tv CNN Newsroom CNN March 6, 2012 1:00pm-3:00pm EST
is one of the reasons why ohio is almost a proxy, really, for what the gop nominee faces in november. do voters focus on how bad things got, or how they're very slowly, slowly improving? christine romans, cnn, new york. two big political stories this hour. first, ten states, 419 delegates, four candidates, all adds up to one big day in the race for the gop presidential nomination. the republicans fighting it out on this super tuesday. voters are heading to the polls across the country. we're breaking down the major races. and president obama stealing some of the spotlight from the republicans. he holds a news conference in about 15 minutes. we're keeping our eye on that. the president, he's going to outline a new mortgage relief plan for the military, obviously, take questions from reporters. we'll bring that to you live as soon as it starts. but first, we want to bring in our political heavy hitters,
wolf blitzer and chief political analyst, gloria borger, great to have you both here, onset, in the atl. we're watching closely here. wolf, you just got back from a roundtable that was streaming online. you had a chance to talk to voters live. what's the most interesting thing that they're interested in. >> you know, a lot of republicans, and these are traditional, conservative republicans, they're worried about what's going on right now within this republican race for the white house. they think it's doing damage to the republican brand, to the republican party. they're wondering if this is the best way for them to go ahead and conduct this process of selecting a nominee. so they're worried about what's going on. the acrimony between these republican candidates, almost like a circular firing squad, if you will. so they're worried what's going to happen down the road. >> gloria, is there anything that can happen tonight, throughout the day, where anyone can seal the deal? >> well, not in terms of delegate count, but i think what we could see tonight is the beginning of the end of the process. not the end of the process, but the beginning of that ending,
if, for example, mitt romney does -- wins over half the delegates, wins ohio, could potentially win tennessee, a southern state. then i think what you'll see, as we've been seeing in the past couple of days, as republican establishment conservatives saying, you know what, it's time to start coalescing around somebody and get our voters enthusiastic about one candidate, because that's what they're going to need in the fall. >> okay. super tuesday heating up in the heartland. i want to bring in dana bash. she is live for us in ohio. we also have ali velshi. he is in oklahoma. dana, to you first. you're in hamilton county, ohio. obviously, it's a critical state in this election. what are you hearing from voters there about what they're looking for in a candidate? >> reporter: well, you know, it depends on who you're asking, and frankly, what kind of mood they're in. part of the issue that the republican candidates are running up again and, overall, there's not a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for anybody in the field across the board.
but, specifically, of course, the economy is a top issue. some people say that they really, their number one thing is making sure that they have a republican who can beat barack obama. others say that they want somebody who is true to their ideals. listen to a couple of republican voters i talked to last night, not too far from here. >> romney, i think, is more electable right now. i have no problem with the other guys. >> reporter: now, why do you like santorum? >> because his family values and i just like the whole -- everything about him. but if he doesn't get the nomination, no matter who has an "r" behind their name, i'm going to vote for them. >> reporter: now, that was actually in butler county, which is adjacent to where i am right now, suzanne. butler county is also boehner country. it is the home, in fact, that particular bar where i was, was the john boehner's family bar. it had been in his family for about 75 years or so.
but, you know, that is rock solid republican country. so rick santorum has to get the vote out big time there in order to do well in this state. where i am now, hamilton county, we are also a critical, critical county. and mitt romney really needs to do well here, because it tends to be more swing, more moderate. so that's why we're watching the voter turnout. it seems to be not that high. you know, obviously, it's anecdotal. it seems to be rather low turnout here, at least. that could be a good sign for mitt romney, because he's got the organization and rick santorum is relying largely on enthusiasm. >> all right. the boehner family bar. that's a smart choice there, dana. i want to go to ali in oklahoma. we're looking at 43 delegates at stake there. and obviously, the oil industry, huge. and you got the hat this time. i love it! love it. you're sporting the hat there. >> reporter: does this look familiar? this is your thinking hat. >> that's right. i wore that hat in arizona last week. >> reporter: that's right. we've heard that this is a --
>> tell us about gas prices. >> reporter: so we're in a diner here. yeah, well, this is it, in oklahoma, gas prices and oil prices are a double-edged sword. people have to drive around here, they have to haul things, gas and oil affects them, but it's a state that's done well by gas and oil. and it's also a conservative state, as you've talked about. we've been in this diner since early this morning, we're running into a lot of conservatives, a lot of them going out to vote, a lot of high voter participation, but i found jason who isn't shying away from the fact that he is a true democrat. >> absolutely. >> reporter: are there many of you around here? >> very few. i think there's a lot of closeted democrats. there's more than you realize, but a lot of them will be voting today. they're old, registered, oklahoma democrats. >> reporter: tell me what the issues are here in this state? >> well, obviously, now, jobs. >> reporter: although the unemployment rate is lower. >> it's lower here because of oil, gas, and energy. and that's the second big issue, energy policies, things like that. but overall, just the economy. >> reporter: did the decision by the obama administration to put
a hold on the keystone extension, the pipeline extension, has that changed anybody's mind? are there people who just don't really like democrats and obama? >> no, no. i mean, that was a big decision for oklahoma, for obvious reasons. and you hear a lot of blowback on that, but it's kind of died down now. but it's still a big issue. assist b it's a big issue. i don't think that will move anybody. i think their minds were probably made up before that. >> reporter: we've been looking at the polling and the surveys going into the primary today, and it shows that amongst those who are going to vote, tend to be more conservative than the general voting population. rick santorum might have an edge over mitt romney. why do you think that is? >> well, i think cultural issues in oklahoma that carry almost everything else. and he is so strong on those, by oklahoma standards, i'd be stunned if romney wins today. >> reporter: and what's the culture around here in terms of this kind of politics? i've noticed, most people i've talked to are republicans, most are conservative, but it doesn't seem to have that remarkably partisan feel to it.
>> reporter: wel >> well, it doesn't, because most everybody in oklahoma now is a republican, whether stated or unstated. so there's not much that opportunity for debate, unless they run into one of us democrats. >> reporter: how do you handle that? >> we handle it with all guns blazing. i'm an attorney too, and i have a lot of republican friends, just by nature of where i live. but i travel to other parts of the country often, and you just handle it civilly. >> reporter: jason, good to talk to you, when he says, we handle it guns blazing, i actually ran into jason at a gun shop across the road. >> all right, thank you, ali. president obama hoping to steal a little bit of the republican's thunder today. he's holding a news conference in just a couple of minutes. i want to bring in jessica yellin at the white house and alison kosik is at the new york stock exchange for a preview. first of all, let's go to you, jessica. there's clearly a strategy here. we saw on the day of the michigan primary, the president going out before american autoworkers, reminding them, hey, i bailed you guys out.
today you've got the single most important day for the republicans trying to get lhis job and he steals the spotlight. >> reporter: he'll come out as the president, but you cannot help but see him as a political actor as well, weighing in on super tuesday, suzanne. what he's doing, in a sense, is pointing out that he is able to ask and answer -- take questions on his policy positions, and field these questions, and pressing, in contrast, the candidates to do the same. and he also will be emphasizing his position on helping homeowners who are facing foreclosure. i know alison kosik's going to address that more closely. but this is a stark contrast his campaign has been trying to draw with mitt romney, the man they expect to be his eventual contender in the general election. as you know, romney has said that he believes the housing market should be allowed to hit bottom and he has a different
approach to dealing with the foreclosure crisis in this station. that's not the entirety of romney's position, but that's part of what he said. so here the president will outline some steps that his administration is taking to help homeowners, implicitly drawing a contrast with mitt romney on this all-important day, on this housing issue that's so important to voters, suzanne. >> all right. jessica, we'll be paying close attention. see if you can get one of those questions in, there in the front row. alison, the president, as jessica mentioned, is announcing some initiatives, specifically to help homeowners. can you tell us what's new in the plan? >> okay. so what this plan looks to do, suzanne, is it looks to help two groups, current and former members of the military. also people with government-backed fha loans. now, as far as the veterans and military members go, this could be -- they could be in line for cash payments. because if these military members were wrongfully foreclosed on or they weren't allowed to refinance to lower rates, they're going to be
compensated. and the second part of this plan, once again, looks to help people with those government-backed loans. the fha will go ahead and cut the pefees to get people to refinance their mortgages. the idea here is to really keep people in their homes and give them a little extra money to spend and keep into the economy. but there are critics coming out, as the president gets ready to announce this initiative, suzanne, critics asking if this is going to work. if this is more of the same-old, same-old. because this program is designed to help more than 2 million people with these loans, giving them an incentive to refinance. and sure, that's all well and good, but analysts, at least ones that i've been talking to, said that as far as the housing crisis goes, there's sort of a bigger fish to fry here. there's a bigger problem here, that the president's initiative doesn't address. and that is, people who have negative equity in their homes, you know, there are 10 million homeowners out there who have been making their payments, but because they are underwater, suzanne, meaning their homes are -- they owe more on their
homes than they're worth, they aren't eligible to refinance, and they can't take advantage of these low interstaest rates, so this analyst i've been speaking with said, this is a bigger problem when it comes to fix the housing problem. trying to help these people who are underwater on their mortgages. suzanne? >> alison, thanks very much. appreciate it. we've got time for one more question to wolf and gloria. i'm very curious here, because we know the economy is number one on people's minds here. but, obviously, wolf, to you, this conflict between israel and iran, whether or not there's an attack that is imminent and what kind of role or influence the u.s. plays in this. what does the president need to say today to voters to reassure them that we're not going to go to war? >> well, it may in the end come down to that. everyone hopes it won't come down to that. but he's been very clear over these last few days that he hopes that the israelis will give it some more time, that there won't be any israeli preemptive strike anytime soon.
that diplomacy, sanctions, the economic global pressure on iran will work and now there are indications, there will be some new negotiations, new talks with the iranians. but in the end, he's making it clear when he says all options are on the table, i suspect he will say that once again, all options on the table, including the military option, which he hopes will never have to be used. but it's something he's going to reiterate, when he's asked that question. >> and gloria, to you, on the economic side here, what does the president need to do to help people and convince people that their lives are better, or if they're suffering, that they will get better over the next eight or nine months. >> well, he'd like to wave a wand and see the unemployment rate continue to go down. but i think what we're going to the see today is part of that process. and you know what, i asked congress to do more on refinancing, for these mortgages that are underwater. they wouldn't do it. so guess what. i'm going to do it. it's going to be at a smaller level, but i'm going to do it myself. he's going to sort of try and make the case that he's on your side, and run against congress
at the same time, and say, if they won't to it, i will. >> all right. we'll see how that message plays out. we're going to have more. we are keeping our eye on this press conference. it's going to happen just minutes away. we're going to take a quick break first. ♪ ( whirring and crackling sounds ) man: assembly lines that fix themselves. the most innovative companies are doing things they never could before, by building on the cisco intelligent network.
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line of sweeteners with a small boost of fiber, or antioxidants, or b vitamins in every packet. make or break day for politics. super tuesday, candidates are out on the trail doing all they can to capture the votes, but let's go to president obama holding a news conference first. >> i thought i'd start the day off by taking a few questions, which i'm sure will not be political in nature, but before i do, i want to make a few announcements about some steps we're taking to help responsible homeowners who have been struggling through this housing crisis. now, we've clearly seen some positive economic news over the last few months. businesses have created about 3.7 million new jobs over the last two years. manufacturers are hiring for the first time since the 1990s. the auto industry is back, and hiring more than 200,000 people over the last few years.
confidence is up. and the economy is getting stronger. but, there are still millions of americans who can't find a job. there are millions more who are having a tough time making the rent or the mortgage, paying for gas or groceries. so our job in washington isn't to sit back and do nothing, and it's certainly not to stand in the way of the recovery. right now we've got to do everything we can to speed it up. now, congress did the right thing when they passed part of my jobs plan and prevented a tax hike on 160 million working americans this year. and that was a good first step. but it's not enough. they can't just stop there and wait for the next election to come around. there are a few things they can do right now that could make a real difference in people's lives. this congress should, once and for all, end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and use that money to reward companies that are creating jobs here in the united states.
i've put forward a proposal that does just that, and there's no reason why congress can't come together and start acting on it. this congress could hold a vote on the buffett rule, so that we don't have billionaires paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. that's just common sense. the vast majority of americans believe it's common sense, and if we're serious about paying down our deficit, it's as good a place to start as any. and finally, this congress should pass my proposal to give every responsible homeowner a chance to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage at historically low rates. no red tape, no runaround from the banks. if you've been on time on your payments, if you've done the right thing, if you've acted responsibly, you should have a chance to save that money on your home, perhaps to build up your equity or just have more money in your pocket that you can spend on businesses in your community. that would make a huge difference for millions of
american families. now, if congress refuses to act, i've said that i'll continue to do everything in my power to act without them. last fall, we announced an initiative that louse millions of responsible homeowners to refinance at low interest rates. now, today we're taking it a step further. we are cutting by more than half the refinancing fees that families pay for loans insured by the federal housing administration. that's going to save the typical family in that situation an extra $1,000 a year on top of the savings that they'd also receive from refinancing. that would make refinancing even more attractive to more families. it's like another tax cut that will put more money in people's pockets. we're going to do this on our own. we don't need congressional authorization to do it. we're also taking a series of steps to help homeowners who have served our country. it is unconscionable that members of our armed forces and their families have been some of
those who have been most susceptible to losing their homes due to the actions of unscrupulous banks and mortgage lenders. over the last few years, that happened. a lot. so as part of the landmark settlement we reached with some of the nation's largest banks a few weeks ago, here's what we're going to do. if you are a member of the armed forces, whose home was wrongfully foreclosed, you will be substantially congressm lly r what the bank did to you and your family. if you are a member of the armed forces with a high interest rate who was wrongfully denied the chance to lower it while you were in active service, which banks are required to do by law, the banks will refund you the money you would have saved, along with a significant penalty. the settlement will make sure you aren't forced into foreclosure, just because you have a permanent change in station, but can't sell your home because you owe more than it's worth.
some of the money will also go into a fund that guarantees loans on favorable terms to our veterans. and there will be more foreclosure protections for every man and woman who is currently serving this country in harm's way. as i've said before, no amount of money is going to be enough to make it right for a family who has had their piece of the american dream wrongfully taken away from them. and no action, no matter how meaningful, will entirely heal our housing market on its own. this is not something the government by itself can solve. but i'm not one of those people who believe that we should just sit by and wait for the housing market to hit bottom. there are real things that we can do right now that would make a substantial difference in the lives of innocent, responsible homeowners. that's true in housing and that's true in any number of different areas when it comes to insuring that this recovery touches as many lives as possible. that's going to be my top
priority, as long as i hold this office, and i will do everything i can to make that progress. so with that, i'm going to take some questions and i will start with mike viqueira. >> yes, sir. on the middle east and as it relates to american politics, a little less than a year ago, moammar gadhafi gave a speech and he said he was going to send his forces to benbenghazi, he w going to rout opponents from their bedroom and shoot them. in syria, bashar al assad is killing people. there's a miss ker underway, and your critics here in the united states, most notably, john mccain says you should start air strikes now. and on iran, mitt romney on sunday went so far as to say if you are re-elected, iran will get a bomb and the world will change. how do you respond to those criticisms? >> you asked a couple of questions there, so let me -- let's start with the iran situation, since that's been a topic in the news for the last few days.
when i came into office, iran was unified, on the move, had made substantial progress on its nuclear program and the world was divided in terms of how to deal with it. what we've been able to do over the past three years is mobilize unprecedented, crippling sanctions on iran. iran is feeling the bite of these sanctions in a substantial way. the world is unified, iran is politically isolated. and what i have said is that we will not countenance iran getting a nuclear weapon. my policy is not containment. my policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, because if they get a nuclear weapon, that could trigger an arms race in the region. it would undermine our nonproliferation goals. it could potentially fall into the hands of terrorists. and we've been in close consultation with all our allies, including israel, in moving this strategy forward.
at this stage, it is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically. that's not just my view. that's the view of our top intelligence officials, it's the view of top israeli intelligence officials. and as a consequence, we are going to continue to apply the pressure, even as we provide a door for the iranian regime to walk through, where they could rejoin the community of nations, by giving assurances to the international community that they are meeting their obligations and they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon. that's my track record. now, what's said on the campaign trail, you know, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. they're not commander in chief. and when i see the casualness with which some of these folks
talk about war, i'm reminded of the costs involved in war. i'm reminded of the decision that i have to make, in terms of sending our young men and women into battle. and the impacts that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy. this is not a game, and there's nothing casual about it. and, you know, when i see some of these folks who had a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk, but when you actually ask them, specifically, what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we've been doing over the last three years. it indicates to me that that's more about politics than actually trying to solve a difficult problem. now, the one thing that we have not done, is we haven't launched a war. if some of these folks think that it's time to launch a war,
they should say so. and they should explain to the american people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be. everything else is just talk. >> syria? >> with respect to syria, what's happening in syria is heartbreaking, and outrageous, and what you've seen is the international community mobilize against the assad regime, and it's not a question of when assad leaves or if assad leaves, it's a question of when. he has lost legitimacy of his people. and the actions that he is now taking against his own people is inexcusable and the world community has said so in a more or less unified voice. on the other hand, for us to take military action, unilaterally, as some have
suggested, or to think that somehow there's some simple solution, i think is a mistake. what happened in libya was we mobilized the international community, had a u.n. security council mandate. had the full cooperation of the region, arab states, and we knew that we could execute very effectively in a relatively short period of time. this is a much more complicated situation. so what we've done is to work with key arab states, key international partners. hillary clinton was in tunisia to come together and to mobilize and plan how do we support the opposition. how do we provide humanitarian assistance, how do we continue the political isolation, how do we continue the economic isolation? and we are going to continue to work on this project with other countries, and it is any belief
that, ultimately, this dictator will fall, as dictators in the past have fallen. but the notion that the way to solve every one of these problems is to deploy our military, you know, that hasn't been true in the past, and it won't be true now. we've got to think through what we do, through the lens of what's going to be effective, but also, what's critical for u.s. security interests. jake? >> thank you, mr. president. what kind of assurances did you give prime minister netanyahu about the role that the u.s. would play, if diplomacy and economic sanctions fail to work to convince iran's leaders to change their behavior, and israel goes ahead and prepares to strike a nuclear facility. what kind of assurances did you tell him. and shouldn't we, i recognize the difference between debate
and bluster, but shouldn't we be having in this country, a vigorous debate about what could happen in the case of a middle east war, and that sadly we did not do before going into iraq? >> i think there's no doubt that those who are suggesting or proposing or beating the drums of war, should explain clearly to the american people what they think the costs and benefits would be. i'm not one of those people. because what i've said is that we have a window through which we can resolve this issue peacefully. we have put forward an international framework that is applying unprecedented pressure. the iranians just stated that they are willing to return to the negotiating table, and we've got the opportunity, even as we maintain that pressure, to see how it plays out. i'm not going to go into the details of my conversation with prime minister netanyahu, but what i said publicly doesn't
differ greatly from what i said privately. israel is a sovereign nation that has to make its own decisions about how best to preserve its security. and as i said over the last several days, i am deeply mindful of the historical precedence that weigh on any prime minister of israel, when they think about the potential threats to israel and the jewish homeland. what i have also said is that because sanctions are starting to have significant effect inside of iran, and that's not just my assessment, that's, i think, a uniform assessment, because the sanctions are going to be even tougher in the coming months, because they're now starting to affect their oil industry, their central bank, and because we're now seeing noises about them returning to the negotiating table, that it
is deeply in everybody's interests, the united states', israel's, and the world's, to see if this can be resolved in a peaceful fashion. and so this notion that somehow we have a choice to make in the next week or two weeks or month or two months is not borne out by the facts. and the argument that we've made to the israelis is that we have made an unprecedented commitment to their security. there is an unbreakable bond between our two countries, but one of the functions of friends is to make sure that we provide honest and unvarnished advice in terms of what is the best approach to achieve a common goal. particularly one in which we have a stake. this is not just an issue of israeli interests, this is an issue of u.s. interests. it's also not just an issue of consequences for israel, if action is taken prematurely.
there are consequences to the united states as well. and so, i do think that anytime we consider military action, that the american people understand, there's going to be a price to pay. sometimes it's necessary. but we don't do it casually. you know, when i visit walter reed, when i sign letters to families that have -- whose loved ones have not come home, i am reminded that there is a cost. sometimes we bear that cost. but we think it through. we don't play politics with it. when we have in the past, when we haven't thought it through, and it gets wrapped up in politics, we make mistakes. and typically, it's not the folks who are popping off who pay the price, it's these
incredible men and women in uniform and their family who is pay the price. and as a consequence, i think it's very important for us to take a careful, thoughtful, sober approach to what is a real problem. and that's what we've been doing over the last three years. that's what i intend to keep doing. >> sir, if i could just quickly follow up. >> jake? >> you may not be beating the drums of war, but you did very publicly say, we've got israel's back. what does that mean? >> what it means is that historically, we have always cooperated with israel, with respect to the defense of israel. just like we do with a whole range of other allies. just like we do with great britain. just like we do with japan. and that broad statement, i think, is confirmed when you look at what we've done over the last three years on things like iron dome, that prevents missile from raining down on their small towns, along border regions of
israel, that potentially land on schools or children or families. and we're going to continue that unprecedented security, the security commitment. it was not a military doctrine that we were laying out for any particular military action. it was a restatement of our consistent position that the security of israel is something i deeply care about and that the deeds of my administration over the last three year confirms how deeply we care about it. that's a commitment we've made. jacq jacqki jackie? where's jackie? there you are. >> with the news this morning that the u.s. and its allies are returning to the table or taking up iran's offer to talk again, more than a year after those talks broke up in frustration, is this israel's -- iran's last
chance to negotiate an end to this nuclear question? and you said three years ago, nearly three years ago, in a similar one-on-one meeting with prime minister netanyahu, that the time for talk, by the end of that year, 2009, you would be considering whether iran was negotiating in good faith. and you said at that time that we're not going to have talks forever. so here we are, nearly three years later. is this it? and did you think you would be here three years after those first talks? >> you know, there is no doubt that over the last three years, when iran has engaged in negotiations, there has been hemming and hawing and stalling and avoiding the issues. in ways that the international community has concluded were not
serious. and my expectations, given the consequences of inaction for them, the severe sanctions that are now being applied, the huge toll that it's taking on their economy, the degree of isolation that they're feeling right now, which is unprecedented, they understand that the world community means business. to resolve this issue will require iran to come to the table and discuss in a clear and forthright way how to prove to the international community that the intentions of their nuclear program are peaceful. they know how to do that. this is not a mystery. and so it's going to be very important to make sure that, on an issue like this, there are
complexities, it obviously has to be methodical. i don't expect a breakthrough in a first meeting, but i think we will have a pretty good sense, fairly quickly, as to how serious they are about resolving the issue. and there are steps that they can take that would is send a signal to the international community, and that are verifiable. that would allow them to be in compliance with international norms, in compliance with international mandates, abiding by the nonproliferation treaty, and provide the world an assurance that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon. they know how to do it. and the question's going to be whether in these discussions, they show themselves moving, clearly, in that direction. ed henry? >> thank you, mr. president. i wanted to follow up on israe i
and iran, because you have said repeatedly you have israel's back. so i wonder why three years in office you have not visited israel as president. and related to iran and israel, you have expressed concern about this talk of war driving up gas prices further. your critics will say on capitol hill that you want gas prices to go higher, because you have said before that will wean the american people off fossil fuels on to renewable fuels. how do you respond to that? >> ed, just from a political perspective, do you think the president of the united states going into re-election, wants gas prices to go up higher? is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense? look, here's the bottom line with respect to gas prices. i want gas prices lower, because they hurt families. because i meet folks every day who have to drive a long way to get to work and them filling up this gas tank gets more and more painful, and it's a tax out of their pocketbooks, out of their
paychecks. and a lot of folks are already operating on the margins right now. and it's not good for the overall economy, because when gas prices go up, consumer spending oftentimes pulls back. and we're in the midst right now of a recovery that is starting to build up steam, and we don't want to reverse it. what i have also said about gas price prices is that there is no silver bullet and the only way we're going to solve this problem over the medium and long-term is with an all-of-the-above strategy, which says we're going to increase production, which has happened. we are going to make sure that we are conservativing enere ini which is why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars, which will take about 12 billion barrels of oil, you know,
offline, which will help to reduce prices. and we're going top develop clean energy technologies that allow us to continue to use less oil. and we've made progress. i mean, the good news is 2010, first time in a decade that our oil imports were actually below 50%, and they have kept on going down. and we're going to keep on looking at every strategy we can to, yes, reduce the amount of oil that we use while maintaining our living standards and maintaining our productivity, and maintaining our economic growth, and we're going to do everything we can to make sure that consumers aren't hurt by it. now, there are some short-term steps that we're looking at, with respect to, for example, there are certain potential bottlenecks in refineries around the country that we've been concerned about. we're concerned about what's happening in terms of production around the world.
it's not just what's happening in the gulf. you've had, for example, in sudan, some oil that's been taken offline that's helping to restrict supply. so we'll look at a whole range of measures, incoming, by the way, making sure my attorney general is paying attention to potential speculation in the oil markets. i've asked him to reconstitute a task force that's examining that. but we go through this every year. we've gone through this for 30 years. and, you know, if we are going to be competitive, successful, and make sure families are protected over the long-term, then we've got to make sure that we've got a set of options that reduce our overall dependence on oil. and with respect to israel, i'm not the first president who has been unable, because of a whole range of issues, not to visit israel as president in their
first term. i visited israel twice as senator, once right before i became president. the measure of my commitment to israel is not measured by a single visit. the measure of my commitment to israel is seen in the actions that i've taken as president of the united states. and it is indisputable that i've had israel's back over the last three years. amar madani? >> thank you. do you believe rush limbaugh's apology to the georgetown law student was sufficient and heartfelt? do you agree with the number of sponsors who have stopped supporting his show? and do you believe there have been a double standard on this show? liberal commentators have been made equally provocative or distasteful statements and there hasn't been such an outrage. >> you know, i'm not going to comment on what sponsors decide
to do. i'm not going to comment on either the economics or the politics of it. i don't know what's in rush limbaugh's heart, so i'm not going to comment on the sincerity of his apology. what i can comment on is the fact that all decent folks can agree that the remarks that were made don't have any place in the public discourse. and, you know, the reason i called miss fluke is because i thought about malia and sasha and one of the things i want them to do, as they get older, is to engage in issues they care about, even ones i may not agree with them on. i want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way, and i don't want
them attacked or called horrible names because they're being good citizens. and i wanted sandra to know that that i thought her parents should be proud of her. and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate, and we want you to be engaged, and there's a way to do it that doesn't involve you being demeaned and insulted, particularly when you're a private citizen. all right. jessica yellin. >> mr. limbaugh apologized for what he said -- >> mr. president --
>> jessica -- >> apologized -- >> thank you, mr. president. >> thank. >> thank you. >> top democrats have said that republicans on a similar issue are engaged in a war on women. some top republicans say it's more like democrats are engaged in a war for the women's vote. as you talk about talk of war in another arena, and women are -- this could raise concerns among women, do you agree with the chair of your democratic national committee that there is a war on women? >> here's what i think. women are going to make up their own mind in this election about who is advancing the issues that they care most deeply about. one of the things i've learned being married to michelle is, i don't need to tell her what it is that she thinks is important.
and there are millions of strong women around the country who are going to make their own determination about a whole range of issues. it's not going to be narrowly focused just on contraception, it's not going to be driven by one statement, by one radio announcer. it is going to be driven by their view of what's more likely to make sure they can help support their families, make their mortgage payments, who's got a plan to ensure the middle class families are secure over the long-term. what's most likely to result in their kids being able to get the education they need to compete. and i believe that democrats have a better story to tell to women about how we're going to solidify the middle class and grow this economy, make sure everybody has a fair shot, everybody's doing their fair share, and we got a fair set of
rules of the road that everybody's got to follow. so i'm not somebody who believes that women are going to be single-issue voters, they never have been. but i do think that we've got a strong story to tell when it comes to women. >> would you prefer this language be changed? >> you know, jessica, as you know, if i start being in the business of arbitrating -- >> you talk about civility. >> right, and what i do is i practice it. and so, i'm going to try to lead by example in this situation, as opposed to commenting on every single comment that's made by either politicians or pundits. i would be very busy. i would not have time to do my job. that's your job, to comment on what's said by politicians and pundits. lori montenegro. >> mr. president, thank you. >> there you are. >> mr. president, polls are showing that latino voters seem
to be favoring your re-election over a republican alternative, yet some of them are still disappointed, others upset about a promise that you made on immigration reform, that has yet to come to pass. if you are re-elected, what would be your strategy? what would you do different to get immigration reform passed through the congress, especially if both houses continue as they are right now, which is split? >> well, first of all, just substantively, every american should want immigration reform. we've got a system that's broken. we've got a system in which you have millions of families here in this country who are living in the shadows, worried about deportation. you've got american workers that are being undercut, because those undocumented workers can be hired and the minimum wage
laws may not be observed, overtime laws may not be observed. you've got incredibly talented people who want to start businesses in this country or to work in this country, and we should want those folks here in the united states. but right now, the legal immigration system is so tangled up, that it becomes very difficult for them to put down roots here. so we can be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. and it is not just a hispanic issue. this is an issue for everybody. this is an american issue, that we need to fix. now, when i came into office, i said, i am going to push to get this done. we didn't get it done. and the reason we haven't gotten it done is because what used to be a bipartisan agreement that we should fix this, ended up becoming a partisan issue. i give a lot of credit to my predecessor, george bush, and
his political advisers who said, you know, this should not be just something the democrats support, the republican party is invest invested in this as well. that was good advice then, it would be good advice now. and my hope is, is that after this election, the latino community will have sent a strong message that they want a bipartisan effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform, that involves making sure we've got tough border security and this administration has done more for border security than just about anybody. that we are making sure that companies aren't able to take advantage of undocumented workers. that we've got, you know, strong laws in place. and that we've got a path so that all those folks whose kids often are u.s.
citizens who are working with us, living with us and in our communities and not breaking the law and trying to do their best to raise their families, that they've got a chance to be a fuller part of our community. so what do i think will change? well, what i will do -- we're going to be putting forward, as we have done before, a framework, a proposal, legislation that can move it -- move the ball forward and actually get this thing done. but ultimately, i can't vote for republicans. they're going to have to come to the conclusion that this is good for the country and that this is something that they themselves think is important. and depending on how congress turns out, we'll see how many republican votes we need to get it done. nora o'donnell.
how are you? >> i'm good, mr. president. today is super tuesday, so i wondered if you would weigh in on some of your republican opponen opponents. newt gingrich has criticized you and said hope is not a foreign policy. he has also said you're america most fackless president. what would you like to say to mr. romney? >> good luck tonight. >> really? >> really. lynn, since you've been hollering and you're from my hometown, make it a good one. >> my question is about the switch of the gs summit from california to chicago. we know that he wants a more
intimate summit. what do the security threats possibly play into it? >> keep in mind we're still going to show up with a whole bunch of world leaders. weave got that nato summit. we've typically tried to attach the ga summit to the nato summit so the leaders in the ga summit don't have to travel twice to whatever location. so last year in france, we combined a g8 with a nato summit. we'll do so again. i have to say, this was an idea that was brought to me after the initial organizing of the nato summit. somebody pointed out that i hadn't had any of my counterparts who i've worked with now for three years up to camp david. g8 tends to be a more informal setting in which we talk about a wide range of issues in a pretty
intimate way. and the thinking was that people would enjoy being in a more casual backdrop. i think, you know, the weather should be good that time of year. it will give me a chance to spend time with mr. putin, the new russian president, and from there we will then fly to chicago. i always have confidence in chicago being able to handle security issues, whether it's chicago orla lalapalooza or th bulls championships, and i'm sure your new mayor will be quite attentive to detail to make sure everything goes off well. all right? okay. go ahead, last one. last question.
>> thank you. mr. president, if we could continue on that. when the nato leaders gather in chicago in may, do you expect that they'll be able to agree on a transition strategy, and are you concerned at all that the koran burning and the events that followed after that are still happening? >> we turned increasing responsibility to afghan. we expect to follow that strategy and a full transition so that our combat role is over by the year 2014. and our coalition partners have agreed to it, they are sticking with it, that continues to be the plan. what we are now going to be doing over the next -- at this nato meeting and planning for the next two years is to make sure that that transition is not
a cliff, but that there are benchmarks and steps that are taken along the way in the same way that we reduced our role in iraq so that it is gradual, afghan capacity is built, the partnering with afghan security forces is effective, that we are putting in place the kinds of support structures that are needed in order for the overall strategy to be affected. now, yes, the situation with the koran burning concerns me. i think that it is an indication of the challenges in that environment and it's an indication that now is the time for us to transition. you know, obviously, the
violence directed at our people is unacceptable, and president karzai acknowledged that. but what is also true is president karzai, i think, is eager for more responsibility on the afghan side. we're going to be able to find a mechanism whereby afghans understand their sovereignty is being respected and they're going to be taking a greater and greater role in their own security. that, i think, is in the interests of afghan and also our interests, and i'm confident that we can execute, but it's not going to be a smooth path. there are going to be bumps along the road just as there were in iraq. >> bumps along the road, or are you seeing a deterioration in the relationship based on the koran burning itself, the violence that has followed that inhibits your ability to work out things like how to handle the detention center? >> none of this stuff is easy and it never has been.
obviously, the most recent riots or protests against the koran burning were tragic, but remember, this happened a while back when the pastor in florida threatened to burn a koran in iraq as we were making this transition. there were constant crises that would pop up and tragic events that would take place, and there would be occasional setbacks. but what i try to do is to set a course to make sure that up and down the chain of command, everybody knows what our broader strategy is. and one of the incredible things about our military is that when they know what our objective is, what our goal is, regardless of the obstacles that they meet along the way, they get the job done. and i think that president karzai understands that we are
interested in a strategic partnership with the afghan people and the afghan government. we are not interested in staying there any longer than is necessary to assure that al-qaeda is not operating there and that there is sufficient stability that it doesn't end up being a free-for-all after they've left. we share interests here. it will require negotiations, and there will be times when things don't look as smooth as i'd like. that's kind of the deal internationally on a whole range of these issues. all right? thank you, guys. oh, can i just make one other comment? i want to publicly express condolences to the family of donald payne, congressman from new jersey. a wonderful man, did great work
both domestically and internationally. he was a friend of mine, so my heart goes out to his family and his colleagues. >> and you have been listening to the president here. this is the first formal news conference he has given since last october, answering all kinds of questions. he began by speaking specifically about the economy here on this super tuesday, talking economy, talking about how he can perhaps help current and former members of the military if they were wronged by being foreclosed upon and also talking about people with fha loans, government-backed loans, how they can be helped as well. he began with that, and then it was an open floor. people in that room got to ask him all kinds of questions, and if i can, i'd like to bring in wolf blitzer and gloria borger. i want to talk about his meeting
with benjamin netanyahu, and i want to point out today is super tuesday, so it's the day he comes out to talk about the economy. that is significant why? >> he really went after his republican challengers on the whole issue of israel and iran. he spoke of the casualness that some of these presidential candidates, i think specifically referring to mitt romney, are talking about the possibility of war with iran right now. he spoke about the pain of a war. he underscored his commitment to israel. he says there is another opportunity to try to resolve this through diplomacy, through sanctions, through economic pressure. he says for these republicans, it's all bluster. it's not a game, it's all bluster. when it comes down to it, they're not proposing anything at all. >> the same exact thing, he also said if some of these folks think it's time to launch a war,
they should say so to the american people, because it's very clear he understands where the american people are in terms of launching another war, and it's very easy to save a rattle when you're not sitting in the oval office. he talks about going after walter reid and what he has to do when he signs those letters to parents, and when he talked about mitt romney and super tuesday, he said, good luck tonight. there was a bit of laughter and he said, no, really, good luck tonight. >> when he talked about walter reid and the factions of war, he said, it's not people paying the prit price, it's the families of the loved ones paying the price. we've already seen the effects when it comes to oil, the central bank. now they're hearing iranians possibly willing to go back to the negotiation table.
how do you think this resonates with americans today? >> he kept referring to the fact there was still a window, an opportunity to resolve this diplomatically. he said there was consensus in the intelligence committee. he said there was a consensus in the israeli intelligence committee, that there was still a window. and i think that probably is a consensus between -- if you take a look at what the cia believes, what the israeli intelligence community, assad, believes, there probably is a consensus. i don't think there necessarily is a consensus between what president obama believes or what prime minister netanyahu believes, so i think there is a little bit of disagreement there. not a whole lot. they basically agree iran should not be able to get nuclear weapons. but the israelis would like the ratcheting up of the pressures, and they're much more skeptical that the sanctions will work. they're also skeptical about resumed negotiations about the iranians. >> when he says there is a window, we also don't know how
much of a window he believes there is or how much the israelis believe there is. three years ago, the president was essentially saying we need to give diplomacy a chance to work, and he was asked the question generally what has changed. the answer is, well, we've applied more sanctions and we're going to continue to apply more sanctions, but to what end? >> he talked, and i just want to get to a sound bite because your point about visiting soldiers at walter reid and the fact we're winding down in afghanistan, the war is over in iraq. here's what he said about a casual war. >> those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. they're not commander in chief. and when i see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, i'm reminded of the costs involved in war. i'm reminded of the decision that i have to make in terms of
sending our young men and women into battle. and the impact that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy. this is not a game. there is nothing casual about it. and, you know, when i see some of these folks who have a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk, but when you actually ask them specifically what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we've been doing over the last three years. >> do you think his response would be any different if this were not an election year? >> i think his response would be the same in that he wants more time. he's not anxious for the u.s. military strikes to take out iran's nuclear facilities, he's certainly not anxious for israel to launch military strikes. he wants that to be the absolute bottom line last alternative
only if it is 100% necessary to prevent iran from having a nuclear bomb. israel's so-called green line, red line, whatever you want to call it, is a little different. israel says they shouldn't have the capability of building a nuclear bomb, so they're less generous in terms of a time frame, but it's a serious issue, and i suspect the president -- he's looking at the elections, he's saying what he thinks is popular stuff, but he's very concerned about a war. >> i got the feeling today, and when the president said when it gets wrapped up in politics, we make mistakes. i get the feeling, although he didn't come out and say it, he thinks it's a dangerous conversation to be having in the political arena right now. >> i feel as though part of this conversation is also syria. he was asked about syria. he said it's not a matter of if but when assad goes away. it's absolutely a massacre, it's heartbreaking. but it's interesting you and i were talking about senator mccain on the senate floor yesterday calling for u.s. air strikes in syria and we don't know perhaps how that would
resonate within the obama administration, but referring to libya, he said they have full cooperation in the region. syria, he said, is specifically much more complicated. >> it's a problem for him explaining the differences between libya and syria. libya, there was a potential of a spotter in bengazi. the arab league, saudi arabia, cutter, as well as the international community, they got a resolution through the u.n. security council calling for a no-fly zone that nato would implement over libya, a naval blockade, if you will, almost a no-drive zone. cruise missiles started going in and taking out air defenses in libya and we know what happened later. he says it's much more complicated, and in his words, in syria right now there isn't
anonymity in syria. he says lateral military action is a mistake, even though it is heartbreaking and outrageous what assad is doing. so he disagrees with john mccain on this sensitive issue, but i suspect the u.s. is going to continue to try to put the pressure on the chinese and the russians to support some sort of resolution. nato has been sort of -- as i used the word the other day when i interviewed the nato secretary general, i said nato has been impotent right now, and he said it's a very different situation, and he wasn't making a very compelling case, i got to say. >> john mccain also called for unilateral action, if you recall, in libya. he was out there doing that, and of course the president waited until he got all of the pieces together, and you don't really hear the republican presidential candidates out there echoing john mccain, do you? >> he's ahead of the curve on
that one. >> let me bring in jessica yellin, our chief white house correspondent. forgive me, jessica, because i was running upstairs to put my microphone and earpiece in. i understand you asked about limbaugh in this lawsuit. tell me what you asked and what was his response? >> i asked if the president agrees with some claims the democrats have been making that, there is a war on women. he fundamentally avoided answering the question. and i asked republicans contend it's more like democrats are lodging a war for the women's vote. so it was one of the more political answers he gave in the press conference, but if i could make the larger point, brooke, he was asked about rush limbaugh and he said he didn't want to address someone else outside.
i guess one of the disadvantages of the press when they hold these press conferences is when you do have one, there are so many questions that nobody gets to ask, and i'd point out that there were very few questions about the economy. he really didn't get asked that many other questions about, for example, his home foreclosure plan that he announced today. if i had a chance to ask him a second question, i really would have asked him why is it that if this is so important, it took you three years to roll out this plan? brooke, i would point out that three years into his administration there are almost as many houses under water as there were at the beginning of the administration, and he has rolled out more than 10 housing refinance plans in that time, so what's taken -- isn't this something of a failure to date? and there is also some questions about the unemployment rates and other issues that he just didn't have to answer because it was so
foreign policy centered. >> i'm glad you brought that up because my question would have been what didn't you hear, jessica yellin. thank you, and just my final thoughts here, suzanne was talking to alison kosik about the foreign policy program with the loans. that's just a handful of people. that doesn't include millions of others who are paying their mortgages, but they're kind of stuck. >> what the administration would say is we've asked congress to do more, but congress hasn't acted on it, and i think one of the reasons politically in answer to jessica's point, actually, is that they're doing this now for political reasons, of course, which is that they can then take this and run against congress. and i think if jessica had gotten to ask that question, he certainly wouldn't have said
that, but that's clearly the case. >> i thought the president was most compelling and most moving when he spoke about why he made that phone call to that georgetown university law student, to reassure her, to reassure her parents that what she did, you can disagree with her on the substance when she testified before congress and expressed her views, what she did he would like to see his daughters, sasha and malia, do that. he might disagree with them, but he wouldn't want them or her to be called a vile, ugly name like rush limbaugh did. he didn't have to pick up the phone and call her, but he did, and i thought that was a compelling part of the news conference. >> we'll be talking more about super tuesday. >> later tonight. >> meantime, we've got more to cover for you in the next two hours, including this. super tuesday. here we go. >> why didn't you call me?
>> he would be the weakest candidate. >> as the rhetoric flies, we're going to break down what's important and what's not. also, why ohio is the big prize. more advertisers and another radio station bail on rush limbaugh. but find out why his brand is probably safe. plus, a stunner in a murder mystery. >> there she was slumped over the steering wheel. >> an iranian born college student is found dead, and the for the first time police say it could be an assassination. one guy said he is so fed up with the price of popcorn at the movie theaters, he's suing. the key is to have a good strategy. the same goes for my retirement. with the plan my financial advisor and i put together, a quick check and i know my retirement is on course.
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my meineke. all right, here we go. on this super tuesday in ten states going all the way from alaska to massachusetts, voting today in what could be a deciding day in the republican presidential race, super tuesday. the number here, 419. 419 delegates total up for grabs today, so we want to just break down a couple states we're really watching closely and what they mean for these candidates. let me begin with the great state of ohio. you see here 63 delegates is actually not the biggest delegate prize today, but no republican has ever actually won the presidency without winning ohio. in fact, a lot of people, ohio represents urban, rural, evangelical, blue collar, white collar. watch for voter turnout enthusiasm. why? because low voter turnout could
be a bad omen, bad signs for republicans going into november for the president. remember, the president won ohio back in 2008. moving along to georgia here, this is the most number of delegates up for grabs here at 76. and specifically the question is, can gingrich maintain his poll numbers here? we have to wait and see if, of course, he served congress for two decades here, so can he maintain his own home state? we're going to watch and just have to see there in georgia. moving on, though, staying in the south, and this is a huge state because, again, this is conservative territory. a win for newt gingrich could jump-start his campaign. if he wins georgia, that would be good for him. keep in mind, mitt romney in 2008 didn't win a single deep south state. so how the evangelical, how the
undecided vote goes could really show who comes out in this state. finally we take you to virginia. virginia is significant because you just have actually two people, two people on this ballot not being santorum or gingrich. they're not on the ballot, so this could be a huge, huge day for mitt romney, specifically for 50%. can he get 50% or more of the vote in virginia, because if he can cross that threshold, he will add even more delegates to his total. 46 up for grabs in virginia, phph which, today, stands for 50% for romney. we'll have live coverage on this super tuesday. join us at 6:00 p.m. eastern. on the ground, both georgia and ohio. stay with us.
how many times have we said it? this could be the day today, this could be the day that mitt romney casts an indelible stamp on his prize, that being the nominee for president. will ohio be his in the heartland? who will cast tennessee? keep in mind, every time romney has been under, he's bounced right back. at the moment he is riding a winning streak. he has won the last five contests, but still he is yet to
win a knockout blow. could that come tonight? dana bash standing by in ohio. dana, he's closed the gap with rick santorum. they're in another dead heat and we'll see the results tonight. >> boy, has he closed the gap, and boy, is it a dead heat. this is a poll. they're dead even, mitt romney and rick santorum in this state as we see here as voters are going to the polls. i spent a lot of time over the last day or two talking to voters about how they feel, and i want to play a couple of women -- actually, both are very active in the tea party which is an important segment of the electrthe electorate here in ohio. >> who are you voting for? >> romney. >> why romney?
>> if i look at the constitution as our business plan and business model, i want someone who can sit down and analyze what we are doing. it probably is the biggest business in the country. i want someone that brings that business sense and that economic sense to it. >> i'm katie kern. i'm on the board here in buckley county, ohio. >> and you're for santorum? >> our party doesn't endorse, but i personally am a santorum follower. >> why? >> i like the fact that he is fiscally responsible, that he believes in smaller government. of course, all of the republican candidates happen to believe in smaller government. >> reporter: now, brooke, i'mal a polling station in a highly republican area. i'm in hamilton county which is a critical, critical county for republicans in a race to get out the vote between santorum and
romney. it hasn't really been -- it's been anecdotally low turnout, kind of a steady stream of voters, but i would say more of a trickle than a stream. >> in terms of really connecting with these folks on a gut level, dana, has romney been able to do that, do you think? >> anecdotally, i certainly don't think he's been connectsiconnects i connectsing on a gut level. that one voter i talked to, because people are buying that one line he's giving, his business background really helps him to be in a position to be the best potential president and the best person to beat barack obama. i think when you're talking about the gut level vis-a-vis mitt romney, these republicans we're talking to here, they want him to beat barack obama big time and they want to figure out the best means to do it, and they figure mitt romney is the best vehicle to beat barack
obam obama. the biggest pot of gold today lies in georgia. 76 republican delegates there. newt gingrich on the prowl. gingrich is banking on a win in the state. in fact, he needs a win in georgia as a sign his campaign is still viable. but funny thing, david mattingly, because a win for newt gingrich in georgia is kind of like a win from mitt romney, isn't it? >> reporter: well, gingrich is trying to position himself as the anti-romney or the romney alternative just as rick santorum is, so when you have two opponents like that going after the same voters, sure, it's going to help the front runner's chances. but newt gingrich has bigger problems right now. he has to have a way to have an incredibly strong showing here in georgia. you're talking about the 76 delegates up for grabs here. it's a complicated system by which those delegates are rewarded. newt gingrich has to try to get
50% of the votes or better in 14 different districts across the entire state in order to try and have a chance to run the table and get all 76 of those delegates. if he's able to do that or do something close to that, then he has something that he can take from here after super tuesday and go to other states in the south: alabama, mississippi and say these are what the people who know me best are doing for me, and this is what i can do for you. so without this strong showing in georgia, he's going to have difficulty moving forward after super tuesday. and we keep calling this super tuesday. it may be a little less super this year looking at how it's going to be a less than decisive in the big picture, but for newt gingrich, he has to have an incredibly super tuesday, and he has to have it right here in georgia. >> yeah, and i know he's already di dipped his big toe in alabama today. we're not even talking about
alabama until next week, so you know he's trying to get the south. do they even look at him in the south, for that matter? >> oh, sure, and he's got the support of the governor here. in marietta, georgia and his home district of when he was the speaker of the house of representatives, this is still very much newt gingrich country. but he's not taking anything for granted. because he has to have that strong showing and every vote is going to count for him no matter what margin of victory he might have right now, he's been in this state the last nine days campaigning. he's had campaign workers in his home district. we know he's going to win this district but he still has people going out over the weekend going door to door, knocking on doors to get people to come out and vote. so he's pulling out all the stops in his home state to have a good showing here in georgia. brooke? >> david mattingly, thank you so much. keep in mind again, special
super tuesday coverage tonight begins at 6:00 p.m. eastern time. we're going to move away from politics for just a second because we want to show you this video of a man caught in an avalanche and the whole thing was caught on camera. stay with us. [ female announcer ] goodnight gluttony, a farewell long awaited. goodnight, stuffy. goodnight, outdated. goodnight old luxury and all of your wares. goodnight bygones everywhere. [ engine turns over ] good morning, illumination. good morning, innovation.
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we've got some video to share with you. first, a courtroom. watch what happened in a hearing in springfield, massachusetts. yikes. that's why they have those deputies in the courtroom. they had to take down two men who went after mr. santiago. he is accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death. he was charged with assault and battery and resisting arrest. and the one time, the one
time an avid snowmobiler doesn't wear what's called an avalanche beacon, guess what happens? his friend caught the whole thing on camera. tyson black triggered the avalanche in utah on sunday. watch with me. >> where is he at? where is he at? >> his friends rushed in, feeling through the snow piled ten feet high. but get this, we're talking 23 minutes. i'm sure that was excruciating for him under all the snow. 23 minutes. they couldn't find him. then one of them hit black's helmet with the shovel. a small pocket of air had formed in his helmet, but for a while, he was unconscious. >> i was just like, you're alive. i just wrapped my hands around his helmet. >> when they said he was okay and he was breathing, i just started balling. me and branson just started hugging each other. it was amazing.
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got some breaking news for you right now. here's what we know. two people shot and killed at yet another school. the school is episcopal high school in jacksonville, florida. the fire department has not confirmed who the victims are. they haven't confirmed what precisely happened. obviously we're making phone calls. we're going to keep a close eye on the situation as soon as we get any details or updates and we'll bring them to you live here on cnn. meantime, we are watching wall street today where the dow is falling. investors very concerned with the european economy and the greek debt crisis. you can see the dow down a whopping 226 points here as we're just about an hour and a
half away from the closing bell. we'll keep a close eye on that in this final hour and a half of trading. also there is no greater threat in the middle east than a nuclear iran. this is according to secretary of defense leon panetta. speaking at this conference, panetta echoed president obama that the u.s. prefers a diplomatic solution, but -- >> make no mistake, when all else fails, we will act. >> meantime, just one day after president obama and i see rail i prime minister benjamin netanyahu met at the white house, the u.s. and other countries have agreed to resume talks with iran over its nuclear program. ohio shooting suspect will be back in court. 17-year-old lane is accused of aggravated murder among other crimes. he is the one accused of shooting those five students in
chardon high school. federal authorities call top leade leaders anonymous for shutting down paypal. they have their own channel. they pleaded guilty in court to hack and go other crimes. police say they're working in secret with someone within the group. the u.s. reporter shot in syria is finally coming home. she was killed. it was so relentless there it wasn't even safe to retrieve her body for some time. she did arrive in her home state of new york. the mystery is finally over. the winner of last month's $3 $
million jackpot is louise white. she just kept putting it in her bible until she did start coming forward. >> i do want to say that i'm very happy and i'm very proud. and this will make my family very happy. we are truly blessed. thank you. >> $336 million. our other big story today, let me say it again, two words: super tuesday. ten states, more than 400 delegates up for grabs. coming up next we're going to talk to the head of the republican party in the state of tennessee where 55 delegates are up for grabs, and the state in which newt gingrich just made a mighty big promise. stay with us. ohhh my head, ohhh.
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co ch co-chair of the republican party. shou will republican party voters there be willing to give romney the win? >> brooke, i think it's competitive. we've seen all the major candidates here, really, over the last week or so. we're seeing their ads on tv, the mail in the mailbox, the phones on the phone, and it's competitive. i do think this, that whoever wins this state will have a feather in their cap. it's a diverse electorate. i know you talk about ohio, but tennessee has a very diverse electora electorate. it's an open primary. 33%. usually when we poll, 33% of our respondents identify themselves at independent. we have people who are from the east way back before the union,
and we have the conservative and we have tea party activists right around the nashville area. so it's a diverse electorate. >> but chris, how about an answer to the question. will they pull foll for a romne? >> a couple weeks ago, mitt romney was losing, according to a couple polls by double digits. it looks like now he's closed the gap. i think closing the gap is quite frankly a pretty big thing if that happens, and we'll see tonight. >> we will see tonight. let's talk about mitt romney's vast personal fortune. it seems to rub people the wrong way. remember, he went to the nascar race not only rubbing elbows with the fans but those who own the race teams. and ann might have ruffled some feathers by what she told fox news. take a listen. >> we can be poor in spirit, and i don't look -- i don't even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing.
it can be here today and gone tomorrow, and how i measure riches is by the friends i have and the loved ones i have. >> now, mitt romney's reported net worth, it is the range of $250 million. his wife ann, she says she measures wealth differently. how does what she said go over in tennessee? >> you know, i think most people here in the state -- i mean, i'm all over the state from memphis up to upper east tennessee, and what people are focused on are not these personal issues like that, what they're really focused on is trying to defeat barack obama. i think that's why we've seen this extended primary like we have. we're trying to find the best candidate. that's what people are focused on. they're focused on who is the best candidate to put forth the message to defeat barack obama, and you know, i think a lot will be decided tonight on that.
>> let me ask you about that. speaking of who might be that candidate, rick santorum seems to have an inside track on winning the tennessee primary, possibly. do tennessee residents believe rick santorum could really go toe to toe with barack obama in november? >> if you look at the polls, any of our candidates are defeating barack obama if they go head to head. barack obama is approving right now at 48%. >> rick santorum versus mitt romney, toe to toe. >> that's a good question. i'm not going to pick winners and losers. i'm going to let the voters do that, but quite frankly, i think we have some good candidates, any of whom have a great message resonating with voters. i think at the end of the day, whether a voter goes for romney or santorum or gingrich, at the end of the day, we're all going to rally around who won the nomination. i really do think that. >> chris devaney for us in
tennessee. thanks so much. we appreciate you coming o. >> thank you. a young woman, a college student, murdered in texas. she is iranian american, and now police are looking into the possibility of an international assassination. that story after a quick break. [ male announcer ] fighting pepperoni heartburn and pepperoni breath? fight both fast with new tums freshers! concentrated relief that goes to work in seconds and freshens breath. new tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ [ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, all in a pocket sized pack.
now a new twist in the unsolved murder of an iranian student activist in houston. she was 30-year-old killed assassination style back in january. almost two months into their investigation, police say they still don't have any answers. no motive, no suspects, no solid leads. investigators are now looking into the possibility of an international conspiracy that
iran was somehow involved. here is drew griffin. >> reporter: in 2010 she was on the streets protesting with the group sob houston, together doing whatever they could to show support for their brothers and sisters suffering in iran. >> that's why we gather here, to just be their voice here and show them that we are together and they're not alone. >> reporter: she wasn't scared to show her face but wouldn't give her last name to reporters for fear, she said, of retaliation. less than two years later, she is dead in what appears to be an assassination style murder that no one can explain. it was late sunday night, january 15. police say she was on the phone with an ex-boyfriend when she turned into this townhouse complex not far from where she lived with her parents. the boyfriend told police he heard a loud thud, screeching,
then silence. her car was found here wedged up against this driveway, the engine on, the wheels still spinning. and there she was, slumped over the steering wheel with a single gunshot wound to the head as if someone were laying in wait. the evidence indicated that she had been shot through the passenger's side window. she was shot one time, and an autopsy revealed that she was shot in the head. >> reporter: police have no lead. they have gone public asking for help but have found no one who would have wanted to kill her. with nothing stolen or missing, they've even ruled out a random robbery. and now they are even willing to say they are not ruling out the possibility iran itself could be behind the killing. >> because of the obvious reasons, we're exploring those issues that she was advocating. >> reporter: two years ago, cnn
reported on what local police said was iranian involvement into the attempted assassination of an iranian disdent broadcaster in california. since then the u.s.s. formally accused iran of a plot to kill the saudi ambassador to the united states. but they say it makes no sense that iran would target a 30-year-old student in houston who just held up signs on an american street corner. >> there are many more important position leaders who have their own tv stations, that go through lobbying in washington, d.c. they plot iran to do different things. >> fred burton, a former state department counterterrorism expert, who has investigated iranian assassinations, says iran's intelligence, like its government, works in secretive ways with mode -- motives that
aren't always so clear. >> perhaps her friends knew through that organization. >> they have no idea of her past except for being an iranian, moving to houston, who turns out unexpectedly murdered may have unexpected ties that could have made her a target. >> you have a 30-year-old female that has traveled out of iran, spent time in europe, paris, for example. what has she been doing? was she more active overseas, for example, than we understand here? the iranians have a very strong network, the iranian intelligence service has a very strong collection network in paris specifically trying to keep tabs on all their dissidents. >> reporter: houston police admit they are stuck and will follow any lead, even those involving iranian conspiracy, if it will lead to the killer.
drew griffin, cnn, houston. >> drew griffin, thank you. meantime, 12 companies dropped advertising from rush limbaugh's controversial radio program. his stations have also dropped his program entirely. how encouraged is rush limbaugh on whether he can recover or not? me 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? ♪ that's why i take doctor recommended colace® capsules. i have hemorrhoids and yes, i have constipation. that's why i take colace®. [ male announcer ] for occasional constipation associated with certain medical conditions,
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[ roger ] tell me you have good insurance. yup, i've got... [ kyle with voice of dennis ] ...allstate. really? i was afraid you'd have some cut-rate policy. [ kyle ] nope, i've got... [ kyle with voice of dennis ] ...the allstate value plan. it's their most affordable car insurance -- and you still get an allstate agent. i too have...[ roger with voice of dennis ]...allstate. [ roger ] same agent and everything. [ kyle ] it's like we're connected. no we're not. yeah, we are. no...we're not. ♪ the allstate value plan. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. rush limbaugh. in a world of fiery politics, he has probably the loudest voice.
controversy is his business model. yet suddenly, after a few insulting comments about a law school student, more advertisers are pulling out. 12 now, plus two radio stations. even though he's got a lot more fire power when it comes to advertisers, clout, even, will this hurt the rush limbaugh brand. howard, you know this. rush limbaugh's show, it is the most listened-to talk radio show in the entire country. i want to talk politics in a second. i know you wrote a lot about the political ramifications, but just from a business perspective, all the cash he pulls in, it has to be a hit losing all these companies, do you think? >> rush limbaugh is a cultural phenomenon on the radio. it's no surprise he's pulled in $6 million a year. rush has used some inflammatory language over the years, but something about the use of the
word slut aimed at a specific young woman that nobody ever heard of before that really has created something of a crisis for him. he very rarely apologizes for his language. he has a couple times now in this case. as an advertiser, you have to decide whether you can stand up to the public pressure of being associated with limbaugh when right now he is a lightning rod for so many attacks. >> you mentioned the students here. it got a couple of us thinking whether there's a pattern concerning the target. what he said about students at the rutgers college basketball team, we're not talking about major political figures who were on the airwaves each and every day. there's a difference, is there not? >> that's precisely it. limbaugh can go on and on about nancy pelosi and barack obama. these are established public figures who have their own megaphones and can answer back and are used to being in the
arena. it's the fact he put a face on what the governments tried to capitalize on this war on women that he went after sandra fluke in such a personal way who was willing to testify about something she believes in, whether you believe it or not, about access to birth control in health insurance plans, has caused this backlash and i haven't seen a backlash of this magnitude despite all the controversies he's been in the center of in the past two decades. >> ever, you say? >> that's correct. >> i want to play a little sound about the whole controversy. this was just last night. take a look. >> i have gone through myself and experienced more things said about me, and i have never seen this level of outrage on the left about what a commentator said about me. i mean, really, honestly, if you're a conservative woman, it seems like there is no level of vitriol that's beyond the pale.
i've been on the receiving end of it, we know governor palin has been on the receiving end of it. you don't see this level of out rea outreach, you don't see advertisers cutting back and maybe that's what we should learn from all of this. >> basically, you should give this to democrats. is it more about women on the left or the right? >> the conservative side, though, is the issue should be about contraception and religious freedom, whether the catholic organization should be force to do provide this kind of coverage. for bachmann to say that is a little unfair comparison because she ran for president. she went in knowing she would be the target of a lot of criticism. that's part of running for the white house. a bit of a comparison and would suggest there is a little bit of a double standard. comparing it to another pundit, bill barr has used some colorful