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

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speaking of this, let's go to wolf blitzer, standing by. your "the situation room" starts now. >> thanks very much. happening now, where republican front-runner newt gingrich gets grilled in an interview exposing potential weaknesses with conservatives. president obama channelling a predecessor from a century ago, echos of republican president teddy roosevelt as mr. obama calls for greater economic equality. records from mitt romney's term as governor missing. did he use taxpayer money to hide untold number of e-mails? we're picking up new information and he's also getting a nut ew endorse. . i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." he's not just the new republican presidential front-runner, newt gingrich is leading the
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republican pack by double digits in several brand-new polls. a gallop national survey of registered republicans shows him 15 points ahead of mitt romney. 37% to 22%. less than a month away from the iowa caucuses. a new cbs new york times poll has gingrich 14 points ahead of romney. as former front-runners know, top status meepz extra scrutiny and he was grilled about some of his past positions by conservatives. this is happening as we're meeting right now. jim acosta is watching all of this for us. what's the very latest? he's getting tough questions. >> his poll numbers have been good but it has been said his own worst enemy is newt gingrich. the two may have come face to face. >> glenn beck turns up the tea party heat on newt gingrich rubbing his nose in his past support for a individual mandate
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that requires americans to buy medical insurance as both a key pone ent in the new health care law and poison for conservati conservatives. >> here is may 2011. >> you either have health insurance or post a bond or in some way indicate you'll be held accountable. >> you seem to be very interested in the government finding the solution. >> well, let's go back to what i just said. go back and listen to exactly what i was asked on that show and what i said i'll stand by. >> support for an individual mandate. folks don't ask me to explain this. >> conservative outrage our gingrich's position on health care is featured in a tv ad from ron paul. it's a test for the new gop front-runner who once posted a video on his youtube page posting an opposition to a mandate. >> i'm completely opposed to the obama care mandate for individuals. i fought it for two and a half years. >> on the website the group
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advocates a requirement that anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year must purchase health insurance or post a bond. his past support could be a bitter pill to swallow in the tea party. right now he has 82% of tea party support far ahead of romney, whose own health care mandate in massachusetts is a major turnoff for voters in iowa. a new "washington post" poll finds 45% of republican caucus goers in iowa say it's a reason to oppose romney. >> at the end of the day, they are going to find that he changes his positions much in the same way as romney. >> pressing on the infamous ad with nancy pelosi on the need to kpat climate change. >> we don't always see eye to high shlgs do we, newt? >> no, but we do agree our country must take action to address climate change. >> do you still believe in the inconvenient truth as youtd lou
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by global climate change advoca advocates? >> he did the ad for al gore's alliance for protection. gingrich calls the spot one of his dumbest mistakes. gingrich is riding high with four weeks to go until the cauc caucuses. the question is whether the past positions on key conservative issues will catch up with him in time to slow him down. >> lime looking at the polls and we we mentioned the new cbs/new york times poll, rick perry, 11, the abc washington post poll in iowa, gingrich 33, romney 18, ron paul 18, rick perry 11, very similar. in south carolina, which is maybe arguably even more important than iowa or new hampshire, gingrich 38, romney 22, rick perry 9%. so right now with four weeks to go, january 3rd, four weeks from today, newt gingrich is doing
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pretty nicely. >> that's right. it's boiling down at this point to a choice between mitt romney and newt gingrich and really this might become an issue of hearts and minds. mitt romney may seem like the smart choice for a lot of republican voters but doesn't hit them in the heart. newt gingrich and i saw this up close and personal, not only checking off those boxes for conservative voters, also appealing to their heart with tough language on president obama working for him right now. >> jim acosta will be busy over the next month and beyond i'm sure. thanks very much. this important programming note for our viewers, both newt gingrich and rick perry, they will join me here in "the situation room" tomorrow. we'll talk about newt gingrich's surging campaign as republican rivals a lot more. lots of questions tomorrow for rick perry and newt gingrich. if you want to weigh in or have a suggested question, send me a tweet at wolf blitzer at cnn. maybe i'll read one of your
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questions to those two candidates. beginning 4:00 p.m. eastern right here in the "the situation room." president obama previewed his campaign themes in a major speech in kansas. he traveled to the same town where teddy roosevelt delivered a landmark speech of his presidency a century ago calling for greater economic equality. the president echoed those themes today calling on americans to unite to restore opportunity for everyone. >> this is the defining issue of our time. this is a make or break moment for the middle class and for all of those fighting to get into the middle class. because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement. now in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be
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suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. after all that's happened, after the worst economic crisis and worst financial crisis since the great depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. in fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stack the deck against middle class americans for way too many years. and their floesfy is simple. we are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules. >> let's talk about the president's speech with gloria borger. what was the president trying to do today, fly all the way to kansas and deliver this lengthy speech? >> well, it was a political speech, wolf and i think he was trying to define what this campaign is going to be about. he was using the notion of income inequality to sell the extension of the payroll tax cut. you heard in that little clip that we ran that he believes there's a large wealth gap in
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this country, that's indisputable, the richer gotten richer and poor have gotten poorer. he calls it a defining issue of our time. he says we need to level of the playing field and what the republicans want to do is let everyone fend for themselves. in the larger scheme of things, though, wolf. this president does not want the election to be about high unemployment or his economic record. a large majority don't like what he's done on the economy. what he wants to do is define this election about this wealth gap and say, you know what, republicans are fine with it and i'm not. i'm going to fight for the middle class, which continues to be in a squeeze. he raised bill clinton's name, reminding people that when bill clinton was president, he created over 20 million jobs and your taxes were a little bit higher but times were good. >> does he have the american public with him on all of these gut issues?
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>> well, he has the political upper hand on the extension of the payroll tax cut. let me show you a poll that the national journal did. when they asked people whether they support extending the payroll tax cut, look how broad this support is. not only among democrats, 6 out of 10 republicans, half of republicans and independents 57%. but, i think there is an issue here that's larger for president obama as you head into the general election. he's talking about government fixing problems, regulation for example, government regulation. when you talk to the american public about whether they want the government to get more involved in their lives, the answer to that is no. so that's going to be the focus of the debate, is it the government that should level the playing field or willing market level the playing field on its own. >> 68% of the democrats -- >> did i say 58? >> you said 6 out of ten. >> almost 7 out of ten democrats
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support extending the payroll tax cuts. how are the republicans -- >> i spoke with a couple of republicans after the speech. they are not surprised by it. neither am i. they said it's the same old aim same old. one republican said it's taking the money from one group of people and giving it to another. the president wants to pay for that with a sur tax on the wealthiest among us. they say where's the president's plan for structural tax reform that would actually bring money into government cofferes and get the deficit down. they haven't seen the real solutions yet from the president. >> thanks very much. we'll get more on the speech in the nex hour. his senior adviser valerie jair receipt jarrett will join us live here in "the situation room" in our next hour.
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let's check in with jack cav fehrty. >> many of the gop hopefuls have been making the pilgrimage to trump tower to meet with the real estate magnet and reality tv star. yesterday front-runner newt gingrich was here to visit with trump. in his book he writes that the candidates come to see him, quote, because millions of people listen to what i say and know i get it, unquote. he adds that it wouldn't surprise him if he, trump, is the sing the most important endorsement a presidential candidate can get. just to be clear, trump says he's not bragging, i tell it like it is, end quote. he'll mostly endorse someone, hasn't said when. he flirted with his own republican run earlier this year, still isn't ruling out an independent run but not everyone in the republican race is after his endorsement.
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jon huntsman had the best line of the week, he refuses to kiss trump's ring or any other part of his anatomy. he says this is what's wrong with politics, showbusiness over substance. if trump had courage, he would still be running for president instead of manipulating the process from the outside. huptsman recently said he would not attend the gop debate trump is going to moderate. ron paul has turned that down as well, saying it would have a circus like atmosphere. he took a swipe and says gingrich and trump would have a wonderful time shopping together in new york, picking out krits mass gifts for their wives. he suggests tiffany's, i love ron paul. how important is donald trump's endorsement? go to cnn.com/caffertfile.
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>> he'll be in "the situation room" with me on thursday. we'll talk about his upcoming debate. thanks very much. we're going to take you live to arizona where mitt romney is picking up a new endorsement from a former vice president of the united states. you're looking at pictures over there. we have details over countless missing e-mails from his term as massachusetts governor. and steve forbes has endorsed rick perry for president. does he regret it now? i'll ask steve forbes. he's standing by and here in the "the situation room." we'll discuss this hour.
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mitt romney will not participate in donald trump's upcoming debate in iowa at the end of the month. mitt romney will not appear in that debate. newt gingrich will appear and rick perry will appear, those
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three republican presidential candidates will join donald trump at that debate. three other candidates have said no. romney, and ron paul and jon huntsman. michele bachmann still has not made up her mind whether or not she'll show up at this scheduled debate that donald trump will host in iowa at the end of the month. but the headline right now, mitt romney says no to donald trump. meanwhile, tough new questions facing the republican presidential candidate, mitt romney. they center on allegations he spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to hide electronic records from his term as the governor of massachusetts. brian todd has been looking into the story. what are you finding out? >> we have the records on the money that romney's team spent to replace computers at the end of his term as governor. but romney's team is adamant, this is what other governors have done before him and it's
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legal. it's still throwing him added scrutiny at the crucial time aside from newt gingrich, new hurdles for romney to clear in the republican race. questions about records from his term as massachusetts governor that disappeared and questioned whether he would be transparent as president. democratic massachusetts governor patrick's office said they found no e-mails from 2002 to 2006 in our possession which covers romney's term as governor. patrick's office says the kpiters used were replaced right before patrick took off. governor patrick's team gave us copies of leases for computers, indicating it cost taxpayers $100,000 to replace the computers near the end of the term. patrick's team says all of the computer files were removed and the server was taken out of service. an advocate for government transparency says those records should have been preserved. >> clearly in massachusetts it's not illegal to do that.
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that has been made clear in the press reports, anyway, because something is not illegal doesn't mean it's right or ethical or acceptable to the public to do so. and we believe that the records of political officials belong to the public. >> governor patrick's office also showed us records of canceled checks indicating romney's aides paid the state to buy the hard drives they used in the government jobs. theresa dolan under romney and other governors told reuters in all of those years no one ever expressed the desire to buy hard drives. john o'keefe, in charge of archiving all records says he was allowed to go anywhere to gather any records he needed for the archives but with romney's third floor office. >> so-called third floor was
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actually really office specific. you had the chief of staff and communications director and deputy chiefs of staff. they archive their own offices. it was handle differently. he does not believe it was a directive from romney but how it worked out. it was first reported by the "boston globe." the decision to erase most files is not illegal or unusual, that several other governors have also done that. romney said this. >> we actually put in 700 boxes of information to the archives that weren't even required. we followed the law exactly as intended and as written. >> romney's team says the decision by governor patrick to put out this information is politically motivated. an aide to patrick denied that saying they were only responding to media requests for public documents. >> what does massachusetts state law actually say about
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destroying records? >> it says that officials have to preserve records for a set amount of time, including electronic records but because of a state supreme court ruling that was issued 14 years ago, the governor's office is exempt from that law. romney's team could claim they were doing what was legal and have a window of interpretation. they make the claim every other governor did it before them. why should they leave the information for what they term is the opposition to see when no one else has done this before that? >> thanks very much for that report. romney by the way is picking up an endorsement from dan quarl. he cites romney's economic understanding and his integrity. we're standing by, we should be hearing from mitt romney fairly soon. look at the cameras you're seeing in arizona where he got that endorsement from dan quayle. he's going to take questions from reporters. we'll listen in and see what
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mitt romney has to say that's coming up right here in "the situation room." it's getting close to judgment day for former illinois governor rod blagojevich. we'll check in on his sentencing hearing. also, look at this. lady gaga, takes her campaign against bullying to the white house. she's there at the white house. this is not when she was at the white house but other video. we have pictures of her at the white house today. later my interview with influential media mogul steve forbes. you'll hear what he has to say about donald trump hosting a debate and much more. stay with us. something off their menu ttd# 1-800-345-2550 instead of trying to understand what you really need. ttd# 1-800-345-2550 ttd# 1-800-345-2550 at charles schwab, we provide ttd# 1-800-345-2550 a full range of financial products, ttd# 1-800-345-2550 even if they're not ours. ttd# 1-800-345-2550 and we listen before making our recommendations, ttd# 1-800-345-2550 so we can offer practical ideas that make sense for you. ttd# 1-800-345-2550
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mitt romney is in paradise valley. >> the beginning will be what, january 3rd, but this will probably take longer than a week or two to sort out. my speculation is this campaign will go on for a while and i expect to win it. i need to get over 1,000 delegates and we're just getting started. i'm pleased with what they are and anticipate getting the nomination if i do my job right the only thing i can do to win people over is have them understand my background and experience and if they support me, that's great. if they don't, support who they choo choose. with regards to media, you'll see me on more shows than i've been on in the last several months and part of that is we're getting to the end of the
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process and now it's time to make our case to the american people and the people in iowa and new hampshire and south carolina and florida and i'll be seeing you more often. with regards to the debates we've had requests for quite a few debates, we decided on two in december. the 10th and 15th and we're not adding any others in december. we'll look at january's request. i think we have ten requests for january debates. we'll probably do two or maybe three in january. we've already set our calendar in december and i communicated to mr. trump that that schedule is completed. [ indiscernible ] >> actually, he's got the numbers wrong, of course. -- i ran for office but i didn't
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win. that doesn't mean i spent my time in washington because i didn't win. had i won, why we wouldn't be having this argument, i would be president of the united states. instead when i lost elections i got to go back and be a businessman again and allowed me to be involved in the economy and to understand that the grass roots level what american people are suffering and what i can do to get jobs again. i spent my career, 25, 30 years in business in the olympics and running a state. and the experience of leadership of leading ab enterprise, two enterprises and leading an olympics and state, that experience i think is essential to leading the biggest enterprise in the world, the united states of america's government. [ indiscernible ] >> i think the payroll tax extension is a nice thing to do for people struggling in the middle class hurt by the obama economy. it is a temporary thing and is
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not going to fix our economy. what we need to see is a plan like mine, lays out what we need to do to have a long term stronger economy that makes us globally competitive. you have a president of the united states who's been in office three years and has no plan for our economic vitality. no plan to make our economy once again the most powerful on the earth. i just can't understand how we have a president that continues talking about a little of this and little of that and let's extend this a year and have the tax cuts go on two years. fine. we don't want to raise taxes on people. but let's also fundamentally and permanently make america globally competitive again. i laid out a plan as to how i would do it and that's what it's going to take to get america growing again. >> you know, i think i appeal to voters all over based upon describing my vision for the country, the values i hold dear and the policies and ideas that
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i brought forward. if they are drawn to those things they'll vote for me. if not, there are plenty of other people to choose. i don't try and craft a particular argument for a particular faith group. but instead talk about the things i believe. you'll hair me saying the same things i've been saying the last year. this is a time of decision for america. do we want an entitlement society or mer rit based opportunity. my view is that whether you're evangelical or catholic or jewish or muslim or mormen that that message will connect. people recognize that what america is is unique and exceptional and this president does not understand america and its uniqueness. >> four years ago you ran here in arizona and won 34% of the vote in the primary. now these other candidates are running to your right. how are you managing that transformation from being the con sefb tif point while the
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others run for your -- >> i'm not a political pundit and strategists will look on who's on right and left. my positions on issues are the conservative views that i communicated effectively four years ago, not well enough to beat senator mccain but pretty effectively. i have the same views and i think people recognize that my views are conservative, whether you're looking at taxes. i not only have views but i have a record. i have a governor. i have a rorld of being pro-life and not only talk about being serious about immigration reform and enforcing the law, i did that in massachusetts. i can -- we can look about our tax record, for instance, cutting taxes 19 times and balancing the budget for all four years i was in office, eliminating a budget gap of almost $3 billion, leaving a rainy day fund of over $2 billion. i have a conservative record and
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that will hold me a good sted. [ indiscernible ] >> i'm not familiar with the figure but i know we provided all of the information that's rir required under the law and as well as what's not required under the law which was 70 boxes of our administration. thanks, guys, okay. >> all right, mitt romney you saw him answering a few questions and paradise valley, i guess that's what it's called. outside of phoenix, shaking hands with a few supporters there. but the headline out of this is what we've been reporting now, he has said no, no to donald trump. he will not, repeat, not appear at the donald trump organized debate at the end of december. he know joins ron paul and jon huntsman in saying no to donald trump, rick perry and santorum
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have said yes. michele bachmann still on the fence. let's discuss what's going on. donna brazil is here and our democratic contributor is here, alex, i think it took guts, whether right or wrong to say no to a power broker in a republican establishment, donald trump? >> couldn't agree more, i think he just fired donald trump and that is a sign of strength. this election is about strength and certainty because americans feel the economy in the country is coming apart at the seams. one thing romney has not demonstrated enough in this campaign yet is strength. he's had a lot of ideas, 59-point plans but people want to know does he have the strength to be president and tackle the tough problems the country faces. he did that in the vegas debate when he stood up to newt gingrich and said you weren't in support of the mandates. >> he did that again with donald trump.
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>> i was speaking to several of mitt romney's establishment supporters over the past couple of days since word of this donald trump issue arose, almost all of them said, if he has guts, he will not show up. this is not worthy of a republican presidential candidate but all of them said the pressure might be too ee mormous and in the end he might have to do it. he said, newt gingrich can do and rick perry but i'm not doing it. >> he made the right decision for his campaign, especially if he is to become the nominee. donald trump has a lot of negatives and not seen as someone that the public would like to see endorse candidates, i think he made the right decision and showed that mitt romney has a little steel in his spine. >> there's a danger. the republican contest has been all over the map. sometimes it's seems trivial and frivolous and we're talking about big problems and looking for a serious leader to deal with them. sometimes you have to pull your
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campaign above the reality show level and i thought there was a good moment for romney. >> i'm going to speak with trump thursday and we'll discuss mitt romney's decision to not attend that debate. stand by, we have a lot more to discussion, some of the strategies, including more politics after this. everyone have their new blackberry from at&t? it's 4g, so you can do more faster. so, kathryn, post more youtube videos of your baby acting adorable. baby. on it. matt, ignore me and keep updating your fantasy team. huh? jeff, play a game. turbo-boosting now, sir. dennis, check in everywhere you go on foursquare. that's mayor dennis... of the water cooler. you're the best. liz, rock out to pandora. oh, no i'm an only child. and nick, you shouldn't even be here, you can do everything from the golf course. good? good. [ male announcer ] on at&t, blackberry® torch moves at the speed of 4g. ♪
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i don't think there's any single person in this country who did more to create the kind of discord in washington that we see today than newt gingrich. he's really the godfather of gridlock. he was the one who really created an environment in which people started treating each other as enemies and not as opponents here in washington. >> david axelrod going after newt gingrich. until now almost all of the obama supporters were going after romney but that is clearly changed. let's continue with donna and alex. what do you make of this? pretty strong words, the godfather of gridlock.
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>> smart politics for mr. axelrod. they were going after mitt romney to try to bring romney down last week. now they are going after newt gingrich to try to build gingrich up. if you're the president and heavyweight champ, they make it more divisive -- >> they would rather face newt gingrich than mitt romney, is that what you're saying? sfl and they'd rather keep gingrich around as soon as possible. >> we would like to keep newt gingrich in arenarena. he's sound worthy. he's brilliant but as coburn said he's very divisive and represents the partisanship that the american people have been turned off by. >> who is a bigger threat potentially as the republican nominee to a second term for president obama? >> right now wolf, if you look at the polls, 50% of the republican voters are still in
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this dating phase. i would say that both romney and gingrich should be targeted by the obama -- >> a lot of republicans love the idea of newt gingrich debating barack obama. >> it's almost like, do you want to buy a ticket for that debate. republicans would vote for that. they need to remember when he was speaker and led republicans, republicans didn't fare so well. >> when you say they didn't. >> when he was speaker of the house. >> but he did lead the republican revolution, a contract with america. for the first time in 40 years he led the republicans to the majority in the house of representatives. >> he was the man of the year. >> and actually right after that, we got very little done. on top of that he nearly destroyed the republican brand. >> he pushed that clinton white house, the balance budget, he was forceful on that. on welfare reform and other issues. >> and he shut down the government and we ended up with bill clinton as president. >> and he also as you well know, i believe that he did some good
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on welfare reform and good on the budget reform and did good on making sure that congress live under the same rules as the rest of the american people and did good in the district of columbia. when we had fiscal problems that he was then the speaker of the house. all of the good is washed away by the bad, his own ethics charges and the deadvicive brand he brings to the political system. >> the brazil endorsement will not help him more than the pelosi endorsement. >> mitt romney, how tough does he need to get. we took it live. you're going to be seeing me i'm going to be doing more need i can't interviews, he's welcome to come to the "the situation room" whenever he wants. between now and iowa and new hampshire. >> you hit it on the head. he has a 59-point economic plan. he doesn't need 60 points. he needs to demonstrate he can turn the country around. people doubt that. they haven't seen it in the campaign.
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he's going to have to fight newt gingrich now. >> he said it yesterday and said it today but he could change his tomorrow. 48% of voters believe that mitt romney will say or do anything to get elected. thanks very much, he's a former presidential candidate himself, what does steve forbes make of this year's republican contenders? why did he endorse rick perry? does he regret that right now. steve forbes is here in "the situation room" when we come back. the droid razr by motorola. the first droid that becomes self-aware. it remembers what you do and does it faster. create shortcuts like automatically syncing while you sleep. instinctively shape-shifting from a music stream for your workout to newsfeed during breakfast, then a gps for your morning commute. powered by verizon 4g lte, this droid is too powerful to fall into the wrong hands. but for some of us with overactive bladder, our pipes just don't work as well as they should. sometimes, i worry my pipes might leak.
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and last chance at medicare open enrollment, too. what do you mean? it ends december 7th. if you haven't reviewed your medicare plan choices yet,
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well, it's getting late. medicare gives you free cancer screenings and wellness visits, and 50% off brand name prescription drugs when you're in the donut hole... it's all part of the health care law. december 7th? i better get goin'! [ male announcer ] medicare open enrollment ends soon. call 1-800-medicare or visit medicare.gov to learn more. returning to the race for the republican presidential nomination. four weeks from today the iowa caucuses eninfluential republican steve forbes has a unique perspective on the race having twice run for president himself. and joining us now from new york, steve forbes, the chairman eneditor in chief of forbes media. good to have you back in "the situation room." >> good to be with you, thank you. >> your man from president, rick perry, the texas governor, look at the latest polls and i want
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to pick your brain. the "washington post" poll has gingrich 33, romney 18, paul 18, rick perry 11. in south carolina, gingrich 38, romney 23 and perry 9%. did you pick the wrong guy? >> no, i think this race has proved it is a very fluent situation and already newt gingrich is starting to get the flak that every temporary front-runner seems to get. this is going to be a long contest and i think rick perry has an excellent chance to move to the middle between romney and what's happening with newt gingrich. so i don't think this thing is over at all. it is very volatile. i think the real sparks are still yet to come. >> did the rick perry gaffes, the brain freeze and other issues, did that give you cause?
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no, i've known rick perry since over ten years ago when he first became governor and put in excellent reforms to their legal system in texas, especially against tort lawyers, he's much better -- came across much better in person than he did in early debates. i think with practice he is getting better. i think as positive policies especially on the flat tax and energy and other areas, i think will hold him in good sted as people finally make up their minds in january and february. again, this is a very highly fluid situation. >> you're a candidate guy. what do you have against newt gingrich? >> i have nothing against newt. i just think that rick perry is going to be a far better candidate and has demonstrated real executive ability in texas and his ideas are as good or better than those of newt. it's not anti-newt as much as it is pro-rick. >> would why he be better than newt gingrich? give me a specific area where you think he's more qualified to
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be commander in chief. >> i think in terms of his ability to run the larger -- secondest largest state in the union, newt had a lot of problems when he was speaker of the house. he's learned a lot from that. but rick perry has common strapted an ability to work with legislature, get teamwork going in terms of getting things done, getting major things through where he is the chief executive. newt was speaker of the house, not president of the united states. he has a great ability to negotiate. so i just think it's not again anti-newt so much as i think perry has demonstrated he can get real things done in the second largest state of the union which in terms of economics is the most dynamic state in the union except perhaps north dakota. >> what's the biggest issue you have with mitt romney? >> i think there are two big ones, one is taxes, mitt romney is against the flat tax. when i ran in 1996 he ran ads
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paid for them himself attacking the flat tax and shown very little growth since then on that issue. and on romney care, he still hasn't repudiated romney care which was the embryonic obama care. for health care and taxes i think he has a long ways to go to get to the mainstream of the party. >> donald trump, you know him well, you live in new york, should he be moderating a republican presidential debate? >> why not? we're going to have before this is over over 30 debates. you've done debates and i think that certainly it's going to get attraction for it. we'll see he's demonstrated his ability to handle television with his shows over the years. so let's see what happens. but it's not as if it's the only debate. we've got about two score in ten, maybe more before this is over. in forbes magazine, you put
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donald trump's net worth as $2.9 billion. he says in his new book that just came out, that you're way wrong. he puts his net worth at more than $7 billion. who's right and who's wrong? >> well, these things are estimates and we like to take especially when it involves real estate a conservative estimate. he makes a good case that it should be higher. but our estimate of $2.93 billion is higher than what others estimated a few short years ago. we're right in the middle and we're comfortable with it. again, that's a conservative estimate. he's in good shape whether it's 3 billion or $7 billion. i think most people would take either one. >> you want to cut taxes but are you with president obama when it comes to extending the payroll tax cut at least for another year or so that tens of millions of american families will have at least another 1,000 or $1500
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a year in their pockets? >> well, i think there are better things to be done with the tax code like the flat tax but we're not going to get it until after the elections next year. in the meantime, politically we have to extend this thing. it doesn't give as much punch to the economy as other tax provisions would. but in the meantime, take what you can and we're going to have to do the real repair work after november of 2012. >> would you insist on paying or finding offsets to pay for continuation of this payroll tax cut? >> well, they didn't last year and so they are not going to do it this year or going into 2012. again, i think there are a lot of positive things that could be done on taxes, including in the president taking the recommendations of his own simpson-bowles -- they had good starter ideas on making tax code fair and simpler and more conducive to growth. in the meantime you take what
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you can and do the real repair work after november. >> do you think the unemployment benefits should be extended for another year as well as the president is pushing? >> again, i think there's a lot of reforms that can be done on unemployment benefits but we'll have to wait until a more benine environment to do it. you did debate whether they should be parred down or something like that. but extend them and we'll get the real work done a year from now. >> how worried are you about europe, the eurozone basically potentially could really collapse? >> it would be a horror and it would put us right back to where we were in 2008. i'm a little surprised that germans have been so reluctant to take the massive measures necessary. you are going to have to pump billions of euros into the banking system to keep it from collapsing and at the same time you're going to have to put
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pressure and you have new governments to do the necessary work. wolf, it can't be austerity in those countries. you also have to put in new labor provisions, new tax provisions and tax reduced, simplify the tax code, otherwise it's going to be a vicious spiral. economy declining, which means bigger deficits, which means higher taxes and more spiraling downward economy. we should do what reagan did in the early '80s and that is he had tight money, which killed the inflation of the 1970s but he also put in massive cuts in nx income tax rates and deregulation, you have to do both, austerity but create an environment for a new growing economy to emerge. >> should the u.s. do anything financially too intervene? >> the u.s. has already made it clear it's going to do what it can in terms of making dollar loans. but this has to be undertaken by the germans and french with the
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european central bank. we can urge them to do it but they have to do the heavy lifting on this and the sooner they do it the better for all of us. >> thanks for coming in as usual. >> thank you, wolf. newt gingrich calls president obama and i'm quoting him, the food stamp president. today the president seems to be taking his own swipe at the latest republican front-runner. i'll talk about that and a lot more. the senior white house adviser valerie jarrett will join us live in "the situation room" in the next hour. passport?
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our very experienced cnn photo jourmist was more like a member of paparazzi, he caught lady gaga. she is a well known advocate for gay rights and came to washington to discuss her anti-bullying campaign with administration officials earlier this year. she tweeted about the tragic suicide of a teenage fan a victim of bullying. days later voiced her concerns about the issue directly to president obama. lady gaga at the white house today. let's go back to jack for the cafferty file.
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>> how important is donald trump's endorsement? donald trump thinks it's very important. paul writes, in a just word the endorsement of a much married moneygrubbing ee goe man yik should be worth nothing. in a country where it not only talks but swears, it may help win the stupid vote. doug in massachusetts, i think trump's endorsement might be good for a new york councilman in one of the more expensive precincts but nothing above that. i like his orange hairpiece and prettier than madonna. if you're running for mayor of the jersey shore, it could be huge. if you're running for president of the hair club for men, it could be huge. if you're running for president of the united states, forgot about it. for those who pander to the american public, having the endorsement of the greatest modern day panderror may be important. for those it's despair. jon huntsman and ron paul answered well.
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trump is a self-promoting bs artist made the money at the expense of investors. his endorsement of republican candidates should be considered a negative, unless you like the gong show. allen on facebook, on a scale of one to ten, i would say minus 5. carol writes trumps endorsement is more zale's than tiffany. to the republican contender a lot. to the rest of america it's a big joke. very important if you need a room comped at one of his casinos, the election not so much. go to cnn.com/caffertyfile or post on the situation room's facebook page. thank you very much. we're putting one of newt gingrich's provocative talking points to the test. are millionaires really getting food stamps? you'll find if the front-runner has his facts straight.
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plus, unusual twists in mitt romney's endorsement chase you've got a controversial vice president in his side today. racism within the new york city police department, officers accused of calling police animals and calling people i should say animals and savages online for all of the world to see. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer you're in "the situation room." we begin with the news. we begin with some news that's just developing here in "the situation room." the donald trump debate scheduled for the end of december, mitt romney now says he will not, repeat not
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participate. he's what he said a little while ago. >> as to this donald trump hosted debate, yes or no on that? >> no, i'm not participating in that. >> all right we got a statement from donald trump. it would seem logical to me if i was substantially behind in the polls, especially in iowa, south carolina and florida, i would be participating in the debate but i can also understand why governor romney decided not to do it. all right. there you got the reaction from donald trump. mitt romney saying no to that debate. he says he's already doing two debates in december. will do a few more in jan but will not be in iowa for that debate he wants to moderate. we'll have more coming up. but exactly four weeks from today, the republican presidential contenders face the first test that actually counts, the iowa caucuses on january 3rd. there's more evidence that newt gingrich is the candidate to
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beat. two brand-new polls show gingrich way out in front. abc news "washington post" survey puts them 15 points ahead of his nearest rivals, tied for second with 18% each. another survey out today shows gingrich has soared to the top of the pack leading romney with 16 points. by 16 points in the early primary state. as the latest republican front-runner, gingrich is getting a lot more scrutiny than ever. one of favorite lines in recent weeks got my attention. you notice that here in "the situation room" yesterday. sounds outrageous on the surface, millionaires here in the united states patting their wealth by getting u.s. government food stamps that are designed to help the very, very poor. newt gingrich says -- who can agree? is it true. lisa will take a closer look. >> with the economy the way it
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is, it is true more people have been using food stamps. the maximum per person benefit is $130 a month. we're not talking a lot of money here but the food program has been criticized you about newt gingrich and we took a look at his recent statements. >> talk about a tempest and a tea pot. >> you get a credit card and can can be used for anything. people use it to go to hawaii. they give food stamps now to millionaires. >> reporter: is it all true? the u.s. department of agriculture administers the food stamp program officially called the supplemental nutrition assistance program. purchases with the food stamp electronic card are strictly limited to food according to lou jacobson with politifact. >> the food stamp card will not let you buy anything. it looks like a credit card, called an ebt card. it's something which if you take
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it to the cash register it will tell you what you can purchase and can't purchase. >> reporter: that means you can't use it for a plane ticket to hawaii or anything else. they rate that pants on fire. what about the claim there are millionaires living on food stamps? to qualify, your net income as an individual must be no more than $11,000. for a family of four, the income cutoff is about $22,000. but that's income. what about assets? what if you had a million dollars in the bank and had no income? only 13 states use assets a a test for food stamp eligibility. that means it's technically possible for someone with assets of more than a million dollars with very low income qualifying for food stamps. >> i feel pretty good about that. >> leroy fik won $2 million on make me rich but still using state issued debit card for food
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stamps. bill walsh caught up with fik who made no apologies. >> driving around in a audi convertible and collecting our tax money on food stamps. what would you say to those people? do you think it's ethical? >> from my point of view, i think so. >> reporter: the usda acknowledges although possible, it's highly unlikely to find someone in vik's place. >> hard to imagine have $1 million in assets and that's why this was so anone house. the law has been changed in washington and vick is no longer receiving food stamp benefits. >> he says he was not trying to cheat the state and specifically asked authorities where he could continue to use his food stamp card and was told he could. the usda says that case is the only one that they are aware of where a millionaire was using
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food stamps and the usda worked with the state to quickly correct the situation, wolf. >> it is pretty outrageous when you think about it. thanks, lisa. both newt gingrich and rick perry will be my guests here in the "the situation room" tomorrow. if you have a question for either candidate, post it on our facebook page at facebook.com/situationroom or tweet me your questions at wolf blitzer cnn. my interviews with rick perry and newt gingrich tomorrow right here in "the situation room." mitt romney has a new ally to claim the front-runner title from newt gingrich. we're talking about the former vice president dan quayle. the endorsement has some people asking, is this what romney needs right now, an endorsement from dan quayle? >> what exactly is going on on
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this front sfl. >> this is an interesting story we have to point out mitt romney made a couple of moves, deciding not to participate in the donald trup p debate. technically he would have had a lot to lose because trump is a tea party favorite and his other move was getting the endorsement of former vice president dan quayle. when you put it together with all of the other support he started to amass, it says sothing important about the romney organization. >> reporter: the laugh track has faded from the days when dan quayle was vice president. though he hasn't exactly morveed into the secret weapon the mitt romney campaign is looking for. still, you never know how quayle's endorsement could help since arizona is an early voting state and quayle's son ben happens to be the congressman from the third district there. what's important is that quayle adds his name to a long and growing list of washington establishment types supporting
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romney from california congressman jerry lewis, cal vert, from tennessee, jimmy duncan, diane black, phil roe. mur could you say cow it have an impact that creates doubt about newt gingrich. but a single endorsement like dan quayle, there's not enough there to change the dynamic. >> romney's other big move was to announce he would not sign on to a presidential debate hosted by donald trump later this month. gingrich and perry and santorum said yes. this debate is getting the late night laugh test. >> moderating the next republican presidential debate, donald trump. donald trump. apparently pat zajac was unavailable. >> we have ten requests for january debates, we'll probably do two, maybe three in january.
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we've already set our calendar in december and i communicated to mr. trump that that schedule is completed. >> trump hasn't endorsed anyone and has even suggested he might still run as an independent. this debate is controversial because they say allowing a reality show figure to moderate a debate makes politics look like a reality show, assuming it isn't already of course. >> i'm glad to see somebody is standing up for not making done 58d trump the center ring of what could be a circus. that's where this is all heading when people talk about donald trump. >> he can't be blamed for anything, the reality play that ended with herman cain, put one tough talking candidate after the next off the island. at least they agree on getting rid of the guy in the white house. romney is going after him for a holiday trip to hawaii he hasn't taken yet. >> he's going tore 17 days for
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gulf and the sun. i just think it's time to have a president whods idea of being hands on does not mean getting a better grip on the gulf club. >> that statement from donald trump which wolf read to you a little while ago in the situation room, it would seem logical if i was substantially behind in the polls, especially in south carolina and florida, i would be participating in the debate but i can understand why governor romney decided not to do it. wolf, as you know, mr. trump has been complimentary of romney even sort of giving explanation for what people would call his flip-flop or changes in position, saying only stupid people are the people who do not change their minds. >> donald trump will be joining me on thursday. we'll discuss this and a lot more with him as well. thanks very much. president obama is trying a new way to position himself against his republican opponent. whoever that might turn out to be. he went to kansas to deliver a populist message and borrow a page from a popular republican,
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president teddy roosevelt. let's go to our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellen. how did this unfold? >> reporter: president obama went to the same town in kansas where former republican presidential teddy roosevelt delivered a speech about wealth and equality more than 100 years ago. in this speech the president also borrowed from the themes that we hear from the protesters in the occupy wall street movement. >> it's a theme the president's team would like to help define the campaign. >> i believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot. when everyone does their fair share. >> he rolled it out in a speech on wealth and equality. >> for most americans the basic bargain that made this country great eroded. long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people.
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>> the target? regular working americans. >> this is the defining issue of our time. this is a make or break moment for the middle class and all of those fighting to get into the middle class. >> the president tried to align himself with anyone who dislikes the bank bailout. >> as infuriating as it was for all of us, we rescued our major banks from collapse. part of the deal was we went back to business as usual. >> all of these threads are a familiar echo from the occupy wall street movement. which the same day staged sit-ins across the nation inside foreclosed homes. these activists want to see action. >> what we're doing is launching the occupy real estate service and what our message is, is foreclose on the banks, not on the american people. >> the president's words aren't enough for them. >> i want the banks to stop foreclosures. >> reporter: now, wolf, they are
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not the primary audience for the president's message. for those folks though, this could for the president could become a problem if this occupy wall street movement gets organized around the housing issue because the president himself cannot stop the banks from foreclosing on properties. but the main message here from the president is that he has taken the occupy wall street message and in a sense repackaged it for a broader audience. what you're seeing in a larger frame is that the republicans on the campaign trail are trying to focus the campaign on the here and now and the economy and how folks are doing right now. how president obama has performed in office right now and the president is pushing back and trying to make this campaign and election on where he and the american people would like the economy to go on a competing vision for where he seize america in the future and that's what this speech was
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about today. defining his vision of where america should be in the future and defining a different course for this debate to take in the campaign. >> so this speech basically today laid out his themes that we'll be hearing a lot more of over the course of the coming months? >> absolutely and into the 2012 campaign right up through november. >> jessica, thanks very much. valerie jarrett, arguably the president's closest adviser will be here in "the situation room" live. we'll discuss this and a lot more with valerie jarrett this hour here in "the situation room." other news, including new york city police officers linked to racist rants online zpribing people they are supposed to protect as animals. newt gingrich's checkered political past, coming back to haunt the republican front-runner. to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions...
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the implosion of herman cain's campaign, seems to be workinging in favor of newt gingrich and against mitt romney. since cain suspended his campaign it appears gingrich has been the beneficiary of a good amount of cain's support. polling shows off the last month as cain's support went from 22% to zero when he suspendeds hi campaign, gingrich's campaign climbed to 37%, a whopping 24-point jump. at the same time mitt romney support stays steady. overall, the first ever gallop daily tracking poll shows gingrich leads romney by 13 points. gingrich's 37%, the highest gallop measured this year for any candidate and tops romney it a lot of various categories, his lead large among conservative
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republicans and tea party supporters and gingrich fares better in every age group, among both men and women and particularly strong in the midwest and south. the gallop poll shows the rest of the candidates are in single digits, that includes ron paul, rick perry, michele bachmann and rick santorum and jon huntsman once the voting starts in iowa, it's clear a lot of these campaigns wilt come to an end quickly once the money dries up. why wait? the handwriting is already on the wall for several candidates. now that herman cain is out of the race, who else ought to drop out? that's when you put up question. go to cnn.com/caffertyfile or go to my post on the situation room's facebook page. >> get ready, jack, you'll get a lot of reaction.
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>> as a new development happening right now involving the faa, let's go to lisa sylvester with the news. >> wolf, this information is just coming in. faa administrator randy babbitt has submitted his resignation. we have a statement that we just received from him. he said, quote, today i submitted my resignation to secretary ray la hood and it has been accepted. serving as faa administrator has been an absolute honor and highlight of my profession after career but i'm unwilling to let anything cast a shadow on the outstanding work done 24 hours a day 7 days a week by my colleagues at the faa, they run the safest aviation system in the world and i'm grateful i had the opportunity to work alongside them. i am confident in their ability to carry out all of the critical safety initiatives under way and the improvements that the faa has planned and i want to thank ray la hood for his leadership and dedication to the safety of the traveling public.
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randy babbitt, he was arrested last saturday night in fairfax city, virginia on a dwi charge. he was allegedly driving down the wrong side of the road at the time of his arrest. earlier today secretary lahood explained how he learned of this arrest. >> what i told randy, i was very disappointed in the way i learned about this. >> how did you learn about it? >> from a press release through fairfax county. >> that was about more than 24 hours in fact before the white house and before officials with the administration actually found out directly what had happened, that he was arrested. so we will continue to monitor this situation, wolf. >> driving under intoxication, all right, under the influence, not a good idea, especially if you're head of the faa. thanks, lisa for that. new backlash against the new york city police department for racially charged facebook rants allegedly posted by some
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officers. mary? >> these facebook rants are troubling enough that they've now prompted a probe by nypd internal affairs unit. the postings come with warnings, including one that read, thgs not a racist rant. this is about us, the cops. it was a parade of facebook postings about the annual west indian american day parade that have led to an internal investigation of some of new york city's police officers. let the government handle those animals raid one post on a facebook page where officers ranted about having to work at the parade which has had violent incidents in the past. a day at the zoo read one post, along with maybe next year they should hold it on likers island. >> the facebook postings first came to light in an unrelated gun possession case in brooklyn. a public defender was researching the arresting
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officer and found the page about the parade. >> what caught my attention was his membership in this group. >> what are some of the first words that jumped out at you? >> animals, savages, things of an incredibly bigoted and hateful nature. >> public defender benjamin moore says the online rant disappeared after a couple of days. he used it in the trial and the arresting officer reportedly testified he didn't write anything on the page but moore made a digital copy of facebook comments. "the new york times" broke the story and reports 150 people checked, more than 60% match names of police officers and makes it clear it's impossible to no true identities online. the public defender's office says it welcomes an internal investigation by the nypd. >> i think it's important for
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the police to have an opportunity to look attitudes that may be pervasive in the police department. and we felt this was the best way to make sure they had all of the information so they could look into it. >> wolf, the nypd had no further comment. the police association also had no comment. we did reach out to some of the officers named but were unsuccessful in getting replies. >> mary, thanks very much. we listened to president obama's speech and we thought we heard a swipe at newt gingrich's remarks. we'll talk with that valerie jarrett here in "the situation room." returning to damascus amid a brutal crackdown. what's going on? we'll tell you what we know.
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prds obama laid out his vision of a nation where the middle class gets its fair share, drawing a sharp line between his approach and that of his critics, we're joined by valerie jarrett, the senior adviser to the president. she's joining us from the briefing room. valerie, thanks very much for coming in. >> my pleasure, wolf, good evening. >> here's a line that jumped out at me when i heard the president say it. let me play it for you and our viewers. >> would we allow our citizens and children to work ungodly hours in conditions that were unsafe and unsanitary? >> was that a swipe at newt gingrich who in recent days has
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said maybe child labor laws should be changed so that young kids in poor neighborhoods could work as janitor's helpers if you will? >> it wasn't a swipe. it was an opportunity to remind the american people, give it historical context for where we are as a country and where we want to go. there's nothing i think better than to look at history to say that over 100 years ago, president teddy roosevelt gave a bold speech by the pif ol at choices and the president wanted to do the same thing, talk about fairness and talk about the american dream, really coming true for everybody. we've seen increasing disparty between their incomes and the investments have grown dramatically and the rest of the country is struggling. historical context for that, wolf. >> it was a coincidence, he wasn't thinking of newt gingrich in his controversial remarks?
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certainly generated a lot of commotion over the past few days. >> i assure you he was not. i think that if you listen closely and read the speech it was a terrific speed that teddy roosevelt gave. he talked about the importance of the eight-hour workweek and minimum wages for women, talked about making sure that we have unemployment insurance, the safety net that makes our country so great and that is so important and distinguishes us from countries all across the world. this is the choice the american people have before them. and the president wanted to stake out his vision for the country and take a step back and remind us of the fact that that vision is really grounded in our roots and history. >> newt gingrich calls president obama the food stamp president and says this, i'll play this little clip from the former speaker. >> more people have gotten on food stamps under barack obama than any other president in american history. >> when he calls him the food stamp president, do you see that
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as an insult? >> look, i can't really comment on what newt gingrich is thinking. what i can say is our country has gone through a very tough time. the toughest time since the last great depression. what's been very important is that we provide that safety net, whether unemployment insurance or it's food stamps or making sure that those who are most vulnerable have a bridge through these difficult things, that's why the president is fighting so hard for american jobs act. the payroll tax currently being debated before congress, if it isn't extended, every family on average is going to have $1,000 less in their pocket. at a time when the republicans are taking a pledge, saying they don't believe in raising taxes on the wealthy to help pay for benefits for the rest but they are willing to raise taxes on the middle class, they are willing to say on january 1 that you're going to have $1,000 less to pay for food and groceries and your rent and so many of the basics that the american people are struggling so hard for right
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this minute. so i think today was a great opportunity to take a step back and remind us about what makes america so great. >> if the republicans hold firmly to their position, not going to raise taxes on millionaires and there's every indication they will hold firmly to this. what is plan b in making sure that millions, tens much millions of americans continue to have that payroll tax cut, $1,000, $1500 a year which they desperately need. are you going to make a concession and say, already, we're not going to raise taxes on the rich? >> this is a matter of math. how do you pay for it? what the president has said, we need to have a fiscally responsible plan. everything in the american jobs act had a way for paying for it. it was a modest increase on the wealthiest americans in order so that everybody else could have extra money in their pocket during these tough economic times. that's the president's plan.
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what we're going to do between now and the end of the year. we're going to push very hard and ask the american people to get educated and understand what's at stake here and what the president has called on is for congress to act. that's what we expect them to do. otherwise and that's why we have the clock up here in the white house, time is wasting come january 1, average americans are going to lose $1,000. that is unacceptable. >> here's an idea. it's not oornriginal to me. you want to pay for tax cuts for the middle class, how about slowing down $2 billion a week going to afghanistan, more than $120 billion a year? you could pay for the tax cut simply by doing that. >> we're going to leave it to the experts to figure out the resources we need to fight a war against terrorism, to fight al qaeda and make sure we keep america safe. but i think if you go around the country as we have, wolf, and talk directly to the american people, they are looking for fairness and equity. they are looking for balance.
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and i think it isn't asking too much for those who have been benefited so greatly for our country to pay just a little bit more so that people who will go out and spend that $1,000 and jolt the economy, which will help not just themselves but help the economy overall, why not allocate our resources that way? the president has taken his message directly to the american people, overwhelmingly they support the american jobs act and overwhelmingly calling not just wolf for the extension of the payroll tax credit, but also the unemployment which will also lapse come january 1. two vitally important benefits to make us strong again. >> valerie jarrett thanks for coming in. >> have a good evening. >> the u.s. ambassador of syria is returning to damascus. the message the united states want to send by sending back robert ford to damascus. so you can focus on what really matters.
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an investigation into the worse u.s. mine disaster in 40 years. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. >> today the federal agency in charge of mine safety released a scathing report on the deadly disaster at west virginia's upper big branch coal mine. it says last year's massive explosion happened after methane ignited a dangerous buildup of coal dust. the report blames mine operators for creating unsafe conditions and repeatedly violating numerous federal safety laws. mine owners will pay $209 million settlement to avoid prosecution. and families of the 29 miners will get a $1.5 million each. robert ford headed back to damascus today after leaving in october over security concerns. ford's outspoken criticism of serious anti-democracy crackdown angered the regime and
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government supporters attacked the embassy and ford's convoy. they say it sends the message that the u.s. sends in solid dart with the syrian people. yesterday we told you how u.s. built toyota camries are being exported to south korea. now chop sticks. an american businessman in zwrornlg georgia is producing 4 million sets every week and every single one is being set to china and japan and business is so good that it is said to expand 800 employees next week. he's doing very well, helping our trade deficit. >> unusual about those georgia chopsticks, are they exclusive? >> i'm guessing but i bet in china and japan, it's probably the exclusive thing to have the u.s.-made one. everyone likes what they can't get. >> georgia chopsticks. >> i'll get a pair for you.
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>> please. >> newt gingrich is the surging republican presidential front-runner, the house speaker of the '90s. are they the same person? stand by. e. yeah, this is good. vamanos. vamanos. vamanos. gracias. gracias. gracias. ♪ trece horas en el carro sin parar y no traes musica. mira entra y comprame unas papitas. [ male announcer ] get up to 795 miles per tank in the all-new passat tdi clean diesel. the 2012 motor trend car of the year. ♪
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fueling newt gingrich's momentum at the front of the republican presidential pack. let's get more. thank very much for coming in. what is your biggest problem with newt gingrich? >> i like this newt gingrich that with have seen over the past few weeks, this gutsy debater and public speaker, there's vastly more to newt gingrich. if you look at his speakership in the 1990s he was a deadvicive bomb bass tick figure. plagued with scandal and intrigue, there was a coup do depose him. if we're going to nominate him to be the nominee, we have to come to terms with the fact that newtwise very unpopular. if we're going to beat barack obama, let's be honest, if even he's unpopular, the american
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people ultimately want to like barack obama. and i worry that with the two faces of newt, the american people won't have that same view mu of the former speaker. >> you have issues with mitt romney, what are your biggest problems with the other republican front-runner shall we call him? >> exactly. like terry, i think mitt romney comes across in a nice way but i'm not quite sure when he goes on the campaign trail and he says really great conservative things, sometimes, but we never exactly know which mitt romney is speaking. and he touts his small business record and he acts as though he's a champion of the economy, except when he was governor of massachusetts, he left his predecessor with a budget deficit of about a billion dollars and that's huge. not to mention, he increased taxes in massachusetts by way of fees on some services that massachusetts residents couldn't get away from. there's a lot of differences between what he says and what he
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has. >> i want to distinguish. i'm not here to attack one or the other of these candidates, that seemed to me a direct attack on mitt romney. i think this exercise -- >> i'm pointing out his record. >> you're a surrogate for someone but in this case -- >> i'm actually an independent. >> whoever we nominate, whoever we nominate will have to bring real bona fide leadership credentials to the table. in the case of the speaker, he was the angry foil to bill clinton in the '90s and it was very easy to paint him into a corner. i have read the clip and see that newt gingrich has successfully demonstrated that he has changed. if the republicans are going to be united behind the right candidate, first of all, i think both of pretty conservative, they have to overcome not just differences in policies but that ability to be electable and beat barack obama. that's one of the things that is
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to newt's disadvantage in my view, not his policies or the ways he's taken positions on the issues. >> i have to defend myself against what mr. holt said, i take offense at him suggesting that pointing out mitt romney's record which is public is somehow an attack on a candidate. if we don't vet the candidates by pointing out the obvious facts, why are we having an election? >> i think it's about -- >> i thnk they should get into a different industry. politics is about vetting candidates, politics is about seeing who wins and whichever candidate wins that agenda gets to go forward. grass roots conservatives have every right to question not just the top tier candidates but all candidates. and i think certain republicans need to get over it. it won't stop any time soon. >> i'm not questioning the grass roots abilities to vet the candidates. my point is all of us can be united in trying to elect someone as an alternative, a
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conservative alternative to barack obama. he has some distinct political advantages that we need to be weary of as we choose our nominee. >> dana, who is the bigger flip-flopper because both of them have been accused of flip-flopping on so many issues, newt gingrich or mitt romney? >> you know, it's -- i look at it this way, i'm all about redemption too. i think both of them have a lot of waffling in their background and it's important when someone does be redemtive of past regregss, we should welcome them. we're here to change hearts and minds. when they agree with us, that should be celebrated. that being said, you want to make sure it's genuine as well. a lot of grass roots think that mitt romney is a giant flip-flopper. i'm more concerned about some of the things personally for me that mitt romney has done while he was governor of massachusetts. those things weigh heavily on my
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mind. >> it sounds to me, terry, you're more convinced that mitt romney would be a more for formidable challenging to barack obama than newt gingrich? >> he's certainly run a very focused and disciplined campaign. he presents a positive outlook on the world. and generally speaking, republicans unite behind that. we need somebody we can unite behind. i fully understand that this is newt's turn in the spotlight to be the alternative to mr. romney. but in this case, again, we have to vet him just like we fully vetted mitt romney. and it's a difficult process but at the end of the day, it's really about us putting our best candidate forward. ultimately i think that both of them are very conservativconser conservative enough to get electeded in this 2012 election season. >> i'll be speaking tomorrow -- dana, we've got to go. i want to remind our viewers,
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newt gingrich and rick perry will be here. i'm speak to both of them tomorrow in "the situation room."
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. jack's back.
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>> now that herman cain's out of the race, who else should drop out? tanya writes now that mr. cain has come to his senses by his choice or otherwise, it's time that others do the same. america needs to get the real task of looking at remaining gop candidates who have viable and have something to offer the country and not the other way around. to this enit is now time for michele bachmann and rick santorum to step down and out. brad in portland, i think they should all drop out except michele bachmann, she'll be entertaining when she tries to debate obama. bob writes, i think the country would be able to survive about obama dropped out. rick in florida, i guess first john huntsman, he can't raise money. rick santorum, our faith savior, he must like touring the united states on someone else's dime. lastly our $2 a gallon gas lady, michele bachmann. i think come january 3rd she might get one of nose migraines. if you have an r next to your name, drop out.
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dave says, all of them except john huntsman and ron paul. the republican party's become so bizarre, it isn't even a caricature of itself, it's a frightening thing to be a real republican these days. i know, i am one. m writes, end the sideshow? we've got 11 months of great comedy coming up. go to my blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile or through our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. >> thank you, jack. renowned chorus breaks into song with a medley of tweets. jeanne moos is next. ( phone ringing ) okay... uhh. the bad news, it's probably totaled. the good news is, you don't have to pay your deductible. with vanishing deductible from nationwide insurance, you got $100 off for every year of safe driving, so now your deductible is zero. the other good news ? i held on to your coffee. wow. ♪ nationwide is on your side
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( laughing ) it's actually a pretty good day when you consider. that's great.
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[♪...] >> announcer: now get a $250 airfare credit, plus save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. certain restrictions apply. it was an awkward moment you saw it up on capitol hill, the capitol christmas tree lit, the speak of the house lit it it goes dark, they lost power, obviously at the christmas tree. you see the beautiful shot of the capitol dome. it's lit just for a few minutes but the grinch got his hands on that christmas tree for a few minutes. power is back. if you're visiting washington,
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you'll see that christmas tree. we'll try to get a shot of what it looks like now. mean while, twitter is giving a philharmonic chorus in canada something to sing about this season along with new tips for staying warm. here's jeanne moos. >> reporter: imagine your pathetic little tweet sung by a majestic 120-member chorus stoet. ♪ >> we decide to ask people how to stay warm in a calgary winter. >> reporter: a chorus sang the tweeted tips to one of most dramatic pieces of music ever. ♪ try hot yoga or a nose hat or black silk ♪ ♪ long underwear >> reporter: do people put their clothes in the dryer to warm then up before they go out? >> of course. ♪ clothes in dryer
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set the timer ♪ ♪ hop into a warm outfit >> reporter: the chorus did this to promote the canadien city of calgary. it's not first time it's gotten new lyrics. ♪ it's a big ad for carlton draughh ♪ ♪ it's just so feicking huge >> reporter: helping wash down one of most popular tweets done sung by the calgary chorus. ♪ gravy action on my cheese >> reporter: some of the tweets require translation from the canadien. >> it's a french-canadien delicacy of fries with cheese on top and then gravy on top of that. >> reporter: tweeted tips on how to stay warm are nice, but someone posted, they should do this with kanye west or snooki tweets. kanye west have already been done on jimmy kimmel's show ♪ can we please toast
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to the [ bleep ] bags♪ ♪ fur pillows our hard to actually sleep on♪ >> reporter: so are snooki's tweets. ♪ love my tattoos i'm a bad [ bleep ] today is so a cuddle day♪ >> reporter: even sarah palin had her tweeted performed by william shatner on conan's old show. >> consistent rain reminds us, no rain? no rainbow. >> reporter: delivered soulfully almost any tweet will have you -- >> lmao. >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn. ♪ french fries >> reporter: new york. >> we leave you with a beautiful shot. there it is. the capitol christmas tree, well lit right now, went out fora

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