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Stakes for the Vice Presidential Debate; New Poll Data; Saving for Retirement; Yellow Light Racket; Central Park Jogger Case; Romney: U.S. Must "Shape World Events; Venezuela Re-Elects Hugo Chavez

Aired October 8, 2012 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And you're in the SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, Mitt Romney says President Obama is leading from behind. But he isn't the first to use that description. We have the reporter who heard it first from a member of the Obama administration.

We also have inside information about Vice President Joe Biden's preparations for his crucial debate with Paul Ryan.

And depending on how old you are, you're going to find out how much money you will need to save right now to have a comfortable retirement.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: We begin this hour with Mitt Romney's declaration that the United States must continue to shape world events in what his presidential campaign is labeling as a major foreign policy address. Romney today outlined robust international policy that clearly rejects the isolationist voices in his own party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The responsibility of the president to use America's greatest power to shape history, not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events. Unfortunately, that's exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: While Romney criticized the president over and over, his speech called for some of the same policies, actually, as the Obama administration. One notable exception, arming Syrian rebels.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I'll work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values. And then ensure that they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks and helicopters and fighter jets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Romney also said there should be no daylight between the leaders of the United States and Israel, especially when it comes to Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

I'll put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Our CNN correspondents in the Middle East throughout the region, they are covering the global reaction to Romney's speech.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Reza Sayah in Islamabad. One Iranian official responded to Mr. Romney's speech by jokingly asking, what's the difference between him and Mr. Obama?

That question pretty much sums up Iran's view on Mr. Romney that his Iran policy is no different than Mr. Obama's, and Mr. Romney didn't do much to change that perception in Iran after a speech that lacked specifics but was loaded with rhetoric and familiar tough talk. Mr. Romney said he'll put Iran's leaders on notice, rhetoric Mr. Obama has used plenty of times.

He also said he won't hesitate to impose sanctions. Of course, Mr. Obama has already done that. It's been under his administration that western powers have delivered the toughest sanctions yet against Iran. And here's the most glaring problem. Economic sanctions, according to many, not working.

Iran continues to enrich uranium, continues with what it calls its peaceful nuclear program and neither candidate seems to have any fresh ideas how to stop it.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Nick Paton Walsh in Beirut. And Mitt Romney tried to assert himself as a more forceful commander in chief who would insert America into the various different venality (ph) in the Middle East, most notably trying to draw distinction to the Obama administration over their approach to Syria.

He was clear he will be sure that Syrian rebels got the weapons they need, the heavy weaponry they need, they so desperately to take on the Assad regime's helicopter, gun chips (ph), jet, and tanks causing civilian causalities on a daily basis. If he tried (ph) to struggle, it's more about checking Iran's influence in that region.

But he also had pointed out one of the major contradictions the White House is currently facing. He said the violent extremists are flowing into that particular conflict, but he also pointed out the need to vet the kind of people this assistance would eventually go to.

So, in one speech alone, pointing out a key contradiction for anyone trying to intervene, how do you know the heavy weaponry you're supplying to these rebels isn't going to end up in the hands of radicals who are actually your enemy?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Nick Paton Walsh reporting for us, thank you.

When Mitt Romney accuses President Obama of leading from behind, he's actually repeating the words of an Obama adviser as quoted in a very famous now April 2011 article in the "New Yorker" magazine. It's author, the "New Yorker" Washington correspondent and CNN contributor, Ryan Lizza is joining us now.

Ryan, I remember that article very well. Give us the origin because it was entitled "Leading From Behind." But even, what, more than a year later, a half later, we hear Mitt Romney and a whole lot of other folks talking bout it.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, just one thing, Wolf,the title of the article was "The Consequentialist." So, it's about Obama and his foreign policy. But you're right. An adviser to Obama did use this phrase. And I always hasten to add, because I've been asked about this a lot in the last year as Republicans have really seized on that phrase.

It was used to mean a very, very specific context and that is not to get to in the weeds, but when the Obama administration was trying to pass a resolution at the United Nations to authorize the use of force to basically save Benghazi but to take out Gadhafi's tanks that were gathering around the city of Benghazi in Libya, they were worried if an American face was on that operation, if it was too much seen as America leading another war in the Middle East, that they might not pass that resolution in the United Nations Security Council.

And so, the idea was that they needed to put some of the Arab and sort of other countries out in front and that the Obama administration needed to lead from behind in passing that United Nations Resolution. So, that was the context. I always thought, frankly, it was simply a matter of strategy. The phrase to me was always a little bit more Machiavellian rather than announcing that they weren't going to take a leadership role in the world.

Of course, politically it's not something you would necessarily brand your foreign policy with. And Republicans have really seized on it almost immediately and almost every Republican has used it to slam Obama ever since. But I always hasten to ad the specific context is very different than what most Republicans describe.

BLITZER: Right. The article was an excellent article. I remember it well. You and I were on that same trip to North Africa --

LIZZA: That's right. BLITZER: -- at the time the consequentialist, how the Arab spring remade Obama's foreign policy. But you did post a blog entitled "Leading From Behind," because you were getting a lot of reaction, a lot of questions about that. I take it that --

LIZZA: Thank you. You're right about that. You're right about that Wolf.

BLITZER: I remember, I got it right here in front of me, "Leading From Behind," a blog post, but you're not at liberty to tell us who that Obama administration official was who coin that had phrase?

LIZZA: I'm not, Wolf, of course, I'm not.

BLITZER: OK. I just want to make sure, because I'm going to get a lot of questions. Why can't you ask him who said that? And I did you, and it was obviously a confidential comment that someone made to a journalist, and we don't reveal our confidential sources.

LIZZA: Yes.

BLITZER: Did you ever expect it to generate the kind of negative uproar for the president that it clearly has?

LIZZA: I knew it might be a little controversial because, you know, I know in politics how things sound and how one side seizes on the other side. What's really been shocking to me is how almost no one that uses the phrase actually remembers the original context. And many Republicans that I talk to actually didn't even read the original article but only read references to it after the fact.

I'll give you an example. I was covering the Michele Bachmann campaign, and she gave a speech, and like a lot of Republicans, she said, you know, she doesn't want Obama to lead from behind anymore. I got on the campaign plane with her flew from Iowa to, I think, New Hampshire and asked her press secretary, Heg (ph), did you know where that phrase comes from?

Press secretary said, no, I had no idea. I handled her the article and said here's the original context, and she brought -- you know, she brought that to the front of the plane and explained it. my understanding to Michele Bachmann and the senior staff. In the next round of the speech, the phrase disappeared.

But that's the kind of thing I encountered quite a bit is a lot of folks don't remember the original context.

BLITZER: That's why I wanted to bring you on the show today to bring that original context, especially on a day when Mitt Romney is talking about the president leading from behind. Let me pick your brain on this Pew Research Center poll that has now come out. This is a poll taken entirely since the last presidential -- the first presidential debate.

Obama now at 45 percent, Romney at 49 percent. That's a significant shift from before the debate when the president was ahead by eight points, 51 to 43 points. But let's take a little bit deeper right now. This question, all likely voters who were asked answered, Obama doesn't know how to turn the economy around, do you agree or disagree?

Fifty-four percent said they agree with that, 44 percent they say disagree. That sounds like trouble for the president's reelection campaign.

LIZZA: That does. I mean, that number -- the top -- first of all, the top-line numbers are surprising, one, because I believe Pew has actually been a pre pre-pro Obama poll. You know, every poll has a bias one way or another, usually somewhat consistent in how far ahead one counter (ph) or the other. Pew's been pretty good for Obama.

So, the top-line numbers are really surprising. We'll have to see if other polls show the same thing. But, as you point out, Wolf, that's the key number, the economy. How does Obama get out of this box of voters being not happy with the economy? But up until now, willing to, perhaps, give him another chance.

I'm surprised. I'm surprised that the debate turned things around, if they indeed have, that quickly. Now, Obama has two more debates to turn things back. So, you know, shouldn't get too excited by one poll, but this is the best news that the Romney camp has had in probably over a month.

BLITZER: Yes, certainly is. But you're absolutely right, this is one national poll. There will be several more likely voters out there, even more important than the national poll members will be the battleground state polls in Ohio and Florida and Virginia. We'll see what they show as well. Ryan, thanks very much for coming in.

LIZZA: Thank you, Wolf. Really appreciate it.

BLITZER: Thank you.

And we're only three days away from another milestone in the presidential race with all eyes turning to the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican nominee, Paul Ryan, after the president's weak showing in the first debate with Mitt Romney.

Let's bring in our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin. She's been doing reporting on this. What are you hearing, because Thursday night, it's going to be a good debate, I am sure.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I am sure it will be, Wolf. Vice President Biden is in Wilmington, Delaware right now for his own debate camp, ahead of the big night in Kentucky Thursday night. His prep is being run by the same man who ran President Obama's debate prep, Ron Klain (ph). He's the vice president's former chief of staff, a trained lawyer, and one of the Democratic Party's most experienced debate experts.

Also there today is David Axelrod, the president's senior advisor on the campaign. But I'm told they're not altering the people who have been planning to advise the vice president at his debate prep. They also are not altering the message in the wake of the president's performance last week.

You know, Vice President Biden, Wolf, he's always been sort of the attack dog on the campaign. And I'm told by senior Democrats they don't expect, no one expects the vice president to sort of make up for the president's performance last week.

BLITZER: Any more reaction from the Obama folks to the president's first debate performance?

YELLIN: Well, I do understand that they did have this conference call after the president's -- as the campaign -- as the debate was wrapping up, some of his senior advisors got on a call and started trying to figure out what they're message was going to be. The one theme I've heard consistently is they feel like this Big Bird attack, believe it or not, is the message that's breaking through.

Romney went after Big Bird and you've heard president on the -- went after Big Bird, but said that he's going to cut funding to TV ads. And you've heard the president on the stump saying over and over that Mitt Romney wants to relax rules on Wall Street but go after Sesame Street. They insist that this is the one thing that's broken through in the debate.

Not so sure that that's right, but they really feel like that's a message that they can at least walk away with until the next debate.

BLITZER: We'll see.

YELLIN: We'll see.

BLITZER: All right. We'll see how Biden does Thursday night as well against Paul Ryan. Jessica, thank you.

YELLIN: He usually doesn't make gaffes at debates, so we'll see.

BLITZER: Yes. I'm sure he'll be well-prepared.

YELLIN: Well-prepared.

BLITZER: His calendar, as you point, is clear. He's doing nothing but preparing, practice, practice, practice, which is something the president clearly should have done a little bit more of.

YELLIN: You make a good point.

BLITZER: Thank you.

We're going to have a closer look at what President Obama's supporters are now doing to make sure he wins again in a crucial battleground state. Stand by for that. John King will be reporting.

And it looks like a man in the United States considers a dangerous nuisance will be around for a while longer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: An impressive victory for Venezuela's socialist leader, Hugo Chavez, reelected president for a fourth straight term. Chavez clinched more than 54 percent of the vote in the closely watched election. The White House is congratulating the Venezuelan people on the process, but the win is raising serious questions about what another six years will mean for Venezuela's already tenuous relationship with the United States.

And Paula Newton is joining us now from Caracas. Paula, we heard Mitt Romney mentioned Hugo Chavez in his major foreign policy speech today. What do you think we can expect from this newly reelected leader of Venezuela?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, not much new in his policies, which means American oil firms will continue to be shut out of this country. But, you know, Hugo Chavez loves to basically needle any American president. He basically uses it as a platform to say, look, we need independence from the so-called imperialists.

And so, considering that the United States gets almost nine percent of its gas and oil from Venezuela every year, it is the largest producer of oil in the hemisphere. Really, Hugo Chavez wants to be paid attention to. I don't expect him to be pivoting in any way radically from what he did before.

It plays well in Caracas. It plays well in Venezuela. He is going to continue to be very provocative with the United States, but no matter who wins the election.

BLITZER: You did hear him say last week that he would vote for Obama as opposed to Romney. Why does he think Obama is better than Romney?

NEWTON: You know, he called on a press conference a couple of night ago, Wolf, he called Obama rational. And I can tell you why. To Univision, President Barack Obama in a Spanish language interview said, look, we do not see anything that Venezuela is doing against the U.S. national interest.

That goes against what Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio, has said very clearly and loudly. Venezuela supports Syria. Venezuela supports Iran. They could, in fact, be supporting Hezbollah here in the country, although, there isn't any concrete proof of that. Those people, the Republicans are saying, look, pay attention to Venezuela. We need to understand what they're doing in this hemisphere.

BLITZER: Paula Newton, on the scene for us in Caracas. Paula, thanks very much.

A notorious self-confessed killer reportedly about to become a father behind bars. We have details of that and a lot more news coming up right here in the SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Former Penn state coach and convicted child abuser, Jerry Sandusky, is set to be sentenced tomorrow. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. What's the latest?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Sandusky's attorney tells CNN that his client will speak and claim his innocence at tomorrow's sentencing hearing and that he's been writing a statement in prison. The 68-year-old former Penn State football coach could face life in prison on 45 counts of child sex abuse.

A jury found that he used his access to school facilities to abuse ten boys over a 15-year period.

And the man arrested but never charged in Natalee Holloway's 2005 disappearance is in the news again. Joran Van Der Sloot is in prison for the murder of Stefani Flores in Peru, and he may soon be a father. A Dutch newspaper reports Van Der Sloot met the expectant mother behind bars and that she became pregnant after an unsupervised visit.

And the top American poker players $11.7 million win at a London casino has been referred to the British Gambling Commission amid media reports that the payout was being withheld. According to the "Daily Melt" (ph), Phil Ivy (ph) hit a two-night winning streak at the casino in August.

Details on why the win was referred to the regulatory commission have not been released and there's been no comment from any of the parties involved.

And London police are looking for the vandal who defaced a painting in the Tate (ph) modern art gallery. A man used a brush to apply a small area of black paint to one of Mark Rothko's (ph) murals originally commissioned in the 1950s for New York Seagram Building. People in the gallery, they saw it happen, but the vandal still managed to get away.

And that is just awful. It's really hard, Wolf, just to look at that.

BLITZER: These galleries are going to have to keep these paintings away from individual. I know we want to see them. I know we want to get up close, but it's just too dangerous. It's too -- there's crazy people out there who do these kinds of things.

SYLVESTER: And there's just a few that are ruining it for everybody else. And it is such a shame and so, so needless, Wolf.

BLITZER: Keep people away is the only thing to do. Thank you.

Out on the campaign trail, we're seeing something new and a little bit surprising from Mitt Romney. Now, our "Strategy Session," getting ready to take a closer look at why she's showing voters his softer side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's get to our "Strategy Session" right now. Joining us are CNN contributor, the Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen and Republican strategist, John Feehery. Guys, thanks very much for coming in. We're seeing a little bit softer side of Mitt Romney out there on the campaign trail yesterday and today, telling personal stories that we really haven't heard him do in the past. Let me play a little clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: So I put my hand on his shoulder and I reached over and I said, Billy, I love you and God bless you. It was a great occasion to say hi to my good friend, and he passed away the next day. And, I thought, what a blessing it was for me to see him on that last day and acknowledge to him my respect for him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Why do you think, John, he's doing this? Because in the past, he really hasn't opened up personally like that. Very emotional story.

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think there's been a caricature of Mitt Romney. I think he's trying to expose people to who he really is. I think there's been some reluctance to talk about his religious faith. I think now that's kind of -- we're getting closer to the end of the election.

I think it's time for people to understand that he's actually a really nice guy, a really good guy. All these caricatures that are out of him are not accurate. And I think that when people have a more full some (ph) view of who mitt Romney is, I think people want to vote for him.

BLITZER: You're an excellent strategist. What do you think about this new strategy?

HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it's nice. I mean, good for Mitt Romney. I think it's smart for him to do.

BLITZER: Does it impact voters? Does it impact voters out there --

ROSEN: Oh, sure.

BLITZER: -- to see a little softer side?

ROSEN: I think it not only impacts voters. I think, it energizes him, clearly. I mean, I think that since the debate, we've kind of seen a new Mitt Romney. And President Obama's clearly got to up his game in terms of the enthusiasm, in terms of the fighting for the American people. I think the policies are on the president's side.

You know, when you poll the issues that the president stands for and that Mitt Romney stands for, people actually know that the president is on their side more than Mitt Romney is in terms of the middle class. But, you know, Mitt Romney is trying harder right now in people's minds.

BLITZER: And he seems to be a little bit more confident after that first presidential debate. There's another debate as all of us know, Thursday night, vice presidential debate. The vice President Joe Biden will face Paul Ryan, his Republican challenger. Listen to Paul Ryan speaking to one of our affiliates, WTMJ. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We think he's probably going to come at me like a cannonball. More pressure because Mitt Romney put such a great performance that the bar is pretty high. There's also pressure because Joe Biden's been doing this for 40 years.

I mean, the man ran for president twice. He's the sitting vice president. This is my first time on this kind of a stage, so sure. There's a lot of pressure. Joe Biden's very experienced at this. And I think that's right, because of the lack of momentum they have, because of the president's terrible performance because Mitt Romney did such a good job of giving the country a choice, I don't think they have any choice but to have Joe Biden come right at me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Hilary?

ROSEN: I think there is pressure on Joe Biden to deliver a big performance. But I actually think there's more pressure on Paul Ryan because there were so many times in the debate where Mitt Romney kind of got -- changed the facts from the policies he said. Whether it was how he's going to make his tax cut revenue-neutral, whether he's going -- whether the president's Medicare proposal is actually a cut in Medicare. Paul Ryan was the chair of the House Budget Committee. It would be an affront to him not to have accurate, factual details on these issues the way that Mitt Romney got away with not having --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: He's a very wonky (ph) kind of guy. Those of us who know Paul Ryan and have seen him over the years, he knows numbers, statistics, stuff like that.

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He does. It's going to be interesting because there's a generational divide. You have the two Irish Catholics, one older, one younger, one caring about the future of the country economically and fiscally, the other kind of keeping the traditional Democratic philosophy out there, so I think it will be a good debate. Joe Biden has been at this for many, many years. This is really Paul Ryan's first rodeo. So I do think that there's pressure on both of them. I think you know in many ways though the vice presidential debate doesn't mean much. You think about the most -- the biggest blowout in history was Lloyd Benson (ph) against Dan Quayle -- I mean George Bush still won, so I'm not sure how much it means. I think it's going to be interesting. I think there's a little bit of pressure on both of them, but I don't think it's going to change the dynamics of the debate --

ROSEN: The one place it could mean something is you know there's been this, for lack of a better word, the kind of back-and-forth within the press and within the candidates' campaigns about this tax cut, whether you actually can achieve the balanced budget that Mitt Romney is promising. I think he's making a lot of false promises. But it will be interesting to see whether the vice presidential debate actually sheds light on that and whether it moves the issue forward in any significant way for people.

FEEHERY: From my perspective, I think that Paul Ryan has spent -- having to sell this plan for a long time because he's in a district that's you know marginally Republican but pretty Democratic. So he's got to go out and sell it and he's been able to sell it and I think that he's going to be more effectively able to sell it than anybody else.

BLITZER: But Biden has done these national debates --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Ryan hasn't. So this is a big challenge --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: -- for the much younger Republican vice presidential nominee. This new Pew Research Center (ph) poll generating a lot of buzz right now -- I'll put the numbers once again on the screen. Right now all of this taken after the debate, you see Romney ahead 49, 45 percent. Before the debate, September 12th through September 16th, Obama ahead 51, 43 percent. You know there are a lot of debates, polls, accurate snapshots. We want to see more polls. We want to see state polls. But this could be a jolt to the -- if other polls back this up, Hilary, this will be a jolt to the Obama campaign.

ROSEN: Yes. Now it's the Democrats' turn to talk about how polls don't matter, right?

BLITZER: We're already hearing about the number of Democrats versus the Republicans.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: -- argue about the numbers and the methodology and all of that stuff. Look I just have always thought that this was going to go right down to the wire. I think we clearly have a close election here. You know over the next few days, seeing what some of these individual battleground states are doing, because some of those polls are going to come out in the next few days, we'll have maybe more meaning than the national poll. But look there's no question that the American people are looking to President Obama now to fight a little harder for him and to get a little more --

BLITZER: Let me show you the Gallup tracking poll numbers as well --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: -- because these are over the past seven days. Half of this poll was done before the debate, some afterwards. If you add them all up, you see 50 to 45, but right now in the last few days, it's been narrowed to 47, 47 since the debate, so clearly the Republican, John, has gotten a little bounce out of this. FEEHERY: First of all, I agree with Hilary. I don't think these polls mean that much except for establishing a narrative. And the narrative now that's being established is Mitt Romney's coming back after his great debate performance. And that gives more enthusiasm to the Republicans and it makes the Democrats feel, you know, a little bit off their game, a little bit less enthusiastic. And I think you see that in other polls, so we'll see what happens. I think mostly at the end of the day what matters is how well you turn out your voters. We all know it's going to be a close election and whoever has the best turnout --

BLITZER: Because that ground game, especially in Ohio and Florida and Virginia, Colorado, that ground game, the Republicans were very good at it two years ago, as you well remember.

ROSEN: Yes and I feel really good about where -- the Obama organization has more volunteers than ever coming forward. And look for the last couple of elections whoever won the first debate did not win the election. I think voters really will see where President Obama is on their side. That we just had a good jobs report. We have 31 months of straight employment growth. I think you know we are definitely trending right.

FEEHERY: I think that people want a change. I think they want a better economy in the future and they want a vision for the future which they're not getting from President Obama --

BLITZER: Speaking about a vision for the future, congratulations to you.

FEEHERY: Thank you very much.

ROSEN: I know. That's so nice.

BLITZER: The Feehery family has a new sweet --

FEEHERY: Molly Kate, she came in at seven pounds, 14 ounces. Mom and Molly are at home right now and they're very healthy --

BLITZER: Are they watching do you think?

FEEHERY: I think Molly is watching every step --

BLITZER: Molly, I'm sure she loves THE SITUATION ROOM.

FEEHERY: She loves it. She watches it every day.

BLITZER: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

FEEHERY: For every six days she's been --

BLITZER: Congratulations --

FEEHERY: Thank you very much. BLITZER: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: We're taking you to a battleground state that President Obama won in 2008. Stand by. You're going to see what his supporters are doing to try to make sure he holds on to it this time around even though they concede it will not be easy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: That new post-debate national poll by the Pew Research Center shows Mitt Romney now leading President Obama among likely voters nationwide by four points, 49 percent to 45 percent. But a separate post-debate poll in the critically important swing state of Colorado shows the president clinging to a narrow lead. Our chief national correspondent John King is here in THE SITUATION ROOM. You spent the last few days out there in Colorado taking a closer look at what's going. What did you see?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well that new poll you mentioned, the University of Denver, 47, 43. So the president is ahead but that's within the margin of error. Call that a toss-up. Wolf, in the last five presidential elections, Colorado, three times for Republican, two times for a Democrat. Four weeks to go. It's still a toss-up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

King (voice-over): Maria Zapata Sanchez (ph) was part of history four years ago, urging Latinos to help make Barack Obama president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

KING: It's different this time around. Harder.

MARIA ZEPEDA SANCHEZ, COLORADO OBAMA SUPPORTER: Some people are still very excited and others say, I don't know. Well, you know I haven't made up my mind.

KING: Less hype about the Obama campaign this time, she says, and less hope about the candidate.

SANCHEZ: It's a little bit harder you know because sometimes some of them say, well, I don't know who to vote for. These two evils you know.

KING: Latinos were 13 percent of the vote in battleground Colorado four years ago. And any dip in their support for the president or a drop in turnout could shift this classic swing state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is one of his songs that is so moving and so powerful.

KING: Evangelicals are to Mitt Romney what Latinos are to the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He cannot win unless he wins convincingly among evangelicals.

KING: White evangelicals like those here at Calvary South Denver made up 23 percent of Colorado's vote in 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think about life, think about liberty, think about character, and then cast your ballot.

KING: Pastor Gino Geraci adds a plug to vote to every Sunday sermon.

GINO GERACI, PASTOR, CALVARY DENVER SOUTH: The most surprising thing is the frustration of many of them with both candidates and the frustration of not wanting to vote for either.

KING: Geraci predicts economic worries plus values concerns will equal a big Colorado evangelical boost for Romney.

GERACI: I suspect that you're going to see a far greater turnout than you did in 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is your section and I already put your name on the --

KING: Turnout is the overwhelming focus of both campaigns now, including this week's deadline to register new voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All that matters in the end is that we get those votes in for the president and the way we can do that is registering as many voters as we can.

KING: A few months back, veteran Democratic strategist Mike Stratton was worried, less so now.

MICHAEL STRATTON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I would say that organizationally and enthusiasm factor, the Democrats are sort of peaking at the right time.

KING: The Denver suburbs are critical if it's close and Stratton sees an Obama edge among suburban women.

STRATTON: Women are troubled by this sort of regressive view that the Republicans have about birth control and Planned Parenthood.

KING: But the economy dominates a close race here. A new University of Denver poll shows the president with a tiny lead statewide. Governor Romney though has the edge when voters are asked who would do a better job with the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great. Can I ask you a couple of questions about the upcoming election?

STRATTON: Before the concept of red and blue, before the concept of purple, you remember they called Colorado a ticket splitter state. It will be close in Colorado regardless. We're at ground zero in the American presidential election.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Ground zero, Mike Stratton calls it there, Wolf, nine electoral votes. You wouldn't think of it as a big prize, but it could be decisive. Get this -- more than $33 million spent already on TV ads in Colorado and Planned Parenthood just today announcing more spending there to go after those suburban women. It's not just the candidates. Turn on the TV in Colorado, boom.

BLITZER: So both campaigns are spending a lot of money in Colorado, not just the Super PACs but the campaigns themselves.

KING: Campaigns themselves and we saw early on the Obama campaign was spending more because they saw Romney coming back into the race, $33 million has smashed all the records in that state. Any battleground state you go to that's the case. Both campaigns, the Super PAC allies and interest groups, again, Planned Parenthood just announcing an $800,000 buy today, going after those suburban women that the Democrats out there think if Latinos turn out, if evangelicals turn out, if all other things being equal, it comes down to women --

BLITZER: And the University of Denver poll you referred to was done since the debate in Denver --

KING: Right after the debate. There was a poll done literally the two days after the debate.

BLITZER: OK. Thanks very much. John King reporting.

A major wake-up call for anyone who's put off thinking about retirement. Up next, what one investment firm now says is the magic amount of money you should have saved. Stand by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Next story has a lot of people in our newsroom talking. Exactly how much money should you have saved when you retire? Fidelity came up with a magic number. It's a big wake-up call for a lot of people who are doing the math. Lisa Sylvester is taking a closer look -- Lisa.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Everybody wants to know how much do I need to save for retirement? Well eight is the magic number, according to Fidelity Investments. Fidelity says the average worker needs to try to save at least eight times their salary to have enough in retirement.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER (voice-over): Let's say you have Bob. He's 25 years old earning $40,000 a year. Not bad for someone only a few years out of college. He starts saving six percent of earnings and gradually building up to 12 percent of his income saved. His salary increases over time to $74,000 and he retires with enough money, about $600,000 at 67. To get there Fidelity says workers should have saved up one times their salary at age 35, three times their salary at age 45, five times their salary at age 55 and eight times their salary at retirement age. So how are workers stacking up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would love to be able to save that. But you know I think with the economy the way it is, it would take me a very, very long time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm kind of banking on my salary increasing as I get older and having less student loan debt.

SYLVESTER: Fidelity wants particularly young workers to think about saving now. To be sure Fidelity makes its money based on people saving for retirement. And Fidelity built its model with several rosy assumptions like Bob will work continuously for the next 42 years, that he will earn a rate of return of 5.5 percent year in and year out and that he starts saving right away. Everyone knows how early you start can make a huge difference.

Let's take Joan, 38 years old and married with two kids. She earns $82,000 a year. She's paying a mortgage and trying to save for her kids' college. Joan got a late start. She only has $20,000 in her 401(k) retirement fund. She's contributing $300 a month to her 401(k) but using Fidelity's online calculator, she'll need $2.5 million at retirement. And she has plenty of catching up to do. Fidelity wanted a single easy number to grasp but the truth is it depends on a person's individual situation.

WALTER UPDEGRAVE, MONEY MAGAZINE: When you're planning for retirement, there are a lot of different variables. There's, for example, how much do you save each year? How much do you earn on the money that you're saving and then investing? What age do you retire? If you retire -- if you postpone retirement by a couple of years, you get a much larger Social Security check.

SYLVESTER: And data shows most people have work to do, but the key thing is don't be frightened by the numbers. Just start now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if it's a small amount of money, you know, a perfect example is your 401(k) plan. I mean a lot of employers are offering your 401 (k) plan, sometimes you get a match for your 401 (k) plan. That's just free money you're leaving on the table if you don't take advantage of that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: Now Fidelity admits that they use a very simplified formula but that's the whole point. That they don't want people to be scared off by all of the numbers. That you can save more than you think because of one word, compounding, and that the earlier you start the more your money grows and we've heard this time and time again, but it doesn't matter if you're in your 20's, your 30's, your 40's, it's not too late to start, Wolf.

BLITZER: Good idea. Good investment. Good compounding. Thank you.

It's not unusual to get a ticket for running a red light but in New York City right now it's the yellow light that has some drivers crying foul. Here's CNN's Alina Cho.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. We're at one of the busiest intersections in New York City and as you can see right there, there is a camera designed to catch people running red lights, but what if you didn't have enough time to get through this intersection because the yellow light was too short? Well AAA says that's exactly what's happening across New York City, which begs the question, is it a scam?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHO (voice-over): The "New York Post" calls it a red-light scam.

(on camera): Would you go so far as to say this is a racket?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, let's just that in our region it seems that whenever municipalities, whenever the city or state is cash starved, the motorist is a path of first resort.

CHO (voice-over): AAA recently looked at two dozen intersections in and around New York City and found, yes, those pesky yellow lights that seem too short actually are.

(on camera): In the intersections you looked at, how many in your estimation had yellow lights that were too short?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In New York City, 100 percent.

CHO: One hundred percent --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were all too short.

CHO (voice-over): How short?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found in general that most red light camera amber light (ph) times were anywhere from 2.5 to 2.8 seconds.

CHO: So short AAA says with some called "got you cams" there are 170 in New York City have become a revenue cash cow. According to one report, in the past five years, tickets from red light cameras have generated $235 million, 47.2 million in just the past year.

(on camera): There is no legal requirement for the length of a yellow light but in general the prevailing view is that it should be about one second for every 10 miles per hour on the speed limit. In Manhattan, the speed limit is 30 miles per hour so that's three seconds for a yellow light but here at this intersection, we timed it and it's less, 2.5 seconds.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: My understanding from reading the article is that you found four out of 12,000 that were off a couple of tenths of a second.

CHO (voice-over): The city's Department of Transportation commissioner adds, "this study is bogus and the real victims here are the New Yorkers who lost their lives in red light running crashes." But on the streets of New York City --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have someone who's trying to just generate revenue on working people's back. Plain and simple.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHO: The DOT says red light cameras actually operate on a .3-second DeLay, so any minor variations won't result in a ticket. AAA says what's the harm in lengthening a yellow light? It will just gives motorists more time to go through without worrying about another safety hazard, a rear-end crash -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Alina Cho, thanks very much.

When we come back legendary filmmaker Ken Burns, he's being subpoenaed for a film he did involving a notorious rape case.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: New York City's embroiled in a heated legal battle with the filmmaker Ken Burns over a new documentary about the five men convicted and later exonerated in the infamous 1989 rape and attempted murder of the so-called Central Park jogger. Here's CNN's national correspondent Susan Candiotti.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This documentary, the latest project of filmmaker Ken Burns whose daughter is co-director, tells the story of five black and Latino teenagers. They were convicted of raping and brutally beating a white female jogger in New York Central Park in 1989.

SARAH BURNS, FILMMAKER: It was this huge media story. There was a lot of coverage but everyone got it wrong at that time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was just hollering like, help, help.

CANDIOTTI: The five teenagers confessed to the crime after what they said was an unfair interrogation. They were charged even though none was a match for a DNA sample found at the scene. Turns out it belonged to this man.

S. BURNS: He commits at least five more rapes that we know of after the Central Park jogger.

CANDIOTTI: But the serial rapist did not confess until after the five teens already had served sentences ranging from seven to 11 years. A judge threw out the convictions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The verdicts have been set aside in their entirety.

(SHOUTING)

CANDIOTTI: A victory for the five men. Yusef Salaam now 38 was one of them.

YUSEF SALAAM, CENTRAL PARK FIVE: After being exonerated, it's almost like somebody running free through the grass and just throwing their hands up yelling (INAUDIBLE).

CANDIOTTI: Harder to overturn was public perception. The case enflamed racial tensions in the city. The teens were called animals and savages. Donald Trump took out a full-page ad asking to bring back the death penalty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they had their ways, we would be hanging from some of these lovely trees in Central Park.

CANDIOTTI: They five men filed a federal lawsuit a decade ago accusing the city of violating their civil rights by coercing their confessions. The city has defended the way it conducted its investigation. And now its lawyers are seeking outtakes from the Burns documentary to bolster its case. The filmmakers refuse citing shield laws that protect journalists.

S. BURNS: We believe we are protected under those shield laws as journalists and we don't think it's fair for the government to intrude in our research.

CANDIOTTI: A lawyer for the city says the film isn't journalism because it advocates for the five. In a statement the city says, quote, "if the plaintiffs truly want an open airing of the facts they should encourage the filmmakers not to hide anything." The filmmakers claim the documentary sticks to the facts.

(on camera): What do you take of the city trying to go after the outtakes from this film?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The city needs to stop dragging their feet. I don't think that they will find anything other than what they already know that we were innocent (INAUDIBLE). This is -- this is just going to continue to further restate that.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Yusef Salaam says no matter the outcome he may never fully escape his nightmare that started in this park.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: As for the Central Park jogger herself, Tricia Meili has gone on to become a motivational speaker. She's the author of the book "I am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility".