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Romney Campaigns in Pennsylvania; Israel's Red Line
Aired September 28, 2012 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDERICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, top of the hour now. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in today for Brooke Baldwin. Phone calls are going out today to Israeli's prime minister after his call to action at the U.N. and yes there is also news in the search for Jimmy Hoffa.
But first, Mitt Romney is venturing out of the swing states today. Romney is in Pennsylvania trying to pluck that state from the grasp of President Barack Obama with just 39 days until the election.
Pennsylvania is one of the states that is leaning toward the president, but Romney is predicting an upset.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have got a little secret here, and that is that the Obama campaign thinks that Pennsylvania is in their pocket. They don't need to worry about it.
And you're right and they're wrong. We're going to win Pennsylvania. We're going to take the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Wolf Blitzer with us now from Washington.
Wolf, we have seen Romney confine his campaign to the nine battleground states. Why is he now taking a shot at this state, Pennsylvania, which clearly seems to be leaning Obama?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: According to the public polls, Obama is doing really well in Pennsylvania. Maybe he's got some private polls that he's doing inside his campaign that shows some other trends developing in Pennsylvania.
I haven't seen any public polls that would indicate he's got a shot in Pennsylvania. I also haven't seen any indication that the Romney campaign is spending any campaign money advertising in Pennsylvania. If they are, it is really not much.
But, as I say, maybe there is something that his campaign knows that we don't yet know because right now it looks like Obama is doing really, really well in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states, whether New Jersey, New York, or Maryland for that matter. I think Romney does have a shot obviously in some of the other states like Ohio, not that far away, but Pennsylvania looks like a long shot. He was doing some fund-raising there earlier today, had a rally in Pennsylvania, but we will see if this is serious, this notion that he potentially has a shot in Pennsylvania. If he does, it would be a dramatic shift.
We have heard, Wolf, a lot of analysts say the real turning point could come in the debates which begin Wednesday in Denver. But now we also have received this memo from a Romney senior adviser that makes it sound as though Romney is the underdog.
Let me just read a portion of it now, saying: "President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history. This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first."
So what is at the root here? Is this kind of a little reverse psychology?
BLITZER: Right, they're trying to lower expect takings for their respective candidate, making the other guy seem like he's Lincoln or Douglas or the greatest debaters in the history of the United States, so that if they don't do so well, the expectations game is a little bit lower.
It sort of reminds me when Al Gore was debating George W. Bush in 2000. Al Gore, the vice president of the United States, was seen as a great debater, George W. Bush not so much. But then Al Gore, you know, had some fumbles and in terms of the sighing he did and a lot of people were paying attention to that.
And Bush all of a sudden looked a whole lot better. These debates can be significant for relatively trivial things like that, if, for example -- and you remember when the first President Bush, George H.W. Bush, you know, at one of the presidential debates started looking at his watch and it looked like he was ready to move on.
WHITFIELD: Hurry things up.
BLITZER: Yes. Let's get out of here, already. That hurt him, I think, in his reelection bid against Bill Clinton back in 1992.
It is part of the game. It is what goes on. But I think these debates are going to be really, really important for that, 6 percent, 7 percent, 8 percent who are legitimately undecided or switchable, haven't completely made up their minds. They're going to be watching the three presidential debates, the one vice presidential debate in October. And they will make up their minds.
I think all the people who are voting now early, they basically have already made up their minds obviously. That's why they're voting early and they're not going to necessarily -- they don't think they will be influenced by the debates. Maybe some of them will be. But you know what? It will be too late for them because they already will have voted.
WHITFIELD: Wow. Well, let's talk about some of the polls and whether they're indications of anything, particularly these polls that give us a glimpse of three of the nine swing states.
It is an NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll showing Romney trailing the president by seven points in New Hampshire. It's got Romney trailing Obama by two points in North Carolina. That's within the margin of error. And then the same in Nevada, two-point spread for the president. That's also within the margin of error.
So none of those polls really earth-shattering, but certainly showing that President Obama has an advantage in these swing states.
You know, the one that is a little surprising to me is North Carolina. I would have thought Romney would be doing better. The president, he carried North Carolina the last time, but by a tiny, tiny margin. So that's a little surprising that even though it is within the margin of error, 48/46, he's still ahead in North Carolina right now.
If Romney can't win North Carolina, he's going to be in deep, deep trouble because that's a state I assumed was going to be going for the Republican candidate this time. Maybe, you know, holding the Democratic Convention in Charlotte really energized that Democratic base in North Carolina.
Maybe that will really help them. I'm sort of surprised to a certain degree that he's slightly ahead in North Carolina right now, according to that NBC poll.
WHITFIELD: All right, Wolf Blitzer, thanks so much. We will see you again about 55 minutes from now. Thanks so much.
Early voting already under way in the swing state of Iowa.
CNN's John King is there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thank you ever so much for coming.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mind made up and ballot cast 40 days early. This opening day line is in Iowa City, this one in Des Moines, Iowa's early voting part of an important and growing national trend -- 35 states now allow some form of early in-person voting, including seven of the nine presidential battlegrounds CNN ranks as tossups.
Here in Iowa, the early numbers and early turnout suggest a big Obama head-start, so far, a nearly 5-1 Democratic advantage statewide in requesting early mail-in ballots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was wondering, Mary, if the president will have your support this November? Awesome.
KING: When it comes to early in-person voting, there's added Obama campaign emphasis on getting younger voters in the bank early.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You may know that in-person early voting starts tomorrow in Iowa. So, basically, for us here at the campaign, every day is going to be Election Day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we can!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KING: Johnson County, home to the University of Iowa, led the state four years ago when 55 percent of its ballots were cast early.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The entire world is watching us.
KING: As President of the university Democrats, Katherine Valde's job is getting her fellow students to vote now.
(on camera): Fair to say, not the most reliable if you just wait for one day?
KATHERINE VALDE, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA DEMOCRATS: Yes. No, I mean, things coming up. You can have an exam. You can wait until Election Day and realize you don't know where your precinct is. With early voting, it just gives us 40 more chances to catch people.
KING (voice-over): Veteran Republican strategist Steve Grubbs concedes President Obama is ahead as September winds down and early voting opens.
STEVE GRUBBS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Anybody that knows football knows that fourth quarter's when most of the action happens. So October will be big. And if Romney has a good start to the month, we will be fine.
KING: But Grubbs warns against making too much of the early rush.
GRUBBS: In 2010, Democrats had an edge in early voting as well. I can't tell you exactly what the edge was, but it was a significant edge, and Republicans still swept the state. It's a difference of strategy. do you put your money in the last three weeks or do you put it in the early voting?
KING: The GOP sent its first early vote mailing just this week.
KAREN ZMOOS, ROMNEY VOLUNTEER: Can Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan count on your support this November election? Excellent. And would you be interested in voting early this election?
KING: Karen Zmoos is credited with making the Iowa GOP's one millionth voter call this cycle.
ZMOOS: I'm calling with a very brief three-question survey about issues that matter to Iowa.
KING: And she is doing her part now as Republicans play early voting catchup.
ZMOOS: We're working hard here. We're rolling up our sleeves and putting our boots on. And we're going at it. So, we still have time.
KING: John King, CNN, Iowa City, Iowa.
WHITFIELD: And don't forget to catch the first presidential debate, Denver, Colorado, Romney vs. Obama, next Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
All right, it is time the world draws a clear red line, a strong warning from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran.
And at first, elated to be elected to homecoming court only to find out it was all an evil prank -- how one teen is getting back at the bullies.
WHITFIELD: Now a follow-up to the red line seen around the world.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew one before the United Nations General Assembly to represent the red line he wants for Iran to end its nuclear program. Iran's ambassador to the U.N. says he won't dignify it with a response, except to deny Iran is trying to make a nuclear bomb.
But President Obama did respond. He and Netanyahu spoke today over the telephone.
CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty joining us from New York.
Jill, do we know what the president, President Obama, said to the Israeli prime minister?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do, Fred.
In fact, they issued this statement and you have to, as you're reading it, say, well, they certainly pulled that back on track because, after all, you know, the president didn't meet one -- personally with the prime minister, and that was interpreted, of course, as a very cold shoulder.
There was worry, though, that this was being exploited as, you know, criticism, especially in this campaign, as being a rift between the United States, I should say, at least President Obama and Israel. So they had this telephone call.
I should mention also that Mitt Romney also had a telephone call with Prime Minister Netanyahu, but the White House is saying all the right words, that they reaffirmed the -- both countries' unshakable commitment to Israel's security.
They agreed that they're in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and that the prime minister welcomed the statement by President Obama at the United Nations to do what has to be done to achieve that goal.
There were other phrases too. I won't go into them. Close cooperation of course was one of them. But, seriously, it is an attempt to make sure that there is no feeling that these two very close allies have drifted apart, especially at this time, which is very critical in getting Iran to hopefully stop developing, if it is, and that's still questionable, a nuclear bomb.
WHITFIELD: And, Jill, you know, we are in the fourth day of the United Nations General Assembly and this afternoon a small group of world leaders calling themselves Friends of Syria met to discuss that civil war. What did they conclude or what are they hoping to accomplish?
DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, a lot of them were here.
This is a group that has met before, and they're 90 nations, and about a quarter of them met, some of the key ones who are involved in humanitarian aid. And Secretary Clinton just very recently, maybe a few minutes ago, her statement came out, and she -- the United States is giving more money, $45 million more money -- $30 million of that is going to refugees.
And the numbers are really staggering -- 350,000 people have fled Syria so far, putting enormous pressure on countries that are in the neighborhood. And then within the country there are perhaps as many as 1.5 million people who are displaced from their homes.
So that money will go to help them and humanitarian aid. And then also they're trying to help the opposition, as the secretary called it, the unarmed opposition. They need things like communications devices and other things.
So they're going to get another $15 million. And then also they're discussing ways, and this is slow, and they admit it, in dislodging al-Assad and his regime.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jill Dougherty, thanks so much for that update.
WHITFIELD: Bullies elect a girl to homecoming court, but it is a prank. But the crowning jewel on this one, well, what she did that got her whole town standing behind her.
WHITFIELD: Actor Johnny Lewis may have been under the influence of drugs during the violent rampage that led to his death Wednesday.
Investigators believe Lewis brutally killed his 81-year-old landlady and then fell to his death as he tried to escape. Police found a gruesome scene at the landlady's home in L.A. Her dead cat was near her body.
Court records show Lewis had prior arrests and drug and mental health problems. Sources told "The L.A. Times" that detectives believe a new designer drug called Smiles may have played a role in this. Lewis was best known for his role on the FX network's "Sons of Anarchy."
Now for the story of how a cruel school prank has morphed into something much bigger and better than any high school girl could dream of. It is a story of Whitney Kropp. Whitney has endured her fair share of bullying over the years. So you can imagine her shock when she was nominated to the homecoming court.
But it was all a joke and it crushed her. But that's far from the end of the story.
CNN's Chris Welch is in West Branch, Michigan.
CHRIS WELCH, CNN ALL PLATFORM CORRESPONDENT: Fred, let me tell you, I had a chance to spend some time with 16-year-old Whitney Kropp and she really is a cool teenager. She's a teenager who has got a lot of guts, because let me tell you what happened.
Earlier this month, her class here at Ogemaw Heights High School picked her to be the sophomore class representative at the homecoming royalty court. Now, she was shocked and she was shocked because as she says she's an outcast here at school. She's not one of the so- called popular kids.
So she really couldn't believe it. But when she got home, she found out from some friends that it was all a cruel joke, that kids voted for her as a prank. She spent the night in tears. She was hurt. She even tells me she was suicidal.
But the story does have a happier ending. She's now deciding after some pushing from her friends and family that she's going to go through with it. She's going to stand up there tall, proud of who she is. She's going to be there at the homecoming coronation and the dance.
She's got the support of a lot of people. She's got a Facebook page that is 96,000 strong and growing. And she's got local businesses and community members donating her dresses, her hairdo, her meals, everything. I sat down with her yesterday, and here's a little bit of what she said about how she describes this experience.
WHITNEY KROPP, BULLYING VICTIM: I'm just overwhelmed. I'm, like, so many people care and they want this to end. I thought before, you know, no one cares about me. And I thought, you know, not even my own brother and sister care, but they're proving me they do care.
The world is proving that they -- well, not really care about me, but they care about the situation. So, like, I'm happy. I'm really honored.
WELCH: The actual homecoming coronation will happen tonight at the football game and Whitney tells me her dad will walk her out on the football field. She will be holding her head high and she will have more confidence than ever as the community and really the world, Fred, watch.
WHITFIELD: How incredible. Thanks so much, Chris.
And you can read more about Whitney's ascension, her experience, plus leave your own comments on CNN.com.
All right, new poll numbers out in key battleground states on the presidential path, a look at who is in the lead where and why.
WHITFIELD: All right, as we told you, Mitt Romney is venturing out of the swing states today.
Romney is in Pennsylvania, trying to pluck that state from the grasp of President Obama with just 39 days until the election. Pennsylvania is one of the states that is leaning toward the president, but Romney is there predicting an upset anyway.
Our Peter Hamby is with us now from Washington.
So, Peter, let's talk about the new poll, polling information showing that Romney is trailing in the race nationwide. Tell us more.
PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We're getting new polls every day at this point in the race, which is really fun for us.
A new FOX News poll has Obama up by a 48-43 margin over Mitt Romney. That's in keeping with other polls we have seen recently both nationally and in swing states. This poll looks like a lot of others. Obama has advantages over Romney on the economy and a range of issues.
One thing that stood out in this poll is that a lot of voters didn't like how Obama's handling the situation in Libya. And the Romney campaign sort of sees that as well, which is why you see them hitting Obama so hard on this lately. But there is still a problem here for Romney. This is why these debates are so important. Romney really has to change the fundamental structure of this race with this debate coming up next Wednesday.
Remember, over 50 million people watched the first presidential debate in 2008. This is going to be a big moment coming up next week, Fred, for Mitt Romney.
WHITFIELD: Well, let's shift to the U.S. Senate and how pivotal any race could be.
The Democrats have a six-seat majority, but they're defending 23 seats in the election, with Republicans defending just 10. So what would give the Republicans a pretty good shot at seizing a 51-seat majority? But they also have a big problem and that is that race in Missouri.
HAMBY: Yes. That race in Missouri between Todd Akin, he of "legitimate rape" fame, against Democrat Claire McCaskill, the senator from Missouri.
Look, Republicans thought about a year ago they had a good chance to take back the Senate. A lot of red state Democrats were up this election. But look at the races, the Senate races in Montana, North Dakota, Indiana. These are much closer than expected. And with Akin's comments about legitimate rape, really put that seat in trouble.
Now national Republicans who said when Akin made these comments originally they were not going to play in this race at all, were going to pull out and not spend money on this guy, he's a lost cause, guess what? It runs out they're kind of changing their tune. Missouri Senator Kit Bond endorsed Akin today. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Jim DeMint are all endorsing Todd Akin.
And now the NRSC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is kind of opening the door to spending money there. But the chairman of the NRSC, Texas Senator John Cornyn, said yesterday this: "We have no plans to support Akin. I just think that this is not a winnable race."
So you're getting all these mixed messages from national Republicans. Are you going to play here, are you not going to play here? I will tell you who I'm watching. It's Karl Rove, the founder of American Crossroads, who said -- who told me in Tampa just a few weeks ago that Todd Akin was headed for a landslide defeat, one of the biggest defeats in modern Senate history in Missouri if he doesn't pull out of the race.
He's only losing by five points. Is American Crossroads going to come in here and spend money here and try to pull Akin over the finish line if it could mean a Republican majority in the Senate? That's a tough thing to pass up. So we're still keeping an eye on this race. We will see what Republicans will do, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Well, this won't be the first time Missouri has a fascinating race for a lawmaker at stake.
All right, thanks so much, Peter Hamby. But this one indeed is one to watch. Thanks so much.
Don't forget to catch the first presidential debate, Denver, Colorado, Romney vs. Obama. That's Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time here on CNN.
All right, paying football players for big hits, but we're not talking about pro football here. We're talking about children, the accusations about bounties in the Pop Warner league.
WHITFIELD: Many questions remain, more than two weeks after an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens.
Chief among them, what did the intelligence community know and when did it know it and when and how was the Obama administration informed?
Just in to CNN, the national intelligence director is addressing both issues. Let's get right to CNN intelligence correspondent Suzanne Kelly in Washington.
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred.
This has been something of a political football that's been thrown around for a couple of weeks now as people really try to nail down what happened, when intelligence officials knew it and this is the fullest accounting yet we're getting now from the office of the director of national intelligence on exactly what they knew and when.
I want to read to you from a statement by Shawn Turner and he's the director of public affairs for the ODNI's office. And he said, "In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier there that day at our embassy in Cairo."
Now, that's what we've been hearing from administration officials.
"We provided" -- I continue reading -- "we provided that initial assessment to executive branch officials and members of Congress who used that information to discuss the attack publicly."
Now, the problem, of course, began when did people know that this was planned? When did they realize that this actually had nothing to do with a protest, a spontaneous protest, because, as the intelligence community now believes, they do think this was an intentional terrorist attack?
In the words of Shawn Turner, "a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists." So, what we're seeing here, Fred, is a lot of back-and-forth between members of Congress, between the White House and now the intelligence community stepping back and saying, ok, this is what we knew and this is -- you know, they're not giving an exact timeline of when they knew it, but this is a general sense of when we knew these details.
So, you're seeing them kind of trying, I think, to take some of the air out of the political-ness of this debate over what happened and when.
WHITFIELD: So, is this very different from what we were hearing from the White House and we were also hearing from, you know, Susan Rice and her explanation when she took to the airwaves the following Sunday after the attack saying, well, it could be spontaneous. It could be that it was spontaneous and then evolved into, you know, something, a platform for those who were actually planning something.
It almost sounds like they're saying the same things, right?
KELLY: Right, it does, it does. And, you know, this really -- and that's the political nature and how these stories can become so frustrating and how you take details and try to use them from one side to another.
And I think that's the growing frustration that you're seeing within the intelligence community and that's why you've seen such a comprehensive statement like this one put out.
By the way, we're going to put this on our website, too, at CNN.com/securityclearance and you should really take two seconds, go and read the whole thing. It's fascinating.
But you're exactly right. Susan Rice was out over the weekend talking about how the administration still believed, even on Sunday, a week-and-a-half after the attack that this was something that grew out of a spontaneous protest.
Yet, there were already indications in the intelligence community at that time that that wasn't the case and so that's been a point of debate.
Nailing down that timeline which the intelligence community didn't quite go that far, but nailing down that timeline is going to probably take a lot of air out of the political-ness of this.
WHITFIELD: All right, Suzanne Kelly, thanks so much in Washington.
KELLY: A pleasure.
WHITFIELD: All right, how about this? Offering kids big cash for big hits?
That's what the coach of a Pee Wee football team in Tustin, California, is accused of doing. Yes, running his own bounty program. This was going on months before the scandal involving the New Orleans Saints program came to light.
Our Casey Wian has that story.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The 2011 Tustin Red Cobras Pop Warner football team went undefeated in the regular season.
FRANK MICKADEIT, "THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER": This was a team that knew it was on the verge of greatness and, indeed, it went to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Florida and, because it knew that it had the players in place to get that far, it was probably willing to push the boundaries of what was acceptable and they got carried away.
WIAN: John Zanelli, then an assistant coach for the team of 10 and 11-year-olds, now says other coaches on the team offered the boys $20 cash bounties for big hits on opposing players.
Zanelli declined to speak on-camera with CNN, but off-camera, confirmed details of the alleged bounty program first reported by Keith Sharon and Frank Mickadeit of "The Orange County Register."
MICKADEIT: All in all, we now have six parents and players saying that this happened, six out of a team of about 22 confirming that this happened. So, there's little doubt -- there's no doubt in my mind that this happened.
WIAN: We spoke with one player from the 2011 Tustin Red Cobras team whose parents did not want him identified because they feared retaliation.
The player told us coaches did discuss cash incentives for big hits and that, after games, players would vote on which player would receive the money.
He also said he saw a coach give a player cash.
Darren Crawford, head coach of the Cobras, calls those claims nonsense.
Did you ever suggest or pay for a player to hurt a player on another team?
DARREN CRAWFORD, TUSTIN RED COBRAS' COACH: Absolutely not.
I think that they're trumped up charges. I think that John Zanelli made these charges up in his head and wrote them down on paper and submitted them, I believe, to National Pop Warner. Nothing like that ever happened on my team.
ELIZABETH CHILDS, TUSTIN RED COBRAS' TEAM MOM: I've been a team mom for him for two of those four years, so I'm not what you would consider a casual bystander on the sidelines.
I was at practices, I was at the games and I've never once heard anything mentioned in the nature of any kind of bounty.
WIAN: The local conference initially investigated the claims and called them unfounded or overstated.
Late Thursday, the National Pop Warner organization suspended Crawford and the Tustin league president, saying, "In light of new information and players coming forward who did not participate in the league investigation, National Pop Warner will intervene to further investigate."
Crawford and other parents with boys still on the team say Zanelli's claims are the result of a vendetta stemming from long- running disputes with the local Pop Warner conference.
Zanelli has since left and formed his own team in another league.
The Cobras 2011 season ended with a loss in the national semi- finals, the successful season tarnished by a bitter rift among the team's coaches, parents and players over allegations that players were paid to play hard.
Casey Wian, CNN, Tustin, California.
WHITFIELD: All right, how do problems with healthcare get solved? Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at what each candidate has planned as we tackle the issues, next.
WHITFIELD: Only 39 days until the presidential election and, next week, we'll see the first debate between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Healthcare likely to be a point of disagreement.
Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, zeroes in on all that is at stake.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Since President Obama's healthcare law was enacted, 3.1 million people under the age of 26 are now covered by their parents' plans and preventive care is covered 100 percent by insurance companies.
Seniors, in particular, have benefitted on prescription drugs.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Seniors who fall in the coverage gap known as the donut hole will start getting help. They'll receive $250 to help pay for prescriptions and that will, over time, fill in the donut hole.
GUPTA: Five-point-five million seniors have saved a total of nearly $4.5 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted. That's according to the Health and Human Services Department. He also plans to slow spending on Medicare.
OBAMA: I have strengthened Medicare. We've added years to the life of Medicare and we did it by getting rid of taxpayers subsidies to insurance companies that weren't making people healthier.
GUPTA: By 2014, the law requires everyone to have health insurance, whether they purchase it themselves or through their employers, and insurers can't deny you if you have a preexisting condition or increase your rates.
The law has become a cornerstone of the Obama campaign.
OBAMA: I refuse to eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly or disabled, all so those with the most can pay less.
GUPTA: But Romney says the Affordable Care Act is unaffordable.
MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We know that health care is too expensive. ObamaCare doesn't make it less expensive.
GUPTA: He wants ObamaCare gone, including the prescription drug benefit for seniors, but he does want to keep one of the most popular pieces of ObamaCare, although he doesn't say exactly how his plan would work.
ROMNEY: We have to make sure that people who have pre-existing conditions are able to get insured and that folks that get sick don't get dropped by their insurance company.
GUPTA: Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, propose to cap malpractice insurance, cut Medicaid by $810 billion over the next 10 years, give states more control over their Medicaid funds, overhaul Medicare.
The overhaul, people now younger than 55, when they reach retirement, would have the option of getting a voucher to purchase private insurance or they could stick with traditional Medicare.
PAUL RYAN, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This financial support system is designed to guarantee that seniors can always afford Medicare coverage, no exceptions.
WHITFIELD: All right, those are just some of the major differences between the candidates, but perhaps the biggest split is over Medicaid, what most people consider to be a safety net for America's poorest.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta with us now. So, first off, you know, who qualifies for Medicaid? Why does it seem to be such a bone of contention, so complicated for so many?
GUPTA: If you think of ObamaCare that they're going -- they plan on covering so many more people was to expand Medicaid.
The way that you do that is you make people qualify at a higher rate of poverty, so, 133 percent, for example, of poverty. That brings more people into the fold.
And that was a big part of ObamaCare, but remember, the states have the option. They can do this, expand or not expand.
What the ObamaCare plan would say, we'll give more money, federal dollars, but the states have to give more money, as well. So, that was sort of how they're insuring more people.
WHITFIELD: And, you know, Romney/Ryan's plans for Medicaid differ in what way?
GUPTA: I think the biggest difference is they treat this more as sort of block grants. So, OK, we're the federal government. We'll give the states these block grants of money.
But then it's state-controlled money. They can decide what to do with that, how they want to execute their Medicaid program, but over time, the federal government is going to be less and less involved.
And, if you do the math, the math is hard to do a little bit here, but they say over time, over 10 years, for example, the federal government will be spending $800 billion less on Medicaid, putting more of that onus on the states in terms of what they want to do.
WHITFIELD: And this is not to be confused with Medicare, which has been another discussion, particularly as it relates to what Ryan's plans have been in the past, and how they measure up being a partner of Romney now.
GUPTA: Yeah, and, you know, look, Medicare's for the elderly and Medicaid is for people who are poor or disabled, but there are a lot of people who are what are called dually-eligible.
And you can imagine the situation, Fred. These are people who are elderly, but also have, you know, very little money.
So, for example, someone like that needs nursing home care. They need long-term care. They encounter some sort of disability. Then Medicaid may be the organization that's helping fund their care in those situations.
If Medicaid dries up or is reduced, even at the state level, those -- as a physician I can tell you, those are the people who would probably be hurt the most, these seniors who are dependent on nursing home care that Medicare does not cover. They need their Medicaid.
WHITFIELD: Right, well, many ears will be listening and watching, especially come Wednesday, if those questions come up, which likely they will.
GUPTA: I think they will. Yeah, I think that, too.
WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much. Appreciate that.
GUPTA: You got it, Fred. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: For more on what's at stake for healthcare, watch "Sanjay Gupta MD" this weekend. He'll also share part two of his exclusive access to the largest cancer center in the world.
"Sanjay Gupta MD," Saturday, 4:30 Eastern time, and 7:30? Yeah, 7:30, Eastern, right here on Sunday.
All right, the search for Jimmy Hoffa, what crews pulled from under a shed today in this decades old search for the former Teamsters boss.
WHITFIELD: All right. Now, one of this country's great mysteries, what happened to Jimmy Hoffa?
The former Teamsters boss last seen 37 years ago in the parking lot of a Michigan restaurant where he was expected to meet with Detroit mobster and a New Jersey labor leader.
Well, according to urban legends, the one-time union tough guy is buried somewhere from Giants Stadium to the Florida Everglades, under G.M. headquarters or maybe in cement in freeways from New York to Detroit.
Well, now, the seemingly never-ending search for Hoffa is taking police to the driveway of an unassuming house in Roseville, Michigan, just outside of Detroit.
Well, today, they drilled through the pavement under a shed and took a soil sample to see if any human remains are there.
James Berlin is Roseville's police chief, so, Chief, what was found?
POLICE CHIEF JAMES BERLIN, ROSEVILLE, MICHIGAN (via telephone): Today, there was no discernible human remains in the samples we brought up, but we're going to have that tested by a forensic anthropologist at Michigan State University on Monday to see if there are any evidence of human remains in the samples.
WHITFIELD: OK. So, what led you all to this driveway in the first place? What was it about a tipster's advice that seemed credible enough to you?
BERLIN (via telephone): Well, we had an individual come forward who claimed he witnessed a body being interred in this location 35 some odd years ago. He wasn't sure of the exact date.
We felt it was credible because he wasn't embellishing the story. It was very matter-of-fact. Didn't -- could not say positively it was a body. He believed it to be a body and gave us some other information that we were able to independently verify. He felt it was Jimmy Hoffa because he thinks this occurred the day of or the day after Mr. Hoffa disappeared.
WHITFIELD: And what was his explanation as to why he would have waited so long to share this?
BERLIN (via telephone): Well, fear. At the time, the people involved were, you know, like you said earlier in the report, you know, mobsters, whatever, and, you know, he didn't want to come forward due to fear for himself or his family.
WHITFIELD: And there have yet to be the final, I guess, results from these tests. When will it be concluded?
BERLIN (via telephone): Monday afternoon, they said they should have it to us, Monday evening at the latest.
The university is going to expedite the test for us so we can find if human remains actually exist beneath this slab.
WHITFIELD: Was there any hesitation at all, kind of being afraid that you'd be part of what have been several wild goose chases about sightings or evidence or anyone who seems to believe that any part of Jimmy Hoffa may be buried in a certain place.
Were you at all, I guess, reticent to follow through on this tipster's advice?
BERLIN (via telephone): Well, no, not to follow through on the tip itself. We felt the tip was credible. We did not believe and have not believed since the first time we got the tip that Mr. Hoffa was in this grave because the timelines didn't add up.
But we did feel that the tip was credible enough that there could be someone buried there and we would not be doing our jobs properly if we didn't follow-up to the logical conclusion, so that's what we're doing.
It was our goal to keep this out of the media spotlight and just kind of let us do our investigation and see if anything came of this, but unfortunately, that didn't happen.
WHITFIELD: All right, fascinating stuff and continues to be very mysterious. Thanks so much, Chief James Berlin of Roseville's police department.
An invasive predatory and poisonous species finds its way into the Gulf of Mexico. How the lion fish got there and what can be done to get them out.
WHITFIELD: A predatory fish with few predators of its own is spreading in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, for the first time, scientists have captured video of the venomous lion fish off the Texas coast. Chad Myers, here with me now. So, what kind of threat does this pose for all the other, you know, marine life? It's not supposed to be there.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Less than 30 years ago, this didn't exist in the Caribbean and, now, all of the sudden, because of the stingers on the back, the venom that's in this fish, nothing will eat it because it can kill it.
And this thing just is a voracious eater, so we are losing parts of the reef, losing fish on the reef to this lion fish.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my.
MYERS: So, now, we have, coming out from NOAA and Texas A&M, recipes on how to cook the lion fish.
We were talking to some people here and they have actually had lion fish. I didn't even know you could eat it.
WHITFIELD: (INAUDIBLE) it's very sweet.
MYERS: But it's not dangerous once it's cooked. Once you cook the venom, it doesn't work. It's not venomous anymore.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness.
MYERS: But I don't want to clean that thing. You know, the spikes?
WHITFIELD: I don't want to clean fish period.
MYERS: It's hard cleaning a catfish when you don't want to get stung by the catfish.
So, this thing here on the top of the stingers and at the base of the stingers, that's where all that venom is going to be.
And even after the fish is dead for an hour the venom is still powerful.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness.
MYERS: So, if you get caught and you stung by this and people are going to get stung by this. This is going to be a new phenomenon.
WHITFIELD: Some serious gloves.
MYERS: You need to put it in as hot of water as you can stand because that will dilute and not allow the venom to go around your body.
But this is a very painful bite, a very painful sting from this guy here.
WHITFIELD: So, given all that, it sounds like it's going to get worse before it gets better.
MYERS: And you know what? They said there's only one predator, me, you. That's it. Nothing else will eat it.
So, they're telling people eat it as much as you can. Buy it as fast as you can.
WHITFIELD: If you can find somebody who will touch it to prepare it.
MYERS: The fishermen will catch it and they will spear it, whatever they'll do. It's hard to catch on a hook, but they'll spear it and, if we make a demand for eating this fish, that's one way to make it go away.
Now, 20 years from now, we're going to have a different story, the demise of the lion fish. We ate it to death, right? I mean, you know how these things go.
But not there 25 years ago ...
WHITFIELD: Well, it's a tremendous story and a story of migration. There are Asian fish, how it got there, you know, throughout the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf is quite the phenomenon.
MYERS: It is. They think maybe people just got tired of it in their aquarium and threw it in the ocean.
WHITFIELD: Tossed it out and they multiplied. All right, Chad Myers, thanks so much.
MYERS: You're welcome.
WHITFIELD: We've got much more news, politics, straight ahead.
"The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer right now.