest problem i have with governor romney, who i respect is him trying to say that he is
the nonpolitician business candidate. i am the true nonpolitician business candidate in this race. he was a wall street executive. i was a main street executive. because i dealt with individual businesses. collect of businesses and franchises, so there's a big distinction in terms of being hands on main street and money management wall street. >> is mitt romney, a sensitive subject, a christian? >> article 6 says religion should not be a test. i'm not going to even go down that road. i don't want to say he is or he's not. i want to basically defeat mitt romney based upon the strength of my ideas versus his. i think i got the strong plan relative to his as well as strong ideas about the other issues we face. >> let's talk about 9-9-9. >> let's see, 9-9-9, some of my
supporters came up with sign language. >> somebody's paying 35% federal income tax rate. under your plan, they would pay 9%. that would be a bonanza for a lot of taxpayers, right in. >> now, remember the current system has marginal rates. he's why it's good for the workers. you remove that barrier called capital gains and when people that have money get more money, they invest. they expand businesses. this is how we unleash the potential of this economy. so, i'm not worried about the bonanza. i'm more worried about putting 14 billion people back to work and getting businesses growing again. >> would it be an effective tax cut for rich people? >> it would and for people who don't make a lot of money because if people take a close
look at our analysis and make it available, you will find it's not a tax increase for the middle class nor those making the least amount of money. >> there would be a 9% sales tax on top of the sales tax of a lot of states. 5, 6, 7% sales tax. that adds up to serious money when you buy new products. >> the balance in this comparison. your comparing apples and oranges. state taxes are the apples. the new plan are the oranges. it's going to be there whether you have the current system or our plan. and then the other thing about the sales tax is that we are replacing the hidden taxes. take a loaf of bread. the farmer, the miller, the baker, the truck driver, the grocery store -- you have five hidden taxes in that loaf of bread. we are replacing those taxes with one, 9% tax.
>> the biggest criticism you're getting on this 9% sales tax coming from a lot of conservatives. you're creating a new revenue stream for the u.s. government, for the u.s. treasury, to take money out of people. it's going to start at 9%, but potentially could go way up. >> if you look at the current tax code, it's a 10 million word mess. there are at least 100,000 ways in the tax code that the american public and workers get shafted now in all honesty. i'm not worried about having one to replace those others and here's the other thing. a lot of people inside washington, d.c., accounting, special interests, lobbyists, they don't want our plan, 9-9-9, to pass. because guess what? it puts many of them out of work. we are doing this for the american people, the american economy, for u.s. businesses. >> because in europe, they started off with a value added tax in england for example, a 10% went to 8%. now, it's at 20% and there's a
loft concern that could happen if you were to get your 9-9-9 plan approved. >> here's why it won't happen here. two reasons. number one, i'll be president. nobody else is going to try to pass this plan. i'm going to get it passed with the insistence of the american people. number two, because it's so transparent, efficient, visible, the american public are going to be the ones to hold congress' feet to the fire, so i don't worry about it creeping up like it did in europe. >> i'm confused about where you stand on an electrified fence between here and mexico. do you support an electrified fence? >> i believe we need to secure the border for real. all of that solution would be an actual fence. it may not be electrified. that was an exaggeration, a combination of real fence, technology and some dangerous
sections, boots on the ground. we've got to secure the border first. secondly, promote the existing path to citizenship. three, enforce the current immigration laws and the way duo that is number four, empower the states to do what the federal government is not doing and cannot do. if we atake all four, we will open up the doors so people can come through the front door. >> on this day when we dedicated the new martin luther king memorial in washington, d.c., what would you do to eliminate this poverty between rich and poor in the united states? >> what i would do is first boost this economy. the biggest contributor to poverty is an economy that's on life support. when this economy is growing, 14 million people can find jobs. our unemployment rate is about 4%. secondly, the underemployed would be able to find better jobs.
thirdly, america becomes more competitive and when businesses begin to think about growth instead of survival, the poverty level will close cht that's our biggest challenge, which is why i have proposed our plan. >> you caused a big stir last time when you and i spoke. you want to revise and amend that comment? >> no. because i said some african-americans have been brainwashed and i stand by that, but i also said and people didn't play the whole clip, the good news is a lot of black americans are thinking for themselves and are open to other ideas, such as ideas coming from conservatives as myself. >> i know you're a major supporter of israel. >> yes. >> did the israeli government of netanyahu do the right thing in
exchange of 1,000 palestinian prisoners for one captured israeli soldier? >> i would have to know all of the considerations he made to say yes or not. because i'm sure that there were a lot of considerations he had to make in order to make that decision. on the surface, you would say one for hundred doesn't make any sensuous but here's how i make decisions and this is why i respect prime minister netanyahu so much. he looks at all of the facts before he makes a judgment call. we don't know all the facts. >> could you imagine if you were president, we're almost out of time. and there was one american slg who had been held for years and the demand was al-qaeda r or some other group. you've got to free several hundred at guantanamo bay. could you see yourself authorizing that kind of transfer? >> i could, but what i would do is make sure that i got all of
the information. i got all of the input, considered all of the options, then the president has to be the president and make a judgment call. i could make that call if i had to. >> good luck tonight. always a pleasure. i like the singing, too. but we didn't have time for that today. herman cain, running for president of the united states. we're also excited about tonight's cnn western republican presidential debate and a tremendous amount of work has gone into it. take a look at this time lapsed video of the set being constructed inside the hotel here on the las vegas strip. a process that's been going on nearly around the clock for days. look at this video right now. it's pretty impressive. the state is now set. the few final preparations are happening now as we count down to the start of the debate less than what, four hours, a little bit more than three and a half hours or so from now. it's a major debate. you will see it live here on cnn. only on cnn.
anderson cooper will be moderating tonight's debate. there will be seven republican candidates up on the stage. let's talk a little bit about what we heard from herman cain, who's now one of the two front-runner rs in this race for the republican presidential nomination. gloria borger and jim acosta are here. some of the fans for herman cain are applauding him. he's got his lines down pretty well, don't you think? >> yeah. and what was interesting was the way he clearly intended to go after mitt romney. which is that he said romney is a non -- he portrays himself as a nonpolitician, business candidate and he says no, no, no. i'm the nonpolitician business candidate. so, he's clearly trying to differ himself and also is interest i interesting in the answer to you about whether romney is a
conservative because he was saying he's not a real conservative, but didn't give you any examples. >> he's a flip-flopper on abortion and on guns. >> perhaps a more damaging attack at mitt romney was that he said mitt romney was a wall street conservative or wall street republican, where as cain is a main street republican, trying to draw that distinction. when i was listening to your interview, the thing i was thinking about was before these debates, we're always talking about somebody besides herman cain. that could not be better news for mitt romney. he could not write this script better himself. i was talking to a romney aide earlier about this and they said, wait a minute, we're not talking about any of this inevitable candidate stuff yet. we still believe there are two things going. rick perry has the money and cain has the momentum, but wouldn't switch places for anybody. >> gloria, we have a new poll. some new numbers today on which republican is best suited to
beat president obama in november 2012. >> and it's really interesting because what you see in our poll is that romney looks the most electable. but and he's gone up so considerably. >> 26-41. >> it's the only number we really see romney going up on substantially. cain, tremendously and rick perry in the other direction. and that is really the set-up for debate tonight, wochl, because mitt romney has to keep that electability number high and what cain has to do is show he is a plausible president on the stage tonight. when i heard him answer your foreign policy question, it's interesting. he's been doing that a lot lately. sort of ducking the question, if you will, but saying i don't have all the facts. i don't have all the facts at my fingertips. well, that's difficult when you become a first year candidate. people want to say, what are your foreign policy advisers
telling you? you need to have an opinion on whether netanyahu did the right thing. >> we've got more to discuss. thanks very much. herman cain may be the focus tonight in las vegas, but what about rick perry, entered the race with a bang that quickly fizzled. jack cafferty up next. also, hillary clinton shows up for a few expected or details of her surprise visit to a still very dangerous city. stay with us here on "the situation room." [ wind howling ]
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they're still putting the finishing touches on the stage tonight for tonight's western republican debate. getting ready to watch this debate. as we watch the preparations unfold, let's check in with jack cafferty with the caffer"caffer fil file". >> one of the best lines of the campaign so far, at least in my opinion, is this one. rick perry went from front-runner to rose kill in a matter of weeks. credit "the daily beast" for an article titled "what's wrong with rick." it examines the texas governor's spectacular rise and fall in the prp presidential race and how he still might pull off a comeback. perry's now a distant third. our new poll shows perry at 13%. that's down a whopping 30% from the front-runner position last month. both mitt romney and herman cain have double digit leads.
so what happened? for starters, the debates. all though perry's a gifted politician that can work a room and get a crowd excited, he hasn't been able to hack it during the debates against his more abled competitors. he's also come under fire for his -- his message about job creation in texas has been lost. in fact, rick perry is practicely ignored last week as most of the attention went to herman cain's 9 h 9-9 tax plan. but even if perry seems like a real long shot right now, this is still presidential politics. it's still early and a lot can happen. for one thing, perry's raised a boat load of money. $17 million in the first seven weeks of his campaign and in the game of this presidential politics, money talks. then there's this. two-thirds of republicans say they might change their mind when it comes to which candidate they're going to back.
the article suggests what perry most needs to do is return to the street campaigning that he does best. but he also can't keep showing up at these debates and getting his head handed to him. he gets another shot tonight. here's the question -- go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on my blog or go to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. if he doesn't kick it up a notch or two tonight, he's toast, i think, wolf. >> he's got a lot of work ahead of him. he's got to really be ready for tonight's debate. good point, jack. thanks very much. other news we're following, back to the debate in a moment, but secretary of state hillary clinton surprised the r world today with a brief, but important visit to libya. jill daugherty is traveling with the secretary. >> secretary of state hillary clinton wheels down in tripoli, libya. the first cabinet level u.s.
official to visit since 2008 and since opposition forces liberated from gadhafi loyalists two months ago. gadhafi remains at large. battles rage in two major city and an election is two months away. an official traveling with the secretary told reporters, i think it's exactly the right time for us to be coming. clinton's mission, congratulate the libyan people on what they've achieved so far, offer a partnership with the u.s. and meet with leaders at the national transitional counsel to discuss its challenge in political road map. one of the biggest issues, treatment of wounded fighters. 15,000 of them including 1,500 amputees. secretary clinton plan to appeal a five-part program to help them, including parts for medical equipment and possibly bringing some of the wounded to the united states for specialized care.
clinton is also bringing more money for tracking heat seeking missiles. clinton's short visit to tripoli was conducted under tight security. gadhafi, the official said, still has loyalists, although the official denied gadhafi is on their resistance. i wouldn't estimate his ability to be a lethal nuisance, but i'm convinced the libyan people are going to prevail. >> now, the republican presidential contenders will take to the stage. the debate stage. right here in las vegas. who will rise to the top for voters looking to back anyone but romney. stand by. herman cain has surging. we'll go in depth on a role race is playing in this campaign. >> i'm sure some of your neighbors and friends, you're going to one of those tea party rallies? yeah.
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just yet. they're putting the finishing touches up on the stage, but we'll have extensive coverage leading up to the debate then the full debate starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. let's discuss what's going on in our strategy session. joining us, the democratic strategist, donna brazile and the republican strategist, alex castellanos. both of you have worked on presidential campaigns. like it or not, tonight is rick perry's last chance to get his momentum back on track. >> if it's not his last chance, he's on life support. it's very close to that, wolf. i would say the good thing for these guys is they run against each other, so one has to win. yes, he has demonstrated remarkable weakness. republicans know one thing about
barack obama. he's not very good at being president, but he's good at wanting to be president. romney may not be up to that task. >> lost the race in texas. why is it so hard to go from unbeatable in texas and all of a sudden, very beatable in this race for the nomination. >> it looks as though he wasn't prepared for the first couple of debates. he didn't know the issues. he was unsteady on his feet. he has an opportunity tonight to prove himself. raised $15 million. put together an incredible organization in some of the key early states, so if he can prove tonight he's on top of the issues, he can really take the case to herman cain and mitt romney, i think rick perry can get back this this race. >> even if he does, the doubt still lingers. will we see that other rick perry we saw a few weeks ago, the weak one?
all pretty pictures, but not a lot of text. when you can't sell the man, you can't sell the plan. >> he leased a video today showing all the positive things about rick perry. showing all the negative things about some of the others. >> someone who knows rick perry, rick perry's a very strong republican conservative. he has conservative issues, credentials. i think mitt romney's still trying to prove himself as the viable conservative in this race. at this point, i still believe rick perry has some time to prove himself. >> you just had a chance to meet him. is he the real deal as far as potentially becoming the republican presidential nominee? >> he's a wonderful people's person. i think he has a great deal of momentum behind him now because people know he's approachable. i was down in ga over the weekend and people kept telling
me about herman cain. i think he's a viable candidate, but can he turn all this wonderful good feeling into a campaign organization that can attract delegates? >> he can. he's growing. the hardest thing for a candidate to do and donna and i have seen this for years, is to grow through a campaign and become better than they started. herman is not a serious candidate yet, but he's on his way. you're seeing him, even wolf, the way when you tesed him here on the electrified fence, backed off, took a more responsible position. israel, i'd weigh my options. you're seeing the education of herman cain. >> i always that that the first, this was years ago, the first african-american that would get that would have been colin powell. not necessarily herman cain. what does it say about the republican party from your perspective, donna, that he is now the front-runner together with mitt romney.
>> i think it's incredible. in large part because you have a tea party that's organized, can bring resources to the table. i thought the first nominee would be condoleezza rice. it's still too early to decide right now who will end up with the republican nomination because i think the situation is still volatile. >> let me play a little clip of the president of the united states. he seems to be getting lost in our decision of these nominees. here's the president speaking earlier in the day. >> we don't need a republican jobs act or democratic jobs act. we need the jobs act. we need to put people back to work right now. as i said, the ideas we put forward are ideas that in the past have been supported by democrats and republicans. so the question is, what makes it different this time? other than that i proposed it? >> he's got a point there. you got to admit.
>> let me just say what makes it different this time is that we have a president who's nearly bankrupted the country. >> george w. bush had no role in that? >> never tell the truth about -- >> there's one president who's -- i think we all know the numbers. increased the debt more than all the other presidents. >> the national debt doubled during the bush administration. >> it's another lie smear against this president. >> the national debt when president bush took office was $5 trillion. when he left office, it was $10 trillion. so that's a fact. >> what's so -- >> it was actually less than that. >> it was 10 trillion when he left office and was 5 trillion when he left office. it's now 14 trillion. >> has been sinking in the polls while republicans have been getting these debates. >> 19 months of job growth, it's
not enough to get us out the big hole that we found ourselves when george bush left office, but it's 19 months of consecutive -- >> actually is the president. >> 19 months of job growth. that's much better than a jobs plan of -- >> all right, guys. to be continued. president obama, a victim of thieves. yes, the victim of thieves on his bus tour in virginia, north carolina. and senators make a plea to major league baseball players. stand by. nothing helped me beat arthritis pain. until i tried this. it's salonpas. pain relief that works at the site of pain... up to 12 hours. salonpas.
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weaker metals. the group also says one enrichment sight was impacked when attacked by a computer virus. despite the challenges, the assessment says iran does appear to be an a path to producingura the eve of the world series, they are calling on player to ban the use of tobacco products. they're urging players to stop using smokeless tobacco products and agree to a ban of them on the field and dugout and in locker rooms when they sign their next agreement with their owners and you have to wonder if thieves knew what they were stealing, cnn affiliate, wwvt, reports a truck with $200,000 worth of presidential equipment, yes, it was stolen. from the parking lot of a virginia hotel. it was later recovered and it isn't clear if anything is missing. the truck was carrying president obama's telepromter, his podium,
sound system and presidential seals. a defense agency says no classified or sensitive information was in the truck and that a formal investigation is now underway. you better believe someone though, wolf, is in serious trouble for that. >> yeah. how embarrassing is that? my god. thanks very much for that. herman cain, he seems to be the man to beat tonight. going to take an in-depth look at why many voters say they're ready to back this rather unconventional candidate. >> i think he's more like me than anybody else running. and i'd vote for myself and for him. >> tell me why? >> he's a country boy.
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seven republican candidates will be there, but all eyes will be on herman cain in tonight's cnn western republican debate. our latest poll shows herman cain now a serious front-runner and while his performance will be closely scrutinized, to understand his appeal, you have to see him in his element on the campaign trail. gary tuckman takes us in depth. >> no more entitlement. >> say this about herman cain. he's running a different sort of campaign for the republican patr presidential nomination. >> i'm going to leave y'all something special that i haven't done all day. ♪ amazing grace will always be >> singing spirituals isn't new for cain.
he is a recording gospel singer and associate baptist minister. what is new, his status. >> he's not a politician. he's a business man. he can get it done. >> for many, the idea that cain is an outsider is part of his appeal. a tennessee tech university in cookeville, tennessee, cain declared he'd like this banner. honkeys for herman. >> i'm sure your neighbors, you're going to one of those tea par party rallies, well, aren't they a bunch of racists? well -- >> no! >> when i looked in the mirror this morning, i was black. >> over the weekend, cain barn stormed through tennessee, attending six rallies. >> there are fewer than 20,000 who live here.
yet, this turnout is huge, particularly for an area where so few people live. >> all of a sudden, the long shot isn't such a long shot anymore. how about them apples? >> i like romney. and if he gets the nomination, i'll support him, but i think that herman cain is more in touch with what the people want. >> he seems to be a straight shooter and just like some of the conservative views that he's putting out there. >> i think he's more like me than anyone else running and i'd vote for myself and i'll vote for him. >> tell me why you think he's more like yourself? >> he's a country boy. >> a lot of people have been telling us they like you because you're plain spoken. man of the people. in '76, they said that about jimmy carter. any comparisons? >> no comparison at all. >> instead, cain likes to compare himself to ronald
reagan, talks about the shining city on the hill. >> it's called the 9-9-9 plan! >> cain's plan is now a madison avenue style catch phrase. >> i like the 9-9-9 plan, especially with the sales tax part oit. >> he says he's in it to win it. ♪ as he tries to get those doubt the availability of his candidacy to change their tune. ♪ >> herman cain's swell of support isn't just in tennessee. a lot of conservative republicans all across the country are now rallying behind him. let's discuss what's going on,
the surge of interest, roland martin is joining us. you think he's got the staying power to not only win in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, florida, but capture the republican presidential nomination? >> no, i don't. >> why? >> because voerts always say we like somebody who is plain spoken. who gives it to us straight and who is simple. but then they turn around and say we want somebody who can get something done. you look at that cnn poll, the numbers are clear that 18% you know, believe that he has a shot at it. the problem there is is are you electable? as we get closer to iowa and new hampshire and south carolina, folks will begin to ask about that question, electability. can this person win in november? republicans simply want to beat president obama and i don't believe that he is going to be there. he is going to have to have a
much stronger operation on the ground versus running a national campaign. he doesn't have much time to make it happen now that those states have now moved up. >> january 3rd, is iowa caucus is now. listen to this change i had with herman cain a little while ago. let's talk about the other front-runner, mitt romney. do you believe he's a true conservative? >> if you define a true conservative the way i define a true conservative because mine is not blurred, then he's not a true conservative in the terminology of most conservatives. i mean, i am pro-life from conception -- >> he says he's pro-life, too. >> i am pro second amendment. and so, you know, depends on which of those items you want to include in that definition. >> this is the fallacy, this whole notion of who is a true conservative. there are fiscal l conservatives. there are national security conservatives, there are social conservatives.
and so, there's no such thing as someone who is a so-called true conservative because you can be a social conservative, but have a whole different view when it comes to issues dealing with the poor or economy. there's no one definition and that's why i think you see this fracture, if you will. it's a strong libertarian. >> he didn't want to say whether or not mitt romney was a christian. >> to me, that's one of those ridiculous things that you want to get into, especially with somebody who's an associate minister. we can sit here and play these games, who's a true liberal, conservative. bottom line, there's nobody who is a perfect conservative or perfect liberal. i don't think voters out there are trying to say this is a perfect person. i think herman cain is appealing to a sliver of the party, very strongly comes to fiscal policy. they don't like what's happening with politicians. here's what we know, wolf. you can talk about item an outsider, but if you don't know how to get policy through a political process, you will have
a problem. >> you know the uproar he caused a few weeks ago and he suggested that african-americans have been brainwashed, his words, to support the democrats. today, he sort of modified that. >> of course, he did. >> he said some african-americans have been brainwashed. >> because he knows that comment is ridiculous and even saying some is ridiculous. african-americans are some of the most asuit voters out there. they are making decisions based upon what their needs are and they know nonsense through ridiculous, folks, and people are saying, no, herman cain, talk to me like a voter. he says i'll get one-third of the black vote. fine, why don't you come talk to african-americans if you believe that. don't run from them. don't be scared. if you can be plain spoken in front of white folks in tennessee, why not in front of black folks in other areas. he doesn't want to do that. no black folks have been brainwashed. they are voting for their interests. >> thank you. >> we're going to have fun.
we should have the debate inside. forget indoors. >> rick perry has gone from tea party darling to third place in almost all the polls. jack cafferty wants to know what you think is at stake for the governor in tonight's debate here in las vegas and we're only a little bit more than three hour frs the candidates taking a stage in vegas. before rick santorum feels some questions tonight, he'll answer some questions from me. that's coming up, live, right at the top of the hour. e bottle le! i've got to tell susie ! the vending machine on elm is almost empty. i'm on it, boss. new pony ? sorry ! we are open for business. let's reroute greg to fresno. growing businesses use machine-to-machine technology from verizon wireless. susie ! the vending machine... already filled. cool bike. because the business with the best technology rules.
you want to read more of this highbrow political dialogue, go to my blog or through our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. wolf? >> keyword, highbrow thank you. when we come back, a check of the day's other top stories. also, i'll interview another of the republican presidential candidates who's getting ready for tonight's huge debate here in las vegas. rick santorum. he's standing by live on the stage here. he's walking in. going to sit down. we're going to talk in a minute. sit down, senator. thanks very much. also, a very emotional homecoming for an israeli soldier held for more than fyiv years. we'll share details with you
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>> apple is reporting its fiscal fourth quarter earnings. the company reports sales of more than $28 billion and earnings of more than $7 a share, but those numbers fall far short of wall street's expectations. apple announced yesterday that sales of the iphone 4s shattered records and starting next year, it's going to cost you a little more to send a letter. the cost of a first class stamp is going up one cent, so forever stamps will cost 45 cents each starting in late january. >> got to do something. thank you. and to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, high stakes here in las vegas. seven republican presidential contenders gearing for up battle on this stage in cnn's western republican presidential debate. one of those candidates, rick santorum, he's here with me live this hour. we'll talk about a lot including could he make up the difference in the poll numbers? what's going on? and president obama throwing
a counterpunch today. day two of his push to convince americans he's the one for the job. the president expected to speak only minutes from now. we'll bring you some of his remarks live. breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer in las vegas. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com you're looking at a live picture of our debate hall in las vegas. a little less than three hours from now, seven republican presidential candidates will take the gloves off in cnn's western presidential republican debate and arguably, no one stands more to lose than herman cain. has come from way behind to the front of the pack. now in a statistical dead heat with the front-runner, mitt romney. i spoke with herman cain just an hour ago here in "the situation room" and i asked him about his
opponent. listen to this. >> the biggest problem i have with governor romney, who i respect, is is him trying to say that he is the nonpolitician business candidate. i am the true nonpolitician business candidate in this race. he was a wall street executive. i was a main street executive. because i dealt with individual businesses, collection of businesses and franchises, so there's a big distinction in terms of being hands on main street and then being money management wall street. >> herman cain will likely get a lashing from some of his challengers tonight if not all of them. one of those republican candidates is joining me now live. the former republican senator from pennsylvania, rick santorum. thanks very much for coming in. why are you more qualified than herman cain? >> both of them as business
people supported the wall street bailout. the t.a.r.p. program. a huge government intrusion into the private sector. something that is an thet cal to most conservatives and most people i'm talking to on the campaign trail. you really need to look at someone who understands the consequences of our actions in washington. i've been in washington a long time. i was there 16 years, but you learn a lot from that experience and one thing you learn is you don't give that kind of power to washington and set a precedent that future presidents did drive a truck through. >> both romney and cain, cain, a former governor of the federal reserve in kansas city, they say in support of that t.a.r.p. money, millions of americans would have last their entire savings if the u.s. would have let the banking industry down. >> and look at what's happening now. the housing market. it has been on life support for over three years because we didn't let the marketplace work.
these are guys who say they believe in the marketplace and yet they were for the biggest government intervention and what's happened is now government has more control over the private sector. they complain about that, but they were one of the folks who opted that in and encouraged that to be done. i knew enough that the last thing we would do is let the government micro manage the sector. let the markets do it. what you wouldn't have had is government managing the economy as dramatically as it is now. >> so, these two front-runners, mitt romney and herman cain, who's more qualified to be president of the united states as the true conservative? >> well, look, i don't think either of them have great conservative credentials. >> either of them? >> you look at herman cain. he's putting forward a brand new tax for the american public. a national sales tax. at the same time that we're going to have an income tax and value added tax.
that's not a conservative proposal in my opinion. that's giving more tools for washington to take more money from the american public. >> he says most americans will pay less. >> most will pay more. you have half of americans who don't play federal income taxes. >> so, he's not a true conservative. >> the reason i've been as you know, wolf, i've been sort of somebody who's been out there and interact wg the candidates because i have the most consi consistent conservative record on whatever issue it is. i've got a strong conservative record, a good background in all of them and can be very aggressive. >> you're not sure that mitt romney's a true conservative either. >> i think mitt romney is someone who raised taxes, instituted gay marriage in massachusetts when he didn't have to. you look at romneycare, which is a huge government takeover, it's and just interesting that duval patrick says now we're going to
get to the real job in massachusetts. and that is cutting costs. so he even admitted that romneycare was about increasing access to care, which is a function of higher costs and they didn't deal with the cost issue. that's the problem with obamacare. >> is mitt romney a true conservative? >> i would say i'm the most conservative, the most electable conservative in this race and neither romney or cain is conservative as i. >> is mitt romney a christian? >> this whole idea that morm mormonism is a cult -- and i don't second guess anybody's religion. there's no religious test in this country. they're good people. made great contributions to this country. >> why has rick perry's campaign sort of collapsed the way it has? >> well, you got to be ready for the job. you have to have someone, again -- >> governor of texas for ten years.
>> like i said, you have to be ready for the job in washington, d.c. a lot of folks out there who think they can come out and tackle these very, very tough issues without the experience necessary, without having been through interviews with wolf blitzer, which isn't an easy thing to do. i've been doing this for a long time and i think you need someone you can trust. someone who's been beat up, as you know i have for a long time in this town for being a conservative, is the kind of mettle you need to have tested. >> you have what, $200,000 of cash on hand. he's got like 15 or $18 million. your poll numbers not very impressive. how you going to change that? >> if you looked at a month ago, you would have probably made the same comment to herman cain. we're doing it the old fashioned way. when we're spending time in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina. i've done 150 town hall meetings in iowa.
been to 70 counts. we're building our base on the activists and as you know, those are the folks who show up at the caucuses. they're going to be the ones who are going to call this field. we're working really hard in new hampshire. those are the first two primaries and polls right now don't matter. governor -- told me when i first went to new hampshire, work hard, don't pay attention to the polls. new hampshire breaks late. >> what are you doing to get ready for tonight's debate? >> i'm doing wolf blitzer show. >> rehearsing and practicing? >> this is my rehearsal. how am i doing? >> you're doing all right. jack cafferty is here with the "cafferty file." >> sobering headline. america must manage its decline. that's the title of the piece in the "financial times" an article that explores what the united states must do to come to terms with its changing role in the world. if the u.s. and its leaders
could acknowledge our global power is in decline today, it would be easier to figure out what comes next. but politics being what it is, big surprise that no one is being honest here or about much of anything else these days either. instead, it's practically unacceptable to suggest there may be no coming back to the united states of america. and that's the cold, hard truth. there may very well be no coming back. at least not to where we once were. for now, the u.s. is still the world's largest economy to top military and diplomatic power, but at a time when china becomes the largest isn't that far away. this article suggests that's why this is the time for america to have what it calls a rational debate about what relative decline means. it likely means making choices and alliances. turns out those who refuse to talk about decline may actually speed up the whole process. my not addressing our changing
position in the world, we're not going to be able to deal with other issues that need or attention now. things like deficits and educational reform. lastly, is article says it has so much to do with psychology. britain had an easier go of it at the end of world war ii because they were essentially handing over superpower status to the united states. a country with a shared heritage. but this could be a much more difficult task for the united states if we have to eventually hand over power to china. here's the question. is america in denial about its decline? post a comment, or go to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. wolf? >> good idea, jack. a lot of people should go to that facebook page. appreciate it very much. one republican presidential front-runner we're talking about mitt romney. getting serious heat from leading democrats for his plan
to try to solve nevada's housing crisis. just ahead, the comments that ignited the fire storm. plus, one captured israeli soldier's freedom in exchange for more than a thousand palestinian prisoners. ahead, the latest on this pivotal moment in the middle east. an airline has planes and people. and the planes can seem the same. so, it comes down to the people. because: bad weather, the price of oil those are every airline's reality. and solutions will not come from 500 tons of metal
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we'll get back to the republican presidential debate. last minute preparations underway in just a moment, but there's other important news we're following today including in gaza, where palestinians are welcoming return of the first wave of prisoners held by israel. part of a major swap for the soldier held by hamas for more than five years. in all, more than 1,000 palestinians are expected to be freed. many of them convicted of crimes against israelis, including terrorism and even murder. the prime minister of hamas is calling the deal a major victory
for palestinians. >> the israelis brought war on gaza and we've carried these mar tirs on our shoulders and buried them. after the war, the enemy drew and remained in the hands of our heroes and now, we have made our victory. >> we'll go to israel in a few moments, but to gaza first. matthew chance is standing by. set the scene for us, matthew. what was it like when these several hundred palestinian prisoners showed up? >> reporter: well, it's very much been a carnival atmosphere. there's been none of the sort of divided concerns that we've seen being played out in israel about the validity of this deal. over here in gaza, people see it as a very favorable deal indeed. there's been 1,027 palestinian
prisoners who have, israelis have agreed to release from prison in exchange for that one israel soldier. the celebrations, very intense. family members embracing these prisoners who they hadn't seen on many occasions, sometimes for ten, 20 years on some instances. that was very emotional as well. these bizarre scenes of masked gunmen carrying guns, in tears, embracing people who were their former comrades in arms, who had been released from prison, so some very bizarre scenes indeed. it moved on into the evening into a big street party in the center of gaza city. tens of thousands of people coming out to welcome the several hundred prisoners who have been released in this first batch of returnees from israel. >> i take it hamas sees this as
a major victory over israel. >> reporter: it does and it's been characterizing as a victory not just of hamas, but for all of palestinians. it's not just hamas members who were released in this prisoner swap deal. it's all the sort of main palestinian factions. even some israeli arabs. it's meant hamas can say we don't just represent the islamists, we represent all palestinians. investing is a major boost for their image and popularity amongst ordinary palestinians. wolf? >> let's go to northern israel right now. he was given a very, very warm welcome as we returned to his hometown after more than five years in captivity. for more on that, here's fred. >> reporter: freedom after more than five years in captivity as he crossed into israeli
territory, but his first words recorded before the handover in an interview with egyptian tv. i received this news a week ago, he said, then i felt it would be the last chance for my freedom. she was flown to an israeli military base for medical evaluation. there, he was met by prime minister benjamin netanyahu and finally, reunited with his father, who had campaigned trierlessly for his release. freedom in return for release of more than 1,000 israeli prisoners. a majority supports the move. i would like to make clear we will continue to fight terror, netanyahu said, and every released terrorist who returns to terror will find his blood in his head. he will be responsible for the state. in his hometown, many gathered
in anticipation of the soldier's arrival. people have been coming here to his home since the early morning hours. they've been preparing the place, signs saying, welcome home, waving the israeli flag and they want to give him a hero's welcome after five and a half years in hamas captivity. he arrived in the early afternoon hours and immediately whisked into the family home. his father explained that his son was healthy, but weak. he feels good, he said, he had some injuries that weren't treated and results from lack of sun light, but now, he will get appropriate treatment. he added that his son would now begin a period of recuperation. one that his family hopes will help him start a new life after captivity.
we're counting down to a huge debate that could change everything in the republican race for the white house. one of the front-runners may be in a bit of trouble for something he said about the economic situation here in las vegas. stand by. as, hillary clinton comments on the comment or the ousted leader gadhafi during a surprise visit today to tripoli. so who ordered the cereal that can help lower cholesterol and who ordered the yummy cereal? yummy. [ woman ] lower cholesterol. [ man 2 ] yummy. i got that wrong didn't i? [ male announcer ] want great taste and whole grain oats
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transitional counsel. clinton told reporters that she hopes moammar gadhafi will soon be captured or killed and pledged that the united states will support the democratic process in libya. forces loyal to gadhafi are still battling troops from the transitional government and parts of that country. and there are calls for susan sarandon to apologize for reportedly calling pope benedict a quote, nazi. she reportedly made the comment at the hamptons film festival while talking about her film, "dead man walking." the antidefamation league says she should apologize to the catholic community. and there is new hope that decades of effort to develop a malaria vaccine may be paying off. result frs a clinical trial conducted on 15,000 children in africa indicate a new vaccine cut the number of cases roughly in half. an official at the centers for
disease control says the findings show researchers are quote, on track to develop an effective vaccine against the disease. that would be really good news. >> certainly would. president obama by the way, expected to hit republicans hard for opposing his jobs plan. we'll go there live. go to virginia live. sthoe you what's going on with the president. also, cnn's western republican presidential debate now what, a little bit more than two and a half hours away. what will make the difference tonight? we're asking our cnn political contributors, james carville and c a ari fleischer. we're live in las vegas. there's only one bottle left ! i've got to tell susie ! the vending machine on elm is almost empty. i'm on it, boss. new pony ? sorry ! we are open for business.
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virginia to paint the republican party as being simply unwilling to stand up for struggling middle class americans. our white house correspondent, brianna keilar traveling with the president. what happened today? >> well, wolf, we're here in virginia. the president spoke earl yes today in north carolina, but we're here in southern virginia now where the president as he did in north carolina, will be speaking to a redominantly african-american crowd. remember, it was really black voters, a very enthusiastic voting block in 2008 ha helped push him over the edge in north carolina. also helped him secure virginia. two states he's hoping to hang on to in the next election, but he's been traveling through the northern north carolina, southern virginia today, making some stops at restaurants, at schools visiting with students,
teachers. this will be his second speech of the day and he's trying to convince voters he's doing everything he can to create jobs and that it's republicans that are standing in his way. following that vote in the senate last week where his plan failed to move forward with republicans united against him. >> just last week, all the republicans in the senate got together and blocked this jobs bill. they refused to even debate it. now, keep in mind, one poll found that 63% of americans support the ideas in this jobs bill. but 100% of republicans in the senate voted against it. >> now, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell back in washington today responding to this criticism. republicans have been paying a lot of attention to the president as he goes on this bus tour. mcconnell saying the president's jobs plan is just more of policies that have failed. >> 1.5 million jobs lost since
the first. now, he's coming back and asking us to do it again. you all have heard this before. at home, we say there's no education the second kick of a mule. we've already done this. we've tried it. it failed. >> now, as we await the president here, he could be speaking really in just a matter of minutes to this crowd. we expect him to call again as he did this morning, on congress to pass his jobs plan, but now that it hasn't passed as a whole, to pick it up piece by piece and pass it ultimately in its entirety, but piece by piece. the first bit he's calling and we're expecting this to happen later this week. $35 billion to rehire or keep teachers, firefighters and police officers employed when as you know, wolf, a lot of states and local governments have been cutting their budgets.
>> they certainly have. stand by. when the president starts speaking, let us know. travel wg the president in virginia. virginia and north carolina, two major battleground states. clearly, the president is seeking to win both of them. he did last time around in 2008. let's bring in tom forman to take a closer look. >> republicans are saying this is a campaign trip pure and simple. the white house says no, we're out pushing a jobs bill, but the republicans say look where the president has been. this is where he is right now, but since mid august, these are all the places he's visited. only one trip to red america. meaning part of the country that voted against him. all his other trips have been to blue america and particularly, visits to these striped states. states on the edge that switched from republican to democrat in
the last election, including north carolina and virginia. important factors, in north carolina, one republican seat was gained in the house and there was a sense the state was shift iing and as brianna said, very strong african-american vote there. very important to this president. if you look now at virginia, you have a different equation. again, three republican seats gained in the house. the governorship was also taken back by republicans, but virginia has a different constituency, which is young, urban professionals. they have been growing in virginia, particularly areas close to washington, d.c. he wants to reach that group with the message that says this is about jobs and about republicans who don't really agree with you philosophically, wolf. this is the fundamental reason why republicans say this trip may be about jobs and we think it's about one job. yours and you're trying to keep it.
>> what about nevada where i am right now in las vegas getting ready for the big debate tonight. what does i look like? i suspect that's also up for grabs. >> you're absolutely right. in nevada, one republican seat gained in the house. remember, nevada is the home to harry reid, the big democrat on the senate side, so that matters. but more importantly, nevada has the worst unemployment in the country. 13.4%. all for a strong union presence, so that's one of those state where is the president has not been lately, but you can imagine he might head there at some point because he's got to fight off these numbers and pin these numbers to republicans instead of keeping nem his own house. wolf? >> i want our viewers to check out my blog. learn about what's going on in nevada and las vegas. right now, tom, thanks very much. the republican presidential candidate, mitt romney, he's got some controversial remarks he's
presumably going to have to deal with tonight. james carville and ari fleischer are both standing by live. china, impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing.
beneath the glamour here in las vegas, there are serious economic problems. unemployment has soared to 14.2%. 14.2% housing foreclosures in nevada. the highest in the united states. here's how well one republican presidential front-runner, mitt romney, says the problem should be solved. listen to this. >> as to what to do for the housing industry specifically. are the things that you can do to encourage housing. one is don't try and stop the foreclosure process. let it run its course and hit the bottom. allow investors to buy homes. put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it come up. the obama administration has slow walked the foreclosure processes that have been long existed and as a result, we still have a foreclosure overhang. >> harry reid is slamming that
idea. listen. >> nevada has the highest foreclosure rate in america. and it has for almost three years. and here's what mitt romney said. he would just let them hit rock bottom. i don't know what's more graphic than that in how we have different views of what the world should be like than our republican friends. >> the obama campaign now also weighing in by a twitter saying -- let's talk about this with two cnn political contributors, the democratic strategist, james carville, and ari fleischer. ari, could this potentially come back to haunt mitt romney? not in the republican race here
in nevada, but in a general election assuming he's the republican nominee? >> i don't think so, wolf. i think this is one of those issues where you're in favor of government spending, the problem ought to be solved. the issue is you have to let the market rebalance and come back. that's how you restore housing on a long-term foundation. if we go back right away, we are never going to get rid of the deficits and debt we have. >> james, you agree with ari? >> not at all, neither does president reagan's head of economic advisers who wrote a piece last week talking about how devastates this was and said the government should come in and secure the mortgage. i think 110% of the value of the mortgage and change from a non recourse to a recourse loan. pointing out the devastating effect this is on a much, much larger economy. i don't think romney is right.
the problem is that we have too many foreclosures in this country. he seems to be arguing we need more foreclosure. i know that professor fieldstein doesn't buy it at all. >> you've got to admit -- stop these horrible foreclosures, haven't made much of a dent yet. >> i think it's a valid point to say, to make that point, but what professor fieldstein is saying is to say that this is a event, you know, that we haven't had since the side of great depression and we ought to be trying more and i think people would acknowledge that some of the stuff the president's tried hasn't been there, so as opposed to thinking of something new, they're not going to work better than 1932.
>> romney in the same sentence. >> with trillion dollar deficits, one thing our country has to decide, are we going to do what we've done for 30 years, there is a problem the government knows how to spend money to fix the problem. it's proved it isn't working. the reason we have so many foreclosures is because we gave so many loans to people who can't afford to pay their loans, so they foreclosed. it was a government program that was a well intentioned program to help create the mess we're in today. you can think along government lines. you have to think differently. >> i know you're not, rick perry, what does he need to do in order to get himself back in the game? >> string two sentences together. that would be a start. there's only one story line. there's only one story line in this debate and that is can rick perry sort of come back? he's got two gifts.
this thing on housing, the story in the "times" this morning. he's the only person other than romney who has any chance of being the republican nominee. perry can't make a credible place for themselves. for god sakes, man, do something. show people you can do something. that's the whole story here. >> is he up to the challenge, rick perry? can he do it? >> he sure can do it. i think this is still a very wide open race. >> poll numbers have plumeted. >> that's right. you have to look at the couple of month's trend. there's a couple of months to go. he's faltered, but he has to punch up tonight. he's got to be the one to set this tone for november that he's back in the game. that he can take on romney and he's just got to be aggressive in doing so and articulate. rick perry is both of those things. he hasn't been so far in the debates. i expect him to be that way tonight. >> we'll be watching as all of us will be. much more on the economic crisis in las vegas.
mitt romney's controversial foreclosure plan. the former mayor, oscar goodman, he's standing by live. also, piers morgan. oscar and piers and wolf all coming up here in "the situation room." [ female announcer ] once you taste new fiber one 80 calories... ...with its sweet honey taste, 40% daily value of fiber... ...and 80 calories per serving... ...you may want to tell a few friends. ♪ or all of them. ♪ i'll go get my bowl. [ female announcer ] new fiber one 80 calories. yes, you can actually love breakfast. ♪
i just signed the whole family up for unlimited mobile to mobile minutes. you're kidding. no. where's that money coming from, steve? did it even cross your mind to ask your wife before signing us up for something so expensive? my mother was right; i should have married john clarke. they were free. i got them when i signed us up for unlimited messaging. [ male announcer ] get more value from at&t. buy an unlimited messaging plan, and call any u.s. mobile phone free. at&t. let's continue the leadup to the huge republican presidential debate tonight. joining us now, our own piers morgan. also, the former, yes, former mayor of las vegas, oscar
goodman. his wife is now the mayor of las vegas. guys, thanks very much. how's it feel being a former mayor of las vegas? >> thai not sure what to call me, so she refers to us as mayors one and two. >> he had these very tall, beautiful young ladies walking around. >> most extraordinary thing i've ever been in. this guy's met everybody and ho holdinging power in this town. if we want to go out tonight, wolf, he's the guy they want to go with. >> the three of us will go and celebrate. i don't know what we'll celebrate. >> absolutely and i'm buying. >> i tweeted, not only tweeted, wrote about this on my blog. it looks great. packed restaurants. the gym, couldn't even find a treadmill, the strip packed, but the city is in serious problems. the state is in serious trouble. >> see, i don't agree with that. >> 14. -- >> that's a false figure.
peel don't understand how we arrive tat real figure. you look across the street. they've built some 12,000 new rooms. 35,000 construction workers were very, very busy and the construction stopped, you take the workers out of that equation, we have about 7% unemployment. maybe one of the best figures in the united states. now, i'm not going to tell you everything's rosy -- >> highest home foreclosure rate in the country. >> everybody was making so much money here that the domestics working the hotels we want out, bought two or three homes, financed them, put nothing down and when it came time to pay the piper, they couldn't do it. >> do you buy that? >> not entirely because that vegas actually personified a lot f the problem of corporate america. i remember when i interviewed you, one of the problems came when the president said i don't want people coming to vegas corporately and spending loads of money here.
also, people here were spending money they didn't have. it was a get rich quick mentality. >> people come to las vegas to have a good time. >> not in the casinos. they were treating property like a casino. they were gambling -- >> that's what happened for many, many years. you couldn't lose in real estate, real estate. all of a sudden the banks pulled the plug and haven't done anything to rectify the situation. people were left -- >> who do you want to be the next president of the news. >> probably myself. >> other than you. >> himy wife. >> other than your wife. >> being mayor of las vegas is the best. i'm going to keep that to myself. >> originally a republican there i came out here as a republican, switched to democrat. one of my law partners running for political office and only thing that meant anything in those days was the democratic primary. two years ago i've said i've had it with both parties, they not doing what i want them to do, my wife and myself became nonpartisans. that's not independent. >> look at republican field,
seven candidates on the stage tonight what do you think? >> i think it's getting interesting. herman cain is fascinating -- >> you're talking to him after the debate. >> talking to him after the debate for wednesday for the show. he's an interesting character. come out of nowhere. >> amazing. >> he has a simple way of talking resonating with the public, he has simple ideas, yet to be tested. fascinating tonight. will the other candidates go after him in the way they went after rick perry, for example, and will he be able to withstand the pressure of now being -- >> you think they should? >> i think they have to. >> they're going to want his support. mitt romney's going to want all of those herman cain supporters, if he gets nominated. >> this is a good place to do it. they're in las vegas, a national audience. you gentlemen are commenting upon what they're saying. i think they're going to take them on. he's very glib. and he does something which i love, smiles. it's almost self-deprecating, he sort of laughs at himself. on the other hand you can't say you're going to put up an
electrocuting fence and look serious, i'm going to put up the fence and keep them out. >> i think he meant it. >> at that time. >> i don't think it was a joke. >> also, mitt romney, he's been absolutely steady as a rock, isn't he? under any normal way of assessing these things you say this guy should be romping home, but he's not, and there's a reason he's not, and that reason is that the republican vote doesn't really find him sexy enough. until they do, until he whips himself up to get that vote, it's an open field. >> what happens in vegas -- >> stays in vegas. >> not tonight. what happens in vegas tonight at debate, the whole world will be watching. >> you bet. we'll have a good time. great seeing you. >> a huge future in show business. >> that's what i understand. >> check back with jack. he's got "the cafferty file." >> good stuff. the question this hour, is america in denial about its decline? susan says, yes, all high hear that is this is the great of the
country in the world. this is nothing but prop begagp. people are drinking kool-aid by believing this nonsense. education system rated bottom of other countries, infrastructure is crumbling. only thing this country knows how to do is war, war, war, that's where all of the tax money that could go to other things goes, to the pentagon. it's a shame what has happened to the u.s. when i retire i'm leaving here for good, and i won't miss any of it. ann in south carolina writes, i think so. i don't think americans see a global economy. americans want merchandise made in america but they don't want our goods. there seems to be a sense if one goes to church ones a christian and all is well with our country while our moral fiber's deteriorating around us and greed pervades our society. the values that made our country great are slowly disappearing. steve writes, no, i don't think
america's in denial, i think the government is. depends on who you talk to, jack. i'm sure 1% doesn't think so, but the u.s. is looking more and more like it is, to me, in decline. the wealth and power in so few hands, a big hand goes to the supreme court in their citizens united ruling. it's sad when it's thought that a corporation is a person. peter on facebook writes, what decline? only the left thinks we're declining. everyone else thinks it's just a bad patch that will smooth out as soon as we can get rid of the apologist currently in power in d.c. i can't hear you, jack, i'm busy fiddling, writes mr. nero. go to cnn.com/caffertyfile or through our post on the situation room's facebook page. wolf? >> jack, thank you. it's wise to get a designated driver when you've had too much to drink unless you let a 9-year-old get behind the wheel. jeanne moos is next. we're america's natural gas
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i tell you what i can spend. i do my best to make it work. i'm back on the road safely. and i saved you money on brakes. that's personal pricing. here's cnn's jeanne moos with a most unusual designated driver. >> reporter: the way she drove up to the gas pumps was a little jerky, and when she got out you saw why. it was a 9-year-old driving her
allegedly drunk dad, something he bragged about inside the store. >> 9 years old. 9. gas, brakes, listen we leaving, she's driving. i'm drunk. >> she didn't just drive -- >> her dad bought her a caramel apple, then she got back on the booster seat behind the steering wheel and slowly off they went. while a customer who saw the whole thing dialed 911 and followed them. >> is the vehicle staying on the road? >> yes, she's driving pretty good. i'm telling you, i can't believe it. >> reporter: when police stopped the van the girl said, what most people say, why did you stop me? i was driving great. but her dad's not looking so great. 39-year-old shawn wymer wiped his eyes as his preliminary hearing postponed, charged with child abuse. >> why did you think it was okay to let a 9-year-old drive on a
public road. >> anything to say to your daughter? >> no comment. >> reporter: friends say he's a great dad who had weekend visitation rights with his daughter. >> now he can't see her. >> what's that doing too him. >> it's going to destroy him. >> reporter: he told a reporter that he's a good dad who made a bad decision. he's been busted before, after crashing while driving under the influence. this time, his daughter said he had been drinking whiskey all day. he refused a breathalyzer test and told police he was just teaching his daughter how to drive. there have been lots of stories of little kids driving their parents' cars. >> i am trying to dive but i couldn't reach the pedals. >> reporter: from this pa-year-old to a 7-year-old, told police he was trying to avoid going to church. at least shawn's daughter didn't hit anything. the "detroit free press" reports she was seen using her turn signal, at least twice. it's her father who seems to have taken t