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Obama Condemns Anti-U.S. Protests; Refs Get It Wrong Again; Sniper Tactics In Syrian Civil War; Giving Chick-fil-A A Chance
Aired September 25, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Deb Feyerick. Good to see you.
And good to see all of you. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
We begin in New York City. Taking center stage in the presidential campaign, both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama making major foreign policy speeches today before global audiences. Romney at the Clinton Global Initiative, the president speaking there as well, but, more importantly, President Obama addressing the United Nations today. And he hit on a lot of topics -- Iran, talked Syria, condemned the deadly anti-American protests that rippled across the Muslim world. I want to play some of this for you because this is when the president gets personal. He's calling for patience and restraint.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yesterday we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As president of our country, and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day. And I will always defend their right to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: There was some applause afterwards. CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, there for me outside the U.N. today.
It's a very personal approach, Jessica, from the president, wouldn't you agree, putting himself out there, saying what he did?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He was explaining to the world, Brooke, American values, and U.S. -- the value of the freedom of expression, free speech, and also the American appreciation and protection for the freedom of religion. And so, yes, he did it in a personal way, and then he also explained that this is a video that he used the word disgusting. He called it crude. He said the U.S. government didn't endorse it. But we also, in this country, can't -- would never ban such a thing because that's not part of America's values.
And it was part of a larger outreach to the global audience that was watching him, calling on them and their leaders to embrace tolerance and freedom of expression in their own countries, Brooke. BALDWIN: As he is speaking to, now, of course, people globally, I want to point out these numbers, Jessica. These are numbers from "The Wall Street Journal," speaking of foreign policy here. You see the numbers. The president's foreign policy numbers dropping because you -- when they're asked if they approve of how the president is handling foreign policy, last month, you see, it was 54 percent, dropping to 49 percent in September. When we look at this, what can we make of this? What is driving the decline? And do you think today's speech at the U.N. help him -- helped him or hurt him?
YELLIN: Well, I think that the decline has, in part, to do with the fact that people are focusing in on foreign policy at a moment when there's a great deal of instability. Nothing drives a negative reaction from the American public more than the death of Americans. And so all they're hearing right now is bad news at a time the world is -- the nation's now focusing in during the election season.
And the president's gotten a lot of points for his foreign policy because he's had such a seemingly steady hand. Right now things seem so out of control overseas, it has tended to detract from that image of him as steady at the helm. This speech will probably help buffer his image and burnish his image as a steady leader, but world events will dictate that in the next few weeks more than anything else, Brooke.
BALDWIN: And then just simply, Jessica, what about the fact that here's the president, he's in New York, and right now, for a couple of days, many, many world leaders are in New York as well, of course, to attend the General Assembly. And a lot of critics have come forward and said, you know, why isn't he taking the time to meet with, you know, Netanyahu, President -- Hamid Karzai, et cetera, when instead, you know, we see him, as Republicans would like to point out, you know, showing up on "The View." Why is this happening this time?
YELLIN: Right. You know, it's a safe approach. It's the safe -- it's unusual. When George Bush was running for re-election in 2004, he took a nearly half dozen meetings with foreign leaders, one on one. Foreign policy was more important to voters at that time than foreign policy is to voters today. So you could make that argument.
But for the president, you can see that potentially no good could come of a meeting with a foreign leader, say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, if it goes awry. That could create news on the campaign trail. So if he does not take a meeting, nothing can go awry. And if he blows off all the leaders, then no one individual can take offense. He can say, no, no, I was just in and out of town. That's the approach they've taken. And understandably, they're taking deserved heat for it, Brooke. I don't think it will last though.
BALDWIN: You don't think it will last? They are indeed taking heat, Jessica Yellin. That is certain. We'll talk to you next hour.
YELLIN: You know what, today he's here --
BALDWIN: We'll talk to you -- I know, in the thick of things.
YELLIN: It's a few days. It is short (ph).
BALDWIN: What are we, 42 days to go. No surprise either way.
BALDWIN: Jessica Yellin for me outside the United Nations. Appreciate it. We'll see you next hour.
Meantime, a lot more happening this hour, including this.
As critic takes on Chick-fil-A, I'll speak with one student who's a key player in talks over whether the chain should stay on college campuses.
Plus, as voters start registering today, millions of Latinos may not get the chance. Wilmer Valdarama (ph) joins me live on his fight.
One soldier says he's ready to die for his country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): In Homs they run for their lives, and we do too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: We're giving you an inside look at the sniper threat in Syria.
BALDWIN: We only thought those NFL replacement refs were bad, but "Monday Night Football" gave us the moment everybody feared. You might want to get the kids out of the room if they are Packers fans. Move them away from the screen, because I'm going to play this for you one more time. This is the scene. Time expiring. Last play of the game. Green Bay leading Seattle 12-7. Seattle throws. The last ditch hail mary pass. There it goes. There it goes into the end zone there. And it is caught. Everyone sees the pass get intercepted by the Packers. Everyone.
Look at the refs, two different sides. Everyone, that is, but the two replacement officials standing just a couple feet away. Watch it again with me. And then wait for the refs. One calls the touchdown. Another angle. One calls it an interception. After a delay, and a check of the instant replay, it is ruled a touchdown. Seattle wins. Chaos on the field. Fans go crazy. Packer players, they're stunned. And the rest of us wondering when is this going to end?
So we wanted to talk to a football legend to talk about this. Hall of famer, three-time Super Bowl quarterback Fran Tarkenton.
It is such a pleasure, such an honor to meet you.
FRAN TARKENTON, NFL HALL OF FAME QUARTERBACK: I'm a legend in my own mind, that's it. BALDWIN: You're a legend to us, Fran. You're a legend to us. And I was asking you in the commercial break, were you screaming at the television along with the rest of America?
TARKENTON: Yes. Well, I'm not a great Packer fan, because I've played against them so many years. I'm a Viking. But in football, we play 16 games. We don't play 162 games like baseball. Wins are precious. Wins on the road are more precious. This win was taken away from the Packers.
BALDWIN: It was taken away?
TARKENTON: Clearly. It was the last play of the game. Packers are ahead 12-7. And the Green Bay Packer intercepted the ball, brought it to himself.
TARKENTON: Clearly it was an interception. Now, here's what -- see, this play is not really -- when the referee on the field signals the touchdown --
TARKENTON: It's not reviewable. They cannot change it. That's a stupid rule. Because when you saw the replay, everybody knew that it was an interception, not a joint possession. And so the Packers, you know, get stuck with a loss and the Seattle Seahawks get a reprieve.
BALDWIN: Get the win.
So you mentioned the 16 games, right, very unlike baseball where you play however many.
TARKENTON: Yes. Yes. One hundred and sixty-two.
BALDWIN: This is a precious few. You train, you practice, there's the risk of injury. I mean just explain -- get -- help me get inside the mind of a player right now.
TARKENTON: You practice -- what you do -- you play -- you practice for 12 months.
BALDWIN: Twelve months.
TARKENTON: But we only play 16 days a year. So these games are critical. And --
BALDWIN: Would you be screaming at the refs if you were on the field right now?
TARKENTON: Well, yes, because these games affect coaches' careers, they may get fired or rehired. The fans go crazy. It affects the playoffs. You may -- that one game may keep you out of the playoffs, the chance for the Super Bowl. So many consequences of bad -- but we've seen it now for, what, three weeks. The calls have been awful. And the replacement officials have been terrible. The games have been going longer. Anywhere from three and a half hours to four hours for a game. It's just ridiculous. It's driving everybody in football crazy.
BALDWIN: Especially some of the players.
TARKENTON: Well, yes.
BALDWIN: Let me read a couple tweets. I don't know if you've been hip to Twitter in the last 24 hours, but let me just read to you. This is what Drew Brees is saying here. He's the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. "Ironic that our league punishes those based on conduct detrimental. Whose conduct is detrimental now?"
Reggie Bush says, "Refs single-handedly blew this one."
And just a few minutes ago, look at this, this has just come into us. President Obama himself took to Twitter. "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle, hope the refs lockout is settled soon." So the president, after speaking to the General Assembly of the United Nations, is tweeting about, you know, what he's been watching on the field. Do you think that the entire season is blown?
TARKENTON: No. This has been the most exciting start of any season I've ever seen. The games have been close. They've been competitive. Their level of play has been great. But the story, unfortunately, is the referees. If your story is the referees, it's bad.
Now, a few years ago, the baseball umpires were locked out and they just got rid of them and had --
BALDWIN: They chucked -- they chucked them all.
TARKENTON: Chucked them all and they had no problems. The NFL doesn't make many mistakes. They made a bad mistake this year on who they chose to be the replacement referees, how they trained them and how they got them ready to referee the games because now they are three weeks into the season and it's an unmitigated disaster. And the fans are affected. The players are affected. The coaches are affected. The credibility's affected.
Now, will that keep people from watching the NFL? No.
BALDWIN: No, but --
TARKENTON: It's the greatest game in the world. And if we want to watch NFL football, and I watched it until the last throw last night, and I --
BALDWIN: And that's when it happens, right, the (INAUDIBLE) games, Sunday night, Belichick grabbing the --
TARKENTON: And I was rooting -- and I was rooting -- oh, I was rooting for Seattle and it went the other way and I felt terrible. But, yes, Belichick couldn't get a referee to tell him why whatever happened happened there. It -- also the safety of the players. I saw Matt Schaub of the Houston Oilers have two of the hardest hits I've ever seen in my life. Could have been paralyzing hits. They got a 15- yard penalty, but they should have kicked them out of the game and should have suspended them.
BALDWIN: But, Fran, this is over, what is it, 16 million -- I'm looking down, 16 million in the next five years. So that's about half a million factored in per team.
BALDWIN: The league makes -- 30 seconds -- the league makes billions of dollars in revenue.
TARKENTON: Well, yes, but they got to be responsible business decisions. I mean these referees make $185,000 a year as a part-timer. And the real controversy is over a defined pension benefit, which corporations can't afford anymore. And they're breaking the country. And they say, we want to change it to a 401(k) plan and also have accountability where the commissioner can fire you for lack of performance. They got to have that accountability. And so these are real issues that I don't think the NFL should cave in just because of this and mess up their business model. And then it will be really bad.
BALDWIN: We shall see come Sunday --
BALDWIN: What happens, won't we?
TARKENTON: We will. I'm afraid of more of the same.
BALDWIN: Fran Tarkenton, thank you so much.
TARKENTON: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Thank you. Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): So in Homs they run for their lives, and we do too. But they've been doing it for longer than they ever expected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: We have been telling you these heartbreaking stories out of Syria. The stories of snipers hitting children. But coming up next, we're going to give you a chilling look at the other side. We follow the snipers themselves in Syria.
BALDWIN: Dozens of people are dead and more than a million more affected by devastating floods in India. The area hit the hardest is the Rajasthan state. This is in northeast India. The damage is also pretty bad right over the border in neighboring Pakistan. You see this. Floodwaters have reached rooftops in the northeastern Indian state of Assam. The monsoon rains also triggered multiple landslides in other areas, killing dozens of people. One hundred fifty thousand are hunkering down right now in relief camps.
And at least 50 people reportedly have been killed across Syria today. Add that to the death toll yesterday. That topped the 120 number. In addition to all the aerial bombing and shelling and makeshift explosives, both the Syrian army and the opposition employed one very dark and deadly tactic, snipers. The muzzles of their guns barely visible through the dilapidated and war-torn buildings all across the country. Adults are not the only ones in the crosshairs. As we have been reporting, children victims as well. ITN's Bill Neely has a chilling look from the sniper's perch.
BILL NEELY, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): He is ready to kill. A Syrian army sniper aims through a crack in the wall. This is the hidden front line. From their firing point, they target rebel positions just 50 yards away.
Every day, men die here. This is Homs, the heart of the war, and here it is stalemate. The streets here are so deadly, we move through holes in walls and houses, up to near darkness and another sniper. He waits in total silence.
It's never quiet for long. These Syrian troops are trying to take back whole districts the rebels have held for months. They are edgy. The rebels killed five of their men just hours earlier. So in Homs, they run for their lives, and we do too. But they've been doing it for longer than they ever expected.
NEELY (on camera): Why is the war lasting so long?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be continuing months, today, one year. We don't know. We don't know. I am ready to die. And all these person, ready to die for Syria.
NEELY: One and a half years after it began, and the battle for this city and for Syria grinds on relentlessly. The bombardment of Homs, the war here, is as intense as ever. These soldiers say they have the rebels trapped in this area and that the battle will be over soon.
NEELY (voice-over): Whole neighborhoods here are a wasteland. The signs of battle on every building. Few civilians remain. It's almost a shock to see them.
NEELY (on camera): In your heart, when you see your area like this --
SALEH SHATTOUR, HOMS RESIDENT: Well, I have no heart at all. Can't imagine these roads. I feel very sorry for what has happened. NEELY: How long will this go on for here?
SHATTOUR: I don't know. God alone knows. God alone knows.
NEELY (voice-over): The war here is almost macabre. Bizarrely, a mannequin marks the deadliest junction. But few places here are safe for anyone. So as world leaders at the United Nations begin to talk again of Syria, deadlocked in disagreement, the snipers on both sides take their positions. Death on their minds, victory in their sights.
Bill Neely, ITV News, Homs.
BALDWIN: Bill Neely, thank you.
So you have heard the fight over Chick-fil-A. Well, here's the deal. One guy has been in private negotiations with the company's CEO and it's all over whether the chain should be kicked off college campuses. We'll speak live with him next.
BALDWIN: The pressure is mounting now on Chick-fil-A from both sides of the same sex marriage debate. In this latest turn, a city leader in Chicago says Chick-fil-A's president is contradicting what company executives had promised the local politician for months and months. Alderman Joe Moreno says after 10 months of negotiations, Chick-fil-A, which wants to expand in Moreno's ward in Chicago, agreed to stop making donations to anti-gay groups. But then came this statement from Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A. Quote, "there continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain," it goes on, "permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions and we remain true to who we are and who we have been," end quote.
Cathy also tweeted out this photo last week of the WinShape Ride for the family, reportedly a fundraiser for a group that lobbies against same sex marriage. So, what side is Chick-fil-A on? Let's talk to Shawn Windmeyer. He's the executive director of the gay rights group Campus Pride. A group that had been protesting Chick-fil-A's restaurants on college campuses with its campaign, "Five Things You Should Know About Chick-fil-A."
So, Shane, welcome. And here's what makes you so unique is the fact that you have actually spoken with Dan Cathy as part of your negotiations, not once, but twice. You know, take me behind the scenes here and tell me what that was like.
SHANE WINDMEYER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CAMPUS PRIDE: Sure. Well, thank you, Brooke, for the opportunity to be on your -- the show today.
You know, I think it's important that people know that college campuses for over 10 years have had issues around Chick-fil-A. And so what happened in July with Dan Cathy expressing his personal views I think incited a lot of those college campuses to action. Our organization thought it was important to not talk about Dan Cathy's views, but to really to educate the consumer on five simple facts about Chick-fil-A. That being where their donations have gone to over the last, you know, roughly 10 years, being about $5 million to anti- gay groups and so we launched that campaign.
Recently, because of our two sit-down meetings in Atlanta with Chick-fil-A, we decided to suspend -- and I say suspend, we didn't end the campaign -- but we suspended the campaign -- we suspended the campaign because we're hopeful, but yet cautious, that those dialogues can lead to some sort of common ground.
BALDWIN: Before we get to what that common ground looks like, what was Dan Cathy like, just to look at face to face and to talk to?
WINDMEYER: Well, first of all, you know, Dan and I have spoke -- Mr. Cathy and I have spoke on the phone prior to those meetings. He reminds me of my -- my uncle. And keep in mind, I have a big family. My mom has 10 brothers and sisters and so my uncle is an evangelical minister.
WINDMEYER: And at the end of the day, we don't agree on much of anything. But when I go home at Christmas, he always asks me how I'm doing, how my partner -- my husband, Tom, is doing. You know, we've been together 17 years, so that's a lot of Christmases together. And I know that my uncle doesn't want any harm or hurt to come to me. And I truly believe in my heart Dan Cathy, you know, cares about everyone. He is a Christian, and not all Christians believe like Dan Cathy. And that's part of finding common ground is sitting down and putting down the picket signs to actually sit there and talk and see if we can come to some sort of understanding. And that's my goal.
BALDWIN: Shane, I think that means a lot what you're saying. And so if you are, you know, having talked to him twice and you have suspended your campaign, you are hopeful. What does that mean for you, for Campus Pride next? What's the next move?
WINDMEYER: Well, this is not a political game to us. I mean what happened to the alderman in Chicago is very much all political and about politics. For Campus Pride, it's about campus safety. And we have received reports -- one specific report of a campus that, you know, two students called an openly gay student on campus a derogatory term while holding up a Chick-fil-A bag and saying we love Chick-fil- A. And so this issue is about campus safety for us and helping make sure that all campuses that have Chick-fil-As, that the brand of Chick-fil-A doesn't become a hate symbol. And that's our concern and that's why we're sitting down to have this dialogue and being willing to -- at least for the moment, to see if we can find some common ground and to maybe find some future actions that we can both be proud of.
BALDWIN: So, 20 seconds, you have a friend, they say, I'm not eating Chick-fil-A anymore. You say? WINDMEYER: I say, you know, I respect your opinion not to eat Chick-Fil-A, and right now, I'm not eating Chick-Fil-A either, but it doesn't mean I'm not willing to sit down with the man and his company and try to find some sort of common ground.
BALDWIN: There you go, Shane Winmire of Campus Pride. Shane, thank you. We'll follow up with you and see where this goes. Thank you so much.
Coming up next, from that '70s show to the voting booth. Wilmer Valderrama joins me live on why he says political leaders do not take Hispanic voters seriously. That's next.
BALDWIN: All right, let me take you back to the race for the White House. Just very quickly, we are advancing our read on the state of play in Ohio. All together now with me, no Republican, not one, has ever won the race for the White House without winning Ohio.
Fact, as of today, President Obama has stretched his lead in the buckeye state, in our CNN poll of polls. So today, here, what we're showing, the president with a six-point lead, up from his five- point lead as of yesterday.
Why six points now? Here's why. The "Washington Post" has published a new poll showing the president building an eight-point lead in Ohio. That eight-point lead thus stretches our average, which has taken from a batch that includes "Washington Post," four other polls.
So six-point lead for Obama, 52-44, in Ohio. That's significant. OK, now, did you know this? Today is National Voter Registration Day, the first ever National Voter Registration Day. You have celebrities. You have civic organizations, grassroots groups, universities, all kinds of people encouraging folks to register and to commit to actually voting.
And how is this for words of encouragement to Latino-Americans. Quote, "We need for the Latino community to stop the BS and understand that the Latin community in America needs them to wake up and actually engage. I just don't think they understand how important it is that one vote actually does count."
Those strong words coming from my next guest, Wilmer Valderrama, actor, activist and the 2012 co-chair of Voto Latino. Wilmer, welcome. It's nice to meet you.
WILMER VALDERRAMA, ACTOR, ACTIVIST: Thank you very much. How are you?
BALDWIN: Good. I'm great. You say in that quote that Latino- Americans, you know, may not understand that their votes actually count. Why?
VALDERRAMA: Yes, I just think that a lot of it also comes from, I mean, heritage somehow. I think for the history of a lot of our culture in the United States. They have been somewhat an invincible engine to a lot of the working class and the working community.
And I think they have yet to understand that, they're just as part of this engine as any other citizen and hard working American. And I think it is through the last decade and a half, two decades really where we have seen the growth of the Hispanic and Latino community in the United States.
And become one of the most influential, you know, masses in the united states, 50 million deep and 50,000 young Latinos turning 18 every month, we're looking at a very influential mass. I think that they have yet to understand how big of a platform we have to really join the national community and the United States.
BALDWIN: Wilmer, I'm curious, we were talking at the commercial break, you were telling me how you came to the United States from Venezuela. And I'm just curious if any of this -- how personal this is for you did you ever at one point wonder does my vote really count?
VALDERRAMA: Yes, it goes back to, you know, I was raised in Venezuela. And I'm telling you understanding the best and worst of my country I grew up in and then understanding the best and the worst of the country I was born in, the United States.
In seeing how many we lacked in south America and the community to really engage with a political, you know -- a political front, I think it is a disconnect I never had in Venezuela and I feel like now being able to understand my platform and being able to understand my voice.
I feel like it is time to say, man, I'm a citizen, I live in this country like anybody else and let's really enjoy the gift we have of voting that some countries just don't really enjoy.
BALDWIN: I appreciate this is personal for you and I hear your passion. And I know you were just giving us some numbers, some statistics. Let me share some as well.
Just 50 percent of Latino-American voters went to the polls four years ago, in 2008. That was actually up from four years prior, but still well behind white voters, well behind black voters, you've been quoted as saying our political leaders don't take Latinos seriously. Wilmer, do you think that might be a reason why?
VALDERRAMA: Well, I think that they -- they probably might not be taking it as serious as we should be taken serious because of the same fault of us not showing up to the registration dates and showing to the voting booth.
I think this is the time and this is the opportunity, the Latin community really has, to come forth and actually join this national movement. I think that if we are going to really be part of the country, if we're going to claim this as our home, which we do.
And we are proud to be here and proud of the American flag, I think it is time for us to vote. It is time for us to register. It is time for us to embrace, you know, the message. And in this election, it is very, very crucial and it is a critical time for our country. We need to put the right guy in office.
BALDWIN: No matter which the right guy is, in your mind or somebody else's mind, vote, vote, vote. Wilmer Valderrama, thank you, sir.
VALDERRAMA: Thank you very much.
BALDWIN: Speaking of, President Obama and Mitt Romney, both taking the stage in New York at the Clinton Global Initiative today. You will hear how both men took on very, very serious topics.
Plus, the interesting comment Mitt Romney made just moments after Bill Clinton introduced him.
BALDWIN: The presidential campaigns really hit overdrive today. Both Mitt Romney, President Obama practically tripping over one another, both in New York City today, so much happening in just the course of a couple of hours.
We clocked it for you beginning at 7:00 this morning, Eastern Time, with the president on NBC's "Today" show talking education. Move that clock forward until 9:00 this morning Eastern Time, you find Mitt Romney speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative.
At 10:00 this morning, President Obama talking to the United Nations General Assembly saying that the United States, quote, "will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
At 11:00 this morning, the candidates in New York, appearances here, colliding, first you have the president and the first lady making a taped appearance on "The View."
And then Mitt Romney sitting down with Brian Williams at NBC for a live discussion on education. Couple of hours later, noon, the president takes his turn speaking before the Clinton Global Initiative.
I want to just play a little sound from that. This is when the president talks about the issue of human trafficking and slavery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill, or be killed, that's slavery.
When a little girl is sold by her impoverished family, girls my daughter's age, runs away from home or is lured by the false promise of a better life and then imprisoned in a brothel and tortured if she resists, that's slavery.
It is barbaric and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world. Our people and our children are not for sale. But for all the progress that we have made, the bitter truth is that trafficking also goes on right here, in the United States.
It is the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt to his trafficker, the man lured here with the promise of a job, his documents then taken and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen. The teenage girl beaten, forced to walk the streets. This should not be happening in the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That was the president speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. Now to Mitt Romney speaking at the same spot, I want you to listen here as Romney explains his view on foreign aid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise.
Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America's own economy.
And that is that free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Tackling some incredibly serious issues, but I want to let you know there was some levity at conference today, came from both candidates as former President Bill Clinton introduced them, take a look.
You see Romney and Clinton standing side by side on stage together. Bill Clinton makes the introduction and then listen to how Romney kicks off his remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Thank you, Mr. President. It is an honor to be here this morning and I appreciate your kind words and the introduction is very touching.
If there is one thing we have learned in this election season, by the way, it is that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good. All I got to do now is wait a couple of days for that bounce to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: When President Obama took the podium, he also joked about President Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: President Clinton, thank you for your very kind introduction. Though I have to admit, I really did like the speech a few weeks ago a little bit better. Afterwards somebody tweeted that somebody needs to make him secretary of explaining things although they didn't use the word things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Want to move along, speaking of the president, really this is a key piece of legislation under his four years, the -- what we now know is Obamacare.
We remember the day the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts voted in favor of the individual mandate that requires nearly everyone to carry health insurance.
We heard the ruling, the decision, but now we're learning of the private reasoning for the chief justices' decision and our senior legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, just wrote a book about it called "The Oath." He joins me next.
BALDWIN: They are the two biggest Supreme Court cases in recent memory, the Affordable Care Act and Citizens United. We have heard the rulings, decisions, but now we know the real reasons behind these two landmark decisions that impact nearly every single one of us, both now and into the future.
CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin lays it all out in his new book. It's called "The Oath, the Obama White House and the Supreme Court." Jeff Toobin swinging through Atlanta.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It is great to see you in person.
BALDWIN: It's great to have you here in person. Let's begin, obviously, with "The Oath." We remember the flub. It was January of '09. Just in case anyone forgot, let's watch again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: That I will execute --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Faithfully the -- the office of president of the United States -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: The office of the president of the United States faithfully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So before we talk about the redo, remind us what exactly happened?
TOOBIN: I have to say, I'm the first person to find out what really happened. It is a story about how you have to read the whole e-mail because what happened was the chief justice's assistant e- mailed precisely how he was going to divide up the words to a secretary in the office of the congressional committee that was handling the inauguration.
With an attachment explaining precisely how the oath would work. That secretary either never opened it or never forwarded it or deleted it, so Obama didn't know how Roberts was going to divide up the words and Obama kind of jumped the gun and Roberts became flustered. That's really what happened.
BALDWIN: So then they have to re-administer the oath, you have the picture in the book from sometime later in the White House. This is the first time that a chief justice has ever had to re-administer the oath, correct?
TOOBIN: First time the oath has been re-administered ever in the history of the country, yes.
BALDWIN: Roberts thought about bringing the text with him, it would have been the cautious thing to do but the chief justice was a proud man, goes on, Obama said we're going to do it very slowly, several onlookers looked at each other with raised eyebrows. The new president was a polite man, but his remark to the chief justice had an edge. What do you mean by that?
TOOBIN: They are incredibly similar in certain ways. They are similar generation, similar backgrounds, Harvard Law School, Harvard Law Review, but they're competitive.
And they see things very differently. John Roberts is a serious conservative. Barack Obama is a serious liberal. At that point, they didn't know about Citizens United.
They didn't know about the Affordable Care Act, but there was a competition between the two of them and in their polite respectful way, they both knew it.
BALDWIN: Let's get to the Affordable Care Act. June, major bombshell, you were at the Supreme Court, I remember on the steps because we all thought it was going to be Justice Kennedy with the swing vote instead it's the chief justice. Let me read here --
TOOBIN: You're very charitable to point out that I was not -- to not point out how completely wrong I was in my predictions.
BALDWIN: You asterisked in your book.
TOOBIN: I wanted everyone to know. My new practice is to predict only the past, not the future.
BALDWIN: A complete nullification of the health care law on the eve of a presidential election would put the court at the center of the campaign. As Chief Justice Roberts felt obligated to protect the institutional interests of the court, not just his own philosophical agenda, gradually then with more urgency Roberts began looking for a way out. Explain.
TOOBIN: Well, you remember the core of the argument was about does the commerce clause of article one of the constitution permit Congress to pass a law that has an individual mandate, a requirement that people buy health insurance.
The conservatives have argued for the duration of the litigation that, no, Congress doesn't have that power. It is unconstitutional. Roberts was sympathetic to that argument, but he wanted to find a way to uphold the law so the court would not be in the center of the political campaign.
So he found this secondary reason, the taxing power, that the -- the individual mandate was sustainable as a tax by Congress. It is an argument that not a lot of people found terribly persuasive.
But the four liberals joined with him so you had this very odd pairing of the chief justice, very conservative with the four liberal members of the court.
And it not only saved the Obamacare law, but it kept the court out of the political fray and I think that was an important goal of Chief Justice Roberts.
BALDWIN: OK, and you obviously write so much about Citizens United. Just quickly, have you gotten any feedback from the justices after writing all these details?
TOOBIN: Well, the book only has been out for about six days. I've received one note from one justice, and I would characterize that note as polite, but it was not an endorsement of my findings or my conclusions. So it is just -- I'm one for the court, but I usually hear from them by the end --
BALDWIN: Called "The Oath," you will be at the Carter Center tonight at what time?
TOOBIN: At 7:00.
BALDWIN: If you're in Atlanta, go find Mr. Toobin. Always a pleasure.
TOOBIN: Great to see you.
BALDWIN: Thank you, sir. Moving on to Iran, as Iran's president gets ready to speak to the United Nations, there is a father on his death bed, right here, in the United States, asking Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to grant him one final wish.
BALDWIN: When it comes to paying for college, I know a lot of you can relate to this, many Americans find they are either not poor enough for financial aid or rich enough to pay cash.
And as President Obama, Mitt Romney get ready to face off in the first presidential debate one week from tomorrow, Christine Romans digs on each man's position on helping students pay for college.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Jackie Giovanniello graduated from Brown University this year, she put off going straight to medical school. Instead she took a research job at Sloan Kettering Hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was nice to have a paying job where I can pay back part of my student loans before going to med school and possibly adding on a lot more.
ROMANS: She had plenty of them, $100,000 worth. Why? Her family is middle class. Her mother works in a school. Her dad owns a bar. She says they are considered too wealthy to qualify for many grants, but she says not wealthy enough to have saved the money for more than $50,000 a year to attend Brown.
JACKIE GIOVANNIELLO, GRADUATE IN DEBT: You are in the middle class. You are a normal suburban family. You just don't make an outrageous amount of money so you can't pay for these outrageous prices for tuition, you know.
ROMANS: She is not alone. Student loan debt hit a trillion dollars last year. Even tuition for public four-year colleges rose 68 percent over the last decade. Enter the presidential campaign with college affordability a key issue for younger voters.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I want to make college more affordable important for every young person who has the initiative and drive to go and make sure they are not burdened by thousands of dollars worth of debt.
ROMANS: President Obama has expanded Pell grants and cut out the banks as middlemen for loans allowing students to borrow directly from the government. Now Obama proposes to slow tuition growth by increasing state grants. Yet, he would need Congress to help fund that.
ROMNEY: I'm not going to go out and promise all sorts of free stuff that I know you're going to end up paying for. What I want to do is give you a great job so you will be able to pay it back yourself.
ROMANS: Mitt Romney's plan: to help students, remove burdensome regulations and get the government out of the student loan business. Romney says the flood of federal dollars just drives up tuition.
Molly Corbett Broad of the American Council on Education says the recession's heavy toll on state budgets is also a factor.
MOLLY CORBETT BROAD, AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EDUCATION: When the state reduces its support, the only other place to turn for most colleges in the public sector is to increase tuition.
ROMANS: Either way, students like Jackie feel left out in the cold.
JACKIE GIOVANNELO, STUDENT: A lot of people who don't have students in college or don't have kids my age just think, like, oh, you're either wealthy enough to go to college or you get financial aid from the government, and it is that simple. But it is not that simple.
ROMANS: Christine Romans, CNN, New York.