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'Occupy Wall Street' Grows Larger; GOP Debate Boycott Shocker; Perry Fundraising Gains, Poll Losses; Leave Your Bank Over Fees?; Knox 'Overwhelmed' by Homecoming; Hundreds Killed in Thai Floods; Rep. Gabby Giffords to Attend D.C. Ceremony; Interview With Republican Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich; Veterans: 10 Years of War Not Worth It

Aired October 5, 2011 - 17:00   ET



Happening now, the surprising reason five Republican candidates are now boycotting a proposed Republican presidential debate. It's one of the big new twists in the 2012 campaign. I'll talk about the shifting state of the race with Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, this hour.

Plus, Amanda Knox is spending her first full day back home in the United States, but is she able to leave her Italian prison ordeal behind her?

We have new details on what she's doing in Seattle and how she's doing it.

And powerful new proof that even Americans who've served in uniform have soured on war. Stand by to hear just how many veterans, citing a decade of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan simply wasn't worth it.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Breaking news, political headlines and Jeanne Moos all straight ahead.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Let's begin with some breaking news out of New York City right now. Wall Street protests, which have been going on now for the past few weeks, they are exploding in size. Take a look at these pictures. Thousands of people are out on the streets in Manhattan right now, crowds stretching for blocks and blocks, all of them expressing deep frustration over the U.S. economy.

Our national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, is on the scene for us.

She's near Wall Street.

What's going on over there right now -- Susan? SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said, this is the culmination of what organizers here have been talking about for the past several days, the big march that is coming together today from where they're camped out here in a city park, right in the Wall Street area, up to Foley Square. I'm not really sure whether they're going to be hearing any speeches. For now, they're marching shoulder to shoulder in that area. Probably a few thousand people get back here in the park where I am. Other people are waiting, because when they're through marching up to that square, they're going to be coming back here to their main point. This is where they've been camped out for 19 days now, going on three weeks.

Again, they're trying to grow the movement. And they hope that by getting enough publicity through the social Internet, through more traditional media, that more people will be drawn to what they call a social movement, that they're mad, angry about what's happening in the world of corporate greed, as they call it, and they want something to change.

They think they can effect change by talking about it, by talking about the need for things to change. And that is their expectation.

Now, they told us, Wolf, today, that they've actually been able to raise about $40,000 in donations and that they've been offered much more, but they're saying they're turning down the money because they don't want the movement to be about money and trying to raise it.

Instead, they're asking for help in terms of goods and services, because they want staying power. So they're looking for blankets and more food donations and that kind of thing, that might be able to sustain them through the winter -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It looks like it's a -- it's a huge demonstration out there on the streets of Wall Street, nearby in Manhattan, Susan.

But based on the reports that I'm getting, it seems to be peaceful, at least as of now.

Is that right?

Is that what you're hearing?

CANDIOTTI: Yes, very much so. There have been no confrontations. There certainly have been in the past. But for now, there is none of that.

The police are standing by. There's a lot of police power in the area. Some people are saying there might be some incidents, but others saying absolutely not, we're looking simply to show our numbers and show support for this movement.

And the other thing to keep in mind here is that they're hoping that by getting more support from unions -- and that's the key difference about this march today. A lot of unions are joining them to say we're behind you, because we, too, have suffered. There have been job cuts, union losses, health benefit losses and cuts to various social services. So they're lending their support to this movement in hopes, too, that it will grow.

BLITZER: All right, Susan.

We'll stay in close touch with you.

We'll follow the breaking news. A huge, huge demonstrations, the Occupy Wall Street demonstration expanding dramatically on this day. We'll get back to you soon.

Thanks for that.

Other news we're following, including some political news. A Republican presidential campaign detour into drug charges and new allegations of unethical reporting. It's all part of the intrigue surrounding the boycott -- yes, the boycott of a Republican presidential debate proposed by the Spanish language network, Univision.

CNN's Joe Johns is digging into this story for us -- Joe, a central figure in all of this isn't actually a presidential candidate, but a popular United States senator. We're talking about Marco Rubio.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Wolf.

Two things at work here, really.

The first thing is the story about Marco Rubio's brother-in-law, who got arrested in a big drug investigation in South Florida in the 1980s. But what's pretty much overtaken that story is an uproar among Republicans about media tactics that they claim have crossed the line.


JOHNS (voice-over): It's a Miami vice crime story that goes all the way back to when Marco Rubio was 16 years old. At that time, Rubio's older sister married a guy who got arrested by the police on a drug charge. And Rubio, who would one day become a Republican senator from Florida and darling of the Tea Party, had nothing to do with it at all.

Fast forward to this past July, when Univision, the powerful Spanish language television network, found out about the arrest of Rubio's brother-in-law so many years ago and put an investigative story on the air about it. That would have been the end of it, except for one thing. Friends of Rubio told the "Miami Herald" newspaper that prior to airing it, an executive from Univision had suggested the story might be altered or even dropped if Rubio agreed to do an interview on Univision, which Rubio supporters are calling an improper media quid pro-quo.

"The Herald" says it printed the story after Western Republican Presidential Debate with unnamed Univision insiders and the newspaper calls "people in the know," who corroborated claims that a top Univision executive made the offer.

REP. DAVID RIVERA (R), FLORIDA: Well, first of all, we thought it was offensive and unacceptable for a national media organization like Univision to try to secure an interview with United States Senator Marco Rubio by exchanging some sort of agreement whereby they wouldn't air a report about a family member of his. And we wanted to make sure there were consequences to that -- those tactics that were utilized by Univision.

JOHNS: Univision categorically denies this. In the statement, it said: "We would never make such an offer with any protagonist in a news report and we did not make an offer in this case. We had various participants in a call to Senator Rubio's office, that included our principal internal attorneys."

Whatever the truth of it, the story has taken on a life of its own. Congressman David Rivera and others asked Republican presidential candidates not to participate in a Univision presidential debate. And most of the candidates have already agreed.

Anna Navarro is a friend of Rubio's who also worked for the presidential campaign of Jon Huntsman.

ANA NAVARRO, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: What we want is a resolution to this issue. The presidential candidates don't want to be in this middle of the drama, they want this issue resolved.


JOHNS: So here's the list of those candidates saying they would not do a Univision debate -- Romney, Perry, Huntsman, Cain, Bachmann and now Gingrich. Republicans we talked to disagree over whether it's the tactics or the story itself that irks them most. But some are demanding, at the very least, an apology from Univision -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Has the senator, Senator Rubio, just spoken to the candidates about what they're saying, about why they, at least as of now, don't want to participate in this Univision debate?

JOHNS: Well, he was asked about that today here in Washington, DC. And he said there will be no shortage of opportunities for those individuals who are running for the Republican nomination to have debates and -- and get their message out.

But he hasn't addressed this on television directly, other than to confirm that, in his view, there was an offer made to him.

BLITZER: Joe Johns, thanks very much for that report.

Let's get to Rick Perry's quest for a rebound right now. There's new word that his campaign is rolling in some serious cash, even as polls show the one time frontrunner has lost a lot, a lot of ground.

Let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger -- Gloria, $17 million--


BLITZER: -- apparently announced by the -- by the Rick Perry campaign, raised in the last quarter. Those are decent numbers.

BORGER: Those are very, very good numbers, in fact. And -- and when you talk to Perry advisers, as I did today, they had said, look, this shows that we're here for the long haul. We have the money to prove it.

They also made the point, by the way -- and they're telling reporters this -- that they hauled in more money after those debates, in which he had bad performances, than they did before. And they're also making the point that half of the checks they're getting are from out of state.

Now what we don't know, because we haven't seen the numbers, is how much of the money is from out of state. And we want to see how much of the money is actually from the state of Texas.

But there is no other way to interpret this other than this is very, very good news for Rick Perry. He can stay in this race as long as he wants.

BLITZER: The not so good news for Rick Perry is he seems to have lost --

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: -- some significant Tea Party support out there. It shows, the Tea Party -- the activists, they can go from hot to cold, too.

BORGER: Right. Well, they're shopping. They're shopping around, Wolf. And they're looking for the perfect candidate. What we seem to be seeing in these polls is that they're not, they haven't really found the perfect candidate yet. That's why the campaign of Herman Cain has risen and the campaign of Rick Perry has taken a slide.

Take a look at this recent CBS Poll that we have up now. If you look two weeks ago, Rick Perry was at 30 percent. Now, he's got less than half of that support amongst Tea Party people.

Cain now has triple the support. And Romney, still unenthusiastic, but up a bit. Gingrich up a bit. Bachmann, you can see, has lost half of her support.

So they are fickle. They are looking for perfection. But I was talking to one Republican strategist today who said, look, if the Tea Party supporters actually got perfection, the candidate that they found would probably not be able to get elected. So the message from this strategist was don't look for perfection. Stop it.

BLITZER: No, perfection is -- is good.

BORGER: It's hard.

BLITZER: But it's--

BORGER: It's very hard.

BLITZER: But good is pretty -- sometimes pretty -- good is pretty good, as well.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: Can Mitt Romney really convince the Tea Party activists that he's their guy?

BORGER: He's clearly not their guy right now. They don't like him very much. And that is a good question, because it's hard to know. When you talk to the Romney people, they say, look, we're not going to do anything different from what we're doing now. We're not going to make special appeals to Tea Party voters. You'll remember in 2008, Wolf, Romney was accused of flip-flopping because he made appeals to certain parts of the candidates. He seemed to be changing his views. And as one adviser said to me today, this is not the campaign it was four years ago.

What's also interesting is, I said, well, you're going to campaign on electability. That's the word we hear.

And they said no, because electability is what you say when you're a moderate Republican trying to appeal to conservatives. Instead, they're going to talk about plausibility, that he is the plausible candidate who can be seen as president of the United States.

BLITZER: Yes. I think Chris Christie's decision not to run has helped -- BORGER: Very much.

BLITZER: -- and will help Mitt Romney.

BORGER: Very much.

BLITZER: That's at least my -- my sense.

BORGER: You're right.

BLITZER: Gloria, thank you.

All right, check out the fundraising hauls of some of the other Republican contenders. Sources say Mitt Romney's campaign will report raising between $11 and $13 million over the past three months. Ron Paul's campaign says it pulled in more than $8 million during that same period. The candidates have until October 15th to release their third quarter fundraising totals.

The Republican race is getting more interesting just in time for our next CNN debate. Join CNN for the Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas. It will air live Tuesday, October 18th, 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

More politics later this hour. I'll be Western Republican Presidential Debate with Newt Gingrich, the Republican presidential candidate

Amanda Knox's lawyer tells me she's doing remarkably well on her first full day back in the United States. Stand by for a live report. We're going to Seattle. New details on her homecoming.

And an important U.S. ally may have American blood on its hands. Officials are growing more concerned about homemade bombs in Afghanistan and the country that's providing a key ingredient.


BLITZER: Let's go right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Take a good look at your bank statement because financial institutions are busy talking on new fees just as fast as they can. Bank of America has come under a lot of fire for a planned $5.00 monthly charge for debit card use.

The only way to avoid the fee is to have a mortgage with the bank, keep a $20,000 minimum balance or use your debit card only for ATM transactions, otherwise, $5.00 a month. Bank of America is not the only one going the way at debit fees.

Wells Fargo saying it's testing a $3.00 monthly fee in several states. JP Morgan Chase announced a similar test last year. The banks are blaming these new fees on Wall Street reform enacted after the bank bailouts, more specifically the so-called "Durbin Amendment."

The measure is named after Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. It limits banks to charging 21 cents per debit card transaction. They used to get 44 cents on average. The new rules expected to cost the banks about $5 billion a year.

So naturally they're looking for somewhere else to make up the money. What better place than to put their hand in your pocket. Durbin himself says the debit card usage costs banks less than 12 cents per transaction far below the new cap of 21 cents.

He says consumers ought to consider switching banks to where they'll be treated better because of fees like this. Meanwhile, Citibank, which barbed Bank of America on debit fees will soon be charging many customers monthly fees for their checking accounts.

One report is $15 a month, unless they maintain much higher balances.

So here is the question: Would you leave your bank over new monthly fees for debit cards or checking accounts?

Go to Post a comment on my blog or go to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page. Wolf --

BLITZER: All right, Jack, thank you.

Let's go to Seattle right now. Amanda Knox is getting used to life back home in the United States after almost four years behind the walls of an Italian prison.

Since her return last night to the United States, she struggled with remembering to speak English instead of Italian for example. But she and her parents say they couldn't be happier right now and they couldn't be more thankful.


AMANDA KNOX, MURDER CONVICTION OVERTURNED: I'm really overwhelmed right now. I was looking down from the airplane, and it seemed like everything wasn't real.

What's important for me to say is just thank you to everyone who has believed in me, who's defended me, who's supported my family. I just want -- my family is the most important thing to me right now. I just want to go and be with them. Thank you for being there for me.

EDDA MELLAS, AMANDA KNOX'S MOTHER: All I can say again is thank you. It's because of the letters and the calls and just amazing support that we received from people all over the world especially here in Seattle that we've been able to endure and we've been able to make sure Amanda had the support she needed.


BLITZER: Let's go to Seattle. Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit is joining us. Now Drew, a lot of happy people I'm sure in Seattle.

But the enormity of what she's gone through is obviously going to hit her at some point. I assume her family is trying to get her used to what could happen in the media days and weeks ahead.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Yes, really she became famous for not the right reasons, Wolf. I think you could see it was a beautiful homecoming last night. But if you looked through it, you see this young lady who really is unprepared for the media onslaught that has developed around her these past four years.

We have been reaching out to the family, trying to find out anything we can about Amanda's first day. But they have not responded in any way, shape or form. That is exactly what they told us would happen.

The family has been incredibly gracious throughout this ordeal. But they said once they get her back home here, after she makes that short statement, we are going to go into seclusion and we are going to try to come to grips first with what happened to Amanda Knox.

The four years she's spent in prison, and then take the next step of how do we move forward from here. You know, she was in prison. That has got to be a big strain on her. Now she's trying to get reacquainted with a family that really she's only had interaction with for about an hour a week for the last four years.

BLITZER: You know, it's really so sad when you think about four years of this young woman's life ripped away from her like this having to live in that ordeal and now she has to get readjusted.

I'm very happy for her. I'm very happy for her family. I spoke with her American attorney, Theodore Simon as you know. He says she's going great, but my sense is she's got a lot of work ahead of her. GRIFFIN: Yes, I think they don't know what lies ahead of her. That was the interesting interview from Theodore Simon talking about how strong she is. Quite frankly, I was a little bit surprised she did come to the podium last night.

Because we've seen from her release just in the courtroom in Perugia how emotional that was for her and then the flight back overnight, you know, must have been draining just physically. But I think what the family wants to do is really evaluate -- this is almost like -- not akin to.

I don't want to make this bigger than it is, but almost like coming back from war for a soldier. You have to really figure out what really did happen to Amanda Knox mentally in prison? Is she physically able to handle this? That's why the family going into seclusion.

BLITZER: Well, it's probably a good reason for them to do that. She's got a lot of loved ones near her. Let's hope for the best for her and her family. Drew, thanks very much for your reporting.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is surging in the polls right now. So what does his rival, Newt Gingrich think about that? I'll speak with the former speaker, Newt Gingrich that's coming up.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is headed to Washington. You're going to find out why. That and a lot more news happening right now in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now including a growing tragedy in Thailand.

What's going on?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Well, Italian authorities say the death toll from months of severe flooding has now risen to 207. The county is expected to be hit by more rain in the next few days. Remnants of a typhoon that killed dozens of people in the Philippines over the weekend.

Jurors in the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial heard a dramatic message Michael Jackson left on Murray's phone six weeks before the singer's death. In slow and slurred speech, Jackson tells his personal physician why he loves children. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER: I love them because I didn't have a childhood. I had no childhood. I feel their pain. I feel their hurt.


SYLVESTER: Murray is charged with giving Jackson a fatal dose of the surgical anesthetic Propofol. The defense saying Jackson ingested Propofol while Murray was out of the room.

And Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is traveling to Washington today to attend her husband's retirement ceremony. U.S. Navy Captain and astronaut Mark Kelly retires from the military tomorrow.

Shortly after the ceremony, Giffords is scheduled to return to Houston where she's upped going rehabilitation. The Arizona Democrat was shot in the head by a gunman in January. She is making a remarkable recovery. Everybody is sending a lot of prayers her way. Wolf --

BLITZER: Certainly are hoping for a full recovery at some point down the road. Thanks very much.

We're also following Herman Cain's sudden rise in the Republican presidential polls. I'll ask one of the other candidates, and this one also from Georgia, Newt Gingrich. Why Herman Cain is suddenly resonating. Standby for my interview.


BLITZER: Let's get back to that breaking news. A major turning point apparently in those ongoing protests on Wall Street. The crowds all of a sudden today have grown much larger. They're more diverse, all protesting economic conditions in the United States.

Look at some of these pictures we're getting in, these aerial shots right now. I want to bring in Steve Kastenbaum of CNN Radio. He's right in the middle of that crowd right now.

Steve, what are you seeing? What's going on?

STEVE KASTENBAUM, CNN RADIO: I'm noticing not just union members, which we expected to (AUDIO GAP) started to show its solidarity with this movement, we're seeing people from all walks of life here, young and old, from every rung on the economic ladder. I've been talking to folks rich and poor. I've been speaking with people who are just starting out in life, families, retired people here. There are lots of folks who brought their young children with them.

And the common theme that we seem to be hearing here is that the system just isn't working for the people anymore as it is.

BLITZER: All right, Steve. Stand by. We're going to get back to you.

But obviously it's a new development, a shift, let's say, of much bigger crowds in New York right now. And the anger we're seeing in the streets of New York could certainly be a factor in the presidential race.

Joining us now, the Republican presidential candidate, the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Speaker, thanks very much for coming in.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you. BLITZER: Well, what do you make of this Occupy Wall Street -- these demonstrations? Some have suggested that this is the left wing's version of the Tea Party movement on the right.

GINGRICH: I think when you have over nine percent unemployment, a failing presidency, the truth is, with this level of failure, Geithner should be fired as secretary of Treasury, Bernanke should be fired as chairman of the Federal Reserve. The Dodd-Frank bill should be repealed this week. We ought to have decisive action.

If you're somebody out there, and you've been looking around, and you begin to figure out, how come the big boys get all these billions of dollars, the big banks get all these billions of dollars, somehow the Federal Reserve and the Treasury collude together on behalf of people who are already rich and nobody else gets a break. I think people need to understand, there's something profoundly wrong with how Washington intersects with New York, and it means everybody else -- I'm here on Hilton Head talking to realtors who are feeling the effect of Dodd-Frank, feeling the effect of a housing decline, feeling the effect of all the money going to French national banks, to Libyan national banks, somehow not enough money for normal, everyday Americans.

You're going to see more protests, and it's really a tribute to the absolute failure of Obama's economic policy, that somebody who was elected by the left, now has the left rebelling and demonstrating and arguing against his policies.

BLITZER: So, am I correct in -- do I get a little sense of your identifying with these protesters, these Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who are so angry at the system, if you will, right now, the banking system, the Wall Street system?

GINGRICH: Look, I am as angry about the Dodd-Frank bill, about propping up big banks, about propping up big investment firms. I don't understand why Goldman Sachs got $13 billion of our money through the back door in 2008. I don't understand why the Federal Reserve has spent hundreds of billions of dollars of our money, I think at least $5 billion of it to the Bank of Libya.

I think people have every right to be very, very angry. And if we stay at nine percent unemployment, or it gets worse -- and the rumors are that it's going to be worse, not better -- I think the pressure to do (AUDIO GAP) to say to the Congress, why can't you repeal Dodd-Frank now? Why can't you get rid of Geithner now? Why can't you try to have a new policy now?

BLITZER: Listen to Herman Cain, another Republican presidential candidate. He gave an interview to "The Wall Street Journal." This is what he said when he was asked about these demonstrations on Wall Street.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself.


BLITZER: All right. That's already generating, as you can imagine, a lot of commotion out there. Blame yourself if you don't have a job. Is that a fair statement from Herman Cain?

GINGRICH: Well, I do think there are a lot of people who ought to have a better approach to this. I proposed, for example, that we tie all unemployment compensation to a training program with businesses so that we don't give people money for doing nothing. I do think people have an obligation to try to work.

But I think when you have something on the order of 15 percent or 16 percent of the country either unemployed, underemployed, or dropped out of work, this is a genuine systems crisis. When you have 43 percent of young African-Americans, teenage African-Americans with no job, this is a systems crisis.

And yes, I think people do have an obligation to work hard. And I think they have an obligation to do the best they can. But I also believe that a lot of the system right now is mismanaged, that the Obama policies are killing jobs, and that the guys on the inside, the New York Federal Reserve network and the Treasury network, acted on behalf of the very rich and act against the average American. And I think that is a legitimate complaint that all Americans can make in demanding, for example, an audit of the Federal Reserve. We deserve to know where our money has gone and who got it and who didn't get it and why.

BLITZER: But you have to admit, and you refer to it yourself, the bailouts of the Wall Street banks and the investment houses back in 2008, that was during the Republican administration of President Bush. President Obama had nothing to do with that.

GINGRICH: That's exactly -- well, the Democratic Congress had a lot to do with it. President Obama voted for it, spoke in favor of it. Tim Geithner was a key part of it, Bernanke was a key part of it. They're the same team the president has today.

That's why if you're a normal American and you're watching this mess, you're saying to yourself there's no change in Washington. I don't know why the House Republicans don't repeal the Dodd-Frank bill this week, send it to the Senate, and force the Senate Democrats to confront it. This is a terrible bill. It does to financial services what Obama --

BLITZER: But he was the one who proposed all these bailouts back in 2008. Yes, Senator Obama and others supported it, but it was President Bush and his treasury secretary that put it forward.

GINGRICH: Right. And his treasury secretary was from where, Wolf?

BLITZER: He was from Wall Street. GINGRICH: What was the background of his treasury secretary?

BLITZER: From Wall Street, right.

GINGRICH: From Goldman Sachs.

BLITZER: That's correct.

GINGRICH: But I'm just saying to you --

BLITZER: But I'm just trying to be fair --

GINGRICH: So if you're a normal American --


GINGRICH: Look, I'm being bipartisan. I'm saying that Bernanke, who was originally appointed by a Republican, ought to be fired. Geithner, who was the chairman of the New York Fed at the time, president of the New York Fed, ought to be fired.

I'm happy to be bipartisan about this. I think the average American has a right to say they are not very happy with Washington seeming to be locked down in paralysis and with New York somehow -- if you're big enough, you get taken care of. If you're big enough, you get bailed out. If you're everybody else, good luck.

I think that's a real feeling. I'm reporting from South Carolina, where I talked to people just today who feel very deeply that nobody in Washington notices what's happening to them, but they sure notice what happens if you're big enough.

BLITZER: Let me get you to respond to one of your other rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul. He very much opposed President Obama's decision to order the killing of Anwar al- Awlaki, the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader there.

Listen to what Ron Paul said today.


REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And they asked me whether that was an impeachable offense, and it is. I mean, just ignoring the Fifth Amendment and assassinating an American citizen without due process, and won't even tell us what the rules are. Oh, but he's a threat. Can you imagine being put on a list because you're a threat?


BLITZER: All right. Are you with President Obama on this issue or with Ron Paul on this issue?

GINGRICH: Well, I wrote a newsletter today -- I write a weekly entitled newsletter -- entitled "Obama Gets One Right."

The fact is, Congressman Paul is wrong about the law. He's wrong about the Constitution.

If you are an active enemy combatant, if you are actively advocating the killing of Americans -- I did a movie called "America at Risk," and we have footage in the movie of Anwar al-Awlaki calling for the killing of Americans. We know that he was advertising the terrorist who killed 13 Americans and wounded 33 at Fort Hood.

He wasn't in American courts. He wasn't in Chicago or New York. He was running around Yemen plotting the killing of Americans.

If you do that, you are an enemy combatant. If you are an enemy combatant, you're subject to military action which includes (ph) killing you. You're not subject to going to court. This is not a criminal procedure. This is a war.

We have a long precedent for this. You're called a traitor.

Now, if he had showed up and he turned himself in, then we would have owed him due process as an American citizen. We would have tried him as a traitor. I think we would have convicted him.

But he has no defense if he is actively trying to encourage the killing of Americans. And the president was exactly right legally and he was exactly right morally in killing somebody who was a threat to everybody.

BLITZER: One final question. Give me a yes or a no.

If one of the other Republican candidates gets the nomination and asks you to be the vice presidential running mate, is it a yes from you or a no?

GINGRICH: Well, it wouldn't be a no.

BLITZER: That sounds like a yes.

Anything? All right. I'll leave it at that.

GINGRICH: I'm not going to --

BLITZER: All right. It wouldn't be the first time that a candidate asked somebody with more experience, a little bit older. President Bush asked Dick Cheney. President Obama, as you know, asked Joe Biden. I wouldn't be surprised necessarily if somebody else gets the nomination -- I know you want to get the nomination -- they turn to you and say, would you join me on the ticket?

So what I hear you saying is you're open that. Give me a yes or a no.

GINGRICH: Look, Ronald Reagan once said he was very glad Gerald Ford did not ask him in '76 because he didn't see how a citizen could turn down a president in that setting. And I think Reagan had a lot of profound wisdom about that.

BLITZER: Mr. Speaker, as usual, thanks very much. And by the way, I heard that your wife Callista's new book is a "New York Times" bestseller, a book on children. Congratulations on that as well.

GINGRICH: Yes. We're very proud of Callista. "Sweet Land of Liberty" is going to premier in its very first week on the "New York Times" bestseller list, and we're all thrilled for "Ellis the Elephant" and the children who seem to like it a lot.

BLITZER: Well, congratulate her, and thanks very much. We'll hope to have you back fairly soon.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and Republican presidential candidate.

We're tracing one of the main ingredients of homemade bombs, the number one killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Our report in a moment.


BLITZER: New evidence tonight that U.S. military veterans have second thoughts about going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has this report.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten years later, two wars, Afghanistan and then Iraq. More than 6,000 American service members lost their lives in wars costing more than $1 trillion.

Has the sacrifice been worth it? A new Pew Research Center poll finds many Americans say no.

Fifty-two percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan hasn't been worth it, 41 percent say it has. As for the war in Iraq, the polling found 57 percent of Americans say it hasn't been worth it, 36 percent say it has.

PAUL TAYLOR, PEW RESEARCH CENTER: You have a majority of the public that no longer supports these wars. A majority of the public is doubtful that we'll have a clear victory. And an increasingly small share of the public is actually even paying attention to the wars.

STARR: Even a third of Iraq-Afghanistan's veterans now believe neither war has been with it. But Iraq combat veteran Tom Tarantino says statistics don't show the real problems after a decade of war.

TOM TARANTINO, IRAQ COMBAT VETERAN: I don't think it matters if two percent, 50 percent or 100 percent say it's not worth it. That's largely irrelevant. It's largely a talking point.

The fact is, is that we have 2.3 million combat veterans, and we're still making new ones that need better services. They're coming home to an America that increasingly doesn't understand their service, doesn't understand their issues, and does not understand the needs of their families.

STARR: If there is good news, it's that 90 percent of Americans still say they're proud of the troops.

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, FMR. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: And all I ask is that you continue to believe in them. Continue to look for ways to reach out to them and to their families.


STARR: Now, while many Americans, of course, say they admire the troops, about half of the Americans answering in this survey said they would not want their son or daughter or someone close to them to join the military -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Barbara. Thanks very much. Disturbing news over there.

We also have some new information coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM that most of the improvised bombs or the IEDs killing Americans in Afghanistan are made from material that's actually produced in Pakistan.

Brian Todd is here with more on this story.

What's going on here, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, U.S. officials frustrated that this stuff is coming from Pakistan in the first place and that, in their view, Pakistani officials have not acted with enough urgency to help remove the biggest threat to American troops in the region.


TODD (voice-over): Sudden, concussive, lethal. IED attacks are the number one killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, responsible for more than 400 deaths there over the past two years. U.S. officials are growing increasingly upset over the source of the main ingredient in these homemade bombs, an American ally.

U.S. officials tell CNN the vast majority of IEDs in Afghanistan, 84 percent, are made from fertilizer produced in Pakistan.

SEN. ROBERT CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: When you see an explosion that is one fraction of the real explosion and how powerful and overwhelming that is, it gives you a sense of real frustration.

TODD: Senator Robert Casey was recently in the region and watched American troops demonstrate the force of IEDs. Casey has been leading U.S. efforts to put pressure on Pakistan to stop the flow of the fertilizer called calcium ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan.

(on camera): What can the Pakistanis do? What are they doing to stop the material from getting into Afghanistan?

CASEY: Well, they've put into place a strategy, but we need to see that strategy actually implemented. It's one thing to have a written plan, it's another thing to implement it where they can regulate the flow by making sure that they're tracking it.

TODD (voice-over): Casey says the Pakistani government simply isn't moving fast enough to more effectively track where calcium ammonium nitrate goes. U.S. officials say most of that fertilizer is produced by two Pakistani companies.

Part of the problem is that it's a legitimate product made for farmers to use for their crops. Afghanistan doesn't make calcium ammonium nitrate, has banned it, and has tightened border security in an effort to keep it out.

(on camera): A big part of the problem though is this is a very porous border, right?

SETH JONES, RAND CORPORATION: It's an extremely porous border. So, we've seen for U.S. Marine forces operating in Helmand Province here, the ability of insurgents to get components across up through the Helmand River Valley to target U.S. Marine forces operating in the south. Also, for U.S. Army forces operating in eastern Afghanistan, taking components through areas like the Khyber Pass and targeting U.S. Army forces operating in eastern Afghanistan.

TODD (voice-over): Seth Jones, a former adviser to U.S. Special Operations command in Afghanistan, says the Pakistan-based Haqqani network and other militants have gotten very proficient at tracking that fertilizer into Afghanistan.


TODD: A Pakistani official we spoke to disputed Senator Casey's criticism that his government is not moving fast enough to track this fertilizer. The official said Pakistani authorities are moving as fast as they can, that it's difficult to track the small amounts placed in the IEDs out of huge amounts of fertilizer produced. And he says it has got to be a joint effort on both sides of the border.

The Pakistanis have an interest in this, Wolf. Five hundred Pakistanis alone this year killed by IEDs inside Pakistan.

BLITZER: It's a real complicated story, but a deadly one. And we'll continue to stay on top of it, Brian. Thanks very much.

Jack Cafferty coming up next with your e-mail.


BLITZER: Let's get right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: Would you leave your bank over new monthly fees for debit cards or for checking accounts?

Dave in Phoenix, "Absolutely. As soon as Wells Fargo expands their fee testing to Arizona, I'm gone. I've been a loyal customer of a bank that they bought out for 20 years. I've paid nothing but fees and demands placed on my banking since they took over. One more little misstep and it's time to just move everything to the credit union, which I also use."

Tom in Texas writes, "Yes, banks already use our money and pay almost no interest while charging over 20 percent in some cases on credit cards. There are accounts where you must do all banking electronically or by ATM, and now they want us to pay to have access to our own money. Hey, I need a bailout. A run on the bank is definitely in order."

Tyler on Facebook, "Already have, Jack. I have four accounts with Bank of America, and I'm in the process of closing all of them. If I stayed, I'd be spending $240 a year to access my own money. It's absurd they think they can charge me to use my money to earn them interest. I think I'll stuff it under my mattress instead."

Phil in Tennessee writes, "Oh, hell yes! The nerve of these institutions to snub their noses at us middle class Americans after we bailed them out. Maybe I'll make a trip to Wall Street next week."

Pam writes, "I belong to a credit union since 1978 and I have never paid any monthly fees for anything. Isn't it interesting that they can run a business at a profit without dipping into their customers' pockets? What does it say about the banks? Plain old greed, I think."

David on Facebook writes, "I'm in the process of dumping Citibank right now over new fees. I've been with them for almost 32 years."

H. writes, "Hell, yes. Charge me, I'm gone. There's a bank on every corner."

And Robert says, "I already have, Jack. I've moved all my money to my local credit union as of yesterday. Too big to fail? Make them smaller."

If you want to read more on this, go to my blog,, or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM'S Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jack. Thank you.

Jeanne Moos is coming up next.


BLITZER: This Halloween could be a tough one for former congressman Anthony Weiner. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You may not recognize him in latex, but here's a hint --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you sexting?

MOOS: To think that the year's hottest scandal, Weinergate, was a mere five months ago --

(on camera): It's amazing how fast Anthony Weiner fell.


MOOS: Last Halloween he was an up and coming, like, star of the Democratic Party. And this Halloween, he's like a mask.

(voice-over): Remember the headlines as Weiner finally confessed to sending lewd photos and messages to women he met online.

BLITZER: You would know if this is your underpants, for example.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: The question is this -- I appreciate you continuing to flash that at me.

MOOS: Speaking of underwear --

(on camera): Are you recommending these two go together?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, absolutely.

MOOS (voice-over): Ricky's (ph) in Manhattan selling the $25 mask with accessories, a $20 pair of boxers that comes, let's just say, overly well-endowed.

Sure, there are plenty of other Halloween options. Charlie Sheen masks are expected to be big, though this one is special. Hyperflesh it's called. It takes a week to make one.

I'm gonna be a winner

Artist Landon Meyer (ph) charges $2,500 a mask. He gave one to Charlie Sheen in exchange for tickets to Charlie's roast.

You can even buy a Casey Anthony mask online, though they're considered in such bad taste, that major mask companies steer clear.

But if you decide to dress up --

WEINER: This was a very dumb anything to do.

MOOS: -- as this disgraced politician, better bring some I.D.

(on camera): Who am I?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like Richard Nixon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it supposed to be Reagan? I don't know.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Romney. You look a little Romneyesque.

MOOS: Does this help?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I know. Ed Sullivan.

MOOS: Whom am I?


MOOS: Bingo! You got it.

(voice-over): Hey, if it's this hard to guess, maybe Anthony Weiner should consider wearing his own mask if he wants to go incognito.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

(on camera): I am not a pervert.

(voice-over): -- New York.

(on camera): I am not a pervert.