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President Obama Rising in Polls; Israeli Prime Minister Addresses United Nations
Aired September 27, 2012 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And here we are, top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Within just the last hour, a hard line on establishing a red line to Iran, Israel's prime minister blunt, brief, literally to the point using a red magic marker to show Iran must be given an ultimatum, a red line to stop its nuclear program. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: If these are the facts, if these are the facts, and they are, where should a red line be drawn? A red line should be drawn right here. Before, before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That was the prime minister within the last hour. Here is our United Nations correspondent Richard Roth joining me now. Richard, I'm assuming no delegates of Iran were there to hear Israeli prime minister.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: The Iranian table was empty here at the United Nations General Assembly. One delegate left before Netanyahu walked on to the stage at the general assembly.
This has made -- make the White House see a little red about these red lines.
The White House has denied that there have been disagreements with Israel over this, but clearly there has been friction. Netanyahu's public declaration with graphic for the world there pointing out the red lines was probably not something the White House would want to see at this moment, especially during a political electoral race.
Last Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said there's no difference between Israel and the United States with these red lines, U.S. and Israel both committed to preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon. And President Obama echoed those themes a couple of days ago.
However, I don't think the White House and the U.S. wants to be pushed into on such a high-profile stage constantly battered with let's make some public ultimatums regarding red lines to Iran. So the speech is out. Used graphics. Netanyahu, former U.N. ambassador for Israel, well-equipped with the media and how to make his point.
When you listen to dozens of speeches in this room, never hurts to have some props with you. I know they do it in Congress a lot.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I think for a lot of people perhaps it worked. One question is, as he was speaking there were some bursts of applause. I'm just curious, were those assembly members? Was that public audience? Who would that have been?
ROTH: Well, we're trying to figure out, but I think the delegations, especially here Israel and I think a little bit with the Palestinians, brought in extra people with the delegations.
They sat way in the back. They may have needed tickets for that and I think Israel may have felt a little -- well, they rallied from last year when Abbas of the Palestinians who spoke just before Netanyahu had huge standing ovations last year.
Perhaps Israel this time came equipped to back up their man and so both the Palestinians received standing ovations on Palestine's declaration of wanting upgraded status here at the U.N. and Netanyahu certainly received several rounds of applause.
BALDWIN: Richard Roth for us at the United Nations, Richard, thank you.
Following up on what we just saw this last hour, we do know that President Obama is supposed to do a follow-up phone call with the prime minister of Israel. That should happen tomorrow.
I want to bring Fareed Zakaria. He's host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," also editor at large at "TIME" magazine.
BALDWIN: What do you think? In terms of this phone call, what in the world might that be like? What might President Obama need to say to Netanyahu in that phone call?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, they have talked a lot.
They just spent an hour talking a couple of days ago. I think it was last week. President Obama and President Netanyahu have actually a close relationship in the sense that they talk a lot. They work together. There's a lot of intelligence cooperation. I don't think it's particularly friendly.
But they see eye to eye on many of the issues involving Iran. The one thing they don't is on whether the United States needs to draw a bright line, a very clear line as to when it is that Iran would cross a threshold which would trigger an American strike. I think President Obama doesn't want in effect to single that in advance, but I suspect that what they will talk about is actually something else, which is there's a leak from the Israeli Foreign Ministry that Israel wants another round of even tougher sanctions on Iran and that that might be something they see as a way of making -- of delaying or perhaps making unnecessary for the next months any kind of talk of military action.
The Obama administration has been very comfortable with tough sanctions on Iran so this may be an area again where they have some agreement.
BALDWIN: Perhaps there will be tougher sanctions because Netanyahu's incredibly clear talking with his diagram the three different stages if you will of the uranium enrichment before the metaphorical fuse would be lit and he said that they would be completed with that second stage at some point next spring or next summer.
You, Fareed, spoke with the man that Prime Minister Netanyahu was very directly targeting, that being the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Let me just play a little bit of your conversation and then we will talk on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: You have indicated that you think that the Israeli prime minister's threats toward Iran are ones you don't take very seriously.
But I was wondering how seriously you take the rhetoric of the president of the United States. President Obama said at the United Nations that he was determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Do you regard that as a bluff?
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): You set forth two or three questions here.
I have never used the word bluff. When we say we do not take it seriously, we mean that it impacts -- it does not impact our policies in the slightest. Iran is a vast country, is a great country. Let's assume a few terrorists come and assassinate some of our officials. Will the country be damaged? No.
A couple of bombs would be set to explode, will the country be destroyed? No. We see the Zionist regime at the same level of the bombers and criminals and the terrorists. And even if they do something, even if they do something hypothetically, it will not affect us fundamentally, but vis-a-vis the expressions of the president of the United States, because I do not wish to speak in any way about anything that may be interpreted as meddling or interference in America's domestic or electoral affairs, but perhaps myself -- prepared to everyone else in the world, I am perhaps much more keen than anyone else not only that there will be no more productions of nuclear bombs around the world, that even those that exist today would be eliminated. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Did he answer your question?
ZAKARIA: His answer was strange.
He said I really don't want to say anything because it would be construed as interfering in the American electoral process. This is a -- this is a somewhat subdued Ahmadinejad. This is his eighth visit to the U.N., his last one. And he's created plenty of controversy on most of them.
And in some of the press interviews, he continued to do that. But in his speech, if you notice, he was actually almost banal and he just talked about world peace and a love of human beings. So he's trying not to get himself in to trouble, I think, though, you know, that's by the standards of Ahmadinejad.
So there's, you know -- there's plenty of digs and attack lines hidden in there.
BALDWIN: Not trying to get himself in trouble, yet he might have a huge nuclear program problem on his hands according to the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Fareed Zakaria, I always love having you on. Thank you so much.
Let's just remind everyone to watch your show, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," Sunday 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. right here on CNN. Many thanks to you.
Coming up next, the race for the White House just got even more interesting. Listen to this. The government says it under-reported the number of jobs added. Translation: Both President Obama and Mitt Romney may be adjusting the stump speeches. We will explain next.
BALDWIN: I want to revisit this jobs story that's bubbled up today. We have gotten word now from the Labor Department that as of today for the very first time the jobs picture has now moved into positive territory for the Obama presidency.
BALDWIN: And I don't know about you, but one of the first things I try to do in the morning is check the Gallup tracking poll on the state of the race for president.
Let me throw this out there because it's a bit of a mystery to me. Have a look at this graphic, because you can see this whole graph here on the right. Right? This gap here actually represents the six- point lead in the race for president, and it's a lead that's actually just opened up this gap.
This is what I'm talking about. This gap has just opened up in the past week in favor of President Obama. And just to broaden this out, and give you a little perspective, we follow this back here to June. That's where this whole sort of X and Y axes begin.
And we see the blue line here, the blue line and the red line, so the blue line is the Obama line and the red line is the Romney line. And they sort of depending on where you are on the graphic, they twist and they twist around one another. At some point, you know, one line on top and some points the other line is on top.
You can see in different places with the graph that the race is very, very close. And then a couple of weeks ago we actually witnessed this gap. This gap. This is the President Obama post- convention bounce and then the bounce disappeared. See? They have kind of merged back together right around that 40 percent mark.
But now I want you to look at this, because in the span of the past six days here, you have a six-point lead. Remember? The blue line. Six-point lead for the president and that's unusual for this particular poll. And so this is another indication of a race that's potentially breaking for President Obama against Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney appeared just a short while ago in Springfield, Virginia. Virginia -- Virginia, as you know, one of the nine remaining states that is very much so in play. Now, a lot of Republicans are talking of the upcoming debates as Romney's best chance to turn things around.
Let me play some sound. This is Newt Gingrich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think it depends almost entirely on Mitt personally.
I debated him a number of times, as you pointed out. In most of the debates, I did pretty well. The last two debates where it was down to life and death and we were in Florida and he was in danger of losing the nomination, he came in fired up, decisive, prepared, aggressive, energetic and to be honest I think he beat me both times.
If he would be as direct, as assertive, as firm with Barack Obama as he was with me in Florida, he will win the debate going away and within three days of winning that debate the polls will change dramatically because he will have begun to make the case that we cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So that first debate is next Wednesday in Denver. And did you know that early voting has begun?
For the first time today, they are voting in one of the swing states, and we're talking here about Iowa.
And guess who's there? John King. He's in Iowa city, Iowa.
John, are you seeing many early voters where you are?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have seen quite a few of them, Brooke.
We had a camera here in Iowa City and we had another camera in Des Moines earlier today. I wouldn't say it's gangbusters but you do have modest lines, people saying pretty good lines. And if you look at the stickers on these voters, you look at the T-shirts on these voters, a lot of them, most of them are Obama voters.
So you would say score the first day of early voting in Iowa for the president. I want to offer a bit of a cautionary note, though. There's a strategic difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. The democrats early investing a lot more in early voting.
And I talked to a veteran Republican strategist in this state, Steve Grubbs, a short time ago. He said the Democrats won the early voting in 2010 as well and Republicans did quite well in all the big statewide races and a lot of legislative races and the like. So, philosophically, there's a difference about how important early voting is.
But nearly four in 10 votes in Iowa in 2008 were cast early. And 35 states and the District of Columbia now allow some form of in- person early voting. Here in Iowa, Brooke, I think this is the most critical part. We know that young voters, this is one of the states where the young vote for Obama actually did make a difference in 2008.
Their enthusiasm is down a little bit so if the campaign on the campus, I'm on the University of Iowa campus, can identify them early and get them out to vote early, number one, it means that they have a test, if they forget what day it is, maybe they went to a party the night before, you get the vote in the bank early.
Number two, if you get votes in the bank early, then you can spend your time, your money, your phone calls calling people who are actually undecided closer to Election Day and not people who say they will vote for the president.
BALDWIN: But these have to be hard-core supporters because they're basically saying you know what? I don't care what happens in the next five-plus weeks. I have made up my mind. Correct?
And that's why Republicans say you're not getting anybody today that you wouldn't get two weeks from now, three weeks from now and on Election Day 40 days from now. That's why Republicans say you can make too much of this, that anybody voting now is an absolute Democrat. They're absolutely in the camp and they're not waiting for the debates. Or anyone who is voting now for Governor Romney is an absolute Republican.
However, from an organizational standpoint, you mentioned the break in the race. Iowa is one of the swing states that has broken a few points in the president's favor right now. So anything you can get in the bank now is value added. The question is if the dynamic changes in the debate and you have more undecided voters out there, what the Obama campaign would argue is that they then have time and resources to dedicate to those people because their hard-core supporters have already voted.
Again, the Romney campaign would say that that's an exaggeration and they say Republicans are more traditional. They pour in their resources at the end. But make no mistake about it. This is a growing and an important national trend and it does help you understand and give your test run if you will to your organization on the ground.
BALDWIN: In Iowa city for us, Mr. Magic Wall himself, John King. John King, thank you.
Don't forget, as we mentioned, please watch this first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado, Romney vs. Obama. That is next Wednesday 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
Just in, news from space. We are just getting word of a pretty big discovery on Mars. Folks, it involves water. That's next.
BALDWIN: Mars rover Curiosity has been on the job for 50 days driving around the Red Planet's rocky terrain while conducting some experiments. NASA has a brand-new update on the roving laboratory's discoveries.
Chad Myers, you have the news, because I have been talking U.N. and politics. You have been listening. Fill me in.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Big stuff today.
BALDWIN: Big stuff?
MYERS: Yes. They found round rocks like marbles. How do rocks get round and remain round?
MYERS: Exactly. Either wind or water.
MYERS: These are too big, four centimeters, a couple of inches, almost, too big to be pushed around by the wind. So there was an ancient streambed on Mars.
MYERS: An ancient streambed.
On the left and on the right, a streambed from the Earth and one from streambed from Mars. A streambed that probably ran for what they think thousands of years.
BALDWIN: Looks just the same, except for the coloring.
MYERS: Exactly. One's Utah. One's Mars.
BALDWIN: Oh my gosh.
MYERS: Exactly. This stream ran for a long time. This is Chile, the next one you're going to see, a dry streambed. This is exactly what Curiosity drove over today.
They know that there was water on Mars and it was there for a long time and it was moving swiftly enough to roll these rocks downhill and make them round.
MYERS: Cool. That's just so...
MYERS: We always knew there was probably some kind of water.
Although my producer doesn't agree with me, I think that if this is 1,000-year-old or a million-long -- stream, that had to be weather to make that. You have to take that water, push it up the hill, have it run down and then do it again and again and again. Otherwise, the water just runs out. Right? It just runs down one time, if you melt a glacier.
I think it actually had rain or snow above this, melt again, run back down. Go up. Run back down, just like the water cycle we have here on Earth. That's my opinion.
BALDWIN: This is huge. And the rover hasn't even moved to Mount Sharp yet. This is just what they found out hanging rolling around.
MYERS: And they didn't think if there was water here that they were going to find microorganisms here because microorganisms don't hang out in moving water too much. They're going to wait for it to go up the hill and find out where that water came from and then we find something cool.
BALDWIN: I love that you get excited as I do about this.
MYERS: I can see it in your eyes.
BALDWIN: I love it. Chad, thank you so much. We appreciate the update.
MYERS: You're welcome.
BALDWIN: We have to move along to the Pentagon. This is just in to us here at CNN, the Pentagon admitting there were warnings of a potential terror attack before the hit on the consulate in Libya, in Benghazi. We will have a live report on that next.
BALDWIN: We are now getting some new information here just in to us from the Department of Defense with regard to that attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in Libya a little over two weeks ago in which four Americans were killed including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Mr. Chris Stevens.
I want to go straight to Barbara Starr. She's at the Pentagon. She just popped out of this briefing with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
And, so, the headline, Barbara Starr, the fact that this attack was planned.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Brooke.
New information now. Senior administration officials were telling me earlier in the day that they began to gather intelligence within a day or so of the attack indicating that this was potentially al Qaeda-related or al Qaeda groups.
But now Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has gone further in this briefing just concluded here at the Pentagon, with very definitive word about his assessment of what happened. I want you to listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: As we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, that it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack.
And that's when I came to that conclusion. As -- again, as to who was involved, what specific groups were involved, I think the investigation that is ongoing hopefully will determine that.
QUESTION: Was that about a day after or was...
PANETTA: It took a while to really get some of the feedback from what exactly happened at that location.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Panetta weighing in with two very important assessments there, Brooke, terrorist attack, very definitive on that, and planned. There's been a lot of talk around Washington, was it planned? Was it spontaneous?
The secretary of defense saying he has information that it was planned. Next up was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs, General Martin Dempsey, and he offered some fairly astounding information about the intelligence that the administration had. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF CHAIRMAN: There was a thread of intelligence reporting that groups in the environment in western -- correction -- eastern Libya were seeking to coalesce, but there wasn't anything specific and certainly not a specific threat to the consulate that I'm aware of.
And as far as to the risks that the FBI reported to you, you really have to ask them for why they made that determination. I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: What Dempsey is saying there, Brooke, is that there was intelligence about these groups in eastern Libya around Benghazi coalescing, if you will.
What he told me later was, there was nothing specific as to the consulate or as to any direct threat against the ambassador. Even though the ambassador, there have been indications he believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs says the intelligence he saw didn't indicate that level of specificity, but that in the month, the month before the attack on Benghazi, there was a thread of intelligence about the extremist groups in the region -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Barbara Starr for us with this new information from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and also the secretary of defense, thank you very much.
There are still so many other questions -- Barbara Starr, thank you because, in addition to this, CNN exclusive reporting here that the FBI agents haven't even stepped foot on the crime scene in Benghazi. We will tell you why, next.
BALDWIN: More than two weeks after an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya there, Chris Stevens, there are still more questions than answers.
Why hasn't the FBI set foot on the crime scene? At least that's what our sources are telling us. Another one -- why was the White House so late in calling it a terrorist attack? And why is there so much conflicting information coming in from the Obama administration?
Just yesterday, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, spoke about an al Qaeda group's link to extremists in Benghazi, specifically, and seemed to tie it to the attack on the consulate.
Let me quote her. Quote, "For sometime, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from Northern Mali into neighboring countries." She went on. "Now, with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions and they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions underway in North Africa as we tragically saw in Benghazi."
But a senior State Department official later said Mrs. Clinton was speaking in more general terms.
Let me just provide a little context here with Fran Townsend. Fran, I want to bring you in. You're a national security contributor and a member of the CIA external advisory committee and, just last month, you visited Libya with your employer, MacAndrews and Forbes.
And, Fran, I know you've talked to a senior law enforcement source. What did he or she tell you when it comes to this attack in Benghazi?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, the investigators sense from being on the ground has been from, they said to me day one, that this was a terror attack and I think that's consistent with what we've just heard from Barbara Starr and the statements of the secretary of defense.
Why they were so slow to say that, look, it may be as innocuous, Brooke, as the fact that they've gone out before after incidents and put facts out there that they later had to walk back from.
So, it may be something as simple as they wanted to wait and get more sort of more comfort that they understood what happened.
But I will tell you, you know, having as you pointed out, been in the region, there is no question as of late August when I was there of the increasing presence and threat of extremism and the concern that that was to both Libyan and American officials on the ground in Tripoli.
BALDWIN: And, also, we should also point out another hat you wore, former homeland and counterterrorism security adviser under President Bush. You know, you point out perhaps some reasoning why the administration wouldn't come out immediately and say that this is a terror attack, be it fear for, you know, investigatory purposes, security, maybe erroneous reporting.
But at the same time, we just heard from Barbara Starr saying the chairman of the joint chiefs, General Dempsey saying that, you know, that, yes, there was a threat in terms of intelligence reporting.
The groups in Eastern Libya were looking to come together, but there was no specific threat on any one individual.
What do you make of the fact that they say there were no warning signs?
TOWNSEND: Well, you know, this is, again -- what you hope is people are not splitting hairs. When I was there, people on the ground from the U.S. government were well aware of the growing extremist presence and the threat that emanated from Derna. Derna is to the east of Benghazi.
And, so, they understood very well the threat that al Qaeda- related extremists in Derna posed to American and Western interests.
It may be that that's what General Dempsey's referring to. They understood about the growing threat. They understood about the presence there. What they didn't -- what they may not have had intelligence indicating was a specific attack plan against the Benghazi consulate.
But frankly, here's the problem, Brooke. If you knew that the extremist threat was rising, you knew that extremists had taken the opportunity to try and attack that Benghazi consulate previously, you kind of -- you didn't need a lot more to know that you needed to take the security concerns there more seriously and up security.
And I imagine that will be part of the FBI's investigation. Who knew what, when did they know it and what did they do about it to try to protect those Americans?
BALDWIN: Beyond those questions, though, you know, looking ahead, looking at Libya, specifically, you have this democratically elected government, albeit a very moderate government, without the dictators, though, as I've talked to a number of people who are very familiar with the region.
They're saying that you have these extremist groups that are very much so left unchecked and I guess my question then would be, does the government in Libya really have control?
TOWNSEND: Yeah, I think the answer's pretty clear that they don't. Not because they're unwilling to exert it, but during this critical sort of fragile transition time, they're trying to integrate militias into their military and their ministry of interior. They're trying to re-establish sort of Western rule of law, respectful intelligence and security services.
This is an -- you know, there's vacuum now in Libya, not for any other reason than you're in a transition and al Qaeda, we have seen time and again, Brooke, Yemen, the tribal areas, they love a vacuum or a poorly or ungoverned space where they can take advantage of that to exert themselves. And it looks like that's exactly what they have done in Eastern Libya.
BALDWIN: And as we pointed out, FBI still not able to walk through the scene in Benghazi.
Fran Townsend, Fran, thank you.
Switching gears, quite a tradition for Facebook, they're calling it a "Hack-a-thon" today. Yep, you heard me right -- hack-a-thon.
You will hear from techies competing to win prizes for the best apps. Live update ,next.
BALDWIN: Right now, dozens of super-smart tech geeks are huddled in Facebook's headquarters for this "Hack-a-thon". They are trying to create this incredible app and, all the same while, score some of Bill Gates' money.
Confused? Bill Gates at Facebook? Here's the catch. It's a contest to create an app designed to help high school students make the leap to college, especially low-income students.
And Dan Simon is in -- there, he is in Palo Alto, California. Dan, "Hack-a-thon," how's it going?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Brooke, Facebook is known for these so-called "Hack-a-thons" where engineers sort of spend the day, trying to come up with innovative ideas for the site.
But imagine taking those same principles and applying it to education, specifically, and trying to help students get into college.
About 100 entrepreneurs from the Bay area and around the country are here trying to come up with some Web-based tools, some social tools to help these students and think about this.
I mean, this is a pretty daunting task where you have basically a few hours to come up with some great idea, present it to a panel of judges and, you know, get it sold and, if you're successful, you could get anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000.
SIMON: And trying to get a piece of that cash is -- are these three. These are students from Arizona State University. Now, they're up against seasoned professionals who do this kind of thing for a living. They're just students and they're trying to make an impact here.
This is T.J. So, you don't want to give away your idea here on national television, but just kind of tell me what you're trying to go after. What are you trying to do?
T.J., STUDENT COMPETING IN "HACK-A-THON": So, what we're really trying to do is take the shared interests of all of the user's friends and then match those interests to education-related topics, such as a major or a club on campus at their local college.
SIMON: You know, Brooke, that sounds pretty good to me. You know, what they're ultimately trying to do here is specifically help low-income students, students that may not have an opportunity go to college, maybe even try to, you know, help them get through the financial maze of getting into college.
Now, you'll notice here that these ASU students are wearing ties and they were kind of made -- you know, nobody wears ties at Facebook. Are you going to lose the tie at some point today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. The ties stay on.
SIMON: Going to stay on. OK. Well, I tell you what. If you're not here, you can still participate in this contest. You can go to CollegeKnowledgeChallenge.org.
Say you're a budding engineer and you have an idea, check out the site and you, too, could have a chance to win some of this money.
Brooke, back to you.
BALDWIN: CollegeKnowledgeChallenge.org. Maybe, you know, maybe they're trying to roll differently with the ties. Forget the hoodies. They're in ties as college students.
And best of luck to them. $50,000 to $100,000, that is certainly not chump change.
Dan Simon for me in Palo Alto. Dan, thank you.
Sometimes the families aren't together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Where's your dad?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really know.
LEMON: Tell me about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's just not around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Coming up next, two NBA veterans who want to do something about the so-called fatherless crisis.
BALDWIN: For baby boomers, early retirement planning is key but what should they do with cash? We have our help desk for an answer here. Here's Alison Kosik. Hi, Alison.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Today on the "Help Desk," we're helping you prepare for retirement and with me this hour, Liz Miller and Greg McBride.
Greg, this question is for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm five to 10 years from retirement. I have maybe 10-to-20 percent of my net worth available in cash.
I'd like to invest and put it to better use, but given the political and economic uncertainties, what would you suggest I do with my cash resources?
KOSIK: And this is actually one of the questions that most of us ask, but this gentleman is five-to-10 years from retirement. What to do?
GREG MCBRIDE, SENIOR FINANCIAL ANALYST, BANKRATE.COM: Well, the money that he's going to be withdrawing in the first five years of retirement has to be very conservatively invested, so we're about talking cash investments or high-quality bonds.
Yes, the returns are low, but he doesn't have the ability to take a whole lot of risk because he needs that money so soon.
Now, money that he's going to earmark for withdrawal beyond that 10-year timeframe, that can and should be invested a little bit more aggressively so that he can preserve his buying power in the years ahead.
KOSIK: Do you agree with that? That there should be some risk?
LIZ MILLER, AUTHOR, "CLUTTER-FREE WEALTH": I think for the longer term and to support that retirement, absolutely, but even in the shorter term, right now, there are some very high-quality stocks with nice dividends that would give some income in the next five-to-10 years to get him ready for retirement and maintain liquidity.
So, I would keep that on the radar in today's environment, as well.
All right, if you have an issue you want our experts to tackle, upload a 30-second video with your "Help Desk" question to iReport.com.
BALDWIN: All right, football fans rejoice. The pros, the real NFL referees, back on the job, at least for now.
We are just hours away from seeing them officiate tonight's game. You have the Cleveland Browns against the Baltimore Ravens.
Thankfully for the fans and really -- let's be honest -- the NFL's image, a tentative, eight-year labor deal has been reached.
It locks in pay raises and protects pension plans for five years. It will also allow the NFL to hire some officials on a year-round basis and hire additional refs so that they can then be trained.
The league came very close to being the laughing stock of sports after that now infamous blown call -- here it is, again -- by those replacement refs. This was Monday Night Football.
Here's what the commissioner, Roger Goodell, had to say about all of this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: You never want to see a game end like that and you never want to see a game end on a controversial play.
In 32 years as a league employee, that's something you always would like to see avoided.
This is the right thing to do -- get the officials back on the field, get the agreement concluded and that was really what everyone's objective was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, game-on tonight. NFL refs will vote on the tentative agreement Saturday.
From the NFL to the NBA, we go. Two stars about to join me live on why they're going of all places to Rikers Island, this notorious prison, to speak with hundreds of young men. Don't miss this.
BALDWIN: In America, more than 25 million kids grow up without a dad. And in Black America, the reality of being fatherless is perhaps most painful.
Here's why. Take a look at this with me. The U.S. Census bureau says 64 percent of African-American children live in fatherless homes. 64 percent.
Here's another number -- 72 percent, 72 percent born to unmarried women, majority of them again without a man in their households.
And if you ask some black children where their dads are, you might get a reaction like my colleague, Don Lemon, got. Here you go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Where's your dad?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really know.
LEMON: Tell me about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's just not around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Joining me now from New York, two amazing men, two dads, NBA players who will be speaking to about 300 teenage men about precisely this at Rikers Island jail tomorrow.
New York Knicks forward, Amare Stoudemire, author of the children's book called "Stat -- Home Court" and 11-year NBA vet, Etan Thomas. He wrote a book called "Fatherhood -- Rising to the Ultimate Challenge."
Gentlemen, welcome. Great of you to stop by and to talk to me about this, but before we talk about why you're going to Rikers Island, what kind of message you want to get across, I just want to get personal, if I may, and just say, did both of you have fathers present in your lives growing up?
AMARE STOUDEMIRE, NEW YORK KNICKS: Well, my father was present, but he passed away at the age of 12, but it was a split household. My mom lived in New York. My father lived in Florida. Had to travel back and forth with them. So my father was present, but he passed away when I was at a young age.
ETAN THOMAS: My parents are divorced when I was about in first grade. So I grew up in a single-parent household. I had a relationship with my father, but the household was actually my mother. My mother raised me and my brother.
BALDWIN: OK, so, Etan, then let me just throw this one to you. Why Rikers Island, this notorious jail? Why talk to these guys specifically?
THOMAS: Well, these are the guys that I want to -- that I really wanted to write the book for. I wanted to write the book not because I think I'm a fatherhood expert or anything like that.
But I wanted it to be inspirational to young men who are growing up without fathers in their home and single-parent households who are always heard tell the negative statistics about how you're going to end up in jail or in prison or a dropout or something like that and tell them that they don't have to go that way.
Now, these men in Rikers, they've made mistakes, but they can correct them. And I wanted to show them different men in all walks of life and what I wanted to show in the book is show them Amare, who, you know what I mean, who made the right decisions.
And show them Chris Broussard who made the right decisions and John Wallace and we all go there and we all talk to them about making the right choices in life and how it is possible no matter what situation you come from.
BALDWIN: Let me just jump in and say, you know, we saw an e-mail from one of the corrections officials, New York Department of Corrections official who I understand they send out letters and letters to celebrities, athletes, et cetera, and a lot of them don't come.
He talked about the deafening silence after they ask for people to come. So, honestly, hats off to both of you for going to Rikers Island to talk to these men.
You know, 64 percent of African-American children live without their fathers and, so, this foundation says just over half graduate high school in four years.
Amare, what do you say? How do you fight this?
STOUDEMIRE: Yeah, you know what? It's awesome that we're doing it because the platform that we've been placed upon as professional basketball players and a lot of the youth look up to us to leave them a blueprint for them to try to follow.
And, so, what we're doing is just trying to really encourage the youth to understand that being a father is the ultimate gift that you can ever receive in life, is to be able to be a father to your children and also be, you know, a husband to your family.
So, we want to make sure they understand everything's cool about being a father. There's nothing wrong with it and accept the responsibility.
BALDWIN: I know that you guys are talking to these young men, some of whom are dads and I know many people would argue these are dads who've already given up on their own kids because here they are at Rikers, you know, locked up for a crime they've committed.
What about the moms? Because, a lot of times, you know, these kids look to the streets or TV, even, to learn how to be a man. What do you say to them?
THOMAS: Well, everybody makes mistakes and nobody's perfect. And just because they made a mistake doesn't mean that their whole life is over.
And, you know, I've made many mistakes throughout my life. And Amare can attest that he's made some mistakes, as well, and the point is learning from the mistakes.
So, just because they're in Rikers Island right now, they're going to get a chance to come out and they're going to get a chance to make it right and be there for their kids.
Like you said, many of them will have kids of their own, but life isn't over. I just want them to know that they have that ability to change.
BALDWIN: Amare, final word, you know, both you guys know there have been all kinds of celebrities and panel discussions and artists who have talked precisely about this sort of fatherless crisis.
What do you offer these young men tomorrow that's new? Forty- five seconds.
STOUDEMIRE: Well, we're giving them just a blueprint on what it takes to be successful and how to be a righteous father and understand that being a father is, again, the ultimate goal for any man growing up.
You should really take honor in that and being that king to your family and your wife and also being a father to your children because they're the ones. They're the next generation. They're the ones who are going to make this a better country. BALDWIN: No one is perfect. Etan, you're exactly right. These people, you know, no one should give up on these young men and I really -- honestly, kudos to both you for talking to these guys at Rikers Island tomorrow.
Amare Stoudemire and Etan Thomas, thank you both, both fathers and NBA "ballers" as well.
STOUDEMIRE: No problem.
THOMAS: Thanks for having us.
BALDWIN: And thank you for having me and watching me here in CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
I want to send you to Washington. "The Situation Room" begins right now.