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THE SITUATION ROOM
Joe Biden Leading the Charge; George W. Who?; Spinning their Wheels in the Senate; FBI Investigating JPMorgan; Romney's Business Past under Attack; Advertisers Tipped off by Your Car; "There Are No Comparisons"; Bernie Sanders Interview
Aired May 16, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My mother and father dreamed as much as any rich guy dreams. They don't get us. They don't get who we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Vice President Joe Biden leads the charge as Democrats go after Mitt Romney's record as a business leader and the Republican record on jobs.
After getting a low-key endorsement from George W. Bush Romney goes to great lengths to avoid mentioning the former president's name. Wait until you hear what's going on.
And the House speaker, John Boehner, joins the president for cold-cuts, cold-cuts over at White House for lunch, but he warns that without some big spending cuts, there may be another debt ceiling crisis.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The Obama camp today launched an all-out assault on Mitt Romney's years as a high-powered investment company leader. The vice president, Joe Biden, slammed Romney's business record, saying Bain Capital piled up cash while killing middle-class jobs.
Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is out on the campaign trail in Florida in St. Petersburg right now.
So here's a question. Is Mitt Romney starting to feel the heat? What's going on?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, he is.
At an event here in St. Petersburg, Florida, earlier today, Mitt Romney did not take reporters' questions about his former private investment firm, Bain Capital. In fact, his campaign went out of its way to physically block reporters from asking questions of Romney about Bain. And it was all caught on video. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Standing in front of a mini national debt clock, Mitt Romney left no doubt about his message of the day.
ROMNEY: So if I'm president, I'm actually going to take responsibility and lead and get us on track to have a balanced budget.
ACOSTA: And after the event was over as Romney was shaking hands with supporters along the rope line, aides to the GOP contender made sure the candidate stayed on topic. This press aide physically stood in the path of reporters trying to make their way to Romney to ask questions.
The campaign even brought in a lone Secret Service agent to keep the press away from Romney, contrary to the agency's policy. A Secret Service spokesman told CNN, "Secret Service does not restrict the movement of the press into general public areas or their movement within these areas."
Hours later, the Romney campaign admitted its mistake, saying in its own statement: "This was an error on the part of the campaign staff and volunteers. We have reminded them that press is allowed on the rope line to record the governor's interactions with voters."
The altercation with the media came just hours before Vice President Joe Biden blasted the GOP contender for his time at the private investment firm Bain Capital.
BIDEN: He thinks that experience is going to help our economy? Let's take a look. Look, with these guys, past is prologue.
ACOSTA: All week, the Obama reelection team has tried to shift the focus of the race to Bain with an ad that portrayed Romney's former firm as a monster, bleeding a Kansas City steel plant out of millions of dollars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.
ACOSTA: The Romney campaign has released its own web video showing a steel plant prospering after Bain's help.
But Romney has said little in defense of his ex-company.
QUESTION: Governor, what do you have say to the vice president's thoughts on Bain?
ACOSTA: He did not answer a shouted question from CNN on the subject. Last week at a speech in Michigan, Romney did not mention Bain by name, but he did say he wanted to translate his private sector experience there to the Oval Office.
ROMNEY: Finding solutions and opportunities in an environment of change and turbulence is what I learned during my career. And it's something I want desperately to bring to the presidency.
ACOSTA: The Romney campaign says the president is just playing the politics of envy, a line that Biden said in Ohio he took personally.
BIDEN: My mother and father dreamed as much as any rich guy dreams.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BIDEN: They don't get us. They don't get who we are.
ACOSTA: Now, Romney did try to patch things up with reporters. He went back on his press charter to talk to reporters about that rope line incident. He said the incident was not his doing, but, Wolf, he was watching.
BLITZER: He clearly was.
And you -- I have been through these campaigns over the years on many occasions. And is it simply a case of that young press aide being overzealous or someone instructing her, don't let Jim Acosta, the other reporters get anywhere near that rope line?
ACOSTA: Well, I got to tell you, Wolf, we did not get an answer to that question. And it's a curious situation that is going on with the Romney campaign right now because obviously reporters want to get inside that public area and get to that rope line and ask those questions.
And in the past, Mitt Romney has taken questions from reporters along that rope line. Just recently, he was asked whether or not he would have taken out Osama bin Laden. And on a rope line, he said, hey, even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.
So there have been times when Mitt Romney has taken those questions, has responded to those questions on the rope line, but clearly the campaign did not want to do that today. It can only be speculated that perhaps it was because of this offensive from the Obama campaign on Bain Capital that they just did not want to deal with that question today, Wolf, but the Romney campaign isn't saying either way.
BLITZER: Yes. At least they had the wisdom to admit a mistake and now we can move on and reporters can do their own job. And...
ACOSTA: It doesn't happen often.
ACOSTA: That's right.
BLITZER: But they admitted their mistake, which is the right thing to do. We all make mistakes, obviously. Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
Gloria, why all of a sudden Bain Capital resurfacing as such a big issue right now?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is a time of definition.
And as you know, Wolf, voters in this country know an awful lot about President Obama, but at this point they really don't know an awful lot about Mitt Romney. So what the Obama campaign is trying to do is fill in some of those blanks, but there's something that worries the Obama campaign.
Let's take a look at this number from "USA Today" and Gallup. The question was, which candidate would get the economy working over the next four years? You see Romney 55, Obama 46. So that's not good news for the president. So they need to discredit Mitt Romney as the economic manager.
But this is what the Obama folks have working for them. Take a look at this. Who is more in touch with the middle class? And you see Obama wins handily there, 51-33. So what's the best way to debunk the idea that Mitt Romney can manage the economy and solidify your own credential as being in touch with the middle class?
Bain Capital. It's perfect. They say he doesn't understand real people and look at what he did, look at these people that were laid off. Barack Obama can do a better job and did do a better job.
BLITZER: Romney did explain the closing of that Kansas City steel plant by Bain Capital. And he said this today. I will play the clip for our viewers.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ROMNEY: The problem, of course, is that the steel factory closed down two years after I left Bain Capital. I was no longer there. So that is hardly something which is on my watch. And of course they also don't mention a couple of other things.
One is that we were able to help create over 100,000 jobs. Oh, and, by the way, he has no problem going out and doing fund-raisers with Bain Capital and private equity people.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: Here's the question, though. Will the Romney campaign and the candidate himself have to do more to explain the Bain Capital experience?
BORGER: Yes. I think you do, and you started to hear that in this radio interview with Mitt Romney, say, by the way, you want to turn this into a character issue about me? How can Barack Obama complain about Bain Capital, yet he's taking their money at fund- raisers? And, by the way, I did create or help to create 100,000 jobs.
But here's what they're also doing. They decided to take a turn. And they're taking a turn to the deficit, because all the polling shows that over 60 percent of the American public believes that President Obama has not done a good job managing the deficit. So we see this orchestrated response.
We see it from the Republican National Committee, from congressional Republicans, the House speaker, John Boehner, and from Mitt Romney talking about the deficit , how you have to get that down and how Mitt Romney can manage the deficit and the economy better than President Obama.
BLITZER: Yes, because Romney's got a story he could tell about Bain Capital, the thousands of jobs that were created, Sports Authority or Staples or Domino's Pizza. He could do a better job.
This is an issue we're going to discuss in our "Strategy Session" as well.
BORGER: He did that during the primaries, and it worked. But those were Republicans, so...
BLITZER: Yes. Gloria, thank you.
Debt ceiling deja vu -- the White House and congressional Republicans squaring off over once again raising the government's borrowing limit. This time, the stakes are even higher. Can you believe it?
And Romney picks up new supporters. The independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is not one of them. He's here to tell us why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I think you have in a candidate like Romney somebody is George Bush reincarnated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: President Obama today hosted a rare bipartisan meeting with House and Senate leaders. That doesn't mean there was a bipartisan spirit, but the president says that, despite the current gridlock, he wants Congress to get to work on his economic to-do list.
Republican leaders have their own views on this.
Let's go to our White House correspondent Brianna Keilar. She's standing by live. Brianna, so what happened? What do we know about today's meeting over there?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what the president wanted was a meeting about his congressional to-do list as he tries to run against a do-nothing Congress.
But a lot of the focus on this meeting was hijacked by Speaker Boehner yesterday really drawing a line in the sand, and saying that when the debt ceiling comes time to be increased, which should be sometime around the new year, he won't accept tax increases. He wants spending cuts and tax reform, but he won't accept tax increases.
Of course, that goes very much counter to what the president's position on this has been. And so you see really a debt ceiling battle 2.0 being teed up. Today, during this meeting, according to the White House, President Obama said he doesn't want a replay of last summer, where you will remember that the U.S. really went to the brink of default.
But on the flip side, you're hearing from the speaker's office that the speaker was trying to communicate that he's not going to go along with anything unless it really deals with the debt crisis.
Here's White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My sense is that the tone was congenial, the discussion was productive, the sandwiches were delicious, and that while the topic was raised and discussed, it was -- there was no other issue associated with -- no problem associated with Speaker Boehner's remarks yesterday.
REPORTER: We had again to another one of the --
CARNEY: I think you have to ask the speaker of the House whether or not he intends or he believes that it is the right thing to do for the American people, the American economy to play chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now, Wolf, an aide to Speaker Boehner said that President Obama said that he would not go along with any spending cuts in order to increase the debt ceiling. But then we heard something different from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who said that the president was trying to talk about balance, meaning compromise, maybe some tax increases, as well as some spending cuts. So we're getting differing versions of sort of what was discussed at the meeting.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And the speaker did leave one opening there, Brianna, that I noticed. He says he's not going to accept any tax rate increases, but he did say there could be tax revenue from tax reform, eliminating some loopholes, for example, having some major tax reform that's one area that they may be able to get to some sort of agreement. It was six, seven months and not such a long time and it was a tough time during the lame duck session after the November election.
Thanks very much, Brianna Keilar, at the White House.
Over in the U.S. Senate, they've been spending the day spinning their wheels in heated debates. Let's take a closer look right now inside the Senate chamber where they're voting right now on five different budget plans, none of which have a chance of passing.
Our senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash is watching all of this unfold.
Dana, one more reason o f what is widely described as a broken Congress?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It sure looks that way, Wolf. The Senate actually is going to spend the next hour and a half on these votes and the votes which are really being put up for one reason and one reason only, to give each side political ammunition to use against the other.
Now, it's probably the first time she's so-called show vote have taken place. But without a lot of real accomplishments to go along with their politicking, it's no wonder voters are fed up.
BASH (voice-over): Here's how the Democratic leader described the day in the world's greatest deliberative body.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: We'll vote on the series of stunt budgets.
BASH: Here's the Republican leader.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: So, if you're looking for a simple three-word description of the Democratic approach to the problems we face is this: duck and cover.
BASH: Again, the Democrat.
REID: They don't mind wasting a day of the Senate's time of useless, political show votes.
BASH: And the Republican.
MCCONNELL: Is anybody over there embarrassed by the fact that they haven't offered a budget in three years.
BASH: For six straight hours, senators argued, knowing full well none of the five budgets before them had any chance of passing. It was Republicans who forced the issue, to make the political point that Democrats have not passed a budget in three years.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: The Democratic majority refuses steadfastly, adamantly to produce and lay out their vision for the future while investing considerable amount of time and effort in attacking anybody who does.
BASH: All of this raises a big question with extreme joblessness atop voters' minds, can Republicans really score for not passing a budget?
GOP sources say yes since several Democrats promise to balance budgets.
SEN. JON TESTER (D), MONTANA: I'll fight for better schools, affordable health care, lower taxes and a balanced budget.
BASH: To embarrass the president, Republicans are forcing a vote on his budget, which Democrats won't support.
As for Democrats, they use this political theater to stage protests against conservative plans.
SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Their proposals would take us back to the failed policies that brought this country to the brink of economic collapse.
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Today's folks are nothing more than a Republican attempt to promote a radical and unwelcome agenda of slashing middle class programs.
BASH: The day's antics put on display what makes many Americans so angry, divided, politicized Washington talking past each other.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Congress has an approval rating of 11 percent. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that we aren't doing our job.
BASH: Right outside the capital, a glimmer of hope, lawmakers announced the new bipartisan Fix Congress Now caucus.
REP. SCOTT RIGELL (R), VIRGINIA: The level of dysfunction actually threatens the very foundation of our republic.
BASH: Unfortunately, only six showed up.
BASH: The leading proposal of that new Fix Congress Caucus is to hit law makers where it hurts, their wallets. Their proposal is to say that members would not get paid unless they do their jobs, specifically passing budgets.
But, Wolf, don't hold on anything like that getting through. When some things that members largely agree on both sides of the aisle are tied up in political knots, things like Violence Against Women Act and, of course, the idea that student loans should not go up.
BLITZER: Dana, thanks very much.
We should note that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island is a Democrat, not a Republican, as we erroneously put up there on the bottom of the screen.
Government regulations on Wall Street -- one lawmaker says it's the other way around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: The real truth is that Wall Street regulates the Congress. They are enormously powerful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're going to talk about that and much more with the independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And details of a potential harmful ingredient found in dozens of sunscreens.
BLITZER: An attack leaves United Nations worker stranded in Syria.
Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Lisa, what do you have?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
Well, a convoy carrying six U.N. observers struck an explosive device yesterday. No one was hurt, but all three vehicles in the convoy were damaged. The observers were stranded overnight, but returned safely to the city of Hama today. Meanwhile, opposition activists report widespread violence in many parts of the country today that left at least 15 people dead.
The FBI has officially started an investigation of JPMorgan Chase. It's looking into revelations by the largest U.S. bank of a $2 billion loss on risky investments like the kind that led to the financial crisis of 2008. FBI Director Robert Mueller won't give details about the probe or what kind of potential crimes may be involved.
And the Sketchers footwear company is paying the government $40 million to settle charges of misleading consumers about its shape-ups shoes. The ad implies that just by wearing them, that you, too, can look like Kim Kardashian.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM KARDASHIAN: Things aren't working out. That's not completely true. I am working out. It's not someone else, it's something else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SYLVESTER: It doesn't exactly work that way. You still have to go to the gym.
Well, most of the $40 million will go back to consumers. So, grab a pen. The FTC has set up a phone number for consumers to get more information. That number is 866-325-4186, 866-325-4186.
And a new concern about potentially harmful ingredients in sunscreen. A study by the Environmental Working Group says 56 percent of them contain oxybenzone, which some experts believe is linked to cell damage that could lead to skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology says oxybenzone is safe -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I'll go with the American Academy of Dermatology, they sound more reliable. I don't know about you, but that's just my gut.
My conversation with a very fired up Senator Bernie Sanders is coming up next. He's had enough with banks too big to fail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: These guys have learned nothing. We need to re- regulate and in my view, Wolf, we need to stop breaking up these huge banks.
BLITZER: A week after the nation's largest bank disclosed a $2 billion trading loss, the director of the FBI now says its agency has indeed opened an investigation into JPMorgan Chase. The outrage is still growing out there on Capitol Hill.
BLITZER: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM. Senator Sanders, always good to have you here.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Good to be here.
BLITZER: When you heard that JPMorgan Chase lost $2 billion in this one bet, what was the first thing that went through your mind because I've been reading some of your statements?
SANDERS: What went through my mind is these guys have learned absolutely nothing, same old, same old and it scares me in terms of the future and the fact --
Look, if these guys are continuing doing reckless debts, which is got us to where we are right now, which forced the American people to bail out Wall Street, which led to this terrible recession with so many people.
It tells me that these guys have learned nothing and we need to reregulate and in my view, Wolf, we need to start breaking up these huge banks, which control so much of our economy.
BLITZER: How do you do that? You need legislation in order to do that.
SANDERS: Of course, you need legislation. If you point out that Wall Street is enormously powerful with their campaign contributions and lobbying, you're right.
Think back in American history, you know, Teddy Roosevelt did it. What Teddy Roosevelt said these guys are too big. We have to break them up.
Right now, you have six financial institutions that have assets equivalent to two thirds of the GDP of the United States, over $9 trillion, six banks. In my view and I think in most people's views that's too big.
BLITZER: Because JPMorgan Chase says the $2 billion they lost yes, it's a lot of money, but in the scheme of things, they're still going to make billions and billions of dollars in profits this year.
SANDERS: Well, in the great scheme of things. Well, I think what worries the American people is we need financial institutions to be investing in the productive economy, to be helping out businesses expand jobs, produce products and services. And not being part of the great gambling casino that Wall Street is right now. That's what scares the American people.
BLITZER: I know you're concerned that Jamie Dimon, the chairman/CEO of JPMorgan Chase is on the board of the Federal Reserve in New York. Why does that concern you? Don't they need experts on the board of the Federal Reserve?
SANDERS: No. The theory is -- of course, they need experts, but the conflicts of interest are so apparent that they're laughable.
Here you have the fed, which is supposed to regulate Wall Street and then you have the CEO of the largest Wall Street company on the board, which is supposed to be regulated.
This is the fox guarding the henhouse. We are going introduce legislation to end the conflict of interest and get the financial institutions off of the fed.
BLITZER: Because as you realize, I'm sure you agree, until now Jamie Dimon has had a sterling reputation as one of the most brilliant guys on Wall Street.
SANDERS: It is not Jamie Dimon. It is the absurdity of having those people who are supposed to be regulating doing the regulating. They're supposed to be regulating and not sitting on board of the fed.
BLITZER: Monday night, President Obama went to a fundraiser with a whole bunch of big Wall Street guys to raise money for his campaign. He said this. I'll put it up on the screen. He said, "I believe that the free market is the greatest wealth generator ever devised by man and it's at the core of who we are. I think risk takers and innovators should be rewarded. I think all of us benefit from the freedom of free enterprise."
That's obviously the message these Wall Street guys want to hear from the president of the United States. Are you OK with that?
SANDERS: No. I'm not because you have six financial institutions that control the financial industry. That is not free market. That is not competition.
Second of all, these six financial institutions issue half of the mortgages in America and two-thirds of the credit cards. Does that sound to you like a competitive free market situation?
It is not. It is monopolistic and unless you get a handle on that, two things might happen, number one, we'll be back for too big to fail and the need for taxpayers to bail them out. Second of all, it is not good for the economy and the political system when so few institutions have so much power.
BLITZER: Some have criticized the president for being hypocritical. On the one hand, campaigning against Mitt Romney and his period of Bain Capital when he was a venture capitalist, but then going to a fundraiser including guys from Bain Capital seeking money for his re- election.
SANDERS: So what else is new? I mean, Wall Street will fund the Romney campaign. They'll fund the Obama campaign and they'll fund Republicans and Democrats. That's what they do.
You know, I think many people have the mistaken impression that Congress regulates Wall Street. In truth that's not the case. The real truth is that Wall Street regulates the Congress.
They are enormously powerful and it remains to be seen whether we have the capability without an uprising of the American people to say enough is enough.
BLITZER: But Congress did pass Dodd-Frank. Congress did pass Sarbanes-Oxley. These are regulations.
SANDERS: Absolutely, but also, let's remember Wall Street spent huge amounts of money to get the deregulation, which brought us to the financial collapse, doing away with Glass Steagall.
Wall Street has put huge amounts of money in campaign contributions and lobbying in order to weaken the already kind of modest proposals within Dodd Frank.
BLITZER: Last time we spoke, your endorsement of the president is lukewarm. How are you doing about that right now?
SANDERS: Well, I think you have in a candidate like Romney, somebody who is George Bush reincarnated. It's the same old tax breaks for the rich and cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, unfettered free trade.
So if people liked the Bush economic policy, you're going to like Romney. I thought the Bush economic policy was a disaster. We lost 500,000 private sector jobs during his tenure.
So I think Obama is by far the preferable candidate. Is Obama doing everything I want, absolutely not, and among other things he has not been as strong as he should standing up to Wall Street.
BLITZER: Senator Sanders, good to have you here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for coming in.
SANDERS: My pleasure.
BLITZER: Here's a question, is Bush a four-letter word for Mitt Romney?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was very critical of his predecessor because the predecessor put together $4 trillion of debt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So here's the question why won't the man who wants to be the next president of the United States and he wants to be a Republican president of the United States say the name of the last Republican president? That and more coming up in our "Strategy Session."
And billboards, customized for you, tipped off by your own car. We're going show you the amazing new technology that could make it a reality.
BLITZER: Let's get right to our "Strategy Session." Joining us CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona along with the Republican strategist, the former Santorum and Bachmann spokeswoman, Alice Stewart.
Guys, thanks very much for coming in. I'm going to play two campaign commercials, two ads going after Mitt Romney and his tenure at Bain Capital. Watch these two different ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A group of corporate raiders by Mitt Romney, more ruthless than Wall Street. For tens of thousands of Americans, the suffering began when Mitt Romney came to town. Bain was making billions at the same time contributing to the greatest American job loss since World War II, and --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those guys are all rich and they had more money than they'll ever spend yet they didn't have the money to take care of the very people that made money for them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain Capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this plant. We view Mitt Romney as a job destroyer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, Alice, do you have any idea which campaign did the first ad and which campaign did the second ad?
ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's pretty clear. One thing's for sure, the second ad by the Obama campaign was extremely misleading and ill timed and shows that he's certainly desperate.
They're talking about a situation that happened two years after Governor Romney was at Bain Capital and also shows that's he's desperate --
BLITZER: What about the first ad that was done by Newt Gingrich and his campaign?
STEWART: These attacks are certainly not very appropriate going after a private enterprise. In the case of President Obama, he's going after private enterprise on the very same day that he's going hand in hand to a private equity firm to raise funds.
And certainly it's inappropriate for him to go after Governor Romney for something that happened after he was there, but it goes to show he's desperate. He's down the polls. You have to scroll across the screen that he's tied -- this is a desperation.
BLITZER: Alice, I want to bring Maria in, but what I hear you saying is it was a desperate act by Newt Gingrich and a desperate act by Barack Obama. Equally desperate, is that what you're saying? Alice?
STEWART: I'm sorry. I thought you were talking to Maria. Certainly not, what we're focusing on now, we're focusing on the attack that came by President Obama and it goes to show that he doesn't want to look at his record.
He wants to focus on something that happened after Governor Romney was there and it's hypocritical for him to attack private enterprise and he's down in the polls.
We're seeing poll after poll in battleground states for people extremely disapproving of his performance on economic issues and it's a strong suit for Governor Romney.
BLITZER: Maria, you heard Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats basically say it is hypocritical for the president to go after Mitt Romney on Bain Capital and then go for a Wall Street fundraiser with representatives from Bain Capital right there and hold out his hat for money.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, first of all, President Obama is not attacking free enterprise. What he is doing is putting on trial Mitt Romney's contention that because he was so successful at Bain Capital that makes him best to be the steward of our economy.
When, in fact, what he did at Bain Capital was not create jobs. That was incidental, by the way. He created a lot of jobs in Asia, China and Mexico when he shut those businesses and the jobs went overseas. He also made those businesses pile on debt and he walk withed away with millions. So the jobs that he created were incidental.
BLITZER: What about the jobs, the hundreds of thousands of jobs that exist today because of some of the companies that Bain Capital initially funded like Staples or Sports Authority or Dominos Pizza. What about those companies that employ middle-class folks and those jobs are in the United States?
CARDONA: Sure. Well, first of all, Wolf, that claim has actually been debunked. It wasn't hundreds of thousands of jobs and Steve Ratner even said --
BLITZER: There are 90,000 people who work at Staples across the country and indeed around the world right now.
CARDONA: But that was not when Mitt Romney was at Bain Capital. So what I'm saying is --
BLITZER: That company exists in part because of the initial work that Bain Capital did to help them get off the ground.
CARDONA: And what I'm saying is that that job creation for someone like Mitt Romney at Bain Capital is incidental because their main priority is not to create jobs.
Their main priority is to make money for themselves and for their investors and they were very good at that. The fact of the matter is they were not voting for a rich guy in chief and a rich guy who wants to get their friends made richer.
We are voting for somebody who is working out for the middle class and they want to grow the economy, create jobs and make America competitive. That is not what Mitt Romney did at Bain Capital as his number one priority. That was to make money.
STEWART: Real quickly, first of all, we all know that Governor Romney is strong on the economy. He created jobs, thousands and thousands of jobs and was led when it comes to as his time in governor.
Talking about jobs, let's look at the 23 million Americans who are currently out of work. The median household income that has gone down $4,000 per home, I mean, the person with the weakest record on job creation in this race right now is President Obama. They continue to create jobs.
CARDONA: When Mitt Romney was governor, he was number 47th. His state was 47th in job creation and that is not a record you want to tout. This president has created 4.25 million jobs for the American people.
STEWART: And 23 million are out of work currently.
CARDONA: Thanks to the Bush economics, which Romney embraces.
BLITZER: Here's something curious that we heard today and Alice, I want to see if it sounds as curious to you as it did to a lot of us. Here is Mitt Romney earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was very critical of his predecessor for the debts the predecessor put in place. He was critical of his predecessor because the predecessor put together $4 trillion and called his predecessor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The predecessor, President George W. Bush. Why can't he simply mention former President George W. Bush, Alice, by name?
STEWART: I don't understand what difference it makes. He's happy to have the endorsement of George W. Bush and the Bush family. I don't understand what difference it makes.
What is striking is here we have four years after Obama's been in office and we have the president still blaming his predecessor for the terrible economy,
And they did the same thing, blaming Obama's predecessor for the weak economy when Obama has no one, but himself to blame. His policies, President Obama's policies have failed to make it to the American people.
BLITZER: Maria, go ahead, quickly.
CARDONA: I don't think voters are going to blame President Obama when the day he took office there were 800,000 jobs that were being lost and that was thanks to the Bush economic policies and that's why he doesn't want to say Bush's name by name.
BLITZER: All right, guys, we'll continue this conversation. Thanks to both of you.
It's touted for keeping you safe on the road and directing you to your destination, but will it start directing advertisements right toward you? Stand by.
How Facebook will soon help the state of California earn billions of dollars in revenue.
BLITZER: Millions of drivers are lining up for safety for the security on the road, but the Onstar System may soon be giving them more than that. We're talking about targeted ads.
CNN's Lisa Sylvester is here. She has details. So what is this all about, Lisa?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, so advertisers can change your driving experience. This is an idea that Onstar owned by GM is looking at. It started in the early stages, but how about billboards on the road tailored to you.
SYLVESTER (voice-over): Imagine a road where you're driving and the billboard ads you pass are tailored specifically to you. You like coffee? A Starbucks up ahead. Traveling with kids? There's a bathroom rest stop coming up.
Father's day is almost here, need a reminder? It might sound like the future like the movie "Minority Report," but Onstar has applied for a patent that could make targeted ads like these a reality.
RYAN SINGEL, WIRED MAGAZINE: A lot of efforts in Silicon Valley trying to find this pool this information and advertisers are willing to pay good money to know their ad is going to the right person.
SYLVESTER (on camera): Public ads targeting individual consumers is actually a growing trend. Take, for example, Facebook. Here's my Facebook page and you can see here I'm a mother of two and the ads that pop up, here's one for baby gifts and gear and another one for suave beauty.
But all of this does raise a concern about privacy. A lot of information could be collected on where you shop, eat and vacation. Santa Clara Law Professor Dorothy Glancy has studied the word advertising.
DOROTHY GLANCY, SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY: People said that it was visual spam. They didn't like the idea of being manipulated inside their cars.
SYLVESTER: Onstar's patent is still very early on. The company, like others routinely files patents to give it the option of developing the technology later on.
But Onstar emphasizes there's no guarantee that will ever happen. Even still the company made clear, if it proceeded it would only use data volunteered by customers in a statement saying, quote, "If a customer were to choose to participate, it would be very clear what the parameters were. Everything we do would be with customer consent and direct opt-in."
But the technology is evolving, changing the way consumers receive information and bringing the future a little closer.
SYLVESTER: Now Onstar says this technology wouldn't be used only for advertising, but it could also be used to let drivers, for example, know about accidents and alert them to bad weather.
But again this is still in the early development stages and Onstar says it would be up to customers to opt in and to choose whether or not they want to use the service.
BLITZER: It's amazing what this new technology can do. It knows everything about us, our whole lives right there. Thanks very much.
Countdown to Facebook's initial public offering and why ripples were spread far beyond the shareholders.
Also, a critical day in the trial of John Edwards and we're closer to learning whether he'll go to prison for corruption.
BLITZER: Facebook is upping the size of its initial public offering this Friday by 25 percent. The company will sell an additional 84 million shares that could bring in $16 billion. Many expect the wealth to spread beyond Facebook. CNN's Dan Simon takes a closer look.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Real estate agents, car dealerships and high-end retailers are hoping for a ripple from the Facebook IPO, but nothing is for certain, that is, unless you're the guy sitting in this chair.
(on camera): Over the next five years the state can expect to get $2.5 billion to $3 billion in tax revenue?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
SIMON (voice-over): That's the California State treasurer, Bill Lockyer whose office is expecting a windfall of money from Facebook millionaires. Money that could end up in industries like construction. He noticed that for every $1 billion allocated the state could produce --
BILL LOCKYER, CALIFORNIA TREASURER: Twenty thousand jobs and these are good jobs in the middle class, solid jobs.
GREG GRETSCH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SIGMA: Clearly, the Facebook IPO is unprecedented and whenever people try to draw comparisons to their IPO they're at a loss because there are no comparisons.
SIMON: It's produced a little bit of IPO mania, web sites like who owns Facebook show individual shareholders expected net worth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing like a big, conspicuous success to drive the next generation in start-ups and that's very good for the valley.
SIMON: Technology executives see the wealth as a broader phenomenon, one that can spawn the next Facebook or technology company.
DAVICK SACKS, CEO, YAMMER: In order for investors to pour money into start-ups there has to be a return and they're going fund the next generation of risky start-ups.
SIMON: Of course, the biggest lottery winner is Mark Zuckerberg himself. How he plans to use his wealth is unknown except that he's signed on to the giving pledge. The Bill Gates-Warren Buffett initiative that encourages billionaires like Zuckerberg to give most of their money to philanthropic causes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His goal is not to get rich with this. His goal is to change the world. That's always been the way he thinks. That continues to be the way he thinks.
SIMON: The thinking here in Silicon Valley is the Facebook IPO is a once in a generation event, destined to change many lives and launch innovative start-ups. Dan Simon, CNN, Menlow Park, California.