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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 25, 2012 4:00pm-6:00pm EST

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just because we can. finally before we go to wolf blitzer, a quick check of the markets. up 84 points, just ten seconds away from the closing bell. there you go. latest numbers on wall street. tomorrow the big debate. there he is on campus. wolf blitzer, to you, sir. >> thanks very much, brooke. happening now or latest poll released this minute. it shows they are neck and neck in florida, about you a new trend developing, which could make the upcoming debate a crucial factor in the primary. u.s. special ops forces, including the same unit that killed osama bin laden, stage another daring raid, this time on mission to rescue hostages from pirates in somalia. tears on both sides of the aisle. congress bids an emotional farewell and gets an inspirational message. i'm wolf blitzer.
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you're in "the situation room." but first this just coming in. we're seeing a tight race, a very tight race here in florida. that makes tomorrow night's cnn republican presidential debate potentially all the more important as the candidates try to make an impact. the new cnn/"time"/orcp poll shows a virtual tie. ging r. has near will you doubled his support here, while romney has slipped. but that big jump by gingrich may not snell tell the whole story. there's another trend developing, and there's lots to explore. let's getting right to our chief political analyst gloria borger and mike all crowley of "time" magazine. on the face of it, it looks like a tie, but there's other trends
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developing. >> right, i think what we're seeing, wolf, if you look at the polls taken on sunday, the day after the south carolina primary, and then after the first florida debate, you see the trend is actually slowing down substantial for newt gingrich. so take a look at this. the day after the south carolina primary on sunday, you see that gingrich is up six points, wolf, but after the florida debate, pre and post, you see that romney is 38-29. so romney was up nine points. so what we're seeing here is that gingrich clearly got on bounce out of the south carolina, wolf, you see it there now, he clearly got a bounce off south carolina, but it didn't last for him. this shift to romney may well be because the attacks on gingrich are starting to have some impact. it's always hard to tell. >> michael, if you look at those
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numbers, this poll was done, the cnn/"time"/orc poll was done over three days, and there was the big republican debate monday night in which romney really went after newt gingrich and newt gingrich held back. it looks like that was a mistake if you believe the trend in these three days of this poll. >> yeah, wolf, that's right. it seems like newt has been most successful when he's been on the attack, on the offensive. we've seen what happens when he's under attack. think back to iowa. they completely killed him in the 308s, drove limb out of contention. you might look to see gingrich go back on the offensive in the next debate. >> and gloria, it was obviously a misfor newt gingrich to take the high road in iowa. it looks like probably a mistake for him to hold back monday night in that debate here in florida. >> tried to be the front-runner,
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right? >> he was pulling a mitt romney, if you will. >> exactly. >> and that didn't necessarily work out so well for him, at least so far. we'll see what happens tomorrow night. it looks like a gender gap. >> there is a gender gap. in south korea south korea newt gingrich won handily, with both men and women. what we're seeing in florida is newt gingrich leads men by about four points, but romney leads with women 40% to 32%. gingrich generally in his political career has always shown a gender gap. it seems like men like the attack more, but if romney wants to start appealing to men and wants to win, he has to start appealing to men, going on the attack may help him. >> michael, there's a lot of people that vote here, but elderly are big-time voters
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throughout this state. there's no doubt that all of these four remaining candidates are appealing to them. >> well, absolutely, wolf. florida is such a diverse state there are so many audiences. it's really challenging politics there. you know, compared to a state like iowa, which a lovelly state, but quite homogenous, basically you're looking at a religious conservative electoral. here they are looking at latinos, elderly voters, racial diversity, so it's much more of a balancing act. in fact, one of the big back-and-forths is gingrich going after the rom -- that's an important theme the next few days. i'm sure we'll hear about it in the next debate. >> we'll be learning a lot more about all of this in the debate. gloria, michael, guys, thanks very much. big prize involving the latinos, they make up, as michael just said, a huge part of the electorate. they're fighting very hard for
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that vote. as you might expect, it's getting realty nasty. jim acosta is taking a closer look. first of all, where are you? what's going on? >> reporter: well, we are watching a mitt romney event that just wrapped up a few moments ago, he went right after that vote, vowed to see castro leave this earth, as he put it during his remarks, and called for a free cuba. that's always good politics down here in south florida, but watching them go to war for the latino vote, all you can say is e ay if the carumba. newt gingrich was tearing up in front of a cuban crowd -- >> he's actually teaching our granddaughter. it's really great. >> reporter: and showing some
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macheezmo over the castro brothers. >> there would not be a succession. we are in fact are not going to allow a negative future of a new generation of dictators replacing the castro brothers. >> reporter: hispanics are the big empanada in florida. with 21% are still undecided. >> mitt romney is -- [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: that explains why both campaigns are taking to the spanish air waves. within ad calls romney the most anti-romney candidate. in 2007 he mistakenly used cat trolls's phrase, and then dropped the ad after drawing a sharp rebuke from marco rubio, calling the ad inaccurate and inflammatory.
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speaker, marco rubio criticized that ad for you today. do you have any comments for that? >> we'll see you folks later on. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: romney is fighting fuego with fuego, in recent days romney has softened his tough position on illeap immigration. at monday's debate he said he could support portions of d.r.e.a.m. act. he had said previously he would veto the bill and offered up a unique opportunity. >> if you don't deport them, how do you send them home? >> the answer is self-deportation. >> gingrich mocked it. >> oh, come on. can i ask you a question? >> sure. >> how close are you to breaking up laughing out loud at this fantasy?
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>> reporter: both newt gingrich and mitt romney would love an endorsement from marco rubio, but a spokesman for the senator said even after the comments he's not wavering from his position that he's staying neutral. we should mention about an hour ago mitt romney weighed in on that spanish language ad from the gingrich campaign. he called it inappropriate. wolf? >> sglim acosta on the scene for us, thank you very much. the next republican presidential debate is right here in jacksonville at the university of north florida, thursday evening, tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. eastern, only days before the pivotal florida primary. you'll see it unfold live here on cnn. there were both tears -- there were a lot of tears on both sides of the aisle today as gabby giffords formally resigned. in her letter she said, and i'm quoting now -- i will recovered
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and will return. giffords has made an extraordinary comeback from a severe head wouldn't when a gunman opened fire. six people died. giffords will now focus on her rehabilitation. congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz read the letter aloud, and then added. >> let me say a point of personal privilege, for the last year it has been one of the honors of my life and the most important thing to remember that, no matter what we argue about here on this floor or in this country, there is nothing more important than family and friendship. and that should be held on high above all else. and i will always carry that in my heart, and even though i know we won't see each other every day, gaby, we'll be friends for life. for life. >> yes.
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>> congresswoman giffords cast her voight on the final big she co-introduced. it passed enan mussily. we'll have much more in the next story in the next hour. dana bash will be you will on capitol hill. here is something i was wondering about last night when anchors the coverage of the state of union address, the mysterious words he uttered to leon panetta. right before he delivered the address. >> good job tonight. good job tonight. good job tine, he said to leon. good job tine, leon. now we finally know what it was all about. details of a daring u.s. rescue operations. also newt gingrich heckled in florida over a controversial part of his past. and mitt romney's scathing reaction to the president's
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state of the union address. gene sperling is standing by live. this hour he will respond. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." ♪
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s. let's get to job jack caffe. he has "the cafferty file." >> as president obama heads out, he has his work cut out. a new gallup poll shows americans of broadly dissatisfied with the state of the union on many issues. in in cases that satisfaction has dropped off a cliff over the last four years, the most toxic, the economy. it happens to be the top issue on most voters minds. only 13% say they are satisfied with the state of the economy. 13%. most ominously for mr. obama, that's a 23-point drop since january of 2008, the year before
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he took office. this is the lowest rate of satisfaction and the biggest decline in the last four years for any of the 24 issues that gallup measured. up next fewer than 3 in 10 americans are satisfied with the moral and ethical climate, and the size of federal government. there's more. most americans are also dissatisfied with the level of immigration into the country and with the nation's efforts to deal with poverty. no surprise there. we have more than 46 million people living below the poverty line, plus a record number of folks on food stamps. on the plus side americans are most satisfied with the overall quality of life, along with the nation's security from terrorism and its military strength, but if you buy that election-year admonition "it's the economy stupid" then where president obama is concerned, there's a problem. here's the question -- what does it mean for president obama that
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americans' dissatisfaction with the economy has skyrocketed since 2008? go to, post a comment on my blog or to post on "the situation room's" facebook page. wolf? and it's a great page indeed. jack, thank you. there was an intriguing moment before the president's state of the union address before a joint session of congress last night, just a hint that told me something important was going on. watch this moment from our special coverage last night. >> good job tonight. good job tonight. >> we did hear the president say to leon panetta, the secretary of defense, you did a good job. we're going to check out why he justified a shoutout like that from the president. "you did a good job" maybe he'll make an announcement in his speech tonight about what the secretary of defense and the defense department did.
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we're checking our sources right now. and we now know that something very dramatic indeed was happening in a daring nighttime raid, u.s. special operations forces landed in a remote area in somalia. they rescued two hostage aid workers and killed nine pirates. the american woman, jessica buchanan and her danish colleague, were kidnapped back in october. a official says the same elite navy s.e.a.l. unit that killed osama bin laden was among those involved in the raid. an official says this time they par chuted in from fixed-wing impact and advanced on foot to the compound. the military says nine heavily armed gunmen were -- zain verjee takes a closer look at what this is all about. >> wolf, the u.s. is sending a powerful message to somali pirates, we are fed up and not afraid to come and get you.
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this kind of operation does not mean it will deter somali pirates from kidnapping hostages, because it's a new and important retch stream for them. somali pirates have been a danger for ships on the high seas for years, hijacking them like it's a slick business. call it pirates inc., wolf. i have to give you an idea of that fascinating organizational structure. think of it kind of like a wall street firm. few know as much about modern piracy than this man, john burnett's education began the hard way while sailing solo to singapore. >> it's as terrifying as waking up in the middle of the night in your bedroom on land and realizing there's an intruder in the house. it scared the hell out of me. >> reporter: he wall street held hostage by pirates in the south china sea. when burnett was released, he decided to make piracy his life's work. i asked him sow somali pirates are able to make millions in
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hijacks for ransom. >> it's nearly a corporate business plan. they have every step run with military precision. >> reporter: if attracts investors and suppliers. a pirate gang leader oversees the operation, that includes a pirate action group, about 8 to 12 men on two skiffs, an on-board commander, a logistics manager, an accountant and an interpreter. pirates will get close in the dead of night to a merchant ship like this one, they approach it, they look for one that moves slowly and is kind of low. they throw a rope with a hook or ladder and climb up onto it. the skiffs have powerful engines, weapons, gps navigators, extra fuel. burnett says piracy is big bucks and out of control. >> there are many, many men and women being held hostage, and no one deals with it.
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no one cares about it. >> that's zain verjee reporting for us from london. a quick footnote. zain is reporting that pirates are still holding about 30 people hostage. as for jessica buchanan, the american aid workers who was rescued brian todd has spoken to some family members, they are anxiously awaiting her return. we'll have that part of the story as well as new details. that's coming up in "the situation room" in the next hour. what does flaens pelosi really know about the former house speaker. she's hinting that it could derail his campaign. it's turning it into a serious war of words between the two former speakers. plus heckled out there on the campaign trail. details a who was mocking newt gingrich and why. we're going to see the exchange.
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lisa sylvester is monitoring other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's going on? >> the seattle-based company starbucks is joining a growing list of corporations backing the push to legalize same-sex marriage. it says it's in line with the business practices and philosophy. it joins other washington companies, including microsoft and nike in supporting legalizing gay marriage in that state. and take a look at this rescue off the coast of north carolina. coast guard officials say a 26-foot sailboat ran aground on a shoal over the weekend prompting a call for help. the three men we are hoisted to safety in windy and rainy
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weather. fortunately none were injured. their first words to the rescuers, quote -- you guys are awesome. move over, exxon apple is now the most valuable publicly traded stock in the world. it soared on record of a quarterly profit. that pushed the market value to $419 billion, surpassing exxon, which is worth only december only, by the way -- $413 billion. it briefly surpassed the oil gyred last august, but exxon quickly regained. but now apple is on top. it's former speaker versus former speaker. we're talking about newt gingrich versus nancy pelosi. you will hear for yourself. and mitt romney slams the president's ideas on jobs and taxes. i'll get a response from gene sperling, the director of the white house economic council.
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president obama's on a three-day trip to five political battleground states. his first stop today, iowa, where he talked jobs, took some jabs at his republican critics. now he's on the way to arizona. dan lothian is joining us. the white house says this isn't a campaign trip and last night's address wasn't a campaign speech, but certainly to a lot of folks it sounds like the above. >> reporter: it does sound like that, wolf, but the white house saying the speech last night and certainly this tour is about pushing a vision that will help this country, that will put middle-class americans back to work and will turn the economy
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around. as part of the president's big push, there's something old and something new. >> it was a state of the union speech that set the tone for president obama's reelection campaign, populist themes that appeal to independent voters. much of it we've heard before. >> everyone gets a fair shot. what's at stake aren't democratic values or republican values, but american values. >> reporter: but behind closed doors, the white house crafted new ideas, and hours before the speech was delivered, released this video on how the proposals ended up in the script. because of the concerns over content piracy in cunning like china, a new trait enforcement unit is being created. >> there will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods have crossing our borders. >> reporter: and two more new units to tackle fraud in the financial industry. >> this new unit will hold accountable those who broke the
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law. >> we'll we've ahead about the so-walled buffett reel before, the president got more specific. >> if you make more than a million a year, you should not pay less than 30% in taxes. >> jay carney trumpeted the fair share aspirin tells. >> americans fortunate to be millionaires and billionaires should not be pays at a lower rate than working middle-class americans. >> reporter: on the environmental fronts attractive to his pay, he announced a directive to allow clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. the opposing party found few things to applaud, and on the campaign trail hopeful protested not with their hands but with their words, he ways speaking in fantasyland again last night. >> i find the gap between his words and deeds to be sort of
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astounding. >> reporter: the president also asked congress to consider tax breaks for companies that bring jobs. but wolf, while the president does have some initiatives, many of the big proposals will require congressional approval and in this political climate, that will be different if not, as some believe, impossible to do. >> good point. dan lothian at the white house, thanks very much. let's get more on the speech and the reaction to it the gene sperling is the director of the white house economic council. gene, thanks very much for coming in. listen to what else newt gingrich said today about the president's speech last night. >> when he proposed a 30% minimum tax, if he actually means it, that would double the
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tax on capital gains. that would drive the stock market down it would affect every pension and 401(k) in the country, it would lead people to invest outside the united states, stop capital formation, it would block the development of new companies and about as big a job-killing proposal as any president has ever made. i'm hoping the white house is going to clarify today that actually 30% didn't mean 30%, because if itment 30%, that would be so stupid even they couldn't defend it. >> i think it's pretty clear and somethi somethingadopt the -- called for and the rate he talked about, which is that people making over a million, when we reform or tax
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code and reduce expenditures and rates, we should make sure those few fortunate enough to make over a million pay a basic rate, an effective rate of 30%. now, that does not mean in tax reform thattic still not have some preferential rates if that is what -- what it says, however, is that if you organize all of your money or park your money in places so that you pay a rate that is lower than millions of working families where you're pays lower than the extra extra hour of overtime that a police officer or a fireman puts into work, that that's something we don't support. it's just a basic fairness rule, and, you know, of course i heard those types of things. as you know, we heard those things in the early 90s that the
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world would come crashing. it didn't work out. in fact when we've had fiscal discipline and fairness in our tax cope that's what the record is. the one time we did decide to bet on lowering tax rates for the most -- we probably had the worst period of job growth and wage growth we have seen in decades and decades. >> i want to be presize. but for folks who make a million dollars or more -- it could increase, interest rates, with taxes on interest investments. interest rates. that would go up to 30% too? all of that would go up to 30%? is that how you would do it?
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>> no, that's now how it works wolf. first of all, this is a principle for tax reform. in tax reform hopefully we'll have a simpler system. what it says is at the end of the day somebody making $10 million should be paying at least $3 million in their taxes. a 30% effective rate. actual does not mean that congress could still gift preferences, lower rates to capital gains. even a lot of well-off people that's only a small portion of their income. what it means at the end of the day, after you put all your deductions, preferential rates, you have to pay a basic minimum tax of 30%. let me remind everybody that in our current tax code right now
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not one thing the president has called for would in any way hurt capital gains or dividends for 98% of americans. in fact the president supports continuing our current policy of having zero capital rates for actually the majority of taxpayers. this is simply saying that when we reform the tax codes those in the small percentage, less than 1% who make over a million, whatever capital gains or dividends or deduction they get, at the end of the day, the very, very most fortunate people in our society would pay at least an effective rate of 30%. it's like an alternative minimum tax, except a -- >> i just -- >> it just hits the well-off. >> so in other words just for those making a million or those making more than $. >> no. >> who would pay the higher capital gains tax? >> so, wolf, what i'm trying to
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explain again is that what the buffett rule is really an alternative minimum tax. it doesn't necessarily say what the particular rates will be. it says in the end of the day that you cannot use accountants or preferential rates for people who make over a million to pay less than 30% of the rate. right now we have an alternative minimum tax that is all distorted, and we have to correct every year so it doesn't hit middle-class families. what people always wanted from a minimum tax for trust in our government is if you are in the tiny percent of americans who make over a million dollars, you have to have an effective rate at the end of the day. you can still do your taxes. you may still be able to get prefer aenchal rates, still lower rates, but at the end of the day there's a minimum tack.
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let me get your quick reaction to what timothy geithner just told bloomberg tv. he thinks the president will be reelected, but he's not good to say for a second term. he says he's not going to ask my to stay on. i'm confident he'll be president, but also confident he'll have the privilege of having another secretary of the treasury. i want your reaction. >> well, you know, i think secretary geithner is the most outstanding and sound finance minister, and he's very modest. make the focus will be on the economy this year, not what happens on a year later. i hope the world works out that barack obama is reelected and secretary geithner stays as long as possible. that's a personal decision he'll
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make. our focus right now is on strengthening the economy, getting tax cuts and reform that will strengthen manufacturing on our shores, discourage people from using the tax code to move jobs overseas and give more incentives for people creating jobs here. that's our focus, that's secretary geithner's focus, most importantly that's president obama's focus right now. >> gene sperling joining us, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. newt gingrich heckled over his ties to freddie mac. wait until you hear his response to a woman in the crowd here in florida today. ♪
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former hughes speaker is going at it with a vengeance. that would be newt gingrich and
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nancy pelosi. last night cnn's john king asked nancy pelosi about gingrich. listen to her response and gingrich's rebuttal. >> let me just say this. that will never happen. >> why? >> he will not be president of the united states. that's not going to happen. let me make my prediction and stand by it. it isn't going to happen. >> reporter: why are you so sure? >> there's something i know. the republicans, if they choose to nominate him, that's their prerogative. i don't think that's going to happen. >> i have a simple challenge for speaker pelosi, put up or shut up. i have no idea what she's talking about. i don't think she has any idea what she's talking about. but bring it on. >> all right. let's get to aural strategy session and discuss with democratic strategist jamal simmons, and alice stewart, former spokeswoman for michele
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bachmann. jamal does she know something that could derail the opportunity for newt gingrich to become president? that's what she's now repeatedly hinting. >> it certainly sounds like she knows something. her spokespeople have said she doesn't know anything that hasn't been made public, but it certainly sounded like is it he got close enough to the white house, she was willing to put it out to stop that from happening. i think we don't have to worry about. we know about the $300,000 fine, the ethics charges, we know about his personal life. all those things are on the record. over time that will wear thing with the american voters. alice, nancy pelosi said any reference to the ethics committee is confined to the public record. what do you make of this
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exchan exchange? >> i this i it's silly. if she's got something -- this is the second time she's done this. she started this talk in december, and now they're saying it's information that's in the public record she's starting to sound like the boy who cried wolf. if you have information that's important, put it out there. this is coming from the woman who said we had to pass oba obama-care before we found out what's in it. she's starting to sound like a broken record. if there's something really bad in that information that's part of the public record, i'm sure the romney campaign would have it and already put it out there. >> but she is not one to cry wolf. if you talk to the people on the president's team when she was speaker of the house, everything she committed to get passed, she passed in the house. she's the kind of woman who does complete what she says she'll do. >> then put it out there. stop talking about it, but put it out there.
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>>. >> let me show you what happened when newt gingrich was out on the campaign trail and someone started to heckle him about his tie toss freddie mac. listen to this. >> you work for the people or freddie mac? >> i'm glad you ask that, of course i work for the people. now -- and by the way -- >> now now. this is a free country and people are allowed to come and be noisy. it's part of the american tradition. i just want to say for the record, i don't know that this lady wants to listen, but i will say if go to the july 2008 "new york times," you will see the only reference to my talking to
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congress about freddie mac, i told the house republicans to vote no on giving them any more money. i was opposed to them getting any more money, and that is a fact. >> alice, will this have any legs? >> i don't think so. from the way i see it, he's answered the questions talked about them, and surprisingly it's really difficult for a lot of folks to understand, particularly liberals, a lot of gingrich's past transgressions, whether it's freddie mac or political or personal past, a lot of the people voting have put that behind him. i have a problem with some of the his personal issues, but the voters in south carolina and other states, they have put that behind them, and they're looking at him as someone who's got the conviction and strength, at we've seen the debates that he
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can take on president obama. things like freddie mac and other issues, a lot of the voters have put that behind him. >> wolf, one thing we know about gingrich -- >> ten seconds, jamal. >> he knows how to deliver a punch and take a punch, but we don't know whether or not that was a mitt romney supporters out there. those aren't democrats, probably republicans. so there's a bit of fracturing going on over this. >> guys, thanks very much. remember tomorrow night's debate here in florida. the president wants millionaires to pay more to the federal government. would that amount to real money for the national coffers? we're taking a closer look. [ todd ] hello? hello todd. just calling to let you know
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president obama said he wants a minute millennium 30% tax for millionaires.
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let's get to ark burnett. what did you think of that proposal? you heard gene sperling saying no matter how you make it, you're going to pay $3 million in tax. >> that's right. obviously the warren buffett rule is a good political term for the white house, because a lot of people like it. as you know, the polls show american public supports taxing millionaires. we asked some tax experts. assuming you keep the current code for taxes which i think most would agree it needs more than just changing rates, the effective tax rates would be 44%. that would be back to the mid-reagan years. the real question is, would doing that, as gene sperling said, as the president is talking about, would it raise enough money to make a
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difference? that's where you bet some interesting numbers. it would raise about $41 billion a year, experts tell us. compared that to just how much the government spend last year in fiscal 2011, that would be 1.1%. it's just an interesting way to look at it. you may or may not want to do it, about you when you look at the scale of the problem, the scale of the debt in this country, we need to do a lot more than something like that. >> yeah, relatively small amount of money. erin will have mob at 7:00 p.m. eastern. when we come back, we'll go inside that daring secret mission to free two international aid workers including an american woman held hostage in somalia.
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jack cafferty is back with "the cafferty file." >> the question this hour is what does it mean for the reelection campaign that americans' dissatisfaction has skyrocketed. reagan in miami writing -- i think if the poll taker would talk to the president himself, he would say he's dissatisfied. why is this a surprise?
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what i want to know is who are the 13% who were satisfied with the economy? b. writes it means that the guy hasn't a clue what he's doing. bob in that is writing -- i think we're trying to put a gauge on an economic yount turn that people alive today have not experienced. i'm not happy with the situation, but dealing with it. i hope it improves, so my daughter who's 21 can enjoy her youth like i did in the '60s. it means people still think obama is a good speaker, but finally listening to what he's saying and what he's promised. pam in new york writes it's not significant. people know it would be worse if gop took the reins. richard says last night's shows were reruns, so was obama ace state of the union. and george carlin had it write -- the american dream, you have to be asleep to believe it. if you want to read more, go to
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my blog or through our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. wolf? all right. jack, thanks very very much. happening now, a daring secret u.s. military mission frees two hostages seized in somalia months ago. we'll take you to the college town of the american woman who was saved, where family and friends are overwhelmed with gratitude. plus bipartisanship at its very best, as both parties unite to bid the wounded gabby giffords a roaring farewell. google may soon be tracking your every move. details on a controversial new policy which could have some thinking twice before going online. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news, accomplice cat headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer on the campus of the university of north florida in jacksonville, and
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you're in "the situation room." first a harrowing operation that rescued two aid workers, highly reminiscened of the mission that took out osama bin laden, even involving one of the same elite u.s. navy s.e.a.l. teams. our correspondent chris lawrence is standing by with the latest. >> wolf, we all remember what happened during blackhawk down, so you cannot overstate the risk of putting troops on the ground in somalia. ultimately it was the president's call to do so. just seconds into the president's arrival, the first hint something had happened.
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>> good job tonight. good job tonight. >> at the moment he congratulated his defense secretary, u.s. special operations forces were winding down a dramatic rescue operation halfway around the world. the u.s. military and fbi had been searching for the humanitarian aid workers since october, when somali kidnappers abducted american jessica buchanan and paul thiesten. now they had found them. they obtained specific intel, where they were and who was holding them, but a sense of urgency was building. >> jessica's health was beginning to decline. she's a young woman in her 30s. we wanted to act, and they did. >> reporter: president obama green-lighted the mission monday night. the weather was perfect for a tuesday night assault. as leon panetta monitored the situation, special forces par chuted into the area, among them
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s.e.a.l. team 6, the same elite unit that killed osama bin laden, if not the same men from that mission. they confronted nine kidnappers with guns and explosives nearby and killed all nine. they found the hostages at an outdoor encampment, then hustled them onto helicopters and out of somalia. the rescue team took them to gentlem jabooti. in this in this case a place for medics to competent and tree them. officials tell us they're still in the region right now, both are in good health. they're okay, and they've talked to their families, but there is still another american being held in somalia by another pirate group as well as sailors from south korea, the philippines, and other countries as well, wolf.
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>> let's hope they're okay as well. chris lawrence, thank you. our brian todd is standing by on the campus of jessica buchanan, with a closer look at who she is. brian, what are you learning? >> that can also describe the move here where people talk about a young lady he remembers when jessica remembers from a trip from kenya. his former student presented him with a carved elephant to thank him for helping her land a student teaching job there. after her capture in october, he says he looked at that figure often. >> it's on my bureau. i see it often. i just breathe a prayer that, lord, help jessica get through this. >> reporter: his prayers are answered. mac clur who taught and mentored
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jessica is, along with everyone on this small liberal arts campus ecstatic and relieved that buchanan has been rescued by u.s. special forces. >> it was about 2:00, 2:30 this morning i happened to be checking my computer. i just briefly looked at it and saw this note been and i was like, i couldn't believe it. >> valley forge president said the school had been holding a vigil since october when bee canon who graduated in 2007, was captured. professor david skalforo's daughter christine is jessica's best friend and roommate. >> you kept wonder is this going to be the day where you go ahead news saying she is not coming home forever. >> buchanan 'father told cnn off camera his daughter is doing well, considering the circumstances. >> john buchanan says president obama called him, saying i have great news for you, your daughter has been rescued by our military. those here who know jessica
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buchanan used one common word to describe her diagnose passionate. she said he brought that attitude toward everything, toward her religious beliefs and teaching those less fortunate. >> she could hardly talk about it without having tears in her eyes. >> she had a beautiful relationship with the lord and i think that and god's direction or the holy spirit working with her kind of ignited that passion, and she wanted to continue and follow through with in a. >> reporter: i asked jessica's father what he would say to the u.s. special forces to the troops who rescued his daughter if he could speak to them tonight. he had five words -- thank you. we're very grateful. wolf? >> no doubt about that. you also spoke with a top official of that danish refugee council, the relief group where jessica buchanan worked, and you picked up some information about her security at the time she was captured. lots of questions about that. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. i talked to the
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secretary-general of that group. he told me that jessica and mr. thiesen did have security with them on the ground at the time they were captured. he believes those security members were armed at the time. he didn't mince many words. he said we were disappointed given the fact they had security. they said they're eager to get a chance to talk to jessica and mr. thiested to find out the circumstances. he wasn't exactly sure how many team members with with them at the time of their capture. >> all right. brian, thanks very much. reporting a dramatic story, grateful she's okay. on the heels of a critical state of the union address, president obama is taking his message on a three-day tour across the country, hoping to make a mark with potential voters. just minutes from now he's expected to touch down in arizona after a visit to iowa. tonight he heads to nevada colorado, tomorrow michigan and
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friday. let's bring in jessica yellin. what does the president need to accomplish, want to accomplish on this trip? >> reporter: well, wolf, he is today pushing manufacturing initiatives touting tax incentives to expand severalally what would bring more collar jobs to the u.s., a big vote segment he would like to win and would have to work hard. but among these five states are 48 electoral votes, those we're important votes that would take him a long way to picking up the white house again in november. among these states, there are three purple states -- nevada, colorado, and iowa. those are states that he won, but will have to work hard to win again in november november. then there's michigan. usually a democratic state, but a state -- they think they're likely to win, but you know they
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have been so hard-hit by the recession. the president's team believes that because they've done so much in this administration with the auto bailout, he's likely to fare relatively well there, but again will have to work hard. the state i'm in now, arizona is a red state, not a state the president would be likely to pick up, but team obama, they are bullish on arizona because of the latino vote in this state and they are persuaded they have a shot at winning at it, even though the president lost it by nine points. they think they can win it this time, warm front. he's coming here soon. >> they've been hammering the president for his speech last night. is he firing back at them? >> reporter: you know, he's not mentioning the candidates by name, but he is now taking them on indirectly. you know, mitt romney in particular has been accusing the president of playing on the
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politics of envy, with this message about the haves and have-nots. the president in his language is now pushing back. listen to this. >> when americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because americans envy the rich. most of them want to get rich. most of them will work hard to try to do well financially. it's because if i get a tax break, i don't need and the country can't afford, then either it adds to the definite at this time or alternative if we close that deficit, somebody else will have to pick up the tab. >> reporter: so even if he doesn't mention him by name, he does seem fixed on mitt romney and the democrats in general, wolf, whether it's just to bloody the person they think
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will eventually be their opponent or no you to try to disqualified him and get an opponent they think are weaker. all their fire is fixed on romney. >> clear ly the house floor erupts in tears. putting politics on hold, at least for a little while to bid heroic congresswoman good-bye. >> gaby, we love you. we have missed you. you? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums a little bird told me about a band... ♪ an old man shared some fish stories... ♪ oooh, my turn. ♪
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tomorrow it all starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on the campus of the university of north florida. you rarely see several members
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of congress crying on the floor of the house of representatives, but that's exactly what happened earlier today in an emotion-packed farewell to the arizona congresswoman gabby giffords. >> the fact that gabby giffords was shod in the head doing nothing more than her job, that has had a profound effect on her colleagues here on both sides of the aisle. that is why when she decided to turn in her resignation and leave to focus on her recovery, her colleagues gave her a grand and nonpartisan event. gabby giffords' emotional final morning as a member of congress began as a labored last walk to the house chamber, and ended with a behind the scenes moment captured by cnn, a hug from one of the many workers she encountered during her five years here. on the floor, moving tributes. all of us come to the floor
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today colleagues of congresswoman gabby giffords to saluis salute her as the bright start that congress has ever seen. >> reporter: as each person spoke, giffords turn in her seat to face them. >> she has brought the word "dignity" to new heights by her courage. >> reporter: powerful words from fellow democrats. >> gabby, we love you. we have missed you. >> mr. speaker, i don't know whether you were able to hear that response. as gabby looked with that
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extraordinary smile, the twinkle in her eyes, as she said to me and to all of us "and i miss you." >> reporter: praise from republicans. >> i know i speak for all of my colleagues when i say better inspired, hopeful and blessed for the incredible progress that gabby has made in her recovery. >> reporter: gratitude to giffords' staff. >> i especially want to recognize her chief of staff. she has demonstrated incredible dedication to her co-workers, to you, gabby -- >> reporter: an occasional wave add smile to her husband and her mother. and barely a dry eye in the house. >> i am so proud of my "friend,"
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and it will always be one of the great treasures of my life to have met gabby giffords and to have served with her in this body. no matter what we argue about here on this floor or in this country, there is nothing more important than family and friendship. and that should be held on high above all else. >> reporter: debbie wasserman schultz lent her friend her voice, reading the her aloud. >> i always fought for what i thought was right, but never did i question the character of those with whom i disagreed. never did i let pass an opportunity to join hands with someone just because he or she held different ideals. i have given all of myself to being ability to walk back a the house floor this year to represent arizona's 8th congressional district. however, today i know that now is not the time. i have more work to do on my
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recovery before i can again serve an elected office. >> reporter: with that a dramatic line to the speaker's chair to hand personally a teary john boehner the letter formally ending her service. now, the house gave giffords a legislative victory to take home with her. it is a bill to ensure that drug smuggling is more effective, or a crackdown is more effective across the u.s./mexican border. wolf, that passed the house unanimously. >> dana bash, up on capitol hill. what an emotional day. we wish her only, only the best. republican white house hopefuls -- >> presidential contenders,
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they win over this -- contender win over those voters if they try a slightly different approach? and nancy pelosi bows that newt gingrich will never be president. we're looking at why these two former speakers seem to be nudging a rather serious grudge. a little bird told me about a band... ♪ an old man shared some fish stories... ♪ oooh, my turn. ♪ she was in paris, but we talked for hours... everyone else buzzed about the band. there's a wireless mind inside all of us. so, where to next? ♪ ♪ ( whirring and crackling sounds )
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learn more at we're on the campus of the university of north florida in jacksonville where tomorrow night i will be moderating the last debate before the republican primary. the stakes for all these candidates, all four of them, could not be any herer.
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take a look at this cnn/"time"/orc poll, all but wiping out romney's once distant lead, an impressive surge for gingrich. joining us to talk more about it, our chief political analyst gloria borger. thanks very much for joining us. it's an impressive surgeon, but there's other indications in this as well. but after the first florida debate and just before is it on monday night, you see that there was a total film that mitt romney was up nine points and in
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our -- in our poll, wolf, a quarter of the voters say they could still change their minds, which shows you how important your debate is going to be tomorrow night. also that these bounces don't really last, because this race has been so topsy-turvy that voters are undecided, want to keep looking at these candidates down to the last minute. >> it looks like if you look at the way the three, four days of this poll, republicans want to be an assertive. >> that's what mitt romney did in the debate on monday. >> and newt gingrich held back. >> he kind of behaved like the front-runner, took the mitt romney role, if you will, didn't really go after romney, and romney benefited from it. people want somebody who can beat barack obama and someone
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who can stand on the stage and take him on. >> it's going to be hard to debate the president of the united states then. >> right. let hayes look at the gender gap. >> and there is a gender gap. take a look at this. newt gingrich generally does better with men. romney does better with women, 40% to 32%. in south carolina, because newt gingrich won so overwhelmingly, he won with both men and women, but he does generally have a problem with women, maybe it's because of his personal life. maybe it's because he can be so bellicose at times, but romney needs his number up among men if he's going to win in this state or a presidential race. >> we know gingrich in system system crushed romney among self-described conservative republicans. what about in this new poll?
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>> he's still doing better than mitt romney. gingrich is 39%, romney is 29% with conservatives. with that debate monday night, romney was asked, as was newt gingrich, tell us what you've done for conservatives. newt gingrich rattled off an entire political career. mitt romney had a bit more trouble in answering that question. it really spoke to the issue of why conservatives have been to skeptical, and also, you know, newt gingrich is attacking him, wolf, as a mike galanos mo moderate. those words might be sinking in with conservatives. if you want to win in republican primaries you have to be conseven tiff. no way around it. >> no doubt about it. thanks very much. despite the former house speaker's dramatic surge in the polls, another former speaker, we're talking about nancy pelosi, the current house minority leader is threatening to derail his momentum.
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let's bring in joe johns with this part of the story. joe? >> reporter: wolf, these two just don't get along very well. insiders say the bad blood goes all the way back to the 1990s when nancy pelosi was on the house committee investigating the tax-exempt activities of organizations kegged to then speaker newt gingrich. it's one of the best-running feuds in politics, two former speakers of the house at it again, only now it's news, because one of these former high office holders is in the hunt for the republican nomination. the latest salvo began when pelosi made a prediction to cnn's john king. >> he's not going to be president of the united states. this is -- that's not going to happen. let me just make my prediction and stand by it. it isn't going to happen. >> reporter: why are you so sure? >> there's something i know. the republicans, if they choose to nominate him, that's their prerogative. i don't even think that's going
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to happen. >> reporter: the "something i know" struck a nerve, because pelosi who was in the congress when gingrich served there and even shot a public service announcement with him on global warning has hinted before she knows something about gingrich that maybe isn't public then. what she said then and now was quickly cleaned up by staff to make clear she doesn't know any secrets. gingrich, annoyed, responded sharply anyway. >> who knows. she lives in a san francisco environment of very strange fantasies and very strange understandings of reality. i have no idea what's in nancy pelosi's head. if she knows something, i have a simple challenge -- spit it out. tell us what it is. i have no idea what she's talking about. >> reporter: fantasies, realities, secret or some combination of all three, that does not stop mitt romney from getting in on the controversy. wishful thinking, perhaps or another opportunity to bring up the ethics investigation while he was in congress, sowing
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doubts. i wish i knew what it was. >> reporter: it's not a secret, it's online for anybody to see. despite the wondering, many republican insiders have said the former speaker's candidacy may likely rise and fall on what is already known publicly about newt gingrich, including his record as a leader. >> gingrich has been a mainstay in the republican party for a generation, and in the time he was speaker, we passed a lot of laws. he had the classic debate with president clinton over the government shutdown. newt has been a diadvicive figure for his candidacy going forward he's going to prove that he can unite the republican party and not divide it. >> reporter: the report on the ethics investigation was very long and detailed. it involved a reprimand for the former speaker, also a call for him to pay $300,000 in
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investigative costs. to this day gingrich claims it was politically motivated. wolf? >> joe johns, thank you. outrage over a politician's rather insensitive remarks. >> what are doing for the latino community today? >> i might have tacos when el gho home. i'm not quite sure yet. >> now the mayor is singing a very different tune. we're going to show you. also the problem that ground an entire fleet of super jumbo jets. stay with us. americans believe they should be in charge of their own future. how they'll live tomorrow. for more than 116 years, ameriprise financial has worked for their clients' futures. helping millions of americans retire on their terms.
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the president of the united states just landed in mesa, arizona. you see him on the tarmac shaking hands with a few folks who waited at the airport in mesa, not far from phoenix.
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the president continuing his journey across the country, earlier the day in iowa, now in arizona, heading to michigan, some other states as as well. meanwhile, here on the campus of the university of north florida in jacksonville, we're getting ready for tomorrow's republican presidential debate. lisa sylvester is back in washington. she's monitoring other top stories in "the situation room" right now, including an airbus situation unfolding right now. a mystery involving the super jumbo jet. what's going on? >> that's right. airbus says the new a380 is safe to fly, but the company has found more cracks and wings. airbus says it's worked out a two-stage solution. an a380 was forced to make an emergency landing. leaving qantas to ground them. there are nor 67 in service around the world.
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and iraqis are furious over the sentence for a u.s. marine that let a squad, as part of the plea deal, staff seg will be demoted, but he won't serve any jail time. the incident outraged iraqis. prosecutors says he ordered the massacre after a friend was killed. more of the good stuff, less of the bad. that's the new school lunch requirements announced today by the agriculture department, starting july 1st, school meals will have to include frunts and vegetables every day. the new rules call for less sodium, saturated fat. 32 millions -- and the mayor of east haven, he is in hot water over an off-the-cuff remark made to a reporter. mayor maturu was discussing the arrest of police officers for alleged mistreatment of latinos. >> reporter: with such tension,
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with the force of 50 officers still no police officers, latino on the streets. >> your point being? >> reporter: what are you doing for the latino community today? >> i'll have tacos when i go home. i'm not sure yet. >> that didn't sit well with the governor. >> my sincerest apologies go out to the community for the insensitive and off-color comment i made to wpix reporter mario diaz yesterday regarding the recent event affecting our community and our police department. unfortunately i let the stress of the situation get the best of my in what is already a serious and unfortunate situation. i regret my insensitive comment and realize it is my job to lead by example. >> the mayor insisted east haven is an open community and doesn't
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believe the allegations are true. wolf? lisa, thank you. google is tweaking the privacy policy, and will make for a better onlineexperience. the question is, for whom? for you and for google? the big worry that the search engine might know too much about you. and politicians are always going after the latino vote. experts say that no matter what the language is, actions speak louder than words. you name it. i've tried it. but nothing helped me beat my back pain. then i tried salonpas. it's powerful relief that works at the site of pain and lasts up to 12 hours. salonpas.
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all the presidential candidates certainly know. the white house hopefuls are also for the fine lines, staying tough, but not necessarily too
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tough. speaking in miami, newt gingrich made his new pick. he argued the united states should stop trying to change the arab world and just look south. >> consider the obama administration's policy. they worry about an arab spring in tunisia, an arab spring in libya, they actually commit forces to covertly help in libya. he worry about an arab spring in egypt, where we give bills onof dollars of aid every year. they worry about an arab spring in syria. i don't think it's ever occurred to a single person in the white house to look south and propose a cuban spring. >> also trying to appeal to latinos. his father was born in mexico. he refused to take advantage of that, while admitting it may do him some good in florida. >> i don't think people would think i was being honest with them if i said i was mexican-american, but i would appreciate it if you would get that word out.
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>> romney left no doubt about how he felt about fidel castro and where he felt the former cuban leader is headed. >> if i'm fortunate enough to become the next president of the united states, it is my expectation that fidel castro will finally be taken off this planet. i doubt he'll take any time in the sky. he'll find another region to be more to his comfort. we have to be prepared, in my opinion, in the next president's first or second term, it is time for us to strike for freedom in cuba, and i will do so as president. so it's all part of the political strategy here, and all part of a high cost issue
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involving the presidential candidates, trying to win over latino support. we're taking a closer look at the money, an in-depth look at this week. rafael's romo takes a closer look how the candidates use the language to spread a message. >> my test -- >> you've seen his ads on tv, but chances are you haven't heard him speak spanish. this is part of a romney campaign strategy to attract hispanic voters. in the ads, his son craig, who speaks spanish, talks about freedom. [ speaking foreign language ] >> ralph herrera, a marketing expert that specializes in the hispanic community says the strategy is hardly unique. >> they've all done it. reagan did it in the '80s, bush did it very successfully,
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clinton, obama, so they will all reach out to the his spain community, especially in the swing states. here's barack obama in 2008. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: we share a dream, he said. and this is george w. bush in 2004. [ speaking foreign language ] >> in fact, the tradition of uses spanish ads in presidential campaigns goes back more than half a century. [ speaking foreign language ] >> here's jackie kennedy speaking on behalf of her husband. world peace is threatened by communism, she said, advocating for a strong leader in the white house.
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but many hispanic groups say actions speak lower than political ads if the ads aren't backed up with the policy substance, i think they fall flat. >> jerry gonzalez says romney's position on immigration are driving away many his span vote voters. >> ultimately that's how they're judged. not whether they speak spanish, but rather whether they have substantive policy issues. >> reporter: rom -- young immigrants in college or thog serves in the military. >> if i were advising the romney campaign in texas and california, in the western states, i could actually go with what has recently come out are his mexican family roots and promote the fact that his family immigrated here 100 years ago.
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>> a strategy that has the potential to backfire. this important reminder, please be sure to join cnn tomorrow night 8:00 p.m. eastern. i'll be moderating the last republican presidential debate before the florida primary right here on the campus of the university of north florida in jacksonville. then tuesday night you'll want to stick with cnn for special coverage of the pivotal primary. we'll have complete coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern. google watching your every move. up next the dramatic move that could make you think twice before going online. it's hard to tell what you're even looking at. birds, potentially thousands, and they're swarming one town. jeanne moos is coming up. [ nadine ] buzzzz, bzzzz, bzzzz, bzzzz,
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i'm here on the campus of the university of north florida in jacksonville. some of the students showing up. i'll be moderating cnn's republican presidential debate tomorrow night in coordination with the republican party of florida. our debate tomorrow night 8:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn.
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if you have a question, by the way, still time after the show today i'm going into heavy debate prep. tweet me a question if you want at wolfblitzer cn cnn @wolfblitzercnn. and there's a change under way right now as far as how your information is going to be stored. critics are howling over the move. lisa sylvester is joining us now to explain what google is up to. what is google up, to lisa? >> reporter: google has starting saiding out letters to its g mail customers telling about changes to its privacy policy. it would essentially "create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience." something that takes effect march 1. it will allow going toll collect private information on consumers from its various sites in one database. and some privacy critics are outraged. google plans to implement a new
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privacy policy that would aggregate information gleaned from google searches. g mail, youtube, google plus and more. all in one database. and you won't have the option of opting out. >> youtube should not turn into youtrack. >> reporter: representative edward markey says consumers should have the right to decide if they want information shared among google platforms. >> this is outrageous. googling is like oxygen to kids and teenagers. what google is saying is they are going to take the private information of kids and teens, provide no privacy protection. >> reporter: google says instead of having more than 60 different privacy policies for google products there will be only one. the company says it's to better tailor search queries based on your interests. so if you put in the word "pink" the search engine will know if you're talking the color pink or pink the singer. google on its web site saying
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"our new policy reflects our desire to create a simple product experience that does what you need, when you want it to." but aggregating the information would allow for something else. for google to better target ads. google already keeps tabs on a lot of your information. if you go to you can pull up your web history. this is a recent search i did for the director of privacy at google. you can look up images, products, maps. google stores all of this information and uses it to target ads. ken fisher is with the online magazine arstechnica. >> it helps to remember that google is the world's largest advertising company. they are the most successful advertising company. and they are also in an arms race against facebook but against other advertisers as well. this is really about revenues
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generated from advertising. >> reporter: now google decline add on-camera interview, but google is making it clear that it will not sell private information to third parties, that it is just sharing information among google's various sites. but that information could be used for google ads. and i asked a spokesperson why not just allow people to opt out? and she said it would be too difficult to have two separate privacy policies. but wolf, there is a huge outcry over this, particularly online and from some key lawmakers, wolf. >> fascinating development. thanks very much, lisa. all right. imagine this, swarms of birds so thick they darken the sky. it's not a plot for a hitchcock remake but a nuisance that one kentucky town lives with every single day.
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will be giving away passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to for the past three months, one kentucky town has been trying to beat back an invasion. here's cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: here in la grange, kentucky folks don't just watch the bird, they're living it. >> it's really creepy. is the world coming to an end orring? >> it's scary. >> it's like bees. >> but it's crazy.
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scary, ain't it? >> how many do you think? >> like a million. >> it's like we're being held hostage. >> reporter: held hostage in maybe a three-mile radius by black birds. black birds that fly in like clockwork every evening at dusk to roost in a wooded area then fly out in the morning. hair stylist antoinette taylor decided to shoot the birds. >> nobody believed me so i had to put it on video. >> reporter: at first antoinette says -- >> it was exciting at first but now it's getting ridiculous. there are kids that are catching eye infections from the bird droppings. >> reporter: in that one little area of la grange, they're using umbrellas not just for rain. the birds are leaving these folks popped. >> we watch our cars every single day. >> when it comes down it sounds like rain coming down. literally from inside our apartment you think that it's raining outside. >> reporter: in hitchcock's "the birds" the town's people worried about being picked to death. but here they're worried about
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being pooped to death. it's more like that scene "spoofing the birds "in "high anxiety" between 5:30 and 6:00 in the evening residents like antoinette taylor make a run for the shelter of their cars. bird experts say this is not that unusual. when starlings do it there's a name for it. murmur ation. >> what does that mean? >> caller: a murmuration is a synchronized swirl of starlings. the word was popularized after two filmmakers on a canoe trip in ireland shot the phenomenon and put it this music. breathtaking. but in la grange, kentucky, they're holding their breath because of the smell from the droppings. and trying unsuccessfully to drive the birds away