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THE SITUATION ROOM
Romney Looks to Republican Convention; Obama Campaign Attacks Romney Over Education; Hurricane Threatens Republican Convention; Prince Harry's Naked Vegas Party
Aired August 22, 2012 - 18:00 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 looks ahead to the Republican Convention, but the abortion issue and a rogue GOP lawmaker are blocking the view.
Also, the Obama campaign attacks Romney on education in a brutal new ad. Is it accurate? We're checking the facts.
Plus, disturbing video from a California slaughterhouse and its connection to a popular burger chain.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The Republican presidential campaign is struggling right now to stay on message amid the uproar sparked by Congressman Todd Akin's now notorious remark about rape and pregnancy. And while Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan try to focus in on the economy, they're finding abortion driving the discourse only days ahead of the Republican Convention in Tampa.
And with a possible hurricane forecast for Florida, this could be the storm before the storm.
Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, has the latest -- Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, before he accepts his party's nomination in Tampa next week, Mitt Romney may have to weather a couple of storms first, one named Akin, the other named Isaac.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Mitt Romney came to Iowa with some new lines of attack aimed at getting not just his campaign, but his party back on message.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His policies of substituting government for free people have not worked.
ACOSTA: Romney's up against a president who's spending much more time out of the White House.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But Republicans in Congress let -- no, no, no, no. Don't boo. Vote.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ACOSTA: And while his running mate, Paul Ryan, has whipped up excitement for the GOP ticket...
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is President Obama's imaginary recovery. It's not here.
ACOSTA: ... the Wisconsin congressman is now facing questions about a bill he co-sponsored with embattled Missouri Republican Todd Akin, who caused an uproar when he said it's rare for women who are raped to get pregnant.
That bill which would have limited taxpayer funding for abortions said only victims of -- quote -- "forcible rape" should be covered. Ryan was pressed by Pittsburgh TV station KDKA to explain that.
QUESTION: What is forcible rape?
RYAN: Rape is rape, period, end of story.
ACOSTA: Later on his campaign plane, Ryan was asked if he regretted the bill.
RYAN: I think we had 251 votes, 16 Democrats. I'm proud of my pro-life record. Mitt Romney's going to be president. The president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother.
ACOSTA: The Obama campaign released a statement saying "Ryan may hope that American women never learn about his record, but they deserve an answer to why he wanted to redefine rape."
The Romney campaign is trying to focus back on the economy, seizing on a new report on the massive budget cuts looming as part of the so-called fiscal cliff compromise. The Congressional Budget Office shows the cliff which Ryan supported would end years of trillion-dollar deficits. But it may also keep unemployment high.
Still, it's the weather reports that may matter most. Forecasters are eyeing Isaac, a storm that could strengthen into a hurricane and head toward Florida just in time for the convention.
BOB BUCKHORN, MAYOR OF TAMPA, FLORIDA: Well, absolutely we're prepared to call it off. Human safety and human life trumps politics. I think the RNC recognizes that. The organizers, certainly Governor Romney recognizes that.
ACOSTA: Romney will also be competing with President Obama. The president has plans to campaign in Colorado, Virginia and here in Iowa just as Romney is accepting his party's nomination. It's a lot of distractions at Romney's big moment -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jim Acosta in Iowa for us, thank you very much. The man who sparked the political firestorm is now fanning the flames. Congressman Todd Akin is speaking out on national television affirming his plan to stay in the Senate race despite being abandoned by his entire party.
Our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is working this part of the story for us.
Dana, what are you picking up right now?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I talked to an exasperated senior Republican source earlier today who told me that officials have concluded they need to "grind it out" for a while, since they have run out of ways to tell Akin to get lost.
BASH (voice-over): Todd Akin is dug in and defiant.
REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: This is not about me. This is not about my ego. But it is about the voters of the state of Missouri. They have chosen me because of principles that I stand on.
BASH: Appearing on two morning TV shows, the embattled GOP nominee for Senate made clear he won't buckle under the weight of party pressure to quit.
AKIN: It makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs, as opposed to the election process.
BASH: This was the sentence that set off the firestorm.
AKIN: From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
BASH: Akin apologized for using the term legitimate rape and now admits he was wrong to suggest the female body can somehow prevent pregnancy from rape.
AKIN: That's not true. I was misinformed, and I recognize that.
BASH: A pretty big mistake from a Republican member of the House Science Committee. But generally speaking, Akin's staunch anti- abortion views match those of the Missouri congressional district he currently represents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cringed, because, basically, I agree with his stance on abortion. But the way he said it, it could have been worded different.
BASH: Plenty of Missouri voters say they're still with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people are looking for something to accuse Todd or to drag him down. BASH: In the last presidential election, 39 percent of Missouri voters, nearly four in 10, called themselves evangelical or born- again, a lot, but not enough to unseat the incumbent Democrat.
And Akin's comments caused a national problem for Republicans by turning the narrative to divisive social issues. It's why Paul Ryan, who co-sponsored anti-abortion legislation with Akin, called and asked him to quit, but failed.
RYAN: He should drop out of the race. He's not. He's going to run his campaign. We're going to run ours.
BASH: Privately, senior Republican sources are panicked their huge deficit with female voters will get worse, especially since heading into their convention, the Akin controversy shined a light on a party platform position opposing abortion without exception for rape.
Anne Stone is a Republican for abortion rights.
ANNE STONE, REPUBLICANS FOR CHOICE: The Republicans don't know -- even know what women want. They are gender-blind and I would say gender-stupid when it comes to dealing with women and women's policies.
BASH: Even Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who co-chaired the GOP Platform Committee, admits her party has a problem.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: We have some very articulate, accomplished women who are elected officials at the local, the state and the federal level. They have all shown the ability to lead.
And I think what people are wanting to do is to see women step forward and take a more prominent leadership role in our party.
BASH: Now, what Blackburn and other GOP officials told me today is that even though they did not succeed in forcing Akin to drop his bid for the Senate, they hope they at least were successful in signaling to those key swing voters they don't stand for what he said.
Now, as far as Akin's future goes, Republican sources say they're watching and waiting to see whether he can sustain his campaign without funding from the national party or key outside groups.
Wolf, of course they refuse to give him campaign cash, but he may be able to get a decent amount of money from grassroots activists who are really angry that the party is bailing on him.
BLITZER: Yes, I suspect though not nearly enough that it would take to beat the Democratic candidate, Claire McCaskill.
All right, Dana. Thanks very, very much.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do want to warn you, this next story that we're going to tell you about contains some pretty disturbing video. It is shot secretly inside a California slaughterhouse that is now under investigation for alleged mistreatment of animals.
Let's bring in CNN's Sandra Endo. She's been working this story for us.
Sandra, what do we know about this?
SANDRA ENDO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we know that this slaughterhouse was cited for inhumane treatment of animals in 2010 and now it's being investigated again. This time, there's video evidence.
ENDO (voice-over): Cattle being repeatedly shot with a bolt gun, one even suffocated. This undercover slaughterhouse video shows what the government says is inhumane treatment of animals at Central Valley Meat in Hanford, California.
An animal rights activist from the group Compassion Over Killing shot the video. Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has shut down the slaughterhouse while an investigation is under way.
And the popular In-N-Out Burger chain severed ties with the company after the video surfaced, saying it would never condone animal cruelty. Central Valley Meat says the allegations are shocking and disturbing since federal inspectors continually monitor the plant.
Food safety expert Chris Waldrop from the Consumer Federation of America:
CHRIS WALDROP, CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA: These are clear cases of animal abuse and improper animal welfare and improper animal handling. It just raises questions about what's really going on in that plant and how they were treating those animals.
ENDO: The video also shows what looks like sick cattle being poked, forced to stand up. It doesn't show whether they entered the food supply or were discarded.
(on camera): The video makes you wonder is the meat you buy at your local grocery store safe to eat?
(voice-over): Despite the concern, so far, there is no beef recall. And the USDA said in a statement Tuesday, "While some of the footage provided shows unacceptable treatment of cattle, it does not show anything that would compromise food safety. Therefore, we have not substantiated a food safety violation at this time. We are aggressively continuing to investigate the allegations."
(END VIDEOTAPE) ENDO: Now, the USDA had purchased 21 million pounds of meat from this company for school lunches and other purposes, but has since stopped because of the investigation -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, Sandra Endo. Thanks so much. That is definitely disturbing video to watch. Thank you.
Another story we're watching: a tell-all book about the death of the world's most wanted terrorist is due out next month. It's calmed "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden."
Publisher Dutton says it was written by a Navy SEAL who took part in the raid, but will be put out under a pen name. The book will be released on Secret Service. And a U.S. defense official tells our Barbara Starr that U.S. Special Operations Command did not know about the book, approve it or conduct a security review of the material.
But you can be sure, Wolf, that they are looking to get their hands on a copy.
BLITZER: I wonder if that Navy SEAL had signed some sort of document saying that anything he would write after he retired would have to be subject to review by the U.S. military.
BOLDUAN: That's an excellent question, one that is being asked today.
BLITZER: I know when CIA personnel leave, they have to sign -- they have to go in there and they have to get stuff like that cleared. I wonder if that's a standard operating procedure for Navy SEALs.
BOLDUAN: I promise you Barbara's digging on that one. Yes.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much for that.
The Obama campaign is hammering away at Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan with some serious charges in a new campaign ad about education. We're checking the facts.
And the worst-case scenario is inching closer and closer to the Republican Convention. At 41 past the hour, we will take a closer look at what happens if -- and it's a huge if -- if Tampa takes a direct hurricane hit.
BLITZER: The Obama campaign is launching a new line of attack against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. A new ad says the Republican ticket wants to slash education funding and increase class size. Is any of it true?
We have asked our Tom Foreman to do a little fact-check for us.
Tom, you're doing an excellent series on these fact checks. What is going on? What's the truth as far as this new ad is concerned? TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The truth in this matter is, President Obama knows that education resonates with a lot of people. He has talked about education a lot. And he sees what he thinks is an opportunity.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Class size and what it means to how kids learn has been a long and hotly contested issue. President Obama and many educators clearly believe smaller classes with fewer students per teacher are the way too go. So his latest ad tries to school Mitt Romney on that subject.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of our children's greatest experience have been in the smaller classrooms.
NARRATOR: But Mitt Romney says class sizes don't matter and he supports Paul Ryan's budget, which could cut education by 20 percent.
FOREMAN: But let's dig into that lesson plan. Did Romney really say class sizes don't matter? No.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you had a class of five, that would be terrific. If you had a class of 50, that's impossible.
FOREMAN: Addressing Philadelphia teachers in May, Romney cited an international study showing that sometimes schools with small classes fail. Sometimes, schools with big classes succeed. Therefore, he says class size should not be given excessive weight when we consider how to make our schools bigger.
(on camera): Now, certainly the president's education advisers would not agree, or would they? In a 2010 speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, sure, class size may matter up to third grade.
ARNE DUNCAN, U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: But in secondary schools at the high school level, districts may be able to send money without hurting students, while allowing modest, but smartly targeted increases in class size. In fact, it's interesting. Teachers in Asia sometimes request larger class sizes because they think a broad distribution of students and skill levels can actually help accelerate student learning across the board.
FOREMAN (voice-over): As for Paul Ryan's plan to cut education funding, the truth is while education might suffer under a Ryan budget, how much would be cut and where is not clear.
FOREMAN: The simple truth is if you look at everything the president and his team have said about education over the past three years, it's not really that different than some of the things that Mitt Romney and his team are saying right now. We were tempted to give this ad an F. for false. But it's really the way they use the information, so we're giving it an M. for misleading.
BLITZER: Misleading, OK.
FOREMAN: Misleading, yes.
BLITZER: All right, you're a tough grader, I guess.
Let's talk about one of the images we see in this ad, because we see it in other ads, pro-Obama ads as well, Romney walking off a plane with a Donald Trump airplane in the background. There it is right there. That is a real picture. That was not Photoshopped or anything.
FOREMAN: It is a real picture, and they love this image at the Obama campaign. I understand why.
But let me tell you the background on it because it is interesting to have the context of this. This picture was taken out in Vegas back in the spring. Romney was there to do some campaigning. He was also there for a fund-raiser that involved Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. They're Republicans like him. That's sort of what people like that do.
The Trump jet just happened to be in the background. He wasn't riding on it. He didn't come there on it, he didn't leave on the tone. But it was in that picture. This is a bit of stagecraft by the Obama campaign which I think we're going to see over and over and over again, because they love that image, because it fits their idea of, look, here's a fat cat who understands hanging out with Donald Trump on his jet more than he understands you working for a living and coming home to take care of the dog.
So I think we're going to see that image an awful lot.
BOLDUAN: That's that narrative they have been trying to paint for a long time.
FOREMAN: Yes, but it's just an accidental image, in a sense, not a complete accident, but it wasn't like he was hanging out with Donald Trump and going golfing in Page, Arizona, or something.
BLITZER: The message they're trying to show is, he's really rich and he's out of touch.
BLITZER: That's the message they're trying to show.
BOLDUAN: Tom Foreman, great work. We will check back in with you.
BLITZER: Thank you, Tom.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
So a lofty goal for the Romney campaign, aiming for 38 percent of the Hispanic vote. Can they do it and how? That's coming up at the bottom oft hour.
Also coming up next, the Curiosity rover starts roving -- details on its first drive of Mars.
BOLDUAN: Here's a quick look at some of the stories that are trending right now on CNN.com.
John Lennon's killer convicted killer, Mark David Chapman, is making his seventh try at parole just months before the 32nd anniversary of the former Beatles' murder. Lennon was gunned down outside his Manhattan apartment in December 1980. No word on when the board will hand down its decision, but many will be watching it.
Also trending tonight, 40 percent of food in the U.S. is never eaten, this according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. It's a pretty amazing number. The report says that amounts to $165 billion each year in waste.
And out of this world, a big day for the Mars rover Curiosity.
Here's CNN' John Zarrella with a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF: NASA releasing one very cool picture today, kind of like the rover getting its learners permit on mars.
You're looking at the animation there that actually shows the rover, which moved about 20 feet in all. And during that 20-foot move, you could actually see -- in the image that they sent back from space, you can see the image of the rover and the tracks it left behind as it moved to where it is currently sitting now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And an extraordinary moment for a Major League umpire who has not always been embraced by the fans.
According to MLB.com, Jim Joyce helped saved a woman's life this week, administering CPR after she collapsed. Ironically, Joyce is the same umpire who was vilified after making the wrong call two years ago at a game between the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians. It cost Detroit starter Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
This was a huge story in my household, as you know.
BLITZER: I know that there's a relative of yours who loves Detroit.
BOLDUAN: That would be my husband.
BLITZER: He loves Detroit. How upset was he at that call at first base?
BOLDUAN: I don't want to even repeat the words that he said.
BLITZER: I know. I can only imagine what he was thinking. Thank you.
Democrats, meanwhile, announce the details of their convention speaker lineup, spending a clear message on which voters they're targeting. Details on some prominent roles for women, that's coming up.
BLITZER: Happening now: They're the voters that could sway the race for the White House. We're looking at the impact of Latinos.
Also, Republicans prepare for a worst-case scenario. What if their convention is hit by a hurricane?
Plus, a royal scandal: Prince Harry caught on camera nude in Las Vegas -- what it could mean for his future.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
But, first, the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, she just wrapped up a pretty rousing speech in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, today.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Make no mistake about it: this November, we get to decide. Are we going to watch these reforms be repealed? Or are we going to work for insurance for the people that we love and we care about? What are we going to do? But that's the choice we face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, let's get some more on the race for the White House right now. Joining us, Nia-Malika Henderson of "The Washington Post," and of course, our chief national correspondent, John King. Kate is here, as well.
She's going to have a pretty significant role over the next two months, getting out, I assume, the women vote, first and foremost.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Interesting to watch. She has grown into this role. She was not such a polished campaigner back in 2008. She caused some controversy with some things she said back in 2008. Now she is viewed 100 percent inside team Obama, and the Romney camp wouldn't dispute this, as an asset.
See those pictures behind her? A diverse group of women in Fort Lauderdale. Suburban women, key to winning any close presidential election in the United States. Another thing, Wolf, running right at, not from the health-care. In 2010, Republicans ran from it. Michelle Obama, just like President Obama, who out this last week saying, "Obama care, I like that, because I care." They've realized that running from that proposal hurt them. Running at it and embracing it, they think helps with suburban women.
BLITZER: This was a real, you know, all-out campaign speech. It wasn't just meeting with kids and talking about food or veterans. This was all-out campaigning.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": That's right. I think I heard some "amens" in that crowd. Another thing she's going to do: she's going to be on -- she's going to be on David Letterman during the Republican National Convention. She's hosting the iVillage site. There's videos of her there with her shoes off, kicked up on the couch. She's talking like, you know, America's best friend. Yes.
And so I think that's what they're trying to do. They're trying to present her as sort of the first lady next door. And of course, women very important in this election. You have 53 percent of the electorate in 2008. And so, this is -- I mean, she's a huge asset, not only in terms of fundraising but rousing debates.
BOLDUAN: But you also think that she has very high approval ratings. Does she also -- does she threaten that high approval rating if she's seen as being out there campaigning too much? I mean, because she is the first lady, and that's -- many first ladies have really...
HENDERSON: I think their calculation going into 2010, for instance, they wanted -- some people in the West Wing wanted her out there, but their calculations were like, let's sit on these high approval ratings and then in 2012, we can go all at it, out of the East Wing, having the first lady out there, risking her approval ratings, perhaps, but certainly being at the service of the top of the ticket and President Obama.
BOLDUAN: And talk about -- talk about women voters, John. I mean, the DNC just announced some additional speakers at the upcoming convention. I think we have plotted (ph) just a few of them. Sandra Fluke, I mean, that we have learned quite a bit about recently. Lilly Ledbetter, her name is on a signature piece of legislation that the president signed earlier in his term. And Cecile Richards, the president of -- of Planned Parenthood.
We say that the female vote is very important. But the president is doing very well with female voters right now. What's the motivation here to...
KING: He is at the moment. You want to pay tribute to your best supporters. You reward people who have been good to you at the convention. Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University student, you go for the younger vote. That's a very pro-choice, pro-abortion rights, pro- women's rights card (ph).
Now, will most Americans see these speeches? Let's be honest: most Americans watching the conventions won't see these speeches. What does it help with? The liberal blogosphere saying this is great. Helps with fundraising. Helps energize your base in an election that right now is all about finding every one of your voters. And find them, get their e-mail addresses, get their phone number and turn them out.
BLITZER: The president doesn't have the enthusiasm in 2012 that he certainly had in 2008.
HENDERSON: That's right. The crowds aren't as big as they were. And everyone is thinking this is going to be a base election. It's going to be all about turnout. And in many ways, I think Michelle Obama is the keeper of the flame from 2008. She's the one who can get out there and really remind people that that campaign was very much about a movement. So that's why you see her out there in a very sort of rousing way.
BLITZER: I want to move on, John, to this -- this whole Hispanic vote out there. It's going to be very important. A lot of going to Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada.
One of the co-chairmen for the Romney Hispanic steering committee says this. He said, "Our goal is to do better than four years ago and the McCain -- and the McCain campaign did. Our goal is to hit 38 percent with the Hispanic vote." Based on the latest polling, is that realistic?
KING: No. In a word, no. And if you look at our polling, you look at the Telemundo poll that was out recently, choice of Latino registered voters for president, the president's getting 63 percent, Governor Romney 28 percent. Wolf, if they could get to 38 percent in the Romney campaign in the Latino vote nationally, they would be doing handstands.
The math is kind of simple here when you look at it. It's a complicated election. But if Governor Romney is essentially -- if things stay the same as they did in 2008, roughly, with African- American voters, Latino voting, the president has this rock-solid coalition. If college educated women don't budge, they don't move much, we've had under that scenario Governor Romney has to keep President Obama with about 37 percent of the white vote. And President Obama at the moment is doing a little bit better than that.
If Governor Romney can adjust that math, if he can get a higher percent of the Latino vote. This is not all his fault. This is a Republican crisis, that he inherited, that he hasn't done. If you talk to people in the Latino community, out of Navarro (ph), our contributors (ph) will say why isn't he doing more, why isn't he trying more? And a lot of Latinos looking at the convention, line up in a very important state in Florida. Yes, Marco Rubio, yes a few others, but they think there should be even more.
BOLDUAN: And if you look also at the polls, it breaks down, how the president's doing, how they're both doing in terms of the economy among Latino voters. The president still has a very high approval rating on that and how he's handling the economy.
But look at the unemployment rate on Hispanics, it's at 10.3 percent. How is that possible?
KING: The unemployment rate, African-American/Latino unemployment, the highest subsets of the economy. And yet two of the president's most loyal constituencies. Why? He said he would introduce comprehensive immigration reform in his first year. He broke that promise to the Latino community. He recently did the DREAM Act for executive powers. But when you talk to Latinos in the states, they'll tell you this. "We're mad at him, about a lot of things, but we have a relationship with him." There's a dialogue back and forth. There's no dialogue with Governor Romney.
HENDERSON: And if you look at Mitt Romney, he doesn't really have a history with Latinos in the way that McCain did, in the way that President Bush did. They were both from heavily Latino states. They had Latinos around them.
And so you wonder, I mean, you talk to Latino voters, as well, and they do think like there hasn't been a lot of reaching out, even to Latino Republicans. But there is a lot of discontent.
Also remember, that he was very -- Mitt Romney very critical of the choice of Sonia Sotomayor and the Supreme Court justice. And of course, a lot of Latinos see that as a part of history and a legacy. And so they do have disagreements with this president and some disappointment. But again, they do have things to point to, and they just don't with Mitt Romney.
BLITZER: Certainly an historic nomination, U.S. Supreme Court. Nia-Malika Henderson, thanks very much for coming in. Will you come back?
HENDERSON: Yes, absolutely.
BLITZER: John, will you come back?
BLITZER: Thanks very, very much.
We're also counting down to the Republican National Convention. Starting Monday night, 7 p.m. Eastern, I'll be in Tampa heading up our coverage, joined by Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, Candy Crowley, John King, of course, our expert political analysts, coverage you won't find anywhere else except right here on CNN. Also, speaking of the convention, we'll have the latest forecast. It is now in for now Tropical Storm Isaac. It's already slashing the Caribbean but expected to become a hurricane. That's raising big concerns at the site of the Republican convention in Tampa. We're about to show you why.
BLITZER: An intelligence bulletin by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security reflects concern about possible extremist violence at the political conventions. The bulletin says anarchists could try to use improvised explosive devices and says the FBI has intelligence about plans to try to close bridges in the Tampa Bay area during next week's Republican National Convention.
The FBI, by the way, routinely issues bulletins ahead of major events to warn local law enforcement of possible concerns.
Warnings are up in much of the Caribbean as Tropical Storm Isaac churns westward. The latest forecast shows it could be a hurricane as soon as tomorrow night. And lying at the center of the forecast cone is the site of next week's Republican convention in Tampa. The low- lying Tampa area, a hurricane there could certainly bring major flooding, and that's causing major safety concerns.
Let's bring in Brian Todd. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM looking at the possibilities. It's not pretty.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. This, you know, could be the second consecutive GOP convention compromised by a big storm. In 2008, much of the first night of the Republican convention was tossed out, because they didn't want the optics of opening those festivities while a hurricane hit Louisiana.
Well, this time the storm could hit right where the convention is being held, and it was demonstrated recently that Tampa is vulnerable to severe storm damage.
TODD (voice-over): This was only about eight weeks ago in Tampa. Bay Shore Boulevard, a main drag under water. This was no hurricane, but Tropical Storm Debby, which delivered significant flooding to downtown Tampa, just a few blocks from the "Tampa Bay Times" Forum, where the Republican National Convention will be held. If Tropical Storm Isaac turns into a hurricane as projected, Tampa could find itself in its crosshairs in the coming days.
BRIAN LAMARRE, METEOROLOGIST: With a Category 1 storm that could come our way, with a Hurricane Category 1, anywhere from three to six feet of flooding could impact this area.
TODD: Brian Lamarre, chief meteorologist with the National Weather Service's branch in Tampa, says that city is right at sea level in some places, just above it in others. (on camera) A worst-case scenario for Tampa, according to Lamarre and other experts, that a strong hurricane around Category 3 strength comes ashore right around here just north of Tampa. Now, because hurricanes churn in a counter clockwise motion in the northern hemisphere, they say that that could drive water from the Gulf of Mexico, up Tampa Bay, trap the water in Tampa Bay, flood this area near Tampa, downtown Tampa near the convention center. Then it would push water over this way, making this area of St. Petersburg into an island.
(voice-over): That has happened, but not for more than 80 years. In October 1921, a Category 3 hurricane slammed right into that point north of Tampa. Back then, this region was a lot less populated. Isaac's not projected to be that strong and may not even hit Tampa, but if it does, Lamarre says, storm surge is the No. 1 killer.
LAMARRE: A lot of people live and work right around the water, so a lot of people need to make sure that they get out in time before the hurricane comes their way.
TODD: Now, Tampa officials insist they are ready with solid evacuation routes planned for the people who already live there. But the challenge next week is going to be the 50,000 or so added people in the downtown Tampa area, most of them from out of town, in for the convention. So getting them evacuated may be problematic. Wolf and Kate could be among those people. I hope they have plans for you.
BLITZER: Well, do they have some extra plans for evacuation if it's necessary? We hope that doesn't happen, obviously.
TODD: Right. I spoke to someone in the Tampa mayor's office a short time ago. She said they do have those plans. They had to think it through. They had to go through all of that when they bid for the convention, but she was not able to give me specifics on what they're going to do with the out-of-town people, whether they're going to have you guys shelter in place, if they have to evacuate. An evacuation could be tricky. It could be buses. We don't know how they would do it. Sheltering in place sometimes is the best way to go.
BLITZER: I hope none of that materializes.
BLITZER: And that hurricane stays away from all of Florida, away from the Gulf Coast. Simply -- it's not necessarily going to happen. Right?
BURNETT: Couldn't have written this stuff. Goodness gracious.
BLITZER: All right, the youngest member of the GOP platform committee is speaking out about the party's controversial abortion stance, and she's going "OUTFRONT" with our own Erin Burnett tonight.
Erin, one of the stories you're following. Tell our viewers what's going on.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. It's pretty amazing. She was 22 years old. Stood up in front of the more than 100 members of the Republican committee yesterday; was the only person who mentioned Todd Akin and brought up the party's position on abortion.
But it's not just that. She's talking about a generational divide and what the Republican Party is going to become. A fascinating voice, and we're going to hear from her.
Plus Michelle Obama will be going to go tomorrow to Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to meet with families of those who died during the Sikh temple shooting. But there is one family who's very disappointed, feels this is a political move. Feels that the president didn't do enough to contrast it with what he did to the Aurora, Colorado, shooting.
We're going to be joined by a member of that family, and of course, we have the big and wonderful news to report on that shooting tonight, which is that the heroic police officer who took all of those bullets was released from the hospital just a couple of hours ago, Wolf.
Back to you.
BLITZER: We're going to see you right at the top of the hour, Eric. Thanks very much. You're going to be hanging out in Tampa next week. Let's hope that hurricane stays far, far away.
BURNETT: Yes, I know, Wolf. You know what? Maybe we should stop talking about it. Maybe that would be a better omen.
BLITZER: Maybe you're right. All right, Erin. Thanks very much.
BOLDUAN: The problem is, we will not be able to stop talking about it, though. That's for sure.
Also coming up, a playboy prince starts a bit of a royal scandal. Some racy photos of Prince Harry surfacing from a visit to Las Vegas.
BLITZER: Britain's Prince Harry right now at the center of a royal uproar sparked by nude photos of him at what appears to be a wild Las Vegas party. And it's just the latest in a series of controversies involving the third in line to the throne.
Let's bring in our own Piers Morgan, who knows a lot about this subject. The reaction from the royal -- from the royal family, what's going on over there, Piers? I know you've been checking it...
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Which subject do you think I'm expert in?
BLITZER: You're British. You must know a lot about the royal family. I'm an expert on the American families, if you will.
MORGAN: Well, I think, look, this is classic Prince Harry. He's a bit of a naughty boy. He's third in line to the throne so unlikely to be king in our lifetime, unless there's any great catastrophe. So he has a bit more license than his older brother, Prince William.
And look, I tried to get worked up about this. But the only sense of fury and indignation I managed to arouse in myself was at not getting an invitation to what looked like one of the great parties in Vegas history.
Because the reality is, he's 27 years old. He's a happily single man. He's in the British army. He's a very brave officer. He's been in the battlefields of Afghanistan. He's on leave. He's gone to Vegas. And Vegas is not renowned, Wolf, as you and I know, for its piano recitals or its poetry readings. You know, when in Vegas, you behave like most people do. And the only tragedy for him is that one of his friends in the hotel room has clearly produced a cell phone surreptitiously and stolen a few pictures.
And the secondary issue, I guess, is whether the media should run the pictures. And the interesting thing about this is everyone in America is running them, including CNN. But the British newspapers tonight are not running them. And that is a direct consequence of the hacking scandal and the latest inquiry, the big inquiry into press standards in Britain. And you really are seeing the shackling of the British media in a way that I find quite extraordinary. The idea that CNN would run these pictures and "The Sun" newspaper in Britain feels it can't is a fascinating development in the standards of the British press.
BOLDUAN: And Piers, do you think -- do you really think there's not going to be any fallout from this? I know we always say how big is the fallout going to be when Prince Harry's been showing up in the tabloids, you know, over the years? But what's your sense on that?
MORGAN: Well, I think the reality is, his grandmother will have a quiet word in his ear, I'm sure, because the queen will think this is a bit unseemly for a member of the royal family. I think he's more likely to get a kicking from his commanding officer when he gets back to his barracks, because certainly, the army will take a pretty dim view of the embarrassment factor of this for his regiment. And that would be expected.
But, again, this has only happened because he's Prince Harry. I mean, a lot of people go to Vegas and do silly things. He was apparently playing a game of strip billiards. Now, that's news to me. I suspect it's not news to Wolf Blitzer. But it's certainly not a -- not a sport that I've ever partaken in.
BLITZER: Billiards? I've heard of strip poker. The first time I've heard of strip billiards.
BOLDUAN: That's a very dangerous conversation here.
BLITZER: Quick question... MORGAN: We do know that -- we do know he's very bad at it, because he's stark naked. So clearly one of the worst players of strip billiards you've ever seen.
BLITZER: I spoke earlier with Richard Quest. He told me the British tabloids aren't even showing this picture.
MORGAN: Well, that's the extraordinary thing I was saying, is that the papers tonight have come out -- I just had word back from Britain. At least, I think, 90 percent of them aren't running it, because they feel that they've been kowtowed by the inquiry into press standards. So
you have this unique situation that certainly -- that I can remember as a former British tabloid editor, where the tabloids in Britain are not running this extraordinary set of pictures. But very respectable news organizations like CNN and others are all running them here and indeed internationally, including Britain. It's a bit of a farce.
BLITZER: Goes to show you what happens in Vegas doesn't always just stay in Vegas.
Hey, Piers, we'll see you at 9 p.m. Eastern later tonight, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." I'm sure you have a terrific show. And we'll be watching. Thank you.
MORGAN: Thanks, Wolf. Nice to talk to you. Take care. And you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
Also coming up, bad dogs find a new home and a huge audience on the Internet. CNN's Jeanne Moos coming up next.
BLITZER: Bad dogs going viral. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Humans aren't so appealing when they get shamed for bad behavior. But when a dog confesses, "I hid meat in the couch," there's no hiding the cute factor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He looks guilty.
MOOS: Here at the blog "Dogshaming," doggy sins ranging from sex -- "I hump every stuffed toy I find" -- to gluttony are celebrated. "I eat the trash." The grosser the cuter: "I ate baby poop."
Owners pose their pets behind shaming signs, often with evidence included in the photo. Sometimes they send a tag team of transgressors: "I puked in our crate"; "I ate it."
"I pooped by the elliptical machine"; "I ate a Herman Melville novel."
There are even murder confession: "We killed a mockingbird."
Sure, some say, "Aww, poor dogs" and complain of dogploitation.
(on camera) Some people think this is mean to the dogs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it isn't. No, if you take it with a grain of salt. I mean, look at that little thing.
MOOS (voice-over): Dog owners and dog walkers in Central Park had their share of shame-worthy stories. Take Kona (ph). He has a habit of jumping into dirty fountains.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took him to the Hudson River last week, and he started swimming to Jersey.
MOOS: She had to practically drag Kona (ph) out.
Barking is a particular "Dogshaming" topic: "I bark at doorbells on TV, but we've never had a doorbell." "I have beautiful eyes, and I bark at any stranger who looks into them. Ruff."
One of the most common misbehaviors seems to be eating underwear: "I am an underwear-eating jerk," accompanied by the chewed-up boxer briefs to prove it.
It's not eating but drinking that gets Daphne and Augustus in trouble at the toilet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She uses her nose. She pries the seat up. She lifts it. He comes up behind her, and they start drinking from the toilet bowl.
MOOS: As with humans, sex leads many dogs astray: "I humped a blind cocker spaniel's face." "I like to hump this cat."
But Romeo here has a different source of shame. Some dogs are scared of thunder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's [SIC] scared of his own (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Whenever he does, he literally leaps up from wherever he is and then searches around.
MOOS (on camera): Actually, Romeo is a two-sign dog.
(voice-over) He doesn't just like to watch his owner in the bedroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was licking my feet. They were hanging off the bed as I was...
MOOS: Who's giving who a tongue-lashing.
Jeanne Moos, CNN...
(on camera) I see why they call you Romeo.
(voice-over) ... New York.
BLITZER: That's it for us. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.