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Vice President Presses President's Jobs Bill; Mentally Disabled Individuals Found Captive in Philadelphia; Republican Presidential Hopefuls Spar in Las Vegas Debate; Federal Government Proposing Selling of Property; Interview With Senator Bernie Sanders; Exotic Animals Loose in Ohio; Herman Cain in Spotlight

Aired October 19, 2011 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, a wild night in Las Vegas, the Republican presidential contenders throwing mean punches over at the CNN debate. Was the real winner the man's whose job they all want?

Plus, thousands of government buildings have been vacant for decades, costing millions in U.S. taxpayer money. Just ahead, we have exclusive new information on what the Obama administration is doing about it.

And dozens of wild animals break out of an exotic reserve in Ohio. How dangerous were there? Should they even be kept in such a place? We'll take you to one here in the Washington, D.C. area for answers.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Breaking news, political headlines, and Jeanne Moos all straight ahead. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

But first, to the political fire storm at CNN's Republican presidential debate where the fierce personal attacks soared to new highs and the candidates may not have done themselves any great favors. Let's bring in our White House correspondent Dan Lothian. He's over at the White House where there's talk, Dana, that President Obama could be getting the last laugh. What's going on?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We saw Governor Rick Perry really trying to get back in the game so the Republican hopefuls spent a lot of time attacking each other. But President Obama did end up in the crosshairs when it came to immigration, health care, and the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LOTHIAN: On the last day of his jobs bus tour, the president visited a Virginia pumpkin stand as his campaign held a conference call to squash attacks from Republican presidential hopefuls who took shot --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obamacare is bad news.

LOTHIAN: After shot --

RICK PERRY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have an administration that is killing jobs.

LOTHIAN: -- after shot.

MICHELE BACHMANN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's his uncle and his aunt who are illegal aliens --

LOTHIAN: Democratic political consultant Ed Espinosa fired back.

ED ESPINOZA, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I think a lot of these things are smoke screens. I think a lot of them are platitudes.

LOTHIAN: He said various criticism of border security is just one example.

PERRY: We know how to secure the border. You put the boots on the ground.

ESPINOZA: President Obama has put more boots on the ground than have ever been there before.

LOTHIAN: In a conference call with reporters, Obama's campaign again accused the Republican candidates of protecting Wall Street, special interests, and wealthy Americans. Campaign manager Jim Messina singled out frontrunner Mitt Romney, saying he lacks credibility and will, quote, "say and stand for anything to get elected."

Who won and who lost the debate is still being debated. Despite the punches thrown at the president, the hardest jabs were landed on the stage.

ESPINOZA: I think the president came out clean and they beat up each other.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LOTHIAN: White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the president did not watch the debate, that he did walk by a TV set, it was on, but the volume was off. However, the Obama campaign did encourage supporters to tune in and enticed them with a fund raising game.

How it worked. They had a list of names and asked supporters to donate money, pledge money, $3 to $5 or any amount, based on the number of times that word or phrase was mentioned. At the top of that list, it was "Obamacare" mentioned at least by their count, 15 times. Second word, "fence" -- it was mentioned 11 times. And then of course, "nine-nine-nine," Herman Cain's economic plan came somewhere in the middle. It was mentioned four times. At the very bottom of the list, "socialism," that wasn't mentioned at all. Wolf?

BLITZER: Dan Lothian at the White House, thanks very much.

The frontrunner of the Republican race at least as of right now, Mitt Romney, often at the center of last night's scathing war of words. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You just don't have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing Obamacare. Your consultants helped craft Obamacare. And to say you're going to repeal it, you have no track record on that to trust you.

PERRY: Mitt, you lose all of your standing from my perspective because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you're strong on immigration is on its face is height of hypocrisy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Let's bring in our chief political analyst Gloria Borger. She was in Vegas yesterday for the debate, as was I. Gloria, he is the front-runner, so he's going to have to get used to getting a few hits.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It was interesting last night, because we were talking about how Herman Cain was going to get attacked. And people did attack Herman Cain's nine-nine-nine plan, but they tended to embrace it first, then attacked him.

With Romney, there was no such embrace. People came to a knife fight.

BLITZER: They called him a hypocrite.

BORGER: A hypocrite, that he has no credibility on taking on Obama's health care reform plan. These are going to be key items in this campaign. So what they were trying to remind people of things that had occurred before this race started, remind Republicans why they're so skeptical about Mitt Romney.

BLITZER: You know, as we look at rick Perry, he said this morning, still in Las Vegas, that he's going to be announcing his economic plan including some major tax proposals, tax reform. But we're getting a hint of what he has in mind.

He spoke today to the western governors and said Western Republican Leadership Conference, I should say, and said that he's going to propose a flat tax. Now, Wolf, we've been around a while. The last time we heard the flat tax I think was the Steve Forbes presidential campaign. This is not a new idea. But I think really what it is is a plan to be different from Mitt Romney.

You see the traction that the nine-nine-nine plan got because it's simple to understand. A flat tax is also simple to understand. And he wants to make himself the anti-Romney. He said today, I am not the candidate of the establishment. You won't hear, this is important, a lot of "shape shifting nuance from me." And who do you think he's referring to there, Wolf?

BLITZER: We know. At least we have also learned that Rick Perry's been talking to Steve Forbes, the author of that flat tax and he's probably getting some good advice. I recently spent some time in New York with Steve Forbes and he still firmly believes that's the best tax reform out there. BORGER: Can it pass? That's another question.

BLITZER: That's another matter, but we'll see in the coming days, Rick Perry's going to come out in favor of it.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Gloria.

Let's get to a CNN exclusive right now. A new effort the Obama administration is taking on as part of its push to jump-start the economy that would involve tens of thousands of U.S. government buildings costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Let's bring in our own Lisa Sylvester. She's got the details. Lisa, what's going on here?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf. There are 14,000 properties in the federal portfolio that are not being used and 55,000 buildings that are underused. The Obama administration wants to get some of these off their books, and we have an exclusive look inside one of those buildings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: This building in the upscale Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, D.C. used to be a heating plant for the federal government, but for the last decade it's been vacant. It's one of tens of thousands of excess and underutilized federal government properties. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he's eager to see this building sold off. It's part of a larger Obama administration initiative to cut waste and net $3 billion in savings by 2012.

KEN SALAZAR, INTERIOR SECRETARY: This property has basically stacked up all across the nation and what the president has said, we're not going to do that anymore. We're going to make sure we get all this extra property out there on the market so that it becomes part of our economic recovery.

SYLVESTER: This particular building, it costs about $350,000 just to maintain. That's for keeping on the lights and paying security. You can do the math. It's been sitting vacant for 10 years. That's more than $3 million of wasted taxpayer money.

The administration is asking Congress to set up a special board comprised of private and public members to identify other federal properties the government no longer needs similar to commissions set up to close military bases. Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, estimates the government could raise $15 billion in the first three years alone.

JEFFREY ZIENTS, DEPUTY OMB DIRECTOR: The idea is to put together bundles of properties rather than dealing with properties one by one. One by one, you run into local political interests and red tape. When you bundle the properties for an up or down vote by Congress, you're able to move many properties at once. SYLVESTER: Properties already up for sale can be found on an interactive map on the White House website. But there is the question of timing.

Is now the time really to solve these properties or should you wait and see down the line if the federal government might be able to get more money for it? Prices are depressed right now.

MARTHA JOHNSON, GSA ADMINISTRATOR: Yes, they are. I think for a property like this and one of the reasons we're being very aggressive about it, is that it is in prime real estate.

SYLVESTER: A valuable piece of real estate with a magnificent view of downtown D.C. in northern Virginia that the federal government believes could fetch a high price even in the slow real estate market.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: Now, legislation has been introduced in Congress to establish this kind of committee that would be essentially a civilian version of the base closure and realignment commission. The White House has also included this proposal in a list given to the super- committee tasked with cutting the budget deficit. Wolf?

BLITZER: Lisa, good reporting. Thanks very much for that exclusive report.

The vice president of the United States Joe Biden getting very heated following a rally to sell President Obama's stalled jobs plan. You're going to want to hear what got him so angry.

Plus, one of the Republican presidential frontrunners, Herman Cain, revealing to our Piers Morgan whom he respects most out of all his rivals in the Republican race for the White House. Piers is standing by live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: President Obama now back at the White House after a three- day swing through North Carolina and Virginia to push his jobs plan. Earlier the president and first lady spoke at a military base in Virginia where they announced that private companies have pledged to hire 25,000 U.S. veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013. The president then traveled to the Richmond, Virginia area, where he urged Congress to act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are the choices that Congress will be presented within the next few weeks, and if they vote against these proposals, if they say no to the steps we know will put people back to work right now, they're not going to have to answer to me. They're going to have to answer to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Vice President Biden is pushing for quick passage of the provision including a provision at the same time, including a provision that would keep teachers, firefighters, and police officers on the job. Our Congressional correspondent Kate Bolduan is picking up this part of the story for us. All right, Kate. What are you hearing? Explain to our viewers.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vice President Biden, he came to Capitol Hill today to try to pile on the pressure to get Congress to pass part of the president's jobs bill. The bill is still not likely to go anywhere in the Senate, but it did lead to a fiery, unscripted moment with the vice president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Real people will get real relief right now.

(APPLAUSE)

BOLDUAN: To a room packed with the teachers, firefighters, and police he promises to help, Vice President Joe Biden took the president's message from the bus tour straight to a rally on Capitol Hill.

BIDEN: They won't let this vote on it. Well, I want, my colleagues want, to vote on it piece by piece. Explain to the American people, explain why. This is an emergency -- 300,000 teachers have been laid off.

BOLDUAN: Biden went on to say police layoffs in places like Flint, Michigan, have led to increased crime.

BIDEN: In many cities, the result has been it's not unique, murder rates are up. Robberies are up. Rapes are up.

BOLDUAN: Afterward as the vice president was leaving, he was confronted by the reporter from the conservative news site, "Human Events."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're using a rape reference to describe opposition --

BIDEN: No, no, what I said, let's get it straight, guys. Don't screw around with me. Let's get it straight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't use a rape reference?

BIDEN: I said rape was up three times in flint. There are the numbers. Go look at the numbers. Murder is up, rape is up, and burglary is up. That's exactly what I said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if Republicans don't pass this bill, rape will continue to rise?

BIDEN: Murder will continue to rise. Rape will continue to rise. All crimes will continue to rise. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's appropriate for the vice president to use language --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got to go. I'm sorry, we've got to go.

BOLDUAN: Despite the heated rhetoric and the full court pass to pass a $35 billion measure to help keep teachers and first responders on the job, the reality in Congress is this bill has virtually no chance at passing, and Democrats know that, prompting the top Republican in the Senate to blast the White House and Senate Democratic effort as nothing more than a political sideshow.

MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Let park the campaign bus, put away the talking points, and do something to address the jobs crisis. The American people want action. The election is 13 months away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Still, we do expect the Senate to hold a procedural test vote on this part of the president's jobs bill by the end of the week. Again, it is not likely to pass as Republicans remain steadfastly against the tax increase Democrats have proposed to pay for the bill. Senate Democratic leaders, Wolf, do promise they will continue to bring up other parts of the president's jobs bill in the coming weeks.

BLITZER: I've covered vice president Biden for many, many years. I rarely have seen him as angry as I did in that clip right there, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Very fired up.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Kate Bolduan, reporting from Capitol Hill.

Out on the international front, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is making a surprise visit to Afghanistan today. She touched down in Kabul. She'll be meeting with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai tomorrow. Secretary Clinton is on a swing through the Middle East and North Africa, made an unannounced visit to Libya today. Jill Dougherty is traveling with the secretary.

Breaking down the Republican presidential debate, I'll ask a voice from the left, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, whom he now fears the most.

And shocking new details are emerging after the discovery of four disabled people being kept in a virtual basement dungeon. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There are very disturbing new developments after the discovery of four mentally disabled people locked away in a basement boiler room in a Philadelphia apartment building. Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti has been following the story. Susan, this case could be much, much more expansive than it first appeared. Tell our viewers what you're learning.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Wolf. The case is growing more disturbing with potentially more victims, more states, and more suspects by the day. Today a fourth arrest is made in a horrific case of alleged cruelty.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: It started with a gruesome discovery in a boiler room of a Philadelphia apartment building.

LT. RAY EVERS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: It looks like a dungeon. These people were stored like surplus meat in the basement.

CANDIOTTI: Picture four adults, one of them chained to a boiler locked inside this dark, filthy, tiny space, reeking of human waste in buckets and on the floor.

COMMISSIONER CHARLES RAMSEY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: Very, very bad conditions for anybody to be there for five minutes let alone an extended period of time.

CANDIOTTI: These are three of the four victims, a woman and three men described as physically and mentally challenged, held captive until they're rescued by the building's landlord, allegedly kidnapped, police say, by two men and a woman. Linda Weston is charged with spearheading the scheme, possibly to rip off their Social Security checks.

Weston is accused of dragging the group from state to state, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, possibly Virginia and North Carolina, too. Even more states may be involved. Police say before moving to Pennsylvania, the defendants trashed this rental home in West Palm Beach Florida. As the case expands, Weston's adult daughter also is charged as a coconspirator. One victim spoke briefly about the people accused of holding him.

DERWIN MCLEMIRE, VICTIM: It was real dirty. That was wrong.

CANDIOTTI: A relative of another victim, horrified.

TIFFANY DAVIS, VICTIM'S NIECE: The way they described it was as if he was some type of animal. You've got him chained in the basement, took all the lights out.

CANDIOTTI: The woman held captive in the basement claims not only were her teeth knocked out, but said she gave birth to two children while under Weston's control.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: Tuesday night, the police found the children, ages two and five. Tests are being done to term whether their mother and father were the victims in the basement. Four other children, possible victims, including Linda Weston's niece, have also been found and are in the care of social services right now. Police say the niece was malnourished, beaten, and burned.

BLITZER: Had the other -- have they found other evidence that makes officials think this is even bigger horrendous case?

CANDIOTTI: They do, Wolf. They found Social Security cards and other documents for about 50 people. And they also said Weston was trying to change the name on two of the certificates for two of the children.

BLITZER: Sick, sick people out there. Susan, thanks for that report.

So, which of these Republican presidential contenders do Democrats fear the most? The Independent senator Bernie Sanders is here. He's weighing in. Stand by.

And dozens of wild animals shot dead after escaping an exotic preserve. Did authorities do the right thing? We'll take you to a preserve right here in the Washington area for some answers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A look at CNN's Republican presidential debate, which many are now saying signals a major shift in the race for the White House. The gloves came off with a series of brutal, nasty, and very personal exchanges. But the candidates took shots at President Obama as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY: We've had a president reasonable for this economy and he's failed us. He's failed us in part because he has no idea how the private sector works or how to create jobs. On every single issue he's made it harder for our economy to reboot. And as a result, we have 25 million Americans out of work or stopped looking for work or in part time work and can't get fulltime employed. Home values going down. You have median income in America that in last three years has dropped by 10 percent. Americans are hurting across this country, and the president's out there campaigning. Why isn't he governing? He doesn't have a jobs plan even now. This is a critical time for America.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Mitt Romney at the Republican debate last night. Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont, is joining us how. He's an independent, though he caucuses with the Democrats. Senator, what do you say to your fellow New Englander, Mitt Romney, a scathing, blistering attack on the president's record over these past nearly three years?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Well, I think it's very unfair. Look, I have differences of opinion with the president. I would be much more aggressive in terms of a job program.

But if you compare the fact that when Obama came to office, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month -- a month -- when you compare the fact that during the entire tenure of the Bush administration, which advocated very much the same policies that Mitt Romney does, we lost, after eight years, 500,000 private sector jobs, I think Mr. Romney owes President Obama an apology.

But most importantly, what do the Republicans have to say about the future? It's the same old, same old Bush line: let's give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. Let's do more deregulation of Wall Street, if you can believe it, when it was the crooks on Wall Street who, as a result of deregulation, have driven this country into the terrible recession that we're in right now.

So, I don't know what the Republicans have to say in terms of creating any jobs at all.

BLITZER: All right. What they say is that if you lower the taxes on big business, if you deregulate, that will give incentive for the big corporations out there -- and they're sitting on trillions of dollars, by all accounts -- to go ahead and invest that money and start creating jobs for a lot of American people.

SANDERS: I understand -- Wolf, that's what they're saying. There's nobody in America who believes that, because we've seen that movie before. That is the Bush trickle-down economic theory. It failed.

Over the last 10 years, despite all of the huge tax breaks that the largest corporations in this country have received, you know what? The largest corporations have laid off -- they have laid off millions -- no, it was 1.5 million workers in the last 10 years.

So, we give them tax breaks. So what do they do? They run to Mexico. They run to China. And we've lost 50,000 factories over the last 10 years.

Trickle-down economics, tax breaks for the very rich, huge tax loopholes for large corporations is a failed economic policy. What we need to do, in my view, what the president is beginning to talk about, is invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, make sure that we're not firing teachers and police officers and firemen, rebuilding our water systems, rebuilding our crumbling schools. That is what brings jobs, not giving tax breaks to millionaires.

BLITZER: But where are you going to get the money for all of that? The Republicans -- and you know -- you're in the Senate, in the House -- they're not going to vote for any tax increases right now. So where do you get the money under these very tight budget restrictions?

SANDERS: Well, that's what the American people are going to have to decide. Overwhelmingly, including many Republicans, they think it's absurd that when the middle class is disappearing, when real income is going down, while the richest people are becoming richer and are paying, by the way, the lowest effective tax rates in decades, most Americans, the vast majority, say, you know what? The wealthiest people in this country are going to have to pay more taxes. Let's invest in our infrastructure, let's invest in our schools, and let's create the millions of jobs we desperately need. Mitt Romney is wrong and is way out of touch with the American people when he thinks that what we need to do is give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and large corporations.

BLITZER: Did Mitt Romney's health care reform law when he was governor of Massachusetts set the stage for the president's health care reform law, which is now the law of the land in the United States? In other words, is Obamacare, as they like to call it, based on Romneycare?

SANDERS: I think most objective observers would say yes, that that's the case.

BLITZER: So, you like that, as far as Mitt Romney's record is concerned?

SANDERS: No. I happen to believe -- and one of the problems they're having in Massachusetts right now is health care costs are soaring.

In terms of health care, Wolf, the question that we have got to ask ourselves is, how is it we are spending almost twice as much per person on health care today, despite the fact we have 50 million people who are without any insurance whatsoever? We have a wasteful, bureaucratic system. My view is, we should move to a Medicare for all, single-payer program.

BLITZER: Who among the Republican candidates do you believe represents the greatest threat to President Obama becoming a one-term president?

SANDERS: I have no idea, but all I can tell you is these guys are absolutely bereft of any serious ideas. That they are simply talking about -- here's their trilogy: more tax breaks for billionaires, deregulate Wall Street, and unfettered free trade so we can continue to lose more jobs to China and low-wage countries around the world. That's all that they believe in. Those are failed policies.

So, I don't know who will get their nomination, but I'm not impressed by what they're saying.

BLITZER: Senator Sanders, as usual, thanks very much for coming in.

SANDERS: My pleasure.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain tells CNN's Piers Morgan whom he respects the most and the least among the Republican rivals. Piers is standing by live.

And which of these escaped animals in Ohio represented the biggest threat? We'll tell you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: It's an amazing story. Dozens of wild animals shot dead after escaping an exotic preserve and terrorizing residents in Ohio for much of the day. It's a move some animal activists though are calling unforgivable.

Last hour, I spoke with the director emeritus of the Columbus, Ohio, Zoo, Jack Hanna, who's been assisting in the animal search, and I essentially asked him whether all of these animals had to die.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK HANNA, COLUMBUS ZOO DIRECTOR EMERITUS: Wolf, the problem was that we got here -- it all started at 5:30 at night. By the time my people got here with the tranquilizer guns, it was 6:30. We only have four tranquilizer guns.

When you have 40-something animals running around here, 18 tigers, I mean, where do you start? Plus, it's getting dark.

Darkness set in. At that point, the sheriff had to say the ones that were getting out of the compound had to be put down.

We can't tranquilize an animal in the dark, Wolf, because if you do hit him, where do you hit him, in the bottom? Do you hit him in the neck? You don't where the dart goes. It takes about five minutes.

So, what do we do, send a sheriff up, or one of my people up, the veterinarian? Hey, is it asleep? Bam.

This afternoon, Wolf, a perfect example. About four hours ago we had one Bengal tiger we found crouched down in the bushes, I guess, up there is where they were. And all of a sudden, the veterinarian gets within 20 feet, pops the animal with a tranquilizer, the animal comes right for the veterinarian. They had to shoot the animal.

Now, what do you do in this case? I mean, we couldn't have done it last night in the dark. It would be impossible.

To have no one hurt or killed here when 40-something animals get loose is unbelievable. Am I upset? Of course I'm upset. I mean, we lost 18 Bengal tigers, lions, and all this other thing.

But what do we do, have human life versus animal life? And right now we've got to take care of humans, and of course now, we've lost our precious animals here because of what happened up here with this guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Jack Hanna also telling me all those animals have now been accounted for, are no longer on the loose.

Let's bring in our national correspondent, Jason Carroll. He's standing by in Columbus, Ohio, with the latest on the investigation.

Jason, what is the latest here? What do we know?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, first, just start out by saying even the sheriff is telling me so much of what happened out here was senseless and felt as though it did not have to happen. But they honestly, Wolf -- you heard Jack Hanna there. The folks out here felt as though they simply had no choice.

Let's update you in terms of the numbers.

Fifty-six animals initially were set loose. Forty-nine had to be put down and killed. Six were actually taken to the Columbus Zoo, including three tigers. Those were the ones that were able to be saved.

This whole thing starting at just about 5:00 yesterday. That's when the 911 calls starting coming in.

People reported, literally saying that they were seeing wild animals on their property. In one case, a viewer was able to shoot home video of a grizzly on his property. That grizzly eventually had to be put down.

Sheriff's deputies ended up showing up at Terry Thompson's property. They were met by at least a dozen tigers that were roaming around. Those tigers had to be put down.

Thompson obviously had opened the cages where these animals were being held, and then ended up taking his own life for reasons that are yet to be known.

You hear so much about this tranquilizing versus actually shooting some of these animals. I want you to listen to a veterinarian who we spoke to. She actually came face to face with one of those Bengal tigers this morning. She talked about how she tried to tranquilize it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. BARBARA WOLFE, COLUMBUS ZOO DIRECTOR OF WILDLIFE: This morning, about 11:00, they found one animal, and this is the only animal that's been found alive in the light of day. So, it was a tiger, about a 300-pound tiger, hiding in the bushes.

So, they took me down. A special response team took me down. I was loaded to tranquilize it, and had to actually approach the animal within about 15 feet into the bushes.

I did shoot it with a tranquilizer dart. Unfortunately, about 10 seconds later, it roared, got up, and came toward me. So the special response team had to shoot it.

CARROLL: I think a lot of people don't realize it's not like in the movies, where you shoot an animal with a tranquilizer gun and the animal immediately passes out. It takes a long time, depending upon the size of the animal, for the drugs to get into the system and to take effect.

WOLFE: That's exactly right. We expected it to take five to 10 minutes, and an animal that's agitated and afraid can actually really fight off the effects of the drug.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CARROLL: So, Wolf, you can see the difficulty that many of these law enforcement officials had to face out here in trying to take down some of these particular animals.

You know, also, at one point, it was said that one animal was unaccounted for, a monkey, but we are now hearing that that monkey may have been eaten by one of the tigers out here. They are still trying to confirm that. But at one point, just one monkey, at this point, that may be unaccounted for.

In terms of the investigation, Wolf, the big question, of course, is why Terry Thompson decided to open the cages to these animals and take his own life, knowing what could have been the fate of these animals?

Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. We may never know the answer to that question either since he apparently killed himself. So we might never know.

All right. Thanks very much, Jason.

Jason Carroll, on the scene for us in Ohio.

Let's bring in Brian Todd right now. He's at an animal preserve location in the Washington, D.C., area, animals like the ones in Ohio.

Brian, exactly where are you and what's going on?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're in Thurmont, Maryland, about 60 miles northwest of Washington. Take a look at this beauty behind me.

This is Phoenix, a 500-pound Bengal tiger here at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve. Our photojournalist John Bennett (ph) taking a nice shot of him as he sits there in his cage here.

This is an accredited facility, but the story in Ohio raises a lot of questions about whether animals like this should be brought to places like this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): We pass within 10 feet of him in a golf cart. In a split second, Phoenix springs to his feet and begins stalking us. This 500-pound white Bengal tiger is similar to the one that was let out, then killed outside the animal preserve in Ohio.

RICHARD HAHN, DIRECTOR, CATOCTIN WILDLIFE PRESERVE: Wild animals can't fend for themselves in this environment. This is not their jungle.

TODD: Richard Hahn is the director of the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, about 60 miles outside Washington. He's been here 45 years, and now oversees a compound covering 50 acres with some 600 animals, many of them exotics.

He's got tigers, timber wolves, lions, mountain lions, many of the same breeds that were sprung in Ohio.

(on camera): Which of those animals is the most dangerous to the community and why?

HAHN: Probably the big cats. The big cats are faster.

TODD: Something like this guy.

HAHN: They're like a house cat. You know, a house cat -- yes -- has instincts to go after anything that runs from it.

TODD (voice-over): Hahn says as much as it breaks his heart, he thinks the authorities in Ohio did the right thing in putting down the Bengal tiger there. He says the tranquilizer police tried to shoot it with probably wasn't powerful enough and likely got the tiger more agitated.

(on camera): This is a little baby gator about two or three years old. They've got 19 gators here in this preserve. This is maybe one of his parents down there. The fact that this preserve and others like it keeps these animals, raises the debate about whether animals like this should be brought to preserves like this.

(voice-over): Hahn has taken in several animals that were in dire need of care, like this bald eagle injured by a car. He says the vast majority of his animals either came from zoos or pet owners, but it's an argument he's used to.

(on camera): Many people out there feel that reptiles like this, predators, should never be brought to a place like this, or a preserve in Ohio. What do you say to that?

HAHN: Well, unfortunately, bringing them to a preserve is probably one of the better choices. These animals were originally sold as pets, and they grew too fast, too big for someone who had them. And then they have to go some place.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Hahn says some animals are better off in places like his than even in their own natural habitats. He points to tigers, which are becoming extinct -- fast becoming extinct in their home environments, places like northern China, Russia and India, where the trade in their body parts is still very lucrative -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. What a report. Brian, thanks very much for that.

Herman Cain dishing on his opponents. You're going to hear which fellow Republican Cain says would not make a good president.

And a cell phone bill that costs as much -- get this -- as a house.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Herman Cain took a bit of a beating in the CNN presidential debate last night, but then went in depth with our own Piers Morgan. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Who do you respect the most?

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I would say that Speaker Gingrich and Governor Romney are the two that I have the greatest amount of respect for, that I would feel comfortable if I did not get it. But I'm looking pretty good right now, but I have a lot of confidence in the type of job that they would do.

MORGAN: And who do you have the least respect for?

CAIN: Let's just stick with the ones that I have the most respect for.

MORGAN: No, no, no, no. Come on, Herman.

CAIN: I don't believe Representative Ron Paul would be a good president.

MORGAN: Why?

CAIN: Because most of his ideas and positions eliminate, end, rather than fix. We need to fix a lot of things in this country. I don't believe in throwing the baby out with the bath water.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Piers is joining us now.

Piers, what did you make of Herman Cain? You spent some quality time with him last night.

MORGAN: Yes, I had an hour with him in Vegas.

He's a great character. He's got this amazing charisma. So you feel like you've had a really entertaining and fascinating hour when you spend time with him.

Interesting about his competitors, I felt, he was pretty scathing about Ron Paul. He was also scathing about Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, two fellow Tea Partiers. So he's clearly positioned himself, as he would put it, as the non-political Tea Party candidate here.

And he kept stressing through the interview that he doesn't want to be seen as a politician, so much so, that when I quizzed him about his pretty extreme views on, say, homosexuality or abortion, and so on, he kept saying to me the same thing -- "If I become president, my personal views are not necessarily going to be the views that I legally enforce on the American people." And trying to distinguish there, I think, between his personal opinion and what he would do as a president. I think it's a very interesting game play. I'm not sure it can sustain much scrutiny, but I certainly enjoyed spending time with him.

BLITZER: On the issue of same-sex marriage, he says even though he opposes it, it should be left up to the various states to make a final decision.

Did he back away from that, or did he change his position on that?

MORGAN: No, he's still on that. But also, I quizzed him quite strongly about this, and he genuinely believes that homosexuality is a choice.

And I said, "Well, you really believe that millions of Americans wake up in their late teens and decide to be homosexuals?" He said, "Yes." He said, "But I don't make critical remarks about them, I just believe it happens to be a choice."

I asked him about abortion. I said, "Are there any circumstances, if one of your own children was raped, would you expect her to bring up that child?" And he said, "No, my view that is there are no exceptions. I'm completely opposed to any form of abortion."

But again, he said, "But that's my personal choice. That's my opinion. I would respect the right of a family in that position to have an alternative view."

Again, I think it's an interesting position, Wolf. I'm not sure it will sustain a lot of scrutiny when it gets serious.

BLITZER: Because he has said in the past that if it came to the life of the mother being in danger if you didn't have an abortion, he said then it should be left up to the family. He sort of made that, I think, the only exception to abortion. I don't know what he said -- did he say that life of the mother exception might be something he would allow to go through?

MORGAN: He didn't repeat that to me. But he -- it was interesting.

I mean, he's done a lot of flip-flopping, Herman Cain, but he's gotten away with it. I mean, yesterday, I heard his interview with you when you asked him about the situation in Israel, and he quite clearly said to you -- I don't think he was ambiguous at all -- that he felt that if he was president, he would, in that situation, possibly trade Guantanamo Bay inmates, al Qaeda suspects, for an American soldier.

And then, to me, and to others late last night, he said, look, I've changed my mind. I got that wrong. I said, "You made a mistake or?" He said, "No, I misspoke."

So, he sort of gets away with it because he's charming. But I think that the more that he gets put up there now, the more he's going to get scrutinized, the less he's going to be able to just hide behind the cheery demeanor of the pizza guy. BLITZER: He's a very, very likeable man.

All right, Piers. Thanks very much.

MORGAN: He is.

BLITZER: The interview airs later tonight here on CNN, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." I'm going to be watching it, and I hope our viewers will as well.

When we come back, Jeanne Moos.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: CNN's Jeanne Moos joins us now with a look at some creative ways to quit your job.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're mad at management --

JOEY DEFRANCESCO, QUIT JOB: They hated me and I hated them.

MOOS: -- and you want to quit your job as a hotel room service server, imagine sneaking in a brass band and serving this to your boss --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, what is this? Guys, all of you out, right now.

DEFRANCESCO: Jared (ph) I'm here to tell you that I'm quitting.

(MUSIC)

MOOS: Joey DeFrancesco had just finished his last 13-hour day at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. After three- and-a-half years of butting heads with bosses and helping to organize a union --

They treat us like (EXPLETIVE DELETED) here.

MOOS: -- he decided to live his fantasy.

DEFRANCESCO: To tell their boss to shove it, or to push back in this big way.

MOOS: Joey's a member of the What Cheer? band. He used his access code to bring a dozen or so band members through the employee entrance to stake out his boss' office.

And now "Joey Quits" is a YouTube sensation. "Quits like a champion."

Joey says his hotel sources tell him that after the band left, management called police. But no actions has been taken against him. The hotel would only say, "We take the health and satisfaction of our employees very seriously," going on to cite nice things management has done like an "Iron Chef" competition for employees and Housekeeping Week.

The last time we saw a musical resignation was in the movie, "That thing you do."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, "THAT THING YOU DO")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I quit. I quit. I quit, Mr. White.

(END VIDEO CLIP, "THAT THING YOU DO")

MOOS: We've seen a happy resignation presented on a cake, and a spicy "I Quit" when a Taco Bell employee near Buffalo rearranged the letters on the sign. At least he punctuated his expletive with a smiley face.

To those who told Joey, now you'll never get a reference --

DEFRANCESCO: I wasn't going to get a reference anyway. I organized a union, They hate me anyway.

MOOS (on camera): Joey already has a new job, though his new boss doesn't want him to say where, but it's a job where his degree in history could come in handy.

(voice-over): Over at ABC, they labeled Joey's exit the "I Quit Polka." Actually, it's a Serbian song, and now Joey's a hit in Serbia. I guess if he can do it --

DEFRANCESCO: Jared (ph), I'm here to tell you that I'm quitting.

MOOS (on camera): -- CNN, I'm here to tell you that I'm staying.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And we're happy Jeanne Moos is staying, because her unique reports are seen only here on CNN.

Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The news continues next on CNN.