tv The Situation Room CNN October 18, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT
approximately 50 cards out of 2 million and the error has since been corrected. thanks so much for being with me here. here we go, 19 days until election day. wolf blitzer is all over politics. everything else happening here. thanks so much for being with me. let's go to wolf blitzer in washington. hey, wolf. thanks very much. happening now, the presidential candidates' wives make a pitch to a vital block of undecided voters, women. we're getting new details now about the man accused of plotting to bomb the new york building that holds more gold than ft. knox. and a reason to take the window seat. we have the amazing story this hour of how an airline passenger -- or a few passengers, spotted and helped save a man who had been stranded at sea for nine days. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
president obama and mitt romney, they get together once again tonight but very differently. they won't be debating. they'll be going for laughs, telling jokes at the catholic archdiocese of new york's l. smith dinner. it's their wives turns to get serious on this day hoping to reach out to undecided women voters, michelle obama taped an appearance for friday's edition for "live" with kelly and michael and ann romney visited the ladies of "the view" this morning. jim acosta is joining us from new york with more. jim. >> reporter: wolf, while mitt romney was preparing for his third and final face-off with president obama, arguably his best political weapon was taking to the air waves trying to get her husband's campaign out of a bind with women. supporters have long called mitt romney mr. fix-it.
but on this day it was ann romney on "the view" playing the role of mrs. fix-it. >> i would say 95% of what i hear from women is help. please help. >> economic help you're talking about. >> absolutely. >> reporter: repairing some of the damage from her husband's awkward response on a question for pay equity for women at this week's debate. >> i went to a number of womens groups and said can you help us find folks and they brought us whole binders full of women. >> reporter: the obama campaign instantly saw an opening to press romney on women's issues. namely abortion rights. when mrs. romney was asked about her husband's evolving position on the issue -- >> mitt has always been a pro-life person. he governed when he ran as pro-choice. she argued there is more at stake in the election. >> if it's about economic issues and making a better future for your children and making sure that we have this. that's the beauty of what we have in this country is being able to have those choices. >> reporter: but according to a new usa today gallup poll, women
in battleground states cited abortion as their most important issue followed by jobs. contrast that with men who picked jobs first, the economy second. the obama campaign released an ad earlier this week that accused the president of mitt characterizing the gop contender's stance on the issue. >> turns out romney doesn't oppose contraception at all. in fact, he thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother's life. >> reporter: the obama campaign fired back with its own spot. >> seeing this from mitt romney. >> if row v. wade was overturned, congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and came to your desk, would you sign it? >> let me say it, i'd be glad to sign it. >> reporter: democrats warn the fate of row versus wade could well be determined by the next president as four supreme court justices including ruth bader
ginsburg are in their 70s. >> god willing next year i will turn 80. >> after these debates do you have any doubt who they will likely appoint to the supreme court of the united states? how much chance do you think row v. wade will survive after four years of a romney supreme court? >> reporter: but tonight it is the husbands' turn. later on this evening mitt romney and president obama are scheduled to appear at the al smith dinner. that's a benefit hosted by the archdiocese of new york. it's typically a light hearted affair where the politicians set aside their verbal jabs and try their punch lines instead. we'll have to see how both do later on this evening. >> remember, i saw the tape earlier today. remember from four years ago when then the candidates john mccain and barack obama they were at that dinner. they were both hilarious. any inside word on how mitt romney is preparing for some of the laughs tonight? >> reporter: funny you should ask, wolf. as you recall yesterday dennis
miller, you'll recall he was the funny man on weekend update on "saturday night live." he was campaigning with mitt romney across virginia yesterday. so i asked the romney campaign, is dennis miller helping mitt romney work on some of his jokes later on this evening? i was told no, that a rough draft was already in the works yesterday and that dennis miller was not contributing although he did fire off some one-liners at the obama campaign as expected yesterday, wolf. >> we will have live coverage of both of these men, both of these candidates, during the 9:00 p.m. eastern hour later tonight on piers morgan tonight. both presidential candidates, they'll be telling some jokes. thanks so much, jim acosta, for that. president obama may be trading some jokes with mitt romney later tonight, but he was pounding away at him earlier this afternoon in new hampshire and getting some high profile help from former president bill clinton and bruce springsteen in another battleground state, we're talking about ohio. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is in new hampshire right now,
that's where the president's been campaigning today. what's going on, jessica? >> reporter: hi, wolf. the last polling here showed it all tied up in the state of new hampshire. so the obama campaign made a swing here because they say they're taking nothing for granted. an energized president obama was tossing off quips all day thursday. >> you've heard of the new deal. you've heard of the square deal and the fair deal. mitt romney's trying to sell you a sketchy deal. he took another swing at it and he whiffed. >> reporter: trying to build momentum, the campaign is hitting the battleground states including tiny new hampshire. there are just four electoral votes to be won here in new hampshire, why is it frankly worth the president's time to be here? >> well, this is a battleground state. i was governor here in 2000 when if al gore had had the four electoral votes in new hampshire he would have been president. >> reporter: so the obama camp is fanning out. the president's number two
stumping for six electoral votes in nevada. >> as the president said the day after the debate, romney's plans were awful sketchy. sketchy. well, folks, i don't think they were just sketchy. i think they were etch-a-sketchy. >> reporter: and two marquee names wooing 18 electoral votes in ohio. the explainer in chief was the warm-up act for the boss. >> as i was born in the usa, and unlike one of the candidates for president, i keep all my money here. >> i'm thankful gm is still making cars. what else would i write about? i'd have no job without that. >> reporter: the focus on women voters remains intense. >> we don't have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women who can learn and excel in these
fields right now. >> reporter: the obama campaign released a new ad hitting governor mitt romney on abortion. >> if row v. wade was overturned, congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it, yes or no? >> let me say it, i'd be delighted to sign that bill. >> banning all abortions -- >> reporter: but the ad doesn't say it all. here's the governor's full answer. >> i'd be delighted to sign that bill. but that's not where we are. that's not america today. where america is is to overturn row v. wade and return that authority to the state. but if congress got there, we had that kind of consensus in the country, terrific. >> reporter: now, wolf, as you saw earlier, that ad itself was a response to one governor romney put out defending his own decisions on contraception and reproduction. bottom line the candidates in the final weeks are gunning hard to get women voters on their team. they seem to believe and polling is showing women voters could decide this thing, wolf.
>> so he's going to tell jokes later tonight at this al smith dinner, jessica. and he's also taping an episode with john stewart on "the daily show," that's what he's doing in new york right now? >> reporter: that's right. the president is in new york. he's taped with jon stewart. i think this is his sixth appearance on the stewart show. his second since he's been in office. they seem to have a pretty good rapport, but sometimes he gets a little serious. john stewart can ask him some pointed questions about politics and policy. and then he's going to make more jokes at the al smith dinner later tonight. day full of quips for president obama. >> we'll see how funny he is, how biting and we'll see how finny and biting mitt romney is. we'll have coverage 9:00 p.m. eastern later tonight. president obama was in ohio just yesterday. he'll be back on tuesday, the day after his third and final debate with mitt romney.
our chief national correspondent john king is in ohio, happens to be in cincinnati right now. john, you visited one of the most important swing counties in one of the most important swing states if not the most important swing state. we're talking about ohio. what are you seeing, what are you hearing? >> reporter: wolf, i came to get a look at early voting here -- [ technical difficulties ] president obama carried it with 53%, he went onto win the state and of course he won the white house. if you go back to 2004, hamilton county is red, same as in 2000. george w. bush carry thd county and carried this state. and went on to the white house. early voting is critical for the president to win hamilton county, again, he needs another huge turnout among african-americans. so they're distributing these brochur brochures. everything you need to vote early. it was a big part of the obama campaign back -- but republican intensity is also up this time
in 2012. i asked the director of the board of elections if either side had an edge so far in the early voting. >> the numbers at this point though there are more republican ballots rather than democrat, but clearly the overwhelming number is the nonpartisans, the independents. >> reporter: and four years ago? >> it was probably about equal. >> reporter: about equal. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: does it tell you anything? does the early voting tell you anything about what the results will be on election day? >> doesn't tell me anything because that's not my concern as to who wins. at this point as an elections official i'm just concerned about this process being smooth, access to the ballot box for all voters and being sure that when these ballots are returned they're handled properly, they're stored in a double locked secured room. and then of course tabulation on election night and getting results out as quickly as possible. >> reporter: when you show up at the location, the lines are not as long as they were back in
2008, but you ask those in line who they're going to vote for, it's overwhelmingly for president obama. but you heard her saying republicans are at least equal in terms of requesting those ballots. the key question is how good are the campaigns at making sure people fill them out and then turn them in? >> john king doing some on the ground reporting in ohio for us. john, we'll stay in close touch with you. we're learning new and disturbing details right now about the man accused of plotting to blow up the federal reserve building. when you take a closer look... ...at the best schools in the world... ...you see they all have something very interesting in common. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects. as a result, their students achieve at a higher level.
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jobless numbers taking a roller coaster ride. lisa sylvester's here. she's monitoring this and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what a ride it has been, lisa. >> certainly true, wolf. the labor department cited a huge spike in people requesting unemployment benefits for the first time last week just after hitting a four-year low of 342,000 jobless claims the week before. 388,000 people filed for the benefits. and it's a tough to say what a sudden jump like this means, but the four-week average suggests layoffs remain low though it doesn't mean hiring has necessarily picked up. and it is the end of an era for the news magazine "newsweek." its editor and chief will announce the magazine will shift to online publication only next year doing away with the print version after 80 years.
the growing use of tablet combined with the 70% drop in print advertising forced the decision. the final issue will be the december 31st issue. you can save $500 more a year for retirement tax deferred. starting next year the internal revenue service is raising the contribution limit from 401(k)s from $17,000 to $17,500. it's the second year in a row it's been raised. puppies aren't only cuddly, they're also a great source of heat. officials believe a 10-year-old boy in alabama used his puppies to keep warm overnight after he went missing for 15 hours. he has down syndrome and vanished when he followed his dogs into the woods. searchers found him without shoes on about a mile away from his home. the good news is that he is okay. you can see him there he was a little cold, but what a great story. we're so happy the way things turned out. yes, the puppies kept him warm overnight. >> good for the puppies. thanks, lisa. thanks very much.
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(train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. relatives of the man accused of plotting to blow up the federal reserve bank in new york city say he was set up. authorities say the man's goal was simply and i'm quoting these authorities now "to destroy america." his arrest came after an fbi sting operation. cnn's national correspondent susan candiotti is joining us from new york with more. susan, you shared most of the details yesterday, but you're learning more. >> reporter: that's right. we're getting two entirely different views of who this man is. not surprisingly prosecutors say he was a man bent on doing the
most damage he could to america while his family says that authorities have it all wrong. who's the real quazi nafis? >> from the complaints, it's alleged that his attempt was to launch a devastating attack here in new york city to destroy a building, to kill men, women and children. >> reporter: his family in bangladesh paints a completely different picture. it's simply not possible, his sister says, that he did this. we think it's impossible that it was him and that he's being made a victim here. maybe he's being set up by somebody. using a valid student visa, the 21-year-old was majoring in cyber security for one semester at a college in missouri where one fellow student remembers giving him rides to class and getting a quran in return. >> he's not an evil person, but
this is such an evil thing -- i can't -- i'm just stumped. >> reporter: investigators say nafis abruptly moves over the summer to attend a business school. prosecutors say nafis has other business in mind using facebook and social media he unknowingly hooked up with undercover fbi agents in july who he thought would help him launch an attack on the federal reserve, a landmark and the world's largest holder of gold bouillon. and of course, wolf, as we told you all this culminated in what went down yesterday in this alleged plot when we are told that the suspect in this case drove a van with an undercover agent unwittingly with him in that van all the way down to the federal reserve. but first before he tried to detonate this fake bomb, he made a video that had a message saying that he would never give up, that the idea here is victory or martyrdom.
when he tried to detonate with a cell phone and it didn't work, that's when the fbi moved in and arrested him. we're also learning more today about the state department and the student visa that this man had. he was here legally in the united states. and in fact he did all the right things, all the right information was given from the one college in missouri to another school here in new york, a business school. and he had just started classes here a couple weeks ago here in new york at a business school when this alleged plot finally unravelled. wolf. >> the authorities say he was inspired by anwar -- the al qaeda leader, the american-born al qaeda leader killed by the united states in that drone strike. >> that's right. >> is that consistent with what you're hearing? >> it is. not only was he a devotee of anwar but also osama bin laden which of course most terror experts say both of these men live on and are continuing to
urge people to follow their beliefs. in fact, they have a lot of followers who are still evidently doing this. wolf, this is at least the 15th attempted attack on new york city since 9/11. >> and the point that they make in this videotape that he left that he thought he would be leaving behind he wanted to go back to bangladesh he said one more time to say good-bye in effect to his family. but on this videotape he said he wanted to destroy america's economic power just like those 19 hijackers who went into the world trade center. he wanted to destroy the federal reserve bank in america because he thought that would break america's economic power all consistent with al qaeda missions. >> exactly. again, they continued to see many of these alleged terrorists attack the financial center of the united states. and that of course centered right here in new york city, those are just targets they like to go after time and again. certainly this is more evidence of that. >> susan candiotti all over this
story. thank you. it's a safe bet that the federal reserve bank of new york isn't anywhere near the top of many tourists must-see lists for a visit to new york city. so why would this potential terrorist be interested as we've been reporting just like the world trade center, it's a symbol of the united states' economic power. consider this, the new york fed holds about 15 million pounds of gold, that's more than exists at ft. knox. it's also the world's largest accumulation of gold. and most of it belongs to some 36 governments and central banks and international organizations. it isn't easy to get to the gold bars. they're stored in a vault 80 feet below street level. entry is through a ten-foot passageway cut in a steel cylinder that revolves in a steel and concrete frame. there are countless issues on which to base your vote, but do celebrity endorsements make any difference at all? standby. home of the legendary grand prix circuit. the perfect place to bring the all-new cadillac ats
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never mind the big issues, the big names are staking a stand in the presidential election. here is a quick snapshot. >> there seems to be this contest between democrats and republicans to get the best celebrity support. >> dennis miller committing to the romney cause in a big way. >> don't you have friends who talk about their vote for obama now in much the same tone they used when they told you they took an ambien and woke up naked outside? >> the obama campaign is counting on big names like springsteen. >> let's vote for the man who got osama. tuesday romney was schooled by obama. ♪ >> let's go straight to our kate bolduan. she's got an excellent unsolicited advice panel, kate.
>> i'm taking over unsolicited today. >> good. >> thank you, wolf. what better a panel to talk about celebrity endorsements than these beautiful celebrity politicos. hello, everyone. it's all that matters sometimes. exactly. celebrity endorsements, they come around every election cycle, some election cycles more than others. but i think we can all agree a celebrity endorsement does not make or break a campaign. but, ana, how important are they? what good can they do? they've got to offer some good or campaigns wouldn't look for them. >> they can do a lot of good. >> exactly. >> they can do a lot of financial good. they also provide entertainment. listen, listening to these speeches day after day, the same stump speech, you got bruce springsteen, some celebrity out there, it becomes very entertaining. i'm going to make a confession here, i went to the democrat convention for the first time this year, and i got to admit i got celebrity envy. >> what about clint eastwood? come on.
i was about to say something positive about the springsteen endorsement because i think springsteen is kind of a unique figure in that he does -- he crosses the political and artistic in certain ways. it's sort of like ralph nader stumping for obama. sort of the inspire -- but that clip, it was a little painful. >> so springsteen was out today along with president clinton which had some people suggesting to me if you're bringing out clinton and springsteen together in ohio, does that mean the president's nervous about ohio? they had to really bring out the big guns today. >> of course he's nervous about ohio because you win ohio, you win the election. here's what i think about celebrities. they do something special, that is to energize your base. you get people to show up that maybe necessarily wouldn't have showed up and you get them to volunteer to get on the phones to put up signs. and the second thing it does is it gets people there who aren't really interested in politics. and while they're there you get them to register to vote.
you remind them when they can vote and how to vote. so it builds some excitement. but i don't think a persuadable voter decides who they're going to vote for because the person they watch on television or the music they listen to happens to want to vote for somebody else. >> i got to tell you for a chance at dinner with george clooney -- >> i'll call george. >> do you hear that? all we have to do is call george. >> notice, i'm solemn, because i think we would fight over george clooney. first of all, i think the more the better. in addition to all the great things that my colleagues just said, they boost the morale of the staff. on the campaign trail for two years, eating pizza, staying in hotels, away from your family. and all of a sudden jon bon jovi shows up and you're like, oh, i still have a pulse. they bring added value to the campaign especially to the staff. and those closing days of the campaign just seeing denzel
washington right now, i would go out and work overtime. >> it's a fine line, don't you think? >> that's what i was going to ask. does the caliber of the celebrity matter? >> the caliber matters but i think it's good mostly except when bruce springsteen is doing a concert about obama. like wait, why is this clueless hollywood actor -- but the exception is the lindsay lohan endorsement of mitt romney. we're in the stage of a campaign where you need low information voters to go your way. >> that's what celebrities also help with. >> the fact -- i think lindsay lohan is the classic low information voter and the fact romney got her endorsement is a good sign for him. i'm only half kidding. >> there is somewhat of a liability here. and it's that right now we are in a recession. we know that celebrities are at a much higher pay rate than most americans. and so while, you know, unemployment numbers and bad economic numbers are coming out, we're seeing these fancy
glamorous beautiful events, whether it's concerts on fund raising events at beyonce house -- >> that's fund raising. that's another issue. but these rallies, it's about the base, it's about registering people to vote. >> let me ask you why fund raising matters. we have seen celebrities be very active this season in fund raising for their candidate. >> but that's a different venue. that isn't these rallies that we're doing now. that's a different venue where you bring other rich people to write $20,000 checks. >> but if you spend $15,000 on a springsteen cd and get an opportunity to go listen to him for free, that's added value as well. >> talk about the flip side, we are kind of alluding to it, when can an endorsement backfire? for example, romney does have -- maybe not as many a-listers but he does have some a-listers. the ted nugent for example, his comments were not good.
>> right. republicans are more likely to get b, c and d list celebrities and then it's like, oh, you're trouting out ted nugent because you can't get bruce springsteen. the danger is the opposite, you get too many and it's like those hollywood liberals telling us how to vote. so democrats have to be careful -- >> i don't think there's a danger for democrats. and i'll tell you why. they can say whatever they want. democrat celebrities can say whatever they want as we see through bill mahr who gave $1 million to the pro-obama pac and they don't get the scrutiny for it, they don't pay the price. >> easy cowgirl. we watched ann culter say crazy stuff every week. >> she's not a celebrity. >> she is -- what do you call it? >> bruce springsteen, ann colter? ann colter is political -- >> we don't know. >> donna, let me ask you this -- >> her time and her talent, she's given him more than a million dollars. >> she's given more.
>> managing al gore's campaign, do you seek out celebrity endorsements? >> absolutely. we had volunteers, some in new york, in chicago, seeking out celebrity endorsement and support. especially the last couple weeks you want fly around and people to energize the base and get out and volt and vote early. celebrities as far as i'm concerned the more the merrier. >> the last election they did -- some celebrities did some terrific videos i think that were helpful so get out the vote for the youth in particular. >> that was a big part -- >> lindsay lohan, charlie sheen, there will be some that the candidate would say, not so much. >> you don't think president obama was excited when he got the honey boo boo endorsement? >> yes, he was. because that brought another demographic to the team. >> that's true. when you look at the ratings, they're doing pretty well. >> they got just about every demographic right now. >> anderson cooper watches honey boo boo he said. >> that man, i don't know how he has time to absorb all the
information he does. my political celebrities -- standby, up next this group will offer unsolicited advice to unsuspecting targets. i can't wait for that. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] start with nothing, build a ground-breaking car. good. now build a time machine. go here, find someone who can build a futuristic dash board display. bring future guy back. watch him build a tft display like nothing you've ever seen. get him to explain exactly what that is. the thin film transistor display... [ male announcer ] mmm, maybe not. just show it. customize the dash, give it park assist. the fuel efficiency flower thing. send future guy home, his work here is done. destroy time machine. win some awards, send in brady. that's how you do it. easy. a short word that's a tall order. up your game. up the ante. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim.
welcome back. let's get right back to our unsolicited advice panel. and to offer our unsolicited advice, you may not have asked but we shall provide nonetheless. governor, we'll start with you. >> well, i'm walking into some very dangerous territory given the panel we have here today. i'm going to give unsolicited advice to women. >> you better be careful. you're sitting next to a strong one. >> in 1916 the first woman was elected to congress. a woman by the name of je net
rankin from montana. >> that's correct. >> she went to congress and the first thing she did was vote against a crazy world war i. now we have a couple presidential candidates and people all over america saying i want to represent women. women, run for office, be our leaders. you don't need the middleman. you need to run for office. >> with the majority of voters in this country and majority of citizens i absolutely agree. we have more women, a record number of women running for the house and senate. >> still not enough, i think everyone would agree. >> women are better negotiators. >> a republican woman president. >> i mean one of the big shifts over the last five or ten years has been that there are more female candidates in general. but there are also more female republican candidates. in fact, there were a couple primaries in 2010 where if the female candidate had won, particularly in colorado, i think there would be more female senators right now. so it's advice for both parties i think. >> at the end of a campaign you'll find much more undecided voters among women. because women will say i'm still
making up my mind. i'm still learning more. >> it's called -- >> men, we say i don't know a thing about it but i already made up my mind. >> it's called reserving our right to change our mind. >> that's it. >> and it comes with our birthright. >> one thing that comes up because both candidates are going so hard to try to win over the female vote, are they breaking any new ground? or are we re-treading issues candidates bring up trying to win women voters? >> i think playing the card harder in this election than any other time in my lifetime. >> you do? >> yeah. i think this is the democrat's pat buchanan moment where in 1992 republicans talking culture war when the republicans wanted to talk about the economy. now that is reversed. >> health care for women, no longer pre-existing condition, that is also talking about the economy. so when you talk about equal pay, that's talking about the economy. these are very important issues. i wouldn't segregate them as being women issues, family
issues as well. >> as a result of a very long and difficult republican primary. the truth is it was a difficult process and we gave them a lot of fodder. >> all right. ana, how about your advice? >> my unsolicited advice is to the supporters of president obama and mitt romney. folks, let's lay off the moderators. president obama did not lose the first debate because of jim lehrer and i don't think -- the truth is these guys had an off night. president obama the first night and mitt romney the second time. i think we need to make sure they have a strong debate in the third one instead of blaming the moderators. >> i will interject only once here to say we are very proud of how candy crowley did. >> i'm proud of martha as well. >> once again, women, what can't they do? >> me, i can't cook. >> i can and i don't mind doing
it. >> if you drop the ball, then you blame the referee. >> yeah. >> that's what's happened here. both sides said, oh, it was the moderator. it wasn't the moderator. you have an opportunity to represent yourself. you've got 90 minutes, do your best. >> i would also say look to the campaigns and supporters, candy crowley was the first woman in 20 years to moderate a presidential campaign, we are chasing and courting the women vote, be careful with our words. >> i'll be quick because i know we're running short, but betters on intrait a site pundits like to frequent. right now 63% president obama chance to win, i still think obama's the favorite but massively overpriced at 63%. he hasn't led in a national poll in four or five days. i'm not sure if you can bet on in trade on this side of the continental united states, but if you're watching in brussels or tokyo, this is an opportunity -- >> we have a lot of viewers around the world. >> the europeans don't
understand what winning and losing is. what happens if mitt romney wins the popular vote but doesn't win the electoral college? >> there's a in trade bet for that as well. >> i would rather the other way around. >> that reminds me of 2000 campaign. no matter what i say i can't win. >> go ahead, donna. >> my advice is to residents, citizens living in all of these states voting early including in north carolina, if you have an opportunity to cast your ballot before halloween, please go out and vote. it's time to vote. and in north carolina and so many states across this country, in ohio voters will be able to vote the last weekend thanks to a federal judge said open that up. so i'm one of those proponents that believe that if you can get a chance to go and vote, go vote, go vote, go vote. >> early voting begins in florida october 27th. and absentees are already in the mail. >> absolutely. >> we're voting in montana, by the way, you can trick or treat at the governor's mansion in montana on halloween evening. so show up. >> so as we're waiting though someone i wanted to hear your one piece of advice for president obama and mitt romney
going into monday, the final debate. what can they do? one piece of advice. what can they do to win? >> well, it's an international debate -- >> foreign policy. >> talking about foreign policy. i would say, osama bin laden, osama bin laden, osama bin laden, something at the bottom of the ocean, bush tried for seven years, i got him. i think that would say a lot. >> i think you just let us hear your internal monologue. >> does it potentially offer risks for romney. >> they have to come very well prepared both of them. i think we saw that in the second debate. they also have to keep their answers succinct, short and to the point. we saw a little me andering from both of them. >> and the fighting over the rules and who has the word and the up and down. >> you haven't given us your unsolicited advice. >> president obama has been tough and decisive and shown real leadership on foreign policy. go in there with your a-game. >> have you noticed our moderator hasn't given us her
unsolicited advice. >> i'm going to keep it to myself this time. i'm going to keep my secrets this time and let you all spill them. wolf, from celebrities to foreign policy. >> doesn't get anything better than that for those of us that are political nerds. we love this kind of stuff. thank you very much. following a wave of rumors going on for several days that fidel castro had died, there's now a new sign that cuba's former communist leader may be very much alive. those surprising little things she does
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the tech giant accidentally announced its third quarter earnings about four hours early and missed analyst estimates on both sales and profit. google shares quickly fell 9% before trading was actually halted. when it resumed, google paired losses to about 8%. all three major indexes finished down on google's weaker than expected report. and fidel castro appears to be very much alive after releasing a message through the cuban state media. there's been speculation recently about the health of cuba's ex-leader. he hasn't been seen publicly since the meeting with pope e pope benedict in march though his oldest son says he's doing well. mentioned the 50th anniversary of the cuban missile crisis in that message. and the mars curiosity rover has discovered something, well, curious in the martian soil. nasa says the rover found shiny particles while digging in the soil. first scientists thought it was debris from the rover itself, but now they believe the
material is martian after finding even more of it on a second dig. nasa will now study a third sample. alex rodriguez did not start game four of the american league championship series this afternoon. the third time in the last five games. but big question, why? well, one reason has to be that he only has three hits in his last 23 at-bats as the yankees look to avoid elimination against the detroit tigers. i know you were sad when the nationals were eliminated. >> let's not talk about that. >> i know. sore subject. >> we're moving on. airline pilots love to tell passengers what they can see outside their windows. in the case of a rescue at sea, a captain had to ask passengers to look for something. lucky for one sailor they found it. bob... oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech.
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at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. here's a look at this hour's hot shots. in washington the marine one helicopter lifts off from the south lawn of the white house. in india a street vendor wanders there a market with brightly colored flower garlands. in afghanistan a young girl selling water looks for customers. and in germany meerkat having an afternoon of pumpkin at the zoo. hot shots, pictures coming in from around the world. rescues at sea don't come more incredible than this. a man was plucked from the ocean after his crippled boat was spotted by a passing airliner. cnn's michael holmes has the story. >> reporter: after nine days stranded at sea, this is the
moment of safety rescued in the middle of the night. the 44-year-old had sailed from sidney but soon hit by a freak storm, a huge wave rolling his boat and breaking the mast. >> show you when a wave picks you up and dumps you like that, it's very frightening. >> reporter: australian authorities began searching for glenn's missing yacht on tuesday after he activated his emergency beacon. they even asked for help from an air canada flight on its way to sydney. the captain of the plane called on his passengers to help. >> as we approached the area i made a p.a. announcement to the passengers. >> we'd really appreciate it if everyone could look out their window. >> please help us look for if you see anything. >> heart started beating a little bit faster. anything out of the ordinary on an international flight like that is a bit concerning. >> reporter: incredibly they spotted the yacht. >> almost immediately as we closed in on the area the first officer said, well i see what i think is the boat.
so we proceeded right over. it was almost exactly where they had told us it would be. >> reporter: the air canada crew called in the yacht's position and soon after glenn heard a rescue plane. >> it was absolutely wonderful. it's beautiful. >> reporter: glenn's worried parents were waiting for him when he stepped back on land early thursday morning. soon after glenn talked about his ordeal on australian television. he says he had no idea the passenger plane was key to his rescue. >> it's fabulous. i wasn't aware of any of this until this morning. i've actually spoken to some canadian people about it. >> we were happy when we found the boat the first time and we were really happy when we found this guy is alive. >> reporter: now that he's safe, glenn is in no rush to go back to sea. >> i'd be happy to sit at home for a while to be honest. >> reporter: michael holmes, cnn, atlanta. you're in "the situation room." happening now, americans working for a u.s. security contractor in afghanistan allegedly
partying it up big time. seemingly so drunk and drugged they could hardly speak. the shocking video just ahead. plus, some corporate ceos are warning their employees that a vote for president obama could mean losing their job. why what mitt romney's telling them might surprise you. and a tale of two ex-presidents. while bill clinton may be helping president obama on the campaign trail, others suggest george w. bush may be haunting mitt romney. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." only 19 days to go until the 2012 presidential election. and the pressure's certainly on both candidates in this
increasingly tight race. today president obama campaigned in new hampshire with its four electoral votes, it's one of a handful of swing states that will be absolutely critical come election day november 6th. joining us now for an update from the obama campaign, the campaign's traveling press secretary jennifer psaki. >> hi, wolf. >> thanks very much for coming in. >> my pleasure. >> i want to clean up one thing. vice president joe biden, he was out on the campaign trail today. he seemed to confuse on a couple lines iran with afghanistan. i'll play the little clip. i want you to clean it up for us. >> haven't been in and out of afghanistan or iraq over 20 times, my son having served a year in iraq, i want to tell you something, man, the sacrifices. how many of you know someone who served in iraq or iran? how many of you -- how many of you know someone who has been injured or lost in iraq and iran? >> clearly meant afghanistan, but he said iran.
he didn't fix it at the time, but i assume you want to fix it. >> well, clearly the vice president meant afghanistan. as you know his son is a veteran and he proudly served. the vice president is incredibly proud of that. and, you know, the president and the vice president were the only ticket who has a plan to wind down our presence in afghanistan. i don't think he got into that today but he certainly knows the difference between iran and afghanistan. >> when i heard that i thought, whoa, what's he talking about iran? i don't think we have any u.s. troops serving in iran right now. and beau biden, the attorney general of delaware did serve in iraq. >> he did, proudly. >> excellent job for the country as all u.s. troops are doing. let's get to some politics. wisconsin right now, all of us assumed at least a few weeks ago this was a done deal the president would easily carry wisconsin. now there's this new marquette law school poll showing likely voters in wisconsin, paul ryan's
home state, obama 49%, romney 48%, it's really, really tight. is that what your numbers are showing as well? >> well, wolf, we always knew wisconsin would be harder this year than it was four years ago. we won by 14 points four years ago. and the republicans have been trying to make a lot about the fact that paul ryan's a native son. he's been practically camped out there for weeks since he was named as the running mate. but we're going to compete there for every vote. we feel that the president's message of fighting for manufacturing jobs, fighting for the middle class is really going to resonate in wisconsin. we have a great ground game there in wisconsin. we feel it's going to be in the win column on election day. >> it seems to be tightening right now in michigan and pennsylvania as well. are you guys advertising -- is the campaign advertising in those two states? >> we are not. and i will tell you about pennsylvania. we have a 1.1 million person voter registration advantage in that state. the romney campaign has pulled staff out of that state to send
them to ohio and they're not spending a dime there. so it seems surprising that would be in a vulnerable category for us. we certainly don't see it as one that is. >> the romney campaign seems to be pretty confident about north carolina right now. in fact, we're getting word from north carolina they're starting to pull out some of their personnel, some of their campaign staff from north carolina thinking they're going to carry it and moving them to ohio, for example, a battleground state. what are you seeing in north carolina? >> well, north carolina, we have one of our best ground operations in the kunlt. they don't ask me for advise surprisingly the romney campaign. today is the first day of early vote. there have been lines around the block to vote for obama the first day of early vote. they have a narrow path to victory. it would be surprising if they were actually pulling out of the state. i mean pulling out because they're overconfident. it's a state we feel confident we can win. we're continuing to compete for
every single vote. >> here's probably what the most effective line that mitt romney used in the debate the other night against president obama. i'll play the clip because i want you to respond. >> we just can't afford four more years like the last four years. he said that by now we'd have unemployment at 5.4%. the difference between where it is and 5.4% is nine million americans without work. i wasn't the one that said 5.4%. this was the president's plan. didn't get there. >> all right. go ahead and respond to that. >> well, look, i don't know which quote he's referring to. but the facts are we've come a long way. but we have a long way to go. the president says that every single day on the campaign trail. what he knows is we can't afford to go back to the same policies that led us into this mess to begin with. president clinton made that argument out there on the trail today. we've had 5.2 million jobs created over the last 31 months. we're going in the right direction. but the question is, which path do you want to go from here?
and we think the president has a much better path for the middle class. >> one final question he also says romney the president promised he would cut the deficit in half but it's doubled every single year. how do you respond to that? >> well, the president's the only one who has a balanced $4 trillion plan to bring down the deficit. that includes revenue as well. we know revenue has to be a part of this package. mitt romney's first offering is a $5 trillion plan that he has no ability to pay for. so how can we take that seriously? we know we need to do more to bring down the deficit. we've made some progress. need to make more. but the question is, how are you going to do that? we haven't seen a serious proposal from the romney team. >> but if the romney folks and romney himself say that the national debt was $10 trillion when the president took office. it's $16 trillion right now, it's gone up dramatically every single year. how do you respond to that that the president has allowed this to go on?
>> well, look, you know, as you know because you've covered this closely, the president inherited a very difficult economic situation. we had to make some choices. we had to put in place the recovery act that helped reboot the economy. we had to save the auto industry which created a million jobs. we had to take tough steps. we're moving in the right direction. deficit reduction and doing it in a balanced way is absolutely a priority for the president. but if you're not willing to put tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires on the table, it's hard to take you seriously. and, you know, that's what we're going to keep conveying to the american people. >> you got less than three weeks to do it. jen psaki the traveling press secretary for the obama campaign. jen, thanks for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. great to be here. thank you. some corporate ceos are now wading into the battle for the white house. big-time warning, employees that a vote for president obama could actually cost them their job. lisa sylvester's joining us. she's got more on this story. lisa, what's going on? >> hi, wolf. this raises the question, can an employer tell his or her workers
how they should vote? and can that employer say not voting for a particular candidate could mean the loss of their jobs? employees of coke industries received a voter package this month included was a letter from the company's president, david robertson, warning that if there's a second obama term "many of our more than 50,000 u.s. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences including higher gasoline prices, run aiway inflation and unills." the ceo of westgate resort putting it bluntly, if any new taxes are levied on me or my company, i will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. and the head of the murray energy corporation blamed the obama administration for recent layoffs at his company. >> yes, ma'am. president obama is responsible entirely for the closure of that mine and the loss of those jobs. >> reporter: the liberal center for american progress calls
these charges and e-mails by ceos outrageous. >> you have the employer holding all the cards responsible for that person's job pressuring, really threatening their employee to vote a certain way. it's very undemocratic. >> reporter: but governor mitt romney speaking to independent business owners has urged them to carry onto win over votes. >> nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business. because i think that will figure in to their election decision. their voting decision. and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well. >> reporter: it is legal for a boss to tell an employee how he or she thinks their employees ought to vote. >> the courts would view this as just political speech and expression of political opinion. and frankly going back to, you know, the days when the founding fathers were writing the constitution, the one thing they really enshrined in that constitution was political free speech. >> reporter: but the e-mails
particularly the one from westgate have been criticized. david seeg l is a billionaire who gained notoriety for building the country's biggest house in florida, 90,000 square feet. that was the subject of the documentary. to say that he'll be forced to layoff employees if he has to pay more in taxes, that's a hard sell for some. >> you see someone who lives in a very large house, very opulent house, obviously very rich telling his employees, middle class americans, maybe lower class americans, how to vote, it kind of har kins back a bit to futile times to the dark ages where you had one futile lord telling everybody else how to behave. >> we reached out to the companies but none of them returned our calls. >> both companies say they are mean #merely laying out their case, that from their business perspective another obama term will mean higher taxes and more regulation. in response to these stories,
koch industries released a statement that said "we make it clear about any decision to support belongs solely to our employees based on the factors most important to them and this is in no way an attempt to intimidate employees." the statement also said many companies as well as labor unions provide similar information to their employees and their members. but you know, wolf, this discussion is going to continue on. some people saying it's not quite the same thing because in this case it's your boss saying, hey, look this is how you should vote and maybe your job is on the line based on the outcome. it's going to be an interesting discussion. i'm sure it will continue to, wolf, as we get closer to the election. >> lisa, thanks very much for that report. lisa sylvester working the story. other stories, it's part of the election that might be debatable after all. jack cafferty is following that in the cafferty file. jack. >> debatable indeed. two down, one to go. that's the count when it comes to the number of presidential debates before election day. while these debates offer the voters a rare chance to see the
candidates face-to-face and tens of millions of americans are tuning in to watch, these events are almost always a triumph of style over substance. it's all about show business, you know. but that's not surprising, is it? because that's what we're all about these days. real housewives, the kardashians, honey boo boo, you name it, the stuff that contaminates our tv screens night after night for the most part it's garbage, reality shows, game shows, hey, the politicians fit right in. and the debates can sort of be like watching a puppet show. you have the handlers who pull the strings, coaches and contributors and advisors all putting words in the candidates' mouths. and after the fact we have the same people in these spin room telling us what we just saw during the debate. hey, if i watch the debate, i really don't need some political hack telling me what i just saw. the candidates never give direct answers to the questions. instead they maneuver behind a safe barricade of campaign talking points.
and then they just wind up talking about whatever they want anyway, not the question that was asked. in president obama's case it's probably a very good thing there was more than one debate, right? now voters might be scratching their heads wondering which one was the real president. the docile, seemingly disinterested fellow who showed up at the first one, or the scrappy energized man desperate for another four years showed up at the second one. maybe the third will give us that answer. for romney, there's always a chance he'll show up at the last debate with binders full of flip-flops. here's the question, how many presidential debates are enough? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. you can post a comment on the blog. or you can go to our post on "the situation room" facebook page. wolf. >> the more the merrier, as far as i'm concerned, jack. >> i know. you love it. >> i love it. thanks, jack. a shocking new video has just been released. u.s. security workers apparently drunk and high all seen on camera. but now they're accused of
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hi, boys. i'm right here. >> the video is shocking americans working for a top u.s. security contractor in afghanistan. inside the war zone allegedly so drugged and intoxicated they could hardly function. brian todd is working this story for us. he's coming into "the situation room." he's got details. what are you learning? >> wolf, this is a security firm received $900 million security contracts from the government. one watchdog says the behavior in the video undermines the mission in afghanistan. staggering around half naked seemingly drunk, wrestling, shouting at the man videotaping
them. this is amateur video from earlier this year of people working for an american security contractor in kabul, afghanistan. this man identified as the country security manager for the contracting firm. >> reminded me any of the times my friends going to college in fraternities, the parties at the frat houses were out of control. >> he's one of two former employees of jorge scientific filing a lawsuit against the firm for allegedly committing fraud on the u.s. government. they say they were harassed for trying to blow the whistle. they allege rampant drinking, drug use, the misuse of firearms at that facility in kabul, which they say prevented the company from carrying out its assigned duties. the video was shot on a cell phone by another former employee, kenny smith. he tapes himself complaining that he's being awakened by the behavior. how often did you observe this behavior? >> the misbehavior actually was almost every other night. several times a week.
it was just -- at any given time it could just say, hey, we're going to get together tonight and walk outside. typically at the end of the evening some time late in the afternoon. >> reporter: smith says he and nelson tried to stop the behavior taking it to the top levels of the company. he says they were told it would be addressed. in this section of the video, a man identified as the security firm's medic appears incoherent. there's a syringe on the floor. the plaintiffs claim he'd injected a horse tranquilizer. we were unable to reach the medic for comment. danielle brian from the group project on government oversight which monitors government contractors is concerned. >> how can the medic be doing his job or the security contractors be able to actually protect those training the afghan police? then you have the fact that they're having this behavior in the middle of kabul. so they're blowing up ammunition in bonfires. >> reporter: that's a reference to this video of a bonfire at the kabul facility which the
suit claims led to injuries. contacted by cnn, the company issued a statement saying it took decisive action to correct the unacceptable behavior of a limited number of employees. the company says it implemented a no drinking policy and dismantled the bonfire pit. but jorge scientific denies committing fraud. the man identified as the security manager and the other man in these scenes did not have top security roles. that they had administrative and support jobs sometimes driving. i asked the plaintiffs' lawyer about that. the people representing the company say these guys had no security detail, they were just administrative support. >> that's a gross understatement of what these individuals did. these individuals are the security manager for the facility and the operations manager of security for the entire country of afghanistan for the company. they were supposed to protect their own people as well as the local afghans from attack. >> jorge scientific disputes
that reiterating those men did not have a protective role for afghans and would not have been tasked for protecting that facility from attack. the company also denies the plaintiffs were harassed for blowing the whistle. the u.s. military is supposed to oversee those contractors. contacted by cnn, officials for nato command say they take these allegations very seriously and the u.s. army's criminal investigation division is looking into the allegations. we also made attempts to reach the two men in the video aside from that medic and we were unable to reach them, wolf. >> has the firm cleaned house at this facility? >> they say that they have. they claim they brought out everyone involved including the alleged ring leader of all the partying. that's a person different from the main character you see in that video. they brought out that ring leader about the same time these plaintiffs left afghanistan. they say everyone else involved has been fired or placed on leave and say that the company is conducting its own investigation. >> the video is shocking in a war zone. >> it is. >> thanks very much for that, brian. a massive show of military power between the united states
and israel underway right now. the first of 1,000 american troops arriving in israel for the largest joint missile defense exercise in the history of the u.s./israeli alliance coming amid escalating intentions with iran over concerns it may flex its nuclear muscle. chris lawrence at the pentagon has the latest. what's going on here? >> wolf, just recently a commander warned no matter which country attacked iran, it would retaliate against the u.s. and israel. these exercises are designed to prove that the u.s. and israel working together could repel an attack like that. but accompanied just a couple weeks before the united states presidential election they really carry a political message as well. military commanders won't even say the word iran when it comes to these exercises. they don't have to. the israeli general in charge of planning said the fact we're
practicing together is a strong message by itself. iran will see how well u.s. ships and troops can work with israeli rocket shields as they defend israel from simulated attacks from rockets, missiles and drones. the pentagon and also test new technology it helped pay for, like israel's iron dome short range missile defense system. in all the exercise will involve 3,500 u.s. troops at a cost of $30 million. they'll be training over three weeks in parts of israel, europe and the mediterranean. the chairman of the joint chiefs wrangled israeli leaders in august when he said the u.s. did not want to be comply sit but he will go to israel to personally observe the exercise. >> i think it's a big deal. and it's meant to be a big deal. >> reporter: republicans have accused president obama of em boldening iran and damaging
america's alliance with israel. >> the president said he was going to put daylight between uz and israel. >> reporter: so for a president preparing for his final national security debate, the timing of 1,000 american troops arriving in israel couldn't be better. >> it also by the way helps president obama in his re-election to reassure people that u.s./israeli ties are strong. >> but the fortuitous timing seems to be just coincidental in that these exercises are held every two years. they were originally scheduled for earlier back in the spring in april but they were postponed at israel's request, wolf. >> chris lawrence with that story. thanks very much. stay on top of it. appreciate it. in a few minutes we'll discuss president obama and governor romney's attempt at comedy. and a shuttle's final journey in a way you've never seen before. hands were made to make
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a huge countrywide protest in greece turns violent. lisa sylvester's monitoring that, some other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's going on? >> hi, wolf. greek police say 30,000 people showed up to protest huge wage and pension cuts but became agitated at the police presence and began throwing stones and bottles. the protest comes as eurozone leaders convene in belgium and as greece's government struggles to make 11 billion euros worth of cuts to satisfy conditions of a bailout. and intense scrutiny of the boy scouts right now. attorneys representing victims of alleged child molestation want congress to investigate if the boy scouts of america is doing enough to prevent abuse. the attorneys released previously secret boy scout documents identifying more than 1,000 leaders banned for alleged inappropriate conduct with boys. but the boy scouts of america standby its policies just releasing a statement that says "nothing is more important than
the safety of our scouts." and check out this super cool time lapse of the retired shuttle "endeavour" making its way through the streets of los angeles. this is pretty amazing stuff. look how close it got. pretty amazing. they were able to make all those turns around street corners. you can see it came within inches of hitting some houses and trees. look at that. just barely making it. fortunately, "endeavour" was actually moving at a much, much slower pace. a safer speed of about 2 miles an hour taking two days to travel the 12 miles from l.a.x. to its final resting spot at the museum. they had to cut a few trees down to make that, but they are planning ob planting some more trees to replace the ones they had to cut down. you see that video. some of those shots and those pictures where it seems to literally come within inches of the houses. it got there all in one piece safe and sound. all is well. have to make a trip and take a look at it once it's open for the public. >> there it is. that's in the hangar.
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has never been stronger. it's a tale of two ex-presidents. bill clinton stumping for president obama while george w. bush staying out of the public eye right now. some say he's still haunting though mitt romney. let's discuss what's going on in our strategy session. joining us the democratic strategist and the principal at the raven group, jamal simmons and editor of redstate,.com, erick, erickson. i was intrigued by a review, i'll put it up on the screen "mitt romney has a george w. bush problem. in fact, that's mitt romney's biggest problem. it's george w. bush, not barack obama who has made voters skeptical of policies.
it's not obama campaign strategist david plouffe who persuaded voters that our economic troubles aren't mainly obama's fault. and so it is in a sense, the electorate's lingering fear of george w. bush as much as it is residual affection for barack obama that romney needs to beat if he's to become president. what do you think of that analysis? >> i think ezra is a political columnist trying to drag bush back into this thing. i think it's a given in 2010 you saw tea party activists not only the tail end of t.a.r.p., they were george bush initiatives, not barack obama initiatives. statement i think it's still george bush is dragging mitt romney down it could have been a problem, but the polls don't suggest it really is a problem for mitt romney right now. i think dmngt democrats are desperate to drag george bush into this at the end and try to remind them as president obama failed toot in the debate last week, he's going to be the next
coming of george w. bush, republicans have been saying he's the next coming of jimmy carter. i guess they're even. >> on that particular you may have a point there. what do you think, jamal? >> well, we're not so sure yet what the impression is of voters from the debate this week. we haven't yet seen much of the -- got some instant polls but we haven't seen what's coming out later as people have had a chance to digest it. we know there's a september cnn poll that said 53% of americans blamed president bush and the republicans for getting us in the economic hole we got in a few years ago. and only 38% of people blamed barack obama. and the democrats. so you don't really have to drag george bush back in it. people already think this is kind of george bush's fault. when you start to look around, they don't blame president obama for getting us there, but they do think the president -- they trust him for looking out for the middle class even though they do still also have positive feelings about mitt romney bhen it comes to the economy. >> we see a lot, erick, of bill clinton on the campaign trail very visible trying to help
president obama get re-elected. george w. bush invisible for all practical purposes. jimmy carter invisible as well. i guess he's been out of it, the political scene, here for a while. is that a problem though that you have george w. bush who is much younger not out there campaigning for this republican? >> no, i don't think it is. really it goes to the prior point. i don't think mitt romney's being weighed down by george w. bush right now. i think that's why ezra and other people on the left want to bring george w. bush back up now as to connect mitt romney to him. i think if george w. bush did get back on the campaign trail, people would connect him more to mitt romney and still an et ma although i think it was a gallup poll on pew poll had his favorabilities for mitt romney at the time. >> here's a clip republicans are
highlighting from bill clinton's speech on the campaign trail in ohio today. >> governor romney's argument is, we're not fixed so fire him and put me in. it is true, we're not fixed. when president obama looked into the eyes of that man who said in the debate i had so much hope four years ago and i don't now, i thought he was going to cry. because he knows that it's not fixed. the question is, which path will fix it? >> now, he went on to obviously strongly endorse president obama saying president obama's moving in the right direction he can do a better job fixing it. that line, it's true, we're not fixed, republicans are pounding the obama campaign, jamal, on that right now. >> you know, wolf, sometimes the big dog gets a little loose from the yard. and he said something that maybe the democrats have to walk back a little bit.
but i think his fundamental point is the right one. the fundamental point is that ultimately this election's about the voters' future. which one of these candidates do voters trust that make us better going into the next four years? the last four years are interesting, but the next four years that what voters want to typically vote on right now looks like although they like mitt romney's ideas on the economy, they trust barack obama more to look out for the middle class. >> on that note we're going to leave it, guys. thanks very much for coming in. president obama and governor romney by the way will be turning themselves into sort of comedians later tonight. but not everyone thinks the president's appearance is very funny. stand by. what's next?
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when they attend the 67th annual alfred e. smith memorial foundation in new york city. it's traditionally a rare moment for the presidential candidates to show their lighters sides and poke some fun at each other. just take a look back at 2008. senator john mccain and then-senator barack obama shared some laughs over one of mccain's most controversial debate moments. >> this campaign needed the common touch of a working man. after all, it began so long ago with the harolded arrival of a man known to oprah winfrey as the one. being a friend and colleague of barack, i just called him that one. >> many of you know i got my name, barack, from my father. what you may not know is barack is actually swahili for that one. [ laughter ]
and i got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think i'd ever run for president. >> very funny. i love these dinners. it's put on by new york's catholic archdiocese. a key voter block in the race for the white house for sure. the so-called catholic vote. our chief political analyst gor ya borger joining us now. how key is it? >> very, wolf. it's about 1/4 of the electorate. while it does split between republicans and democrats, about one-third of the catholics are considered moderates. let's look at how they voted in 2008. you see president obama beat john mccain pretty handily, nine points with catholic voters. but the romney campaign does believe it has a real chance with these catholic moderates particularly in swing states. most of all of course the state of ohio. but also other swing states like
wisconsin, florida and virginia, iowa, the state of michigan you see there on the map. all really up for grabs with catholics. and it's all about mobilizing your supporters, those catholic supporters in those states to get out and vote. >> both of the vice presidential candidates are catholic in this particular contest. they disagree on a lot of issues. >> everything. >> i think that's reflective of catholics across the country. >> it is. joe biden and paul ryan disagree on everything. the ryan budget itself became an issue with some members of the catholic clergy who opposed it because they said it hurts the social safety net. but there are a couple other huge issues for catholic voters. one is obviously the issue of abortion. but there again catholic voters are not so predictable. the conservative catholics oppose abortion by about two to one. and the more liberal catholics support abortion by about two to one. now, on the issue of contraception, which you know has been a big issue in this campaign, the question of whether insurers should be
forced to cover contraception, many catholic institutions objected to that. and the romney campaign believes that this issue they now call religious liberty could be a real motivating force to get those voters out, those catholic voters out in swing states who are with them on the issue. >> it's become a real tradition every four years for both presidential candidates to show up at the al smith dinner in new york, the dinner that's going to be taking place tonight. i love the dinners. they have white ties. very funny. >> so do i. >> everybody has a great time. why is it so important for the presidential candidates themselves to make an appearance? >> well, look at the time that's coming in this campaign, wolf. we just had fight night between the two candidates the other night. >> the second debate. >> the second debate was fight night. this is a time when candidates can show up and be self-d self-depreca
self-deprecating. you want to see a different side of the candidate. you want to see they can make a little fun of themselves. i think that's what you're going to see tonight. it's always great viewing to see them in another kind of environment where they're not constantly criticizing each other. we've all been inundated with these negative ads, time to take a deep breath, pause and have some fun. >> i think it's a great idea. very, very different. the non-debate. by the way, i'll fill in for piers morgan tonight. we'll air governor romney and president obama, their comedy speeches later tonight. it all starts at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. you're going to want to see it. you'll enjoy it. from jokes to songs, bruce springsteen out there on the campaign trail with a former president as his warm-up act. i know the name of eight princesses. i'm an expert on softball. and tea parties. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown.
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two of president obama's most famous supporters campaign for him in ohio today. the former president bill clinton and the singer bruce springsteen. watch this. >> i had, i don't know, 20 something jobs before i got elected president. this is the first time in my life i ever got to be the warm-up act for bruce springsteen. >> i get to speak after president clinton. it's like i'm going on after elvis here. ♪ this land is your land this land is my land ♪ ♪ from california to new york islands ♪ ♪ from the red stream forest to the gulf stream waters ♪ ♪ this land is made
for you and me ♪ >> bruce springsteen out on the campaign trail for the president. let's go to jack right now. he has the cafferty file. >> watching this hour, how many presidential debates are enough, he said. how many presidential debates are enough. gale in texas one, better yet, none. the hypocrisy surrounding the debates absolutely abnoxious repeat this behavior at the end is ludicrous. to see the candidates eat each other alive. the bloodier the better. kind of like the gladiators in ancient rome. raphael writes, how many debates are necessary until third party candidates with ballot access in almost all 50 states are allowed to participate. at least that way americans realize they have more than two options. lauren in chicago writes, before the debates started, i would have said none.
that's because i didn't think romney had it in him to beat mr. charisma in a debate. one debate is plenty in this day of 24-hour news. we know what the candidates will say before they say it. one and done. ed in maryland writes, one debate and then a guest appearance on pawn stars since that's obviously their answer for the economy. not just the debate, the whole race. and paul writes, a binder full. you want to read more about this, go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post on "the situation room"'s facebook page. "newsweek" makes a historic change. what's going on? stay with us. into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or turn 30-million artifacts... ♪
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it's the end of an era in "newsweek" era. it will become a digital only magazine next year. let's turn to managing editor of our sister publication, "time" magazine. "time" magazine is, of course, still a print publication, as all of us know. quick reaction when you heard, as a kid growing up u.s. world and news report and "newsweek" about to go digital. what is going on in the weekly news magazine business? >> the waning of great american news brand isn't a happy day for anyone. there are enormous changes going on in the industry. this is almost the second time it's happened. "newsweek" was sold for a dollar by the washington post company a few years ago. it is an issue for everybody and i think news brands have to figure out the best way to strengthen themselves and remain
robust. >> what is happening with "time" magazine? >> we are robust on all platforms, our print circulation of 3.3 million is very strong. we have 4 million twitter followers and i think we moved ahead on all of these different plat forms, including print, in a way that keeps us viable and strong. >> so sad for all of us who grew up reading these magazines to see the disappearance of our print edition. keep it strong. we're counting on you, rick, and all your colleagues at "time" magazine. the new issue of "time" magazine. excellent cover story. you have two articles in there by two pretty good writers. among other things, here's governor romney. he writes this, while the president has decided to nationalize the student lending process, i believe that private sector competition is more important than ever. that's one difference between these two, these two candidates. explain. >> well, actually, wolf, we had
a summit today on higher education right here in your building with carnegie organization and he's putting it in the same context he's looking at everything. he is talking about spending and debt and he's putting it in the context that government can't support all of these things any more. >> the president wrote and i'll put this up on the screen, as well, in the new issue, we did more than just invest resources in our schools, we demanded reform and return in a 21st century economy, higher education cannot be a luxury, it is an economic necessity every family should be able to afford. this in the new issue "don't stop now on higher ed reform." when all is said and done, a huge difference on education between these two candidates? >> wolf, i don't think there's a huge difference, although you did hear the president at the debate talk about the government has tried to take out the middle
man and the banks from student loans so that students don't have so much debt and don't pay so much interest on that debt. it is a national problem, the challenges of higher education. it's an aspirational issue for everyone. when you look at the two of them, they're among the most highly educated men who have run for president. >> rick, thank as very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. happening now, new details on the student accused of trying to blow up a new york land mark. on the trail, candidates' wives do the talking and bruce springsteen does the singing and bill clinton does the math. scathing report on harassment complaints on capitol hill. how bad behavior is costing taxpayers. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." new information tonight about the 21-year-old man
arrested in a bold terror plot in new york city. relatives say came to the united states to go to college, but authorities say he was here to waged jihad. that he consideried targ ating president obama and new york stock exchange and allegedly settled in on the federal reserve bank in manhattan. officials say he actually tried to detonate what he thought was a massive bomb. it all happened in new york city and that's where we find cnn's susan ca sus susan candiotti. susan? >> we are hearing different views of who this suspect. prosecutors paint a picture of someone who is bent on destroying america. authorities have it all wrong. who is the real. accused of coming to america to launch a terror attack and inspire brothers and al qaeda to do the same. >> from the complaints, his attempt to launch a devastating
attack to kill men, women and children. >> reporter: his family in beng ludash paints a completely different picture. "it's simply not possible," his sister says. we believe he is being made a victim here. maybe he is being set up by somebody. using a valid student visa, the 21-year-old was majoring in cybersecurity for one semester at a college at missouri. one fellow student remembers giving him rides to class. >> he's not an evil person, but this is such an evil thing, i can't -- i'm just stumped. >> reporter: investigators say he abruptly moves to new york over the summer, a source says, to attend a business school. prosecutors say he had other business in mind, using facebook and social media, he hooked up with undercover fbi agents in july who he thought would help
launch an attack on the federal reserve, a landmark and the world's largest holder of gold bullion. he said he wanted to make sure this building is gone. after several alleged meetings in places including central park, while under constant surveillance, he gathered bomb ingredients and this week made his move, taking the long island expressway to manhattan's financial district. with an undercover age ant along for the ride, he parks his truck with that 1,000-pound dummy bomb inside. the federal reserve bank is on this block. but according to federal prosecutors, he isn't ready to detonate that bomb, not yet. he takes his companion to a hotel a few blocks away where he wants to make a video. we will not stop until we obtain victory or martyrdom.
it's back to the federal reserve and the van. he tries to detonate the bomb using his cell phone. he tries again and again but it doesn't work because the bomb is just a prop. that's when the fbi moves in and makes the arrest. >> he said in the complaint that he wanted to ultimately detonate this remotely because he wanted to go back to bangladesh. but he was, ultimately, willing to become a suicide bomber. >> reporter: in the end, neither happened and if found guilty, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. kate bouldwin is following that. >> two men based in iran. according to the state
department these men helped move people and money through iran on behalf of the al qaeda terrorist network. the u.s. says they've helped multiple operatives travel from pakistan via iran and turkey to destinations in europe, north africa and syria. they also solicit money that's used to finance al qaeda attacks. now, the u.s. is offering quite a lot of money to track these men down. >> they certainly are, thanks very much. let's get a little analysis on all these stories. joining us from new york, cnn's fareed zakaria and also editor at large for "time" magazine. what do you think, first of all, fareed, about this alleged plot to blow up the new york fed? >> i think two things about it, wolf, one of which is heartening and one which is very disturbing. he was acting alone. this was not a large al qaeda plot, this was not an al qaeda affiliate. those plots have become much harder to do because those organizations are easy to track,
easier to track money. we can find people when they come in and out. you have to rely on these lone rangers. this one guy who gets either inspired or indockrinated and acts pretty much alone. which means the plot has an amateurish quality to it. the worry part is that technology makes it possible for one guy with minimal amounts of resources to do very bad things. so, we're not as worried about the big al qaeda coordinated attack because those ones we have become much better at figuring out. but, just one guy can cause a lot of trouble. >> it comes a day after an iranian american arbabssiar he wanted to assassinate and he was working directly with
high-ranking military officials. he pled guilty to thes charges and he faces 25 years in jail right now. here's the question, why would the iranians be the regime over there in tehran want to kill ambassador al jabar? >> i think when you go to the region, wolf, what you realize is there is now a very intense, a very intense rivalry between iran and saudi arabia. so, if you look at what's happening in syria. syria has turned into a cockpit where the saudis are funding a sunni-based insurgency on the one hand and the iranians are supporting this quasi shiite regime on the other. that is affecting so much of the region. i think the iranians see the saudis as the principal adversaries and the people funding all the attacks against them. you remember there is a certain amount of insurgent activity, even in iran. again, the iranians believe it is the saudis doing it. he is seen as a very close ambassador to the king of saudi arabia. it was a crazy, amateurish plot,
but i would guess there is some real animosity directed to saudi arabia from iran. >> i have been told by u.s. officials because he is so close, he has been his adviser for so many years, directly to the king if they were going to kill, that would have been a powerful message, indeed. let's look ahead to monday night. you will be joining us in our coverage of the third and final presidential debate. is there, from your perspective, i watch your show every sunday and i read all your callumes, fareed. is there is a huge difference on international affairs between these two candidates? >> i think the one that people talk about is actually, is actually nonexistent, that is on iran. romney has now actually walked back to the same point that obama is, no nuclear weapon for iran. no nuclear weapons capability and now he and obama has the
same red line. he admitted this to george stephanopoulos. the big difference, wolf, has been on china. romney has said he would declare a manipulator on day one. he threatens to get very tough. we don't know how china will react to this. they are the largest foreign holders of american debt. if they didn't show up to the next treasury auction as a way of retaliating. if they argued what the federal reserve is doing is its own form of currency manipulation, we could be in for a kind of trade war between the two largest economies in the world. this is a very scary prospect and it, you know, if romney follows through on what he is saying, it's not inconceivable that could happen. >> glad you are going to join us on this third and final presidential debate. thanks very much. >> my pleasure, wolf. please be sure to join fareed this friday night for global lessons, the road map for
powering america. you're going to find out what the u.s. is doing to reduce dependency on foreign oil. sunday night, 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. looking forward to that, kate, as well. >> as well as the debate monday. third and final. >> look forward to everything. >> you have a very good outlook in life. that's for sure. still ahead, bruce springsteen, bill clinton and the ladies of "the view" both help the presidents in the final weeks of the campaign. [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years,
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and it's always fun. the church, adamantly, opposes abortion, as we all well know and abortion rights are turning into a major issue in the presidential campaign. our national political correspondent jim acosta is tracking that today. what is the latest, jim? >> well, kate, with mitt romney behind closed doors for most of the day to work on his debate preparations for his third and final debate with president obama, arguably his campaign's best political weapon was taking to the air a waves to help the candidate get out of a bind with women. supporters have long called mitt romney mr. fix it, but it was ann romney on "the view" playing the role of mrs. fix-it. >> i would say 90% of what i hear from women is help, please, help. >> economic help you're talking about. >> absolutely. >> reporter: repairing some of the damage from her husband's awkward response on pay equity for women at this week's debate. >> where went to a number of women's groups and said, can you help us find folks?
they brought us binders full of women. >> reporter: the obama campaign saw an opening to press romney on women's issues, mainly abortion rights and mrs. romney was asked about her husband's evolving position on the issue. >> with he governed when he ran pro-choice. >> reporter: she argued there is more at stake in the election. >> if they are about economic issues and making a better future for your children and making sure that we have this that's the beauty of what we have in this country is being able to have those choices. >> reporter: but according to a new "usa today"/gallup poll. women cited abortion as the most important issue and contrast that with men who picked jobs first and the economy second. earlier this week, the romney campaign released an ad that accused the president of mischaracterizing the gop contender's opinion on the issue. >> romney thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape,
incest or to save a mother's life. >> reporter: the obama campaign fired back with its own spot. >> seeing this from mitt romney. >> congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it? >> let me say it, i'd be delighted to saign that bill. >> that's not where america is. >> reporter: now, later on this evening it will be the husband's turn and as we have been reporting all day, both president obama and mitt romney will be taking the stage at the al smith dinner here in new york city. it is a benefit put on by the archdiocese of new york to help needy families, but it's also an opportunity for both candidates and this happens every four years to put the verbal jabs aside and try some jokes for a change. kate, we understand that mitt romney did arrive at the waldorf here for his remarks later on this evening and he'll take the
podium, as it were, at 9:00. he gets to go first and the president goes second. >> we'll all be waiting to, obviously, watch that. the vice presidential candidates were also on the campaign trail, jim. joe biden made some comments about paul ryan that are getting quite a bit of attention. listen to this. >> they're not bad men,fathers, i don't understand how they believe, and they do believe ryan has written a book called "young guns" with two other members of the house. no, these are the republican leaders in the house. you had, you had, unfortunately, the bullets are aimed at you. >> bullets are aimed at you. what kind of reaction are you getting from the romney campaign about this? >> as you might expect, kate, they seized on those comments that sounded like when joe biden talked about people being put back in chains or middle class being buried. this is another gaffe for the vice president and the romney
campaign did put out a statement and it said in the absence of a vision or plan to move the country forward, the vice president is left with only ugly political attacks beneath the dignity of the office he occupies. a tough statement from a spokesman for paul ryan with the romney campaign, but in just the last ten minutes, kate, i did get a response from the obama campaign, acxhael a spokesperson for vice president biden. she said his references along with the two other leaders in the house who put that book together called young guns and she said it was a reference to the policies in her words, that would devastate the middle class. so, the obama campaign having to clean up, once again, after a gaffe from joe biden. >> they'll grab at any comment they can in the campaign. >> much more on this story and much more on the race for the white house and we'll see what the president of the united states has been up to, right after this.
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president obama may be trading jokes with mitt romney, but he was pounding away at him throughout this afternoon in new hampshire. >> the president also got high-profile help from bill clinton and bruce springsteen in another battleground state of ohio. >> let's go to our chief white house correspondent, jessica yell yellin. she is on the scene for us in manchester, new hampshire. how did it go, jess? >> hi, wolf. it was a good rally for the president. he said, so at least, to the
crowd he told them he was fired up. both candidates here have a claim on the state. governor romney, he has vacationed here for years. candidate obama in 2008, well, he won the state, but now it's all tied up in the latest polling that we've seen. so, the obama campaign says they're here taking nothing for granted. an energized president obama was tossing off all day thursday. >> you heard of the new deal. you heard the square deal and the fair deal. mitt romney is trying to sell you a sketchy deal. he took another swing at it and he whiffed. >> reporter: trying to build momentum, the campaign is hitting the battleground states, including tiny new hampshire. just four electoral votes to be won here in new hampshire. why is it worth the president's time to be here? >> this is a battleground state. i was governor here in 2000 when if al gore had the four electoral votes in new
hampshire, he would have been president. >> reporter: so, the obama camp is fanning out. the president's number two stumping for six electoral votes in nevada. >> as the president said the day after the debate, romney's plans were almost sketchy. sketchy. well, i, folks, i don't think they were just sketchy, i think they were etch-a-sketchy. >> reporter: two marquise names wooing 18 electoral votes in ohio. the explainer in chief was the warm-up act for the boss. >> i was born in the usa and unlike one of the candidates for president, i keep all my money here. >> i'm thankful gm is still making cars. i'd have no job without that. >> reporter: the focus on women voters remains intense. >> we don't have to order up some binders to find qualified,
talented, driven young women who can learn and excel in these fields right now. >> reporter: and, wolf, from here the president went on to new york city where he taped an appearance on "daily show" with jon stewart and covered serious topics, as well as the light ones. on the attacks in benghazi. let me read it to you. as we got information, we laid it out to the american people. the picture gets fully filled in. when four americans gets killed, he went on to say, it's not optimal. optimal was a word jon stewart used in asking the question. the president repeated it and the president also went on to say that he wishes guantanamo bay could still be closed and then he majoked with jon stewar about showing up in a wet
bathing suit. >> thank you very much, jessica yellin on the campaign trail. special "piers morgan" tonight because i'm filling in for piers. both of these presidential candidates and the governor will have lighthearted remarks. right here on cnn. today, the president said al qaeda is on the path to defeat. but one of our next guests argues that reports of al qaeda's demise are at least premature. stand by, we'll have a serious discussion. information you need to hear. the pace of change is accelerating. the way we...
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>> we're absolutely positive. make no mistake, absolutely positively committed to making sure that my daughter, his daughters and my four granddaughters have every single right my sons have. >> it starts with the growing economy. the best way to help women, the best way to help people who are out of luck -- >> i would say 95% of what i hear from women is help. please, help. >> all right, but is it anything new? let's get some perspective right now from ryan, cnn contributor of and washington corresponder for "new york" magazine. >> i guess what is surprising to me, for all the talk that this election is strictly about the economy. these issues of contraception and abortion that both sides, romney is defending himself on and obama is hammering him on has become front and center. looking at stats before it came on, 10 fer of obama ads have
been on those two issues. we all know the poll numbers behind this. democrats need to drive up double-digit victories among female voters in order to win the presidency. >> men are inclined to vote for romney. >> this is the gender gap. obama a in the last set of polls, depending on the poll, he's winning women by five to nine points. that's not enough. he needs to be up closer to 10, 11, or 13 which is what he got in 2008. >> that also begs the question, with so much talk of this election is about the undecided in swing states, how mable is this segment of voters at this point in the race? >> romney did an incredible amount of work in that first debate by moving the needle on women voters. during the primaries, he went pretty far to the right on the social issues on abortion, on contraception and the obama campaign made sure that women voters knew about it. in that debate, a lot of people got a look at romney and said, you know what, this isn't the same guy that i've been told
about by obama and all those ads. one of the reasons why the debate can work for you. if you don't live up to the caricature that the other side has painted for you, voters say, wait a second, this isn't what obama told me about. and, you know, we've been talking for the last two weeks since that first debate about the movement in the polls and a lot of that movement was among female voters who started to rethink this guy. >> is it fair to say among women voters out there right now, the economy is much more important issue than some of these social issues, whether contraception, abortion rights for women. >> i think it's mixed. it depends on who you are. i think that the surprising thing is that the economy for a certain segments of undecided voters has moved out of the forefront and these social issues are driving their vote. otherwise, the obama campaign wouldn't spend 10% of their ad dollars on this and romney wouldn't do so much work defending himself. >> we will see. >> all right, ryan lizza, thank you so much. the final matchup between the two candidates just days
away. be sure to join us monday night for the third and final presidential debate. ryan said just how important these debates are this time in boca raton, florida. special coverage begins at 7:00 eastern, 4:00 pacific. a scathing report about complaints up on capitol hill. up next, how the bad behavior may be costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. ♪ chirping beeping camera ahhhh drill sound chirping electric shaver shaking remote
if you're frustrated with what's happening or isn't happening up on capitol hill these days, a scathing new sexual harassment and discrimination report may only fuel your outrage. our senior congressional reporter dana bash is joining us from capitol hill. she has details. what's going on down there?
>> you mentioned congress is in pretty bad standing with the american people. they are barely breaking double digits when it comes to the approval rating and if they get a look at this new report on the state of the congressional workplace, americans are likely to be even more disgusted. florida democrat accused of sexual harassment last year. the case was dismissed in court, but one example of a sharply rising number of harassment and discrimination complaints by congressional employees. 142 people made claims in 2011 and settlements last year cost taxpayers $461,366. why are my taxpayer dollars going to settle cases of people who are not treating their employees well? >> in an ideal world members of congress would not be discriminating against their workers. >> reporter: deborah is an attorney who represented congressional employees in harassment cases, including some against former gop congressman eric massa who two years ago
admitted to tickling his staffers. she thinks the real number of harassment cases is much higher than a new report states, but congressional aides are too intimidated to formally complain. >> it's young, aspiring people who want political careers, who want to do great things and believe in the parties of the offices they work in. they don't want to be disloyal and they know by filing a complaint against these very powerful people, it's the end of their careers, functionally. >> reporter: before a complaint is filed, the first step is a request for confidential counseling. in 2011, there were 196, that is up from 2010. if you look at this graph, a significant climb since 2008. the report also tracks retaliation. last year there were 108 cases of bosses retaliating against employees. most complaints come from police officers and capital support workers and less political jobs with unions who inform them of
their rights that's not the case for congressional employees. see this? workers rights on the wall at cnn, that's required by law. but members of congress are exempt from posting that. the report also unearthed how inexcessable it is to people with disabilities. listing 154 so-called barriers to access. this ramp is a classic example of a safety risk. the cracks are so wide and this slope is so steep that wheelchairs can easily flip over. in fact, 93% of all curb ramps outside house office buildings are not compliant with the american disabilities act. this is a law, of course, that congress itself passed. the fact that people in wheelchairs can't get up on a curb to get to what's supposed to be the people's house -- >> is disgraceful. >> reporter: one bright spot. we did happen to see one curb ramp being fixed. now, the office of compliance, which did this report and
monitors all this says that part of the problem is that they're really, really limited in resources, even to do inspections. they haven't been able to inspect the ramps outside the senate office buildings and, of course, this is inspecting to make sure that congress is complying with the law that it passed, specifically in this case, to make sure that people with disabilities have access and rights. >> excellent report, dana, appreciate it very, very much. >> thank you. osama bin laden is dead, but is al qaeda on the way out or just as dangerous as ever? we'll talk about that and more with peter bergen, cliff may, next.
since 9/11 every american wants to be assured that al qaeda is on its way to extincti extinction. record on fighter terrorism is a strength as he often reminds voters on the campaign trail. >> i said we'd refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and we have. and, today, a new tower rises above the new york skyline. and al qaeda is on the path to defeat. and osama bin laden is dead. >> so, is al qaeda on the decline? let's get some analysis from two experts. cliff may is the president of the foundation for the defense of democracies and here in washington peter bergen cnn national security analyst and the author of "man hunt." guys, thanks very much for coming in. you've heard the president say al qaeda is on the path to defeat these, soften them a little bit. they used to say decimated for
all practical purposes. what do you say? >> i think it's very hard to say defeated because what if you're even 1% wrong. i believe that al qaeda organization attacked us on 9/11 is not capable of anything remotely close to that and confirmation this guy was a lone wolf and, i'm sorry to use that word. i want to be. >> i don't take it personal. >> a wanna be who just, you know, he said that he was in touch with al qaeda, that was false. and he, you know, he failed. >> he was inspired by the al qaeda operative who was killed by u.s. drone. >> yeah, but clearly that wasn't enough. in fact, wolf, this year, actually, the smallest number of jihadist terrorism cases in the united states. >> you have a different perspective. >> i do. peter whom has great respect al
qaeda's capabilities diminished but he said been defeated and even that it's dead and i think what has happened instead, it's a change in strategy and change in its capabilities but fafanne across the globe. 140 attacks per week. al qaeda has boots on the ground in syria, al qaeda has taken over most of malawi and al qaeda affiliates are blowing up churches in nigeria. in pakistan, we had a girl killed by, not killed, thankfully, but shot by the taliban, very close symbolotic and we had a bombing in northwest pakistan. 17 people killed. so, we're seeing changes and we're seeing the organization morof. i'm not sure they can do what they did on 9/11. i hope that's true. to say they're defeated, i think that misses a very important
point. >> i think everything that cliff has just said is true, but, what does that mean for american national security? the fact that al qaeda and iraq, by the way, used to control a third of the country in 2006 and now it controls nothing. certainly capable of terrorist attacks. we're sitting here in the united states and we're concerned about american national security and the fact is, only 17 americans have been killed since 9/11 in his country. considering more americans die every year of accidental drownings and we don't have an irrational fear of dying in our bathtubs and we shouldn't have an irrational fear. >> two points i want to make. we shouldn't have an irrational fear of terrorist, absolutely right. they have an ideology. i would call it jihadism and it has not been discredited and it is alive and well and spreading
and too few politicians will discuss gejihadism. we are not there yet. by the way, the treasury department designated about the fifth time in a row an al qaeda representative who was part of the network in iran. iran also has a jihadist ideology and al qaeda and the regime that rules iran, they are rivals, but also collaborate in significant ways. >> on that specific point, do you agree? the iran/al qaeda connection. because, cliff is right, they have been rivals over the years. no great love for al qaeda in iraq. >> no, except it is a fact, no one in bin laden's family and many family members living in iran and senior members of al qaeda living in iran and they seem to be under some form of house arrest. that's a fact. but, again, you know, we eradicating that would be a great idea. but you're never going to completely get to zero. somebody attracted to these
ideas. the question is, can they really do damage to the united states? the answer is, we have just seen it confirmed yesterday, they're not affected in terms of attacking america. >> you say that al qaeda is very weakened. i mean, you've even written, as you said, only 17 people in the united states since 9/11 have been killed by al qaeda and more people are killed every year by dogs. i mean, to that point, if al qaeda shouldn't be necessarily the focus, where should we be focusing in terms of our national security? where do you think is the biggest threat? >> i think that's a very good question. it's hard to make predictions, particularly about the future. so, but, you know, cybersecurity is creating an issue. i think bioterrorism is sort of lost law in biology where it can become easier. i don't want to pretend there are no threats, but i think we're living in a very unusual moment if you, compare to other
moments in our history, we don't have expotential problems. >> my fear is if you tell people that al qaeda is dead and if you also have it out there that the tide of war is receding, we're going to grow very complacent t very xlacomplacent. i think we were complacent in 9/11. they killed an american ambassador since 1979 that an american ambassador was killed. we had the al qaeda flag hoisted on top of the embassy in cairo. we had demonstrations in more than another dozen countries. i don't agree we should walk around fearing we'll be killed by a terrorist act. what we have to do is try to understand how the terrorist organizations and iran are morphing and changing and we have to think ahead of them. it's not enough to say we had a suicide bomber who almost blew up a plane with a shoe, so let's take our shoes off.
we have to think ahead. you're right about cyber terrorism. where is cyber terrorism coming from? from iran, a jihadist state. there are those al qaeda members under house arrest, and there are those not under house arrest. look at what the treasury department said about the network for funding and organizing and taking terrorists and moving them around the world. that is taking place inside iran where iran thinking al qaeda can help its causes. >> i've heard various experts suggest, peter, that al qaeda may be more dangerous now because it has spread out. there are different al qaedas, not just the central al qaeda like bin laden had based in afghanistan. there's al qaeda in north afrt a africa, in the arabian peninsula. all the franchises that have developed al qaeda sharia and these lone wolves could cause major damage. >> yeah. i mean, certainly al qaeda in
yemen has attempted attacks in the united states, but they suffered a major series of setbacks of cia and u.s. special forces activities, drone attacks. they've lost a lot of territory. similarly al qaeda has shown an ability to aattack in organization. it has ties to france. never attacked in france. doing these attacks overseas, they have local strengths. other than al qaeda and the arabian peninsula none have shown any ability. >> do you agree that the killing of the ambassador in benghazi was al qaeda? >> i think the jury is out on that. at the end of the day, if you're killed does it matter if it's al qaeda or an organization like al qaeda. >> there are any number of organizations that pledge allegiance to al qaeda. sharia is indistinguishable from
al qaeda, but it may be. knee nigeria has not. saying something hasn't happened yet when we have enemies swearing they're going to kill us. on 9/10 one could say bin laden is not such a great danger and never done anything big. eventually he did. >> we have to leave it there. >> thank you both so much. an unbelievable rescue when we come back. so... [ gasps ] these are sandra's "homemade" yummy, scrumptious bars. hmm? i just wanted you to eat more fiber. chewy, oatie, gooeyness... and fraudulence. i'm in deep, babe. you certainly are. [ male announcer ] fiber one.
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seen shooting across the sky last night. the light show is andexpected t last until sunday. the meteor shower is hitting the earth at approximately 148,000 miles per hour. it will peak early sunday morning. >> meteor shower. a likely story. looks like a ufo to me. >> likely tale. you're still looking for aliens on mars. >> looking for them. you can find plenty of animals out at sea, birds, fish, maybe seals. not every day you find a puppy. jo jeanne moos has the story. >> it was a doggy rescue at sea. >> it's okay. >> charlie herd was on his paddleboard off the coast of england making a 600-mile trip. next year he's planning a 3,000-mile paddle across the atlantic. he was followed by a playful seal, chased by stormy weath
weather -- >> and then rah, rah! >> the real moment was when charlie spotted a little dot stranded on rocks as the tide came in. >> he just sat there like a little dude wondering what the hell to do. it's okay. it's okay. >> the shizu was at the top of a rock jetty submerged by high tide. how surprised were you to see a dog there? >> absolutely shocked. just a remarkable, ridiculous place. >> though the dog was panicking, charlie managed to lift her into his paddle bog. >> it's okay, it's okay. it's okay. >> his iphone camera in a waterproof case was trapped to his neck. between the tide and high winds -- >> literally had about ten minutes until he would have been a goner. >> just relax. it's okay, it's okay. >> charlie doesn't know how bam
bam got left on the rocks more than 100 yards from shore. >> well, it's very suspect. it's sort of a little dog that would barely he leave a woman's handbag. >> this little dude is absolutely terrified. it's also quite hard to believe somebody would leave it out there deliberately. >> charlie paddled to the show and an embedded chip helped to identify the dog. the owner hasn't yet been found. the rocks where the dog was stuck were pardon of a man-made sea wall, and the pooch when from one to another. >> that's it, boy. what are you doing out here? all right. let's get you in. i realized that i was there to help him and nuzled up in between my legs in a nice way and we went in. >> when the shizu hit the fan, charlie was in the right spot. >> jean m