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Muslim Brotherhood Cancels Protests; The Americans Killed in Libya; Romney Camp Hits Obama on Mideast; Interest Rates to Stay Low through 2015; Most Swing States are Farm States; Talk Show Wars

Aired September 14, 2012 - 09:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, demonstrations canceled. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood calling off nationwide protests. Was President Obama's phone call behind the move? This as we're learning of new arrests linked to the attack on the consulate in Libya that killed four Americans.

Falling rates, rising market. The Fed's new push to make buying or refinancing a house cheaper. But there are questions this morning. Will it really help the housing market?

Plus, a second scandal. Topless photos of Kate Middleton published in a French magazine. The royal family fuming this morning. The photos taken during a private vacation on private property. Did the magazine break the law?

And fake field goal. It was the play of the night with the Packers and Bears. It was Green Bay's Thursday night.

NEWSROOM begins right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

COSTELLO: And good morning to you. Happy Friday. I'm Carol Costello. We begin this hour with that bit of breaking news. A dramatic new efforts to tamp down some of the ugliest anti-American violence in the Arab world and it comes at a critical time.

In the past 24 hours, protests have swept across a massive region, 11 countries in all, from Morocco in the west to Iran in the east. But also new this morning, a startling development. Egypt's powerful religious group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has ordered nationwide demonstrations be canceled.

Rioting outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo has been some of the region's most violent, with more than 200 people injured. Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is in Cairo this morning.

Ben, how significant is this group's intervention?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's significant in the sense that there was a lot of tension about the possibility that those nationwide demonstrations the Muslim Brotherhood called for could result in an escalation of violence. They were canceled. However, demonstrations go on. In fact, there are still several hundred young men, for the most part, outside a wall that's been set up by Egyptian security near the American embassy.

They are throwing rocks over that wall in the direction of Egyptian security forces, the Egyptian security forces firing back occasionally with tear gas and rocks on their own part. In Tahrir Square behind me, there's another demonstration that appears to be organized by the Salafist movement, as opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood. So there are still demonstrations. There are still clashes outside the U.S. embassy.

The Muslim Brotherhood, they canceled these nationwide protests, they said, to avoid an exclusion in the violence. But in a sense, the genie is already out of the bottle. It appears that these street clashes outside the U.S. embassy are not organized by any political group. It's spontaneous. They've been going on now since Wednesday evening and may go on for some time to come -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Ben, I'm just wondering, why this change of heart from the Muslim Brotherhood. I know a couple of days ago, President Obama said Egypt was not exactly the United States' ally, but it wasn't its enemy either. Did those words have anything to do with this?

WEDEMAN: I think there is a certain amount of alarm among the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. Those I've spoken with did seem to get the message that the United States was unhappy with the response or the reaction of Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president, to the breaching of the American embassy. They felt that maybe it's time to start sending out a more reassuring messages to the United States.

But what's significant is that on the one hand the message is coming out in English to a non-Arabic audience, seemed to be pointing in the direction of reconciliation.

I was at a demonstration this morning at a mosque not in the Tahrir Square area where it was organized by the Muslim Brotherhood. And the chants were not reassuring. One of the chants was, "Obama, there are a million Osamas." Referring, of course, to Osama bin Laden, chant, saying that the United States is the enemy of god.

It appears that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to please two audiences at the same time. The United States and its supporters. And the -- the result is that -- a very mixed message that makes one wonder about the sincerity of the Muslim Brotherhood when it says that it wants normal relations with the United States.

COSTELLO: Ben, Ben, I just -- what was that noise behind you? That -- was it gunfire, was it an explosion? Was it a water canon?

WEDEMAN: That's just tear gas being fired. No, no, no. Tear gas being fired by Egyptian security forces from the area around the American embassy.

COSTELLO: Thanks for clarifying. Ben Wedeman, live in Cairo for us this morning. Now a closer look at the Americans who were killed in the attack on the consulate in Libya. Their families are speaking out, sharing their pain and their memories.

CNN's Lisa Sylvester has that part of the story.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The three victims who have been identified were not based at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Sean Smith, a husband and father of two, worked off The Hague and was on a short-term duty as an information management officer in Libya.

Ambassador Chris Stevens was based in Tripoli. The most recently identified victim was Glen Doherty, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, a U.S. security officer who lived in Encinitas, California, but grew up outside of Boston.

From different areas. At the consulate. On assignment. They leave behind grieving hearts.

Kate Quigley is Doherty's sister.

KATE QUIGLEY, GLEN DOHERTY'S SISTER: Glen lives his life to the fullest. He was my brother but if you ask his friends he was their brother as well. We ask for privacy during this time as we grieve for our friend, my brother, our brother, our son and our American hero.

SYLVESTER: As a Navy SEAL, Doherty was a trained sniper and medical corpsman. He stayed active working for California fitness company called SEAL Fit. He's seen here in this video having fun in a friendly competition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Doherty, Winchester, Massachusetts, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A long way from home. How old are you?

DOHERTY: Forty-one and a half.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty-one and a half. Okay.

DOHERTY: That's right.

SYLVESTER: Doherty was just 42 when he died.

Ambassador Stevens leaves three younger siblings. Tom Stevens is his brother.

TOM STEVENS, AMBASSADOR CHRIS STEVENS' BROTHER: He was doing what he always did, which was representing the United States in an exceptional manner. He was my big brother. So all the things that typically as a little brother, all that guidance, just being best friends, that's what I'll miss the most. SYLVESTER: Sean Smith, an Air Force veteran, worked at the State Department for 10 years. At the time of the attack, he was online playing the game "Eve" under his handle as "Vile Rat" and posted this message online. Tributes are pouring in. A friend of Smith's saying, quote, "He had no desire for fame or recognition. He simply saw things that needed to be fixed and said about trying to fix them. His loss is all the more tragic because it was caused by forces he detested. Those of hatred, intolerance and ignorance."

The same could be said for all the victims.


COSTELLO: Lisa Sylvester joins us now from our Washington bureau.

Lisa, I know you have some more information about the last victim to be identified, the fourth victim. What can you tell us?

SYLVESTER: Yes, carol. You know, we were waiting. We got the first two names on the first day and then we've got Glen Doherty's name and now we finally have the fourth name, the fourth American who was killed in that attack. His name is Tyrone Woods. He is 41 years old. And his mother spoke about him and the most tragic, tragic loss.


CHERYL BENNETT, TYRONE WOODS' MOTHER: Ty was not one to be seen as a hero. He would want to be seen as a guy on his team who did his job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did it well.

BENNETT: And did it well. Did it the best he could. Obviously -- obviously, and unfortunately, and I'm sure -- I'm sure my son went down fighting. I don't know the ins and outs of it. I haven't been told. But I'm sure he went down fighting. I'm sure he did. And I just hope his last moments weren't painful.


SYLVESTER: That, of course, being the voice of Cheryl Bennett, Tyrone Woods' mother. Ty Woods or Tyrone Woods, he was also a former Navy SEAL, like Glen Doherty, and the reports are that they were apparently rounding up these shoulder -- the surface-to-air shoulder missiles. That's what they were doing, is trying to get these weapons out of the country. And that was the mission that they were on -- Carol.


Lisa Sylvester, thanks so much.

As protests continue, Mitt Romney is on the campaign trail and is blaming the violence in the Middle East, at least in part, on President Obama's foreign policies. A top adviser to the Romney campaign, Richard Williamson, said this. Quote, "There's a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney you'd be in a different situation. For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we have an -- we've had an American ambassador assassinated. In Egypt and Libya and Yemen, again demonstrations, the respect for America has gone down. There's not a sense of American resolve and we can't even protect sovereign American property," end quote.

Richard Williamson repeated that on CNN's "STARTING POINT".


RICHARD WILLIAMSON, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SR. FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: U.S. government cut assistance to the reformers for two years when Tahrir Square began, the President -- vice President of the United States said Mubarak was a reformer, the -- a Democrat Secretary of State reformer. We did get out in front. The result is we didn't have relationships with the reformers. They didn't look to us. They didn't trust us. This gave room for the Muslim Brotherhood to succeed.

We would be -- the Romney administration would be there, would be more active, trying to work with civil society, with reform movements so we would be partners in this evolution, not running behind and not seen as part of that. I think that changes the dynamic. And so, yes, there would be a difference.


COSTELLO: We'll have more on Mitt Romney's foreign policy at the bottom of the hour. Jim Acosta will have a full report.

Shaquille O'Neal is on Capitol Hill today to talk about the dangers of college binge drinking. He's working with the Century Council, Morgan State University and Morehouse College. They're unveiling this new initiative to combat binge drinking among students at historically black colleges and universities.

More than a year ago the retired basketball star started working with colleges to inspire students to make videos warning about binge drinking.

In the next hour, Shaquille O'Neal will join us live to talk about his latest project. That comes your way in just about an hour.

And that YouTube video that started all of these violent protests in the Arab world is not being taken down. At least not completely. So, is it free speech, hate speech? Should it be taken off the Internet? We'll talk about that.


COSTELLO: It is 16 minutes past the hour. Checking our top stories now.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has canceled nationwide demonstrations today except for one in Tahrir Square. Tensions have been running high in Cairo for four days after an anti-Islam film sparked outrage throughout the Middle East. Police trying to stop a violent demonstration in Tahrir Square last night, firing rubber bullets on the crowd.

Staying in the Middle East, Pope Benedict speaks to Christians in Lebanon today. He's there stressing peace between Christians and Muslims. Signs posted in Beirut showed messages welcoming the Pope. This is the Pope's fourth trip to the Middle East.

Stocks around the globe are soaring on news that the Federal Reserve is launching a third round of so-called quantitative easing. Markets in Europe and Asia jumped today and the Dow surged 200 points on the news, closing at levels not seen since 2007.

He was the greatest in the boxing ring. And yesterday, Muhammad Ali was honored for his work outside the ring. Ali received the 2012 Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center for being, quote, "a champion of freedom and a living embodiment of the Constitution." He was given a medal for his many humanitarian efforts.

And super typhoon Sanba remains an intense storm in the western Pacific this morning. The storm has sustained winds up to 175 miles per hour, the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane as it heads to Japan. That makes Sanba the strongest tropical typhoon of the season and one of the strongest of all time.

Google, the company that owns YouTube has now banned "The Innocence of Muslims" from the Internet in Egypt and Libya. That's the YouTube movie that's causing anti-American protest throughout the Muslim world. But you can still see "The Innocence of Muslims" if you live anywhere else in the world. We're also learning more about the filmmaker.

As far as CNN can determine, his real name is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. He's a Coptic Christian from Egypt and he's been in trouble with the law in the United States. He spent time in prison twice for trying to make meth and also for bank fraud. Actors who starred in his movie say he conned them, too.


ACTRESS, "INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS": He told me he was from Israel. He told me he was going to show the movie in Egypt. And either I assumed he was from Egypt or --

REPORTER: He led you to believe he was Egyptian?

ACTRESS: Yes, because that's what I believe.


COSTELLO: Coptic Christians make up a tiny portion in the population in Egypt. They say they're often targets of Muslim discrimination. The whole thing leaves us with many questions, was it the filmmaker's intent to incite violence? If it was, should Google ban the video from YouTube all together, not just in Egypt and Libya?

Let's talk about that. Joining me now George Washington University law professor and constitutional expert, Jonathan Turley, and the "The Daily Beast" and CNN's Howard Kurtz.

Welcome to you both.



COSTELLO: Thanks for being here.

Jonathan, I want to start with you. I think Google's dilemma is hate speech in Egypt or Libya is not the same as hate speech here in the United States. So, it was a difficult decision for Google, wasn't it?

TURLEY: Well, it was. Quite frankly, I don't think it's a close decision. This is not hate speech. This is free speech. Google doesn't produce widgets or cars. It presents a forum for people to have a dialogue. That dialogue often involves very controversial, sometimes insulting thoughts.

But we don't have free speech to protect popular people or popular ideas. Free speech is needed to protect those people who sometimes speak against the majority.

This is a film that takes one view of a religious leader. The Muslims are not unique. These extremists are not unique in holding their religious leaders close and to feel protective over them. But that does not give an excuse for murder.

This film did not cause murder. What caused murder was religious extremism.

COSTELLO: Howard, you know, I wonder, though, like who should make that decision as far as determining whether it should be taken down from the Internet or whether it's hate speech at all. Should it be Google? Should it be the government? I mean, who should make that decision?

KURTZ: Well, certainly not the government. It almost doesn't matter in the situation what Google or YouTube decides to do, because once something is posted anywhere on the web, somebody is going to copy it. It will always be available. There's no way to put that toothpaste back into the tube.

I'm a free speech absolutist. I think that, you know, you can't be Google or any other company, Yahoo!, you name it, can't be pulling something off the web because somebody doesn't like it. But in this situation with American lives in jeopardy, I think it was a reasonable step to take it down just in Egypt and Libya.

COSTELLO: Okay. And, Jonathan, just to go back to your point, Google is saying that that film doesn't qualify as hate speech because it attacks a group of people instead of an individual, which kind of doesn't make much sense to me.

TURLEY: Well, that is a difference we're seeing around the world. There is an uptick in prosecutions of anti-religious speech, so-called blasphemy. What many people don't realize -- I've been writing about this a lot on the blog -- is that those blasphemy prosecutions are occurring in the West. There's an increase in prosecutions for people either under hate speech laws or discrimination laws for speaking against religion.

Our country has a much more protective standard. But there is a war going on over free speech, and free speech is losing. And that's the reason, frankly, I would not yield if I was YouTube, to these type of actions.

There are some things you cannot yield to. Free speech is one of those. It's a bright line and you have to protect it. Once you start to compromise, it slips through your fingers like water. When you look in your hands, you have nothing left of what free speech was.

COSTELLO: Well, Howard, you can argue that's true and look at a couple of cases that have taken place recently in the United States. You know, the Westboro Church with its terrible protests at military funerals, hateful speech and hateful signs. U.S. Supreme Court ruled they have a constitutional right to do that. But then lawmakers passed this new law, putting limits on where and when the Westboro protester could protest. So that's a limitation of free speech, right?

KURTZ: It's a real dilemma for these internet companies. We can say in the United States we have First Amendment, tradition of free speech. We should not be taking things down unless they are libelous. But on the other hand, when you're operating globally and you're operating in totalitarian countries, which sometimes you have to compromise with what those regimes and what they will allow their people to see.

But I do want to add quickly, Carol, that there's been a lot of bad reporting on this. We don't know if this film exists. We just know there's this 14-minute trailer. There was a lot of reporting, initially in the confusion following these attacks about filmmaker Sam Bacile, the name he was using, supposedly being an Israeli Jew. And we now seem to believe is this fellow you mentioned Nakoula Nakoula, who is certainly not Jewish.

So, I think the media have some missteps in describing the situation, aside from the fact that Google should have left that thing up on YouTube.

COSTELLO: Okay. So you're saying it depends on the filmmaker's intent and maybe Google would have made a different decision, had it had all the facts from the get-go?

KURTZ: I'm saying that in part and also saying it's easy for us to sit here and watch in New York and Atlanta and say something should be allowed because we have this American tradition of allowing anything that stops short of hate speech. But the tradition in other countries, typically countries with the history of violence, it's a very treacherous road. It's easy for us to second guess at this point.

COSTELLO: Howard Kurtz, Jonathan Turley, thanks so much. It was an interesting can conversation.

TURLEY: Thanks, Carol.

COSTELLO: Mortgage rates at an all-time low. Well, they may go even lower.


COSTELLO: Markets from Tokyo to New York are surging today after the Federal Reserve announced another round of quantitative easing, promising to keep mortgage rates at an all-time low.

Maribel Aber is at the NASDAQ market site in Times Square. So, tell us about the plan.

MARIBEL ABER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. Here's how it breaks down. The Fed is taking risk in the form of mortgage debt off the bank's shoulders. So every month for an unlimited time, the Fed will print $40 million to buy bonds that the banks are holding. So, they are essentially giving the banks cash for that debt, with the understanding that the banks will want to give out more loans.

Now, Carol, the trick is to see if businesses want to take out loans and use the money to hire people. The net/net here is that the Fed hopes to fuel more spending and eventually more hiring -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So, the $40 billion a month question, will it work?

ABEL: Well, the interest rates are already low. So the question is, will consumers and businesses be more likely now to take out loans just because the Fed has started this program? Is the confidence there to take out a loan in a bad economy?

One thing the Fed can't do, Carol, is erase uncertainty out there. Congress can help with that, though, by acting to back off the country off of a fiscal cliff we keep talking about and getting the debt under control. Stimulus would be a lot more likely to work if businesses have a clear idea of what lies ahead. But don't expect any clarity until after the election.

COSTELLO: All right. Maribel Aber from the NASDAQ site, thank you.

Violence erupting across Egypt and Libya in response to that anti- Muslim film. So, how can the United States help to secure the region? We'll look into what can be done.


COSTELLO: It is 30 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to NEWSROOM. Happy Friday to you. I'm Carol Costello.

While the situation in Libya and Egypt dominates the headlines, Mitt Romney is targeting other Middle East countries and that includes a plan for Iran, which might kind of like President Obama's.

Here's what Governor Romney said on "Good Morning America." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Let's talk about Iran. You've been quite critical of the President's policy. Also Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel has suggested he wants a more clear red line from the United States.

What is your red line with Iran?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, my red line is that Iran may not have a nuclear weapon. Iran as a nuclear nation is unacceptable to America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama said exactly the same thing. He said it's unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. So your red line is the same as his.

ROMNEY: I laid out what I would do to keep Iran from reaching that red line. I said that crippling sanctions needed to be put in place immediately. That combined with standing up with Iranian dissidents. The President was silent when dissidents took to the streets in Tehran. The President was silent. In addition, I think Ahmadinejad should have been indicted under the genocide convention for incitation to genocide.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But red line going forward is the same?

ROMNEY: Yes. Recognized that when one says that it's unacceptable to the United States of America, that that means what it said.


COSTELLO: But Governor Romney is toning down his comments on Libya, comment that sent his campaign spinning this week.

Here's Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRERSPONDENT (voice-over): Mitt Romney steered around the controversy he started earlier this week when he accused President Obama of sympathizing with the attackers on U.S. diplomats in the Middle East. Instead, at a rally in Virginia, Romney opted to grieve for the victims.

ROMNEY: What a tragedy, to lose such a wonderful, wonderful people.


ACOSTA: Within seconds, he was interrupted by a protester.

ROMNEY: I would offer a moment of silence, but one gentleman doesn't want to be silent. So we're going to keep -- we're going to keep ongoing.

ACOSTA: While Romney did go onto charge the President with seeking defense cuts that would weaken national security --

ROMNEY: As we watch the world today, sometimes it seems that we're at the mercy of events instead of shaping events.

ACOSTA: He stayed away from his harshest attack of the week, that Mr. Obama is an apologist.

ROMNEY: I think it's a -- a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values.

ACOSTA: But there are no apologies for Romney's comments. A senior campaign advisor told CNN it was wrong for President Obama to not immediately criticize the mob that ripped down an American flag at the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

The Romney campaign also pointed to support it received from former members of the Bush administration. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tweeted, the attacks on our embassies and diplomats are a result of perceived American weakness. Mitt Romney is right to point that out.

And Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney wrote in "The Wall Street Journal," apologizing for America, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies and slashing our military are hallmarks of Mr. Obama's foreign policy.

Other conservatives have disagreed.


ACOSTA: Columnist Peggy Noonan was critical of how Romney defended his initial remarks on the attacks at a news conference.

NOONAN: At one point, he had a certain slight grimace on his face when he was taking tough questions from the reporters and I thought he looked like Richard Nixon.

ACOSTA (on camera): A senior Romney adviser told CNN the campaign is confident this controversy will blow over. But the question is whether there will be blowback with voters. But that advisers insisted this criticism will serve the campaign well, highlighting what he called big differences in the race.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Ronkonkoma, New York.


COSTELLO: In the meantime, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has called off nationwide protests across Egypt, and Egypt's written a letter to the editor in ""The New York Times". That letter reads in part, quote, "Despite our resentment of the continued appearance of productions like the anti-Muslim film that led to the current violence, we do not hold the American government or its citizens responsible for acts of the few that abuse the laws protecting freedom of expression," end quote. He goes on to say, "The failure to protect the U.S. embassy in Egypt is now under investigations." So what does all this mean?

With us now General James "Spider" Marks and Michelle Dunne. Thank you so much both of you for joining us. Hopefully, you can both hear me. Yes?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET), U.S. ARMY: Hi, Carol. I'm with you.

COSTELLO: Oh good.


COSTELLO: Thank you.

Earlier this week, President Obama said Egypt is not our ally. Today, this new tone by the Egyptians. Michelle, is there a connection?

DUNNE: I think that the position of the Egyptian government has been evolving over a couple of days. It certainly is true that on the first day of the protest at the American embassy that the Egyptian government shouldn't -- didn't do what it should have done to keep the protesters from going over the wall and entering the embassy and that President Morsi was notably silent. At that time I think President Morsi was trying to get control of the sentiment in Egypt against this film to sort of outflank the Salifists by showing he was also outraged by the film.

Later on though, especially after what happened in Libya with the assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens, I think that Morsi realized and certainly heard from President Obama that his actions were inadequate and that he really had to take responsibility and tamp down sentiment in Egypt to avoid things getting even worse.

So, that's why we've seen them today canceling nationwide protests and putting out these messages that they're going to protect diplomatic missions and that Egyptians have the right to be outraged about the film but not to use violence.

COSTELLO: And, General, Egypt did say it failed to protect the U.S. embassy. It says it's now investigating. So, what does the United States need to see for them to prove that they're really doing that?

MARKS: Carol, I think one of the prime motivations that hasn't been spoken yet is the United States gives billions of dollars to Egypt annually. Clearly, there's a motivation to keep that pipeline going.

And so not only is there outrage about this film -- frankly, I think the film is simply what is an underlying concern and hatred for the United States, its presence, its policies and what it has done in the Middle East. And clearly, the Arab spring now has become an Arab rage and is directed against Western powers, the United States most notably. So, I think it's driven by dollars. But what the United States has to do in concert with Egypt -- this isn't an ally, but a friend and has been a friend for many years. As this new government emerges, it needs to embrace the United States and take very, very seriously these activities that are taking place in Cairo and look what took place in Libya and say we cannot allow this to happen or we lose a very dear friend of hours that's been a supporter for years.

And if, in fact, the government can call off the protests, that means they could have prevented the protest. So, I think there needs to be a very concerted effort, very deep intelligence exchange.

These were not criminal acts. These were acts of war against the United States. This is U.S. property. And so this is clearly an effort led by this (INAUDIBLE) intelligence agency, all other U.S. intelligence agencies would be subordinated to the CIA in terms of intelligence collection and sharing with the Egyptians, sharing with the Libyans to ensure that we can find out who conducted these activities, where there (AUDIO GAP), where are there commanding activities, and we can go after them in concert with the host nation.

COSTELLO: Michelle, one of Governor Romney's senior foreign policy advisers said none of this would have happened under a Romney presidency, because Mr. Romney would have had a consistent policy. Is he right?

DUNNE: Well, look, I have to say that I think that the Obama administration, while they're doing the best they can to handle this very difficult crisis this week, over the past year and a half has been -- you know, has sent mixed signals about the degree of their support for the changes in the Middle East. I do think the United States could have done much more to help to galvanize economic assistance, which is badly needed.

That's the leading reason why Egypt needs to continue the partnership with the United States. In addition to the military assistance they badly need economic development. And they need help from the United States, from Europe, from the Gulf Arab countries.

So the United States could be doing more. I also think the United States should have taken the security situation in both Libya and Egypt more seriously and should have urged those governments and worked with them in reforming their police apparatus and getting them back up. There's a very chaotic situation in security apparatuses in both Libya and Egypt after their revolution.

COSTELLO: Michelle Dunne, director of Atlantic Council's Hariri Center for the Middle East, and General James "Spider" Marks, retired U.S. general and CNN contributor -- thanks to you both for joining us this morning.

MARKS: Thanks, Carol.

DUNNE: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Coming up, our issues 2012 series. We'll take a closer look at where the presidential candidates stand on farm subsidies and food stamps.


COSTELLO: In our 2012 Issues series, we're taking a deeper dive into some of the key topics in the race for president. Today, Martin Savidge explores what cuts the candidates say they would make to the federal farm bill.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mitt Romney launched his campaign on a farm.

ROMNEY: And this really is what New Hampshire is all about, isn't it? A day like this and a farm like this.

SAVIDGE: President Obama spent three days on a bus tour in Iowa.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we are here at the Macintosh family farms.

SAVIDGE: Most of the key battleground states are farming states and yet --

(on camera): What have you heard from the candidates regarding issues of farming?

GLENN HEARD, FARMER: Very little. Very little.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Glenn Heard's family has been farming in Georgia for generations.

HEARD: I'd like to hear that they support the programs that would help us in our bad years.

SAVIDGE: To understand farm politics, first, a little on farming.

(on camera): Farming is full of all kinds of risks. First and foremost, you got to rely on something that's totally unreliable, the weather. Then you can spend a fortune growing your crops only to harvest and find out the bottom has fallen out of the market.

(voice-over): So the government helps by crop insurance to protect against natural disasters and pays farmers when the price of their crops drop. This all rolled into something called the farm bill.

Why does the government subsidizing farming?

(on camera): Because along time, it realized that outsourcing the growing of food to another country wasn't a good idea. In other words, keeping farms going and growing is in the national interest.

(voice-over): So where do the candidates stand on the farm mill. Based on budget proposals advanced by Obama and Romney's running mate Paul Ryan, it would appear both want to cut it, and by nearly the same amount, between $32 billion and $33 billion over 10 years. It's what they want to cut that makes it interesting.

First there's something else you need to know.

(on camera): Years back, members of Congress that represented rural districts, they had a problem. They couldn't get members of Congress that represent urban areas interested in supporting any kind of farm legislation. So what do you do? That's how food stamps became part of the Farm Bill.

(voice-over): Today roughly one of every seven Americans uses food stamps, the program's political dynamite. Democrats want to limit cuts to food stamps by instead chopping subsidies to farmers. Republicans want to spare farmers instead making most of the cuts to food stamps.

But farming economist Joe Outlaw says it may not be as dire as the campaigns make it sound.

JOE OUTLAW, TEXAS ASM AGRICULTURE & FOOD POLICY CENTER: Depending upon which candidate wins, obviously, each party is going to say that there will be dramatic differences, but from an objective look, standing back, there will be differences quite certainly, but I don't say that they're going to be that dramatic.

SAVIDGE: Regardless of who wins, cuts are coming. The only question is whether they'll be felt by low-income families mostly in cities or rural families down on the farm.


COSTELLO: Martin Savidge joins me now in the debate over the Farm Bill, which is strange because it's usually pretty much a cinch every year right?


COSTELLO: But this year not because of the food stamp issue. So is this proof of a further divide between rural America and urban America?

SAVIDGE: Well, you know it would be easy to say that this debate over food stamps which is the primary hold up here on the new funding on the Farm Bill is based on the philosophies of the two parties. Democrats would favor those who don't have as much money and the Republicans want to cut food stamps because they favor the rich.

It's really more complicated than that. Number one, food stamps, huge budget. If you're going to make cuts, mathematically, it makes more sense to cut $3 billion say from an $80 billion budget than to take $3 billion from the $6 billion corn subsidies budget. In other words, you would cut that one in half

So it's easy for people to get very riled up about this. One thing is clear, we won't have a Farm Bill before the election. That seems highly unlikely that Congress will step into this debate.

COSTELLO: I don't think Congress is going to do anything until after the election.


COSTELLO: Martin Savidge, thanks so much.

SAVIDGE: You bet.

COSTELLO: Coming up next on the NEWSROOM, a 27-yard touchdown pass. No big deal in any football game, right? O, but this touchdown pass was anything but ordinary.


COSTELLO: Oh, it's time to take a look at sports. We start with the NFL and Thursday night football. The Packers were up 3-0 on the Bears in the second quarter when they ran this razzle-dazzle play. Holder Tim Masthay flips the ball to back on tight end Tom Crabtree, you see it there. The fake field goal. It was perfect play. Crabtree takes the shuttle pass into the end zone to give the Packers a 10-3 lead. Green Bay goes on to beat Chicago, 23-10.

To baseball now where the American League East race continues to be hot. Last night in Boston, Derek Jeter drove in the Yankees second run of the game with that flair into center-field. It was Jeter's 3,283rd career hit tying it with Willie Mays putting him all-time on the Major League hits list. New York wins 2-0.

To Baltimore now, the Orioles would have to complete the sweep of the race to keep pace with the Yankees 14th inning, game tied 2-2. Tampa Bay left fielder Matt Joyce made a great effort. But could not catch that blue tip (ph), unbelievable. Adam Jones scores and the Orioles remain tied with the Yankees in the American League East. That's just unbelievable.

That's a look at sports.


COSTELLO: A little showbiz for you now. Talk, talk, talk, is big business night and day. Kareen Wynter has more on the battle for daytime talk survival.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is a war being waged in your living room.

STEVE HARVEY, TALK SHOW HOST: Is everybody ready for a good show?

WYNTER: A competition for your attention. Steve Harvey, Katie Couric, Ricki Lake, Jeff Probst. They are the newest combatants in the expanding arena of daytime talk.

JEFF PROBST, TALK SHOW HOST: I'm going to offer you an ambush adventure.

MAGGIE FURLONG, WEST COAST EDITOR, HUFFPOST TV: It's kind of kill or be killed with this daytime hosts and we're going to see who lasts.

WYNTER: Returning for another season are syndicated talkers like Ellen and Dr. Phil as well as programs like "The View" and "The Doctors".

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: The show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it's time to say good-bye.

WYNTER: The battlefield has been wide-open since Oprah's departure in 2011. Maggie Furlong of HuffPost TV says the newcomers are eager to take her crown.

FURLONG: Everyone is vying for the title of New Oprah. You know we had our Oprah, now we need our new Oprah. Everybody wants the new Oprah to come in, sweep up daytime and make it amazing again. Make it a destination for viewers.

WYNTER: Of the new shows, viewers are favoring Katie Couric. Her show pulled in the best numbers for a daytime talk show debut in ten years. But creating a show that draws viewers for the long term won't be easy as Couric admits.

KATIE COURIC, HOST, "KATIE": How can we do it in a way that will bring people in, make them listen, and really be compelling and engaging television but I love a challenge so I say bring it.

WYNTER: Steve Harvey brings his talent as a comedian, bestselling author and radio show host to daytime. His relationship-themed show is off to a modest start. Furlong gives it an (INAUDIBLE)

FURLONG: I feel like Steve Harvey is more worried about his schtick, his punch line. What do I say next. How do I get the crowd going.

STEVE HARVEY, TALK SHOW HOST: Guys who cook to attract women are now called gastrosexuals.

FURLONG: Maybe he'll ease into it and be a little less scripted but for now I'm not seeing him as a front runner.

Wynter: These new shows, they enter a daytime TV landscape that's really changed dramatically in recent years. Gone are the slew of soaps that entertained housewives for generations.

Brad Adgate of Horizon Media studies TV trend.

BRAD ADGATE, SENIOR VP, HORIZON MEDIA: You have more and more women in the workforce working so they are not really home watching these types of shows. There's a void there. And I think that they see that this new crop of talk shows can help fill that programming void.

WYNTER: So who will emerge from the void to claim daytime dominance? Adgate and Furlong bet on that "Today" show host, turned "CBS Evening News" anchor turned daytime talker --

ADGATE: I think if I had to pick one it would obviously be Katie Couric. FURLONG: Yes, I really do feel like this is going to be the perfect place for Katie Couric.

COURIC: I'm so glad you guys were here to share this with me.

WYNTER: Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles.


COSTELLO: The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM after a break.