Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Romney: 47 Percent "Believe They Are Victims"; Romney Defends Hidden Camera Remarks; Obesity Problem Could Get A Lot Worse; Chicago to go to Court to End Teacher Strike; Obama Beats Bush On Jobs Record; "The Hope And The Change"; Citizens United Film Released; Video Shows Libyans Trying to Help Stevens; "It's not Elegantly Stated"; "The Voice" Gets New Judges; Winning Gold at the Paralympics

Aired September 18, 2012 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM, Mitt Romney's on the defensive this morning. He's trying to set the record straight and clear up some comments he made while secretly being recorded. Plus this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It isn't working. It's not working.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hole is only getting bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's almost like buyer's remorse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama let me down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Plus, there's a new anti-Obama documentary set to air this week. It's called "Hope and Change," and you can watch it from your living room. It focuses on swing state voters and President Obama's first term. You'll hear from the men behind it live.

And she may have lost her legs to Lyme disease, but that did not stop her from winning a gold medal in swimming. Victoria Arlen is a proud paralympic athlete. I'll talk to her live later this hour. NEWSROOM begins now.

Good morning and thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello. We begin, of course, with Mitt Romney and his late night defense of some remarks he never wanted you to hear.

They come from a hidden camera at a closed-door meeting with big wealthy donors. Romney rips nearly half of all Americans saying they're in the bag for Obama because they rely on government handouts. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They are victims who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it.

It's an entitlement. And think government should give it to them and they will vote for this president no matter what. I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax, 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. So he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years.

And so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 percent to 10 percent in the center.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Last night, Governor Romney rushed to defend his remarks in a hastily called news conference. He said that number, 47 percent, is accurate. We'll check his math in just a minute. But Romney may have a harder time defending this comment he called a joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: My dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta is traveling with the Romney campaign. He joins us live by phone from Costa Mesa, California.

Jim, I understand Mother Jones, the web site that released these secretly video videos, is going to release more.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): That's right, Carol. That's what they have been saying. And overnight, they did release an additional video of Mitt Romney at what appears to be the same fund-raiser where he made some of these comments about people being dependent on the government.

He talks in this new video on the Mother Jones web site about the two- state solution, the prospect for peace between Israelis and Palestinians and I'll talk about that in just a moment.

But first let me just give you a taste of this news conference that Mitt Romney held last night. As you said, it was hastily arranged. Reporters were given 15 to 20 minutes' heads up.

There were many reporters who rushed into the room in their workout clothes because they had thought they were done for the day and gone and started to enjoy their evening. And they were rushed into this room to this news conference. And that is where Mitt Romney was asked by reporters, pressed a couple of times as to whether or not he defends those remarks. And he said during the news conference that basically yes. He didn't apologize or walk back his remarks.

He said that these are things that he has said before. But at the very end of the news conference, he was asked whether he felt that maybe he had offended some of these 47 percent of Americans who are going to support the president, in his words, and here's what he had to say to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: You know, it's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I'm sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that.

And so I'm sure I'll point that out as time goes on. We don't even have the question given the snippet there, nor the full response. And I hope the person who has the video would put out the full -- the full material.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, I will tell you, Carol, that about that video that you showed of Mitt Romney talking about what his political prospects might be like where he Latino, he did not take any questions on that.

Reporters tried to ask that question as he was leaving the room. And one final interesting thing to point out, Carol, the Romney campaign announced late yesterday that they're going to start to allow reporters to bring video cameras into some of his fundraisers.

This is something that the campaign has resisted doing before. They've been working with the press, going back and forth trying to work out some arrangements for doing this. And now we're being told that as of today, starting today, they're going to start allowing video cameras into some of these fundraisers.

So perhaps we might be able to see some of what Romney has been saying behind closed doors. There seems to be this issue of whether or not he's saying certain things to people behind closed doors at these fundraisers versus what he's saying out in public -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, but I'm guessing if he allows cameras into these fundraisers, these remarks aren't going to be so spontaneous.

ACOSTA: That's possible. You know, and that does, you know, bring up this issue of what was raised in this new Mother Jones video because that is about Israel and the prospects for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

He told our Wolf Blitzer over the summer, I was with Mitt Romney in July, and so was Wolf Blitzer over in Israel. He told Wolf Blitzer that he believed in a two-state solution. But if you look at this video on the Mother Jones web site, he is very much throwing cold water on the prospects for a two-state solution. And let's listen to a little bit of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to seek peace anyway for political purposes. Committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way, all right.

We have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don't go to war and try to resolve it imminently.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: So you hear Mitt Romney there raising his own concerns about this prospect for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. I did have a chance to e-mail very quickly a Romney adviser about all of this.

It's going to sound very familiar, Carol, in terms of their response. They are saying what Mitt Romney had to say in the video is consistent with what he said before on this issue -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I'm sure there will be a lot more talk about that issue today. Jim Acosta reporting live from California.

Mitt Romney's disparaging remarks on the so-called 47 percent of Americans relying on the government, is it true? Is it false? Let's crunch the numbers and check the facts.

Alison Kosik is live at the New York Stock Exchange with a look.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Carol, we have been crunching the numbers. First of all, it turns out that Romney is right when it comes to the numbers, 46.4 percent of Americans, they don't pay federal income taxes.

That is according to the Tax Policy Center. So who are these people? These are people who are mostly low and lower middle-income earners. And about half don't pay income taxes because they don't make enough money.

Now, the other half, they can claim enough tax deductions to bring their tax liability to nothing. But one thing to keep in mind here, these people do pay other types of taxes. They pay state and local income taxes.

They pay sales and property taxes and more than 28 percent of those households pay payroll taxes. That comes out of their checks. Those taxes fund Social Security and Medicare, so that means they have jobs.

All right, so who's left not paying either income taxes or payroll taxes? That's the elderly and people making less than $20,000 a year. Just keep in mind, Carol, there's nothing sinister about this. This is how the U.S. tax code is designed -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Alison Kosik live from the New York Stock Exchange, thank you.

Now to some more numbers that are making headlines for an entirely different reason this morning. A new report predicts six out of every 10 adults in 13 states will be obese by the year 2030.

Another five out of every 10 adults will be obese in 39 states. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here. They're just eye-popping numbers.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They are. They're eye-popping numbers. It's hard to sit here, I must say, year after year, giving eye-popping numbers because these numbers continue to be bad.

Now, this study is a little bit different because it gives projections. This is by a group called Trust for America's Health, and projecting things is always tricky business, but they're using CDC data to look into the future.

One of the things I found interesting about this is that the obesity epidemic is not the same from state to state. Let's look at the two extremes, sort of the best state and the worst state, all right?

So Colorado, let's take a look at 2011 first. Mississippi, high rates of obesity, 34.9 percent obesity rate versus Colorado, 20.7 percent. Now, by 2030, those numbers are expected to go up in both states.

So 34 percent becomes 66 percent in Mississippi and 20 percent becomes 44 percent in Colorado so both states going up, but still, a pretty big difference.

COSTELLO: It's just incredible. So I'm going to ask you the impossible question. What can be done?

COHEN: You know, all the suggestions for what can be done are the same kinds of things that we've heard before. More sidewalks so kids can walk to school. Healthier school lunches, you know, all of those kinds of things.

They'll be making the foods that we buy healthier. It's all the same things that we've heard before, and have happened slowly, but many say need to happen more quickly now.

COSTELLO: OK, so I don't hear either presidential candidate talking much about the obesity crisis in the United States. I hear one candidate's wife talking about it a lot, but that's about it.

COHEN: It is interesting because this is one of the biggest public health threats in this country is obesity. And you don't hear a lot about it, but we asked questions and looked around. And so, you know, that candidate's wife, Obama's wife, has the let's move campaign, and President Obama has said that he wants to continue to change school lunches, something he's already started.

We went to the Romney campaign's web site and saw nothing about obesity. We reached out and sent e-mails to his spokesperson saying, this is a big problem. What are you going to do about it if elected? We got no response from his campaign.

COSTELLO: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

In Chicago, we've heard from the teachers who have been on strike for more than a week. We've also heard from the city going to court to force an end to that strike, and now we're hearing from other people who also want the kids back in school.

Kyung Lah is covering the strike. I would imagine parents are getting pretty fed up, right?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, we've spoken to some parents, Carol, who still support the union, but we also sat down with another group of parents, about a dozen of them last night gathering at a home, a very informal gathering, saying, look, enough is enough.

Sure, the city is now going to court, yes, the union is looking at this contract line by line, but what these parents say is being lost is that they and their children are the ones paying the price. Here's what one parent told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICIA O'KEEFE, PARENT: Parents need to get out there and have their voices heard. We need to get the children back in school. Bottom line, it's as simple as that.

And if parents sit on the sidelines, the pressure's off, and there's no sense of urgency anymore. We're going to just keep delaying this. We have got to turn up the heat, and parents have got to speak up. And we have to end the strike and get the students back in school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: So could this strike end? Well, we should know sometime this afternoon. At about 3:00 local time, the union delegates are going to meet in this building behind me. There are about 800 of them.

And they have spent the last two days looking over this contract, talking to their members, and they're going to vote on whether or not to end the strike.

They don't actually vote on the agreement, but they're going to vote on whether or not to end the strike. So we should have some answer in about four, five hours, Carol, on whether or not this strike in the nation's third largest school district affecting 350,000 schoolchildren will continue.

COSTELLO: OK. We'll check back. Kyung Lah reporting live from Chicago.

Remember the controversial Supreme Court decision on Citizens United? Yes, you do. That's the one that allows corporations to donate unlimited amounts to political campaigns.

Well, the guys behind that have made a film about President Obama. We're going to talk to them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: It is 15 minutes past the hour. Checking our top stories now. The Romney campaign is on the defensive this morning over the release of secretly recorded tape of Mr. Romney speaking to big-money donors at a fundraiser a few months ago.

Romney saying his controversial remarks about nearly half of Americans were not elegantly stated and that he wants to help all Americans.

Veteran soap opera actor John Ingle famous for his 19-year run as Edward Quartermaine on ABC's "General Hospital" died from cancer at his home in Los Angeles. His last appearance on the long running daytime soap opera was just last Tuesday. Ingle was 84 years old.

It turns out President Obama's jobs record isn't the worst since the great depression. In fact, President Bush faced a bigger gap eight years ago.

Doing the math, private sector payrolls cut 1.6 billion jobs during Bush's first term while Obama's added 415,000. Of course, it's the unemployment rate that cannot be ignored. In 2004, it was 5.4 percent. Today it is 8.1 percent.

Less than 50 days to go to the election, and the president of Citizens United, the group responsible for that landmark Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to donate to campaigns, is back with a new hour-long documentary on President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As time went on, you know, I started to see the bailouts finished and then I saw unemployment rising and rising.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he is in over his head.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think he was well prepared for these problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think that I got what I was expecting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: The film premiered at the Republican National Convention, but it features only Democrats and independent voters. It's set to get a wider release now, running on six cable networks and some local TV stations. ' Joining me now are the director of the film, Steven Bannan who, by the way, also directed the Sarah Palin movie, "The Undefeated," and the president of Citizens United, David Bossie. Welcome to you both.

Thanks for being here this morning. You tried to do something similar to this in 2008 with a film about Hillary Clinton, and it was barred by the courts.

After the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, though, now you can put films like this on television. Not many people realize this, but that -- what was really behind your fight all the way to the Supreme Court, right, David?

DAVID BOSSIE, PRESIDENT, CITIZENS UNITED: It really was, Carol. Thank you for pointing that out. Most people don't and let me just say, before Citizens United, in your intro, before Citizens United, the Supreme Court case, corporations could not give to campaigns. And since citizens united, corporations cannot give to campaigns.

Corporations can give to new organizations that are these outside groups, but not directly to campaigns. I think it's important that people understand the difference, so I appreciate that.

But our case was about making movies and their ads. And that's really what it comes down to. Michael Moore, I love to say this, had the right to make "Fahrenheit 9/11" in 2004. We didn't have the right to make a movie about Hillary Clinton.

So we felt we had to go to the Supreme Court. It was a violation of our first amendment rights.

COSTELLO: That movie was made during the primary, right, and that was the difference between the two documentaries.

BOSSIE: Actually they were both during the elections cycle. Michael Moore's film came out during the summer of 2004 right before the conventions, right in the height. And by the way, Michael Moore wants to enter the marketplace, and so do I.

At the time the American people care about these issues and care about these elections. So it's not hard to imagine that people on the left and on the right want to participate in the conversation through film.

And that's really what this film is about, "The Hope and The Change" is the first time since our supreme court case we're able to have a film. And this film is going to be tonight 7:00 Eastern on HD Net movies, and we're really proud of that fact.

COSTELLO: And David, who's in the movie?

BOSSIE: What we did is Steve and I spent about a year going across the country in battleground states and so there are no Republicans in the film, no members of the Tea Party, no conservatives whatsoever. These people are all 100 percent Democrats and independents.

Every one of them voted for Barack Obama in 2008. And they naturally wanted to support him then, and they wanted to support him during his presidency. And after four years, these people tell their story of disappointment.

This film is truly more in sorrow than in anger. They want him to succeed. He just didn't in their mind.

COSTELLO: And, of course, that's a way to get those people who are undecided in the selection to vote for Governor Romney, right? That's really the point.

STEPHEN BANNON, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, BRIETBART NEWS: Carol, I think really is that a year ago when we started thinking about this, we kind of figured what was going to be the most important aspects of the final days, the final 90 days of the election.

And we figured that David Axelrod would have to solve for that part of the equation. But these are folks that really voted for President Obama. And so we wanted to go out.

And that's why we hired Pat Caddell and Kendra Stewart who were Democratic strategists and pollsters to really run these focus groups. And we wanted to see people either leaning towards voting for President Obama or not voting towards President Obama.

COSTELLO: So let's talk about the people in your film because you want these people, of course, to vote for Governor Romney. Governor Romney --

BOSSIE: Well, no.

COSTELLO: Just let me ask you this question.

BOSSIE: I'm sorry, go ahead.

COSTELLO: So Governor Romney is secretly recorded at this -- at this donor event in front of wealthy donors. And you know what he said by now. I think everybody knows. He said there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.

All right, there are 47 percent of the people who are with him who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.

Who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. He's -- isn't he talking about some of the people who are in your film?

BOSSIE: No, I don't think so. I don't think so at all.

COSTELLO: Really?

BOSSIE: First of all --

COSTELLO: You don't think those people --

BOSSIE: These people in our film -- COSTELLO: You don't think those people, I mean, some of them don't pay income tax because they don't make enough money?

BOSSIE: I think what Mitt Romney is trying to say is that it's better to grow the pie. It's better to create good jobs. It's better to create opportunities for people, entrepreneurs, small businessmen.

And women across America to be able to grow the tax base as opposed to having more and more and more people live off a smaller group of people who are paying taxes. That's fundamentally a conservative principle and quite frankly a smart economic principle that president Obama doesn't realize.

And that's why our economy continues to tank. So all I'm saying is, I don't know what Mitt Romney said every single word. It doesn't matter. The principle behind what he said is, more people are drinking the water than carrying the water.

COSTELLO: How could you say it doesn't matter? He's calling half the country victims.

BOSSIE: No, what he's doing is --

COSTELLO: Who live on the government dole? He has to be president to all Americans, doesn't he?

BOSSIE: Of course, he does. What he's doing is he's pointing out the fact that Barack Obama has more people on welfare, more people on food stamps, more people in the unemployment lines than if his policies were put into place. And that's, I think, clearly what he was saying.

COSTELLO: But people he is talking about are people who have jobs and pay payroll taxes and other kinds of taxes. It's not like they're doing nothing. They're working really hard for very little money, and they get tax breaks just like the wealthiest Americans have tax breaks.

BOSSIE: And what Mitt Romney's trying to do is create policies if he becomes president, and I'm not his spokesman by any stretch of the word. I'm a guy shooting from the hip here. I think that he wants to create policies, if he becomes president that allows more people to cross over into the 53 percent.

Because if we can grow that pie, if we can have those people earn more, be able to get better jobs, better education, to be able to earn more, then they're going to be able to participate as the 53 percent. I go back to -- it's more people drinking the water than carrying the water and at a certain point, you can't continue that.

COSTELLO: And Stephen, just a last word, the people in your film, since supposedly you supervised this or interviewed some of them, if they listen to those remarks by Mitt Romney, how would they feel?

BANNON: Carol, I think the people in the film, you know, are working- class Democrats, middle-class Democrats and independents who lean democratic. These are hardworking Americans. I didn't find the entire year that we took to make this film that they're looking for more government entitlements or more ways to be dependent upon the government. I mean, these are hardworking people who, quite frankly, really supported the president trying to bring the country together and trying to focus on the economy.

And I think when you hear in their own voice that the country is more divided and that the economy is worse and that the jobs are not being created.

I think the power that comes through in their voice is they think he has not lived up to the expectations they had for him. So I'm not familiar, really, with Governor Romney's remarks. This film's not a pro-Romney film. This film is very much --

BOSSIE: We don't talk about him at all.

BANNON: This is a film very much in the voice of working men and women in this country.

COSTELLO: Come on. Come on. Come on.

BANNON: This is not --

COSTELLO: Come on.

BOSSIE: Carol, we really wanted to make a film and have people really explain -- and I think one of the powers of the film, both liberals and conservatives have seen it, is that away from the political class of both parties.

And away from the media class, the pro wrestling that takes place every day on cable and talk radio, you really hear the agony, angst and trepidation that the middle class and the working-class people in this country have with this financial crisis we're in.

COSTELLO: OK, thanks to both of you for being with us this morning. Stephen Bannon and Davi Bossie, thanks so much.

Dramatic video out of Libya this morning shows a group of Libyan men apparently trying to rescue U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. We'll show you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, is the Romney tape a game changer?

A new political catchphrase has been born. Makers versus takers and Democrats love it. Calling the secretly recorded Romney tapes the Mother Jones scoop the mother of all political gaffes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: But Governor Romney is not backing down. He says although his comments were not elegantly stated, they're in line with what he's been saying all along.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits, or do you believe instead in a free enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams? I believe the latter will help more people get good jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Many Republicans are applauding Romney for telling it like it is. And let's face it. Many voters feel Americans have grown too dependent on government.

A near record 46.4 million people are now on food stamps and who can forget the bitter partisan brawl over extending long term unemployment benefits.

Still when you take a closer look at Romney's assertion that 47 percent of people, quote, "Pay no income taxes and are dependent on government", that's not quite true. More than a quarter of those people have jobs, and they pay payroll taxes. 10 percent are elderly who collect Social Security after paying into that entitlement. Boil it down and just about seven percent pay neither payroll nor income tax.

When all is said and done, though, haven't we been down this road before? We just didn't call it makers versus takers. We called it Main Street versus Wall Street or the rich against the poor.

The "Talk Back" question for you this morning, "Is the Romney tape a game changer?" Facebook.com/CarolCNN. Facebook.com/CarolCNN. Your comments later this hour.

It is the speech that everyone is talking about this morning. We'll talk more about that after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Thirty-four minutes past the hour. Checking our "Top Stories" now.

Mitt Romney not apologizing for some rather blunt statements he made at a fund-raiser. He was caught on hidden camera saying that 47 percent of Americans would vote for President Obama because they didn't have to pay any income tax and depended on government handouts.

Romney says his comments were, quote, "not elegant, but he stands by them."

Apple hits another big milestone. The stock price hit an all-time high of more than $700 this morning. This is probably related to the record-breaking presales for Apple's new iPhone. The new Smartphone went on sale online last week, and online orders sold out in less than an hour. The iPhone 5 goes on sale in stores this Friday.

Some dramatic new video this morning from the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens last week in Libya.

CNN's Arwa Damon talked to a Libyan man who captured video of Libyans attempting to rescue him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After breaking through a window, men shout they have found a body. Suddenly one of them cries out, "He's alive. He's alive."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: You can see the men carrying the Ambassador out of the burning building. Stevens as you know later died from smoke inhalation at a nearby hospital.

Major damage control this morning for the Romney campaign after hidden video catches his comments from a private fund-raider, fundraiser rather and goes viral. Governor Romney was explaining how nearly half of all Americans are likely to vote for President Obama because they rely on the government for support.

Joining me now is Obama traveling press secretary, Jen Psaki. Welcome, Jen.

JEN PSAKI, TRAVELING SPOKESPERSON, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Good morning, Carol. How are you?

COSTELLO: I'm good. Thank you for being with us this morning.

Governor Romney came out, he clarified, called his comments inelegant, but he's standing by them. I mean, in your mind, does he need to apologize?

PSAKI: Carol, I have to say, you know, I've worked for the President for five and a half years. He ran to represent the entire country. Even when people don't agree with him, he wakes up every day wanting to solve the challenges of everybody in this country.

Mitt Romney wrote off nearly 50 percent of people in this country before he's even sworn into office. This is something that I think is shocking and really alarming to people who want to bring this country together and are scratching their heads about what he said.

COSTELLO: Well, I will say the fact remains there are more people on food stamps now than ever before. I mean does Romney, you know, as inelegantly, as he put it, does he have a point? A lot of people would say he does.

PSAKI: Look, I think what the people Mitt Romney was talking about, let me shine a little light on this. He's talking about military veterans who fight overseas and are supporting their families and come back. He's talking about seniors who've worked hard for 50 years and deserve the place they're in. He's talking about students who are working two jobs. These are the people he's talking about when he makes remarks like that.

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: But I think -- but I think, Jen, his underlying issue is that, that there are too many people dependent on the government these days. And when you look at the numbers for people on food stamps, it sort of bears it out in a lot of voters' minds.

PSAKI: Well, look. I think, that you know, that's an issue where you look at President Obama's plan for lifting up the middle class, for making sure they have tax incentives for making sure kids who don't have a chance can go to college, for making sure people have access to affordable health care. Those are helping people who need help the most.

The President, you know, he believes in the hard work and the entrepreneurship of the American people. But he also believes that we need to start from a point where we believe we're fighting for all people and not writing off 50 percent of this country, which is exactly what Mitt Romney was doing in his remarks.

COSTELLO: Well, on the subject of the President's plan to get the economy moving, it isn't working as fast as he would like. Still unemployment is 8.1 percent. The jobs situation is certainly not where it should be. Do you think those thoughtful voters that Mr. Romney mentioned in that hidden video will respond to the Governor's comments?

PSAKI: Look, I think any American out there, any middle-class American who's looking at the choice they're facing in November is looking at the President who is saying, I want to extend your tax cuts. I want to make sure you have access to affordable health care. I want to make sure that if you can stay in your home, we're going to help get you the assistance to do that. Mitt Romney on the --

COSTELLO: But -- but for many -- for many people, those efforts are agonizingly slow, at least, you know, when it comes to real life.

PSAKI: Oh well Carol --

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: I just want to ask you a last question before I have to let you go.

PSAKI: Sure.

COSTELLO: Remember back when President Obama made the comment about clinging to guns and religion? And he made it in sort of the same kind of setting that Governor Romney made his statements? I mean sometimes politicians say things that don't come out the right way.

PSAKI: Well, look that's -- what the President said then really lays out the fundamental difference between them. He was talking about how sometimes people in this country are frustrated, and we need to pull together and address these problems together.

Mitt Romney was saying something entirely different. He was saying, "I'm not worried about 50 percent of this country." So that really highlights the fundamental difference between the two of them.

COSTELLO: I don't think he was exactly saying that. He was saying they probably would not vote for him because they supported President Obama's policies. So he had to concentrate more on the thin slice of undecided voters that are out there. Isn't that what he was really saying?

PSAKI: Well, Carol, you can't start off the first day you're inaugurated and say, I'm not worried about those people. They're victims. They depend on the government. So I'm not worried about them. I'm going to govern for the rest. And so that's why I think these remarks really highlight and are so shocking to -- to people as they see them today.

COSTELLO: Jen Psaki, thank you for being with us this morning.

PSAKI: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: It's musical red chairs on NBC's "The Voice". We'll tell you who's coming and who's going.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: It's a case of musical chairs for NBC's hit show "The Voice." "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT'S" A.J. Hammer joins me now on who's in and who's out.

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Well, we have Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo Green taking a bit of a break. And the producers of the show Carol know they don't really have a choice but to let these stars take a break if they want to have big stars on board. Here's what the executive producer of the show Mark Burnett is saying, "Having award-winning artists as coaches means they need to be able to tour, whether in the red chair or on tour, our coaches have their chairs for life." And Christina and Cee-Lo say "They will be back in those chairs."

It's also hard to imagine the people replacing them Usher and Shakira will be available for really more than a season. Now Aguilera is taking the time off to release a new album and go out on tour. Cee-Lo really has this laundry list of project to fill his calendar including two albums. He's got a Las Vegas residency scheduled and a new NBC comedy and a memoir to work on.

But Carol, I do know he loves working on "The Voice". And obviously the exposure it's given him has been great for his career. So you know the one-season hiatus makes a lot of sense for him to really capitalize on all the momentum from the show and then just get back to it.

COSTELLO: Understandable.

Ok, let's talk about this -- it's move over Angry Birds and Hello Bad Piggies?

HAMMER: Yes bad piggies, now listen if you never played Angry Birds certainly you've at least heard of it. I mean, the game has been downloaded more than a billion, that's billion with a "b", more than a billion times.

If you are among the few unfamiliar with the game, well, the Angry Birds attack pigs in the game and now the maker of the game, Rovio, have announced that their newest game is putting the pigs front and center. And I, for one, say it's about time.

This game is called "Bad Piggies." It lets users create some kind of flying contraption. You get to use like wooden boxes and balloons and propellers, umbrellas, all sorts of things so you can fly the pigs through a maze. What could be more fun than that? I would say Carol given the track record, I assume this is going to be huge. It will be out so get ready to download it on September 27th.

COSTELLO: Yes, get ready for more mindless fun. The kind I like. A.J. Hammer, thank you so much.

HAMMER: You got it.

COSTELLO: A.J. on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, 11:00 Eastern on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: 47 minutes past the hour.

Checking our top stories now. The Romney campaign is rushing to defend comments made behind the closed doors of a fund-raiser. In one remark, Romney -- depending on your perspective -- rips nearly half of all Americans saying they're in the bag for Obama because they rely on government handouts. Romney says he could have phrased the argument better but says the 47 percent figure is accurate.

A French court has dropped the hammer on a magazine that published topless photos of Britain's Duchess of Cambridge. The French magazine, "Closer" is ordered to hand over the original photos to the royal family and pay about $2,600. The magazine faces daily fines if it waits.

And we have new pictures of the space shuttle Endeavour which is about to begin its final journey. It will leave the Kennedy Space Center tomorrow flying on top of a 747. It will make various stops on the way to the California Science Center. And there it will be placed on permanent display. We talked with swimmer Victoria Arlen after she set records at the U.S. Paralympics trials. Now she's back home after winning gold. She joins us to here tell us what that feels like.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: If you live with someone who snores, don't ignore it, even if you'd really like to. That's because it could be a warning sign for major health issues. Here's today's "Daily Dose".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. JEFFREY DURMER, FUSION SLEEP: Couples are now sleeping apart. About 25 percent of the time. And the major cause is likely related to snoring and restlessness.

And this is a shocking fact. About 50 percent of people snore in our culture. And it turns out snoring is not that innocent. That's one of the things to note, too, that snoring has some recent evidence that suggests that it increases the chances that your carotid artery, just by the vibration, most likely, will build up plaques causing a higher incidence of things like stroke or TIA -- transient ischemic attacks -- related to plaques that build up in the arteries.

If your spouse had problems with a health issue in the daytime, you would pay attention to it and drive them to the specialist to take care of it or their doctor to take care of it. The same thing happens at night. Snoring or restlessness, they're something that can easily be attributed to a condition that's treatable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: When the summer Olympics came to a close last month, London welcomed other world-class athletes for elite competition, the Paralympic Games had many wonderful stories, but one we followed closely is that of New Hampshire teenager Victoria Arlen.

Arlen was not expected to survive a battle with Lyme disease, and she even spent two years in a coma, but she came out of that determined to live life to the fullest, and that has certainly shown in her work in the pool, now culminating in a gold medal.

Victoria joins us this morning.

VICTORIA ARLEN, PARALYMPICS ATHLETE: Hi.

COSTELLO: Oh, congratulations. We talked with you before you left for London. So tell us what it was like there and what it was like to bite down on a gold medal.

ARLEN: It was amazing. It was definitely a surreal feeling that I will never forget. And I was really shocked when I touched and saw that I was first. So it was amazing. I loved every moment of it. COSTELLO: Tell us about your competitors. You've lost the use of your legs. Did everyone have the same disability in the swimming competition?

ARLEN: No. There was a vast range of disabilities and abilities in the classification that I was in. And there was a few that weren't using their legs, and some people had arms that didn't work. It was completely different. But it was great. I loved it.

COSTELLO: I can tell. You didn't start training for this so long ago. What is your secret?

ARLEN: I just love it and, you know, I'm really determined, you know, with all that I've gone through the past six years, you know, I've just been really determined, so I was determined to go after it. I was hungry for it.

COSTELLO: I'm sure you watched the "Blade Runner", so to speak, in the Olympics. What went through your mind when you saw him running around the track?

ARLEN: It was great. I mean, I loved watching him. He's an incredible runner and stuff. You're just in awe when you see all the athletes here because they're so fast and so amazing.

COSTELLO: So just tell us the secret to your great attitude, and you've overcome so much hardship. And you have such a positive outlook on life. What is your secret?

COSTELLO: I just -- you know, because I came so close to losing my life, I feel like I've been given a second chance. It's actually transverse myelitis that caused to become paralyzed and fight for my life. And you know, when you come to close to losing everything and you're given a second chance, every day is a gift for me. And every opportunity is a gift.

And I just love life. I'm so blessed and so thankful to be here that, you know, there's really nothing that can faze me now, especially with all that I've gone through, that everything is just incredible and amazing. It's a blessing.

COSTELLO: I'm going to call you every day from now on, Victoria. Victoria Arlen.

ARLEN: Ok.

COSTELLO: Victoria Arlen, congratulations and thank you so much for sharing this morning.

ARLEN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: Thank you. You're welcome.

Your responses to our "Talk Back" question next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question this morning, "Is the Romney tape a game changer?"

This from Sally. "I have been on both sides of that 47 percent who are dependent on the government. I am a small-town girl who went to college, married a military man and traveled the planet while working and raising my children."

This from Stephanie, "This is ridiculous. Romney is not going to take benefits away from people who actually need them. But he is going to create good jobs that give people a reason to get out of the welfare bus they have been riding for far too long."

This from JoAnn, "My parents worked their whole lives, took personal responsibility for their situations and are not victims who feel entitled. They are typical American seniors who collect social security, use Medicare and have pensions so small they are below the tax threshold. Don't make them sound like cheaters.

Facebook.com/CarolCNN, thank you for your comments. And thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

"CNN NEWSROOM" continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield.