tv CNN Newsroom CNN February 10, 2012 1:00pm-3:00pm EST
interview like a wolf blitzer interview. he's going to get the best information out of rick san tor um. thank you, jessica, thank you, wolf, dana bash as well for helping me get through the president's speech there. you also heard from kathleen sebelius. i got wolf's question in as well. i'll be watching in "the situation room," wolf. be sure to stay with us for mitt romney's speech at the conservative political action conference. it happens any minute now. we'll bring it to you live here on cnn. in the meantime, the "cnn newsroom" continues right now with miss ashleigh banfield in new york. new york. take it away. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> the nicest handover ever, don lemon. hello, everyone. i am ashleigh banfield as don lemon just said. that means it's 1:00. i'm filling in for randy. we have a very busy hour ahead. let's get right to it, shall we? you've been hearing about it. some people say it's the conservative super bowl. it's the conservative political action conference in washington, d.c. i've got you there live right now.
this is the vamp up, folks, to the big delegate leader, mitt romney. if you want to be the republican nominee for president, you'd better have your game face on when you come to cpac. and you better have cpac on your side, some say. there is a caveat to that. i'll get to that in a moment. any second now, as i said, we're expecting mitt romney, who's going to make his case from that podium to this audience. a critical audience. core conservatives in that audience. and the message he wants to deliver, i am your core conservative leader. and i've got a message for you. we're following those comments live as he shakes the hand of the interviewer -- or the -- look at that. perfect timing. mitt romney takes the podium. let's listen in live as he gets ready to sell his conservative message and his record in massachusetts. ♪ >> wow, thank you, please.
thank you! thank you. please. wow, great reception, great room, thank you! thank you! first, thanks to al carden for that very warm and generous introduction. thanks to the extraordinary crowd at cpac. we've got a great group this year. a great conference so far. i suppose we should also acknowledge president obama. he is the conservative movement's top recruiter. it turns out -- turns out he really is a good community organizer. i just don't think this is the community he planned on organizing. but he did. you know, today we really are poised for victory in november. the --
[ applause ] -- the pundits and the pollsters are saying that we can win the election, but we have to tell the nation why we should win the election. it's up to us to prove that we're really ready to step forward and lead this country. and this election is not just about getting more votes, defeating barack obama is only one step towards our ultimate goal of saving america. of course -- [ applause ] -- of course we can defeat barack obama. that's the easy part. believe me, november 6th will be the easiest day our next president is going to face. this country we love is in jeopardy. and it's more than just economic statistics that we read that tell us that. it's the pain that so many of us feel in our hearts. for three years, we've suffered through the failures not only of a weak leader, but of a bankrupt ideology. [ applause ]
i'm convinced that if we do our job, if we lead with conviction and integrity, that history will record the obama presidency as the last gasp of liberalism's great failure at a turning point for the conservative era to come. [ applause ] but it's not enough for us just to show how they've failed. we also have to prove how we will and deserve to lead. and so i'm here to ask you today to stand with me shoulder to shoulder as we go forward to fight for america. now, as we step forward together, now i think is a time to reaffirm what it means to be conservative and why this must be our greatest hour as conservatives. america is like no other country in the history of the earth. the very heart of american
conservatism is the conviction that the principles embodied in the constitution and the declaration of independence are uniquely powerful, foundational and defining. some see the hand of providence in the crafting of these principles. others are more likely to credit the brilliance of the founders themselves. i think a lot of us, like me, see both at play. but conservatives all agree that departing from these founding principles would represent a departure from the greatness of america. from our mission, from our freedom, from our prosperity, from our purpose. i know that this president will never get it. but we conservatives aren't just proud to cling to our guns and to our religion. we are also proud to cling to our constitution. [ applause ] the wisdom of our founding
documents is that they see the nation's prosperity not as a product of government, but as the product of individual citizens, each pursuing happiness. the key to the success of the american experiment is this. america doesn't just exist for the people, it has been made exceptional by the people. [ applause ] it's this brilliance, a free people pursuing their own dreams achieving success in their own ways, that's what's propelled america and has made us to be the most prosperous nation and most powerful nation in the history of the effort. now, there are a lot of politicians on both sides of the aisle that have forgotten that, if they ever really understood it at all. they've fallen under the spell of washington. politicians that, you know, they're routinely elected by promising that they're going to
change washington. but when they came here, they became creatures of washington. they begin to see government as the answer to every challenge and the solution for every problem. at every turn, they try to substitute the heavy hand of government for free citizens and free enterprises operating in a free manner. they think government knows better and can do better. free people exercising their free will. this president is the worst offender. barack obama is the poster child for the arrogance of government. [ applause ] >> and so as i say across this country, this election really is about a battle for the soul of america. and it's going to come down to a choice. a choice between whether we want a nation to be of and by washington or a nation of and by a free people.
and we conservatives believe in freedom and free people and free enterprises. [ applause ] now, as conservatives, we're united by a set of core convictions. not everyone has taken the same path to get here. there are college students at this conference who are reading burk. [ applause ] my guess is some of you got here by reading burk and hyek. when i was your age, you could have told me that they were infielders for the detroit tigers. some of you work in think tanks. or you follow the writings of some of the prominent conservative writers currently and in the past. some of you have probably worked in government or you labored on the front lines of conservative causes. i salute all of you in achieving your vision of conservatism.
my path of conservatism came from my family. from my faith. and from my life's work. i was raised in a home that was shaped by and rooted in conservative values. my mother's father, my grandfather, came to america from england. as a teenager, he was alone in this new country. but he risked it all for the chance at religious liberty and for economic opportunity. you probably also heard about my dad and how proud i am of him. he was born to american parents who were living in mexico then when he was 5, they moved back to the u.s. his dad was a contractor, but he went bust more than once. my dad grew up poor. never had the chance to finish his college degree. but he believed in a country where the circumstances of one's birth were not a barrier to life's achievement. and so with regard work, he became the head of a car company. and then he became governor of the great state of michigan.
[ applause ] the values that allowed my parents to achieve their dreams are the same values they instilled in my siblings and me. these respect values i just talk about, they're values that i live every day. my 42-year marriage to my wife, ann. the life we've built with our five sons. [ applause ] the faith that's part of our life. these conservative constants have shaped my life. and then there's business. in business, if you're not fiscally conservative, you're bankrupt. i mean, i -- [ applause ] i mean, i spent 25 years balancing budgets, eliminating waste. by the way, keeping as far away from government as humanly
possible. i did -- i did some of the very things conservatism is designed for. i started new businesses. and turned around broken ones. and i'm not ashamed to say that i was successful in doing it. [ applause ] [ applause ] my family, my faith, my businesses, i know conservatism because i have lived conservatism. now, as governor of massachusetts, i had the unique experience of defending
conservative principles. in the most liberal state in the nation. when i -- there are three people from massachusetts here. i appreciate that. when i took office, i was facing a $3 billion budget deficit, and the economy was in a tailspin. and even with the legislature, there w that was 85% democrat, we cut taxes 19 times and balanced the budget all four years. i cast over 800 vetoes. [ applause ] and i cut entire programs. i erased a $3 billion budget shortfall and left office by putting in place over $2 billion in a rainy day fund. by the way, if there was a program or an agency or a department that needed cutting or elimination, we did it. in fact, one of the commentators in boston, one of our tv commentators, once said that i didn't just go after the sacred
cows, he said, mitt romney went o after the whole herd. by the way, that skill -- that skill, learned in the private sector and practiced for four years in massachusetts where, by the way, i served in government, but i didn't inhale. i'm still a business guy. that experience -- that experience of slimming down, cutting, eliminating, i want to take that to washington. i want to get my hands on washington, d.c. [ applause ] now, you may recall as well that during my term in office, our conservative values also came under attack. less than a year after i took office, the state's supreme court inexplicably found a right to same-sex marriage in the constitution written by john adams. i presume he'd be surprised.
i fought to have a stay on that decision. then pushed for a marriage amendment to our constitution. we lost by only one vote in the legislature. and i successfully prohibited out of state couples from coming to our state to get married and then going home. on my watch, we fought hard and prevented massachusetts from becoming the las vegas of gay marriage. [ applause ] when i am president, i will defend the defense of marriage act. [ applause ] andly fight for an amendment to our constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. [ applause ] during my term in office, i also
stood up to those who wanted to call into question the very definition of life. i vetoed a bill that would have opened the door to cloning and to embryo farming. i vetoed a bill that would have allowed young girls to obtain abortion inducing drugs. i fought for abstinence education in our schools. and i defended the right of the catholic church to serve the community in ways that were consistent with their conscience through adoption programs that placed children in a home with a mom and a dad. [ applause ] my state was the leading indicator of what liberals have been trying to do across the country, they're trying to do right now. and i fought against long odds in a deep blue state. but i was a severely conservative republican governor. [ applause ]
iunderstand the battles we as conservatives must fight, because i have been on the front lines and expect to be on those front lines again. here at cpac i know you guys understand that. this gathering has always welcomed me, and you've consistently supported me. not because of my rhetoric, but because of my record and my experience in that deep blue state. now, over the course of this conference, several candidates have either already spoken or will be speaking. and they'll be seeking your support to lead our country and to help us out of these troubled times. what distinguishes us from one another is not our opposition to president obama, or even our support of conservative convictions. what distinguishes us is the nature of our life's experience. our perspective. our judgment. this election will ultimately come down to two very different visions for america. but our more immediate choice will be between candidates of two very different backgrounds.
i spent 25 years in business. started at the bottom, went on to help create a great american success story. i led an olympics out of the shadows of scandal and was part of helping turn around a state that was crying for leadership. of course, in each of these endeavors, i worked with a team of really skilled people, but i was, after all, the chief executive. and so success or failure was laid on my shoulders. and when tough decisions had to be made, i made them. leadership as a chief executive isn't about getting a bill out of conference or giving a great speech. it's about setting clear goals, building a terrific team, overcoming constant adversity and achieving results. it's about sharing credit when times are good and about taking responsibility when they're not. [ applause ]
i happen to be the only candidate in this race, republican or democrat, who has never worked a day in washington. [ applause ] i don't have old scores to settle or decades of cloak room deals that i have to defend. now, as conservatives, you've learned to be skeptical of this city and its politicians, and i think you're right. my wife and i raised five boys. and one of the lessons you learn as a parent is that when you hear an excuse that just doesn't make sense, it's because it just doesn't make sense. let me tell you, any politician that tries to convince you that they hated washington so much that they just couldn't leave, well, that's the same politician who'll try to sell you a bridge to nowhere. this is a moment when our
country needs serious change and dramatic reform. so let me tell you exactly what kind of president i will be. to get america back on track and to get americans back to work, we need bold and sweeping reforms. these aren't managerial issues of changing this department or that agency. to change washington, we're going to have to change the very relationship between government and the citizen. and these are moral choices. that'll define our nation and define us for generations to come. let me mention a few of them. today, as you know, we borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend. that's unconscionable. it's unsustainunsustainable. it's reckless. it's immoral. and it will end under my presidency. [ applause ] i'll approach every spending
decision, every budget item with these questions. can we afford it? if not, is it really worth borrowing money from china to pay for it? and on that basis, we're going to get rid of a lot of programs. and as president, i won't just slow the growth rate of government. i will actually cut the spending of government. and i won't -- i won't just freeze government share as a percentage of the total economy, i will reduce government share as a percentage of the total economy. [ applause ] and without -- and without raising taxes or sacrificing america's critical military superiority, i will finally balance the american budget. [ applause ] and as i'm sure you know, that will start with the easiest cut of all. i will eliminate obamacare.
[ applause ] let me mention a couple of other things i'll do. i'm going to dramatically reduce the size of the federal workforce, and for the first time ever -- i'm going to tie the compensation and benefits of federal workers with workers in the private sector. the principle here is really simple. and that is public servants should not get a better deal than the citizens that are paying for them. [ applause ]
as important as it is, cutting spending and bureaucracy alone are not going to be enough. in their current form, we're going to have to recognize that social security and medicare are unsustainable. not for the current group of retirees, but for coming generations. and we can't afford to avoid these entitlement challenges any longer. i'm the only candidate for president who has offered a sweeping, specific plan to save medicare and to reform social security. there are those who say you can't talk straight to the american people on these issues and still win an election. i say we can. we must. and i will. [ applause ] what i proposed are sensible and critical reforms. under my plan, no one near retirement age or currently
retired will see any of the changes i'm going to describe. but people in their 20s and 30s and 40s and early 50s are going to see some changes. by the way, tax hikes, they're off the table. [ applause ] we're going to slowly and gradually raise the retirement age for social security and we'll slow the growth rate in benefits for higher income retirees. and then when it comes to medicare, tomorrow's seniors should have the freedom to choose between traditional medicare and a range of private plans. and if these -- [ applause ] and if these future seniors choose a more expensive plan, then they will have to pay the additional cost. take a look at the ryan plan. we're in the same page in the same verse on that. i know that this president and his liberal allies are going to attack me for where he's failed to lead.
so be it. i'm going to stand and fight. we're going to win on this. because so much depends on it. he's going to attack us with the usual fear tactics, but we're going to remind americans that during this president's term, we have seen record high job losses. and record home foe closures. he will not be lecturing to us on values as a man whose ineptitude and failure has created so much unnecessary pain for our fellow americans. [ applause ] ours will not be the easy course. but it will be the right course. and i'm confident that americans are learning -- yearning for a president who will tell them the truth and do what's needed. not just do what's expedient.
and let me also be clear on this. my presidency will be a pro-life presidency. on day one, i will -- [ applause ] i will reinstate the mexico city policy. i will cut off funding for the united nations' population fund which supports china's barbaric one child policy. i'll ensure that organizations like planned parenthood get no more federal support. [ applause ] and i will reverse every single obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life in this country. [ applause ]
you know this, of course. the presidency is more than public office. it's a sacred trust. as president, i will honor that trust by assuring that america remains the greatest military power on the face of the earth. [ applause ] i will not be cutting our military budget. it's very simple. if you don't want america to be the strongest nation on earth, i am not your president. you have that president today. this election is a defining moment for america and for the conservative movement. make no mistake, we have an opportunity for greatness. but with that opportunity comes defining responsibility as well. we can't use this election to
refight past battles and reward our friends. i know that fundamental change this moment demands that we take fresh, bold conservative leadership with real world solutions based on real world experience. i will come to washington, and with your help and guidance and prayers, i will change washington. and then i will leave washington and go back home to my family and my community that i love. [ applause ] i believe this is a moment that demands that we return to our basic values and first principles. that's who we are as conservatives. we believe in the constitution, the declaration of independence. we believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. we know the brilliance that suggested that individuals pursuing their own dreams would make us the most powerful nation on earth. not a government trying to guide our lives.
this is who we are. this passion we must take to the american people. this is our moment. this is why we're conservatives. the task before us now is to reaffirm the convictions that unite us and go forward shoulder to shoulder to secure the victory that america so desperately needs and deserves. let's do it together! thank you! and god bless america! thank you! >> and that is what you call red meat. mitt romney signing off on the main stage at cpac. this is what you do if you need the conservative base. you talk about the core principles. and that's what governor romney did. did you hear it? my presidency will be a pro-life presidency. i served in government, but i didn't inhale. i would veto anything that was -- had to do with abortion. this was classic. doma, gay marriage, done.
this was classic. this is what we were expecting. also what we were expecting, and he delivered, was nailing down what his record in massachusetts was. he listed it through, because this is what he's been suffering. it's been his achilles heel if you look at how newt gingrich takes to the stump. remember all those times he said massachusetts moderate, massachusetts liberal? this is what newt gingrich -- or newt was pushing on mitt romney, and this is what mitt romney was pushing right back at gingrich. and he was doing it to the base he needs. but how much will it resonate? did he get what he needed? did the applausemeter read meat line? we're going to chew on this with some of the people we know best. our political pundits weighing in to see if he did the job he needed to do, will it lead to a straw poll win, does it even matter? so many questions, we've got answers. that's all coming up in a moment. a reservation
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well, they were 30 critical minutes. that was mitt romney up on stage at cpac talking to that base. this is considered the super bowl of conservatives as they gather once a year. and it's critical this year in particular, because mitt romney leads in delegates, but maybe not in the love, if you know what i mean. key to what he said, i was a severely republican governor. but did he do enough to sell his conservative chops to the people he needed to reach? that question, my friends, is fair game. so with us to talk it through is republican senate gist anna navara who joins me along with robert zimmerman. anna, did he do the trick that he needed to do? >> look, i think he's working on it. but he still hasn't closed the deal. he's certainly getting better at it in acknowledging that he's got a problem is half the battle. he still has some ways to go with conservative base.
>> i'm really surprised you're not sold. only because i was trying to listen to the applause meter. it seemed like he was doing really well. maybe i don't have the right barometer. what do you think, robert? >> i think he got great applause. remember, between him and michele bachmann, herman cain, ann coulter, this was an atlantic city lounge act for the right wing. quite frankly, i really have to wonder whether, in fact, mitt romney who couldn't get through a senate confirmation hearing because of his swiss bank accounts and cayman island accounts, really has the k credentials or for that matter newt gingrich, whether they're really qualified to lecture the rest of us about fiscal accountability or the role of the constitution. the real -- >> i think i've got to jump in there for a second, robert zimmerman. >> i was wondering. >> far be it for me being an accountant here, but i think he could pass the senate confirmation hearing with those accounts. all those tax returns were squeaky, squeaky clean. >> timothy geithner passed the senate hearing. i think mitt romney could do
pretty well himself. >> what do you think, robert? >> let me tell you, i think the bigger problem is like everything else, mitt romney's paying -- he's paying a tax rate that a family making $70,000 a year would pay. i think you get some pretty tough questions, have to be accountable to it. but i think -- >> perfectly legal. >> the bigger question, ana, realistically is this. no one's questioning he beat the rap. the bigger question simply is this. by playing to that crowd and taking on -- carrying on the war against contraceptive rights for women, advocating deportation of people who are undocumented workers, taking on, you know, certainly engaging in homophobic rhetoric. he may win that crowd. he certainly is losing independent voters. >> robert makes a great point. this stuff sells well to this crowd. h is the core, core conser conservativ conservatives. it's what we call red meat. what is interesting, while it may sell well here, peoria is a different story. what do you think, ana?
>> he doesn't get to make the sale to peoria if he doesn't sell it to cpac first. he's got to crawl before he runs. he's doing what he's got to do in that sense. the republican base is saying we are not going to be pushed into an arranged marriage with mitt romney by the establishment. we want to love him. we want to feel passion. we want to know he's not a card board cutout. then we'll give him the nomination. you're going to see republicans unite around him. >> i hear you. >> first things first. >> this is youtube generation. you don't get to leave your words at cpac. they come back to haunt you all the way along the campaign trail. robert pointed out very, very clearly the independent vote shuj. it is critical. independente independent voters don't necessarily like to hear a strident campaigning. how do you sort of -- robert, jump in. how do you strike that balance? >> the reality is -- >> aindependent voters right no are not his problem. >> ana, i'll try to -- ana
overwhelms me sometimes. here's the reality of it. the fact is, if you're going to engage -- you can't walk back to the middle and run to the independents after engaging in that kind of extremist rhetoric. ultimately, as you pointed out, ashleigh, you are in fact in a youtube culture. you are held accountable to your record and positions. now, with mitt romney, there are a lot of different positions on the same issue, i grant you. but what we're seeing here is the fact that the right wing has been so dominant in this political dialogue, so dominant in the republican party nomination, that he has to, in fact, play to them to get the nomination. my party went through this in the '80s where they had to play to the left. they ultimately could not get back to the center. i think it'll take the republican party ten years to work out of this. they're the victims of their own extremist rhetoric. >> i find it shocking. i hear he had the job to do, he had to sell his conservative message to these straw poll voters. but strangely enough, the last two years, cpac has had a straw poll win of ron paul. it just seems odd.
guys, i got to cut it off there. robert zimmerman, ana navarra, thank you both. we're going to switch gear completely and take you overseas. this has been a story that will not leave your psyche. if you've seen the pictures, the scenes are like out of a horror film in syria. but the reality, people, it is so much worse. bloody bodies, severed limbs, all lining the streets. another catastrophic attack today. coming up, someone who has been there firsthand. he has seen the desperation. he has spoken with the people. cnn's nic robertson, joining me live, next. to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas... domestic, abundant, clean energy to power our lives...
building and police headquarters, reportedly killing at least 25 people. thousands hit the streets, meantime, protesting not just the damascus government, but its allies in moscow who vetoed a u.n. resolution condemning the crackdown. i'm joined here in new york by cnn's senior international correspondent nic robertson, who was in syria just last month with a group of arab league monitors. nick, it's re nic, it's really great to see youp. i was fascinated watching your reports coming out of syria. the people seem incredibly desperate. >> you can tell by the way they're talking to you. they're so emotional. they're grabbing you, screaming at you. one person will be talking. the others are trying to get in and explain things to you. one of the incredible things that happened when we arrived there, the huge cheer went up when international monitors came in. they were lifted up on to the shoulders of the crowd there. even our cameraman was lifted on
to the shoulders of the crowd. they were so pleased to see somebody coming in. who could tell their story, get their message out. >> that did not last. >> it didn't, right. >> you had to leave, ultimately. as you were leaving, what did you see coming in? >> we drove out on a road that was a front line to the army check -- to the syrian army, beshear al assad's forces. on that front line we saw well armed soldiers, well equipped soldiers. anti-aircraft machine guns. the type of bullets that smash through houses. armored personnel carriers with heavy machine guns on them and other heavy -- >> this is the image here i'm talking about. this is you driving out watching that drive in. nic, at the time i remember your foreboding sense. did you have any idea at that time it could get as bad as we've been seeing, particularly this week? >> we knew that it could. what the arab league monitors were there to do was to see
these troops were drawn back and pulmoed back to their bases. they weren't. it was clear the potential for the army. we saw the depth of those forces. many, many checkpoints down the road. we knew that if they wanted to go in and try and crush the opposition, as -- as many people suspected they would, in particular the people in the town, we knew it was possible. we just didn't know when. >> five days now of the most harrowing photographs, of little children covered in blood, bandaged. just wholesale attacks on these communities. i reached out to you yesterday, saying, nic, i don't know about you, but i'm starting to feel a lot like bosnia in 1995. am i off the mark? >> this is what i felt when i was there. looking at the military checkpoints, looking at the people fleeing on foot, looking at the areas of abandoned housing, you just knew that that sort of scenario could happen. and the wanton slaughter of civilians that we saw even under the protection of the united nations in bosnia between 1992
and 1995, a quarter of a million people killed, it is so reminiscent of the horrible scenes we saw there. where you'd see people kimmed by mortar bombs at the side of the road. houses smashed. >> markets bombed with civilians in them. children, women alike. bill cohen, secretary of defense, former secretary of defense, was talking on cnn yesterday. just about this very notion of sending in the marines is not always the easiest option and nor is it the most successful option. a quick list, just looking at a couple of our military actions in the last couple deck kates. beirut 1982. 241 of our marines bombed and killed. somalia, 1993, blackhawk down. no one will forget that. bosnia, 1995, could be looked at a number of different ways. afghanistan, 2001. we are still there. iraq, 2003, a trillion dollars, almost, thousands dead. it's not the easiest thing in the world. is there anything in this blueprint that can help us look forward to syria? >> at the moment, no. not in terms of military intervention. in terms of sort of covert
military support by neighboring nations, and here that has to mean either lebanon or turkey, to provide a pathway for other nations. people have suggested perhaps saudi arabia would contribute weapons. perhaps qatar. the gulf arab states would contribute weapons to the opposition to overthrow assad. that's how it may come together. but over military intervention, what diplomats i've been talking to are being told by military planners, if you want to put troops on the ground, you need to crush the air capability. assad's father was in the air force. it's a very strong -- the air force is very strong. air defense is very, very strong. to go in, you'd have to bomb all those air defenses. they say there are so many of them, it would cause collateral damage, civilian casualties, civilian deaths. you cannot even countenance putting military forces on the ground because you can't take on the air defenses. >> it's so desperate.
no easy answers here. thanks for your perspective. >> thank you. for many of our troops returning home from war, readjusting to civilian life is hard enough. but for those who are marred by war, life can be so much more taxing. coming up next, i'm going to speak with one vet whose face was burned so badly, he hardly recognized himself. all of that has changed with a very special program and one very talented surgeon. both of those gents going to join me in a moment, coming up.
retired army specialist joey pauk is an afghan war vet living with a new life and a new face. on his first deployment in 2007 his humvee hit a roadside bomb that ignited the fuel tank. he suffered burning to 40% of his body and his face was nearly burned off. back in the u.s., he was treated at an army hospital. but there were some injuries that weren't treated by the government. he was horribly disfigured.
but by chance, he heard about a program at ucla called operation mend that provides cosmetic surgery for severely burned vets at, get this, no cost. this is what surgical director operation men, dr. timothy miller. thank you to both of you for joining us. it's really a thrill for me to be able to speak with you, and can i just start by saying, joey, you look terrific. i expected upon engaging in this interview to see a very different person given what you've been through. but can you tell me what you saw when you first looked in the mirror and came out of your medically induced coma? >> i was pretty bummed out. i was in shock. i didn't really think that my face or anybody's face can be that disfigured. it took a toll on me that day. i was going out for some physical therapy and i had walked by a mirror that i had walked by numerous times but i
had always looked away. the first time i looked in the mirror, it was a complete shock and awe to the point where i didn't want to do any more physical therapy. i just walked back to my bed and just laid down. >> the transformation, we were just looking at some pictures of your progression -- the transformation has been nothing but remarkable. dr. miller, i think this is a testament to you and the good work that you're doing. when you saw joey's case, did you know right away that you could make a different? because there had been some procedures that had failed. >> i was very optimistic. joey was a different person then, and i think with each operation that was done, done in stages, you could see a personality begin to emerge. and i think from a psychological standpoint, he got better as
things got better in terms of the appearance of his face. you can see it. early on, he didn't talk much to me at all. now we've had any number of real conversations. it's been a tremendous change. >> and if i can just add, gee j -- joey, you've got a tremendous smile as well. i know there has been nearly 30 operations in 18 months. also, if you could just do me a favor and lift your hands so that our viewers can see some of the other injuries that you've suffered. you lost all of your fingers as well. are you adjusting to life now? it must be so completely different. >> it is different. in a way, i do a lot of things that people would do one-handed with two hands. i have a couple attachments to help me feed myself. but for the most part, i live a normal life just as if i had my
fingers. i play football, i play volleyball, i play video games with my buddies and i go out and do as much as i can to try to stay active and stay positive. >> i remember going into this, you said something along the lines of you just want to be able to eat a double cheese burger and whistle again. can you? can you do those things? >> i can whistle sometimes. it's very faint. the double cheese burgers are definitely being indulged, probably more than they should. i can definitely eat them now and i'm enjoying every bit of it. >> when i first saw him, he -- >> go ahead. >> when i first saw him, he could not pronounce his last name, which is paulk. once we reconstructed his lip, i called him up one day and i could understand him over the phone. and it was really quite something. i'd like to also say this has been a combined effort by ucla
and brook army burn center. and it's been a coming together of medical talent to be sure these people get the very best care that they possibly can. it was an idea that was -- >> well, you've done a terrific job. i should note as well, as you say that, dr. miller, that it's about $500,000 per case, per patient, that you've been able, through operation men, to help about 50 vets in five years. but there's a lot more work out there to do. there are about 900 american service members who have been severely burned. as i thank you both for bringing your story to us, i also want to let our viewers know that if you would like more information on operation men, you can find it at operationmen.ucla.edu. dr. timothy miller, thank you for your time and the best of luck to both of you. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> thank you.
we promised you we would stay on top of the developments in this next story that unfolded at the los angeles school that's been rocked by disturbing allegations of child sex abuse. there are now more parents who are signing on to sue the school district. one attorney tells us at least 15 families are now on board. and that as children at
miramonte return to school with a 100% new staff including janitors, teachers, the whole works on thursday. the superintendent says rthe replaced teachers could come back depending on how the investigation goes. all of this following the arrest of these two teachers, martin springer on the right, mark berndt on the left. springer, who was charged with siblgs assault on two children, is reportedly out on bail. six of the parents' attorney joins me live. ari, this is tricky, because when there are young children involved, it's not only difficult for them to go into a courtroom and tell what happened, but it's also difficult for children sometimes to remember, and they can also come up with memories that aren't real. are you concerned at all about
this? >>. >> we're not at all concerned about the children remembering what happened, because in this case you have now almost 400 photographs that have been retrieved by the l.a. county sheriff's department that depict many, many children being subjected to lewd and lascivious acts by mr. berndt. so for purposes of even a preliminary hearing, you wouldn't even have to call the children, you could just show the photographs, and i think you've got these crimes well documented. so the kids may be insulated. >> so is as a civil action, you would more than likely have to wait out criminal action. and to that end, in your work you have been able to determine there may be a third teacher, a woman, who may have allegedly conspired somehow with either one or two of these men? can you explain what that is? keep in mind these are just allegations. >> sure, ashley. it's our position that this couldn't have taken place over the span of 15 or 20 years without some help from some infrastructure in place at
miramonte school. one of my clients is an 11-year-old girl. she gave some testimony on a local station out here the other night that was very chilling where she clearly identified a third teacher who had entered an empty classroom with mr. berndt, and she actually watched mr. berndt feed this little girl a vanilla cookie with a white gooey substance on top with red sprinkles. she watches him take pictures. she then has a conversation with mr. berndt saying things like, well, ask her if she liked the cookie. so clearly, we think that information should put the l.a. county sheriff's department on notice that they need to investigate this third teacher, because she may have been facilitating and/or aiding and a b betting mr. berndt in carrying out these lewd and lascivious acts. >> clearly that is something we haven't been able to get any
evidence on. the sheriff's department hasn't been able to get back to us. there is a time difference which we recognize as well. we've also asked the superintendent, mr. john deazy, to come on and that has not materialized, either. thank you for coming on. we do appreciate that. >> sure. thank you, ashleigh. >> thanks for joining us. we continue with helga honley. >> i'm here for brooke baldwin. a s srk assad blasts syria. we can't independently confirm anything going on there because of restrictions on the movement of foreign media inside syria. also this hour, president barack obama bows to the
backlash over his new birth control mandate. originally the rule would have required religiously affiliated institutions to offer contraception coverage under their employee insurance plan. churches were exempt all along, but some religious groups were furious over the plan. today the president revised the rule, pushing the responsibility onto insurers. listen. >> if a woman is employed at a charity or hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraception services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -- not the hospital, not the charity -- will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraception care free of charge. in other news, the stock market is down right now, triple digits, even. we're losing 133 points. stocks dropping over the latest obstacle in greece's ongoing debt problem. the eurozone's finance ministers
have called the greek deal into question. they say the spending cuts there to try to save that economy are not going far enough. the man many blame for bringing down the image of penn state football spoke outside his court hearing today. jerry sandusky, a former assistant coach, is to go on trial possibly in may on 52 alleged sex offenses against young boys. he talks about how people he's known for years are now treating him. >> now all of a sudden, these people turn on me when they've been in my home with their kids, when they've attended birthday parties, when they've been on that deck, when their kids have been playing in my yard, and when their kids have been sled riding when they've asked to sled ride at our home. it's difficult for me to understand. >> a judge is expected to rule on monday if sandusky is able to
see his 11 grandchildren and to walk outside his home while he is under house arrest. also this. atlanta police say they've identified and issued arrest warrants for two of the three men seen beating a gay man in this ultraviolent scene. take a look. well, brandon white heard slurs during the attack. the fbi is investigating whether it was indeed a hate crime. atlanta police have offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. white was not seriously hurt, though this video did shock people across the country. a huge raid in mexico may put a big dent in the supply of methamphetamines in the united states. mexican troops seized 15 tons of pure meth at a ranch in guadalajara. they say they could supply 1300
doses worth more than $13 billion. the street value staggering. it's believed to be the largest seizure ever in mexico. madonna's stalker is back in custody after escaping from a california mental hospital. police found hoskins in long beach. when he showed up missing this morning, police warned he could become violent if he's not taking medication. hoskins was found to be stalking madonna all wait back in 1996. in fact, he served a 10-year prison sentence. $310 million is the jackpot for tomorrow's powerball drawing. an individual with a payout will only get $994,000. that's it. for the first time ever, bloodshed hits syria's largest city. it had been calm until today,
but bombs exploded killing at least 28. syria now inevitably slipping into civil war. what can be done to stop it? i'll be right back. what's the best way to santa cruz, california? [siri] here are directions to santa cruz. where's the best bbq in kansas city? is there a rodeo in amarillo today? where are we? [siri] here's your current location. how big is the grand canyon? any gas stations we can walk to? [siri] i found 2 gas stations fairly close to you. what does orion look like?
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>> you hear a lot, god is great, god is the greatest. people essentially praying at this stage not to be the ones hit by these shells, these shells that are falling indiscriminately on homes and killing civilians. this video from the city of homs. homs is syria's third largest city. it's been the primary focus of attacks by the government. what we're showing now is some of the neighbors specifically targeted by government tanks, snipers in some cases. syria has barred us from entering the country for now. we're going to talk to ivan robertson in neighboring turkey. it's been a week since we've
covered the siege. some are saying this is turning into sarajevo. others are saying it's like libya. no matter hour you look at it, it feels like it's turning into a bigger and bigger tragedy every day. >> reporter: no question about it. it's the army of a country encircling and laying siege to one of its own cities, which is pretty hard to comprehend if you try to wrap your head around it. when you see these images, we can show you one right now that a very courageous activist filmed, and it's quite shaky, perhaps understandably so, because the activist is so close to the two army tanks that start firing shells into the district of homs. this has been going on day after day with death tolls in a given day of more than 100 people, today a bit less, activists saying some 50 people were killed around the country. what was remarkable also today was that the violence moved from
opposition stronghold cities like homs, like zabadoni, which has faced the wrath of the syrian army, to the second city of syria, aleppo, which has been largely spared this violence, in large part because of the merchant classes have not been seen to break so far with assad. devastating bomb attacks the syrian government claims killed at least 27 people and more than 200 people actually wounded. they're accusing armed terrorists of carrying out this attack. we've been in contact with members of the opposition rebel movements which sometimes calls itself the free syrian army. they've given conflicting accounts as to whether or not they were in the vicinity of those areas that were hit today. >> thank you very much, ivan, there for that report. as ivan was mentioning today,
significant, because, one, the violence and bloodshed is spreading to aleppo. in the last 11 months, we had not seen any significant bloodshed in that city. two, it's been a week since homs has been under siege, and we're seeing hundreds and hundreds of deaths there. as far as russia, it has blocked the u.n. security council resolution to condemn the violence going on there. now syria is blaming the rebels for the violence. both say the rebels are from the outside. we put that question today to the u.n. ambassador. >> i've got to ask you about those allegations of foreign military forces or arms flowing into the country. can you specify what countries you're talking about? >> well, i just heard allegations, and if they are true, then, of course, it's very troubling. that would mean that we are moving into a full-fledged conflict with foreign intervention and participation,
and that would certainly only cause major bloodshed in syria. >> but russia is selling arms to the assad regime. it has been continuously selling arms. >> there were transactions and we continue to respect them. you know what happens. when you got armed supplies to the government, those who are supplying arms to the rebels, they don't stop. we saw that in libya and we're seeing it in syria. >> of course, russia is selling arms to the outside regime, has been for decades, has the use of a port in the mediterranean. the washington institute for syrian policy joins me now. where do you see this all going, soner? russia is blocking resolutions, we're seeing rebels arming themselves in bloodshed and now bomb attacks in aleppo. this seems like the worst case scenario developing before our eyes. >> unfortunately, you're right,
because i think we're going towards further violence. what started in syria as peaceful demonstrations has now moved to the next phase which is because the government has cracked down so violently, some people are taking up arms, unfortunately, in self-defense, so we're seeing the start of insurgency. this could take a long time, but insurgency in the sense that people with taking over parts of the country at night, and the government takes over the same parts during the day. it's a slow level warfare, but it could even occur in more bloodshed given the sectarian nature of the regime and how brutal it is. i think this is a very dangerous path, and i think in the coming days we'll probably see more violence and more ugly pictures coming from syria. >> soner, i've got yesterday a moderated panel right here in america, and there were natives in the audience. they were asking, what would you want america to do in order to try to put an end to this crisis
in syria? and this syrian said, you know what, it's time to start arming these rebels. do you think that's a good idea? >> i think that this regime, which has proven itself to be brutal in a four-year dictatorship, is going to fall. the question is is it going to fall after a long, bloody, civil war or will it fall before that? i hope it falls before causing further bloodshed. the reason i don't think it will fall unless the syrian army is armed by outsiders, because this is not a level playing field, the regime is being armed from its supporters in iran to russia, it has the upper hand, and unless the world steps in and starts supporting the syrian army, the conflict will only get worse and turn into a civil war, and i hope we can prevent that by providing more support to the people on the ground. >> well, if you arm rebels, regardless of whether or not you are against the regime and support the free syrian army, aren't you basically putting in the ingredients into this country for a prolonged, bloody,
civil conflict? aren't you making that easier, essentially? >> there is always a risk that arms could fall into the wrong hands, and we had those concerns also in libya. i guess the question is, there is a point at which -- we'll have to look at the situation and say, you know what, these civilians are getting killed, they liberate areas and they risk being outgunned by the government which is using spear weaponry, and i think this is when the community has the responsibility to protect civilians. >> but soner, there are other possibilities. you can create a buffer zone, you can implement humanitarian aid. if you start arming rebels, some say, you are essentially creating the conditions for something that looks like iraq, and does that region need another iraq? >> absolutely not. and i think what you suggested is a tool package where we can discuss a humanitarian safe haven. again, it would have to be protected from outside, perhaps
not by the americans who don't seem to have the willingness, but the u.s. government to get involved in a country in the middle east just as we are approaching elections here, maybe it requires region powers such as turkey to protect it. we can also talk about supplying assistance to the state in homs and other areas of the country. but i think there is already a war of proxy going on inside syria. unfortunately, that's the reality. it's not what i'd like to see, but it's happening as we speak with iran supporting the regime and russia clearly arming it in broad daylight. the question is, the syrian people are not going to give up necessarily having seen how brutal the regime can become, because they've basically decided this is a war to death. i think it will be a very prolonged conflict. it could even turn into a very bloody civil war because this is a regime which is dominated by minority offshoot.
most of the people in syria are from the demographically dominant part of islam. and i think the more it continues, it will look like a sectarian crackdown, and that's very false because it would not only originate in syria, but it could create a fault line of fires into the middle east, into turkey, into iraq and iran, so it could easily turn into a regional conflict. if you want to draw an a analogy from the balkans in the 1990s, we had to put out a fire so it did not spread elsewhere. and now we have a fire that needs put out before it spreads past syria. >> thank you very much for joining us. when we come back, the university of virginia lacrosse player accused of beating and killing his girlfriend is in court today. he had to listen to his own confession. after this quick break, find out how he reacted when he did.
a former university of virginia lacrosse player broke down in court today as the jury in his murder trial watched a video statement he gave to police. george huguely is accused of killing his girlfriend and fellow uva student yeardley love in 2010. in the video, huguely can be heard saying that he, quote, shook her a little. love's bruised body was found by her roommate eventually in 2010, and practical ors say huguely kicked down love's door that night, shook her and banged her head against the wall. reporter bruce la vaughn joins us from charlotteville,
virginia. tell us what it was like in the courtroom when they played that video. >> i tell you, it was riveting and george huguely was definitely not the only one who was crying. yeardley love's mother, her aunt, other members of her family, they're all in the courtroom here. they're sitting in the front row. the mother was crying here, and when we looked out at the jury, it looked like one of the jurors might have been crying as well, and then, of course, george huguely, he kind of put his head down and appeared to be crying as they played this tape. one of the eternal mysteries about police and suspects is how they get them to come in and confess or nearly confess, and the answer is that they don't give them all the details. in this case, when they picked up george huguely on the morning of yeardley love's death, they didn't tell him that she was dead. and so he comes in and he's talking to them, and he thinks that this is maybe some assault charges, something like that, so he says to the police, we wrestled.
she stood up. she may have had a bloody nose. i, like, tossed her on the bed. i never strangled her, he says, during the whole commotion. i may have grabbed her neck. i never strangled her. he described her at one point as hitting her head against the wall, flopping around like a fish, but he insists he never hit her. >> well, at some point on the tape, police tell the young man, huguely, that love is dead. at that point, what was his reaction? >> boy, i tell you what, it was a shocking moment and there was absolute silence at first in the courtroom. and then you heard huguely, he said, i didn't -- i didn't do it. she's not dead. he says, i did not, i did not. i never did anything that could do that to her. i refuse to believe that because nothing that i did to her last night could do that to her. and then you hear him just sobbing and sobbing and sobbing. i mean, this is the tragic
result of this tempestuous relationship. a lot of drinking, a lot of hard partying, and this strange, violent relationship they had over a period of months, at least. >> all right, thanks very much. bruce lashawn there, covering this court case there involving -- well, with a tragic end that ended up with the death of a young student. thanks very much, bruce. a big conservative conference happening right now in washington, d.c. three gop presidential candidates are in attendance trying to win over some key voters and convince their supporters they're the most conservative of them all. one of those candidates? mitt romney. >> it's been a great conference so far, and for that i suppose we should also acknowledge president obama. he is the conservative movement's top recruiter. it turns out -- [ applause ] >> it turns out he really is a good community organizer.
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well, scores more people have died today in syria's descent into chaos, and today's dead include an unknown number of soldiers and police. that's because there was an explosion targeting some security buildings in aleppo. that's syria's second largest city. these blasts occurred near militant intelligence posts, a police headquarters building. at least 2800 people have been killed according to state run television over in syria, 235 people wounded. the government is blaming the explosion on terrorists. the bloodshed is continuing, that the government is attacking people and that 250 people have died today alone, including 15 in the besieged city of homs.
syria has barred many journalists from entering the country. occasionally they'll allow a few to trickle in. in this case, the independent journalists have not been given permission by the government. the source of the violence has been a syrian born government. let's take a look at some of what they've shown us. >> more bombs and shells and rockets. you can see them up in the buildings. these are the holes. the army pushes the machine guns out of these holes. this is one of the tanks they're bombing with. they've got 100 just in half of
hom homs. look over there. that's a house. look, that's a house. they hit that house with a rocket. civilians live in that house. vilians. look at these children. you can see them on the streets. their bodies are in there. there's bodies in that house, pieces of bodies in that house. this is a civilian house. they've left a video. pieces of bodies are still in here. these are bodies, civilian bodies. these are civilian bodies. this is in the army. there are children, men, women being killed. >> well, we spoke to danny's
mother. she's safely out of syria. she's in cairo right now. and believe it or not, danny had a choice. he had a choice of staying outside of syria or going in, and he felt like it was his responsibility to enter syria through lebanon and to bring the story of the people who have been dying and suffering to homs and to the world, and of course you can imagine that the family of this young man, danny, are deeply worried for his well-being and his safety, and they are always connected on line to the skype account of danny. and really spend practically all their waking hours in front of their laptops, just waiting to hear from their son. well, when we come back, he's sober, having fun and inspiring others to do the same. meet the first cnn hero of 2012 when we come back. yoo-hoo. hello. it's water from the drinking fountain at the mall. [ male announcer ] great tasting tap water can come from any faucet anywhere.
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[ man ] people say i'm forgetful. horn honking ] ♪ ...all through the night [ man ] maybe that's why we go to so many memorable places. ♪ [ male announcer ] the subaru outback. love the road you're on. welcome back. today we are honoring the first cnn hero of 2012, an everyday person who is changing the world. his name is scott sprode. after beating his addiction to drugs and alcohol, he used sports to fill the void he left behind, and what worked for scott is now helping hundreds of
others stay sober while experiencing a healthier high. take a look. >> i get on my bike and go ride up in the mountains, and it really just brings peace. in my drug and alcohol use, it was the opposite. i got into it pretty young. by the time i was 15, i was using pretty serious drugs. when i got sober, i lost my group of friends because they were still out drinking and using. i got into boxing, triathlons, climbing. i have this new group of friends and i have completely redefined myself. so i thought, how can we give this to other people? i'm scott strode and i want to help people find a better life being sober. >> welcome to friday night climbing. >> they offer about 50 events a week. all the things are free to anyone who has 40 weeks sober.
you can see what you can do if you put your mind to it. we have a common connection. it's easy to make new friends. we do biking, hiking, triathlon training, strength training. it really is a new community of folks to hang out with. i'm an example of hitting rock bott bottom. i had a heroin overdose. they had to jump-start me with the paddles. going out biking and going boxing, hitting the bag really fills the void. it's the best support group i could imagine having. we're having fun and we're proud of being sober. so come out and go climbing with us. >> and remember that cnn heroes are all chosen from people you tell us about. you, our viewers. so to nominate someone who is making a dimps in their community or your community, go to cnnheroes.com, and your nomination could help them help
others. it's the conservative equivalent of an all-star game. the players are at the plig conference right now, cpac. the volume is turned way up because, of course, this is an election year. rick santorum and mitt romney spoke earlier today. newt gingrich will take the stage pretty soon. alan west joins me live. congressman west, thanks for joining us. you will be taking to the stage as well. what will your message be to the conservative-based cpac this year? >> i think the message i'll be delivering within about an hour is really understanding who we are as conservatives and drawing the contrast between that and what we stand for in our business in america as opposed to that which is coming from the liberal progressive side and the
obama administration. >> now, you heard from today rick santorum who won the last three contests, as well as mitt romney. what did you hear in what they said that satisfied you? >> well, unfortunately, i was busy doing some media hits, so i did not get the opportunity to sit down and listen to their speech. but i think the most important thing is that they have to show a genuine, sincere concern as far as what are going to be the specific principles upon which they will stand? it's very clear when you understand the constitution, when you understand what it means to have an effective and efficient government that is fiscally responsible and limited in its scope, individual sovereignty, our free markets, traditional calls for value and strong defense, they just need to be able to connect that message to the people. >> are they? who do you like? essentially in this field of conservatives, of republicans, presidential hopefuls, who do you -- who would you support in
this race at this stage? >> well, right now, as you know, i have not endorsed anyone, and i don't plan to endorse anyone because i've got a lot of very important duties as a congressional representative. but i think the most important thing is that they will present their ideals and the people will make the decision, as we did down in florida, as to who we believe best to go into that arena with the president and be successful in november. so i'm not trying to skew the system in any way. >> you're not leaning toward anyone in particular? >> no, i'm going to sit back and whoever the event waleventual n will get my full, 100% support. >> you decided to run in your district in florida, and you were called a coward for switching districts because there are more republicans than in the district you first ran in. what's your response to that? >> nothing, really. i mean, i found it pretty
interesting someone would make that type of assessment of a person that spent 22 years in the military, been shot at, almost blown up, jumped out of airplanes in the milddle of the night at 800 feet, so i'll talk about my ballot box in november. >> but he's not talking about your achievements, he's talking about the republicans. >> i think people would say that's a very wise move. i'm in a swing district. the district is called a d plus 1. the other district is an r plus 1. i'll do my talking at the ballot box. >> alan west of florida, thanks so much for joining us. live from washington, d.c. >> pleasure. thank you. well, some americans will get cold, hard cash as part of a newly announced mortgage
settlement, but there are also many people who are getting nothing. up next, we're going to break down the numbers for you and talk to this man, ben stein, to get his take on all of this. stay with us. i] i found 12 musical instrument stores. how do i play london calling? whole lotta love? a b minor 9th? [siri] i found this for you. add migraine headache to my list of band names. tell julie and kate our band is playing at the garage tonight. [siri] here's your message to julie and kate. call me rock god. [siri] from now on, i'll call you 'rock god'. ok?
yesterday came the details. now comes the criticism about the $26 billion mortgage settlement deal to help struggling homeowners. 49 state attorneys general cut the deal with five banks: citigroup, wells fargo, bank of america, jp morgan chase and ally, which used to be gmac. but many are asking, what about all the mortgages not under these banks? and by the way, what about all of you possibly watching us, allison kopic, who have mortgages and homes under water, but have been making payments? there are 1100 people who owe more money on their homes than they're worth. so how many of those people are
getting help in this deal? >> what this deal, holla, is going to do is help people who owe more money than your home is worth. but if you're not in one of those banks, this deal won't apply to you. but those who are involved, they serve 60% of mortgages, which is a lot of mortgages. and they have to fit into one of these situations. you have to be underwater on your mortgages. you can be late or current on your payments, it doesn't matter. also, if you are foreclosed on between 2008 and 2011, you could get a cash payment of about $2,000. holla? >> well, let's take a look, then, at those people who are not covered under this deal. i mean, do they have any alternative whatsoever? >> if you're not covered under this deal, you really just need to call your servicer and try to figure it out. but this is one of those things
that also goes beyond money when you look at how this deal has been presented. it really sets up new rules for these five big banks, holla. there is not going to be any more robo signing. they also have to give people a heads up that they're headed to foreclosure because they could try to fix things before it's too late. banks have to set up one point of contact for each borrower. there's not going to be any more dealing with ten different people on your case. if you've been appealing because you've been turned down for a mortgage modification, the process would actually be stopped during that deal. those who were trying to modify their mortgages actually lost their homes even though they were trying to make a positive effort and save it because one hand wasn't talking to the other one, holla. >> trigger happy is sometimes the accusation for banks. colorado's attorney general
says why she approved the deal. >> it is going to allow people to stay in their homes. the banks were very reluctant to do principle reductions. fannie and freddie still won't, and it's what these homeowners need. it's outcome because it's about making sure hard-working folks can stay in their home and raise their children in their home. >> let's turn to economist and author ben stein. is this a good deal or not? it doesn't cover many people, and importantly, ben, people who are responsible homeowners, who have made their payments every single month, they get nothing. >> well, it's funny because every time i go into the bank to pay my mortgage payments, i always feel as if they should give me a lollipop for making my payments on time. this is too little and too late. first of all, it covers only a tiny fraction of the amount of people who are under water. the amount of payments is something like $2,000 as your very capable correspondent said is nowhere near enough to make a
difference for people who are under water. the housing crisis so enormous, it involves so many tens of billions of american homeowners that this is a drop in the bucket. by the way, i'm not positive it's the banks' obligation to put up this money. yes, some of the documents were robo signed. i'm not sure that invalidates the contract. it seems like what we have here is a little squeeze play on the system. whether you agree with it, it doesn't matter or not. it's n going to make a difference. it's a lovely cosmetic thing but won't make much difference. >> let me ask you, then, what would make a difference. so many of americans' spending which accounts for two-thirds of the gdp. these people who have their homes, what do they need to do to get a better mortgage deal from their banks when they have been making payments? >> first of all, holla, i think somebody gave you the wrong number there.
there is nothing that big between perceived wealth and consumer spending. it's not even close to that amount. but what needs to happen is an improved outlook. in certain parts of south florida, they're having a huge real estate boom and the whole communities are lighting on fire because brazilians are coming in and other latin americans and are buying up property. if the mood of this country would change and people would think there is a future and a brighter tomorrow in terms of the economy, if people thought once again it was morning in america, the whole picture would change. housing is, right now, by any historic trend line incredibly cheap in many parts of the country. if people would look at that and say in ten years, it's extremely likely the house will be much more valuable and now is the time to buy, it will pick up. i don't think beating the banks over the head is the way to do it. i think trying to get a recovery generally, and that means a much more optimistic and pro business value by the president, and it also means less gridlock in washington. but it's going to take a change
in the mood in the country, a change in the mood created in the housing boom, a change in the mood created in the crash. a change in the mood will save us. >> which part did i get wrong here? two-thirds of consumers spending -- you mean the link between perceived real estate wealth and consumer spending in the economy. you're saying there's not that much of a link? >> it's trivial. that's called the wealth effect. it's very controversial and nobody thinks it's more than 2 or 3%. >> all right. well, it's interesting because anecdotally i'm hearing things differently. i think people are saying, i'm holding back on spending on big ticket items because i don't know when my home value is going to be worth what i paid for it. it is about the mood, though, as well. >> anecdotally i hear the same thing and i feel exactly the same thing. i was involved in way too much real estate, but what i hear is the same thing, i'm terrified about whether i'll ever be able
to smell my house. the data doesn't show that big a connection between the housing prices and consumer spending. it's a connection but it's not that big a connection. >> well, we'll see if more larger scale measures are implemented at some point down the line. >> i don't think we need larger scale measures in the government, we just need a change in the natural mood, and that could come from a sunny, blig bright, optimistic person being president, and maybe that person is mr. obama. i'm not sure. >> sunny, bright, optimistic. we'll see if that becomes the mood of homeowners in this country. some will tell you they're not that optimistic, but hopefully they will be soon. ben stein, thank you very much. well, a man convicted of stalking madonna escapes from a california mental hospital. up next, find out how he got loose and what the los angeles police department did to track him down. stay with us. we'll be right back.
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madonna's stalker escapes from a california mental hospital, but he didn't get very far. hours after he was reported missing this morning, police found robert dewey hoskins. police warned he could get hostile if he doesn't have his medication. how did police catch up with hoskins? >> they had a few tips. this is something they took very seriously. this a man who was stalking madonna, threatened to kill her. he served eight years in prison. but at 8:00 this morning, officers in long beach had their eye out for hoskins, and they
found him just walking casually in the streets. they apprehended him. we were told there was no incident, nothing out of the ordinary. they took him back to that facility, metropolitan state hospital. the reason the officers had an advantage was that apparently before his escape last friday, hoskins had made comments to hospital staff saying that was the area he had his eye on. so he's back in custody this morning. there was a little bit of confusion, though, between detectives on this case whether or not this was an actual escapee or not, maybe he left on his own free will. and that's because this facility he was being housed, he was just getting treatment there, getting medication, helping him get acclimated back into society. there was no security, he could come and go as he pleased, he had no uniform he had to wear, so that probably explains why he was able to walk out so casually, but he's back in custody being evaluated in
california at this hour. >> thanks very much, corinne winter. adele is back for all you adele fans. up next, we hear her sing for the first time since her vocal cord surgery when she sits down with anderson cooper. stay with us. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents: the cold truth. i have a cold. and i took nyquil, but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] sorry buddy. truth is, nyquil doesn't un-stuff your nose. what? it doesn't have a decongestant. really? [ male announcer ] you need a more complete cold and flu formula, like alka-seltzer plus liquid gels. it's specially formulated to fight your worst cold and flu symptoms, plus relieve your stuffy nose. [ deep breath ] thank you! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] and to fight your allergy symptoms fast, try new alka-seltzer plus allergy. [ technician ] are you busy? management just sent over these new technical manuals.
it's adele acapella. the superstar performer gave a rare appearance on anderson cooper. and you'll see why she scoops the nominations at the grammys this weekend and why her vocal cords sidelined her. >> she had really long nails and she couldn't play the piano with her nails. ♪ there is a fire starting in my heart ♪ ♪ it's a big fever pitch and it's bringing me out the dark ♪ ♪ finally, i can see you crystal clear ♪ ♪ go ahead and sell me out ♪ every piece of you ♪ don't underestimate there's things that i won'to