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THE SITUATION ROOM
Presidential Race Moves to Florida; Interview With Kentucky Senator Rand Paul; Spending Like There's No Tomorrow; Romney: Gingrich Is "Highly Erratic"; President Obama's Turn In The Spotlight; Search Warrant Needed For GPS Tracking; Justice Kagan Will Hear Health Care Appeals; 15 Dead From Cruise Ship Wreck; Tough New Pressure On Iran
Aired January 23, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S THE SITUATION ROOM: Happening now:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have moved from Romney's pious baloney to Romney's desperate baloney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Desperate baloney, you heard it. Stung by a surging Newt Gingrich and now in a neck-in-neck race with his bitter rival, Mitt Romney launches a blistering attack and Newt Gingrich seems to be saying bring it on.
Senator Rand Paul refusing a pat-down at an airport security checkpoint after setting off an alarm on a body scanner. He's joining us live this hour. He will tell us what happened.
Also, a key U.S. Supreme Court ruling on electronic surveillance. The justices agree that police need a warrant to plant a GPS device on a suspect's car, but they don't agree on why.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
What a day in politics. Mitt Romney is going all out as he goes after Newt Gingrich with a series of very bitter attacks. A new national poll out today may show why. The two rivals are in a statistical tie. The Gallup daily tracking poll shows Romney at 29 percent nationwide, down nine points in just over a week.
Gingrich is at 28 percent. That's double his strength in the last poll a week ago. It's a dead heat just a week and change before the Florida primary.
Let's bring in CNN's Jim Acosta. He's in Tampa and he's watching the battle for Florida.
ROMNEY: It's struggling here. It shouldn't be. Got the best weather around.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Licking his wounds after South Carolina, Mitt Romney has the claws out in Florida.
ROMNEY: We could see an October surprise a day from Newt Gingrich.
ACOSTA: And he's tearing into Newt Gingrich with a vengeance.
NARRATOR: While Florida families lost everything in the housing crisis, Newt Gingrich cashed in.
ACOSTA: The Romney campaign released a new TV ad slamming the big money Gingrich made advising the mortgage giant Freddie Mac, a smart play in one of the hardest-hit states in the housing crisis. Romney called on Gingrich to release documents detailing his work at Freddie, saying they would prove the former speaker was actually lobbying on behalf of the agency, a charge Gingrich denies.
ROMNEY: But if you're working for a company and getting paid for a company through one of your many entities and then you're speaking with congressmen in a way that would help that company, that's lobbying. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.
ACOSTA: Gingrich all but told CNN Romney is lying.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand better why both McCain and Huckabee said he was dishonest.
ACOSTA: A theme he carried into this afternoon event.
GINGRICH: If you have been campaigning for six years and you begin to see it slip away, you get desperate. And when you get desperate, you say almost anything. Now, it used to be pious baloney, but now it's just desperate baloney.
ACOSTA: Winning the Florida is daunting task. With Cuban Americans to the south, Tea Partiers in the middle and evangelicals in the north, the 50-delegate prize is winner take all.
Romney already has a leg up in the battle of the airwaves, spending more than $2 million in the state with a pro-Romney super PAC dishing out over $2 million. Contrast that to Gingrich and his super PAC. They're just getting started, all adding to the drama of tonight's debate that had a Rick Santorum supporter putting it this way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They may have a little thing that says for mature audiences only, because it's going to be a bloodbath.
ACOSTA: At the same event, the rhetoric was getting out of hand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never refer to Obama as President Obama, because legally he is not.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he constantly says that our Constitution is passe. And he totally ignores it, as you know. He does what he darn well pleases. He is an avowed Muslim.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm doing my best to trying to get him out of the government.
BLITZER: Everyone knows the president is not an avowed Muslim, we should point out, Jim Acosta reporting for us right there.
Much more on the world of politics, the presidential contest coming up.
But there's another important story we're following right now.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky set often an alarm at an airport body scanner today, and then had to leave the security checkpoint when he refused a pat-down. Both sides seem to agree on that much, but there's a bit of a history between the senator and the TSA.
And his father, the Republican presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul, is furious about all of this.
Senator Rand Paul is joining us now live from Capitol Hill.
Senator, thanks very much for coming in.
I know you caught a later flight and you just got to Washington. Appreciate the hustle getting to our location up on Capitol Hill. So walk us through, Senator. What happened today when you showed up at the airport?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You know, I have been flying pretty frequently for the past year since I was elected, and really have not had any trouble with the TSA.
Most of the local people have been friendly, if not outright supportive. But, today, I went through the scanner, and it went off, and I just requested that I either show them my leg, which I did, or that I get to go back through the scanner again. But they wouldn't let me go through the scanner. They insisted on a pat-down search.
And I just didn't think that that was appropriate. I thought that, really, when I interviewed Director Pistole of the TSA a couple of months ago, he talked about that we were going to let people go back through the screener so they didn't have to get pat-downs.
But the other thing I learned today is, the screener is not going off because it detects something. The screener is part of a random pat-down process, where people are getting randomly pat-down, but they think the screener is going off because it detected something. And I didn't realize that until today, because the screener goes off one time, and they finally let me go through it an hour later, and then the screener doesn't go off. That's because I must have been part of a random pat-down, but wasn't told that initially.
BLITZER: Because we checked, because you had mentioned that earlier.
We went to the TSA and we asked them, are there now random alerts that simply go off without any evidence that there's a problem? And they issued a statement saying no, because we said, can the TSA trigger the machine to indicate there's an alarm? No. And then the other question was, do the machines have alarms that randomly go off to indicate that there is an object on a person when there is no object on a person? The TSA insists the answer is no.
Who says that there's this random alert?
PAUL: Here's the interesting thing. Two people from the TSA, two separate people -- and I don't want to name their names right at this point. But two separate people told me that there are random bells and whistles going off in the screening process that the local screeners are not aware of, but are part of random pat-downs.
They admit that there are random pat-downs, but I believe the random pat-downs are coming from the machine. Otherwise, we have got machines that just aren't very good, because why are they setting off a signal one time and then not setting off the signal the next time?
So it tells me that either the machines are inadequate or they're not telling us the whole story. But my understanding from two different TSA agents is that, yes, there are random bells going off in the screening machines that don't indicate something on your body, but indicate you have been selected for a random pat-down.
BLITZER: I want to show our viewers, Senator, some video of exactly what happens at these body image scanners. You see people waiting in line over there. And then, as they go through, they obviously have to raise their hands and they have to stay still for a few seconds.
And we will continue showing the video. But what's the big deal, Senator, about then going through a pat-down, letting somebody touch the back of your leg to make sure there's nothing there?
PAUL: I think that, you know, we have seen a lot of instances of very invasive searches, an 88-year-old woman being asked to take an adult diaper off, terminally ill people being put through invasive body searches, 6-year-old girls having TSA agents put their hands inside their pants, 8-month-old babies having their diapers taken off.
I say, is it too much to ask to have a little dignity when you travel, and shouldn't an adult be allowed to get back in line and go through the scanner? I think that's not too much to ask. And I think we have gone overboard.
I don't feel more safe. I feel that our dignity is being compromised, but I don't feel more safe. I would rather see selective risk assessments done on people who are international travel, people who have ties to groups that may be terrorists. But the regular, ordinary citizens don't need to be put through this, particularly the frequent travelers.
BLITZER: I remember -- and we have the clip -- when you were questioning the head of the TSA in a Senate Homeland Security Committee Aviation Security Subcommittee back in November. I'm going to play a little clip of what you said then. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Well, 99.9 percent of us are not terrorists. Let us go back to the machine rather than get a pat-down. You will get rid of a lot of the anger and animosity towards the TSA and towards what you're doing, and give us a little more dignity when we travel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Obviously, this has been on your mind for a long time. This is not a new occurrence that just came out of the blue today.
PAUL: Well, I spoke with secretary -- or Director Pistole today. And I asked him for a couple of things.
One, let adults go back through the scanner if they choose to do that, vs. an invasive body search. Or give someone discretion. In the Nashville Airport today, no one had the discretion to say, 'Oh, hello, there. I have seen you four times. I see you come through here every week.'
And I'm not asking for special privileges because of the office I hold. I would expect the same thing for any frequent traveler or any regular person. If Wolf Blitzer came through, Wolf Blitzer, where are you going? I'm going back to CNN in Atlanta. I have to be on the air tonight.
That would probably be enough for me not to have to do a full body pat-down if you wanted to step back through the screener. So I think we ought to use some common sense and not really think that everybody is a terrorist.
BLITZER: What did Mr. Pistole say to you?
PAUL: He indicates that there are a lot of programs that are out there, that they're trying to make it better.
And I don't attribute bad motivation to him. I think he probably is trying. But my point back to him is, after 10 years, why is there not a frequent flyer program? Why is there not a trusted traveler program? Why -- for example, my brother-in-law went to the Air Force Academy and he's on three planes a week.
Why is he still going through invasive searches? Why couldn't he submit to a background check and not have to go through all these invasive searches? I think and would contend that we're wasting time on people who are not the enemy, and, meanwhile, the enemy could be slipping through, because they spent an hour-and-a-half with me. And you know what they did in the end? They let me walk back through the screener, and the screener didn't show anything the second time, which makes me suspicious that they are doing random searches based on artificially allowing the machine to go off.
BLITZER: Yes, I agree with you there. There should be a trusted traveler program in place.
They have six pilot programs -- we did check -- at certain terminals, not at all the terminals, in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.
But I guess the question is what's taking so long to have this done nationwide?
PAUL: The only thing I can imagine is government doesn't do many things very well. But it also might be a reason why that security would have been better had we privatized it and sent it out to private agencies. I would also feel more comfortable giving my private information to a private security firm, because I think they do a little better job with not losing their laptop computers and not letting my information get out on the Web.
So I think, really, privatization would have been a better route to go. There still are some airports that do have private TSA. But President Obama has opposed that and really pushed towards, you know, there being just a government agency and no private security.
BLITZER: I just want to leave you with two statements and we will wrap this up, Senator. This statement from the TSA, they released this after the incident with you today.
"When an irregularity is found during the TSA screening process, it must be resolved prior to allowing a passenger to proceed to the secure area of the airport. Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area in order to ensure the safety of others traveling" -- that statement from the TSA.
And your dad, Congressman Ron Paul, the presidential candidate, he issued this very tough statement. He said -- quote -- "The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe."
That's a very strong statement from your father. Are you ready to go as far as he does?
PAUL: Well, what I would say is that they need the discretion to be allowed -- for example, if they thought something was on my knee and I pulled up my pants leg and showed them my knee, showed them underneath my socks that there was nothing there, and I agreed to go back through the scanner, I think most reasonable people would think, well, that's fairly reasonable. He's not refusing to comply. He just doesn't want to be patted down. He travels every week through the airport and would like just to go back through the scanner.
And I think we either need to get better scanners or admit that we are doing random pat-downs because of false beeps out of the scanner. And that's something I think they need to own up to, because two of them today told me that that is happening.
BLITZER: And I assume you agree with me. No one is blaming the officers, those people who were working at the airport. They're doing their job and they have got their requirements. It's the higher-ups that you're criticizing for not giving them the discretion to deal with, for example, someone like you?
As I have gone through the Nashville Airport for a year, the TSA agents have been nice, kind, supportive, friendly. But they're stuck. They're stuck with -- the gentleman who wouldn't let me go through, it's not his fault, but he has no discretion.
But then he called his manager, who had no discretion, who called his manager, who an hour-and-a-half later, they let me walk back through the screener, and the screener didn't go off this time, which really makes me think the screeners aren't very accurate if they go off one time and then don't go off the next time.
BLITZER: We're going to invite the TSA administrator, John Pistole, to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM and we're going to continue this conversation, because I know, as a frequent flyer myself, there are a lot of frustrations.
And we don't blame the individuals dealing at the airports with security. They're doing their jobs. But there's a lot of frustration out there. And we totally understand what you went through.
Senator, as usual, thanks very much.
PAUL: Thank you.
BLITZER: It's an extraordinary turnaround form Newt Gingrich. How is he doing it? Jack Cafferty getting ready to take a closer look at Newt Gingrich's latest comeback.
And the president will have a huge audience for tomorrow night's State of the Union address. How can he make the most of it? Donna Brazile and Mary Matalin, they are both standing by live for our "Strategy Session."
Plus, today's GPS technology has amazing capabilities but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling puts police on notice.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, Newt Gingrich has risen from the dead for the second time in this rollercoaster ride that's become the Republican nominating battle. With his decisive double-digit win in South Carolina, Gingrich now heads in to Florida a proverbial juggernaut with a full head of steam. South Carolina has the distinction of picking every Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1980, and what Gingrich did there is nothing short of amazing. It's also a bit puzzling.
A piece in "Politico" suggests that the surging Gingrich has mastered the art of both debate and disguise. No question about Gingrich's debate performance, outstanding. In the free media, he gets as a result, they have been key to his success thus far. Last week, his answer about food stamps and his subsequent beating up on the news media helped him win over South Carolina conservatives.
As for the disguise part, Gingrich uses his master debate skills to camouflage his weaknesses as a candidate -- the three wives, leaving the first two while they were ill, his erratic leadership, et cetera.
One ex-wife's claim that Gingrich wanted an opened marriage might have done him in. But in the end, she didn't lay a glove on him. The voters simply yawned.
Mitt Romney has got to be tearing his hair out, it wasn't supposed to be this way, you know? With much less money and a smaller organization, Gingrich is once again threatening to take away Romney's crown once again. A stunning comeback for a candidate who sent off to the political graveyard the first time -- remember last summer? His staff quit when he went on a Mediterranean cruise and reports surfaced of his million dollar line of credit at Tiffany's.
But Gingrich roared back to life in December, shooting to the top of the polls before collapsing ahead of the Iowa caucuses. He just won't go away.
Here's the question: what is the secret to Newt Gingrich's success? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile and post a comment on my blog, or go to our post on THE SITUATION's Facebook page.
Pretty remarkable -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I know you checked. Was it $1 million line of credit or half a million dollar line of credit?
CAFFERTY: I don't know. What's the difference?
BLITZER: I don't know if it really makes that much difference.
BLITZER: We'll check.
CAFFERTY: It's more than I have and I don't shop at Tiffany's.
BLITZER: A half a million, but maybe it was a million.
CAFFERTY: Maybe it was half a million.
BLITZER: I think it was a half a million. All right. Never mind. Thanks, Jack.
The presidential election is shaping up to be the most expensive ever. But who is bankrolling it? Could the outcome be determined by those so-called political action committees that are on steroids, the super PACs?
We're going in-depth this week of the series of reports looking into the super PACs, learning what they are, where their money comes from and how much impact they'll really do have.
Let's bring in our congressional correspondent, Kate Bolduan. She's been doing a lot of reporting on this.
And they -- the bottom line is they're very powerful.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are very powerful. And it's a very tangled web of campaign finance -- of election spending, Wolf. You know that people in groups, supporting both parties, have exploited the complex system that is election spending, for decades. But a landmark Supreme Court ruling two years ago, almost to the day, changed the landscape for money and politics -- and what we're seeing now may only be the beginning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL ADS)
AD NARRATOR: Romney's objective was never a focus on creating jobs.
AD NARRATOR: Newt attacks because he has more baggage than the airlines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN (voice-over): The ads are everywhere. Their source? A new breed of political action committee aptly named the super PAC.
VIVECA NOVAK, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: This is the first presidential election where we're watching these new creatures that can take any amount of money from just about any entity or individual, and spend it any way they want, as long as they're independent of the candidate.
BOLDUAN: And, boy, are they spending. Some $34 million so far in the 2012 race, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. There are almost 300 super PACs currently registered.
(on camera): And much of this explosion can be traced back here to the Supreme Court, with the landmark Citizens United decision two years ago. The justices eased prior restrictions on federal election spending by outside groups allowing corporations, unions and advocacy groups to spend unlimited amounts of cash to influence an election.
TOM GOLDSTEIN, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: Five more conservative members in the majority said -- this is an easy case. This is elections. It's why we have free speech. Therefore, this is constitutionally protected.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): The ruling put corporations and unions on equal footing with individuals who have, in reality, been able to spend their own personal fortunes advocating for campaigns for decades -- for example, Newt Gingrich supporter Sheldon Adelson and billionaire Democratic backer George Soros. Previously, though, those fortunes had to be spent by the individual directly, not through a group like traditional political election committees. While experts dispute the direct impact of the Citizens United decision, they agree it created an environment ripe for historic spending in elections.
GOLDSTEIN: It's always been true in campaigns that money is like water. It will leak around, find the cracks and crevices, it will find ways to evade restrictions. But Citizens United on some level, just blew a hole in the wall and said, you know, come on through. The Constitution gives you this right.
BOLDUAN: Some rules still do apply. Super PACs must disclose their donors and cannot coordinate with a candidate or campaign. But outspoken critics of the ruling call it one of the worst decisions in the court's history.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It's now that the system under which we operate which leads to this kind of campaigning and will lead to corruption and scandals, I guarantee it. When you have that much money washing around campaigns, there will be scandals.
BOLDUAN: Another critic? President Obama himself.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests. Or worse, by foreign entities.
BOLDUAN: But that hasn't stopped his supporters, former White House deputy press secretary, Bill Burton, heads up a super PAC backing the president.
BILL BURTON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: It was my view when I left the White House that the president shouldn't have to go -- shouldn't will left undefended against all these attacks that are coming in from the outside. There's going to be a lot of money in this race, make no mistake.
BOLDUAN: Bottom line: like it or not, huge spending by outside independent groups is the new name of the game in politics and every candidate in this presidential race has close supporters ready to play that game through a super PAC. I mean, the super PACs are outspending the official campaigns, the official candidates, by a large measure. And that's just -- and this is just the beginning, Wolf.
BLITZER: This is just the primaries. Wait until the general election campaign because we ain't seen nothing yet.
BOLDUAN: Couldn't say it better myself.
BLITZER: OK. Thanks very much. Good reporting.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Mitt Romney is all too familiar with bouncing back from political losses. But will a second-place finish in South Carolina be too much to recover from?
Donna Brazile and Mary Matalin are standing by live. Our strategy session is next.
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
Here are some of the stories we're working on for our next hour:
Europe and the United States taking serious new steps to cripple Iran's economy -- but will it work?
And more deadly violence in Syria. CNN's Arwa Damon takes us into the city right at the heart of all the brutality.
Stand by. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Stung by a South Carolina loss to a surging Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney is going on the attack and this time, it's getting personal.
Listen to Mitt Romney slammed Newt Gingrich in Florida today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's gone from pillar to post almost like a pinball machine, from item to item, in a way which is highly erratic and does not suggest a stable, thoughtful course which is normally associated with leadership.
The speaker was very animated about my releasing tax records. I am. I think it's an appropriate observation that people should know if there's going to be an October surprise. And in the case of the speaker, he's got some records which could represent an October surprise. We could see an October surprise a day from Newt Gingrich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Strong words from Mitt Romney.
Let's discuss in our strategy session, joining us, our CNN political contributors, the Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and the Republican strategist Mary Matalin.
Can Romney stop Newt Gingrich's momentum, Mary, going into Florida?
MARY MATALIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, he can. I don't think that's the best approach. It's necessary, but insufficient. Newt doesn't have to answer personal attacks. What is he going to say? I'm reliable. I'm going to debate an October surprise?
Where Romney was making a good hit on Newt was on the attacking the free enterprise and attacking Bain and capitalism and his Fannie and Freddie stuff. So that's what people care about.
But Mitt's problem is less Newt and more about his continued inability to make conservatism independents who are obsessed with fiscal conservatism confident in his message.
He did a much better job Saturday night and yesterday on television, but he's got to do both the right hits on Newt and be more convincing in his conservatism.
BLITZER: Donna, later in the day Newt Gingrich responded to the new and much more assertive Mitt Romney by saying this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been told by a variety of people that Governor Romney has been saying unkind things. I'd prefer, personally, not to believe it
But on the other hand, if you've been campaigning for six years and you begin to see it slip away, you get desperate. And when you get desperate you say almost anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Donna, how should Newt Gingrich respond to this new more forceful Mitt Romney?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I thought that was excellent. Let me just say, I agree with everything that Mary said. Mitt Romney's problem is Mitt Romney. It's the same problem he faced in 2008.
He has to settle on, you know, the Mitt Romney that he wants people to know, like and get to understand. The conservative base, they're looking for a fighter. They're not looking for somebody who will just walk into the arena and waffle one day and not deliver a very strong message.
So the reason why Newt Gingrich is now leading in delegates and he's going to regain some of the momentum he lost over the last couple of weeks is because conservative voters are looking for somebody to get into the arena and do what Newt Gingrich said he would do, which is to deliver the attacks to Barack Obama.
Mitt Romney now has the final message, stick with it and hope to God that Newt Gingrich don't catch fire again tonight in the debate and then, you know, light a fire in Florida.
BLITZER: Guys, stand by. We're going to continue this. We have a lot more to discuss, including some other rhetoric that's going on. Smack dab right in the middle of the heated Republican race for the White House.
President Obama will give his own "State of the Union Address" tomorrow night. What will his message be and how can he leverage the timing to work in his favor? Stand by. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: President Obama takes the spotlight tomorrow night when he delivers his annual "State of the Union Address" before a joint session of Congress.
It's a chance to steal some thunder from the Republican White House hopefuls and to make an impact with Congress and, indeed, the nation.
Our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin is joining us now. Jessica, I know you've been reporting on this. What's going to be thrust of the president's message tomorrow night?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Democratic sources tell me that the president is going to hit hard on the theme you heard from him in his speech in Kansas on income inequality.
Remember, he made the point then that this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and that it's the government's role to ensure that everyone, in his words, gets a fair shake in society.
The way the Democratic aides say that they see that speech, it was his vision for the government's role and this "State of the Union" will be his blueprint for correcting the problems.
And so, some of the specific proposals I'm told to lay out, at least according to the draft of the "State of the Union" include the following.
He will lay out some tax incentives for companies that, quote, "in-source jobs," that's a phrase we've heard him use, meaning bringing them back to the United States if they've been out of the U.S. Propose new incentives that build skills for workers and students through job training here in the U.S.
The idea there is this could help build more manufacturing growth in the U.S. and then, proposed reforming tax rates. Specifically, letting tax cuts -- the Bush tax cuts expire and renewing his call for the Buffett rule.
Remember that means making sure that millionaires pay a higher tax rate than people in the middle class and those are just some of the proposals I'm told are in the current draft of the "State of the Union" -- Wolf. BLITZER: Our coverage will begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night, the "State of the Union" address, always exciting. Thanks very much, Jessica, for that.
Let's bring back our CNN political contributors, Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile and Republican strategist, Mary Matalin. Donna, how political should the president be tomorrow night given the fact that he's running for re-election in this political season?
BRAZILE: Well, most Americans know he's running for re-election. But I would hope the he's not just talk to Congress. Their approval rating is low. I would talk directly to the American people.
I would remind them as Bill Clinton did in 1996, the American dream needs to be a reality for all Americans who are willing to work for it. I would even take a chapter out of President Reagan's book from 1984, another presidential election season where he said, let's prove to the American people that we're Americans first and put aside our party.
So again, I would talk to the hopes and aspirations of the American people and to also signal to our allies that America is strong and America will defend itself. So I think he has a big job tomorrow night and I would go beyond the Hill and directly to the American people.
BLITZER: I know he's not going to mention any of the Republican candidates' names or even get close to anything like that. But should there be some references, Mary, to the differences, the basic bottom line differences that he envisions for the United States as opposed to his Republican challengers?
MATALIN: Well, in tone, it should comport with exactly what Donna said. He is the president and it is the "State of the Union." We all know it's really about the state of his campaign, but without mentioning names, according to Jessica's reporting there, if he's going to talk about income inequality he's going right to the heart of this campaign and these issues.
And the big picture here, which is equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome. What's the role and scope of government? And the programs that Jessica named have been failures. Job training programs, there are 70 of them.
The Buffett rule is worse than a band-aid. The tax policies, we've already won that fight. So he is implicitly, if not directly, going to the heart of the campaign, but he should keep a tone that purports to speak to all Americans.
BLITZER: What we're going to do tomorrow, Donna -- and I wonder if you want to weigh in right now. We're going to take a look at his speech last year, the specific commitments he made and the promises he made and see how he did in terms of delivering a lot of those promises. Bottom line, what do you think. Did he deliver from what he promised a year ago? BRAZILE: As you know, when he delivered that speech, he had -- he had no inclination that the Tea Party would take control of Congress. But, look, I'm not going to get into a -- what I call a -- let's do a fight with the Republicans on Capitol Hill.
The president, as Mary said, he's the president of the United States of America. This is an opportunity to project America's strength and to remind the American people that our best days are ahead and his policies are working.
The economy is turning around. Jobs are coming back and now he has to tell the American people, we're going to make sure that the American dream is available to all of its citizens.
BLITZER: Donna and Mary, guys, thanks very much. You'll be, of course, with us, tomorrow for our special coverage of the president's "State of the Union" address. It all begins tomorrow evening, live here on CNN. Our coverage will begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Today's GPS technology certainly has amazing capabilities, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling puts police unnoticed right now about how they can use that technology.
Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and authority on the Supreme Court, is next.
And CNN's Arwa Damon is inside Syria right now, in fact, at the very epicenter of the latest violence. That's coming up in our next hour.
BLITZER: It's an important ruling by the United States Supreme Court today. If police want to secretly monitor a suspect's movements by planting a GPS device on a car, they need to get a search warrant. The justices ruled unanimously on that, but they don't necessarily agree on all the reasons why.
Our Brian Todd demonstrates the extraordinary power of today's GPS technology.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically the frame of the car, or the truck that we're here with.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I recently tested a GPS tracker on our CNN vehicle with veteran private investigator Mike O'Connell.
(on camera): Now Mike is going to show me just how sophisticated this device is. He's going to track me from his office right up there as I get to the car and drive away. I got Mike on the phone here.
(voice-over): He follows me at every turn while I question him on speakerphone.
(via telephone): How far can you track me on this thing, Mike?
MIKE O'CONNELL, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I can track you throughout the country with this device. Also, if you're to get on some sort of boat or yacht and went to an island, it would continue to track you.
TODD: For how long can you track someone on this device?
O'CONNELL: This device has a life battery for about two weeks until I have to recharge it.
BLITZER: Wow, amazing stuff. Let's bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Jeff, when the constitution was written no one ever imagined GPS technology, but those words in the constitution have to be applied today and the justices did it in this decision?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Unreasonable searches and seizures was the term they used in the 18th Century and now they had to figure out what that means for GPS.
It's very interestingly, unanimously the court agreed you needed a warrant, but the court split 5-4 about why the reasons were. Justice Scalia who wrote the majority opinion for five justices said, this is like trespassing sticking this GPS on the car is like trespassing on someone's property.
Justice Ilito who wrote for the other four justices said no, it's not like trespassing at all. It's that we all have a reasonable expectation of privacy in our cars.
And in order to honor that reasonable expectation of privacy, you need to get a warrant and so that's the division. We can be sure that they'll be returning to this subject again.
BLITZER: Did you just say that two of the conservative justices disagreed on this reasoning?
TOOBIN: Yes, very unusual in that respect. Justice Scalia was with the other conservatives and Justice Sotomayor and the four dissenters, the four conjurers were Justice Ilito who wrote the opinions and three other liberals, Justice Ginsburg, Brier and Kagan. So, you know, usually the lines are reliable, but in a case like this. It wasn't as politically predictable as usual.
BLITZER: So what is this tell us about the makeup of these nine justices?
TOOBIN: Well, it says that in certain issues, there are not the intense political disagreements that we see in cases like citizens united or abortion or affirmative action.
I mean, here in new technology, they'll really all are feeling their way. They're trying to figure out what it means. This is come up in file sharing on the internet. How does that affect copyright?
Those kinds of issues, GPS, they tend not to have the intense political divisions that the others do. They're all trying to figure it out.
BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin is the author of the bestseller "The Nine" about the Supreme Court justices and getting ready for a new bestseller coming out in September "The Oath." We'll discuss that later.
TOOBIN: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: We're all looking forward it to and hope it's as least as good at "The Nine" if not better.
TOOBIN: I hope so.
BLITZER: Brand new video from the wrecked Italian cruise ship that shows many passengers being evacuated. We'll have the latest on the tragedy coming up.
And very powerful storms striking the south. CNN is now on the ground in Alabama with an incredible story of survival. We'll take you there in a moment for a report you don't want to miss.
BLITZER: Brianna Keilar is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now including the latest on that wrecked Italian cruise ship. Briana, what do you have?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, some more grim news from that wrecked ship. Two more bodies have been recovered from the Costa Concordia bringing the confirmed number of victims to 15.
And 17 people are still missing. Rescue workers are also pumping fuel from the ship to minimize any environmental damage and removing that fuel will take about a month.
It looks like Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will take part in a major health care ruling after all. The other, eight justices have turned aside a motion from a group that wanted Kagan to recuse herself from the late-March oral arguments.
The ruling will decide the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. Kagan was solicitor general in the Obama administration when the law was enacted.
And comedian Tracy Morgan is being treated at a hospital in Utah after falling ill during the Sundance film festival. A representative for the "30 Rock" star says a combination of exhaustion and altitude. The hospital said no drugs were found in Morgan's system. He does suffer from diabetes and he had a kidney transplant in 2010.
BLITZER: The altitude is high and he has serious issues. We hope he has a very speedy recovery.
Jack Cafferty is asking, what ask the secret to Newt Gingrich's success? Your e-mail coming up.
And U.S. allies stepping up the pressure on Iran. Why their bold new action could hit Iran where it hurts. That's coming up right at the top of the hour.
BLITZER: Here's a look at some of this hour's "Hot Shots." Look at these, in Egypt, a riot policeman wipes his brow standing guard outside parliament.
In Germany, a young woman rides bicycle during a sudden heavy snowfall. In India, a soldier looks down the barrel of a rocket launcher during an army exhibition.
In China, a woman lights incense to pray for prosperity and well being on this, the first day of the Chinese New Year. "Hot shots," pictures coming in from around the world.
Jack Cafferty is back with the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: Yes, the first time around you asked about Newt's line of credit at Tiffany's.
BLITZER: What was it? Was it a half million or a million?
CAFFERTY: We did some checking and it's a million dollars. He had a second line of credit at Tiffany's from as much as $1 million, from his campaign so there you go.
The question this hour is -- what's the secret to Newt Gingrich's success? He's lightened it up all of a sudden. Again, Emmet from Mobile, Alabama, the secret to his success is simple.
Unlike the other Republican presidential candidates, he has bothered to learn something about history and about science. His campaign is not based on mindless slogans been on facts. If he's not the GOP's nominee this independent shall hold my nose and vote for Obama.
Bud in Kansas City, Missouri, "Newt's secret is American political amnesia. Anyone that drops off the political radar screen for a few years can be reborn without the burden of the past. No one remembers the erratic, abrasive and wholly unlikable previous Newt. The Democrats will have field day batting at that pinata if Gingrich wins the party's nomination, the GOP is finished."
Gary in Michigan writes, "Gingrich is a modern day snake oil salesmen and there are far too many in the electorate who are willing buy a bottle of Dr. Newt's feel-good potion not understanding that the hangover will be crippling."
Bob in Florida writes Newt is an intelligent man and addresses questions directly and he's probably the best person to look at national and international situations with an ability to see the whole picture. Then make a decision and then use history and his advisers to bring in the correct solution."
Jen in Washington writes, "The secret to his success is that his party doesn't trust Romney to be radical enough and Newt has shown he's as radical as they come. He knows all the right buzz words to use.
He also attacks the media at every debate which the crowd loves and then the next day shows up on every news channel he can get on. And Rick in Virginia, "How the hell do I know why Newt is having success. I'm as baffled as you are."
If you want to read more about this, go to my blog cnn.com/cafferty file or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page. Have you ever had a million dollar line of credit anywhere, Wolf?
BLITZER: No, not at Tiffany's, I don't think so. Let me ask you a quick question. I'm moderating the CNN debate Thursday night in Jacksonville, Florida. You got any advice for me? These final four candidates are going to be up on the stage.
CAFFERTY: You know, that would be like a kid in music class in the second grade. Hell no, you're the master of this stuff. Go get them.
BLITZER: You're way too nice, Jack Cafferty. Thank you.