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Dueling Campaign Stops In Virginia; NFL Lifts Referee Lockout; Jewish Voters Weigh Options
Aired September 27, 2012 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Suzanne Malveaux. This hour in the CNN NEWSROOM, we're focusing on politicians, of course. In the swing state of Virginia, we're going to dive into the voter I.D. laws being debated in several states. Also, going to tell you why Florida back in the news for purging its voter rolls. I want to get straight to it.
Forty days to go up until the presidential race. Spotlight today on another critical swing state, we're talking Virginia. Now, both President Obama, Mitt Romney campaigning there over the last hour, dueling campaign events. Romney held what he called, a veterans for Romney event. That was in Springfield, talking about the need to keep America's military strong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I happen to subscribe to Ronald Reagan's maxim that peace comes through strength. I want to have a military that so strong no one wants to test it. You see you want it -- and there's a long-term threat to our military capability and to our national security, and it relates to something that fuels and builds our military, and that's our economy. You have to have a strong economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: President Obama, he was rallying supporters in Virginia Beach. That was just a couple minutes ago. He talked about creating opportunities for everybody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't believe anybody is 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, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, you can make it if you try. That's the country I believe in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: I want to bring in Jim Acosta who is covering the Romney campaign. So, Jim, one of the interesting things the last go around back in 2008 covering President Obama, you knew that there was a sense that he could possibly win when people started showing up in Virginia. I mean that was really the turning point. And they thought, perhaps we have this thing, because we've got folks out in Virginia. That was making history. That had not happened, a Democrat getting that state since 1964, Lyndon Johnson. You now have an opportunity, the President, I think to do it again. How does the Romney campaign respond to that?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's right, and, you know, if President Obama were to win the state of Virginia, because no Democrat had won it since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, he would be the first Democrat to do it twice in a generation. So, obviously, it is a big challenge for the President to try to win this critical battleground state one more time. That is why Mitt Romney is in this state today trying to take it away from him. And this state, let's be honest about this, is very critical in terms of putting together the electoral map that the Romney campaign needs to win this election. And it was no surprise to see both of these campaigns going back and forth over issues of national defense.
Mitt Romney was here just about an hour ago talking about this and talking about those looming defense budget cuts that are coming as part of that fiscal cliff that we all have been talking about coming up at the end of the year. Mitt Romney said he would make sure that those cuts are not put into place or, if he becomes president, we'll reverse those cuts once he gets into the oval office.
And down in Virginia Beach, almost as soon as Mitt Romney ended his speech, President Obama started his, and he had Virginia Senator Jim Webb introducing him, the former Navy secretary. So, President Obama pulling out his big guns down there. And it's all about these military defense issues because, Suzanne, that is a huge industry in this state. Those jobs are very important, very critical in this state. And so, it is not a surprise to see both of those campaigns going after those voters.
MALVEAUX: And we know they are going after the veterans. Is there any difference in strategy, difference between these two candidates when it comes to dealing with veterans?
ACOSTA: I mean, I don't think so. I think that both campaigns realize that, you know, veterans, a lot of them are senior citizens and senior citizens vote. You heard Mitt Romney trying to tie national security issues to that new economic data that came out today. The GDP was revised downward as we have been reporting in the second quarter today from 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent. And Mitt Romney said, hey, take a look at the GDP numbers over in places like China and Russia, the United States is falling behind those countries. And he said that, you know, the United States needs to be doing better than Europe. That's one of his big go-to lines. Europe is not working for Europe. It isn't going to work here in the United States. And so, these two campaigns are going to be going at it over the economy. Obviously, we heard President Obama --
MALVEAUX: Right, right.
ACOSTA: -- throw out a very attack line about Mitt Romney talking about that "Mother Jones" video that came out last week. And he, once again, said in front of that crowd in Virginia Beach, when I look out in this crowd, I don't see a whole lot of victims out there, referring back to what Mitt Romney said in that hidden camera video. So, no question about it, they're talking about defense stuff, but the economy looming over everything else at this point -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you, Jim. Appreciate it as always. President Obama and Mitt Romney, of course, face to face as American voters weighing their choices. First presidential debate, we want you to know, Wednesday night. Watch it live, 7:00 Eastern on CNN or CNN.com.
Also, I want to bring you to another huge story that has everybody talking, no kidding, the NFL and its refs. Right now, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he is actually taking questions at a presser in New York. Let's see what he's got to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and addressing that, and on their side why, and if there was a problem with full-time and a problem with the backup crews, what was their issue with that?
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Well, a couple things. Any time you're transitioning from one benefit pension program to another, it's difficult. It's difficult for the people that are being impacted by that and, in this case, the officials. And you have to understand that. And I think that's why we came up with a compromise that makes sense. We would do it over a five-year period and replace it with a defined contribution program which is what the owners were proposing from the beginning. And defined benefit programs, they're out of date. They don't exist in the industry going forward. And I think it was important to end that and to move into the defined contribution program. And that was done successfully.
On the other issues, I think the officials just want to make sure it was done right, and we wanted to make sure it was done right. And we'll work together to make sure it's right. I think that's the best part about an eight-year agreement is that we can work together to make officiating better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any concerns about the referees coming back this week and being a little out of shape or?
GOODELL: No. They were -- they were very anxious to get back on the field. We talked about that extensively. They also -- I know how much pride they have in what they do and how much they do to prepare themselves. I'm certain that they're in shape. That made that point, that they were all in shape and ready to go and anxious. And when we reached a basic agreement around 8:00 last night, the focus turned to how fast can we get the officials back on the field? It certainly was a priority for me to have all of the games officiated with the regular officials starting tonight. And they worked hard to do that. And I salute Gene Steratore and his crew for stepping up and saying, let's get ready. OK.
MALVEAUX: All right. So, you were listening to the NFL commissioner there. Two sides have reached a tentative labor deal just in time for tonight's football game. The refs -- however, the refs union still has to ratify it. People in social media, of course, it's just blowing up, right? Buffalo Bills wide receiver, David Nelson, he tweeted this morning, great news about the refs being back, now the focus can go back to being about the coaches and the players. Josh Cribbs of the Cleveland Browns, he tweeted, I never thought I'd be excited for the refs to come back to work, but it's about time. It was definitely necessary.
And, of course, country star Tim McGraw, he weighed into this as well, saying, I wasn't going to say anything, but it will be good to see the refs back on the field Sunday, a game late for the pack. Jason Carroll outside of the headquarters in New York. A lot of happy folks, Jason. I mean, you had a chance to actually talk with the commissioner -- the NFL commissioner. What did we learn today about how this came about and moving forward now what this means for the games?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I was on a conference call with the commissioner, and he talked a lot about the negotiations, Suzanne. He said they were intensive. He said it was a lot of hard work that took place over the past few days. He said one of his primary concerns was to get some sort of long-term plan that we put into place. He did, in fact, get that with this eight-year deal that was worked out. He also said that, obviously, everybody had to go through a lot of pain in the short term. He said, quote, "In the long term better for everyone." He said that it was -- he said that he was sorry that the fans had to go through this pain in the short term.
And, of course, Suzanne, he also talked a little bit about that controversial game on Monday. That is the game that was -- that was really the catalyst, many are saying, for the deal that was eventually reached. He says -- look, he says, life isn't perfect. He said, quote, "neither is officiating." Unfortunately, he said, mistakes are made. Clearly, a mistake made in that Green Bay, Seattle game. Despite the mistake that was made, he stood by the replacement players. He also said that he was actually looking forward to everyone getting back on the field. The Referee Association saying they're looking forward to getting back to the -- on the field and, of course, the fans are looking forward to it as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just glad the refs are back. I'm a big football fan, and I didn't like what was happening with the game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The refs are no good, right? They had rejects from the lingerie league. That's all I saw. So, I guess, this should be enough money to pay the refs, right? Get some good refs, right? It can't be that expensive. Give them what they want and play football I suppose, right? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The refs looked just challenged and overwhelmed and it's great to see we'll have the real refs back on the field. I'm excited. I think it means that there's a little bit of integrity back in the game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, of course, the commissioner lifted that temporary block of having the referees back on the field. That will be lifted so they can be back out there tonight for the game with the ravens verses the browns. They're expected to -- the referees association expected to ratify the agreement Friday or possibly on Saturday. A lot of happy people are going to be showing up at that stadium tonight in Baltimore -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: And I guess we've got to live with the results from the past. They said, life ain't perfect, it's not fair. So, we got to live with it and move on. We'll try, we'll try. All right, Jason. Good to see you as always.
Here's what we're working on for this hour.
(voice-over): Courting the Jewish vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The public appearance is that the United States will be behind Israel if something happens. I'd rather the United States be next to Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: These voters are so passionate about politics, they broke their religious fast to talk about religion.
Plus, people are dialing back on clothes, movies and good food just so they can have a cell phone.
And gets kids are getting healthier food in school lunches, but students and their stomachs are grumbling. They're hungry and want more food. Are there enough calories to keep their energy up throughout the day?
MALVEAUX: On Yom Kippur, the holiest day from the Jewish community, we were hearing from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We had a lot of people wondering whether he was going to be insulting Israel or the Jewish community. We are now awaiting as well to hear from the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. A lot of folks are talking about this, of course, in the political campaign, political climate, wondering who would be the best candidate moving forward.
I want to talk about all that with Poppy Harlow. And, Poppy, you had a chance, actually, to sit down with a group of Jewish voters in New Jersey who actually were breaking the ceremony -- POPPY HARLOW, CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
MALVEAUX: -- religious ceremony to speak to you on that holy day about their feelings about this. What did -- what was the overwhelming concern here?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We did. It was a fascinating night. We went to two family's homes in New Jersey. Some that support President Obama, others that are clearly aligned with Mitt Romney. And a lot of it comes down to that issue of the red line and where the U.S. should draw a red line when it comes to Iran's nuclear program. That was issue number one for them on the front of U.S./Israeli relations. It certainly matters a lot in their votes.
So, I want to play you some sound first from the home of Carol Barash. She had a bunch of people over for that break fast last night, talking about that red line and whether the, frankly, public criticism from Benjamin Netanyahu towards the U.S. president is helpful in this conversation and if President Obama is responding correctly to the Iran threat. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL BARASH, OBAMA SUPPORTER: I think he's made it hard for the United States to keep Israel with this special ally status that it's had. Because the United States can't be pushed around by anyone. I just think that Obama is being very rational and reasonable to a bully right now.
HARLOW: Is the President taking the Iran threat seriously enough right now or does Netanyahu have a point?
DANNI MICHAELI, OBAMA SUPPORTER: Is it really possible to believe that the American president is not going to be taking a nuclear threat from any nation seriously?
PETER SHAPIRO: He has built an international coalition. He's succeeded in building an embargo against Iran that's unprecedented. You know, he's moved -- he's moved the position against Iran way further than it was when he came into office. We've got to give him some credit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: So, Susan, they clearly think that the President is right in line with Israel. Is being a, quote, "good friend" to Israel.
But Mitt Romney has chosen, especially in recent weeks, some very tough words when it comes to the U.S. stance on Israel and Iran, saying things like President Obama has, quote, "thrown allies like Israel under the bus." He's also said on "60 Minutes" last weekend that it was a mistake by President Obama not to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu in New York or in Washington.
So now here's the other side. These are staunch Romney supporters also breaking their fast last night to talk to us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARTHUR SCHECHNER, ROMNEY SUPPORTERS: Netanyahu is right -- he has a problem on his hands of major, major proportions and he needs some help. And I think that President Obama has not given him any help.
HARLOW: Michael, you're nodding.
MICHAEL SCHECHNER, ROMNEY SUPPORTER: Yes, I agree. I think that the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons capability is a serious threat, not just to Israel, not just to the other Middle Eastern countries, to Europe, to the United States. I think we have a serious responsibility to do all that we can to stop that from happening.
HARLOW: So what response would you like to see from President Obama now?
M. SCHECHNER: I think we're past the time for talking. I think we're past the time of saying, we'll stop them, sanctions, all of that stuff. I'm very sorry to say, but I think it's time for something -- for action to be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Now, Suzanne, as Romney supporters, that family, the Schechner family, is a minority in this country. You know the numbers. Seventy- eight percent of Jewish voters in 2008 voted for President Obama. What the polls are showing us now, the latest poll, August 1st through September 16th, that 70 percent of Jewish voters right now are backing the President, versus 27 percent that support Romney. So it's going to be very hard for him to get a majority of this group. But this is certainly dividing the Jewish vote.
MALVEAUX: It's just fascinating, Poppy, to hear folks talk about it, debate about it.
MALVEAUX: And clearly both sides very passionate about this. The fact that they even spoke to you during the holy day, that really is -- really quite amazing.
Poppy, thank you very much. Really appreciate your reporting.
So, do you have an I.D.? Thirty-one states have laws that require voters to show them at the polls. Minority groups say that their votes may not count.
But first, people cleaning up one of the pretty spots on the planet, recycling the trash and give a place for people to live.
MALVEAUX: A plan to kick some people off the voter rolls. Right now the state is arguing over the validity of just 198 voters. We are talking about 198 people in a state that has a population of almost 19 million. So it all started back in May when the state came out with a list of 180,000 people officials claimed could be illegal voters. Well, later that month, the Justice Department stopped any voter roll purge. They said it would be a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
So in June, Florida officials said they would keep searching for illegal registered voters. Several advocacy groups sued saying the purge discriminates against minorities. So the state then settles the lawsuit in September saying most of the people on the suspect list, they're legit. But then yesterday, Florida released another list identifying 198 potential illegal voters. Joining us live from Tallahassee, Florida, this is Steve Bousquet. He is the Tallahassee bureau chief at "The Tampa Bay Times."
Steve, you know, it's really -- it's amazing when you think about it. We're talking about 198 people. You've been covering this controversy from the very beginning. It started of 180,000 folks. How do you get from that number to 198?
STEVE BOUSQUET, TALLAHASSEE BUREAU CHIEF, "TAMPA BAY TIMES": Well, it's taken all of this time, Suzanne, for the state of Florida to feel a sense of confidence in the data they've got. The state filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration to get access to the Homeland Security database, which is considered the best information available on citizenship. But this process is just beginning and it's not going well already because I'm talking to county election supervisors today who are upset. The names they got last night or the names they're getting include people who have already been removed from the rolls last spring.
MALVEAUX: So why does -- why does it matter? Why are they doing this? One hundred and ninety-eight names seem to be a very small number to have this political fight continue.
BOUSQUET: Yes, it's an extremely small number. It's because -- largely because the governor here, Rick Scott, has made this a very important priority. He has said that a vote by a non-citizen should not dilute the vote of a legitimate voter. And this issue polls very well. People, when asked about this, are adamant. They don't think non- citizens should be voting. But in reality, very few non-citizens have ever voted in a Florida election from the data from what we can see.
MALVEAUX: And clearly this has a political impact here as well. I mean the report that the new list essentially was dominated with Hispanic names in key political counties like Dade, Broward, Palm Beach. Is there any evidence that there is an effort to intimidate Hispanic voters from turning out on Election Day?
BOUSQUET: Well, if it's an effort to intimidate Hispanic voters, it's not going very well because it's -- it is -- it is predominantly Hispanic. You know, about one in every five Floridians is Hispanic and the Hispanic population is concentrated in southeast Florida, those three big counties, and so that's the explanation for that. The state insists they've made no geographic or demographic targeting here of any kind. But I'd be surprised if there wasn't a lawsuit here in the days ahead because we're now less than six weeks before a presidential election. There's a tremendous amount at stake here. And Hispanic voters are very important in any election in Florida. MALVEAUX: And the other thing, too, the majority of those who were on these roles illegally said they didn't even realize it. How did that happen?
BOUSQUET: Right. Well, what happened is -- it's on a case-by-case basis, you have to look at the factors. But from what we can tell, in a lot of these cases, an immigrant who went and got a driver's license, may have been asked in the driver's license office, hey, as long as you're here, do you want to register to vote? And they filled out the voter registration application maybe not knowing, not thinking about the fact that you're signing that form under penalty of perjury that you're a United States citizen. You don't need to be a U.S. citizen to get a driver's license in Florida, but you need to be a U.S. citizen to vote in Florida. That's the difference.
MALVEAUX: And I guess this is all caught up in the politics of all this. You've got the governor, Rick Scott, who's pushing ahead with this purge despite the fact that you had this settlement with the state of Florida that was reached already with these advocacy groups. Does he essentially think that this is beneficial to him to keep this as long as it's going to go?
BOUSQUET: I think that his last statement on the subject was very unequivocal, which is that we want honest, fair elections in Florida and no non-citizen should be voting. But here's the dilemma here. The election in Florida is not November 6th. The election is already underway here. The election supervisors will mail out hundreds of thousands, if not millions of absentee ballots early next week. They're focusing on running an election properly. Ever since the 2000 recount and the debacle that followed the hanging chads, election supervisors here have felt very conspicuous, very much in the spotlight. There's a high degree of professionalism. They want to run the elections right. Some of the election supervisors think this is a distraction at the last minute that they don't need.
MALVEAUX: All right, we're going to be following Florida very closely. As you know, Florida one of those key battleground states. It will make a difference. Believe it or not, 198 people could make a difference. We're going to have more after the break.
MALVEAUX: A hearing on Pennsylvania's voter I.D. law expected to wrap up today. A ruling could come as soon as tomorrow. Groups are challenging the law, saying it threatens to hurt the rights of some voters, including minority and the elderly. The court is considering whether or not to block to the law from taking effect. Pennsylvania is one of at least eight states with stricter voter I.D. laws.
The battle over minorities and voting rights is playing out across the country. You have community activists, you have civil rights groups who are launching voter registration drives in response to those tough voter I.D. laws.
Here is Raphael Romo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAPHAEL ROMO, CNN LATIN AMERICAN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time in a decade, John Hazelwood is planning to exercise his right to vote. He sat down at a local voter registration center and quickly filled out the form.
JOHN PHILLIP HAZELWOOD, FORMER CARNIVAL WORKER & FIRST-TIME VOTER: For the last 10 years, I've been on the road, working with a carnival unit, and it's not that easy to get away from the lots.
ROMO: As a worker at a traveling carnival, Hazelwood represents a portion of the electorate often unable to vote in the United States, a group that also includes the homeless.
RENEE SNEAD, CENTRAL OUTREACH & ADVOCACY GROUP: We see people who are frustrated and hopeless and they feel they don't matter. So we've spent a lot of time talking with them about tissues that really impact their lives.
ROMO: Civil rights groups are launching voter registration drives around the country. They say, in recent years, state laws have made it more difficult for voters to cast a ballot, especially for minorities and the hopeless.
REP. DAVID SCOTT, (D), GEORGIA: It is the most important election in the modern history of this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
SCOTT: We've got civil rights on the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
SCOTT: We've got human rights on the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
ROMO: 31 states currently have laws in place that will require voters to show I.D. at the polls in November.
(on camera): Voting rights activists say state laws that require specific kinds of identification are disproportionately targeting minorities. They say these laws have been proven to be costly, ineffective and unnecessary.
(voice-over): Proponents of voter I.D. laws say they prevent fraud at the voting booth. But activists know these laws are also likely to lead to reduced voter turnout.
In addition, a recent study found nearly half of the nation's states have new voting measures that could stop some Latinos from heading to the polls in November. Some states are using inaccurate or outdated citizenship lists. And in some cases, recently naturalized citizens are purged from those lists.
KRISTA BREWER, PRO GEORGIA: What we do object to is very narrow requirements that place burdens on poor people, on the elderly, on people of color or ethnic groups, that make it harder for them to vote.
ROMO: For John Hazelwood, his decision to register to vote is driven by a simple motivation.
HAZELWOOD: I'm in the middle of trying to re-establish my I.D. and get employment.
ROMO: And make his voice heard as a voter at the same time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Raphael Romo is joining us.
Fascinating story, first of all. Folks are trying to deal with this in two different ways. On the one hand, dealing with it in the courts, on the other hand taking it to the streets, trying to register people to vote. Is there a concern that you might try to register and you can't, like you don't have the proper I.D., or they'll reject you when actually get out there and try to vote yourself?
ROMO: What the activists are telling me is that, listen, the United States of America doesn't have a democracy crisis. It's not like we have widespread fraud. It seems like some states are reacting as if we did. By doing so, the unintended consequence is that they're in the process of leaving a whole lot of people in a position where it's more difficult, although not the impossible, to vote. That group includes the homeless, minorities, people who are disadvantaged economically. They say it's really not necessary to go to that extreme.
MALVEAUX: Are they confident -- are people confident that they can get people these proper I.D.s to vote, even though it's really tough, they have enough people out and volunteers to do what they need to get done?
ROMO: That's exactly what they're doing right now. I was able to be at some voter registration centers where they're making their best effort to try to get people there. They're also going to the neighborhoods. They're also going to different cities to try to make this work for everybody.
MALVEAUX: All right, Raphael, good to see you as always.
ROMO: You, too.
MALVEAUX: So, you think you have to have the Smartphone, right? What are you willing to give up in return? Some folks are breaking the bank, cutting out some fun just for a cell phone.
MALVEAUX: Do you cringe when you get your cell phone bill every month? Apparently, many of us do, for good reason.
Alison Kosik joining us live from the New York Stock Exchange.
Alison, how much of this in the budget for the family when you look at the cell phone and you at that bill that comes in every month?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm so with you with this. Just the Smartphone itself is expensive. Then you get those eye- popping bills every month. Yes, it can really eat into the budget.
One government figure, Suzanne, estimates the average household shelled out more than $1200 on phone services last year. That also includes land lines. We know people are paying less for land lines. Many people don't have them. So it's not hard to figure out where the increase is coming from.
If you want to break it down even more, with the dollars and cents, we spending $116 more a year on phone services compared to 2007. J.D. Powers says the average person's cell phone bill is about $71 a month. But if you're a family of four, and you all have smart phones, that total can easily top $200.
What's happening here, Suzanne, is over the past few years, because we're budgeting for our Smartphones, we're spending less on dining out, on clothing and entertainment because our phones mean everything to us -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: So our phone bills are blowing up and we're saving money on going out and actually seeing people.
KOSIK: Yes. Yes.
MALVEAUX: How do you lower the phone bill? Is there any way to cut that down a little bit?
KOSIK: Some of our colleagues at "Money" magazine have a few ideas. They say start with the kids, who are the biggest abusers of the cell phone plans. They say, if they're going over on their data, minutes and texts, you can add parental controls. Your carrier may charge you $5 for the controls. But that may be worth it, considering how much they go over. You can also set up text alerts that give you a heads- up if your child is getting close to the limit. That way you know. You can crack the whip yourself. You should also look at your own data use and see how to cut corners there -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: All right. Alison, I'll let you go there.
We have live coverage of the United Nations General Assembly. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking now. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: -- to invite me to address this assembly. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
It's a pleasure to see the General Assembly presided by the ambassador from Israel.
And it's good to see all of you distinguished delegates.
Ladies and gentlemen, 3,000 years ago, King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. I say that to all those who proclaim that the Jewish state has no roots in our region and that it will soon disappear. Throughout our history, the Jewish people have over come all the tyrants who have sought our destruction. It's their ideologies that have been discarded by history. The people of Israel live on. We say in Hebrew, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), and the Jewish state will live forever.
NETANYAHU: The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years. Even after most of our people were exiled from it, Jews continued to live in the land of Israel throughout the ages. And the masses of our people never gave up the dream of returning to our ancient homeland. Defying the laws of history, we did just that. We gathered the exiles, restored our independence and rebuilt our national life. The Jewish people have come home. We will never be uprooted again.
NETANYAHU: Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. Every year for over three millennia, we have come together on this day of reflection and atonement. We take stock of our past. We pray for our future. We remember. We remember the sorrows of our persecution. We remember the great travails of our dispersion. We mourn the external nation of a third of our people, six million, in the Holocaust. But at the end of Yom Kippur, we celebrate. We celebrate the rebirth of Israel. We celebrate the heroism of our young men and women who have defended our people with the indomitable courage of Joshua, David and the Maccabees of old. We celebrate the marvel of the flourishing modern Jewish state.
See, in Israel, we walk the same paths tread by our patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But we blaze new trails in science, technology, medicine, agriculture. In Israel, the past and the future find common ground.
Well, unfortunately, that's not the case in many other countries. For today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval. The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child in which every life is sacred. The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, and in which not life but death is glorified. These forces clash around the globe, but nowhere more starkly than in the Middle East. Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens -- men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians. All are equal before the law.
Israel is also making the world a better place. Our scientists win Noble Prices. Our know-how is in every cell phone and computer you're using. We prevent hunger by irrigating arid lands in Africa and Asia. Recently, I was deeply moved when I visited Technion, one of our technological institutes in Haifa, and I saw a man, paralyzed from the waist down, climb up a flight of stairs fairly easily with the aid of an Israeli invention. And Israel's exceptional creativity is matched by our people's remarkable compassion. When disaster strikes anywhere in the world -- in Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey, Indonesia and elsewhere -- Israeli doctors are among the first on the scene performing lifesaving surgeries.
In the past year, I lost both my father and my father-in-law. In the same hospital wards where they were treated, Israeli doctors were treating Palestinian Arabs. In fact, every year, thousands, thousands of Arabs from the Palestinian territories and Arabs from throughout the Middle East come to Israeli to be treated in Israeli hospitals by Israeli doctors.
I know you're not going to hear that from speeches around this podium, but that's the truth. It's important that you're aware of this truth. And it's because Israel cherishes life that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace.
We seek to preserve our historic ties and our historic peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. We seek to forge a durable peace with the Palestinian. President Abbas just spoke here. I say to him and I say to you, we won't solve our conflict with libelist speeches at the U.N. We won't solve it with unilateral declarations of statehood. We have to sit together, negotiate together, and reach a mutual compromise in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish state.
NETANYAHU: Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, co-exist in peace and in mutual respect. Yet, the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, while they oppose this, they seek supremacy overall Muslims. They're bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world.
Now, militant Islam has many branches, from the rulers of Iran, with their Revolutionary Guards, to al Qaeda terrorists, to the radical cells lurking in every part of the globe. But despite their differences, they're all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is directed, first, to their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, secular people, anyone who doesn't submit to their unforgiving creed. They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma, unrelenting conflict.
I'm sure of one thing. Ultimately, they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness. We've seen that happen before. Some 500 years ago, the printing press helped pry a cloistered Europe out of a dark age and, eventually, ignorance gave way to enlightenment. So, too, a cloistered Middle East will eventually yield to the irresistible power of technology. And when this happens, our region will be guided not by fanaticism and conspiracy, but by reason and curiosity.
I think the relevant question is this. It's not whether this fanaticism will be defeated. It's how many lives will be lost before it's defeated?
And we have seen that happen before, too. Some 70 years ago, the world saw another fanatic ideology bent on world conquest. It went down in flames. But not before it took millions of people with it. Those who opposed that fanaticism waited too long to act. In the end, they triumphed, but at a horrific cost.
My friends, we cannot let that happen again. You see, at stake is not merely the future of my country. At stake is the future of the world. And nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed al Qaeda. Now, it makes little difference whether these lethal weapons are in the hands of the world's most dangerous terrorist regime or the world's most dangerous terrorist organization. They're both fired by the same hatred. They're both driven by the same lust for violence.
Just look at what the Iranian regime has done up until now without nuclear weapons. In 2009, they brutally put down the protest, mass protest for democracy in their own country. Today, their henchmen are participating in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, including thousands of children. Directly participating in this murder. They abetted the killing of American soldiers in Iraq, and continue to do so in Afghanistan. And before that, Iranian proxies killed hundreds of American troops in Beirut and in Saudi Arabia. They've turned Lebanon and Gaza into terrorist strongholds, embedding nearly 100,000 missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Thousands of these rockets and missiles have already been fired at Israeli communities by their terrorist proxies. In the last year, they've spread their international terror networks to two dozen countries across five continents, from India and Thailand to Kenya and Bulgaria. They even plotted to blow up a restaurant a few blocks from the White House in order to kill a diplomat. And of course, Iran's rulers repeatedly deny the Holocaust and call for Israel's destruction almost on a daily basis, as they did again this week from the General -- from the United Nations.
So, I ask you, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons. Imagine their long-range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, their terror networks armed with atomic bombs. Whom among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who'd be safe in Europe? Who'd be safe in America? Who'd be safe anywhere?
Now, there are those who believe that a nuclear-armed Iran can be deterred, like the Soviet Union. That's a very dangerous assumption. Militant jihadists are not secular Marxists. Militant jihadists behave very differently from secular Marxists. There were no Soviet suicide bombers. Yet, Iran produces hordes of them. Deterrence worked with the Soviets because every time the Soviets faced a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose their survival. But deterrence may not work with the Iranians once they get nuclear weapons.
There's a great scholar of the Middle East, Professor Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent. It's an inducement. Iran's apocalyptic rulers believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating holy war, thereby, ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth. Now, that's not just what they believe. That's what is actually guiding their policies and their actions. Just listen to Ayatollah Rafjani (ph), who said, I quote, "The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it would only harm the Islamic world." Rafjani (ph) said, "It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality." Not irrational. And that's coming from one of the so-called moderates of Iran.
Shockingly, some people have begun to pedal the absurd notion that a nuclear-armed Iran would actually stabilize the Middle East. Yes, right. That's like saying a nuclear-armed al Qaeda would usher in an era of universal peace.
Ladies and gentlemen, I've been speaking about the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over 15 years. I spoke about it in my first term in office as prime minister. And then I spoke about it when I left office. I spoke about it when it was fashionable and I spoke about it when it wasn't fashionable. I speak about it now because the hour is getting late, very late. I speak about it now because the Iranian nuclear calendar doesn't take time out for anyone or for anything. I speak about it now because when it comes to the survival of my country, it's not only my right to speak, it's my duty to speak.
NETANYAHU: And I believe that this is the duty of every responsible leader who wants to preserve world peace.
For nearly a decade, the international community has tried to stop the Iranian nuclear program with diplomacy. Well, that hasn't worked. Iran uses diplomatic negotiations as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear program. For over seven years, for over seven years, the international community has tried sanctions with Iran. Under the leadership of President Obama, the international community has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date.
I want to thank the government's representatives here that have joined in this effort.