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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  November 9, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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friends of the family have set up a fund to help pay for the cost of the funeral. we put that on our website at erin burnett "outfront" starts after the break. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, we have breaking news. david petraeus out as director of the cia. the four-star general and architect of the war in iraq resigned after admitting he had an affair. suzanne kelly has the latest. >> hi, erin, well, a u.s. official confirms to cnn that the fbi investigated a tip that he was involved in an extramarital affair, paula broadwell. she spent a year with petraeus in afghanistan for the book he wrote. cnn has not been able to reach broadwell for a comment and it's not clear whether she is the woman whom petraeus had the affair.
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the counterintelligence unit investigated the tip to see if there was a security risk. they said tl not suggestion that the fbi was investigating for wrong doing. the concern was that he could be in a vulnerable spot. >> and is there any information that you have in terms of this information that the fbi had as to whether this woman that you mentioned, paula broadwell, we'll talk more about her, that she would have accessed his information with his approval or unbeknowest to him? >> i know the two kept in touch. i've worked with paula professionally as well. i've reached out to her several times today and haven't gotten a response, but we know they continue to talk frequently. >> all right.
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thank you very much. suzanne's going to stay with us and just to let our viewers know, paula broadwell has been a regular guest on this program. we reached out to her as well today. fred kaplin joins me from, author and fran townsend, a contributor for us. fred, let me start with you. you were the first to write about this specific, the affair today and to mention paulabroad well. what can you tell us? >> well, i can tell you that i have this from multiple, highly reliable sources. you know, she wrote this book about him, which was more of a valentine to him. people, it had been rumored that something was going on between the two of them for some time. i never believed it. people who knew him better than i did never believed it. i've always viewed him as a very
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straight arrow. >> i had the same impression. a man who walked the walk and talked the talk. and fran, you also know him very well. is this, this specific affair, this really the reason that he is resigning? >> yeah, i've heard nothing to suggest there's any other reason. i think it is in fact related to the allegations of the extramarital affair and look, i think when you look at the letter he wrote, he's taken personal responsibility. he's hold, i think he's holding himself accountable. there is the question of timing, right? we've just had the election. why now? how long has the investigation been going on because of course, when the fbi opened the investigation, they would not have conducted this
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investigation on their own without notifying others in the administration. presumably, the director of national intelligence, jim clapper and jim clapper would have notified a handful, maybe one or two others in the white house. >> fred, you've, you've written a book here that's about to come out on general petraeus. you know this man's view of more ralls and fiber and how ardently. he felt about that. >> it's very interesting. one time when i was interviewing him, we were talking about a couple of fellow officers who had been drummed out of the surface, in part because of infidelities. one was a friend. he spoke about them with this tone of contempt. that they had engaged in this dishonorable behavior. a previous guest told you that general petraeus has been doing just fine. i don't think he'll be doing just fine at all. i think he's deeply embarrassed. he didn't have to resign if he was a civilian cia directors. a general retires only when they
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go to bed at night. he still feels deeply military code. it's kind of a strange thing to be calling him a moral character in this context, but i think he resigned because he feels that he has violated a code. >> and suzanne, i know you've been speaking to many of your sources within the cia. how shocked are they at this? >> stunned. there's no better word for it, erin. something like this was just not seen at all on the radar. of course, there are whispers and things. paula had incredible access to him, so if that flushes out to be true, people were whispering about that, but just the fact that she's a woman and has access and writes a book ab a man in washington is not reason enough to think there was more than that and given his reputation, his moral character, how many respect him at such a high level here in washington and even as director in the cia, there were sometimes personality clashes. sources that told me between him and the number two in charge who
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the president has asked to step up in that number one role. more sort of his mind set in the way he felt things should be downed, so people are stunned. >> fred, given the timing of it, that this has come just a week before he was supposed to testify about the benghazi situation, which now he isn't, but we have some news on that in just a few moments, what was his relationship with president obama? >> i'm told that a couple of years ago when he was still commander in afghanistan, there was tension with members in the white house staff. when they were reviewing the options on whether to put in more troops, options to box the president in. i've been told in the last couple of years that relations are very good with the president. very trusting. i was told that general petraeus submitted this heter of resignation yesterday and that obama agonized over this for the last 24 hours.
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did not want to sign it. did not want to accept it. but that petraeus urged him. >> and fran, i know that won't come as a surprise to you, but what about the security concerns? if we're hearing this came to light as a result of an fbi investigation into possible compromise of general petraeus' computer, what might she have had access to? >> it was a counterintelligence investigation. what that tells you, either the concern he would have given her access inappropriately to either classified information or national security information, i fipd that hard to believe. the fbi would have been looking to assure themselves one that she didn't have inappropriate access to national security information and two, that she was an american who was acting on her own, voluntarily and was
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not sort of a conduit for a foreign intelligence surface. nobody believes that this was a honey trap. a woman controlled by the foreign service. this was what it was. it was an extramarital affair for which he has paid a real serious price. >> suzanne, does that also jive with what you're hearing from your sources in the cia? >> no, i think that pretty much sums it up. the real concern with the fbi, has anything been compromised? number one, they're going to look at whether he was voluntarily sharing information and two, whether or not the e-mail changes an text chains to see if maybe she was accessing it somehow on her own. if that's what happened. when you have those two things, that's the fbi's real role. in terms of the cia, they wouldn't have taken an
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investigatory look. i think they're going to have to deal with the shock of it all. >> she introduced here's to david petraeus. she was a pair trooper. petraeus has always be attracted to intellectual officers. she was writing a book. they used to in afghanistan, they would go on five-mile jogs together, but he goes out on file mile jogs with a lot of reporters who are capable, but it's a very strange and completely surprising. >> it is and i'll leave it with this, that paula broadwell just published this week, general david petraeus' rules for living. we all make mistake, learn from them, drive on and avoid making them again.
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next, we have more on the resignation. peter king, the chair of the homeland security committee with how it could put the u.s. at risk. plus, after spending millions to elect mitt romney, has karl rove lost his touch? a look at all the money spent and wasted this election and it has been nearly two weeks since sandy, so then why is is it taking so long to get power back to thousands of people? the sudden resignation of [ female announcer ] introducing yoplait greek 100. 100% new.
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the sudden resignation of david petraeus came as a surprise to almost everyone in washington. he has worked closely are congress over the years ch peter king is the chairman of homeland security. he's "outfront" tonight. i spoke with him before the show and asked him when he learned about the resignation. >> somebody made a call to me this morning saying they had heard general petraeus had a meeting at the white house yesterday and may be resigning. if maybe it were true, it was tied to benghazi or libya. i don't think anyone suspected anything involving what it turned out to be. i've known general petraeus for
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a number of years. i didn't know him well, but have had dinner with him. he works with us on the intelligence committee very closely. i met him when he was in iraq and there's a will the of rumors, you hear about people in washington. i never heard anything about general petraeus at all, so this came as a total shock. >> he's not going to be testifying on benghazi next week as a result of this. does that bother you given all the questions there are about benghaziy questions about the cia's ininvolvement? >> yeah, really, david petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he's the cia director and i don't see how the cia is saying he's not going to testify. i think his testimony is certainly valuable. it's certainly necessary. he was at the center of this. and he has answers that only he has, so i don't see what one has
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to do with the other and so i would hope and expect that he's going to testify one way or the other. if it's not thursday, very soon after that. he certainly should be, he is an absolutely essential witness. maybe more than anyone else. >> so you're going to ask that he does come and testify regardless of his role? >> yeah, absolutely. it's absolutely necessary witness and again, his final decision is up to mike rodgers, chairman of our committee, but i feel strongly that david petraeus should testify, not on thursday, but as soon as possible there after. >> and what about our, the cia itself? we look at general petraeus' background. this has a man who has been lauded by democrats, republicans, responsible for iraq, the surge. this is a man admired by so many
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in this world. how big of a hole does his departure leave? >> it really is. the country's going to lose. obviously, this hurts general petraeus, but it even hurts the country more. he's a man of extraordinary talent, dedication. that was david petraeus. now, the country is going to lose from this and i'm sure taking place, but i didn't see anybody on the horizon who would have the same level of intellect, dedication, experiencend contacts all over the world. when an issue would arise, general petraeus, director petraeus, he was flying there. he was meeting with people in countries all over the world. setting up relationships, making things happen. and really only somebody with his ek appearance, both in the military and diplomatic circles can make that happen. this is a real loss to the country, the cia.
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>> is our country less safe? >> well, you know, going to lose the best man for the job, but america's adaptable. put it this way, we -- anytime you lose david petraeus, the country is not as safe as it could be. >> thank you very much. appreciate your time. >> thank you. and "outfront" next, why are half a million people still without power tonight? nearly two weeks after that superstorm? plus, president obama and john boehner are both drawing lines in the sand over how to avert the fiscal cliff. that combination of tax increases set to hit all of us. will there be common ground? ng list of almost two thousand corporate partners -
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our third story "outfront," nearly two weeks after superstorm sandy devastated
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parts of the northeast, there is desperation and anger. >> this is our katrina. and i expect the people of this state to be treated with the same level of compassion and generosity that the citizens of louisiana and mississippi and alabama were treated in the aftermath of hurricane katrina. >> michael graham told me out on staten island as well. more than half a million households are still without power. 40,000 homes on the rockaway peninsulas. deb fayerick is there and how angry are people? >> people are so frustrated and angry. it's been only 12 days since the storm hit. you're not too far from jfk. that light is basically illuminating a corner. that means there's no heat.
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boilers can't work. there are no washer triers, no way to charge a cell phone. no way to use a computer to access any sort of outside help, so they feel they're just being cut off here and they cannot understand why atlantic power authority, which is a state-owned company, can't get the lights on. we spoke earlier to couple of people at a rally and they were so frustrated. take a listen. >> restore the power to our community now! now! we're done! >> you know, and you just, you can see that level really, they just don't know what to do. they open for example the city opened up a center where you can go and get additional sort of food stamp benefits and welfare benefits, money. people say that's great, except the stores are closed so you can't even use to cards to get the food.
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a registered nurse tells us he feels they were left on their own and they don't know how they can do it because it is so cold and lot of them can't even figure out who is supposed to be helping them. all they know is that the people who say they're supposed to be helping them, right now, they haven't arrived. >> i know representative of greg meeks who represents that district. half the people in his district live under the poverty line. these are poor people that don't have access to some of the benefits others have. do you have any idea about power, when it might come back for them or is this still who knows? >> now, they're talking about tuesday. they're saying that the earliest is going to be tuesday and erin, you make a really good point. ths a huge soes oweeconomic component to this storm. the people who have some money, they're able to evacuate, call their insurance companies, but those who don't, those below
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poverty or at poverty, for those, it is so difficult. the man whose home we went into today, everything was ruined. what about insurance? oh, no, i can't even afford insurance. these are hard working people. they can't even get to their jobs, this is really the farthest most point. the train's not going to be running here for a very long time. we've heard reports of months, up to a year before that train is even online. >> thank you very much. makes you think, you wonder about the role of government, this is when you need them. when people who have nothing need help. next, more on tonight's breaking news. plus, president obama and speaker boehner square off over the fiscal cliff, but someone has to give. who will it be? [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso.
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welcome back to the second half of "outfront." we start the second half of our show with stories we care about where we focus on our reporting from the front lines. we told you last night about the iranian jets that fired at an unmanned u.s. air force drone last week. according to the semiofficial state news agency, a general called the action decisive, saying iran will use all of its capabilities to follow up on the case. it was also announced today that iran and the energy agency will resume talks over the nuclear program in december. the jet blue pilot tackled by passengers after saying things like we're going down is going to be freed from custody. he had the meltdown in march. he was kept in custody for mental health treatment. a judge ruled today that he should be released under certain conditions. he must continue to receive treatment. he cannot obtain ta pilot
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license and can't get on a plane without court permission. a chinese website said the company is blocking google l services. the report shows a bigger drop off than usual, but the company says there's nothing wrong on their end. we spoke to a china expert who thinks china is blocking the sites because the chinese communist party's 18th national congress has begun. he says there's deep insecurity within the party. west african defense ministers met to join in northern mali. afp reports the community could commit 3200 troops while other countries will commit an additional 2300. the plan is -- when they meet this weekend, a plan so needed to get support for military intervention. it has been 463 days since the united states lost its top
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credit rating. what are we doing to get it back? sandy and the run-up to the election did not hurt. consumer sentiment hit its highest level since 2007. more on the breaking news story. the surprising resignation of david petraeus, who stepped down after admitting to an extramarital affair. the u.s. official confirms to cnn that the fbi investigated a tip that david petraeus was involved in an affair with paula broadwell, who wrote a biography of the four-star general. broadwell spent a year with petraeus in afghanistan for a book she cowrote. she has been a regular guest on this show, some of you may be familiar with her as a national security expert on the program. we have not been able to reach her for comment, although when we first heard about the story, we reached out to her before we knew she was possibly involved.
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general david petraeus has been praised by democrats, republicans, becoming central to the war efforts under both presidents barack obama and george bush. one of the most decorated war generals of our time after a military career that spanned 37 years. he's credited with turning the war around in iraq as commander of coalition forces there in 2007. in 2008, he assumed command of the united states central command. in 2010, he went back into the field as commander of american and nato forces in afghanistan. there, he oversaw the troop surge that began to bring some stability to the country. he became the 20th director of the central intelligence agency on september 6th, 2011, con if i wered confirmed unanimously by the senate. fred is -- joins me along with eli lake, senior national security correspondent at news week "the daily beast."
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fred, just to emphasize, you were among the first to say who was involved and exactly what happened here. what is the latest that you can tell us? >> well, the latest i've been told that paula broadwell is the one with whom he was having an affair. i've also read this was broken because the fbi was doing an investigation of her gaining access to some of his classified computer files. i don't know from whether he was in the military or cia, with his consent, that is still a mystery. >>onfirm here at cnn, we also don't know that. whether with his consent or not. eli, tell me what you think this means for david petraeus. this is man who was lauded by a will the of people and probably
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is his own toughest critic. should he be resigning? the president got his letter yesterday and spent 24 hours agonizing over it because he didn't want to accept it. >> i've been able to confirm that report as well. i can say though that the message that was sent to the house and senate intelligence committees was that the view with the cia, some of this was going to come out and he wanted to get ahead of the story. it's also important to note when you're talking about someone like david petraeus, who embodies the best of the tradition, adultery is really seen as a fireable offense and something that is of great shame. general cartwright was not ultimately promoted, even though
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i think he was obama's choice because of concerns about his extramarital affairs, so this is not the first time an affair like this could have significant implications in a great officer's career. >> fred, what does this mean for his career? >> i think he's probably out of public service. maybe more of his own choice, even though he's a retired general, generals never really retire. they consider themselves to be subjective and are legally subjective to the u.s. military, but he also considers this to be a -- i don't know. i think he very much, you know, when i asked him about this some time ago, when he would retire, he said he had no interest in going off to some corporate board and making a lot of money.
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he would want to stay in public policy analysis. he regards himself as a -- as well as a commander. there are plenty of public policy intellectuals who don't lead the cleanest of livelihood. >> it's funny. i remember talking to him just his eyes lit up talking about precious metals, grain prices for iraq. he was a man much more than a military master mind. that seems to fit. some people have said though there will be people who continue to say there's more to this than simply an extramarital affair where she add access to his computer. it could be linked to benghazi. peter king said hey, that's what i thought it was. what is your reporting saying? >> at this point, i don't have any indications in linked to benghazi, thousand i find it interesting he will not be testifying even though he would
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be of keen interest. an interesting side note on general petraeus, in 2008, it looked like petraeus had won and we were building a counterinsurgency military. i think that the experience in afghanistan has moved and and in some ways, the petraeus vision is is not going to be. . >> when search goes away -- >> but the counterinsurgency strategy never works in afghanistan. it is ironic that petraeus, who always was into nation building and just going after the enemy, that's basically what he's been doing. >> all right. well, thank you very much. peter king said he wants him to testify any way. do you think he'll be successful in that? >> that's going to really see how a lot of things play out, but i don't think the republicans are in a position right now to sort of issue demands of that sort and given the election on tuesday. >> the man who knew the most about benghazi won't be able to testify about it. there's a lot to talk about
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today about the fiscal cliff, but not much clarity. >> i'm not going to ask students and seniors and middle class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me making over $250,000 aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes. >> and by lowering rates and cleaning up the tax code, we know that we're going to get more economic growth. it will bring jobs back to america. it will bring more revenue. >> so, we're still left asking and speculating what exactly is each side willing to give? jessica yellin joins me now. oh, they are back to their usual antics. >> it sure seems that way, doesn't it, erin? right now, it looks like they are both in a feel good position where they say they are willing to compromise. but the one sticking point that seems to be the biggest hurdle for both sides is this question of are they willing to raise rates. the president has laid out a
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marker saying that he will not sign any bill that includes this ek tension of the bush tax rates and the house republicans have said they are now willing to give up revenue, but not if it includes an increase in rates, and so there in lies the rub. that's the major negotiating hurdle. how will they cross that? >> so, just say i came up with this idea, which so many have, i'll say it. that you close loopholes and that means people at the top, they pay more. check for the president. rich are paying more. check for the republicans. he didn't actually increase their tax rate. just blows loopholes. will the president not do that deal because he's been adamant about the bush tax rates specifically? >> today, the white house said no, the president will not do that deal. i asked that question at the briefing and jay carney was very clear. the president campaigned on an increase in rates for the
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highest earners and that's where he's sticking. now, could that give between now and the end of negotiation? who knows. but they were pretty emphatic on that point. >> that means this is going to be a long, nasty bruiser. thanks so jessica. still to come, after mitt romney, karl rove may be the biggest loser from this election. he wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in ads trying to get romney elected. and a new movie about abraham lincoln hits theatres this weekend. what three things president obama can learn from abe. good. now build a time machine. go here, find someone who can build a futuristic dash board display. bring future guy back. watch him build a tft display like nothing you've ever seen. get him to explain exactly what that is. the thin film transistor display... [ male announcer ] mmm, maybe not. just show it. customize the dash, give it park assist. the fuel efficiency flower thing. send future guy home, his work here is done. destroy time machine.
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our fifth story, karl rove losing his touch. the man who spent years on top of the conservative political world, the man dubbed george w. bush's brain. his super pac spent a huge amount on the election. they shelled out more than $170 million. 1.29% of that resulted in winning elections. the second biggest winner, a super pac called restore our future, had a zero percent return. now, a branch of karl rove's organization, did a bit better. return of investment, about 13.7%.
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ken, you've been crunching the numbers. if they get anything for their money? >> well, what they would argue and what i understand your guests in the last segment probably will argue, it would have been a lot worse. what that money did was keep mitt romney at a level playing field with with barack obama after the gop primary, this long and retracted battle in which romney spent all this money dispatching his republican foes left him really exposed headed into the late spring and early summer months and that this spending gave him cover to recoup his losses to raise money to be able to go toe to toe with barack obama. that never really happened. he never really was able to
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compete on a level playing field, but what these groups say is is that it would have been a whole lot worse had it not been for them. >> maybe it would have been worse if they hadn't spent so much money. trying to make up for all the dumping somebody took on you. t romney and his allies spent $1.2 billion. the president and his allies spent $1 billion. this is a lot of money to say bad things about people. >> what was interesting is one of the effects intended on all this gop fund raising and spending is that it really awakened the democratic funding machine, the big money machine. let's not forget president obama really made a key part of his political identity. this idea that he was opposed to outside money, really as a whole in politics. they saw all this money being
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raised on the right, they kicked their own fund raising machine into high gear and it wasn't just these small donors. and for that campaign and for these super pac, so what that did was create this arms race. >> you are igt about that. obama plus ally's one billion, neither one can say they have a problem with big money supporting their election. all right, thanks so both, to you, but let me bring in charlie spece. all right, take issue with it. i said zero percent returnment tell me why i'm wrong. >> first of all, this is a very close election. imagine the headline in this story if $350,000 votes in four states had been different. you'd be saying that karl rove's an evil genius and republican big money had bought the election, so the reality is president obama's campaign outspent president romney's campaign by over $150 million on television ads, so they were getting outspent and we kept it, we helped keep it very close.
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look at some of the target states. mney and his allies spent $1.2 billion, almost half of that from super pacs. obama spent $1 billion.
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>> i think one of the reasons obama did end up winning was some of their tactics was very good. they had a very good ground gain and they had it targeted. we're going to have to try to figure out what that happened and try to match that, but that's probably a function of political parties, and i think superpacs are better at advertising. >> let me ask you about carl rhodes, evil genius, evil whatever you want to call him. he got it wrong this time. he got it wrong in the electoral college, and he got it wrong when he questioned ohio. what will happen with him? he's got the biggest super pac out there, or does he rise again? >> i think carl is one of the biggest political minds around and he'll continue to do well. when you say he got it wrong, rasmussen got it wrong, and they had governor romney winning right up through hurricane sandy. some things happened in the end, the obama campaign had a better turnout operation than the republican side ended up having, that probably didn't show up in
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some of that polling that everyone was looking at. >> so charlie, there have been reports, of course, that mitt romney was shell-shocked -- very difficult to say. i believe that's what cbs reported. others said he didn't see it coming. you've known the man for seven years. what's he going to do now? >> i think he can probably do whatever he wants to do other than be president for the next four years. he's one of the great business leaders, and i think he has a lot to say about the economy, and i hope he keeps speaking about it. >> have you talked to him? >> i haven't. >> not yet. is he sort of just lying low and avoiding everyone right now? >> i know he's met with campaign staff and he's focused on trying to find staff jobs, which is the right thing to do, and i admire that. >> what about you in terms of raising money? any problems raising money? people saying, look, i gave you all this money and my guy didn't win? >> i think everyone is disappointed because they thought our work was important, and this was something worth investing in, but i have not had a single donor reach out to me or our co-founders in the group
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and say they were upset about how we spent the money. and i think the reason for that is because we constantly communicated with our donors and they knew what our strategy was, they knew how we were going to be spending money, what ads we were going to be running, and it was a very close election. and without our spending, we wouldn't have almost won all these states. >> charlie, thank you very much. always good to see you. we appreciate your time. interesting takeaway from there, that it was 1.2 billion for romney, 1 billion for the president. that's big money everywhere. as president obama begins his second term, though, there are a couple things he has to do. abe lincoln's advice for the president on "outfront" next. hmm, it says here that cheerios helps lower cholesterol
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critics are raving about the latest abe lincoln film set to open. some wonder what some 16th president fan might take away from the movie. >> reporter: for some looking for inspiration in these
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troubled times, the new movie "lincoln" may be just what the director ordered, by all counts political wisdom. >> it's a sefl evolution truth that things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. >> reporter: president obama has long admired the 16th president. he took the oath on the same bible lincoln used, and he's often fond of quoting the old splitter. >> i'm aware of my own feelings, knowing what lincoln meant when he said, i have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that i had no place else to go. >> reporter: so what plan does he have for lincoln in his second term? roger bray is one of lincoln's top scholars. he said make your enemies into
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friends. lincoln was able to keep his eyes on the prize, which means he was able to disassociate himself from personal attacks. second, be firm but play nice. lincoln could talk without anger, even to his political opponents. and third, take the long view. bray said lincoln firmly believes that if americans put their heads together and put their will to it, they could be a shining example of equality for the whole world. of course, there is much more. the folks at ford's theatre where he was assassinated say more than 15,000 books have been written on lincoln's life and lore, enough to build this 34-foot tower and allowing abe to offer advice across the centuries. honestly. tom foreman, cnn, washington. >> 15,000 books. isn't that incredible? yet we all still want to know


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