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THE SITUATION ROOM
Sprint to Election Day; Voter Intimidation in Florida?; Obama & Biden Campaign in Ohio; Romney & Ryan Campaign in Nevada; Obama's Second Term Plans: Why Now?; Suspicious Letters Mailed to Florida Voters; Expanded Warnings about Firm's Drugs; Stocks Close at Seven- Week Low; Apple Unveils iPad Mini
Aired October 23, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: the sprint to Election Day. The race for the White House now in its final critical phase. The candidates are crossing the nation, making every moment count. We're going to hear from the Obama/Biden team live from Ohio this hour, also the Romney/Ryan team live from Nevada this hour. Both of these presidential candidates getting ready to speak. You will see it, you will hear it live this hour in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And are some Florida voters being intimidated? Details of out-of- state letters targeting Republicans.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Fourteen days until Americans pick the next president and CNN has geared up to bring you the most comprehensive coverage of these final two weeks of the campaign. Our correspondents are in the most critical battleground states across the country, as President Obama and Mitt Romney try to win over those few remaining undecided voters who could very well sway this expected very, very close election.
We have both of these presidential campaigns live this hour. You see Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee. He's also the vice president of the United States. He's speaking right now in Dayton, Ohio. He's going to be introducing the president who's going to be speaking right after him.
And in Henderson, Nevada, another key battleground state, Paul Ryan is speaking right now getting ready to introduce Mitt Romney. This hour, you will hear from both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on this important day after the third and final presidential debate.
Let's go to Nevada right now. Six electoral votes are at stake there. In 2008, they went to President Obama. While he holds a two-point lead in a recent poll in that state, he's statistically tied with Mitt Romney in Nevada right now.
Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is on the scene for us with the Romney campaign.
What's going on, on this day after the last debate?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you might be able to notice behind me that Paul Ryan is on stage. He's getting ready to introduce the man at the top of the ticket, Mitt Romney.
The Romney campaign believes that the GOP nominee achieved his objective at last night's debate by not going after all of the president's lines of attack in that final showdown there in Boca Raton, Florida. But at the same time, the campaign believes the GOP nominee came across as presidential.
But, Wolf, the debates are over. And the real race is now on.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Florida.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Bang. The final presidential debate was the starting pistol for a two-week sprint to the finish line. As President Obama fought to hold onto Florida, Mitt Romney tried his luck in Nevada.
OBAMA: And, by the way, the math in my plan adds up.
ACOSTA: On the campaign plane, Romney's advisers were quick to brush off the president's move to unveil a new 20-page blueprint outlining his agenda for a second term. The Romney campaign has already turned the GOP nominee's debate pivot to the economy.
BOB SCHIEFFER, MODERATOR: Governor Romney, wrong and reckless policies?
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have got a policy for the future, an agenda for the future.
ACOSTA: Into a new ad.
ROMNEY: I will get us on track to a balanced budget.
ACOSTA: A trio of key debate flash points lay down the battle lines for three crucial swing states. For Jewish voters in Florida, Romney's attack on Mr. Obama's decision not to visit Israel during his first foreign trip as president.
ROMNEY: You went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and to Iraq. And, by the way, you skipped Israel.
OBAMA: If we're going to talk about trips that we have taken...
ACOSTA: For factory workers in Ohio, the flare-up over Romney's opposition to the auto bailout.
OBAMA: They would have gone through a...
ROMNEY: ... you're wrong.
(CROSSTALK) OBAMA: No, I am not wrong. I am not wrong.
ROMNEY: People can look it up, you're right.
OBAMA: People will look it up.
ACOSTA: And for military voters in Virginia, Romney's charge that the size of the Navy is at 1917 levels.
OBAMA: Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed.
ACOSTA: It was hardly a direct hit for either candidate. As it turns out, every Marine still undergoes bayonet training. And the fact- checking watchdog, PolitiFact, rated Romney's attempt to blame the president for the Navy's current fleet levels as Pants on Fire.
ACOSTA: Now, as for the president's blueprint that he laid out earlier today talking about his second term agenda, we did talk to some senior Romney advisers on the campaign plane as we were kind of coming into Nevada earlier this afternoon. And in the words of one of those Romney advisers, they called that blueprint a glossy panic button.
Now, as for the travels of the two candidates, they're going to be out on this stage in a few moments from now. They are going to be here in Nevada, as we just mentioned. But they are headed next to Colorado and then, Wolf, Mitt Romney heads to Iowa and Ohio and then Virginia, it looks like, this weekend. If you live in a swing state, he is probably coming to a town near you, Wolf.
BLITZER: We're going to hear Governor Romney and President Obama live this hour in Nevada and Ohio.
Gloves certainly were off for President Obama last night after being criticized for not being aggressive enough in the first presidential debate. The president has been hammering away at Mitt Romney in subsequent debates and on the campaign trail, including today.
Let's get some more now from our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
This new strategy -- I guess it's a new strategy after that first debate, hammer, hammer, hammer. What's up?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let's state the obvious, which we all, which is that it's a close race.
I think President Obama went into that debate in much the same that Mitt Romney went into the first debate. Mitt Romney in the first debate knew he was behind. Going into this last debate, the president's campaign saw the polls tightening. They didn't like what they were seeing. They understood the president has an advantage when it comes to foreign policy, commander in chief, has had some foreign policy successes. Mitt Romney not as comfortable on that terrain.
So they decided to attack. And I think you would have to say that it worked for them. What they're going after, Wolf, are not so much what we call the undecided voters, because there aren't many of those left. It's really what one pollster described to me today as fluctuating voters, voters who go back and forth between the candidates, who may have been for Obama in 2008, little disaffected, decided they'd give Romney a look.
And the big thing for the campaign, the Romney campaign is they want Mitt Romney to be acceptable to those voters who are fluctuating as they put it.
BLITZER: The Obama campaign put out an ad, sort of a summation, if you will. Let me play a little clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Here's my plan for the next four years. Making education and training a national priority. Building on our manufacturing boom. Boosting American-made energy. Reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where we can and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. And ending the war in Afghanistan, so we can do some nation-building here at home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Read between the lines for us, Gloria.
BORGER: Well, it is a book called a plan for jobs and middle class security that they released. And I think you can honestly say the reason they did this is because voters were complaining that they didn't see enough of a vision for the next four years.
But as my colleague, Jessica Yellin, pointed out earlier today on CNN, there isn't a lot in this that's new or that's unexpected. They talk about energy, they talk about president's health care plan. They do for example talk about education and a goal of reducing college tuition in half over the next 10 years, but they don't explain exactly how the federal government will do that.
But at least they tried to put it in a book and say, here's our road map. Just read. Sort of the same as saying it's on my Web site, just read it, but here it is.
BLITZER: Romney may not have won the debate last night, according to our instant poll, but he did achieve some important things.
BORGER: And, again, it's that acceptability threshold, particularly as commander in chief.
If you look at our instant poll afterwards, we asked the question of whether the president and Romney can handle the job as commander in chief. You see they're almost at parity there, Wolf, both at 60 percent or above. So I think what -- the Romney people that I spoke to today felt very happy and very comfortable with that.
Their big job that they have left, Wolf, is to capitalize on the intensity they say they're feeling of their voters out there. If they can get their voters out, and if they can make Republicans enthusiastic and they have seen a building intensity since that first debate, then they think they have got a shot even in the all-important state of Iowa, where they maintain the polls are tied.
Other polls show it with Obama having a lead. But the Romney campaign says, you know what, we're there. We're almost there.
BLITZER: We're going to hear from both of these presidential candidates. They're just beginning to speak. They're welcoming some of the guests that have come out there at these rallies, the president of the United States in Ohio, Governor Romney in Nevada.
When we come back, you will hear from both of these presidential candidates.
BLITZER: Governor Romney is speaking in Nevada. President Obama is speaking in Ohio, President Obama really, really blasting Mitt Romney for Romnesia right now.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
OBAMA: ... a big tax cut to the wealthy, but you're on a video promising your tax cut would include the top 1 percent.
That sounds like a classic case of Romnesia.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: If you say that you love American cars during a debate, you're a car guy, but you wrote an article titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," you definitely have a case of Romnesia.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: Last night, Governor Romney looked you right in the eye, looked me in the eye, tried to pretend that he never said let Detroit go bankrupt, tried to pretend he meant the same thing I did when we intervened and worked to make sure that management and workers got together to save the U.S. auto industry, pretended like somehow I had taken his advice.
OBAMA: The people don't forget. The people of Dayton don't forget. The people of Ohio don't forget. If Mitt Romney had been president when the auto industry was on the verge of collapse, we might not have an American auto industry today. We'd be buying cars from China, instead of selling cars to China. And you know how important that is to Ohio. The auto industry supports one in eight Ohio jobs. It's a source of pride to this state. It is a source of pride to our country. It's a source of pride to generations of workers.
I refused to walk away from those workers. I bet on those workers. I refused to walk away from those jobs. I understood that Americans can compete. I wasn't about to let Detroit go bankrupt or Toledo go bankrupt. Lordstown go bankrupt.
I bet on American workers. I bet on American manufacturing. I would do it again because that bet has paid off for Ohio and for America in a big way.
So here's the good news, Ohio -- if you've come down with a case of Romnesia, if you can't seem to remember the positions that you've taken, not just four years ago but four days ago, if you don't remember the positions that are on your Web site, if you don't remember the promises you've been making during the six years that you've been running for president, you don't have to worry because Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions.
We can fix you up. There's a cure. There's a cure.
There's a cure, but you got to vote to make sure that the medicine is there for Romnesia.
Now, we joke about Governor Romney being all over the map, but it speaks to something important. It speaks of trust. There's no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust. Trust matters.
You know, you want to know that the person who's applying to be your president and commander-in-chief is trustworthy, that he means what he says, that he's not just making stuff up depending on whether it's convenient or not.
So, you know, smart people who they don't have a dog in this fight. They've crunched the numbers. And we know that Governor Romney's jobs plan doesn't really create jobs. We know his deficit plan doesn't really reduce the deficit. His foreign policies from the 1980s before the Cold War was over, his social policies from the 1950s, and his economic policies are from the 1920s. He knows he can't sell that even though those are his positions.
So in the closing weeks of the campaign, he's doing everything he can to hide his true positions and tell us what he thinks you want to hear and then spend most of his time telling you what he thinks is wrong with America. Joe Biden just talked about that, talking about America's in decline.
He is terrific at making presentations about stuff he thinks is wrong with America. But he sure can't give you an answer about what will make it right. And that's not leadership that you can trust.
You know, Ohio, you know me. You know I mean what I say. You know that I do what I say I'm going to do.
You know that I'll make the tough decisions even when they're not popular. Folks don't remember what we did with the auto industry. It wasn't popular when we did it. It wasn't even popular in Michigan and Ohio, but it was necessary.
And because I have folks like Joe Biden with me who can support me when I make tough decisions, we went and did what we thought was right. And I know people --
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We're going to continue to monitor the president in Ohio right now.
We'll take a quick break. When we come back, we'll get a very, very different side of the story. Mitt Romney, he is really going after the president right now. Mitt Romney in Nevada right after this.
BLITZER: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been speaking in Henderson, Nevada, outside of Las Vegas. And he spoke extensively about what happened last night.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Now, my guess is you had the chance to watch that debate last night, maybe a couple debates. Yes.
And these debates have supercharged our campaign. There's no question about it. We're seeing more and more enthusiasm, more and more support. We're going to make sure that these campaigns that the message of these debates, rather, that these messages keep going across the country.
But I -- you know, I had to look at the president's campaign as well through the eyes of those debates. And -- well, you know, he's -- he's been reduced to try to defend characters on "Sesame Street" and word games of various kinds. And then misfired attacks after one another.
You know, the truth is that attacks on me are not an agenda. The president -- we've gone through four debates now -- we've gone through four debates -- his idea of growing the economy is raising taxes. Does anyone think raising taxes creates more jobs?
Look, his vision for the future is a repeat of the past. We don't want to go into the past. Our plan has five key steps that will get this economy going because we're serious about these things.
We're going to finally get North American energy independence using our coal, our oil, our gas, our nuclear and our renewables.
(APPLAUSE) We're going to make trade work for America by making sure we open up new markets particularly in Latin America. Latin America we have advantages there with language and time zone and we're going to crack down on cheaters when they steal our jobs through unfair trade practices like China will crack down. He has not.
We're going to make training programs work for the people who need training and fix our schools. By the way, we can fix our schools because we don't get the largest share of our campaign contributions to the teachers unions. He does. As a matter of fact, we get none of our campaign contributions from the teachers unions.
We're going to do something to fix our schools that needs to be done across the country, and that is we're putting our kids first and the parents first and the teachers first and the teachers unions going behind.
And number five, number five is this -- we're going to champion small business. We want small business to grow and thrive and to add more jobs. We want to help small business people with lower taxes and regulators that see themselves as being on the same team as opposed to being in that position to small business.
We're going to help small business grow and thrive in this country. I understand small business. I didn't read about small business. I didn't study small business. I lived small business. And I'm going to help small business grow.
Look, his is a status quo candidacy. His is a message of going forward with the same policies of the last four years. And that's why his campaign is slipping. And that's why ours is gaining so much steam.
And I'm -- I'm convinced as Paul said, we can do better. I know we can. This is not just a matter of Paul and me. This is a movement across the country -- people recognizing that we can do a better job as a nation than we've done over these last four years.
I've seen it throughout my life. And in the heart of the American people there's a greatness. Equality of the human spirit that tells me if we tap into it, if we allow freedom to bloom as it can, you're going to see this country come back and an economy that roars to success.
BLITZER: There he is, Mitt Romney in Nevada, a key battleground state. Earlier, the president in Ohio, another key battleground state. We're watching both of these presidential candidates in this the final two weeks of this campaign.
The Obama campaign's just released a new booklet detailing the president's plans for a second term. Our panel has plenty of questions and some unsolicited advice when we come back.
BLITZER: With just two weeks until the election, President Obama wants voters to read all about his plans for a second term. Here's a quick snapshot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I've laid out a plan for jobs and middle class security. And unlike Mitt Romney, I'm actually proud to talk about what's in it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One advisor called that new blueprint a glossy panic button.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fourteen days before the election, now you're handing out fliers on your financial plan? You're like a procrastinator in chief.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You could say the same about Mitt Romney. Neither man wants to commit to too many details at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last night listening to Mitt Romney was like listening to a candidate who was running on cliff notes or who had Rosetta stone foreign policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's get straight to our own Kate Bolduan and some unsolicited advice from our panel -- Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'll offer any time even if you don't ask. Thank you, Wolf. Hi, guys. So you heard that great kind of snapshot right there.
The president saying that he's now -- he's laid out his plan for a second term. So, Van, we're two weeks out. He's laying out his plan or highlighting his plan for a second term agenda. It's a little light on the details, many would say. What's the point now?
VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISER: Well, I think he's taking my advice because we were on unsolicited advice before and I said he should just enumerate his plan. And so here we are.
Actually, I think what's amazing is he has had a plan. In fact, with his jobs proposal, which was stopped by Congress repeatedly, that was a clear plan. He was out on the stump for a year with a clear plan.
I think it's opportunity for him to remind people. He's not introducing anything new. He's reminding people. I hope what the public picks up on is wait a minute, this sounds familiar.
He was fighting for this all the past two years and the Republicans stopped him. Even stuff like Republicans should have supported him on, tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, bringing our troops home to rebuild America. All of that stuff should sound familiar because he's been saying it the whole time.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Van, you've got to admit though. You're a wonky guy. Maybe you're not a political in the weeds, but honestly, if you're putting out a plan two weeks before the election, doesn't that suggest -- doesn't that suggest what you've been saying so far hasn't been working?
Doesn't it suggest that what I've been doing so far maybe got us out of the hole, but I'm going to do more of it just wasn't working well enough?
BOLDUAN: Or are you in a little bit of trouble if voters don't know this plan already?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I've heard a lot of complaints from voters, I myself complain about this, lack of big vision from both candidates. We've been in a very small campaign.
Take a look at it. We have spent more time discussing children toys, first etch-a-sketch and now battleship than we have been articulating a great big optimistic vision for America in the next four years. I think they heard that. And that's kind of what they're trying to do is short on details but high on gloss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, we're past the three debates, right? Both candidates have been out there talking about what it is they want to do at some level for the past year and a half. We're now past the three debates. We're in the home stretch.
What the president did today was kind of take everything he's been saying, put it together in one package and say, here it is. What the president needs to do also, which I think he's started to do is also say here's what happens if I'm elected.
And here's what happens if Mitt Romney's elected. He says he's got a plan. He may be running away from it, but let me tell you exactly what his plan means to you. That contrast is what really is going to matter in this home stretch.
HOOVER: Doesn't that get at the crux of the argument right now? Finally in the last two weeks, President Obama what -- he has been running against Mitt Romney essentially. He hasn't been running for a second term of President Obama.
We just saw two cut ways of the two campaign events just now. You had Mitt Romney saying here's my five-point plan and then cut ways of President Obama saying Mitt Romney's a really bad guy.
BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this, Margaret, Romney campaign advisors called this blueprint put out called the booklet a glossy panic button. But Jessica Yellin in the snapshot right off the top made a great point. You could say kind of same thing about the Romney tax reform plan. That it is also quite light on specifics and he's been criticized on.
HOOVER: This is 20 pages and Mitt Romney's plan is 150.
NAVARRO: Not sure it's a better thing.
HOOVER: But it's principles. You do have principles. You can do sort of the math as an add-up and that's totally fair and legitimate. We're going to see how they'll make the numbers work, kind of a 227- page health care plan before you know what's in it.
NAVARRO: This is political marketing 101. Take a look at this plan, you can show some of the pages, it's long on pictures, short on detail. It doesn't matter. It's for the purposes of having a prop to hold up on stage and say I've got a plan. Now feel better Americans.
JONES: Let me say two things. You're right that he has not done a great job of making sure people understand what his plan is.
BOLDUAN: Like summing it up.
JONES: Part of that is because what his job is. He both has to continue to make the point about what he wants to do, but he does have to take down Mitt Romney. And part of it is Mitt Romney's plan though he has a plan has been literally laughed at by economists.
It's literally a two minus two equals four plan. And the president has a double burden here. He's got to be able to knock that down. I think at this point people that believe Mitt Romney's plan is not a good plan need to hear what the president wants to do more clearly.
So that's what he's doing. From my point of view, if you look at where the president is right now, he had a bad stumble with that first debate. Look at his reforms the last two debates. You see his base now rallying back to him.
And over the next two weeks you will see him holding that plan up. What is the plan? And I think that's the conversation he wants to have.
NAVARRO: Unfortunately for --
JONES: Listen, he had the etch-a-sketch as the prop for the other guy. He's got a plan for a prop for himself.
NAVARRO: Unfortunately, for the president the debate that mattered the most is the first debate. We didn't see the second debate have anywhere near the same effect. We're yet to see what the third debate has done.
BOLDUAN: In terms of the plan that's out there, you've worked closely and intimately in a presidential campaign, is there a hesitance especially this late in the game to get into specifics? Because you don't want to rock the boat or mess it up?
MO ELLEITHEE, FOUNDING PARTNER OF HILLTOP PUBLIC SOLUTIONS: No. In fact, I argue in a race like this, this is exactly the time you want to get into specifics, right. We're down to the home stretch. We've got a very small group of undecided voters left.
You want to do two things. You want to mobilize your base by drawing the contrast between you and your opponent and talk to the differences between you and your opponent. What's striking me is Mitt Romney is running away from the plan he's been talking about for the past year and a half.
And that's what the president really cannot let up on. He's got to hold his feet to the fire. It's not that Mitt Romney is a flip- flopper. That's part of it. The problem with Mitt Romney is that his plan doesn't add up and will have devastating consequences on the middle class.
BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Margaret.
HOOVER: The question now as a messaging expert, if you get into detail in the last two weeks after you've already made your closing arguments to the American people, how much is going to resonate?
All the ad time bought up on the air, "Super PACs" taking up all the messaging, how much of these sorts of details nuance specifics of an economic plan are going to get through.
NAVARRO: Have you looked at this brochure? What details are we talking about here? There's one of everything, OK, woman, Latino, African-American.
BOLDUAN: There are two copies at the table. Hold on a second, Van. You guys take a moment.
NAVARRO: I have seen more detail in a skin care infomercial.
BOLDUAN: On that note, we're going to talk -- we're going to read through this a little bit more and talk about what Ana just said. And next our panel is going to give some unsolicited advice to some very unsuspecting targets. We'll be right back.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back to THE SITUATION ROOM and unsolicited advice. It's time for our panel to give their unsolicited advice. Margaret, let's start with you.
HOOVER: I got to start. It's just we've been watching the news in the last a couple of days in the cycling world, mine is for Lance Armstrong. It's time to come clean. No pun intended. Really.
I mean, what this guy has to do, he was a hero to so many people. He brought a generation of athletes into a new sport in the United States. The best thing you can do is fess up, come clean, say what you did and say you're sorry. Because it's the first step towards redemption and people know you did it.
BOLDUAN: Redemption might be tough on this one. It's been quite a --
HOOVER: It's a long path to redemption, but you start by saying what you did.
NAVARRO: Good luck getting the money back. I think that would be redeeming. Short of that, he could always take that and go to a desert island somewhere, buy one maybe with all the money he made.
JONES: It is heartbreaking. I had my yellow band and it sort of -- it was such an inspirational story of somebody overcoming something. It's just really sad. I actually do feel sorry not only for him, but also the young people he inspired.
NAVARRO: I feel sorry for the organization.
NAVARRO: Despite the recent developments, we have to remember he did do a lot of good for that organization.
BOLDUAN: And the organization can still do good, which I think people should remember.
NAVARRO: And he's still a famous name. He can do good. We're going to -- Americans are very forgiving people. And I think if he spends some time now in his life doing good, continuing to do good in charity --
NAVARRO: -- eventually.
BOLDUAN: We do have a short memory in TV. That's for sure. Go ahead.
JONES: My advice is for independent voters who are science fiction fans. OK, this could swing the election. So think about who Mitt Romney is. In every scene he's different.
In one scene he says Afghanistan, we shouldn't get out then we should. On Syria, we should have ground troops, we shouldn't. He's a shape shifter.
And no science fiction movie is the shape shifter the good guy. You don't want the shape shifter to take over the ship. Fear Romney. That's all I got to say.
NAVARRO: You obviously watch "True Blood."
JONES: I said movie. I've done my research.
BOLDUAN: It's also by HBO, part of our parent company.
JONES: To all my fellow geeks, fear Romney. No shape shifters in the White House.
HOOVER: There's a lot of microtargeting going on in Ohio. And I have a feeling now they're microtargeting all the sci-fi readers directly to shape shifters. ELLEITHEE: The problem with Romney is he's a shape shifter wanna be. He keeps trying, but he can't pull it out.
BOLDUAN: Ana, please take this.
NAVARRO: All right, my unsolicited advice is also to undecided voters to uncommitted voters. All right, folks, we've now gone through three debates. We've seen these guys say jokes. We've seen thing sing.
We've seen them talk. We've been watching them now for six years, frankly. Decide. Make it easy for the rest of us. Let's wrap this up. Get off the fence. Put your finger in the wind. Flip a coin. Do whatever you have to do, but it's time to bring this home.
BOLDUAN: A lot of people don't believe that there are really undecided out there, that people just aren't telling, which way they're going.
NAVARRO: I've actually met a couple in the last few days. I thought they were like big foot. I thought they were some sort of mythical figure that existed only somewhere in the imagination. But there's actually evidence of them. I've met some and even friends with a couple it turns out.
BOLDUAN: They will be very important come two weeks from now. Mo, take it away.
ELLEITHEE: Voters are getting a lot of unsolicited advice here today.
ELLEITHEE: But my advice to voters is pay attention below the presidential line on your ballot. There are a lot of important Senate and House races this election. Congress is completely paralyzed by gridlock.
It's got 14 percent approval rating, moderates are fleeing the chamber. This matters, this matters and it's easy for voters to just kind of throw up their hands and stare down at their belly buttons and say I give up, but don't.
You can fix it. You can actually vote for people that will work towards common ground and reject those that are hyperpartisans. It's not just about the balance of power. It's actually about balance in politics.
HOOVER: So you're saying vote the person, not the party. Split your ticket.
ELLEITHEE: Vote for the people willing to come together.
NAVARRO: He's saying vote for my client. Political advertisement approved by Mo.
ELLEITHEE: I didn't mention any names. JONES: I really do think the president may have missed some opportunities. You're saying why haven't you gotten more done, to actually run more fully against the Congress and say in both parties vote for people who want to cooperate with each other? Not saying that just makes him look like he's a failure when in fact he's a victim of a dynamic he hasn't tried to change directly.
NAVARRO: You've got to stop running against something and run for something at some point.
BOLDUAN: He has his prop ready to go. We just need some more props.
NAVARRO: How about you?
BOLDUAN: I knew you were going to ask. Today I will offer my unsolicited advice. My advice is to both campaigns. Congratulations. You both have fabulous writers coming up with creative catch phrases to the latest of Romnesia.
I think at this point two weeks out, time to put the catch phrases away though and the zingers and one-liners and really talk to voters because I don't think the election's going to turn on those fancy words.
NAVARRO: I like it.
JONES: I like it. Here's the deal, I think they should stop telling the jokes. But if it turns out that your economic five-point plan is a joke, you should get rid of it. The people laughing the most are the economists laughing at Romney --
BOLDUAN: Or, people might be --
NAVARRO: You've heard me say --
HOOVER: Esteemed economist from the University of Columbia.
BOLDUAN: I think people are laughing that we were talking about sci- fi and the market in Ohio. On that note, we will end our unsolicited advice today. Wolf, if I need to remind you of anything, we're two weeks out.
BLITZER: You guys are having way too much fun over there.
BOLDUAN: Way too much fun.
BLITZER: Thank you. All right, some Florida Republicans are getting official looking letters questioning whether they're legally allowed to vote. The problem is the letters aren't coming from any one official.
BLITZER: Of all the battleground states, Florida holds the single biggest prize, 29 electoral votes. President Obama won there in 2008. Recent polls show however it's a dead heat. And in a suspicious new development, some Florida voters are getting letters mailed from out of state questioning whether they're legally eligible to vote.
CNN crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns is here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Joe has been looking into this. What are you finding out?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Florida, of course, is just a crucial battleground state in this election. And now there's a new issue.
United States Postal inspectors confirmed to CNN that they have opened a preliminary investigation into bogus letters supposedly sent from county election supervisors to people in almost two dozen Florida counties over the last several days.
The bogus letters were sent in the mail to addresses in Florida questioning the citizenship status and eligibility of registered voters. The letters told the recipients that they had to fill out and submit a form that asked for Social Security information among other things.
The letters tell recipients that failure to submit that form will result in removal of their name from voter registration rolls that they're no longer eligible to vote. All of which is not true.
There's also a warning that non-registered voters who cast votes may be subject to arrest and imprisonment. We spoke with the Republican secretary of state in Florida today and he told us he's trying to get the word out about these letters while also pledging to find out whoever did this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN DETZNER, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I expect the number to go up and we are very serious about this matter. This type of effort to intimidate voters in Florida is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. And we anticipate taking every measure possible with law enforcement to make sure that the individuals doing this are prosecuted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So, Joe, did these letters go to both Democrats and Republicans or what?
JOHNS: Well, Wolf, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, you saw right there said the letters have gone out to voters of both parties. But the offices of several election supervisors we spoke with said most of the people who received them were registered Republican voters.
Ion Sancho, a Democrat and supervisor of elections in Leon County, which is basically Tallahassee says he learned that three of these letters went out under his name. He thinks politically active Republicans are being targeted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ION SANCHO, LEON COUNTY, FLORIDA ELECTION SUPERVISOR: I suspect that whoever sending out these letters has purchased some kind of a donor or campaign list that's given him a group of high profile Republicans.
And I suspect they're sending this letter to them probably to do some kind of dark-humored spoof, which of course is not very funny. And the individuals who are receiving these letters are sometimes very, very, very disturbed. Which I think is probably the whole purpose for this letter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: The letters actually call for the recipient to report to the county election office. So whoever did this apparently wanted it to be found out. Ion Sancho there said he turned the letters he received over to federal prosecutors.
The FBI says no decision has been made on whether to open an investigation. Everybody we talked to said these letters, Wolf, were mailed from the Seattle, Washington area.
BLITZER: Whoever mailed those letters, sent those letters, potentially committed a crime and could wind up in jail.
JOHNS: Absolutely. I mean, mail fraud is a simple thing. Basically you need intent, misrepresentation and you need somebody to do it in the mail. So it doesn't take much to pass that test.
BLITZER: Joe, thanks very much for that disturbing report.
Early voting already is underway in the battleground state of Ohio. In our next hour, we're going to tell you about some interesting trends that we're already witnessing.
BLITZER: There are some alarming new numbers connected with the nationwide meningitis outbreak. Kate Bolduan's back. She's got that, some of the other top stories of the day -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Hi, there, Wolf. It's a big expansion of its warnings. The Food and Drug Administration now says more than 1,200 hospitals and clinics bought steroids and other drugs from a company whose contaminated products are linked to meningitis infections.
The government also reported 11 new infections today, 308 illnesses and 23 deaths are now blamed on the contaminated drug. Many of the cases are in Tennessee.
And the state's pharmacy board just announced the New England Compounding Center's chief pharmacist no longer has a license to operate in the state of Tennessee.
Also, there was a big selloff on Wall Street today by the closing bell stocks were at a seven-week low. Several companies in the Dow Industrials most notably Dupont announced worse than expected earnings raising fears of another global economic slowdown. It's something we'll need to watch closely tomorrow.
And the folks at Apple unveiled some new gadgets today. Leading the way is a smaller thinner tablet named the iPad Mini. It's designed to compete with the new $199 tablets from Amazon and Google, but the least expensive version of the new iPad Mini will be selling for $329. It seems every time I need to get a new gadget, Wolf, it's already outdated.
BLITZER: It's already a mini, mini, mini. All right, thanks very much, Kate.