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Colorado Shooter Offers Guilty Plea; Sebelius Says Some Health Insurance Premiums May Rise under Obamacare; SCOTUS Takes Up DOMA; Ashley Judd Won't Run for Senate

Aired March 27, 2013 - 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: Happening now, did President Obama mislead the American public about the cost of his health care law? Officials now concede some people across the country could see their insurance premiums rise.

While crowds descend on the U.S. Supreme Court, the battle over same- sex marriage gets personal for a CNN contributor. She'll open up about the moment that seared her heart.

And she could become the first female and openly gay mayor of America's largest city, but could her self-described "big emotions" get in the way of her ambitions?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Let's begin with some breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. The defense for the accused Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is now offering a guilty plea in exchange for life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to documents just filed with the court.

So far the prosecution in the case has not accepted the offer because it still may be seeking the death penalty. If it decides against the death penalty, the case could be resolved next week. Twelve people were killed and 58 others were wounded in the July, 2012 shooting. Let's discuss what is going on with our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Is this, first of all, a surprise that the defense would seek a guilty plea to avoid the death sentence?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Not really, because the goal in all of these cases is -- the goal for the defense is to keep the client from being executed. This is not a whodunit. Everybody knows that James Holmes committed these horrible murders. The question is what punishment he will get. If they can get life in prison, they will consider this a victory.

BLITZER: Would the prosecution accept this kind of guilty plea and avoid the death sentence?

TOOBIN: Well, that's the question now. And there is an interesting precedent for this. Just last year Jared Lee Loughner, who committed horrible murders in Tucson and grievously injured Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, he was given a life in prison without parole.

Obviously both Loughner and Holmes have terrible mental problems. Their trials would be long inquiries into whether they were insane. The insanity defense is a complex, difficult area of the law. This would give both sides a chance to short circuit a trial, let the victims try to -- let the victims avoid a trial, but it would take the death penalty off the table.

BLITZER: Normally in a situation like this, a horrendous crime, a mass murder committed, the defendant's lawyers now seeking to avoid the death sentence, wouldn't the prosecution go to the victims' families, the survivors, and ask them what they think?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. You know, this is a big change in how prosecutors work, largely since the Oklahoma City bombing, where the victims played a very important part in the whole process. And talking to the victims -- and they don't necessarily have veto power over decisions but certainly to consult with victims before any big decision like this is made is certainly something the Department of Justice is doing.

And that may be one reason the issue isn't quite resolved yet because they need to at least discuss it with all of the victims' families.

BLITZER: That would be the right thing to do if you're the prosecution in this case.

TOOBIN: It certainly would.

BLITZER: Jeffrey, don't go too far away. We have got more to discuss later this hour.

Here's a question, were Americans misled about the cost of Obamacare? The president has long pledged that his health care law would reduce premiums and raise benefits. Now the Obama administration is conceding that some people, yes, some people will have to pay more, potentially even a lot more for health insurance coverage. Our White House correspondent Brianna Keilar has the details on what's going on.

Brianna, explain the latest.

BRIANA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, these were some comments that were reportedly made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday in an off-camera meeting with some journalists.

She said, according to her aide, she was trying to explain that for some people who have kind of skimpy insurance plans, who will have to essentially trade up to get better coverage under Obamacare, that there may be more cost associated with that.

But Republicans who have long held that Obamacare is an entitlement that will break the country's bank are trying to say that the Obama administration is admitting that Americans will pay more for their coverage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR (voice-over): It was one of President Obama's biggest promises about his signature health care reform law.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Premiums are going to be lower.

And if you already have health insurance, we will lower your premiums.

KEILAR: But now the president's health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, reportedly said that may not be the case for some Americans, those who currently have lower cost so-called catastrophic plans who will have to purchase more comprehensive policies under Obamacare.

"These folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time, and so there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market," she said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Now Republicans are pouncing. On Twitter, Speaker Boehner and Michele Bachmann seized on the comment. So did Senator Orrin Hatch, using the hash tag "broken promises."

A new study by the Society of Actuaries, which number-crunches insurance costs, estimates insurance companies will pay on average 32 percent more for claims on individual insurance plans because of Obamacare.

Some states fare worse. The report says California will see a 62 percent increase by 2017. Wisconsin and Ohio, an 80 percent increase. Those costs, the report says, will likely be passed on to consumers.

But the Obama administration is criticizing the accuracy of the study, saying it ignores a number of elements of the law that are expected to bring down costs. The White House is also taking aim at the group that conducted the study.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think that you're citing a study that I believe was conducted by a health insurance company that's critical of the Affordable Care Act. So that part I'm not particularly surprised about.

KEILAR: The Society of Actuaries contracted with a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group to crunch the numbers for the report, Wolf. But the society itself is non-partisan and it says it stands by the numbers and the analysis.

I will say, Wolf, that I spoke with an independent health policy analyst who said he doesn't think the report is biased in that way that it has been alleged by the White House, but he does think certainly that the administration has a point that some factors have been left out of the analysis.

BLITZER: This dispute is only just beginning. Brianna, thanks very much. The details on health care costs come from accounts of a briefing that the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, held with reporters. Let's drill a bit deeper right now. Louise Radnofsky is joining us from The Wall Street Journal. She wrote the article entitled "Sebelius: some could see insurance premiums rise."

Louise, thanks very much for coming in. Now you were not at the briefing that Kathleen Sebelius gave. One of your colleagues from The Wall Street Journal was there. And that colleague recorded the briefing and then gave you the tape, is that right?

LOUISE RADNOFSKY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: That is the case, yes.

BLITZER: So you listened to this. What exactly did she say as far as premiums going up for a lot of Americans across the country?

RADNOFSKY: Well, the important thing to emphasize is that she spoke about premiums going up for some Americans, and in particular folks who have skimpy insurance plans right now and might get more generous coverage.

Now this might seem like a little bit of an obvious point that if people are getting more, they might have to pay more for it. But it is not really been something the administration has focused on so far. So that has certainly created a lot of controversy.

The other thing that she pointed out was that some people who currently have lower premiums, perhaps because of insurance market practices like younger men, might see their premiums increase even as perhaps older people or women see their premiums decrease. So they are acknowledging that some people might see their premiums go up.

There are certain other things that they say might help offset this, like subsidies from the federal government to pay the cost of premiums. But we are now looking and really we're expecting to see rate filings in the next few weeks that could give us the answer one way or the other that premiums, at least for some people, are going to go up.

BLITZER: Because, as the senator, later as a candidate, and then as president, the president said premiums generally would go down. Did he ever leave a loophole out there that for some people premiums were going to go up?

RADNOFSKY: Well, the administration is putting a lot of confidence in the idea that competition, particularly through the new insurance exchanges, will help keep rates in check. And then again pointed out that people might be paying less for their health care, particularly if they get subsidies towards the cost of their coverage.

But the premiums issue is certainly one that people notice. They're paying a lot of attention to it because in the early days of the insurance exchanges, what people see, whether they feel like they're getting sticker struck, could have a really big impact on whether or not they buy in.

Of course, as you know, if not enough healthy people buy, premiums get higher for the sicker people.

BLITZER: Because then everybody has to pay more. But as you know, even though all of Obamacare has not gone into effect, only a small percentage of it has gone into effect, a lot more in 2014, 2015, and the years to come, some people already say they're paying a significantly higher premium already. Is that the result of Obamacare?

RADNOFSKY: Premiums have been going up for a long time for a wide range of factors, but certainly what a lot of the attention this week has been focused on is what will happen when the really big provisions that change the insurance market pretty fundamentally kick in next year.

And those include outlawing, for example, some of the insurance market practices that the insurers say have kept premiums down for a while.

BLITZER: I just want to be precise, the audio tape of Kathleen Sebelius, when you heard it, she was speaking on the record, she wasn't speaking off the record or on background or anything like that.

RADNOFSKY: No.

BLITZER: This was an on-the-record briefing.

RADNOFSKY: Yes.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Louise Radnofsky of The Wall Street Journal.

Up next, drama at the U.S. Supreme Court as the chief justice, John Roberts, challenges the president on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

And she has been out of office now for several years. She's out of a job at FOX News. But Sarah Palin has a new message for those who think she is out of the political game. Her new video and a lot more coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Another dramatic day in and around the United States Supreme Court as the justices considered another landmark case on same-sex marriage. This time the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and denies many benefits to same sex couples. Joining us now, our chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin who was, once again, inside the Supreme Court during the hearings.

I want to play -- they've released the audio tapes of the arguments now. Here is the chief justice of the United States, what he had to say about the president's role in all of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, SUPREME COURT: If he has made a determination that executing the law by enforcing the terms is unconstitutional, I don't see why he doesn't have the courage of his convictions and execute not only the statute but do it consistent with his view of the Constitution; rather than saying, oh, we'll wait until the Supreme Court tells us we have no choice.

EARNEST: Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. That is a position, broadly speaking, that a lot of Republicans agree with. It's not unprecedented for an administration to take that position. That is the position that is being argument before the Supreme Court today. It's a position that has a lot of support from people in both parties.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. So, Gloria, what position has all of this put the president in right now?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, this is really a political argument they're having. What is extraordinary to me, and you can say whether it is extraordinary or not, is that you have the chief justice of the United States, and Justice Scalia also, criticizing the president, essentially saying, look, just because you don't like a law doesn't mean that you don't -- you can't enforce it or that you should stand up in court and not try and enforce it.

He is like, who are you to choose, even though you're president of the United States? Politically, it's easy to understand what's happened. The president of United States has, in his words, evolved on same-sex marriage. And as a result, he's not defending the Defense of Marriage Act. It's pretty easy to understand, but legally, they're saying, where are you, Mr. President? You are the president.

BLITZER: Because Jeff, the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, as this called, that is the law of the land whether you like it or not right now.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: And it is true in defense of the Obama administration that several times in the history of the Supreme Court, administrations have gone to the Supreme Court and said we are not defending this law. We believe it is unconstitutional. It's very unusual. But it has been done before. And the chief justice doesn't appear to like the position that the president has put him in.

Both days, there was real hostility from the chief justice toward positions held by the solicitor general. Not because Don Verrilli did a bad job, but because John Roberts really just didn't like what he saw as the political views of the administration.

BLITZER: You listened to all the arguments yesterday, today, do you -- what do you see -- I mean, it's hard to predict.

TOOBIN: As I know better --

BLITZER: We all know it's hard to predict.

TOOBIN: Yes.

BLITZER: But, you see a mixed message coming out? What do you see?

TOOBIN: Today was a little clearer than yesterday. It looked like and I say this, you know, with appropriate caveats, it looked like there were five votes to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act including Anthony Kennedy but not because it was discriminatory towards gay people.

He seemed sympathetic to the argument the Defense of Marriage Act was a violation of states' rights. That marriage is something that states have traditionally regulated and the Defense of Marriage Act was an interference with states' rights.

BORGER: Didn't it seem to you, though, in both of these cases, and perhaps, more in Proposition 8 than today that the justices seemed to be looking for some kind of off ramp here so they didn't have to make these large decisions but, rather, find a way whether it be on procedural grounds or ruling narrowly in the case of Proposition 8 that they don't have to do the heavy lift?

TOOBIN: Well, they also -- they don't want to lose so they would rather see the case disappear on procedural grounds rather than have a substantive judgment against them. So, you could see that they were sort of fencing around that issue. And, today, the liberals were I thought more outspoken today than yesterday.

This was an easier case for the liberals than the Proposition 8 case was, but there are only four Democrats. They need a fifth vote. It looked like, but again, just looked like, that they would get Kennedy today.

BLITZER: We won't know for sure until the end of June. That's when we expect decisions on both of these cases, Proposition 8 and DOMA to come out by the U.S. Supreme Court. Guys, thanks very much.

It could be the biggest case of their lives. Two former rivals team up to take the same same-sex marriage fight to the Supreme Court. Gloria Borger gets exclusive access in the "Marriage Warriors: Showdown at the Supreme Court." It airs Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. only here on CNN.

While the Supreme Court weighs the issue of same-sex marriage, some of the most iconic brands are now weighing in. Look at these ad campaigns spotted by National.com. Martha Stewart living features the red equal sign as a slice of cake. Anheuser-Busch shows a pair of bud lights. One leading vodka maker pledges Absolut support. And another Smirnoff says every pairing is perfect.

When we come back, it's being called the biggest cyberattack in history. We have details on how internet users around the world are being affected.

Plus, a rare public appearance from the former CIA director, General David Petraeus. He's now opening up about the extra marital affair that led to his fall from grace. Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BLITZER: Just coming in, the actress, Ashley Judd, has just tweeted she will not, repeat, not run for the United States Senate in 2014. There have been a lot of murmuring suggestions out there she might run for the Kentucky seat now held by the Senate Republican leader, the minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

Let's talk about what's going on. Our chief Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is here. There were a lot of people close to Ashley Judd who were saying she was seriously thinking about challenging Mitch McConnell.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And even she now says she actually put out a relatively lengthy statement acknowledging that saying that she gave this some serious thought. She said she had some thorough contemplation but she said she realizes that her responsibility and energy at this time need to be focused on her family and that's why she says she is regretfully unable to consider a campaign for the Senate.

Of course, this has been one that we've all been watching for obvious reasons not only because she's a Hollywood actress, because as you said, she was talked about to challenge -- to be the Democratic challenger to the top Republican in the U.S. Senate. It does not mean that Mitch McConnell won't get a strong Democratic challenger, but it won't be the kind of headline-making race that we would have seen if Ashley Judd would have done this.

BLITZER: Do we know why she made this decision? Does she explain in detail why? There were some murmurings Bill Clinton was giving her some advice. What are you hearing?

BASH: Right. I mean, apparently there were reports that Bill Clinton was actually talking to the secretary of state, Alison Grimes, that she might be somebody and she actually might be somebody who is a potential candidate still. She said she's still in the running for that. You know, she says that she wants to spend time with her family.

I know that we -- you know, we kind of joked that that's sort of F4 on the computer for politicians saying that they don't want to run. But she actually is going through a tough time personally right now. She's going through a separation, maybe even a divorce. She's very public because she was married to a very public person.

And, she also understood, at least, at the beginning, Wolf, what it would take, because Mitch McConnell has seen a lot of Republican incumbents go down because they didn't pay close enough attention. Remember, they already put an ad out.

There was already a Republican ad out in Kentucky slamming Ashley Judd, defending McConnell, defending -- talking about him and his wife and their values, and of course, talking about what we would, of course, have expected the campaign against Ashley Judd to be which is that she was a Hollywood liberal who is just coming to Kentucky, lived for the most part in Tennessee, wasn't even at Kentucky.

So, those are all the things that she knew were coming at her. So, really, she didn't want to take it on.

BLITZER: We now know that Mitch McConnell who had even done an ad, at least some Republicans had done an ad, against her, now, they don't have to worry about her running. She has decided not to run. All right. Thanks very much for that, Dana Bash.

Let's dig a little bit deeper right now about Ashley Judd's decision, what it means. Joining us now, our CNN contributor, the Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen. Also joining us, Gary Marx, he's executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. He's joining us from Atlanta. Hilary, what did you think? Did you ever think she was really serious about this?

HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I'll disclose now that we weren't planning on talking about this. My firm actually is Ashley Judd's -- one of Ashley Judd's political advisers. So, I knew she was not going to run over the last few days. What I can tell you is that she seriously looked at it.

There was a tremendous amount of support. And, I think she would have been a great candidate. Mitch McConnell is vulnerable. And, I think -- you know, I'm hoping that Grimes runs against him, because he's vulnerable and --but, even if he isn't beaten, it'd be nice to keep him in Kentucky for this next race so that he's not running around the country helping other Senate Republicans as far as I'm concerned.

BLITZER: As far as you know, Hilary, when did she decide that she wasn't going to run?

ROSEN: Over the last -- I would say over the last ten days, I think, it gelled more. You know, it was quite serious.

BLITZER: And do you know why -- what was the bottom line as far as her decision not to challenge Mitch McConnell?

ROSEN: The reasons that Dana reported were accurate reasons. The timing just wasn't right. She has a lot of other things going on. She'll be formidable. She's extraordinarily intelligent and got a lot of outpouring of support.

BLITZER: She did get a lot of support out there. All right. Gary, what do you think? What's your reaction?

GARY MARX, FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, Wolf, I think she's clearly no Al Franken. It was always going to be a tough road for her. She's going to be running on a message of bringing Hollywood values to the heartland. She hasn't yet established residency even in Kentucky. She's a long-time Tennessean. There were big issues and tough issues for her to overcome. I just don't think it was in the cards for her. What I do think is happening is a lot of Democratic leaders are breathing a sigh of relief tonight and thinking we have a much better chance with a different candidate than a Hollywood actress.

BLITZER: All right. Well, let's see what happens on that. All right. Guys, don't go too far away. We have some other stuff I want to discuss with you here in the SITUATION ROOM.

Also, North Korea warning of simmering (ph) nuclear war and taking a drastic step to cut off communication. Stand by for that.

The former CIA director, David Petraeus, opening up about that extramarital affair that ended his career. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: North Korea is now warning that war may break out at any moment. Today it severed a hotline with South Korea backing up its latest ominous rhetoric with dangerous action. North Korea's motives remain a huge, huge mystery.

Let's go live to our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence.

What are they saying, Chris, over there?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, senior U.S. officials say right now they are trying to determine just how much risk Kim Jong-Un is willing to take to show not only the world but the powerful people in his own country how tough he is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE (voice-over): North Korea is cutting a military hotline and delivering a sobering message via state TV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Through Translator): The Korean Peninsula is now in a simmering nuclear war.

LAWRENCE: The latest move breaks one of the last lines of communication with South Korea.

JOHN PARK, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: If there is an escalation of tensions, the opportunity to use these crisis management tools are gone.

LAWRENCE: A Pentagon official called Pyongyang's actions a complete mystery. An intelligence official says the U.S. is trying to figure out if it's just rhetoric or if the bluster is being driven by something behind the scenes.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The North Koreans are not going to achieve anything through these threats and provocations.

LAWRENCE: But one analyst says this could be a test.

PARK: It's almost like Kim Jong-Un is taking a book of flinches and carefully documenting at which point his adversaries do flinch.

LAWRENCE: John Park says Kim's father would do something provocative then sit back and milk it for more time. The son is showing a new leadership style. Kim Jong-Un launched a long-range rocket and quickly followed up with a nuclear test. Within days Kim released video showing America burned, threatened South Korea, and put his military on combat alert.

All of which may be Kim's way of probing how much the U.S. and South Korea will take.

PARK: And I think that becomes the basis of very important lessons learned that he could probably use in a different fashion later down the road.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: Some U.S. officials say look, North Korea has cut off communication before and this is sort of an action that substitutes for doing something even more provocative and dangerous but they are worried about a miscalculation and the fact that the lack of communication now would really hurt the U.S. and South Korea's ability to sort of control what happens if you -- started to get into an escalating series of attacks -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Wow. What a story. All right, Chris. Thanks very much. Very disturbing developments on the Korean Peninsula.

Other news we're following. A rare public appearance from general -- retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus apologizing in a military dinner for the extramarital affair that led to his fall from grace as director of the CIA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I'm also keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing. Please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret and apologize for the circumstances that led to my resignation from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends, and supporters.

This has obviously been a very difficult episode for us. But perhaps my experience can be instructive to others who stumble or indeed fall as far as I did. One learns after all that life doesn't stop with such a mistake. It can and must go on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. Let's discuss what is going on in our strategy session. Once again joining us our CNN contributor, the Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, also Gary Marx, the executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. He's joining us from Atlanta.

Can he regroup, Hilary? What does he need to do if you were giving him some damage control advice? HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, I think General Petraeus -- has already apologized. I feel if he felt the need to apologize to his family again and wanted to do it publicly that was a nice extra touch but I -- he ought to stop apologizing. He served our country well. He was a great leader by so many accounts and a brave soldier and I think that this is a very forgiving country particularly around things like extramarital affairs.

If his wife forgives him there is no reason why the country shouldn't as well. And I expect him to be a contributor in this area for a long time. I think it's enough apologizing and he can get back to work and contribute something more.

BLITZER: Gary, if you were giving him some advice, what would you tell him?

GARY MARX, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION: Well, I look at the example of another David 2,000 years ago, and a place called Israel, who went through a very similar set of circumstances. And this process of an apology, it's a restoration process. It's a beginning. He was able to go on and serve his country in amazing ways. Let's hope that this is an on ramp to a process of restoration for this leader spiritually, emotionally, socially with his family. Maybe politically.

And let's hope that there is a way that he can continue to serve our nation down the line. I think Hilary is on the right track there. We are a nation of second chances and people want to forgive but they're going to -- they're going to verify. There's a process. Same kind of process that a lot of other leaders are going through, whether it's Mark Sanford or Tiger Woods or Michael Vick. We're a nation that does want to give second chances but it's a process.

BLITZER: Hilary, let's move on and talk about the debate yesterday, today before the United States Supreme Court on same-sex marriage.

ROSEN: Right.

BLITZER: You support same-sex marriage. You were on "Meet the Press" on Sunday. You had an exchange with Ralph Reed. He's -- he works with Gary over at the Faith and Freedom Coalition. You wrote about it afterwards.

Let me play what Ralph Reed said to you -- said to all of the viewers of "Meet the Press" on Sunday then we'll discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RALPH REED, CHAIRMAN, FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION: That the enduring, loving, intact biological mother and father is best for children and it's not even a close call. And the only issue before the court is, is there a social good to that and does the government have a legitimate interest in protecting and strengthening?

DAVID GREGORY, MEDIATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Let me turn the issue --

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. You obviously were moved by that because you wrote an article in "The Washington Post."

ROSEN: Yes.

BLITZER: Saying that what he said seared your heart. Explain.

ROSEN: Well, you know, Ralph Reed was on there saying that my children would be better off with someone other than me as a parent. You know, I think the fact is that -- first of all, I think I'm a pretty good parent but second of all, all of the studies have shown there's -- every single study that's actually been given credibility has shown that there is just as much love and hope and support for kids in families with gay parents as not.

And, in fact, what I would have said had there been more time on "Meet the Press" is that, you know, the -- Ralph Reed and his coalition had plenty of opportunity when this case was adjudicated in California. They had seven weeks of a trial. And they didn't put forward a single expert, not one expert who came up with a study that said, that children are not better off -- that children are better off not having gay parents.

Having said that, I'll say, none of that is what's at issue before the Supreme Court because there are gay parents today and there are married people today. The only issue that's really before the gay -- the Supreme Court is whether married couples who are heterosexual are going to be treated equally under the law as married couples who are homosexual who are gay and it's not going to change whether or not people like me have children because we do.

BLITZER: I bet Hilary's kids, Gary, I know she is an excellent, excellent mother. What do you want to say? What do you want to say to her? Because she's doing a fabulous job raising those kids.

MARX: There are so many parents out there like Hilary. They are doing their best job to raise children for the next generation. There are foster parents, adoptive parents. All sorts of different folks that are standing up and trying to bring up that next generation and they're doing their best. I think what we're saying is similar to what the American College of Pediatrics has said. The very, very best situation for children is with a mom and a dad, biologically connected to those children and raising them.

We do think that the government does have a unique, compelling interest in fostering that basic building block of society, one that's been tested and proven more than 2,000 years of history. I think we shouldn't go willy-nilly into changing the law by having the Supreme Court make a one-size-fits-all judicial fiat solution taking away the will of 41 states that have already put in place laws that fit with what their state's traditions have been.

ROSEN: Again, you know -- MARX: I think it would be a real mistake.

ROSEN: You know -- again, children are not what's before the Supreme Court. But he cited a study by the College of Pediatrics. You should know that only has 60 members whereas the American Academy of Pediatrics, the nationwide organization of pediatric doctors, has almost 100,000 members. They're the ones who did a study that said it's not going to be an issue.

The College of Pediatrics was started by a right-wing religious conservative group who was against this for moral reasons and had no scientific basis whatsoever. So let's just put that study aside and let's also remember that what the Supreme Court -- the Supreme Court can take away children from gay parents, whether they're adopted or whether they're given by natural child birth, and so the only issue before the court is whether couples are going to be treated equally.

BLITZER: Is that true, Gary, what Hilary just said, that the College of Pediatrics has, what, 60 members compared to 100,000 pediatricians with the Academy of Pediatrics?

ROSEN: Yes. Look on Wikipedia.

BLITZER: Well, I just want Gary to respond.

ROSEN: Yes.

MARX: I'm sure that could be true. It doesn't mean that there are 60 researchers that don't have science that they've used and looked into. But I think the real focus is what Hilary said is about what is happening before the Supreme Court. And if we're going to take away what 41 states have done and say to those legislative bodies that they cannot represent the people of their state, that they've got to have a new one-size-fits-all solution put on them by the Supreme Court, that's not the right way.

That's going to lead to another contentious, polarized "Roe v. Wade" type decision. That's not what's good for America. I don't think that's what's good for any of the people in this debate to see that kind of situation imposed upon the people. We need to let this play itself out. If Hilary is very confident in her views and we're confident in ours let us win the hearts and minds of the American people and have that debate going forward but let not the Supreme Court be the final arbiter. I'm worried about another judicial activist decision here.

BLITZER: Hilary Rosen and Gary Marx to be continued this debate. No doubt about that. Thanks to both of you for joining us.

ROSEN: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: When we come back Mitt Romney opens up about what it's like to be out of the campaign bubble. And she could be the first female openly gay mayor of New York City. But could Christine Quinn's temper get in the way? You're going to find out what she's telling us in a brand new interview. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: It's been called the biggest cyber attack in history. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Lisa, what happened?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the prolonged denial of service attack targeting a major European spam fighting group has the capacity to overwhelm servers causing them to crash and become inaccessible for many users. One security expert says it essentially like a nuclear bomb. No definite word yet on who was behind the attack. But we will have a full report just ahead in our next hour.

And Pope Francis is breaking with tradition deciding for now not to move into the luxury papal apartment used by Pope Benedict and others before him. Instead Pope Francis is staying at the same Vatican hotel two-room suite he's been at since the papal election two weeks ago. He has given no indication of when that might change. And Francis has become widely known for his embrace of simplicity since becoming Pope.

And this footnote to a story that we brought to you last week about President Obama being heckled during his speech in Jerusalem. The White House pool report at the time says the shouting was about imprisoned U.S. spy Jonathan Fuller. Israeli media later identified the heckler as an Israeli Arab who was shouting out against Israel's policies for Palestinians.

And take a look at this. We now have unbelievable video of a hero bus driver in China dodging a light pole as it smashes through the windshield. Wow. Despite suffering a ruptured spleen he still managed to bring the bus to a stop and help each and every one of the 26 passengers onboard get off. No one else fortunately was hurt. Wow. He got really lucky.

BLITZER: Yes, he's a hero.

SYLVESTER: He is. And he got everybody off. And it looks like he's going to be OK, too, Wolf, so all good news.

BLITZER: Fortunately. Yes. Thank you very much.

When we come back, some say she has temper problems but this leading New York City mayoral candidate is not apologizing.

And Mitt Romney may be out of the political spotlight but he says there is still one thing he's still very concerned about. You're going to find out what he's talking about, that's just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: She could become the first female and first openly gay mayor of New York City. But now Christine Quinn is facing some questions about her reportedly brazen temper. But she tells CNN she isn't apologizing for being, quote, "pushy." Our national correspondent Deborah Feyerick reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're following gay marriage, Christine Quinn will look familiar. The openly gay New York City lawmaker is a key spokesperson for marriage equality. She's also running for mayor of America's largest city, and is way ahead of her Democratic rivals. But could Quinn's admitted Irish temper hurt her chances as a "New York Times" report seems to suggest.

CHRISTINE QUINN, SPEAKER, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: People who have big emotions have big emotions. And I've never said that I wasn't somebody who got very emotional about my work. I want to get things done. And when I feel something passionately and strongly, I'm going to act on that.

FEYERICK: Those passions and flimsy office walls reportedly compelled her staff members to add soundproofing to blunt her conversations. Quinn says the reasons were purely practical.

QUINN: We soundproof because I'm too loud. I'm loud. When I'm not yelling. But we didn't soundproof because of that.

FEYERICK: Quinn admits she gets angry.

QUINN: This is not democracy, calling people names who you don't agree with them.

FEYERICK: But her critics say it sometimes crosses the line into retribution and retaliation. Quinn's councilwoman, Elizabeth Crowley, says when she mistakenly left Quinn's name off an important press release, Quinn retaliated by cutting her budget, twice in two years.

ELIZABETH CROWLEY, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: I don't have a problem with us getting into a disagreement and exchanging words or yelling. After we had a disagreement, there was retaliation taken out on my discretionary dollars, which ultimately didn't hurt me, but hurt the people that I represent.

FEYERICK: When I asked Quinn about retaliating against people she feels have crossed her --

QUINN: That's simply not true. I mean, I'm a speaker of the city council and I have to run the city council. And at times that means making decisions that not everybody likes.

FEYERICK: New Yorkers are used to bursts of anger from their mayors. Rudy Giuliani was well known for his temper. So too was (INAUDIBLE) LaGuardia. Now polls put Quinn within striking distance of a lock on the 2013 Democratic nomination.

So is the so-called anger issue just political theater? If, let's say, Quinn were a man, would she be praised instead as supporter Robert Jackson believes. ROBERT JACKSON, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: She's one of the most powerful individuals in New York City. And she's a woman. And she's gay. These are all factors. But this is who she is, as a woman, and as a leader. She is who she is. Do I have a problem with her as that? Not at all.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Now Quinn's powerful position as an outspoken leader raise interesting questions. When Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg talked this month about women standing up, being forceful and leading, she was congratulated. So why is Quinn being criticized for doing exactly like that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick, in New York with that report. I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more of her in the coming weeks and months. Thank you.

Just ahead in our next hour, thousands and thousands of pages of documents have just been released in that deadly Tucson shooting massacre more than two years ago. We're going to have the dramatic details. Stand by.

And Mitt Romney, he's opening up about life now outside the campaign bubble. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Mitt Romney is revealing some of his personal thoughts about life after the campaign trail. He spoke today with radio host, Dennis Miller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The bubble is a different experience. Being in -- you know, your own charter aircraft, having the Secret Service accompany you everywhere you go, you know, outside your front door at night. I mean, it's really quite an unusual thing. And kind of exciting certainly initially.

But I have to admit, being able to go back to our own life and, you know, going to the grocery store and shopping on my own is kind of nice to do by myself, without a bunch of people hanging around with me. So I -- you know, I like the life of being an American citizen. It's good to live a normal life again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, speaking with Dennis Miller.

Happening now, close encounter with a killer. New details about a police stop that might, repeat, might have prevented the shooting massacre in Tucson.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A $20 million outrage. Find out why bankruptcy judge refused to let American Airlines' boss leave with a sweet deal.

BLITZER: And a massive landslide. We're going to talk to a resident whose home is dangerously close to a gaping hole in the earth.

BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan.

BLITZER: And I'm Wolf Blitzer. We ought to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED 911 OPERATOR: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello 911. There was a shooting at Safeway.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 OPERATOR: OK. What do you mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ina and Oracle. Where Gabrielle Giffords was. And I do believe Gabby Giffords was hit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)