Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

Supreme Court Rules on TV Fines; Mitt Romney Targets Latino Voters; TV Nudity, Profanity Fines Struck Down; Putting Birther Controversy To Rest; Obama Better Off Without His Father?; Romney Addresses Hispanic Officials; Zimmerman Re-Enacts Shooting For Police; All Five Romney Sons On Conan

Aired June 21, 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: Mitt Romney courting voters who could make or break his White House dreams. We're talking about Latinos -- details of his closely watched speech on immigration.

Also, cursing and nudity on your television, the U.S. Supreme Court weighing in on how the government can punish broadcasters.

Plus, details of President Obama's early life we haven't heard before, some of them contradicting his own memoir. I will talk to the author of a brand-new biography that's generating lots of buzz.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

They're voters no candidate can afford to ignore any longer. And both Mitt Romney and President Obama are reaching out to Latinos this week with speeches to a national conference being held near Orlando.

The president addresses the group tomorrow. Mitt Romney spoke today. But the presumptive Republican nominee has the greater challenge. A Gallup poll shows Mr. Obama with a strong lead among Hispanic registered voters, 66 percent to Romney's 24 percent. But the president's advantage all but disappears in the battleground state of Florida, where the conference is being held.

Romney's trailing there by only four points according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta's on the scene for us right outside Orlando.

Jim, Romney spoke about immigration today. How did it go?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a senior Romney adviser told me that today's speech was really more about laying out broad principles than it was specific policy proposals.

But that left some in this Democratic-leaning crowd, including one undocumented college student who is also an immigration activist, feeling disappointed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA (voice-over): In a cautious speech to a conference of Latino elected officials, Mitt Romney held his conservative ground on illegal immigration. The GOP nominee pledged to replace the president's recent order that halts the deportation of some younger illegal immigrants with broader reforms. But he offered only a few specifics.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president, I won't settle for stopgap measures. I'll work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.

ACOSTA: Romney noted President Obama had campaigned in 2008 on a promise of comprehensive immigration reform, but failed to deliver, despite having a Democratic House and Senate for two years.

ROMNEY: He did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system, nothing. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough reelection and trying to secure your vote.

ACOSTA: As president, Romney said he would streamline the immigration process and provide a path to legal status and eventually citizenship for undocumented members of the military. But he took no position on the portion of the DREAM Act that would provide a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants in college, legislation he said during the primaries he would veto.

ROMNEY: The question is, if I were elected and Congress were to pass the DREAM Act, would I veto it? And the answer is yes.

ACOSTA: After his speech, Romney refused to answer questions about the status of undocumented college students, like Mayra Hidalgo, who said she confronted the GOP contender on the issue.

(on camera): Are you disappointed in that?

MAYRA HIDALGO, STUDENT: I'm very disappointed because I want to know what my life's going to be like when he gets elected. I want to know what my family's life is going to be like when he gets elected, if he gets elected.

ACOSTA (voice-over): In response to the speech, the Obama campaign dubbed Romney silent Mitt. One Obama aide told CNN it's like he's physically incapable of taking a position.

Romney also steered clear of Arizona's controversial immigration law that is now before the Supreme Court,a law that was blasted at this Democratic-leaning gathering.

ELISEO MEDINA, SEIU: You know what I'm talking about, Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona, HB-56 in Alabama, copycat laws in South Carolina and in Georgia, laws that legalize racial profiling.

ACOSTA: But Romney wasn't the only Republican playing it safe on immigration. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush showed off his Spanish at the conference, then delivered a speech on education. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: And Romney aides stress the GOP contender is reviewing other proposals on immigration like the draft legislation that is being brought up by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, that is, until he shelved that proposal earlier this week.

Rubio, like the president, Wolf, speaks tomorrow -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And so the general reaction, though, from the crowd, what do you think it was to Romney's speech?

ACOSTA: Well, you know, Wolf, the applause was polite. It was a polite response.

But it was not the kind of thunderous response that he gets from really supportive crowds that he has out on the campaign trail. But, you know, let it be known -- and a Romney campaign aide did come up to me afterwards and stressed this -- this was a Democratic-leaning crowd.

Even though the group, NALEO, is a nonpartisan group, it is an organization of Latino elected officials. And as you mentioned in those poll numbers at the beginning of this newscast, the vast majority of Latinos are on the Democratic side, support the president right now.

So, it's no stretch that the vast majority of the Democratic leaders here today -- or the elected leaders today would be Democrats. It was not a hostile response, Wolf. There were no boos. But it was -- I think the best way to put it, it was a polite response, Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much, a nice gesture on his part though to go to that meeting. Certainly next month, when he goes to the NAACP, that's a nice gesture as well, even though most of the people there will be supporting the president's reelection.

Let's a little bit dig deeper right now with our chief political correspondent, the host of "STATE OF THE UNION," Candy Crowley.

Candy, I spoke earlier today with Marco Rubio and asked him about Romney's speech on immigration. Listen to what he said in part.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: And I think what you have seen Governor Romney trying to do is trying to figure out how do we come up with a responsible, pro-America, pro-economic growth approach that is both humane and compassionate and honors our legacy as a nation of immigrants, but also understands that we do have an illegal immigration problem and that we can't be the only country in the world that doesn't enforce its immigration laws?

And I think that's what you saw today from him, not a political speech, not a campaign speech, but a very serious policy speech that I think begins to truly identify the Republican Party as the pro-legal immigration party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: We're going to have the full interview with Senator Rubio in the next hour.

But what do you think? What do you think of that approach, the gesture he made to the Hispanic community today?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You have to go. We have talked endlessly about what an important demographic this is. He absolutely had to go.

And in defense of folks that are running for president, we don't tend to see the rollout of detailed policy until the fall. That's when they judge that people are paying attention. There's also less time for folks to take potshots at policy than if you roll it out in the early summer, when they look at it and say, look, folks aren't paying attention.

So most campaigns roll out detailed policy sort of more towards the fall, the end of summer. So this was an opportunity that Mitt Romney couldn't miss. Is this a game changer for him? No. President Obama will win the majority of the Hispanic vote. We know that.

What Mitt Romney has to do is to make sure that he gets enough of it that he holds down the president's very large margin at this point and then makes it up someplace else. So this is more of sort of a stopping the hemorrhaging, which really -- the numbers are enormous. You played them earlier.

BLITZER: Yes.

CROWLEY: So there's no way he's going to overcome that. But that sort of edge takes decades to overcome, decades.

BLITZER: But going to a Latino meeting like this and the NAACP next month, it does reassure a lot of independents out there...

CROWLEY: Absolutely.

BLITZER: ... that he's a decent guy and he wants to have an all- inclusive country.

CROWLEY: It's absolutely at this point about the independents when you go to organizations like this.

I would say it wasn't only Democratic-leaning. That's a pretty Democratic group he spoke to today.

BLITZER: Yes.

CROWLEY: Certainly NAACP will be. We know that there have been Republicans that have chosen not to go.

And what independents tend to say when you ask them what they don't like about the various parties, what they don't like about the Republican Party is the idea that they have a harsh edge. So this certainly goes some way at least to say I'm willing to listen, I'm willing to talk, I'm going there, I'm trying to reason.

BLITZER: Good point. Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks.

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Wolf.

al Qaeda if the 2008 presidential race was an election on steroids, the 2012 presidential race might be on quaaludes.

Let's face it: The Obama-Romney face-off is shaping up to be a giant snooze.

To be fair, it's tough to compete with the excitement of 2008. Remember that fight to the death between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the historic matchup of Obama against John McCain and the wild card that was Sarah Palin thrown into that mix?

This time around, we had Mitt Romney battling a series of candidates who were hard to take seriously, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum. And now Romney seems poised to pick a vanilla vice president.

As for Mr. Obama, much of the hope and change have drained out of him after 3.5 years. Joe Biden's about the only interesting thing going for the Democratic ticket these days.

The critics slam both President Obama and Mitt Romney for being elitists, aloof and out of touch with ordinary Americans. That's because they are.

Mr. Obama often comes off as an Ivy League professor and Romney as a rich businessman. All this makes it increasingly difficult for the public to gin up a lot of enthusiasm for this contest.

Roger Simon has got a funny piece in Politico about this boring race. He asks: Where's the fun? Quote: "Where is the sheer heart- pounding, loin-stirring, thrill-going-up-the-leg tingle that is the hallmark of a U.S. presidential race?" -- unquote.

Simon points out that U.S. politics has always been entertaining, going all the way back to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

And with that in mind, he suggests some off-the-wall tickets that could bring excitement back to this race, like Hillary Clinton/Bill Clinton, Barack Obama/Michelle Obama, and, last but not least, John Edwards/Roger Clemens.

Simon writes, those two are both survivors who know how to game the system and how to game the system. Their potential slogan: "You think we're liars? Takes one to know one." Here's the question: Why is Obama-Romney so boring?

Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. Or go to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You're going to get a lot of comments on that one, Jack. Get ready. All right, thank you. We will see you later this hour.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: We're watching Wall Street right now, where stocks took a major beating today. At the closing bell just a few minutes ago, the Dow was down more than 250 points, the Nasdaq down 70, S&P down 30. All of it can be blamed on fears about the global economy.

There was also troubling news emerging today that Moody's will likely downgrade some global banks. In the words of one analyst out there, that has both traders and investors spooked.

Four-letter words and flashes of nudity, U.S. broadcasters have paid steep fines for them. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has decided whether the government's punishments are legal.

Plus: the story of President Obama's youth and his birth. There's a new version out there with some new revelations, some new contradictions from the president's own memoir. The author will join me here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Two major decisions out from the United States Supreme Court today, one impacting what we all see on television.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Two major decisions out from the United States Supreme Court today.

One impacting what we all see on television. In an 8-0 decision, justices rule that FCC fines against broadcasters for isolated profanity and sexual content during primetime hours are unfair.

And another decision to liberal justices joining the conservative majority in a 7 to 2 ruling against labor unions.

Let's go in depth with our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, who was in the Supreme Court watching this unfold. Big day for broadcasters. What does the ruling mean for what can be aired on broadcast TV right now? How far did this go?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, unfortunately, Wolf, the Supreme Court on the big issue here kind of punted. As people may remember, Nicole Richie and Cher said some bad words on an awards show in 2002. In 2004, the FCC imposed some punishments, some really big fines. This has been kicking around the courts for many, many years. What the Supreme Court said today was, it was unfair of the FCC to change the rules after the broadcast had been made. They did not address the question of whether the First Amendment protects so-called fleeting expletives, bad words that are just sort of said in passing.

So, on the question that all of us are really interested in, which is whether you can say bad words, they didn't really address that question. They simply said you can't change the rules after the words have been uttered.

BLITZER: How about the labor unions? They lost their fight over fees for political purposes. How huge of a defeat was this for the labor unions?

TOOBIN: This is another very big defeat for the labor unions. Because basically what this case said in a nutshell is, if labor unions want to use dues money, money from members for political purposes and obviously unions care a lot about politics, they have to ask each union member if they want to opt-in to the process. Previously the unions had said, well, we will let our members opt out, but they will have to take the initiative to opt out.

Here they have to ask their members to opt in. That in the real world is going to mean unions are going to have less money to spend on politics. And that's very significant.

BLITZER: Were you surprised, two of the liberal justices went along with the majority?

TOOBIN: Unions have been doing so badly in the Supreme Court for so long. It wasn't entirely surprising. But, you know, those two justices didn't fully join the conservatives. So even in this case you saw the usual 5 to 4 split with the 5 Republicans against the 4 Democrats. The fleeting expletive case was unanimous. It was unusual in that regard.

But liberals versus conservatives, that's what we're seeing in the Supreme Court over and over again. Next week, when we finally get health care, Arizona immigration, we're looking for those same splits to show up again.

BLITZER: Yes, next week. They got to release their decisions on both of those sensitive issues. Health care as well as immigration. Thanks --

TOOBIN: Got to be done by next Thursday. We know that's the end.

BLITZER: Well, they can change their mind if they want to, right?

TOOBIN: Well, they really have said that Thursday would be the last possible day. They're sitting on Monday. It looks like there are too many cases to be resolved just on that one day. So it will probably be Monday and one or two other days before Thursday.

But as for which days and which cases on which days? We don't know.

BLITZER: You'll be busy.

TOOBIN: We'll be busy. Looking forward to it.

BLITZER: President Obama has a cabinet vacancy to fill and it's because of a bizarre accident. We have details coming up.

And it's used by people in nearly every country in the world, but Twitter shut down today. We'll tell you what happened. Standby.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: President Obama's losing a member of his cabinet. Lisa Sylvester's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Lisa, tell our viewers what happened.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Commerce Secretary John Bryson has resigned. Bryson told President Obama in a letter that he's stepping down because of a seizure he suffered two weeks ago. Bryson's office said the seizure was linked to his involvement in a couple auto accidents in California. Bryson's deputy, Rebecca Blank, will continue to serve as acting secretary.

And jury deliberations have begun in the child rape case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky faces 48 criminal counts. During closing argument Sandusky's defense attorney, Joe Amendola, noted what he said were inconsistencies in the testimony of a former grad student who said he saw apparently Sandusky sodomizing a boy in a shower. Sandusky did not testify in his own defense.

And the U.S. Coast Guard is searching for this South Florida millionaire whose boat washed ashore in Ft. Lauderdale. Guma Aguiar's 31-foot center console boat was found yesterday with the navigation lights and engine still on. An employee said he went out on the boat early Tuesday evening and that was the last time anyone saw him. Aguiar is a philanthropist who has given millions of dollars to Jewish and Israeli charities.

And Twitter was down for little over an hour today. The outage began just after noon here in the East with intermittent service returning shortly before 1:00. Today's Twitter outage was the longest since last October 7th which occurred during a month of hundreds of brief outages. I know that you are quite the man on Twitter now with what is it more than half a million followers?

BLITZER: I do. @WolfBlitzer.

SYLVESTER: @WolfBlitzer. I'm one of your followers.

BLITZER: Thank you. And I'm following you too.

BLITZER: Tell me what happened. Do they know why it went out for an hour?

SYLVESTER: They don't know why. You know, this is something Twitter has been having a problem with. I mean, this is not the first time this has happened. We mentioned the month of October, it happened several times. It's something, a glitch I think they're going to have to fix. Hopefully, we'll find out more of the why about why this has been happening, Wolf.

BLITZER: @LisaSylvesterCNN, right?

SYVESTER: @LSylvesterCNN.

Yes, Lisa Sylvester is not long enough.

BLITZER: Too many characters, 140 characters.

SYLVESTER: I know, that's the problem.

BLITZER: @LSylvsterCNN.

SYLVESTER: Follow me. And follow Wolf, too.

BLITZER: Of course.

A window to President Obama's early years. I'll talk with author David Maraniss about his biography on the president, including a young Barack Obama struggled with racial identity.

And newly revealed video and audio tapes detailing the moments leading up to Trayvon Martin's killing. We're going to learn what George Zimmerman told police.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: It's arguably the most anticipated political book of the year. A new biography of President Obama that reveals new details of his early life, which the "New York Times" calls both surprising and gripping.

(BEGIN VDIEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And the author, David Maraniss is joining us right now, it's titled "Barack Obama, the story."

David, thanks very much for coming here. Thanks very much for writing this book.

You know, a lot -- not a lot, but key elements the president wrote in his auto biographies you learned were not necessarily all that factual, not necessarily based on reality. What was the biggest difference you found?

DAVID MARANISS, AUTHOR, "BARACK OBAMA: THE STORY": Well, he acknowledges in his memoir that there are composites and compression of time in there. And it is true that there's a difference between memoir and rigorous factual biography.

I would say what he was doing is trying to put everything through the lens of race so that he creates characters somewhat built on real people that I found, but sometimes the real person was white when he was making them black or vice versa. And it was all sort of for one purpose in mind in his memoir, which was to write about his self identity. And my purpose is far different. Any biographer's trying to get the real story.

So I wasn't doing it to fact-check or vet in that superficial political sense. I was just trying to get the story right.

BLITZER: If there were any doubt where he was born, you put that to rest. You studied that pretty closely, right?

MARANISS: I don't think any serious biographer ever had any doubt. But the accumulation of documents is pretty overwhelming as well as interviews with people who are in the hospital scene that week and were passing along the word of this oddity that Stanley had a baby.

That's the first name of Barack Obama's mother. Furthermore there were INS documents of Barack Obama Senior who was on a visa from Kenya. He was sort of problematic for the INS.

They were watching him every day. So I have the documents of the INS reporting where he was during the period, before, during and after that birth.

BLITZER: So whether Donald Trump or others who still don't believe he was born in Honolulu?

MARANISS: I don't know what else you can say. I mean, there must some -- I sort of on one hand don't want to deal with it anymore, but the other hand, I'm curious, what drives them? Why do they believe this fantasy?

BLITZER: And if you look at polls, there are still an element out there who insist he's really secretly a Muslim.

MARANISS: Well, that part I found to be particularly delicious in doing the reporting of the Obamas in Kenya. Their rise -- his grandfather, it's true, converted to Islam although he did not practice very devoutly.

But when you study the rise of the Obamas in Kenya, it was conservative Evangelical Christians who are responsible for the rise. The Seventh Day Adventist came to Western Kenya and talked in English.

Barack Obama's father was educated at an Anglican school and basically mentored by a woman who came to Kenya from the United States to spread the gospel and teach literacy. She's the one who brought him to the United States. So it had nothing to do with Muslims.

BLITZER: Yes, and one of the most compelling parts of the book, and it's a sad story, you believe that the president was actually better off not really knowing or having a life with his father.

MARANISS: You know, that's a difficult thing for me to say. But trying to be an objective observer historian, I think that's true.

BLITZER: Why?

MARANISS: Because his father was abusive. He wasn't with Obama's mother for more than a couple of months. But the next woman he married, another American, told me gruesome stories about being beaten by him physically with his hands, a knife to her throat. He was an alcoholic and very abusive. That would have been difficult, of course, for any kid.

BLITZER: And you also write movingly how he struggled with his own racial identity. Give us an example.

MARANISS: That is the last third of the book. He's trying to figure himself out. His whole early adult life is an arc towards home going from living with white grandparents, having a white mother to finding himself in the south side of Chicago finally as an African-American.

And along the way I have letters that he wrote where he's describing this struggle and how he's looking at other people with different niches.

And he is trying to figure out how he can be both everything because he is both black and white and also find a comfort level in the black community.

BLITZER: You know, you've also written a great biography of Bill Clinton, now a great biography of Barack Obama, two presidents. Two guys who grew up really without a father.

MARANISS: Yes.

BLITZER: But emerged very different in terms of their social behavior. Bill Clinton, he could go smoozing and go socialize, he made everybody feel special. This president is very different. Why?

MARANISS: Well, part of it is coming from Hawaii. There's a saying there cool head main thing. He's sort of laid back in that sense. He doesn't need people. He figured himself out. He was an introvert.

He has the sensibility of a writer, which is sort of a participant observer. And Bill Clinton needed people so badly that in high school, he would invite friends over just to watch him do a crossword puzzle. He has a natural need and ability to survive with other people, which Barack Obama never had.

BLITZER: At one point, you're right how it's tough for him to make a serious decision. But he did decide to go ahead and give the order to kill Bin Laden even though there was no guarantee that mission would succeed. Was that in his character?

MARANISS: It was. But what you see going back to his days as a community organizer in Chicago, his mentors and people worked with him there said he was very cautious. He would deliberate and deliberate to the point of sort of driving them crazy.

And then he'd make a bold move. You see that in his presidency. Not just with Bin Laden, but also with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" decision.

For the first two years of his presidency the gay community was pounding on him, why aren't you acting? He's trying to figure it out. His life is a study in how to avoid traps. So that's why he sometimes appears too deliberate.

BLITZER: Are you working on part two right now?

MARANISS: It will be a while because I don't want it to be a quick one. I want to get the documents, but there will be a second volume. Yes.

BLITZER: We're looking forward to that. Thanks for all the great work.

MARANISS: Thank you.

BLITZER: The book is entitled "Barack Obama: The Story." The author is David Maraniss.

Major speech on immigration at a National Hispanic Convention, but can Mitt Romney win over Latino voters? Hilary Rosen and Erick Erickson, they're both standing by live for our "Strategy Session."

And a potentially dangerous air leak from a government bioterror germ lab. We're learning new details. That's coming up at the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today I'm asking you to join me because, while we may not agree on everything, we share the same goal, the same vision. And the same belief in American greatness that draws so many people to our shores. Liberty's torch can burn just as brightly for future generations of immigrants as it has burned for immigrants of the past.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Mitt Romney speaking today before a Hispanic group in Orlando. Let's get some reaction in our "Strategy Session." Joining us two CNN contributors, Hilary Rosen is a Democratic strategist and managing partner of SKD Nicker Backer consulting firm.

Erick Erickson is editor-in-chief of redstate.com. Eric, do you think he has a chance of winning over a lot of Latino voters this time around?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think he has a chance of winning over a substantial number. I don't think he's going to get the majority of them and I don't really know anyone who does.

But he doesn't need to, to be competitive with Barack Obama. Ironically, I think most people miss when you delving into polling whether it's the in depth most Hispanic voters or Gallup voters or Gallup polling, most Hispanic voters don't view themselves as Hispanic.

They view themselves as from their country of origin and more surprisingly, they think Democrats and Republicans are basically the same on economic issues and Republicans are probably going to have to go after Hispanic voters mostly on cultural issues, which in this environment they don't really want to do and frankly, I don't blame them.

BLITZER: You heard Romney make the case, Hilary, that he has a better economic strategy for dealing with these job-related problems for Hispanics and everyone else in America. That was a major part of his pitch.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I imagine that's pretty much the only part of his pitch that he's got a shot at. I was kind of shocked that he started talking about the beauty of immigration and how he wants everyone to come to America's shores.

And find the land of opportunity when he has been the proponent of shutting down the doors and being one of the most anti-immigrant candidates --

ERICKSON: Hillary, that was last week.

ROSEN: You know, so -- I think there's no question that sort of this, I feel your pain issue with the Latino immigration does not work with Mitt Romney.

He doesn't have a record there. But you know, Erick might be right that if he focuses on some of the economic issues that he's going to get some swath of them.

But I just don't think so. I think that President Obama has been much more focused on Latinos, not just as a constituency, but as the vast middle class community. And I think that Romney's going to flunk out there.

BLITZER: Well, what's wrong, Hilary, with the argument he makes and others make that he loves legal immigration to the United States. He hates illegal immigration to the United States.

ROSEN: Well, what's wrong with it is that it's a fantasy, you know, that you have families that are split up, broken up. Some are here. Some are at home. And there's no strategy to bring those families together.

And that is something that too many people in this country already face. And until you're ready to deal with that, until you're ready to not just show compassion for that.

But step out and create policies for it like President Obama did last week then you're really just giving rhetoric and not comfort.

BLITZER: What do you think about that, Erick?

ERICKSON: You know, I see where Hilary's going with this. But you know, one of the beauties for being Mitt Romney, and I say this and it sounds somewhat funny but it's true is his position has evolved and devolved repeatedly over the past few years.

And he really pick up from his timeline from a while back and go off on that where he was much more meaningful to immigration. I think there are a lot more people out there, maybe it's sad to say about the Republican nominee, but it's true.

A lot of people think, you know, he was just saying that to get the Republican nomination. If he gets Marco Rubio as a running mate or something, I think he can go in a different direction.

If he embraces the Rubio plan, which largely the president implemented by executive order and says he would lock it in by legislation, I think he might be able to persuade some people on that issue.

BLITZER: Speaking of Marco Rubio, I had this exchange with the Florida senator on the whole Eric Holder issue, the "Fast and Furious" issue. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: You want the attorney general, correct me if I'm wrong, Eric Holder, to resign, why?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, I think we've reached the point of no return. I think he's increasingly lost the confidence of people here in Congress.

I think Darrell Issa and the folks over at the House have given him multiple opportunities to address these concerns, to answer some of these questions. And they refuse to do it.

So now you start to wonder what is it they don't want us to know? Why are they obstructing Congress' right to have oversight over the Justice Department?

That's what I'm concerned about. I think he's just lost the faith and confidence now of too many members of Congress in terms of how he's behaved and reacted to this issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Hilary, you want to respond to the junior senator from Florida?

ROSEN: Yes. I think Senator Rubio and the rest of the Republicans who have made a political witch hunt after the attorney general are embarrassing themselves. There is nothing there. This has become an investigation of the investigation. Pass a transportation bill. Pass a jobs bill. You know, House, the Senate passed a farm bill today. Are you going to take that up?

I mean, there's just no way that this kind of federally funded political witch hunt has any support among the American people. And I think to suggest that the attorney general has either lost the face of the people or has done something wrong, there's just no basis and fact on that.

And frankly, you know, some of us are kind of getting tired of them trying to distract the issues by keeping it up front.

BLITZER: Erick.

ERICKSON: You know, Wolf, there have been more than one American citizen who have lost their lives with the gun sold to the Mexican drug cartels in operation "Fast and Furious."

Today Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, couldn't even remember the name of the American border patrol agent who lost his life with these guns.

Eric Holder has maintained all along that neither the White House nor senior levels of the Justice Departments were involved in the decisions with "Fast and Furious."

Now they've claimed executive privilege on the documents they don't want to give to Congress, which can only be claimed if senior levels of the administration or White House were involved.

So was he lying then or are they just being obstructive now? Obama care was 2,700 pages --

BLITZER: Hilary, hold your thought.

ROSEN: -- ended by Attorney General Holder. He did not promote this program. He ended this program.

BLITZER: All right, guys. We got to leave for commercial.

ERICKSON: -- killed people through the Obama administration.

BLITZER: The program started during the Bush administration and ended in the Obama administration. The death of that patrol guard unfortunately and all of us are -- feel his grief.

The grief of the family occurred during the Obama administration as a result. All of that obviously stopped and that's what this investigation is all about right now. All right, guys, thanks very much.

The man charged with killing Trayvon Martin re-enacts their deadly encounters for investigators. We have some remarkable video of George Zimmerman walking them through his version of what happened that night. Plus some of the most dangerous diseases known to man are kept at the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control. CNN has new information about an air leak within a supposedly secure lab.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're getting new details about the minutes leading up to Trayvon Martin's death. George Zimmerman's defense attorneys have now released audio and videotapes of their client telling police what happened before the Florida teenager was shot.

Let's go straight to CNN's Martin Savidge. He's watching all of this unfold. What are we learning, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is information, as you say, that came from the defense attorneys. But it was actually originally gathered by the Sanford Police Department in the first hours and first days after the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

It's pretty amazing to listen to because it is George Zimmerman in his very own words. The first time we've actually heard him in the moments immediately after the shooting that took the life of the young teen.

Of course, the teen was unarmed. Let's take you to perhaps what is the most striking, which is the walkthrough George Zimmerman gave authorities the day after.

And here you'll listen to George Zimmerman describe the life and death struggle he says he had with the young teen just before he fired the fatal shot. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, FACES SECOND DEGREE MURDER CHARGES: My body was on the grass. My head was on the cement. He just kept slamming me, slamming me. I kept yelling help, help. He put his hand on my nose and other hand on my mouth and said -- and I tried to squirming again because all I could think about was --

When he was hitting my head -- I felt like my head was going to explode and I thought I was going to lose consciousness. So I tried to squirm so I could get -- he only had a small portion of my head on the concrete.

So I tried to squirm off the concrete. That's when my jacket moved up and I had my firearm on my right side hip. My jacket moved up and he saw -- he looked at it and he said you're going to die tonight -- I felt his arm going down to my side. And I grabbed it. And I just grabbed my firearm and I shot him, one time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: And it was that shot that of course pierced the heart of Trayvon Martin and he died a short time later. We should point out again, Trayvon Martin, was not able to give his version of events. It's a very one-sided account. But it is quite remarkable to hear from the man as he stands at the spot where all of this occurred. Again, released by the defense team they clearly feel it bolsters their case in support of George Zimmerman -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What do we expect happens next in this case, Martin?

SAVIDGE: Well, it is scheduled on the docket next week that there's going to be a bond hearing. Remember, George Zimmerman's bond has been revoked because questions about whether he was truthful about how much money the family had when he got the original bond.

So he was pulled back and put behind bars once more. So it could be we have a bond hearing next Friday, a week from tomorrow, and maybe that plays into the timing of this particular release because credibility here is key.

It's a self-defense case. George Zimmerman may have lied about his money and the defense -- or prosecution rather is contending did he lie about details in the case? That's why the defense released this video that seems to show George Zimmerman's been consistent in his accounts to authorities -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Martin Savidge, thanks very much.

Mitt Romney's sons do late night TV. Highlights of their appearance on Conan O'Brien's show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This seems like a joke, but it's not. Let's make this work a little better. I have name tags for all of you. Josh, could you distribute these -- I don't know who is who and I've been looking at your pictures for days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: It was crowded on the set of Conan O'Brien's show last night. All five of Mitt Romney's sons were there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Josh, Tag, Craig, Ben, Matt. My first question, why the name Tag? Everyone else got a very -- were you -- you're the oldest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was born in 1970. I'm glad I wasn't born moon beam or sunshine or something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened though is they named you Tag first. Usually in my family my parents went with conventional names and then I came a little later and they were like let's get crazy.

And Conan came along, but with you they made a decision right off the bat he will be Tag. And then after that suspiciously everyone else has a normal name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they had a good friend named Tag Tagert and they liked it and so I get stuck with it. By the way, I have five sons of my own and they're all very normal Jonathan, David, Joseph, Thomas, William names. It's easy -- I almost forgot the last one. My daughter Allie would be upset with me --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good catch on that by the way, very good catch. My first question is, you are all grown men, you're married, you have children. Does it bother you that the press always calls you the Romney boys? It's like you're 98 degrees or something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We were thinking about --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a boy band in a mall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We prefer brothers, but some people call us boys so whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially like in a western, you know, you would be the posse. Get them Romney boys in here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Pretty good stuff. Let's go to Jack right now. He's got the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: OK, the question this hour is why is Obama-Romney so boring? James in North Carolina, "It's a boring race because the people are bored themselves. The economy is in the doldrums, it's getting worse. I'm more worried about supporting my family than voting for anyone. Not too many people I know think things are going to be any better no matter who is elected."

Ulga in Texas writes, "Your questions are boring. They like insight, sensitivity and intelligent knowledge of the issues. Don't question the candidates. Question the country's voters for not demanding a better type of representation."

Roger in Pennsylvania says, "Obama's the villain who has borrowed trillions on the backs of our grandchildren to create a false economy that's designed to get him re-elected. And Romney's the superhero who's trying to stop him. How is that boring?"

Brian in Chicago says, "Come on, Jack, you can't tie Obama to Romney boringness. Romney puts the bore in boring." Randy says, "Because despite the show the candidates are putting on, the American people know they're both run by the same corporate Wall Street power mongers. Only fans of the WWE would think otherwise of the charade that's unleashed on the American public every four years."

Mike in Minneapolis writes, "Because we're bored. This election began November 4, 2008, enough already." And Jeff in Georgia says, "No offense Mr. Cafferty, but if you're bored with the presidential election, maybe you should start writing columns about theme parks or roller coasters or standup comedians."

If you want to read more about this, go to the blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page. We're right on time. Look at that.

BLITZER: Amazing, Jack. Thank you.