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THE SITUATION ROOM
Tracking Hurricane Sandy; East Coast Prepares for Possible Massive Storm; Coaxing Out Voters; Iran Nuke Facility Nearly Finished; Campaign Home Stretch
Aired October 26, 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 HOST: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, breaking news. We have the new forecast for Hurricane Sandy. The massive storm, already very deadly, could slam a wide area along the U.S. East Coast, causing major damage and lengthy blackouts. Stand by.
In the final sprint to Election Day, President Obama's doing a lot of TV interviews while Mitt Romney's focusing in on stump speeches. So who can persuade voters to turn out?
And have you ever thought about selling an old smartphone? Unloading your junk in a yard sale? Or donating clothes to charity? A United States Supreme Court case may have you thinking twice.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: All right. Just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM, a brand new forecast just issued for Hurricane Sandy. It's already a killer. And now after ravaging the Caribbean, it's heading up the Atlantic Coast and could strike the Northeast as a superstorm, bringing widespread disaster. Let's go straight to CNN's severe weather expert Chad Myers in the CNN Hurricane Center. He's got the very latest.
What is the very latest, Chad?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The latest with this 5 o'clock advisory is that, in 12 hours, it's forecast to be down to a tropical storm, at least briefly, then get back into the warm water of the Gulf Stream, lose a little bit of shear, lose this dry air that has almost killed Sandy today and then regenerate.
So we kind of thought this was going on because Sandy looks terrible right now. And that's great news. Because all night long it was torn apart by wind and also it was sucking in dry air. Hurricanes want moist air. They don't want dry air.
And then all of a sudden come back up here to the east of the Delmarva. There's you in D.C. Here's Baltimore and Philadelphia and New York City. And then turn to the left. It's that turn that is going to dramatically change where this thing makes landfall.
And let me tell you what that means, Wolf. If the turn doesn't happen until here, we know it's going to happen. But does it happen earlier than forecast? Does it happen later than forecast? Or is it right somewhere in the middle? That's where we don't know yet, because this is Monday afternoon. And this is Tuesday afternoon.
So it's still going to be another three, three and a half days before it makes landfall. This is going to be painfully slow watching this thing, hoping it goes left or right or hope it just goes right to the -- all the way off to the east. I have not seen any models, though, take it off to the east far enough away from land. Every model is bringing it back on shore at some point in time.
Now, they are still not convinced it's going to be somewhere here in the north -- even one all the way to Halifax. But Boston, all the way back down, almost to about Hampton Roads we could see that landfall. The computers just aren't doing a great job with it yet with this. It's still so far away. By the time you get three, three and a half days away, that cone is still about 600 miles wide.
BLITZER: That's a wide, wide, wide storm. All right. Thanks very much, Chad. We'll stay in touch with you.
States along the Atlantic Coast, they are already declaring emergencies. Cities are strengthening their defenses and preparing for possible evacuations. Seems like everyone is expecting the worst. Brian Todd is looking into this part of the story for us.
Brian, you're speaking to experts all along the East Coast. What are they saying?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this could get very bad for the sheer scope, the geographical area that this storm could cover, the fact that it could dump 10 inches of rain in some areas, more than a foot of snow in others, those factors, combined with the ominous timing of this storm, is making an entire region of the country very nervous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TODD (voice-over): A late-season storm that has the East Coast bracing. Already along the coast there are people filling sandbags, bulldozers packing berms. With Sandy bearing down, the nation's top forecasters are ramping up.
LOUIS UCCELLINI, DIRECTOR, NOAA CENTERS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PREDICTION: We have an event coming in up here.
TODD (voice-over): Louis Uccellini is director of NOAA's Centers for Environmental Prediction.
TODD: What is the worst case scenario for you?
UCCELLINI: Well, we're very confident now that this storm, even it if tracks up towards the north and maybe even the northeast for a while, that this storm will actually start curving back towards the coast. That's a bad situation for a landfalling storm, for the bays along the coast. We'll have strong storm surges.
TODD (voice-over): Surges, rain, wind, even the fact that it will hit during a full moon, when tides are at their peak, combine to make this a storm of historic proportions.
We got access to NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction, a brand new state-of-the-art tracking facility.
TODD: This is the country's main weather prediction nerve center. From here, experts track hurricanes once they make landfall but also pretty much every major precipitation event inside the United States, not only how strong they are and where they're going, but how long they'll stick around.
This model tracks Hurricane Sandy four or five days from when it hits land. And, look, it shows it still lingering over the northeastern United States.
TODD (voice-over): There could be a billion dollars worth of damage with downed power lines and other destruction. The storm could affect the election. Maryland's governor says his state's early voting, scheduled to start Saturday, could be impacted.
Officials advice for those in this storm's path?
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK, MASS.; Make sure you have a flashlight, batteries, sufficient nonperishable food and water, a first aid kit, any necessary medications.
TODD (voice-over): Also have radios, phone chargers, cash ready, they say; trim branches and trees around your house. Clear autumn leaves from storm drains.
UCCELLINI: We have a cold air mass coming in from the west.
TODD: So it will join with another storm.
UCCELLINI: Which it'll join with another storm, which will energize this system. So we'll actually get an intensification of this system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Now, that's Louis Uccellini's comparison of this storm to the 1991 perfect storm, where a nor'easter combined with a hurricane and just pummeled New England. And that was, of course, the subject of a famous movie. The difference here is that the perfect storm of 1991 did not make landfall. And this one will. Just like the perfect storm, Uccellini said this one will be studied for years to come, Wolf.
BLITZER: And all the autumn foliage out there right now, that could have a severe impact on the potential damage. TODD: That's right. You still got a lot of foliage on trees and that, combined with the fact that the ground under a lot of the trees is going to be saturated, you got the heavy wind and rain; that's going to bring down trees.
But the problem also is a lot of leaves have fallen. So the leaves, many of them are in storm drains, they're -- you know, they're clogging up people's storm drains. People don't clear them out until all the leaves have fallen. Now they have got to scramble to clear out their storm drains or they're going to have a major problem on their hands.
BLITZER: Huge. All right, Brian, thanks very, very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is CNN Breaking News.
BLITZER: We want to go right to our senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash. She's getting word on the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. What are you learning?
DANA BASH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Unfortunately, he was in a car accident in his home state of Nevada. He was transferred to the hospital, the University of Medical Center Hospital. You're looking at pictures of the scene of the crash. It was a multiple car crash, as you can see. His caravan got into an accident with other cars.
He is at the hospital; we are told by a spokesperson for the Nevada Highway Patrol that the injuries that Senator Reid suffered do not appear life- threatening -- do not appear life threatening. And nobody else involved in the accident was transferred to the hospital.
And as you can see, there are two lanes blocked on this major street I-15 North in Las Vegas.
This is certainly something that is scary when it comes to any person in this kind of accident but particularly for the Senate majority leader. He always has security vehicles. So he was transferred -- he was in a caravan, including Capitol police -- they generally drive him around. It was that caravan car that drove him to the hospital.
Separately from the spokespeople from the highway patrol, I am told by sources close to Senator Reid, Wolf, that he appears to be OK. But information at this point does -- it's initial. It's a little bit sketchy. But the bottom line is that Senator Reid, the Senate majority leader, was in that crash. You're seeing the pictures of what happened there.
He was the only person in this crash taken to the hospital. And we're waiting to hear more information from Senator Reid's office about the state of his condition.
One thing I would ad is that this is probably bad deja vu for Senator Reid, because his wife and daughter were in a terrible car accident back in 2010 in Virginia, and his wife actually broke her back after that. And she was in very bad condition. She's fine now. But this is -- you know, car accidents are -- unfortunately -- they've happened in the Reid family, a very bad one in recent history.
BLITZER: And, Dana, forgive me, you may have mentioned this and I missed it, I assume somebody else was driving the car he was in, right?
BASH: We don't know for sure. Generally that is what happens. Senator Reid is the highest ranking Democrat in the Senate. And he has Capitol police. He has security that tend to drive him around. I've only seen him driven around in Washington and also in Nevada. We don't know for sure. But we assume that that is what happened because he was in caravan vehicles, driving.
BLITZER: All right. Dana, keep in touch. Check in. Of course we wish Senator Reid only, only the best. We'll let our viewers know how his condition is as soon as we find out. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader in a car accident in Las Vegas.
A key Romney aide known for raising eyebrows brings race into the discussion about General Colin Powell's endorsement of President Barack Obama. You're going to hear what he said and the controversy that has erupted.
Also, an informant sheds light on a controversial New York City police operation to spy on Muslims.
BLITZER: Third quarter numbers released today show the U.S. economy only growing slightly better than expected. Mitt Romney called that 2 percent figure discouraging, then went onto deliver what his aides billed as a major economic speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Paul Ryan and I are elected as your president and vice president, we will endeavor with all our hearts and energy to restore America.
Instead of more spending, more borrowing from china and higher taxes from Washington, we'll renew our faith in the power of free people pursuing their dreams. We'll start our plan for a stronger middle class.
We'll save Medicare and Social Security, both for current and near retirees and for the generation to come.
We'll restore the $716 billion President Obama has taken from Medicare to pay for his vaunted ObamaCare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: While Mitt Romney vows big change, his speech fell a little short on specifics. Joining us now our chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, the anchor of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
Candy, thanks very much for coming in. You know, they bill this as a major speech. The Obama campaign releases a glossy 30-page brochure, a booklet about the president's economic agenda. Not much new in there, either. What's going on here?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST: This is the time when they close. They're not going to give us new stuff 11 days out. Nobody wants to rock the boat here.
This is about getting your folks excited, whether it's saying, hey, here's a major speech and we're going to do it in Iowa or whether it's here's my glossy new this-is-what-I'm-all-about. This is for President Obama; it was about, you know, here's my agenda, let's move forward, go out and vote.
It's the same thing with Mitt Romney. This is about right now reminding the folks you know are going to vote for you to get out there and vote especially with early voting. Obviously it starts earlier.
CROWLEY: But that's what they're doing.
BLITZER: Because the whole speech, you know, outlined his goals for, you know, if he's elected president. But a big chunk of it was simply hammering away at the president's four-year record.
CROWLEY: Well, it's like the condensed campaign now. I mean, it's sort of what Mitt Romney spent the first part of his campaign saying. The economy is terrible, now he has his numbers back as we've seen. Who do you think would best handle the economy? Mitt Romney is up on that. So he's going back to what he has always billed as his strength and that's the economy, which he sees as the president's weakness.
So it's like he's really blown this and here's what I would do. It's what attracted people to him in the first place.
BLITZER: So it's -- is it more designed to, you know, enthuse the base, their respective bases, out there? Or to win over these independent still undecided voters?
CROWLEY: You know, I think we're talking about such a -- in large part both of them are stirring up their certain voters which includes their base. But the people are going to vote for them. There's some independent stuff in there of course. But mainly this is now, you know, going forward on the premise that most people have made up their minds. That those swing voters are such a small group that, yes, we heard the stuff about and I'm going to work bipartisan, I'll have people into my office from the other party every week, et cetera.
That's swing vote independent talk. And you need those independents, both of them. But by and large this is about getting your certain voters to the -- to the voting booth.
BLITZER: You've got a big Sunday "STATE OF THE UNION" this weekend?
CROWLEY: How could you not have one so close to an election? We're going to talk to David Axelrod, senior adviser to the Obama campaign, Reince Priebus, head of the Republican Party, and some others, kind of looking at the swing states as well.
BLITZER: Do you know what else you're going to talk about? I'm going to tell you right now.
CROWLEY: OK. The weather.
BLITZER: The weather. You're going to be talking about Hurricane Sandy.
CROWLEY: We're going to talk about actually the politics of Hurricane Sandy.
BLITZER: There's going to be political fallout.
BLITZER: People can't vote if they lose power, the early voting --
CROWLEY: Can you imagine the (INAUDIBLE) if the voting machines don't work?
CROWLEY: Well, how long do you extend it beyond, you know, November 6th? I mean it will be really interesting if it -- if it lives up to its billing. Who knows.
BLITZER: And to see you live 9:00 a.m. Eastern Sunday morning and live at noon Eastern as well. You're going to be busy this Sunday between politics and weather. It's going to be a good show.
BLITZER: Hope the weather goes away. Thank you, Candy.
Mitt Romney and Meat Loaf. Yes, Mitt Romney and Meat Loaf. The rocker turned reality TV star lends his star power to the GOP nominee. Will it help? Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: A deadly start to a religious holiday in Afghanistan. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
What happened, Lisa?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque. At least 40 people were killed as they were leaving morning prayers. Reports say children are among the dead. Dozens more were injured. Worshippers had gathered for the start of an annual Muslim holiday.
And no one will be awarded the seven Tour de France title strip from Lance Armstrong because of a doping scandal. The international cycling governing body announced today there will be no official winner for the years 1995 through 2005 and it wants Armstrong to give back the millions in prize money he earned from those wins.
And hopes for a hockey season continue to melt. The National Hockey League announced today it's canceled all games through the end of November. The NHL is trying to agree on a new contract with its players. It's the third round of cancellations since lockout began last month.
And this is an unusual story, but not many people get to go to their own funeral. But it actually happened to this man in Brazil. His family believed the 41-year-old car washer had been shot to death. His brother mistakenly identified the body at the morgue. The man heard about the funeral, his own funeral, through a friend, and decided to show up terrifying his family.
Once they got over the shock, though, you can imagine they were very happy to find out that he was alive.
And, Wolf, it was -- that is a case of mistaken identity. They thought it was one person and turned out it was somebody else. And he heard the funeral was going on. And yes, I heard that some of his family members actually fled in fear because they thought they were seeing a ghost.
BLITZER: I'm thinking about the family of the guy who actually did die. You know, that was obviously a shock to them as well.
SYLVESTER: Yes. Exactly.
BLITZER: Thanks, Lisa. Thanks very much.
All right. We're going to have much more on this storm that's beginning to really, really develop potentially. Some meteorologists saying it could be a storm of epic proportions. Is that true? Could it bring disaster to the East Coast? We're going to have the latest on what to expect.
BLITZER: There's a new report that Iran has almost completed work on an underground nuclear enrichment plant that could put it closer to a weapon and could give it bargaining power in any talks with the United States. The "New York Times" cites intelligence officials from several countries been reporting progress at the so- called Fordo site built under a mountain near the holy city of Qum. Joining us now the chief Washington correspondent for the "New York Times," David Sanger. He's also the author of the book "Confront and Conceal."
David, thanks very much for coming in. So what does this mean? How much close are they? How much closer are they than we earlier thought to develop to reaching this milestone and developing a bomb?
DAVID SANGER, AUTHOR, "CONFRONT AND CONCEAL": Well, the milestone is about building the facility for the fuel. And this is the facility where they have been producing medium enriched uranium close to bomb grade but not at bomb grade. And it's perfectly legal the way it is right now. They're allowing inspectors to come in, save for the fact that the U.N. Security Council declared that they had to stop this and all of their other enrichment capabilities.
This is a site that worries the Israelis and worries the United States because it's fundamentally and vulnerable to at least Israeli bombing.
BLITZER: Because it's so deep --
SANGER: It's so deep. It's more than 200 feet under the ground, it's under a mountain. And it's possible the United States might be able to destroy it from the air, but even that is not a certainty. So then the question is, how close does this take them to a bomb? You heard Prime Minister Netanyahu, when he was at the United Nations in September, say it would probably be April to June some time.
BLITZER: He said spring or summer.
SANGER: That's right. And that is not the moment when they'd have a bomb but when they would be ready to actually go produce one in fairly --
BLITZER: That's when he drew, that red line.
SANGER: That's right.
BLITZER: He said that was the red line from Israel's perspective.
SANGER: That's right. The sort of cartoon character of the bomb he did there. So the issue is, how close is he willing or is the United States willing to let Iran get to that final moment? The Israelis have said they won't let them get to the screwdriver turn away. President Obama as we've discussed before has simply said he wouldn't let them get a bomb.
BLITZER: But what I hear you're saying is the Israelis don't have the capability to do anything about this one particular site.
SANGER: That's right. And that may well be why it is that Mr. Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, dropped that talk of a zone of immunity that they did with you and with me and with others earlier in the year. They simply can't get at this site without American help.
BLITZER: What's going on with the -- the "New York Times" have been reporting that there's an agreement in principle or there might be an agreement in principle for direct face-to-face U.S./Iranian negotiations on this issue?
SANGER: That's right. The U.S. has said for a while it's willing to go do this. President Ahmadinejad, when he was in New York a month ago, said he was willing to after the election. I think --
BLITZER: After the U.S. election.
SANGER: After the U.S. election. I think that he and the Iranian leadership like everybody else is waiting to see how the election turns out. But what we also don't know is whether the supreme leader in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, whether he's willing to go ahead with actually making a deal. He may just want negotiations to drag this process out, give them more time to make fuel. That's always a risk.
BLITZER: I've -- you know, everybody knows about the tensions between Iran and Israel. Fewer people know about the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. I raise the issue not only because there was this report that the Iranians wanted to kill -- to assassinate the Saudi ambassador here in Washington, at a restaurant in Georgetown, but now these reports that they've engaged in cyber warfare against Saudi targets, Saudi business targets. What's going on here?
SANGER: There was attack on Saudi Aramco, which is --
BLITZER: The oil plant.
SANGER: The old oil -- American and Saudi oil operation. American intelligence officials say they believe that attack was Iranian in origin. They have not said it was state-sponsored so that leaves open the possibility that it could be Iranian sympathizers. It could be that the Iranians are trying to make the point that just as the United States was able to hit their centrifuges with a cyber attack as I've reported in the past, that they too have a cyber warfare unit which they previously announced that can get out and make an impression as well.
BLITZER: What do you make of this so-called shadow war? These reports that Israel attacked a weapons factory in Sudan that was manufacturing weapons for Hamas with Iranian assistance?
SANGER: You know, the shadow war has been going on for some time. There have been the assassinations of the Iranian nuclear scientists. There have been the cyber attacks, and of course those go back into the Bush administration, were accelerated in the Obama administration. There have been other attacks, which people have suspected were aimed at Iranian facilities. There was a big Iranian missile plant that blew up late last year. No one's ever quite figured out if that was sabotage or just an accident.
So the idea that the Israelis would go after an Iranian-backed plan outside of Iran, perfectly willing to believe it. The evidence is hard to come by.
BLITZER: Yes. Evidence and the Israelis are being mum.
SANGER: As they always are as they were with the attack in Syria.
BLITZER: They're not saying anything about it. David, thanks for coming in.
SANGER: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: David Sanger of "New York Times."
Up next, we're going to have a hurricane expert who will tell us how many people will be affected by Hurricane Sandy. It's moving up the East Coast right now. Are any of you who are watching right now at risk?
BLITZER: Let's talk about the race for the White House in our "Strategy Session." Joining us our CNN contributors. The Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and Erick Erickson, the editor and chief of redstate.com.
The president has been pretty active out there on the interview circuit, Donna. He's doing a whole bunch of interviews. Let me play a few clips for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Ballpark figure.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had to put out a presidential directive on that. We have to stop that.
This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.
JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Yes.
OBAMA: These things go in ebbs and flows. And you know, the one thing I've tried to always be is just steak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What do you think of this strategy, going on the late- night shows, doing these kinds of interviews at this last stage in the campaign, Donna?
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Wolf, as you know, we're in the home stretch and in addition to President Obama and Vice President Biden, and of course to remarkable first lady and second lady, look, there are surrogates fanning out all over the country. The campaign really believes that in order to reach those last-minute undecided voters to get people to the polls early especially in light of the storm that's going to impact so many battleground states over the next 96 hours, the campaign is moving at a very swift speed.
And you know, unlike Governor Romney's campaign, it's just issuing press releases, hyping that the polls are tightening, President Obama believes that you go -- you got to go out there, reach out to people where they live, where they work --
BLITZER: But Donna, let me interrupt. Most of these interviews are pretty soft interviews. Late-night TV. These aren't exactly hard hitting interviews.
BRAZILE: Wolf, he -- I mean he sat down with Brian Williams, he sat down Diane Sawyer. I mean President Obama is sitting down with everybody. I hope he sits down with you, Wolf, and everyone else. Because, look, at the end of the day undecided voters, whether it's, you know, two million, six million, 10 million people out there that still want to hear from the president. He's still making his closing arguments. I think it's a good thing that the president has gone out there and talking to people and we're not just relying on these 30- second commercials.
BLITZER: We haven't seen, at least in the last few days, Mitt Romney, Erick, doing a whole lot of these TV interviews. I'm sure he could go on to late-night shows if he wanted, he could go on to daytime shows. What do you think?
ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: I think they're targeting different audiences. You know, Mitt Romney hasn't done any rallying-the-base effort really since the Republican convention if not a little before that. And a lot of these efforts by the president are rallying the Democratic base, which suggest to me they think this is a base election and the Romney campaign thinks it's an independent voter election.
Romney has had many more stops on the ground in the past few weeks than the president has. The president has done many more of these mostly soft interviews on urban stations, on Comedy Central, on the late-night shows, a few new shows here and there, he did one with radio show host Michael Smerconish today. But by and large I think the president's team is mobilizing the Democratic base and the Romney campaign is doing in-person large scale events in swing events trying to reach out to independent voters and get them to the polls.
BLITZER: I want you to listen to a chunk of an interview that was on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" last night. John Sununu who's a surrogate obviously for the Romney campaign. He had this exchange with Piers on a sensitive subject.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SUNUNU, ROMNEY ADVISER: When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT: What reason would that be? SUNUNU: Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Now that's caused an uproar. Sununu issued a statement later saying, "Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president's policies. Piers Morgan's question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party. And I don't think he should."
I mean, I don't know what to make of this. Let me let Erick weigh-in first.
ERICKSON: How about we let Donna weigh on that one? You know, I'm not going to defend or condone or even try to explain away what John Sununu said. I think he put his foot in his mouth as people sometimes do.
BRAZILE: Well, Erick, you should rebuke it because let me just say this, it's offensive. There's no reason why Colin Powell, you know, who is a patriot, a man with impeccable integrity, a public servant, I mean, his endorsement speaks for itself. President Obama clearly welcomes the endorsement. He welcomes the endorsement of anyone.
Erick, in case you want to decide to give us some support, we'll take that as well. You have a great following out there.
ERICKSON: Oh, that's a bridge too far for me.
BRAZILE: The bottom line -- the bottom -- I know. But we'll bring you one day across that bridge. But the bottom line is Colin Powell said that he endorsed President Obama because he's led us out of Iraq. He's winding down the operation in Afghanistan. The economy is improving because he's been a wonderful steward. He mentioned health care and education.
I think his endorsement was strong and it's unfortunate that Governor Sununu had to inject race into the conversation.
BLITZER: All right. Let's talk about another endorsement. Very important endorsement for Mitt Romney. It happened last night. And Meat Loaf, the rocker, he did it. I'm going to play a little bit of it for you.
Pretty good endorsement there. All right. Erick, I was watching Meat Loaf but I was watching Mitt Romney looking at Meat Loaf over there as well. What did you think of that?
ERICKSON: I'm hoping mashed potatoes and gravy are in better tune than Meat Loaf.
BLITZER: He did well, Meat Loaf. He shows a lot of passion there.
Donna, you've got to admire Meat Loaf in that performance right there, don't you? Think singing --
BRAZILE: Oh, absolutely. Look, Wolf, I've managed campaigns, I've worked on campaigns. The excitement you get from endorsements, whether it's Bruce Springsteen out there or George Clooney or Meat Loaf, anybody else, look, it's about excitement. It's trying to get the American people to feel enthusiastic to go out there and vote. That's why the Colin Powell endorsement of Barack Obama meant so much to all Americans out there who just believed that this is a free country. Just enjoy.
BLITZER: Yes. Meat Loaf is really getting into it over there. All right. Guys, thanks very, very much.
ERICKSON: Wow. God bless him.
BLITZER: Pretty soon you may have to get someone's permission before you can resell your smartphone. What's going on? This will depend on a United States Supreme Court case you've probably never heard about but you're about to hear what's going on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Anything I'm wearing, would that apply?
ANDREW SHORE, EXECUTIVE OWNER'S RIGHTS INSTITUTE: It's got a copyright.
JOHNS: Right. DVDs?
JOHNS: What else? IPhones?
SHORE: Everything with a copyright.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A killer storm of extraordinary sizes ripped through the Caribbean is now heading up the United States East Coast. There are urgent preparations underway. A number of areas already have been declared emergencies.
Joining us now, the AccuWeather senior meteorologist Bernie Rayno.
Bernie, there's been a lot of speculation. What's so remarkable about this storm?
BERNIE RAYON, SENIOR METEOROLOGIST, ACCUWEATHER: Because what this is going to end up becoming is, you already have a hurricane in Sandy. Take the worst parts of a hurricane and then take the worst parts of a nor'easter and kind of combine them together. And that's the kind of storm that we're looking at as it heads towards the mid- Atlantic coast Monday into Tuesday.
What I mean by that is that we are going to get a large area of flooding rain, damaging wind gusts. In fact, winds that will cause knocked down trees, power lines. And we could see millions of people without power. And where this storm comes on shore just north of it we could be looking at a devastating and destructive storm surge coming on shore as well.
BLITZER: How many people potentially could be affected by this storm?
RAYNO: Well, this storm is going to be so large. Let's say if the storm system -- and it could come anywhere on shore from about Cape Cod down toward Delaware. Let's say it comes on shore down toward Delaware. Even up in Maine they're going to get tropical storm force conditions. So we're talking from Maine all the way down into Virginia.
We're talking millions of people that are going to be impacted. And unfortunately because of the size and strength of this storm as it comes inland, I think it's going to be a storm system that is going to be measured as far as damage in the billions of dollars.
BLITZER: Because they say, you know, hurricane category 1, we've -- we've gone through other parts of the country hurricane categories 2, 3 even 4. And so once again just explain to our viewers because I'm getting a lot of tweets, a lot of questions from viewers out there, if this is only a category 1, why should we be so worried?
RAYNO: Because the problem is in a hurricane you tend to get the heaviest rain and the strongest winds in a very small area. This storm is going to be changing its characteristics as it comes inland. And the wind and the rain area is going to be spreading out over hundreds of miles. So instead of it getting hurricane force wind gust 30 to 40 miles around the storm, we can get that 100 to 200 miles.
And it's going to be such a large storm that we're going to see damaging wind gusts anywhere from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, all the way across Pennsylvania. And I think because of the heavy rain that we're going to be seeing, we could be looking at over six inches of rain. There's going to be flooding. And I do believe that this is going to be knocking down lots of trees and power lines. And also this is the kind of storm that could shut down LaGuardia, Newark, JFK, Philadelphia International, Ronald Reagan International, for 24 hours.
So it's going to compromise travel across the country as well. This is not a storm we're hyping. This is a destructive, historic and hopefully it will not be a life-threatening storm. But I think it is.
BLITZER: And what you're -- what we're seeing is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, those could be the days -- the worst days, is that what you're saying?
RAYNO: The worst of the storm is going to be Monday night and Tuesday. While we think the storm system, again, could come anywhere ashore between Cape Cod and down toward Delaware, we are looking toward the central jersey coast as where this storm comes in. Right where the storm comes in, that's where the worst conditions are going to be.
If that storm does come toward the central jersey coast, we could be looking at hurricane force winds in New York City. So this is a storm that is going to cover and impact a very large part of the United States and the mid-Atlantic. Monday night and Tuesday is when it will be its worst.
BLITZER: All right. We'll be all alert. We'll be watching it every step of the way.
Bernie Rayno, from AccuWeather. Bernie is an expert senior meteorologist and has been with AccuWeather since 1990.
Appreciate it very much, Bernie, for that update.
RAYNO: My pleasure.
BLITZER: We're going to have more at the top of the hour as well. Our own Chad Myers is standing by.
Meanwhile, an informant sheds light on a controversial New York City police operation to spy on Muslims.
BLITZER: We want to give you a heads up about an important case coming before the United States Supreme Court next week. You probably never heard about it before, but it might stop you from getting rid of all kinds of things in your junk drawer or your garage.
CNN's crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns has the details.
JOHNS (voice-over): It's a case that could cause trouble for anyone who ever thought about selling an old iPhone or iPad, donating clothes to charity, or even unloading junk at a yard sale. The issue about to be argued before the Supreme Court is whether the original copyright holder on U.S. products manufactured or purchased in other countries can control your ability to resell the product once you buy it.
Davis Kiyonaga resells old products at this eBay consignment store.
(On camera): How much of that stuff is foreign manufactured?
DAVIS KIYONAGA, OWNER, DROP & SHIP: I'd probably say 85 to 95 percent.
JOHNS (voice-over): He fears the case could put him out of business.
KIYONAGA: I think it's ridiculous. I mean I've known about it because I -- it could affect my business so horribly, but I've kind of pushed it back, because I'm like, how could this possibly happen? The repercussions would be ridiculous.
JOHNS: Even libraries are worried that a legal defeat could require them to seek the copyright owner's permission before lending books printed overseas.
Andrew Shore represents a coalition of interests including libraries.
SHORE: The rule we'd like to see is very simple. You bought it, you own it. And you can do with it as you please.
JOHNS: Otherwise, Shore says, copyright owners could demand a fee every time you try to resell almost anything not made in America.
(On camera): Anything I'm wearing, would that apply?
SHORE: If it's got a copyright.
JOHNS: What else? IPhones?
SHORE: Everything with copyright.
JOHNS (voice-over): The copyright holders and their lawyers say the rhetoric has gotten a little overheated.
THEODORE OLSON, LAWYER FOR PUBLISHER: You know that you're on the right side of the case when the other side, the best answer that they can come up with is that the sky is going to fall. Garage sales, museums, and that sort of thing. I don't know if that's going to happen.
JOHNS: Power house attorney Ted Olson says this is mostly about books and movies, and other so-called intellectual properties, and making sure producers of such work have exclusive rights to distribute them in the U.S.
OLSON: It's protecting the integrity of the copyright system in the United States which was created by the Constitution in order to create an incentive for people to create works that make us all laugh, or cry, or educate us.
JOHNS: Though truth to tell, law professor Mike Carroll says it's the kind of case the Supreme Court might prefer politicians to resolve because the law is so murky.
PROF. MICHAEL CARROLL, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY EXPERT: It would be best if Congress really weighed in. I have to say the court is faced with a really difficult job here because the text of the statute really seems to be hard to reconcile.
JOHNS: This case started with a student from Thailand who is studying in the United States. To pay for his education, his family and friends sent him cheap versions of textbooks printed overseas which he sold to people in the U.S. at big discounts. The publisher sued and now, Wolf, some say the outcome of this case could have a big impact on the economy.
BLITZER: And you'll be covering these arguments next week and we'll see what the Supreme Court decides.
JOHNS: Looking forward.
BLITZER: It's going all the way to the Supreme Court.
BLITZER: Thank you, Joe. Joe Johns reporting.
In an effort to find and stop potential terrorists, New York City authorities are using some tactics that are sure to be controversial. They involve what some people would consider infiltrating mosques and actually baiting Muslims to talk about terror.
CNN national correspondent Deborah Feyerick talked with a man who says he knows all about what's going on.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): How were you approached about becoming a confidential informant?
SHAMIUR RAHMAN, ALLEGED NYPD INFORMANT: Well, I had some misdemeanor arrests for marijuana.
FEYERICK (voice-over): In fact, 19-year-old Shamiur Rahman was in a holding cell when he says the NYPD recruited him to become an informant. His handler, he says, was a man named Bob.
RAHMAN: He told me like there's some terrorism going on in the city, actual threats. He said you're of interest because of your last name.
FEYERICK: Rahman, who grew up in Queens, New York, is an American of Bangladeshi descent. He says cooperating with police was a way to get his life back on track.
RAHMAN: He said, you know, would you like to do something good for the city? And I was like, why not. And then he added a little incentive that everybody falls for. We'll pay you good money.
FEYERICK: Anywhere between $200 and $600 every few weeks, he says.
(On camera): What is this a picture of?
RAHMAN: Muslim Day Parade.
FEYERICK (voice-over): With training and guidance from his police handlers, Rahman says he took these photos at the Muslim Day Parade and inside mosques. Also with college kids he befriended at a Muslim Students Associations.
RAHMAN: I was pretending to be a Muslim, I was pretending to be friends with them, I was pretending to get a long with them. I was pretending to agree with everything they said.
FEYERICK: We were unable to corroborate Rahman's story because the NYPD says it never confirms identified of its confidential informants and it won't talk about any active cases. But Rahman says he was told to create and capture information, specifically steering conversations and reporting back to police on buzzwords like jihad or violence.
RAHMAN: It's entrapment in all forms.
FEYERICK (on camera): Entrapment how? RAHMAN: So you would bring up a conversation, something that's inflammatory. You know, something that can be easy misinterpreted, like certain words, jihad, revolution, anything that's violent, you know? Fight, simple word that we use in our language that we have freedom of speech to say.
FEYERICK (voice-over): A law enforcement official tells CNN confidential informants are only used when there's solid information like rhetoric or actions that could potentially lead to violence.
(On camera): Did you feel that you were providing helpful or legitimate information to protect against terror attack?
RAHMAN: No, not at all.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Rahman showed CNN pictures he texted his NYPD handler, pictures he believes of people who gave no probably cause for surveillance.
(On camera): Do you feel that you were used by the NYPD?
RAHMAN: Very much so, yes.
RAHMAN: They were using me to entrap other people that didn't do anything wrong.
FEYERICK: Now the NYPD does not talk about its confidential informants ever. However, a law enforcement official does say that surveillance only begins that once there is evidence of a rhetoric or action. The law enforcement source saying the NYPD simply doesn't have the resources to send informants on fishing expeditions. The official telling CNN that the NYPD does not, quote, "willy-nilly" targets the Muslim community. -- Wolf.