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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Republicans Backed into a Corner; Alleged Spy Spills Chinese Secrets to U.S.; A Win for Sandusky?
Aired June 15, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the president makes an MVP-like political move that leaves Republicans flat footed. But is it the best policy for our country?
And the United States catches a high-level Chinese spy who was working right under our noses.
And new evidence in the George Zimmerman case. Jailhouse conversations recorded and more.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
OUTFRONT tonight. Backed into a corner. It's an awful noise, whenever you hear it. Love them or not, Republicans are the cats today. That's the sign of the Republicans hissing like an angry cat cornered by the neighborhood dog. Why? The president's order. Allowing immigrants under the age of 30 to stay in this country with two-year work visas. Those visas can be renewed unlimited times.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a temporary stop-gap measure that let's us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. It is the -- it is the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But does it add up? Yes. Resoundingly so. That is when it comes to politics. The order effects, 1.4 million immigrants, or about 12 percent of the illegal immigrants in this country. That's according to the Pew Center. But there is one person it affects more than anyone else. And that person is the president of the United States.
The National Association of Latino Officials estimates that 12 million Latino voters will go to the polls in November. That's 26 percent more than voted in 2008. The president won the Latino vote handily back then. He's had some problems with them in part because of his immigration policy. So this move could help him big time.
And the most pathetic part about the story today is that Republicans, the cats hissing in the corner, only have themselves to blame. They gave the president the upper hand. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And I've said time and time and time again to Congress that send me the Dream Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, well, Republicans have kept the Democrat's version of the Dream Act on hold for a few years. Now, sure, they don't like some parts of it. Like illegal immigrants receiving in- state tuition. But many of them agree with its basic premise. Which is that students who are in this country illegally but not by their own fault shouldn't be deprived of an education and a job and, frankly, that those children, young adults, will end up contributing to this country's growth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The general concept is to use the existing immigration system and to provide for these kids a nonimmigrant visa. To be able to study and work in this country.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there, by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And in April, Republican darling Marco Rubio, who we just saw there, tipped his hat to Latino voters by saying he was working on his own version of the Dream Act. Today, there is still no Rubio bill. And now Republicans are left cats hissing in the corner.
OUTFRONT tonight, Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray of California.
I'm sure, Congressman, you don't love our analogy. When you hear Rick Perry, you hear Marco Rubio talking about what seems to be pretty close to what the president did today, are you frustrated that your party may have handed the president this political victory?
REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: No, I'm frustrated that the president and a lot of other people in Washington won't come down to the border and see what I've seen growing up on the border.
You know, Erin, I grew up with two houses between my childhood home and the Mexican border. And I've seen every time the politicians play games with this and go for votes people get the wrong message down south. And try to come into this country illegally. And I've recovered their bodies. I'm the only member of Congress who have rescued illegals when they're drowning. Recovered their bodies and seen them slaughtered on the highways.
And frankly, this is a game that most people in Washington don't realize the human cost of sending this mixed messages. And if somebody wants to talk about this issue, you're still talking about symptoms of the problem. And the problem is we continue to reward people who are hiring illegals that make -- that entice them to come up. And now the president is saying, if you send your kids up here, if you give your kids to a smuggler and send them to the United States, we will accommodate them. We will give them citizenship, we will give them a job. We will give them an education.
And then we wonder why so many people are dying along the border. And I just ask some of you that are back on the East Coast, come down to the border and talk to those of us that have seen what happens when the politicians play politics with something that ends up costing people's lives down here on the border. Because you're sending a mixed message.
Think about what a young mother in Wahaca thinks about the president saying, I am now officially going to say that if you're under 30 years old, you can be a -- you can get permanent residency and education in the United States. What do you think that young mother is going to think about the future of their children down south or sending them up north with a smuggler?
BURNETT: Look, you make a strong case. But there are -- there are many in your party, including Marco Rubio, including Rick Perry, governor of a border state, who believe that this makes a lot of sense. You heard Rick Perry, you don't have a heart. A lot of these kids came with their parents, and we're not talking about their parents, 5, 4, 3 years old. They're now 20 years old. This president only applies this only to people who aren't convicted of crimes. Who have high school degrees or equivalents. Who have served in the U.S. military.
These are the kinds of people we want here. The Rubio bill would give visas for children of illegal immigrants. Very similar to the metrics I just expressed for Barack Obama. So are you against the concept overall?
BILBRAY: Look, I'm against the concept of not taking care of the problem but, rather, playing politics with it. If you want to take care of the problem, Rubio, I don't care, the president, I don't care, Perry. Let's go to the source. Let's stop rewarding illegal employers who entice the parents of these kids to come across illegally.
Let's -- well, how about the federal government stop giving a tax deduction to the people who hire illegals? How about simple thing like why isn't e-Verify being accepted? Even the president admits it works. And the problem is because it does work. Because they would rather address these symptoms of the much deeper problem --
BURNETT: But the bill has been sitting on the floor for several years that this conversation could have happened. Some of those elements were in the bill that's there. And it wasn't voted on. So that's why he did this today.
BILBRAY: No, no, the -- you know, Erin, the problem is, you're talking about how do we accommodate the illegal immigration before we stop it and control it so then we can address it across the board. But this attitude of we've got to figure out how do we accommodate the problem, but let's not talk about the problem. Because the real source of the problem are big contributors. Very powerful people, very influential process. When, in fact, you're continuing to -- treat the symptoms.
And let me tell you something. You want to see the symptom --
BURNETT: But hold on on one second.
BILBRAY: You come down and see the people that are dead on the border.
BURNETT: Let me --
BILBRAY: That's the real symptoms of the problem.
BURNETT: And I'm sure seeing that is horrific. But obviously there are many more people. I mean there are 11 million, 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. You know, that's much more than you see people on the border. But what about the president's record here? I mean he has a very strong record on being tough on immigration. That's why he scored such political points today.
BILBRAY: Well --
BURNETT: He's deported 30 more people every year than President George W. Bush did. He's deported 400,000 people this year and last year. It was a record last year. He's got drones going on the border. You can't say he hasn't been tough on getting rid of people coming in.
BILBRAY: Erin, I've had immigration officers come into my office and are saying that this administration, this president, is telling them not to enforce the law. That they are in a catch-22, that they have a commander in chief that's telling them to not enforce the law that they've -- they're sworn to enforce.
That's from ICE agents. And all I've got to say is somebody ought to be talking to the men and women who are being required to enforce these policies and their frustration of going in and be -- with a search warrant and only being able to take the people that they are identified but not even been able to ask for identifications for other people that are in safe houses, that are in smugglers' safe houses.
This is the kind of frustration that these agents are getting. And again, it may be fine if you're from Chicago to think that this is OK. It's OK maybe if you're in Florida. But let me tell you something, if you're down on the border and see what's going on, your frustration is Washington would rather try to win votes with this issue than take care of the issue. And try to defend the concept that we're a nation of laws that need to be fairly enforced but need to be enforced. Not ignored.
BURNETT: All right.
BILBRAY: And I think that what you're seeing now is a problem that -- it's a political maneuver that's cynically being implemented.
BURNETT: All right.
BILBRAY: And Erin, if it was so right to be done, why didn't he do it before and why --
BURNETT: Well, because Congress, Republicans and Democrats, you guys wouldn't get together and deal with the Dream Act he had. That's why he did it. And sure he did it for politics but he just scored some big points.
Now thanks very much to Congressman Brian Bilbray.
And OUTFRONT next, so what was Mitt Romney's reaction to the president's announcement? We're going to play it for you and tell you why it could cost him this election.
And there are thousands of spies in America tonight -- spying for China. There are more Chinese spies in this country than there were Russian spies at the height of the Cold War. What are they looking for?
And later, the defense in the Jerry Sandusky case plans a bold move tonight. Our Paul Callan tells us why it doesn't add up.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT. A significant development tonight involving a senior Chinese official accused of spying for Washington. Unnamed sources tell Reuters that the official has been arrested. We don't know if he's in custody. We don't actually even know if he's still alive.
Reuters reports the spy was an aide to a vice minister at the highest level of government in Beijing. Now he's been working for the CIA for years.
Gordon Chang has studied espionage in China and the U.S. for probably just as many years if not more. He's OUTFRONT tonight.
And, Gordon, it's great to see you. So this is -- this is pretty amazing because it's something that apparently has come to the president of China, Hu Jintao, is upset about this, aware of this. I mean, this was a guy who was a deputy for one of his key vice ministers. How important of a spy was this for the U.S.?
GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, FORBES.COM: You know, very important. And the reason we know that was the guy got caught. And he got caught because he gave us so much information. So many Chinese rings were compromised. Agents were taken off the line. And so essentially they knew that they had a mole high up in Beijing and that's the reason why we know this guy was significant.
BURNETT: And so what sorts of -- kinds of information would he have known? I mean he was in a security part of the government. So what are the kinds of -- you know, just, other than the identities of Chinese spies in the U.S.? What other kinds of information could he have been feeding us?
CHANG: We really don't know at this point. But it's probably all terms of espionage activities in the U.S. And that's a really very broad category because they've got something called grains of sand which means they're not only using their spies, but they're also using tourists, visitors, journalists, students in the U.S. They take all this information. They bring it back to Beijing. And they collate it there. And they get a good picture of us because there's so many different sources they're using.
BURNETT: So this is a shocking number that you had. And I think viewers are going to be shocked, too. That you're saying there's more -- people spying for China in the United States now than there were Russian spies in the U.S. at the height of the Cold War?
CHANG: I think so. And essentially, U.S. law enforcement officials have publicly said that China's espionage efforts are more extensive than those of any other country. And I'm sure that the country in second place, which is undoubtedly Russia, is so far behind. You know, so really what we have --
BURNETT: And of course they have the sexy spies and all that, but those spies --
CHANG: Oh, Chapman. Yes.
BURNETT: Anna Chapman.
CHANG: Yes, right.
BURNETT: Right. But they seem to be, you know.
CHANG: Yes, they --
BURNETT: They seem to be happy to live in the U.S., they don't seem to be really spying.
CHANG: Right. You know, I think that with regard to China, it is very important -- narrative here, I think, is that Beijing is losing control of some of its officials. Because the country is fraying. And these officials want to build bridges to the U.S. and so the way to do that is to work for us. And as China continues to show signs of problem --
CHANG: You know, we saw this guy, Chongqing police chief, in February, tries to defect to the U.S. I think that that's a leading indicator. BURNETT: Of what's going on -- there's an amazing study up this week in a Hong Kong magazine. Ninety-one percent of the people who are serving in the Chinese Central Communist Party have family members living overseas.
CHANG: You know --
BURNETT: I mean, I always try to say, well, why would you spy for another country? I mean, maybe if you have --
BURNETT: Family members, children, going to school in the U.S., living in the U.S., and you're somehow more sympathetic?
CHANG: Well, I think so. You know you go down to Princeton. You see the perfect American family. There's the wife. The kids. Beautiful home. No mortgage. Two Mercedes. No car loans. It's a perfect American family. The only thing that's missing is dad because dad is an official in Beijing and he's probably trying to steal a lot of money. So, you know, when the time comes, you know, who is that guy going to be loyal to? Is he going to be loyal to China? Probably not. He's going to be loyal to the place where his family is.
BURNETT: Wow. It's pretty -- that's pretty amazing. Thanks very much to Gordon Chang.
And still OUTFRONT, a win in court for Jerry Sandusky. Today's ruling could be a major boost for the defense.
And later, defense contractors claim -- get ready for this -- they're going to be forced to lay off hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Americans, maybe even a million American, the Friday before the presidential election. They say those two things are completely unrelated. We said does that add up? And we did the math.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT. A win for Jerry Sandusky's defense team today. The judge ruling that he's allowing testimony about a psychiatric condition that the defense says explains Sandusky's behavior. Including writing so-called love letters to his accusers. And it may mean Sandusky will take the stand. According to our Paul Callan. He's OUTFRONT tonight.
All right, Paul, first of all, let's start with the ruling here is histrionic personality disorder. That there -- that the judge is going to allow experts to come in on that. You're pretty surprised that this was allowed.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I am surprised because this is not an insanity defense. He's not saying, I have HPD and therefore I can't commit this crime. The judge is saying, well, I'm going to allow him to use it to explain some of his odd behavior. What experts would call the grooming behavior. As he gets these kids ready and he sends them letters. They -- experts will say that's classic sexual predator grooming behavior. They're going to say no, no, no, he has HPD and this is -- he likes to be -- draw attention to himself and act seductive.
BURNETT: Right. Right, because acting or looking seductive.
CALLAN: And that's the explanation.
BURNETT: But you're saying because in Pennsylvania they usually do not allow this sort of testimony at all in sexual defense cases, that would mean -- well, the judge has set the standard. Then maybe you would allow pedophile experts.
CALLAN: Well, yes, I'm thinking this looks like a big win for the defense. I think it might be a big loss for the defense. Because they may open the door to allow the prosecutor now to call his own expert. You know, the judge said, all right, you want to put this expert testimony on?
CALLAN: We're going to let you, prosecutors' expert, examine Sandusky. Now let's say that he gets on the stand, that expert says he doesn't have HPD, he's a pedophile. He didn't send the letter because he's trying to attract attention to himself, he sent the letter because he wants to take another little boy into the shower. So this could be a disastrous move by the defense ultimately --
CALLAN: -- if the judge lets the prosecutor call experts.
BURNETT: The opposite of what it seems. Well, it's interesting, there's been a lot of criticism of the defense, actually. And legal experts have been critical of the fact that he did that interview with NBC's Bob Costas. Let me just play that to remind all of you what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB COSTAS, NBC NEWS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underaged boys?
JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER PENN STATE FOOTBALL COACH: Am I sexually attracted to underaged boys?
SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted, no, you know, I enjoy young people, I -- I love to be around them. I -- I -- but no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That of course was Jerry Sandusky on the phone. And then his attorney Karl Rominger tried to explain why Sandusky then would shower with young boys and here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROMINGER, ATTORNEY FOR JERRY SANDUSKY: Teaching a person to shower at the age of 12 or 14 would sound strange to some people but actually people who work with troubled youth will tell you that there are a lot of juvenile delinquents or people who are dependent who have to be taught basic life skills like how to put soap on their body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CALLAN: I'm stunned by it every time I see it. I mean, yes. The defense is that he's teaching underprivileged boys how to take showers when they're 12 years old.
BURNETT: Put soap on their body.
CALLAN: Put soap on their body. The first scene is also stunning because bear in mind, Amendola is not sitting next to his client to say, you know, Jerry, please, wait, and let me answer --
BURNETT: The lawyer you saw sitting next to Bob Costas.
CALLAN: Instead, his client's on the telephone just answering Costas' questions. And of course you hear that painful hesitation when he says, well, I love --
BURNETT: That's actually the most painful hesitation --
CALLAN: Yes, so I'm wondering now he takes the stand, oh, my god, what can we expect, it's going to be quite a day.
BURNETT: All right. Well, this is going to be -- this is going to be --
CALLAN: And he says he has histrionic personality disorder. He wants to draw attention to himself. What better way to do that than take the witness stand? So if he's really got this illness, we're going to see a demonstration of it next week so.
BURNETT: Paul Callan, thank you very much.
The defense will begin its case on Monday.
Still OUTFRONT, Mitt Romney, should be way ahead of the president in the polls when you look at a few crucial statistics about this country right now. But something about his strategy isn't adding up.
And then, the violent conclusion to the manhunt for a doctor accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend. Next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: All right. Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories we care about. When we focus on our own reporting from the front lines.
First, a nationwide two-day manhunt officially over tonight. The body of Timothy Jordan was found in a heavily brushed area near his home in upstate New York. With what police say was a single self- inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
He was the subject of a manhunt this week after his ex-girlfriend was found shot and killed with what was described as military precision. During a press conference, Buffalo Police commissioner Daniel Dorenda said authorities had a good indication yesterday that Jordan committed suicide but weren't ready to report it. He was a doctor in the Buffalo area.
And a JetBlue captain who had to be restrained by passengers during a flight has been deemed to be mentally fit to stand trial. The flight was from New York to Las Vegas on March 27th. It was diverted to Texas after Clayton Osbon started ranting obscenities and had to be locked out of the cockpit.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BURNETT: The passengers that day who were on their way, law enforcement professionals to a conference in Las Vegas. Luckily, that's part of the reason passengers were able to restrain him so quickly. According to the court order, the judge said that Osbon is mentally competent, that he's able to understand and does understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him and he's able to assist properly in his defense. Osbon has been charged with interfering with a flight crew. He could face 20 years in prison if convicted.
And we're getting more insight now into the days leading up to Facebook's rather problematic IPO. After the social networking site filed for its offering in February, the Securities and Exchange Commission followed up with an extensive list of requests for additional information. They wanted more information on privacy and Facebook's link with the game's company Zynga and how a lot of people, a lot of fake users are on that site, whether the company's users were real.
Today was also the day Facebook responded to shareholder lawsuits about the IPO. The company blamed the NASDAQ for glitches on its first day of trading in court filings, said it did nothing wrong when it had conversations with bank analysts about problems with its marketing revenue before it went public.
All right. Well, remember the Apple 1 we told you about yesterday? It sold today and -- get ready, $374,500. We had told you the range was high end of $180,000. So that's pretty incredible.
The Apple 1 is one of only six that still work. Sotheby's tells us that two potential buyers duked it out. It ultimately sold to an anonymous phone bidder.
When we talk about transparency in politics a lot, I think we should have it on auctions. That would be really, really great.
OK. It's been 316 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. We ask, as we do every night, what are we doing to get it back?
You know we're getting a lot closer and closer to the one year mark, and I started wondering if it would be possible to get our AAA back. You know what? It is. One of the countries that did is our neighbor to the north.
BURNETT: Oh, yes, Canada. It lost its AAA in 1992. It took those Canucks 10 years but they fought and they fought and they fought. They heard it every night on some TV show.
And in 2002, they got it back. God, I hope it doesn't take that long.
All right. Our fourth story OUTFRONT: listen carefully to Mitt Romney on today's immigration announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe the status of the young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future will be in this country. I think the action the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution because an executive order is of course just a short-term matter. It can be reversed by subsequent presidents. I'd like to see legislation that deals with this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Yes, so we let that trail off, because he went on for another 30 seconds, just for the record, that was 27. And we're still not completely sure what he said, which made us wonder if Mitt Romney's communication strategy is adding up.
Because here's the thing, unemployment right now is 8.2 percent. It was 4.4 percent at the peak for this economy. Housing prices have plunged in the economic crisis, down a third since 2006. Consumer confidence has dropped 40 percent since the peak.
And I could go on. Industrial production, durable goods. You name it. It's not back to where it was before when things were good -- before this president was in office.
You would think the incumbent in this election would be incredibly vulnerable. Look at this, it's a dead heat. All of the major polls have the president and Mitt Romney essentially tied within the margin of error. And Romney's vague statements may be hurting him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
ROMNEY: I know why we're involved in Afghanistan. I know what it's going to take for us to be successful and to bring our troops home. I want that to happen as soon as humanly possible, as soon as that mission is complete.
Instead of having a government take your money and throwing it at their bad ideas, I want to lower the tax rates and simplify the tax code and get the American economy running again at full strength.
We're going to have to make sure the law we replace Obamacare with assures that people who have a pre-existing condition, who have been insured in the past are able to get insurance in the future.
Not familiar precisely with what I said but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: All right. He was laughing at himself in that one.
John Avlon, Reihan Salam and Paul Begala are here.
Reihan, let me start with you. I know you're here to defend Mitt Romney.
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Among other things.
BURNETT: The Afghanistan thing is sort of the heart of it. I'm going to pull out the troops, as soon as the mission's over. The hard part about being the president of course is what the mission is and how would you define when it's over. He talks a lot around things to always give himself a way out.
Is that hurting him?
SALAM: There are a couple of things, right? So, today on this immigration question, I think there was a legitimate reason for Romney to have been thrown off balance, because President Obama has been telling advocates for months he doesn't have the legal authority to do this.
So, basically, the Romney camp has to figure out what exactly is going on. Does the president have the authority? And that's going to take a little time. Yes, he was caught off guard.
But on the other question, I do think it really is true that Romney needs an affirmative populist message that's going to be a little more effective, that's going to have a little more punch, because what's happening is that states like Pennsylvania, even Michigan, states like Wisconsin, are really coming into play. And unless you have a stronger populist message that can really counter the president and actually put him on the defensive, you're going to have a hard time.
And it's really true that Mitt Romney has been a little defensive, a little cautious. And he needs to break out of that box. So, I agree with that.
I will say, John, to Ryan's point, there is one thing -- I'm not saying nothing else you said was true. It is true the president kept saying, I can't do anything, I can't do anything, Congress has to pass the bill. It's a little surprise that he did come, that there is something to that point.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think in this case what got Romney off balance a bit is he made noises about supporting something that Marco Rubio had proposed, which is sort of a compromise bill and saying this actually looks a lot like --
BURNETT: A lot like.
AVLON: A lot like. So, it's actually in that case a classic case of policy triangulation. Not a long-term success, but not a path to amnesty either.
The problem I think is that Romney is fundamentally risk averse. I think there's a real reason. I mean, he's so conscious of not making a mistake. He's such a perfectionist.
AVLON: It's been a hallmark.
When his father ran for president, he was famously loose lipped. His campaign went under when he famously said he was brainwashed on Vietnam.
So, I think may be a case of the son over-learning the lessons of the father. So risk averse, you almost get in that Al Gore straitjacket. You have dad over your shoulder and it leads you to being inexact and indecisive when you're talking about policy on the stump.
BURNETT: Jamal, how worried should the president be about Mitt Romney listening to some of these messages -- I'm sorry, Paul -- how worried should the president be? I'm just curious, you know, if Mitt Romney starts connecting with people, statistics out there on the economy, people's feelings about the economy are pretty bad for an incumbent.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, if Mitt Romney starts connecting. If my aunt grew a beard, she'd be my uncle, I'm not worried about that.
BEGALA: No, he's pathetic -- he's the strongest candidate of a very weak Republican field. Their best candidate stayed on the sidelines this time. I still don't fully understand why. But they have talented people, all of whom decided not to run.
The president needs to worry about the economy. His opponent is the economy. It's the jobs report.
Thank goodness, as a Democrat. I do advise, our viewers should know, the pro-Obama super PAC. So I got an interest in reelecting the president.
Our best ally is Mitt Romney. I mean, the guy, he's out of touch. He's talented. He's smart. I mean, he's very able guy in many ways.
He can't connect with middle class people. Today, he was asked to take a simple stand on a pretty simple issue he had talked about many times before. In the past, he called it DREAM Act. I'm quoting him here, a handout.
Now, the president today is going to enact or not enact, rather, he's going to decline to prosecute a few people, a lot of people under that. Why isn't that a handout, Mr. Romney?
BURNETT: I mean, Reihan, see that? To be fair, I think Paul has a point there. He said this before --
SALAM: I'm a little worried about Paul's candidate, because if a pathetic candidate has a match 45/45, that's not a very encouraging sign.
BEGALA: No, that's right, that's a good point.
BURNETT: He agrees with you.
BEGALA: I agree.
SALAM: -- chief political advisers said to Ryan Lizza as reported in this big "New Yorker" article on President Obama's second term or his plans for a second term --
SALAM: -- that he feared a pro-Romney grew would run an onslaught of ads attacking Obama on immigration from the left.
So, what we're seeing a break glass in case of emergency strategy. President Obama is going to have a few other things that he might also do, five or six other big policy initiatives, that as the political environment, as the political waters get choppier for him, you're going to see other surprises that are going to come out of left field. That's -- and that's going to be --
BURNETT: Maybe he will legalize pot, and then he will win the election. SALAM: We all have to rethink our stances on the election if he did that, Erin. I mean, that would be very exciting, indeed. As a member of the chum gang --
BURNETT: I don't know why he's going on all this controversial stuff.
BURNETT: That's much more controversial than gay marriage.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He's taken pretty decisive stands. This isn't normal politics 101. This isn't Bill Clinton '96. He's taken decisive issues. And are there political benefits? Potentially.
But also in a different -- in a different political environment, too, this would be seen as triangulation. He basically took Marco Rubio's proposal for it and put it forward.
BURNETT: Final word for you, Paul, quickly. I got -- will you admit, though, your candidate also has problems connecting? I mean --
BURNETT: -- they both seem to have problems connecting with regular people, right?
BEGALA: You bet. Although I have seen the president do a much better job than he sometimes does. Mitt Romney has had very few moments where he's actually committed. Obama knows what it feels like to be paying off your student loans or have your credit card returned to him at the rental station at LAX, which happened to him a few years ago.
He's got I think -- look, both of these guys are elitists. They're both Harvard-trained lawyers and businessmen. But I think the president has an edge on that.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much. You can imagine the faces Reihan was giving that Paul gets the last though tonight.
All right, thanks to all.
And now an article in the political paper "Politico" caught our eye today. It said defense contractors were planning to send layoff notices in November to hundreds of thousands of employees. They're going to do that because they say, Congress if you don't reach a deal on the automatic spending cuts on defense, we're going to be forced to do it.
Now, here's the thing -- the cuts to defense are going to happen on January 2nd. They're worth $110 billion. Half of that is defense. So the contractors say, look, we can't wait until January 2nd or even a week before. We have to give 60 days notice to our employees -- 60 days before January 2nd is November 3rd. That is three days before Election Day.
Strange coincidence? The contractors go Republican. A million people getting laid off three days before the election, in heavily swinging states.
We did some digging. We said this can't add up. But you know what? It does. What the contractors say adds up. Paychex is one of the largest payroll processors in this country. They told us, quote, "If you're going to lay off 500 employees or more, you have to give 60 days notice." It's in law. That means, whoa!
John Avlon is here. John saw the "Politico" article.
It caught your attention. We were sitting around saying, oh, it can't be true, they're playing political things and they aren't. So, this means three days before the election, a million people could get layoff notices.
AVLON: Potentially. And that's extraordinary leverage for what Eisenhower once called famously the military industrial complex. I mean, this is the ultimate. This is not even an October surprise. This would be a November surprise.
And it really does put a warning sign for every incumbent, but especially the president.
Here's the question. This whole sequestration is the cost of the super failed committee. So, the question, is this going to light a fire under Congress to come up with a grand bargain before the lame duck session to avoid these painful cuts that could have a dramatic impact on people's livelihood right before the election? Some people find political advantage and wanted to kick the can.
BURNETT: Right. So, what's going to happen? I mean, there's so much political calculus on this. Obviously, you're going to have a new Congress coming in, everybody had thought this would be put off until after the election. And the Democrats obviously are going to feel incredible pressure to deal with the defense cuts.
BURNETT: Which means do you think we're going to get, I'm not going to go for grand bargain in terms of my betting here, but we're going to deal with the sequestration issue before the election, maybe the Bush tax cuts?
ALVON: Look, I mean, nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of being hanged. There's no line in Washington that every bill is a jobs bill because it's your job. In this case, that's really literal. And some of the biggest defense contractor states are crucial swing states, like Virginia, like Florida, like Pennsylvania. So, this time, it's personal.
I really do hope that Congress will get the message that they need to come up with a deal before the lame duck. I hope we don't see that kind of cynical self-dealing that says you know what, all the more reason to kick the can. Maybe it will hurt the guy in the White House.
BURNETT: All right. John Avlon, thank you very much.
Sometimes you think things don't add up and they do. That was a real doozy.
Well, still OUTFRONT, new evidence in the George Zimmerman murder case tonight.
And a story of a boy who lives like Tarzan. It seems too good to be true and it was.
BURNETT: We're back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to our sources around the world.
And tonight, we go to Germany, where police today revealed that so-called forest boy was in fact a hoax. The boy was discovered in Berlin last year with memory of almost nothing, except having lived for years in a forest. Police say it turns out it's not true. He's really from the Netherlands and friends just recognized him.
Frederik Pleitgen is in Berlin and I asked him why the boy made up the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it's totally unclear why this young man did all of this. There are some people in his hometown in Hengelo, Holland who said he appeared to have personal issues before embarking on the trip to Berlin. But I can tell you one thing -- the Berlin authorities are absolutely fuming at all of this.
Just to recap to all of this: this young man went to Berlin city hall in September of 2011, said that he was 17 years old, that he'd been living in a forest with his father for the past five years. Didn't exactly know where that forest was. Didn't know anything except his own first name which he said was Ray.
Now it turns out his name's not Ray. It's actually Robin. He was never in a forest. The entire story was completely made up.
As I said, the Berlin authorities are absolutely irate at all of this. They say they want to get rid of him out of the youth home he's staying in right now as fast as possible. Bring him back to Holland and possibly press charges against him -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Thanks very much to Frederik.
And now, let's check in with Anderson with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360".
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Hey, Erin.
Yes, we're keeping them honest. We're going to have more on the Obama administration's decision to stop deporting illegal immigrant under the age of 30 under certain conditions. Now, just over a year ago, the president insisted he couldn't make that change without Congress. Now, he's making it happen. We'll look at that.
Could the decision boost his chances with Latino voters this fall? Is that what this is about? We'll talk to Paul Begala about that.
Also tonight, our continuing our investigation into charities that a lot of folks give money to. Millions of dollars are raised. Charities that claim to help abandoned animals and veterans. Drew Griffin has new developments on one woman who's accused of seeking donations to save pets, but those pets were never actually saved or abandoned even.
Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, we'll see you in just a few moments.
And now our fifth story OUTFRONT: new evidence released in the defense in the case against Florida volunteer watchman George Zimmerman. There were hundreds of pages of documents in them. Statements from 21 witnesses, FBI reports, records of Zimmerman's jailhouse conversations.
Now, defense attorney Mark O'Mara hopes to stop most of those calls from the jailhouse from being released.
Mark NeJame is a criminal defense attorney. He's CNN legal analyst and he's OUTFRONT tonight.
And, Mark, good to see you, as always.
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Nice to see you.
BURNETT: So, hundreds of pages coming out here, the 21 secret witnesses, FBI. One of the pieces of evidence was printouts from Zimmerman's MySpace page where he had posted insulting comments about Mexicans. Is this going to be admissible, do you think?
NEJAME: The defense will try to keep it out. The prosecution will try to get it in. It's going to be tough to get it in.
In Florida, the evidence called prior bad acts and such are not permissible. And so, that could be subject to interpretation of what he wrote or whatever. So clearly there will be an effort to show that he does hold some prejudices. The relevancy, the materiality, it's likely that the prejudicial value of that will be outweighed -- will outweigh any evidentiary value. Great likelihood it's not going to get in.
BURNETT: So, a few of the witnesses were identified. Obviously, most of them were not at this point. But one of the ones that was identified and we were able to see, the president of Shoot Straight, which is a gun store and firing range, where supposedly George Zimmerman bought his gun and practiced firing the gun.
Why would the state want to introduce this? What could be the use of this specifically do you think?
NEJAME: To show that he -- I believe to show that, one, he knew how to handle a firearm and, two, that he was training to act responsible, and, in fact, he didn't. That he knew the rules as it relates to guns. I mean, was it unfamiliar with how a gun operator and how it work. So it would somewhat gut the defense position that all this might have happened negligently in the course of the struggle, that he knew what he was doing with the gun and he was actually somewhat trained in it.
BURNETT: And what about the jailhouse conversations? Originally, the state was going to release 150 calls that Zimmerman was a part of while he was in jail. But they're now only releasing six. The defense attorney's fighting against having them released.
Now, I would assume as someone who's been following this case maybe he doesn't want all those conversations released between George Zimmerman and his wife, the conversations where we found out that she knew about the money that they had and didn't tell the court. Is that why the defense is doing this? Or why only some calls?
NEJAME: Those are actually coming out. Those six calls apparently are coming out. They are relevant to the case. And there doesn't seem to be an issue with that.
The other calls, they are going to be in dispute. Apparently, the defense O'Mara has or is filing a motion, put the state on notice, that he doesn't think they're relevant. And they should, in fact, be held back.
Interesting issue because the Seminole County sheriff's office historically does not release calls that come between inmates. They only allow calls to be released publicly when they're relevant to a case. Hence, those six calls. But the judge has basically trumped that and said no, I'm going to let them in.
Interesting issue because you don't have a right to privacy while you're sitting in a jail. But the judge has said no, they're all coming in. O'Mara is going to argue that they're not material and relevant. The state is saying, well, we're going to respect the defense's request for rehearing. We're not going to release the rest till the judge rules on the defense's motion for reconsideration as to the rest of the tapes.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Mark NeJame, thank you very much. We'll continue to see what more of this information that we can get over the next few days for you. And ahead OUTFRONT, a story about one woman living the American dream nowhere near this country.
BURNETT: Well, last night, we talked about some awful things that are happening to women in Egypt. But tonight, a woman in the Middle East working to pave a better path.
Mona Ataya had an idea she hopes will change the playing field for women in the region. While I was in the United Arab Emirates recently, I had a chance to meet her.
BURNETT (voice-over): The American dream isn't only alive in America. It's alive and kicking here in Dubai, the money capital of the Middle East, where one woman has a big idea.
MONA ATAYA: I've always wanted to create things from nothing. I've always felt that I could.
BURNETT: Mona Ataya is a mom of three and creator of Mumzworld, a Web site she believes can be Amazon for moms in the Middle East.
ATAYA: I recognize the mothers needs, particularly when it s comes to shopping, were not met. And that's really how Mumzworld came out.
BURNETT: Mona launched Mumzworld last year and she overseas everything, from orders to the warehouse. Already, two-thirds of her customers are repeat visitors, thanks to her selling more than 200 brands, including Disney, OshKosh B'Gosh and Lego.
The days are long but Mona says the sacrifices are worth it. After all, she's empowering women in a region where less than a third of them work, the lowest in the world.
ATAYA: It wasn't hard to do it as a woman. It was harder to do it as a mother. The reason it was harder to do as a mother is because you're constantly juggling.
BURNETT: You're being pulled?
ATAYA: You are. You really are, by three boys, your husband, your family, your extended family which is really the Mumzworld family. Especially to work harder. But that's what life is all about. It's about, you know, rising through the challenges and doing the best you can.
BURNETT: She was pretty inspiring. Like so many women around the world juggling things.
And over the past few years, I've met woman like Mona in the Middle East. And one of the most interesting things I have learned from so many of them, ones who choose to wear traditional dress, the abaya, or the black robe that we all see, a lot of people view that as denigrating to women, but they explained it's not that at all.
If you look at men in the United Arab Emirates, for example, they all wear dishdasha. They wear something white.
They call it a national dress. It's something that they're very proud of, that they don't feel is negative at all -- something I've really come to understand and appreciate and love wearing my own abaya when I'm there as well.
Thanks so much as always for watching and have a great weekend.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.