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Mitt Romney Live From Virginia; Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmud Abbas to Speak at the U.N.; President Obama Live From Virginia; Helping The World By Helping Women; Rowling's New Novel Hits Shelves
Aired September 27, 2012 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: About two-thirds of the jobs created in America over the last 15 years were created by small business. I want small businesses to grow and be able to hire more people and, by the way, to pay higher wages.
Do you realize over the last four years the median income in America has dropped every single year? So not only are there 23 million people struggling to find a good job, and half our college kids not able to find work or work consistent with a college degree, but incoming are going down. At the same time food prices are up, electric prices are up. Gasoline prices have doubled.
These are tough times for the American people. And the answer to help the American people is to get small business growing again, hiring people again, raising wages again. I know how to do it. We're going to do that.
And as the secretary said, my plans include pro growth tax policies, regulatory policies that encourage small business. By the way, I want to take this big cloud off small business that's keeping about three quarters of them from hiring people. That is, I've got to get rid of Obama are and replace it with something that will work.
So two very different paths. One is the path the President's proposed which is the status quo. His is the path of -- well, he calls it forward. I call it forewarned. It's the same series of policies he's put in place over the last four years, and they have not worked. If you don't believe me, look at the price of gasoline and look at the jobs in your community and the members of your family struggling for good work. If you don't believe me, look at the numbers that just came out in the growth of our economy. 1.3 percent verses Russia at 4 percent. China at 7 percent to 8 percent. We're at 1.3 percent.
This is unacceptable. It is not working. I know what it takes to get us working. He's put us on a road to Europe. Europe doesn't work in Europe. I want to get us back to being America where people come here, build enterprises here. We fulfill American dreams. We keep the hope alive in America.
And this matters. You know this matters. This counts. It counts for the 23 million people who are struggling to get a job, or get a better job today. It counts for the young people coming out of school hoping to get a job when they come out of school, and one that will help them pay back their student loans. It counts for the coming generations.
We have always been a nation that has recognized that the future is brighter than the past. Today we wonder whether that's true. The majority of Americans don't think that's the case. This matters. There's one more sense in which it matters. That's what I began with, and that is our military capability. Our ability to defend our liberty and the liberty of our friends around the world, with whom we trade and with whom we trade and whose prosperity is linked with our prosperity.
I was in Poland a few weeks ago and got the chance to meet Lech Walesa also a hero. And -
I came in and he said, Mr. Romney, you've just come from the United States. He said, you must be tired. You sit, I'll talk. You listen. And so I did. Then he said this. For about 15 minutes he said this and he repeated it again and again. Where is American leadership? we need American leadership. Where is American leadership? Then he'd talk about a region of the world and what was happening in that region. Then he'd say where is American leadership? Then he'd go to another region and talk about the challenges there. Where is American leadership?
The world has always looked to us as the shining city on the hill. That light looks dimmer in some people's minds these days. In part because we haven't been willing to deal with the challenges we have. We keep kicking them down the road and hoping somehow someone else will deal with it. That time is now ours. This is the greatest generation that left us this nation so prosperous and so free.
Now it's our turn. They've held the torch aloft for the whole world to see. A torch of freedom, opportunity and hope. But they're getting fewer and further between, the greatest generation. They can't hold it quite as high as they used to. And so it's our turn to grab the torch and to hold it aloft for the world to see. And if I become president, no, when I become President of the United States --
We're going to do what we have to do, we're going to do what we have to do to get that torch high and very, very bright indeed. We're going to make sure and restore the principals this nation was built upon of freedom and opportunity. We're going to make sure and restore our economy and put people back to work, get rising take-home pay again. And we're going to make sure we have a military that is second to none. I will do those things. I look forward to being the commander in chief to being able to keep this nation strong. I make that commitment to you. I need your help. We've got to win in Virginia. I need your help to get the veterans here. We'll keep America the hope of the Earth. Thank you so very much. Thank you!
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MALVEAUX: All right. We're watching Mitt Romney there in Springfield, Virginia. Only 40 days until the election. President Obama we're also watching for as well. He's also in Virginia, he's expected to speak in Virginia Beach moments from now. We're taking a look at the live picture. You see the podium, the set-up there.
Of course Virginia, a very important swing state. 13 electoral votes in that state. The recent polls now showing that President Obama is slightly, slightly ahead of Romney in the state. The last CNN poll of polls for Virginia, he was leading 50 percent to Romney's 44 percent. You might recall back in 2008 President Obama he won Virginia and became the first Democrat since 1964, Lyndon Johnson to actually win that state and that was significant.
I want to bring in out Jim Acosta who is traveling with Mitt Romney. He is at the event talking a little bit about the message we heard from Mitt Romney. Clearly it's important for him to reach the working class. That came in some of the comments he made regarding trade with China. What does he need to do, Jim? What does his team think they need to do to make sure he holds on to Virginia?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, and Suzanne, as you probably noticed from that speech, all politics is local. We're just down the road from the Pentagon here. Virginia is a big military state. So it's no surprise that Mitt Romney would come to this crowd of veterans here to talk about defense issues. He talked a whole lot about President Obama and the deal that was made with Congress for sequestration cuts that would impact the Defense Department greatly.
Mitt Romney said, if he were elected president, he would reverse those cuts. At a certain point during this speech, he talked about how he would actually add personnel to the United States Military, not cut personnel. Of course, that's going to raise the question where did that money come from? The Romney campaign says all that is paid for.
But you also heard Mitt Romney talk about that GDP report that came out today that showed in the second quarter of this year, the nation's GDP was revised downward from 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent. Mitt Romney tried to link that issue to national defense. At one point saying in his remarks here that China's economy is growing faster than the United States. Russia's economy is growing faster than the United States and that a weak economy means weak national security.
So, it's no surprise he tailored that message that this Virginia audience. Suzanne, from a pure political standpoint, if Mitt Romney cannot flip Virginia back to the Republican column -- as we all know president Obama won that state four years ago. If he can't do that, it's going to be very tough. We talked about this yesterday with Ohio. These are states that Romney has to flip back to the Republican column if he wants to be elected president.
MALVEAUX: Jim, one of the things I noticed, too, that's different here, is that Virginia's unemployment rate is much lower than the national average. Because you're talking about a national average of over more than 8 percent, Virginia hovering in the 5 percent range or so. Is his message of creating more jobs, is that really going to resonate in Virginia?
ACOSTA: That is why I think, Suzanne, we heard him talking about defense jobs. Because as he was putting it here during his remarks just a few moments ago, if the sequestration cuts happen - and you hear that a lot in the local media. There are worries about that, that that would have an impact on the local economy. And so while the economy is doing quite well in Virginia, better than the national average, we heard the Governor of this state, Bob McDonnell, tout this state's economy even at the Republican Convention, there are worries about those defense cuts and what that would mean to the local economy in this state.
That's why I think you heard Mitt Romney tailoring his message to that particular issue. But Suzanne, this is an issue for Mitt Romney politically speaking, all over the country. Ohio's unemployment rate is below the national average. It has plummeted in the last couple of years. Also in New Hampshire, another battleground state, Iowa, another battleground state. These are states Mitt Romney needs to put into his column, but the economy in those states is doing fairly well. That's going to be an issue for him, and that's why I think you heard him tailoring that message here in Virginia, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: All right, Jim Acosta, thank you, Jim. Good to see you. And of course, we're watching, keeping our eyes out. This is Virginia Beach. This is where President Obama, he's going to be speaking shortly. You see the podium there. They are going to introduce him as soon as he walks to the podium, we'll take that live as well.
One of the most divisive international conflicts is taking general stage today at the General Assembly at the U.N., the Palestinian authority President and the Prime Minister of Israel both making addresses soon. Of course we're going to take those live as well.
One leader is making a new fresh push for independence. Of course, the other is going to ask the United States to help prevent all-out war with Iran. Let's go to Richard Roth, who's our senior United Nations Correspondent. Richard, first of all, let's talk about who's going to be first, that's Mahmoud Abbas. It was just last year he failed at that same podium to make the case that the Palestinian status should be raised as a state, that they should have statehood. Now he's going to go back and say we want a beefed-up status, enhanced status, for Palestinians shy of statehood. What would that accomplish? Why is he doing that?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, for them, it's another symbolic improvement of their situation diplomatically. It is a step-down from the rousing reception he received last year when he announced that the Palestinians want their own state and they made a push for it. The United States blocked them in the security council. The only organization here at the U.N. that can approve that. The U.S. has veto power. Now they're back to Palestinians. Something called non-U.N. Member observer status. A lot of words, but basically it allows them to be on the same level as the Vatican, allows them to perhaps vote in different U.N. organizations, potentially get closer in the international criminal court for bringing cases to Israel. But yes, it is a step-down from last year. There really hasn't been that pomp around the U.N., the drama leading up to this. They're going to wait until after the U.S. elections to introduce a resolution regarding their non-member observer status.
MALVEAUX: Okay, so we know, Richard, that a lot of the pomp, a lot of the excitement is really about the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is going to actually come forward and speak before this body fiarly soon. We did learn today from the White House that there's a scheduled phone call between Netanyahu and President Obama,This is after of course Netanyahu felt snubbed that he didn't have a face-to-face meeting lined up while he was in New York with the United States President here. What is the White House going to be listening for now when Netanyahu goes before this world body?
ROTH: I think they'll be upset if Netanyahu in any way says what he has said in other forums, where he wants Washington to set up these, quote, red lines about Iran. Red lines that would trigger a U.S. response to knock out Iran's nuclear possible weapons capabilities. I'm not sure whether he's going use this forum to go that far, but they're going to push - in Washington is for their standard two-state solution, Israel and the Palestinians and this issue best settled in the region. That's not going to please the Palestinians. Yes, it seems President Obama and President Netanyahu, among all the 192 world leaders and delegates here, they have some of the most contentious relationships in the last four years. Netanyahu after his Yom Kippur fast ended issued a blistering attack once again on Iran and Ahmadinejad for his remarks saying Iran still wants to wipe Israel off the face of the map. So, look for very dramatic language focused at Tehran.
MALVEAUX: So, Richard just to be clear here, we heard from President Obama who went before the U.N. saying, let me be clear, America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy. We believe there's time and space to do so but that time is not unlimited. Does Netanyahu really have any sway when it comes to the White House, with the Obama administration, to move any closer to his timetable? Because he is talking about war with Iran potentially being imminent if they're able to get a nuclear weapon.
ROTH: This has been going on some time, different deadlines as to how close Iran really is. I think Netanyahu makes the White House and others nervous because of the election. What is done, what is said. We saw the U.S. boycott Iran's speech yesterday. They stated they weren't in the room at the general assembly because of Iran's position and because it was the Yom Kippur holiday. Well the U.S. Delegation was in the room for other speeches on the Yom Kippur holiday. So that's the status between Israel and Washington. I think this will go right up to election day. The Israeli leaders others are supposed to stay out of the election, Netanyahu can't seem to resist at times putting some heat on. I don't think there's any doubt they wouldn't mind if they saw Romney get in.
MALVEAUX: All right, thank you very much, Richard. We'll keeping an close eye on of course we're going to bring the speeches for you live both from Mahmoud Abbas as well as Benjamin Netanyahu as soon as they being
It has been two weeks since the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. So why wasn't the FBI actually visited the crime scene yet? We're going to take a look at the reasons.
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This is actually Spain this week. This was actually before the budget was released. Spain now is bracing for another bad day.
And she's famous for her Harry Potter books. But now J.K. Rowling has written something completely different. We'll go live to London for the reaction.
MALVEAUX: Now more than two weeks since the violent death of four Americans in Libya, one of them of course the U.S. ambassador. In those two weeks, not a single FBI agent has set foot on the place where this actually happened, not one.
U.S. investigators, they are in the country, but not in Benghazi where somebody fired rockets into the U.S. consulate during a demonstration on September 11. Our National Security Contributor Fran Townsend , she has just returned from Libya, says this is not the way to find out who was responsible. She was on CNN with Anderson Cooper last night. Listen.
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FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: What we found out today from senior law enforcement officials is that while the FBI has finally made it to Tripoli, they've never made it to Benghazi.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": They haven't been on the ground in Benghazi?
TOWNSEND: They have not. In fact, it was taking so long to get permission to get into Tripoli, the FBI deployed their personnel to a location in the region so they'd be closer. They had conducted interviews of the State Department and U.S. government personnel who were in Libya at the time of the attack, but they have not been able to get -- they've gotten as far as Tripoli, now, but never gotten to Benghazi.
They made a request that the crime scene be secured. As we know from Arwa Damon's reporting and other public reporting, the State Department, we don't know whether or not the State Department put that request to the Libyans and whether it was denied or what happened. What we know for sure is the crime scene was never secured. And, in fact, the senior law enforcement official I spoke to said if we get there now, it's not clear it will be of any use to us.
And then the third and really critical and astonishing point to me that they made was, look, one of the things we have to do is question the individuals that the Libyans have in custody to get to the bottom of this, to understand what they're learning. And, in fact, they made request through the State Department. That was denied by Libya. So the FBI has to pass any questions they have through the State Department to the Libyan government. They've put the questions and then you wait for, sort of like a child's game of "Telephone", that information to come back before you can follow up.
Not at all the ideal way to run an investigation.
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MALVEAUX: Libyan government says it has questioned dozens of people trying to find out who is behind the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others who were with him.
Most fathers think they know what is best, right, for their daughters. This dad taking it to the extreme. Why he wants to pay somebody millions of dollars to marry his daughter. Crazy.
MALVEAUX: Just an hour ago, Spain, which is deep in debt, as you know, announced what protesters in the streets have been waiting to hear: what's going to be cut in the 2013 budget. Well, those cuts included a whopping $15 billion U.S. dollars over the next year, cuts that protesters worry is going to be their backs, not the backs of the well think. Thousands of protesters, they hit the streets yesterday in anticipation of what was going to be announced, all those cuts.
Richard Quest, who is joining us from London, with more of the details. Good to see you, Richard. Let's put it a little bit into perspective here. We know Spain has got the fourth largest economy in the European Union. Deep recession since June. Twenty-five percent unemployment. The country needs the deep cuts in order to qualify, right, to borrow more money in the European Union.
Where does this leave these guys, these protesters in the street?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the interesting point. The government announcing the new measures in today's budget. About 58 percent of the money needed will come from spending cuts, 42 percent will come from new taxes. Now, of course, the devil in any budget deal is in the detail and that is what the protesters that you are now seeing on the screen over the past few days will be wanting to see.
The government is still saying 64 percent of government budget will be spent on social issues and social spending. So they're saying we're not exactly rolling up the carpet and going home. The problem is, as Spain enters its third year of recession, the people in the country are saying it's not enough, Suzanne. What we're now looking for is whether or not Spain has done enough to introduce austerity that the Europeans will be happy with. But at the same time, kept some form of economic growth going forward.
MALVEAUX: Any reaction now from the people there on the streets? I mean, we see these protests that erupted on Tuesday, but now, I mean, this is not good news for them. Do we expect there's going to be more violence?
QUEST: Well, you know, one hesitates to ever say what the mob on the street will ever do. I think they will be -- I haven't heard at the moment what's happening in Madrid, Barcelona or any of the other major cities where there have been some disturbances.
What you need to focus on now is, yes, the streets and the people because that's a driving force for what the government will decide. But Rajoy's government is between a rock and the proverbal. It's got to keep the people reasonably happy - well, let me rephrase that. At least not dramatically unhappy. But it has to keep its options open in case it needs to go to the European Commission and the European partners and say hand over the cash.
MALVEAUX: And Richard, real quickly here, what is the ripple effect when it comes to United States?
QUEST: The ripple effect from the Spain crisis: confidence, confidence, confidence, confidence. I'll say it once more, just in case you didn't get it: confidence. A lack of confidence in Europe transmits itself pretty quickly and evaporates the very thin level of air of recovery in the U.S. economy.
MALVEAUX: All right. Richard Quest, thank you, Richard. Appreciate it. Want to go straight to President Obama, who's at Virginia Beach speaking now at a campaign rally.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I've got to tell you, the reason is, in the coming weeks, you'll have a big choice to make. I mean, Jim could not have been more eloquent about what's at stake. This is not just a choice about two candidates or two parties: it's a choice between two fundamentally different visions about how we move forward. Two different ideas about our future.
See, today I believe that as a nation we're moving forward again. We're not where we need to be, not yet. We've got a lot more folks who have to get back to work. We've got a lot more work to do to make the middle class secure again. But the question is: whose plan is better for you?
I know some in the crowd may be a little biased, but I also want to speak to the audience who may be seeing this over the television. Look, my opponent's a big believer in top-down economics. He thinks that if you just spend another $5 trillion on tax cuts that favor the wealthiest Americans, if you get rid of more regulations on Wall Street, that jobs and prosperity will rain down on everybody; the deficit will magically disappear; we'll live happily ever after.
But there's a problem with this. We just tried this. We tried it in the last decade before I was elected president. It didn't work then and it won't work now, because top down economics doesn't work. We don't need to double down on the same trickle-down policies that got us into this mess in the first place. This country doesn't succeed when only the rich get richer. We succeed when the middle class gets bigger; when there are ladders of opportunity for all who strive to get into the middle class; when everybody willing to work hard has a chance to get ahead and live up to their God-given potential.
I don't think we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives. I know I travel around a lot in Virginia and across this country -- I don't meet a lot of victims. I see hard-working Virginians. I see students trying to work their way through college. I see single moms like my mom putting in overtime to raise their kids right. I see senior citizens who've been saving for retirement your entire lives.
Like Jim Webb said, I see a whole bunch of veterans who have served this country with bravery and distinction. And I see soldiers who defend our freedom every single day. And I see those military families who are wondering whether their loved ones are going to come back home safe and sound. That's who I see.
We don't believe anybody's entitled to success in this country. We don't believe government should help folks who aren't willing to try to help themselves. But we do believe in something called opportunity. We do believe in a country where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, where everyone gets a fair shot. and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody plays by the same rules. We believe in an America where no matter what you look like, no matter who you are, where you come from, no matter who you love, you can make it if you try. That's the country I believe in. That's what I've been fighting for as president. That's why I'm running for a second term as president of the United States of America.
CROWD: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
OBAMA: You know, during campaign season, you always hear a lot about patriotism. Well, you know what, it's time for a new economic patriotism. An economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class. I won't pretend that getting there is easy. The truth is it's going to take a few more years to solve challenges that were building up over decades, but I want everybody here to understand that our problems can't be solved, our challenges will be met.
We've got everything it takes to succeed. We have the best workers in the world. We have the best entrepreneurs in the world. We've got the best researchers and scientists in the world. We've got the best colleges and universities in the world. I travel around the world and I know there isn't another country on earth that wouldn't trade places with the United States of America. No matter how hard the path may seem sometimes, the bath I'm offering leads to a better place. That's why I put forward a practical plan to create jobs and grow the middle class, rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. So what's my plan? just in case you weren't watching the convention or maybe you just saw Michelle so I won't to lay it out for you. No. 1, I want to export more products and outsource fewer jobs.
(END LIVE FEED)
MALVEAUX: President Obama getting a rousing applause in the critical battleground state of Virginia. Polls showing he is slightly ahead of Romney at this point but trying to maintain that lead, 40-something days to go before the election.
We're also watching this as well. Syria -- they escaped the fighting in Syria. It is hard to believe, now the situation for refugees is actually getting worse.
MALVEAUX: Syrians in several cities woke up to a barrage of gown fire and heavy shelling. Government forces are intensifying their offensive against rebel fighters one day after rebels attacked a major military building in Damascus. Dozens of people were killed today. The death toll yesterday, even worse. An opposition group says at least 343 people were killed, making it the deadliest day since the Syrian uprising began last year.
War is also taking a devastating toll on the living, talking about the thousands of civilians desperately looking to escape the violence. Today the United Nations made a formal plea for nearly half a billion dollars in donations to help out the Syrian refugees. Some refugees are not able to get along the country, they are stuck along the border with turkey. Ivan Watson is talking to the families struggling to survive. I have to warn you that some of these images are pretty disturbing.
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IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They live almost hidden in the olive groves. Syrian families sleeping in the dirt. Over the last month, a makeshift camp of more than 5,000 people has sprung up on the northern edge of Syria. Families made homeless by war. There are no toilets here. Residents line up for water that looks hard to even swallow. Water that this man has gotten used to drinking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here from one month ago, one month, five days. Living here under the olive trees. It's not nice. It's not healthy, also.
WATSON: Why did you come here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I come here because my house is destroyed. There is no house for me.
WATSON: Everyone tells stories of rockets and air strikes, artillery and explosions. This man fled here from the battleground city of Aleppo. His 2-year-old daughter was badly burned when a bomb blew up his house last month. I try to ask her how are you. She's deaf now? She can't hear. The little girl has been deaf ever since the explosion. We see far too many children here covered in insect bites, suffering from fever and diarrhea. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has fever.
WATSON: Is there a doctor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doctor.
WATSON (voice-over): This filthy camp sits less than 100 yards from the Turkish border.
WATSON: Just want to go to turkey?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We want just to go there to save ourselves, our children, our relatives.
WATSON (voice-over): For more than a year, Turkey welcomed fleeing Syrians, caring for them in well-organized camps. But the Syrian refugee population in Turkey recently swelled to more than 87,000. Now Turkey appears to have partially shut what it once called its open door policy for Syrians. These desperate people are stuck waiting at the border. Under the eyes of a Turkish border post, they hold a futile protest begging the Turkish government to let them in. Some of the children here look dazed, overwhelmed by their surroundings. The faces of what could be a lost generation. They are victims of a conflict that's tearing Syria apart.
At sunset, the families get ready for another night under the olive trees, hoping that tomorrow their Turkish neighbors will finally let them in. Ivan Watson, CNN on the Syrian border with Turkey.
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MALVEAUX: There's a possible solution to cutting down world hunger and pushing the economies in Europe and Japan into double digit growth. Our next guest is explaining why helping women changes the world.
MALVEAUX: Giving the world an economic shot in the arm, boosting prospects for peace. A tall order, right? My next guest says it can be done by taking action on one single issue. We're talking about boosting the well-being of women. Melanne Verveer. She's been named one of Forbes magazine's five most powerful women. Good to see you, Melanne. When Hillary Clinton was first lady, you traveled by her side. You have a new title. Ambassador-at-large for global women's issues. What is the most important challenge facing women and young girls?
MELANNE VERVEER, AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE: Women and young girls are a big part of the solution to creating economic prosperity, to bringing peace and security to reality, to a development of countries to be that much more possible. I think what the data shows is that investing in women and girls is about the most effective investment we can make. Similarly we know women's economic participation whether in the workforce or as entrepreneurs can grow GDP, grow jobs, have a significant impact on the kind of investments we need to make to be able to create better economic outcomes.
MALVEAUX: And, Melanne, we bring up --
VERVEER: So --
MALVEAUX: I want to actually show our viewers some of those statistics to back up what you were talking about, because you say when women have equal access to, say, agricultural resource, as many as 150 million fewer people will go hungry. You also say that if women participate equally in the workforce, the GDP in the United States, the Eurozone, Japan, that will go up double digits here. So clearly there seems to be a huge impact on the economies. In your experience, why aren't these governments just kind of scrambling to open up those opportunities?
VERVEER: Well, I think, you know, this is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. And thanks to the kind of evidence you just put up, there is a greater recognition today that everybody needs to move forward, governments, the private sector, civil society at large. I think greater efforts are being made, progress is certainly happening, but it's very uneven progress. In some parts of the world, it's greater than in other parts. But I --
MALVEAUX: Tell us where that's the case. Where is the most difficult places where young girls and women aren't making progress?
VERVEER: Well, if you look at the World Economic Forums' gender gap report, for example, or you look at the UNDP's report on the Arab world, you will see many of the Arab countries, for example, clustered in the lower tiers of those statistics. And that is because the full potential of women economically and politically is not yet being tapped. The education gaps are -- there's a greater effort to close those gaps and there's greater progress.
Economically, we are nowhere near where we could be and should be to tap the potential that women represent. And in terms of political participation, it is still among the weakest areas to really incorporate women into decision-making and public policy so they can bring their experiences, their talents and their perspectives to bear on some of the most important decisions of our times.
MALVEAUX: And where are the countries -- where are the places that you think you have seen a good bit of progress with girls and with women, even some models maybe, to look to those countries and say, look, you know, we're seeing a real change?
VERVEER: Well, the Scandinavian countries, for the most part, really do top all of the lists because they have made great strides to demonstrate that this is both the right thing to do, as I said, but it also has made enormous dividends for them in terms of their economic prosperity and in terms of the general well-being of their people. But others are coming forward and I think this tremendous evidence, not just based on the strong moral persuasion of this argument in treating all of our people equally, but the strong data that is saying, this is clearly in our self interest. Whether we're running economies or we're running governments or whatever we're trying to do, it is -- to short change half of our populations is to short change the outcomes we want to see.
MALVEAUX: Melanne Verveer. Ambassador, thank you so much. Good to see you, as always.
VERVEER: Good to see you, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Readers anxiously awaiting for her newest book. Now some of the reviews for J.K. Rowling for "The Casual Vacancy." We're going to go live to London to check them out.
MALVEAUX: All right, you're not going to find the characters in J.K. Rowling's new novel waving magic wands, but as the "Harry Potter" author first -- her first book for adults goes on sale today, the big question is, can she match the magic of her best-selling kids series. Erin McLaughlin is in London to find out.
How's it looking? How's it being received? Are people buying the books?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Suzanne. So far, in this book store as you can see behind me in west London, it's been a pretty relatively calm day here despite the fact that this book has sold very well -- has sold very well at -- online. It's been a bestseller already in pre-sales. But in terms of today, it seems to be a steady trickle of people through this store to buy the book. And, after all, we haven't seen, though, here, the hallmarks of a "Harry Potter" launch. There's been no long lives. I haven't seen anyone dressed up in a wizard's costume. After all, this isn't designed for a wizard's audience. This is, as you mentioned, a very adult book.
MCLAUGHLIN: And as J.K. Rowling described on ABC's "Good Morning America," contains some very adult themes. Let's have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN, ABC NEWS: There's adolescent sex.
J.K. ROWLING, AUTHOR: Yes.
MCFADDEN: There's cutting.
MCFADDEN: There's death.
ROWLING: Yes. But it's a comedy. There are all of those things. When I read the blurb that said it's a black comedy, I thought, that may be how to describe it. I would have maybe said it's a comic tragedy.
We have an adult character in the book who has obsessive compulsive disorder. And these are -- these are things I know from the inside, yes. MCFADDEN: The OCD part of it as well?
ROWLING: When I was in my teens, I had issues with OCD.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Now, so far this book has received mixed reviews among the select media that had an opportunity to actually read it before today's launch. Some say they loved it. Others, such as "The New York Daily News," says they found it a bit dull. That aside, Rowling says that she's proud of this novel and that she wrote it for herself.
MALVEAUX: All right, Erin, thanks. Appreciate it.
He's offering millions of dollars for somebody to marry his daughter. One Hong Kong tycoon takes marriage to the extreme.
MALVEAUX: Welcome back to CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWSROOM. We are taking a look at what is blowing up the charts in South Korea.
MALVEAUX: Orange Caramel singing their smash hit "Lipstick." The band's concept is more lighthearted and sweet, unlike the other K-pop girl groups which are known for taking on some sexier appearances. They're pretty cool. I like them.
From Spain's money troubles to Hong Kong real estate tycoon who now is offering $64 million to any man who's going to marry his daughter. The only requirement for his future son-in-law is that he love his daughter and that she loves him. He can be any nationality. Doesn't even have to be wealthy. Now the offer came after Chinese media said that his daughter, Gigi Chao, married a woman in Paris last week, her long-time companion. So Chao told CNN she was not in a position to verify the marriage, but she said that she found her father's proposal quite entertaining.
MALVEAUX: Did you ever want to know what the world actually looks like under water? Well, now you can. Google has a neat, pretty cool new underwater mapping feature. They call it Sea View. Now, check it out. So far Google has only mapped out a few locations, but here it is. Parts of the Great Barrier Reef, an island in the Philippines and a crater off the coast of Maui, Hawaii. The photographs, they were taken with a tablet operated underwater camera. Now, there are only two of those in the world and the photographer swam about two miles an hour, snapped these 360-degree panoramic photos every three seconds. That's pretty cool.
I'm Suzanne Malveaux. This hour in the CNN NEWSROOM we're focusing on politics, of course