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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  November 30, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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"outfront" next, president obama visited a toy factory today. and while everyone in washington is acting rather childish about the fiscal cliff, this is not child's play. 33 days left. and the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., susan rice, facing new scrutiny today from democrats. this time about her personal investments. and the number of drones has surged. the newest versions, though, pretty incredible. they look like a cheetah and a fish. let's go "outfront."
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good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, hey, washington stop playing battleship. yes. battleship. we went out and bought it because we wanted to remind you, the kids game where the goal is, i'll read it, can you sink your opponent's fleet before your opponent sinks yours? pretty perfect. this fiscal cliff though is not child's play. it's just 33 days away and today, president obama's visit to a toy factory in pennsylvania had everyone acting a bit childish. >> i've been keeping my own naughty and nice lists. >> we're not interesting in playing rope a dope. >> i wasn't going to have him building roller coasters all day long. >> sure, who doesn't want to be a kid again, but washington, you have real work to do. a looming fiscal cliff and what are we hearing? as republican senator jeff sessions says -- >> a lot of flimflam.
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>> flimflam. we told you last night that treasure secretary tim geithner hop-scotched his way down pennsylvania avenue to bring the president's proposal from the white house to capitol hill and instead of offering compromise, he leapt to the extreme. in case you forgot, here's what his plan does. his plan taxes $1.6 trillion of taxes. higher tax rates on people, families making more than $250,000 as well as closing loopholes, limiting deductions, raising the estate tax rate and increasing the taxes on capital gains and dividends. and the plan spends nearly $200 billion. another stimulus package of 50 billion. an extension of unemployment insurance benefits estimated around $30 billion and an extension of the payroll tax cut estimated at about $114 billion. but the geithner plan didn't cut spending. in return for all of that, the
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president offered $400 billion in cuts to medicare and other entitlement programs. today john boehner basically said, go fish. >> was not a serious proposal. and so, right now, we're almost nowhere. >> just when we needed someone to not say hey, mom, he was nasty so i can be, too. boehner, like geithner, leapt to the extreme. republicans, the best response to a nonstarter could be to put a real thoughtful compromise deal on the table. an alternative. and as for mr. geithner, he wasn't alone either. remember, mr. president, the promise you made during the campaign? >> the way we do it is $2.50 for every cut, we ask for $1 of additional revenue. >> 2.5 to 1. that means you'd need $4 trillion in spending cuts to match the $1.6 trillion in additional revenue. but you only offered $400 billion, which, of course is $3.6 trillion short before you even get to the stimulus plan and other spending items. ethan pollak, steven moore, you guys ready to play?
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>> sure. >> we are. >> i know you spoke to our producer today and he seems to think nobody can beat him at this game. the best in the world. let's get straight to it. steven, a few weeks ago, you were optimistic. so was erskine bowles. the president was. john boehner was. congress' approval ratings seemed to go up because everybody seems so conciliatory. is this going to get done? >> i very rarely admit that i was wrong, but i'm starting to get worried that maybe i was wrong. that these sides are further apart now than they were two weeks ago, which is hard to believe. i think this is going to get done. i don't think we're going to go over the fiscal cliff. republicans have put some proposals on the table moving in barack obama's direction. i don't know exactly what the game that tim geithner was playing yesterday. not only, and thank you, erin, for getting some of this math right.
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the president said 2.5 for every tax increase and yesterday he came up with $4 of new taxes for every dollar of spending cuts. that's when john boehner simply said we're nowhere. >> ethan, don't the republicans if they want to break this stalemate, maybe what the president's doing is saying these are the cuts i want to make, so guys, why don't you come up with the rest? >> i don't think that's really a fair criticism. republicans have passed the budget that paul ryan put together. now, you may not agree with that budget, but it does outline specific cuts. republicans are on the record for those and would probably say here's our list of cuts, mr. president. where's your list? >> the president has other things he may not have included. ethan, so the republicans say fine, take it from paul ryan's budget. but don't they owe him a list? >> they do. and they haven't really provided one.
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there's a great article in politico yesterday. they talked about how democrats, the president's come forward with $1.6 trillion in revenue increases, it's been very detailed. it's drawn heavily from his 2013 budget. and then, you know, he asks, okay, republicans, what do you want on entitlement cuts? and the republicans have said, present us a list of options and then we'll pick from those that are acceptable to you. and the administration has said, no, that's not how this game works. if you want something, you need to bring it to us, but we're not going to be the ones presenting to you both the revenue fix and entitlement fix. we don't want to do the second thing as much, so if you want entitlement cuts, you need to propose them to us and we'll put them on the table and talk about them. >> let me intervene on this. i have a suspicion. now i'm a republican, so i'll admit that, but i'm thinking more and more, the president, he doesn't really sound like he wants to get this deal done. it's not that hard. the truth is, they're not that far apart.
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the republicans have put tax increases on the table much to the chagrin of a lot of conservatives. there is a suspicion among republicans that i talk to, the president really wants to squash the republicans and have us go over the cliff and then blame the republican party for it. >> is it possible, the president doesn't want to make these entitlement cuts very much but he said he would, fair point. but the republicans make this whole thing that entitlements have to be cut but voters don't want to put it on the table because nobody likes entitlement cuts. nobody wants to be the one to say hey, i'm going to make you work longer, get medicare later, limit how much money you get. that's not politically easy. >> you remember during the campaign, erin, when the democrats ran all these campaigns about paul ryan and the republicans pushing grandma over the edge in her wheelchair. the republicans have a pretty detailed list. i haven't really seen anything yet out of the president. and, look. the one thing i think we would all agree on, you're not going to get anywhere in these
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negotiations or in terms of reducing this $1.1 trillion deficit if you don't do something about these entitlements. so everyone's kind of waiting, when will the president come forward with those recommendations? >> if i could just jump in really quick, one of the problems with entitlement cuts is they don't produce a lot of savings in the first ten years. >> that's true. that's true. >> a lot of the things ryan proposed are going to be phased in gradually. if we're going to be obsessively focused on the ratio between revenue and spending, then republicans are going to be in for some disappointment because all the things they want on entitlements basically phase in. this is consistent what they said about not wanting to change things for people over 55. and the fact that even paul ryan and mitt romney ran away from entitlement cuts in paul ryan's budget in the last election i think is a sign of where the american public is. they do want the rich to pay their fair share in taxes, but
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they really don't like a lot of the entitlement cuts. >> that's a fair point. that's a fair point. >> the entitlements affect everybody, to some extent. >> look. in response to what you were just saying about the fact these savings don't really kick in for ten years. that say legitimate point. look what we did in 1982. tip o'neil sat down with the most conservative president and one of the most liberal speakers of the house. when they reached that deal, today, we are reaping huge savings from that, so those savings ten years, 20 years, 30 years from now, those are going to be enormous. the problem is we keep punting every time we come to this and the most important factor in the budget is the fact that we got 80 million baby boomers that will be retiring in the next 20 years. >> as we found out, new immigrants aren't having as many kids so who is going to pay for those? new fears that the regime in syria is growing more desperate. no internet access for the
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second day. we're going to show you the chart. this is a pretty incredible thing to see. republican senators now calling for president obama to arm the opposition now. is that crazy? plus, house majority leader eric cantor releases his 2013 schedule for the house of representatives today. you know what? you'd love to be one of those guys. and a frightening new trend emerges. gangs targets dozens of children every day. coercing them into sex with gifts. check for more! well, i guess i can double check... my watch! [ male announcer ] it pays to double check, with state farm. both of us actually.
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our second story "outfront," panic in syria. at this moment tonight, there is fear the assad regime is getting desperate, so today, much of the country experienced a second day without internet access. it's a pretty incredible thing. i just want to show you this chart. internet activity was going up and up, then off. can you just imagine life in that situation? no one is sure why and as violence continues on the ground, there's a debate at home as to whether even at this what seems to be late hour, that the united states should get involved. senators have repeatedly called for the united states to arm the rebel forces, but the administration is not yet ready to do it. >> will providing arms to the opposition convince the people who support bashar al assad in many cases because they are afraid of their own existence, or will it simply lead to more fighting? that is the question that we are considering. >> it's a crucial question.
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"outfront" tonight, alex, author and former reporter for the "the new york times" and seth jones. good to see you. seth, there's a lot of things we don't know about the rebels. as that point just made clear. james clapper, the director of national intelligence had warned congress that some of the attacks we've seen in syria bore the hallmarks of al qaeda. there have been atrocities committed by these rebels. there appear to be no question about that. executions. a new video posted yesterday showed a man filming himself while he shot ten unarmed prisoners. should we arm the rebels? >> well, i think we should arm and this is not just about arming. this discussion seems to overlook the fact that the rebels need intelligence, supplies. the challenge though is that the largest opposition movement is the free syrian army. the problem though is that we've got a range of sunni extremist groups including al qaeda's front that operates in syria. it's conducted a range of attacks. it is an extremist group that
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wants to establish sharia law in syria. it cannot get into the hands of al qaeda in iraq because it will strengthen them. >> alex, how in the world can we prevent that from happening? >> that's the question you have to ask and i don't think anybody has the answer to that right now. sort of on the definition of insanity. we're doing the same thing over and over again. doing the same thing we did in libya. getting involved in yet again in a civil war in a muslim country and i'm not sure why we expect different results. and i wonder what those senators will have to say in a year or two or five if we provide a surface to air missile that gets used to take down a jet liner in europe or africa. >> seth, isn't that the problem? what we saw in libya was all those weapons have gone missing. now they're elsewhere in northern africa and some got into the hands of hamas in gaza. syria seems to be libya on steroids in terms of the things that could go wrong.
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>> i think it's kind of ludicrous to provide them with surface to air missiles. i think what they need more than anything else is ammunition and small arms. they can do a lot with just that kind of activity. and really intelligence. especially with the internet going down, it's harder for them to communicate with each other. radios are down across the country. they need help in a range of ways. i think our intelligence apparatus and our special operations units can do this in general and have done this clandestinely over the years, so i think we can do this and provide some oversight. >> if we do it, do we have -- will it have any impact on the outcome? the u.s. does think strategically. like it or not, they do. if i'm giving you a gun, are you going to do something when you get in power? >> i think seth and i are a little bit closer than i thought. i think providing small arms is a good idea. the question is whether that
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will make a difference i think on the margin, it makes a difference, but really, assad's greatest advantage is his air force and if we don't provide surface to air missiles and don't set up a no-fly zone, we're sort of on the margin. >> some said with the road to damascus blocked and the internet being down, no one's sure what's happening. but why do you think the internet is down? purposeful? what? >> it's clearly purposeful and it was clearly done by the syrian government. they are denying it, but they lie. why? it makes it harder for the rebels to communicate. they are obviously trying to spy on the internet or they were when it was up, but they decided it was in their interest just to knock it out entirely. >> how long can they keep it up? >> most insurgencies take about a decade to win or lose. this one has a lot of potential for greater bloodshed. >> you think it could take this long? >> it could. the issue is if the united states gets a little more involved, the jordanians, the
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turks, sanctuary and training camps in turkey, i think the assad regime will fall eventually but then the question is, how long will the fighting continue among the rest of the groups? that's where the length of time kicks in. >> you think the jordanians are going to be happy with training camps? >> jordanians have a lot of problems right now. >> they've already provided assistance and have provided limited training to opposition. yes, i think they're there. >> thanks to both of you. we appreciate it. the biggest classified leak in history. a grueling day of cross-examination for the man at the center of the wikileaks classified investigation. they tried to poke holes in bradley manning's story. he said he was abused during his nine-month confinement in a marine brig in quantico, virginia. he said he contemplated suicide while in custody because of the conditions and that he was forced to stand naked in front of guards. the pentagon says manning was held in accordance with the rules but if convicted, he could
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face life in prison. "outfront" tonight, chris lawrence covering this at the pentagon. he said he was forced to stand naked in front of guards. they tried to poke some holes in that today. did they succeed? >> in some ways, erin, very much so. they got manning to admit the guards never actually ordered him to drop the blanket that was covering his body. let's back up. manning had made a crack because they had placed so many restrictions on him in confinement that if he really wanted to kill himself he could hang himself by his underwear. the guards took that seriously and that night he was stripped naked, except for a blanket. when he got up the next morning, he had to stand at parade rest. now manning had to admit today that he inferred from what the guard said that he had to drop that blanket to stand at parade rest and he admitted today they never actually said that. and, in fact, manning said that in later days, and in subsequent
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days, the guards always put his clothes on his food tray and he was given plenty of time to get dressed before standing. >> so one question a lot of people ask is whether there will be a plea deal. that bradley manning would try to plead to something so the time he'd have to serve would be significantly shorter. is there a plea deal being talked about? >> there is. he would plead guilty to some of the lesser charges but not obviously, aiding the enemy, which is the big charge that carries life in prison. that deal presumably would net manning about 16 years in prison. but here's why you are hearing all of this talk back and forth, the arguments over how he was treated. it's because there is some precedent for reducing the time based on how you are treated while incarcerated. there was a case about 12 years ago where an airman mistreated got a 3 for 1 credit for the days he had already served. manning's attorney is presumably talking about a ten for one credit. talking up to seven years
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knocked off his sentence if he were to get it. >> chris lawrence, thank you very much. next, more problems for susan rice. the u.s. ambassador facing more questions, not about benghazi, about personal investments. and not from republicans. from democrats. and a lot of people say our government doesn't work. and, well, they might be right. the house of representatives released its 2013 work calendar today. we have all the days you need to know about. a hybrid? most are just no fun to drive. now, here's one that will make you feel alive. meet the five-passenger ford c-max hybrid. c-max says ha. c-max says wheeee. which is what you get, don't you see? cause c-max has lots more horsepower than prius v, a hybrid that c-max also bests in mpg. say hi to the all-new 47 combined mpg c-max hybrid.
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welcome back to the second half of "outfront." we start the second half of our friday show with stories we care about, where we're focusing on our reporting from the front lines. and we begin with three people who were killed during an attack at a community college today in the eastern wyoming city of casper. it's not entirely clear how they were killed. the suspect was among the three. died of an apparent suicide. police say no firearms were involved. the victim's injuries were caused by a sharp-edged weapon. now the suspect was not a current student at the campus, but the police chief says all three knew each other.
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two of the nation's largest ports are shut down due to a strike. workers in los angeles and long beach walked off the job tuesday claiming their jobs are being outsourced. their employers denied it. the two sides remained at a standoff and that's hurting the bottom line. the executive director at the port of los angeles tells "outfront" some ships are being diverted to mexico. they bring in 40% of the nation's imports and at this time of the year, that means everything you're buying for christmas. tensions are rising in egypt after assembly members passed a draft constitution today. all 234 articles were approved unilaterally by the muslim brotherhood. that's the party of the president, mohamed morsi. frustrated coptic christians and liberals walked out before the
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votes because they said their views weren't being heard. the fate of the constitution won't be clear for another two weeks when egyptians get to vote on the draft. the mauritanian president is warning tension in mali could backfire. locals could align with rebels. one group they are concerned about is al qaeda in the islamic maghreb. that's the group the international community has been trying to oust in that region. mark schroeder tells us that aqim is actually consolidating and getting stronger in the region. without international military intervention, mali's military won't be able to push them out. he told me he doesn't even have enough guns for his soldiers. it's been 484 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. what are we doing get it back? incomes and consumer spending fell in october. experts we spoke to said sandy had a significant impact on the numbers. and new problems for susan rice. this is different than what you think i'm about to say. after weeks of criticism from republicans, she now faces scrutiny over her personal investments. stock holdings listed in her financial disclosure report raise a potential conflict of interest if she were to become a
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top diplomat. a conflict of interest, it's something democrats don't like. mary snow is "outfront." >> reporter: the latest controversy surrounding ambassador susan rice involves a major investment in the company that wants to build the controversial keystone xl pipeline. rice holds between $300,000 and $600,000 worth of stock in transcanada. the keystone pipeline would contact the tar sands oil development this canada to the u.s. gulf coast and if rice becomes secretary of state, any decision on it would fall under her jurisdiction.
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>> we need for the next secretary of state to be completely unburdened of any interest that could present a conflict or the appearance of a conflict. >> bob deans of the natural resources defense council is among those opposing the pipeline for environmental reasons. his group's online publication
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brought rice's investments to light. white house press secretary was asked thursday if that would pose a conflict. >> i'm not going to speculate about a personnel decision the president has not made, a nomination he has not put forward. this is bipartisan. i don't care whether you're a democrat or a republican. i'm sorry. i'm trying not to sneeze. but you're going to love this. the house will be in session 126 days. that includes eight days in january and two in august. i mean, you have to have august
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off, right? france. compare that to the average american worker to works about 230 days a year. writer for the national review and maria, a cnn contributor. i'm sure we can all agree we would love that schedule. especially if your compensation remained what it was. now, eric cantor, being serious here, says the new calendar allows lawmakers a week a month to spend back at home. when ip did the math, 126 days in washington is 25 workweeks. that's only 50% of the year. >> erin, members of congress are still doing their jobs when they are in their constituencies, when they are reaching out to their constituents. they are still working on legislation and much else. if you are concerned about congress wasting time, we ought to be more concerned about the fact that individual candidates are raising money rather than parties.
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that's the thing that really distracts them from the hard work of legislating. being out there in their districts, that's actually really, really important as a part of their job. >> i think we can all agree with that. do they need this much time? how such going to things that americans don't isn't big money and politics? >> it's way too much, i think, erin. i've always thought that. yes, we understand that congress
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needs to be in touch with their constituents. they need to talk to the folks back home. but guess what. we have a lot of advanced technology these days that they can do that without having to be in their districts. more time they are here in washington. and especially now, erin, where we are facing such critical problems. we are looking at a situation where the tax bills for the majority of americans are going to skyrocket if congress doesn't do something. then we're presented with a workweek that is less, i think, than congress has done in 20 years. look. the average american when they aren't in debt, they go look for another job or they work overtime. what does congress do? they work less days. doesn't quite click. >> to maria's point there isn't one five-day workweek next year. i know you want to spend time with your constituents, but i'm just going to call it out like i see it. they are all fridays and mondays. and they all want to go home and see their families. i'm not saying that's wrong. to maria's point. there's big problems facing this country. if they were passing bills and getting things done, maybe everybody would be okay. >> that's also a philosophical disagreement. they think the more bills you pass the more good you are doing. >> i'm saying get the big stuff done. >> fair enough. when maria is talking about technology, let's think outside the box. is it possible to vote from your home constituency as well? i mean, you know, that's something we ought to explore. we ought to think about having
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our members of congress rooted in their communities more than they are necessarily rooted in washington. i understand there's a lot of important work to be done in d.c., but i don't think that this is as nearly a big a problem as the money chase and a lot of other things distracting them. increase the budget for congressional staffs. that would give them the analytical tools to do their jobs well. but the calendar, i think it makes a lot of sense. >> i was going to say, there are
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two problems with that. the first is the perception problem. congress already has a huge perception problem among the american people. so when they are taking more days off in the face of these huge problems when americans are working their butts off to try to get out of debt, it just doesn't click. and the second thing is that,
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you know, we are going upon a holiday season here. and americans are really looking to their leaders for solutions. especially after this congress.
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so instead of spending time outside of washington, we should actually have them not leave washington until they fix the fiscal cliff. at least let's fix the fiscal cliff and make sure that american families aren't faced with possible larger tax bills come january. >> wouldn't it just make you feel better if you didn't feel the real reason we'll get a fiscal cliff resolution, whether it's a little tinkering or something bigger, wasn't because they actually wanted to be home on christmas? >> i think that they absolutely should try to get this done. i certainly don't think they should go home before the situation is resolved. but i also think that when you are looking at what kind of congress we want, we want a responsive congress. we want a congress rooted in
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american communities, not inside the beltway. >> look, you just want mondays and fridays off, too, and your trying to make the argument to the national review as to why that is better. >> americans want their leaders to work, period. >> thanks to both of you. we appreciate it. of course, we want all your feedback. next, the billionaire software tycoon john mcafee is wanted in the questioning of the death of his neighbor.
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martin savidge just literally caught him. he was running, literally. he's going to join us right after this. and it's going to be a lot harder to spot the things that spot you because we've got drones that now are designed to look like animals and fish. breaking news right now. fugitive software tycoon john mcafee wanted for questioning of the murder of his neighbor in belize has been on the run for three weeks from authorities but our martin savidge found him, caught up with him while on the run for an exclusive interview. and martin is on the phone right now from belize city. i know it was really difficult to find him. what did he tell you, first of all? >> well, first of all, i mean, he maintains his innocence. and we grilled him over and over about this issue. look, if you had nothing to do with the murder of your and now our outer circle. we reach out to our sources around the world. we're going to britain tonight where there's a frightening trend known as grooming gangs. dozens of children are being targeted by them on a daily basis. the gangs are run by men who build relationships with children, earn their trust and eventually force them to have sex. atika shubert is in london. i started by asking her just how widespread this is. >> the numbers are disturbing. according to the british children's commissioner, a new report shows as many as 45 children a day may be targeted by so-called child grooming gangs. gangs of men preying on usually young girls, but sometimes, boys as young as 12 years old. they're called grooming gangs because of the slow process of winning over these children's trust. usually it starts with giving them a ride home or buying them meals. it then becomes buying them alcohol, drugs and eventually forcing them into sex.
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even stories of passing them on between men. so it is really horrific stuff and we don't know how many of these gangs there are in the u.k. and these gangs tend to put a wedge between the child and parent so that the victim doesn't even know who to trust anymore and won't go to their parents for help. >> atika, thank you. now our fifth story "outfront." the rise of drones. the number of drones has surged. in 2001, we had 50 of them. now 7,500. the machines designed to watch are now looking like fish. this is called the bioswimmer. was developed by the department of homeland security dart into hard to reach places under water and it's not the only nature-inspired robot. there is a cheetah.
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they put a skin on it. and, of course, the robo mule. both developed by the defense advanced research project's agency, darpa. "outfront" tonight, barbara starr. i know the real new front, drones themselves, have changed the entire way this country will fight war forevermore. let's start with the bioswimmer. what can it do? >> well, this is a very interesting project that was actually funded by the department of homeland security to basically -- it takes the shape of a tuna because tuna can maneuver in the water. they can get into small places. and the idea is if you could put sensors on this, cameras, acoustics, you could put this kind of device into u.s. harbors. maybe to go through shipwrecks, underground debris. the whole idea with all of these programs is that nature really
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is, you know, the best way. there's a good lesson to be learned here. these are devices that can move in nature as they do like a tuna. >> simple things. 90% of the world's goods go by ship. you need to be able to see what's going on under water. how many other animal-inspired drones are there and are they as sophisticated and as natural as the tuna looked? >> most of them are in development. it's going to be the way the military fights in the future or security is protected. you mentioned a couple of them. the cheetah.
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there's a horse-like object. four-legged. very large that can go over rough terrain and carry gear on it, possibly even troops. this can get into places go over very rough, steep terrain that vehicles could not. looking at some of the drones drying overhead you can see how they make those maneuver as they do in nature. one of the most interesting programs that even the military
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with two times the points on dining in restaurants,? you may find yourself asking why not, a lot. >> i am glad about that. you have to have something where
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nature is the winner. barbara, how important is this technology? is this really becoming more and more drones? we have already seen it happen, fewer soldiers. that we would be able to fight
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entire wars with them? >> well, maybe not entire wars. probably there is still really the human dimension in there that somebody has to take responsibility for what is going on. but you know, what these can do is, if you have these, you don't have to put as many troops at risk in hostile territory. you can keep your pilots safe, you can keep your ground troops safer. send the drones, the robot, in ahead. let them take the risk. if something mechanical gets shot up, that's a lot better than a u.s. soldier. >> barbara starr, thank you. pretty incredible images there. suspicion, intrigue and dirty dealings. we all enjoy hearing about them. there's just something about the juicy details of a great scandal. john avalon loves them, too.
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