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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Wisconsin, Maryland and District of Columbia Primary Results
Aired April 3, 2012 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Thanks to Wolf, what a huge night for Mitt Romney. Have the Republicans finally admitted he is their candidate?
And President Obama comes out swinging on primary day.
Plus, the latest development on the Trayvon Martin case, George Zimmerman has totally shaken up his defense team. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And OUTFRONT tonight we do have breaking news for you. Tonight, Mitt Romney has pulled of a primary hat trick. The Republican front- runner sweeping the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin contest today.
And according to our math here he's got about 77 more delegates at least on his quest to the 1,144 need to clinch the nomination. Now, that means that he was just done about halfway there according to my math. That's about 57 percent of the delegates he need.
Tom Foreman is here. So, hat trick, no small feat given the way this is going.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No.
BURNETT: Even the proportional allocation we keep seeing.
BURNETT: How did he do it?
FOREMAN: Well, you know, a hat trick you have a bunch of hats thrown on the ice. What he's got is a big number change. Look at this. That was the number coming into tonight. Watch it tick over here, 648 now just as importantly, Rick Santorum's number did not move at all. I want to look at a little of how he did. Move into the national map here and we zoom in. That's some areas where he had some more intense wins than others. You see where Santorum won here. You can see where Romney won down here.
Look at the intensity of the window. If you change it, the darkest area is where Romney really dominated. Those were the big power counties down here. Milwaukee county and Waukesha county over here, and we seen county, Kenosha county. That's one of the areas he did really well. And that's one of the ways - the other right is by the demographics that he managed to come through on. Look at this, the opinion of the tea party. This was the big story tonight. Tea party voters here, people who support the tea party, this is normally a group that you consider to be a Santorum group but look what happened in this case, Romney, 49 percent, 49 percent among the tea party people and Santorum 36 percent. That's not good news if you're Rick Santorum. That's one of the ways he did it.
Another way he did it here was vote by the size of the place you work, the rural/urban mix here. Look at the leaders here. Mitt Romney won the urban vote. He won the suburban vote. He won -- Santorum won the rural vote, but that's not enough to make a big difference. In the end what it will come down to, as we said so many times, Erin, the question of, really, the delegate map.
If you start adding up these delegates, and the way these numbers are running away, the simple truth is he's starting to move forward to the next races, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, that sort of group out there. Even if you start to give a lot of these to Rick Santorum state by state and contest by contest, even if you start to click a lot of movement, saying let's give them to Rick Santorum, look at this. You can keep going and going and adding to him. And he's got so far to go. He keeps saying it's halfway through the race. But as of right now, if you look at where he is right now, it may be halfway through the race but he's also halfway down in the points. That's really what the big story is here. This continual, steady drum beat of adding up delegates. Mitt Romney gained delegates tonight and just as importantly so far, Rick Santorum seems to have gained few if any -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. The question is, is this capitulation or not?
CNN contributor, John Avlon, is with me along with Gloria Borger, Ari Fleischer and James Carville.
All right, good to see all of you.
Ari, capitulation, question mark?
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Capitulation? I think the writing is on the wall. Only question is does Rick Santorum want to read it? And what happens in a race like this, when you are the conservative in the race and you look at Mitt Romney and you say, how can he be winning, he's not conservative, it makes no sense? You play yourself hang in there, hang in there, the voters will come to their own. It will come around. I don't think the voters are coming around. And that's what Rick Santorum has got to judge.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I mean, Rick Santorum has notably failed to convert the big states he could have won, Wisconsin one of them. He was up at just a few weeks ago in the polls, he was up. Then a bunch of big endorsements came in and rip nominees pulled it out again because he had those advantages of money and organization. Do you think he has added tonight an intensity of support? The tea party support, it's a sign of momentum moving in Mitt Romney's direction. But Rick Santorum is right about one thing. It is only half over which regard to Mitt Romney getting the number of delegates needed to clinch this nomination.
BURNETT: You have done the math that would prove that even though -- I think you're essentially still saying it's going to happen. But it isn't really going to happen. It has to depend on the super delegates are --
AVLON: That's right. I mean, Mitt Romney is going to likely clinch in June. It may take a couple of super delegates to get him over the top. That doesn't mean Rick Santorum is going to win the nomination. That's the big reality check. But there's a mathematical fact of cobbling together 1144. And it's still far away.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know there are a core group of Republicans who don't like Mitt Romney. And, while he did well with some of those folks tonight, in the state of Wisconsin, in the state of Wisconsin 65 percent of the people voting said they would be satisfied if Romney won the nomination, 34 percent, no, said no.
Now, that 34 percent is just not going to change its mind about Mitt Romney. It just is what it is at this point.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Ari.
FLEISCHER: But, you know, even if Mitt Romney or Gloria Borger had run unopposed, no one can seal the deal until tonight. That's because of the proportion of delegation that delaying one state -- people in states are going later, it's the nature of the primary this year.
BURNETT: Let me just play a quick piece of sound of what Rick Santorum had to say tonight. I mean, I just say no signs of bowing out.
James Carville, I want to get your reaction as to how he's trying to compare himself to, well, Ronald Reagan. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have now reached the point where it's halftime. Half the delegates in this process have been selected. And who's ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, the longer this goes on the better, James Carville. Although just to make the point I guess -- I don't know what this say, but, you know, the president's running unopposed but he only clinched his number of delegates today in the democratic primary season which was technically going on.
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, obviously, Romney is much of essentially to get his nomination as Obama was to get the nomination in Democratic Party. Santorum never had a chance to set out after South Carolina. He was like a chicken with his head chopped off. The chicken is dead. The only persons that don't know what is to chicken and he can flop around all he wants to and they're not going to nominate him.
The Republicans since 1944 have always nominated the front runner. And they have done it again. There's really no surprise here. Romney just happens to be a little weaker in more -- more limp than most of them, but probably all of them. But Santorum can -- he's going to go through and do what he has to do and bound to stand that, but Romney was the going - was the nominee from the get go in this thing.
BURNETT: James, is though Mitt Romney getting stronger the longer this goes on? I mean, sure he's learned his weaknesses. He's become terrified of open microphones, but these are fears you want to come -- you want to come to terms with the skeletons and the fears in your closet before you go up against the real rival, don't you?
CARVILLE: I should be complimentary. He won three primaries tonight. And I would -- no, he's not getting stronger. He's getting weaker unless, you know, the polls that I see show that the thing is going in the absolutely the wrong direction for him. He did not look -- last time I looked at the Wisconsin number before I came up, it was anything but impressive.
And, you know, he's probably going into it by most calculations the weakest Republican challenger in modern American history. So I don't know what the case is that he's getting stronger. He just doesn't look like a very strong candidate to me. And he's really giving the quality of the opposition here which is the weakest in the history of Republican Party. I honestly think he should be doing better than he's doing.
FLEISCHER: James is, as always, half right.
FLEISCHER: Mitt Romney is not -- he's coming out of this a pretty weak nominee. On the other hand, he's running against the very weak incumbent who has presided over a very weak economy with a very wimpy recovery.
And what we always have to remember, we're watching this primary play out and watching the president, the American people are in a surly mood to all their elected officials that's the great equalizer in here between Romney and Barack Obama.
BORGER: Well, it's going to depend on the economy, isn't it? FLEISCHER: A big part.
BORGER: And, I mean, as James once famously said, and I think they may be too -- two weak candidates but if it turns into a choice which is what the president wants, you have to see who has a great economic plan for the future. By the way, we do not know what President Obama's second term agenda is. We do not know what Mitt Romney's health care plan is. These are things we ought to be learning.
BURNETT: Right. Everyone is still so focused on Romney's past healthcare and the president's current battle this summer. Here's what Mitt Romney about the economy tonight that was in his victory speech. And I want to play it because I think it's important.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In Barack Obama's government-centered society, government spending always increases because, well, why not? There's always someone who's entitled to something more and who's willing to vote for anyone who will give them something more.
Now, by the way, we know where that kind of -- you know that transformation of a free society to a government-centered society leads because there are other nations that have followed that path. And it leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages. It's beginning to sound familiar, isn't it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The only thing, John Avlon, forget all the politics about, just purely on his comment about the economy.
BURNETT: Economy keeps getting better. The rate is getting better now. It may not be a recovery you write home about, all right. But it's a real recovery, and coming out and saying it isn't one that is going to makes you look stupid.
AVLON: That's right, which is why he is defaulting to a narrative argument. He's, you know, creating this idea of a governed Barack Obama's government-centered society to create a contrast that can last no matter what's going on in the economy.
The problem is, is that when you hit the narrative that hard, people are smart and they see what you're doing. It starts to depart from reality. It's not a credible critique. It's someone just screaming talking points at you. Bumper sticker politics. There are limits to that effectiveness.
BURNETT: Ari, what do you say to that? Some people are saying he's smart to come up with the government-centered society line. But then, here is this, you don't want to go too hard on the economy angle if you look out of touch with reality in a few months. FLEISCHER: Well, first of all, most people don't think this country is on the wrong track. They think the economy is on the wrong track even if it's getting better, the numbers still are very bad and unemployment above eight percent. The president told us it wouldn't be above eight percent, deficit of a trillion dollars. I think there's still a very plausible, realistic case to be made at this country. It's not doing well and that the president has presided over very wealthy recovery. It has just been delayed and made worse because of the policies. And for of it on jobs, the last penny of the stimulus was squandered a year ago. Anything happen in the jobs now is essentially nothing to do with the stimulus. It has nothing to do with Barack Obama's policies. Recessions have a cycle to them.
BURNETT: It could be a lag effect. But that's a conversation for another night. Thanks very much to all of you.
Speaking of recoveries and what causes what, you know, does the bailout cause a recovery, for example, auto industry had a big day today. What does it mean for the president and for Mitt Romney?
And the latest in the Trayvon Martin case. George Zimmerman has a new defense attorney.
And, tornadoes ripping through Dallas tonight. We have some new video that we are going to show for you and a storm chaser who likes to go as close to tornadoes as he can.
BURNETT: We're following breaking news, a big night for Mitt Romney, a trifecta, Republican front-runner sweeping all three primaries today. And that means according to our math at this point, at least 77 more delegates and he's put himself more than halfway to clinching the nomination.
Again, on math basis, I have 57 percent of the way there. So we were just talk attack narrative is either, well, it's essentially impossible for anyone else at this point to get it. Or the narrative is hey, you're only 57 percent of the way there, they'll fight you to tend.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: A little bit of both right now. But it depends on which way you look at it. My own sense is Santorum is going to continue. See what happens in Pennsylvania at the end of this month. If he loses his home state of Pennsylvania, then Santorum sees the handwriting on the wall. He may continue in a half hearted way along the lines of say like Newt Gingrich is continuing right now. But it will be basically over.
If Santorum, you know, wins in Pennsylvania, then, you know in May, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, some states there where Santorum could do well. This process will go on. Let's not forget with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama it went through mid June four years ago. It didn't hurt Barack Obama when all the dust settled.
BURNETT: It's interesting. I mean, just to look at this from a purely the way that the parties have laid the primaries out, the way they have chosen to allocate delegates, that the president, himself, only clinched the required number of delegates for the democratic nomination today.
BLITZER: Right. He got it.
BLITZER: Big day for Barack Obama. He is the democratic presidential --
BURNETT: Here we are in April.
BLITZER: Who would have thought?
BURNETT: It's sort of amazing. I guess --
BLITZER: Who even knew, you know? I knew there were, but most people didn't realize there were democratic primaries going on over these many months. So he's got the democratic presidential nomination. Not a big surprise because since he didn't have an opponent.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you as someone who has followed this so many cycles and seeing all the different ways that the parties have tried to do their primaries. Are we going to see the primary seasons in the future done the way this is one was done, or have the Republicans taught everyone a lesson on how not to choose --
BLITZER: Well, for Republicans basically copied what the Democrats have been doing. That's why, four years ago, the Democratic cycle went so long. The Republicans used to have winner take all right at the beginning and then you want a few states and it was basically over. That's why McCain could nail it down as quickly as he did. The Republicans decided this time they wouldn't have winner take all. There would be proportional distribution of those delegates and that's why it is continuing the way it is. Who knows what this party chairman and these party insiders are going to do. They may look at this right now and say, you know, we'll change it. Or doubt if they win the White House, they say it worked out pretty well.
BURNETT: That's right. I guess it depends on that.
BURNETT: All right, Wolf Blitzer. Thank you.
Well, Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, it has been pretty interesting if you have watched this. You know, it went from Paul Ryan was on this show last week talking about his budget and saying oh, well, you know, I'm on the GOP committee. So I can't come out who I'm going to endorse. Well, not only did he come out with who he's going to endorse, he was inseparable from Mitt Romney over the past few days. He even introduced him at his victory speech tonight, and took a few shots at the president himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: I seemed to remember him saying he would be a uniter, not a divider. Frankly, I think this is one of the worst of his broken promises. We don't need a campaigner in chief. We need a commander in chief. We need a leader that America deserves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Our political panelist is here, Reihan Salam with James Carville still with us from New Orleans, Jamal Simmons and David Frum.
OK. Wolf, as he was running off the set just said there I think it's interesting, and we all know why he had Paul Ryan do the introductory speech. But given the woman gaffe and given the damn Romney is certainly a very fierce campaigner. Maybe he should have had her introduce him as usual.
DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Mitt Romney is going into half way now where the Ryan plant through this campaign season. The president served notice today that the president is not really had the campaign against Mitt Romney. The president intends to campaign against Paul Ryan. It will be Paul Ryan's plan that's the theme of this election. Mitt Romney is cooperating with that. He may do the etch-a-sketch thing and try to make his distance away from Paul Ryan a little bit later, but it is going to be more difficult after the events of the past three or four days.
BURNETT: Well, it's interesting, James Carville, as David Frum I think so eloquently put it that Mitt Romney now wears the Ryan plan. He has called it marvelous. He's endorsed it. President Obama can't think of anything better because here's what he said of the Ryan plan today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In this country broad based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few. It's always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And of course, he talks about the Ryan plan as a Trojan horse. Politically James Carville, is this going to be good for the president? I mean, it seems that way now, but will it be in two months, three months?
CARVILLE: I think it will. And I completely agree with David. I think the president really tipped his hand today. What I'm curious is, is Romney tipping his hand because Ryan is very popular with the economic conservatives in the Republican party, and he may feel that he needs to maybe help make him vice president. I don't know this.
But seems as though the president and Romney are doubling down and Paul Ryan is getting to be a really big figure in this campaign. It's a pretty interesting thing. Being a democrat, honestly, I think the president's on the better side of this. But Romney seems to be maybe calling the Ryan plan marvelous seems to be inviting a big fight here and maybe we'll have a dustup here about something really big come early November.
REIHAN SALAM, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY: Look, I think what we do see is the president really wants to change the subject. From the fact that there are 13 million Americans who are out of work and the average duration of unemployment is ten months. So instead, he's attacking Paul Ryan for a Medicare plan that is cutting Medicare by as much as the president's own affordable care act cuts Medicare. That is it reduces Medicare's growth to GDP plus 0.5 percent. That's exactly what President Obama does under his affordable care act.
So again, he's deciding to take on a member of Congress for a budget proposal that basically does the same thing that he does to Medicare, but puts seniors in charge rather than a small bureaucratic group in charge of how Medicare is going to change and he's shifting the conversation away from those folks who are still unemployed.
The economy is moving in a good direction. That is very, very good news for all of us. But the thing is the folks who are still unemployed now. This is the hard core group of unemployed and a real danger that we are going to forget these guys.
And, you know. One had hoped that President Obama, someone who came from the south side of Chicago is the kind of person who would have cared about these folks rather than playing politics by attacking Paul Ryan for doing to Medicare what he plans to do to Medicare via other means.
It's really depressing and if that's what this election is about, well, I think that the Republicans are going to have a pretty formidable case to make that we should not forget those 13 million Americans who are jobless.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look Erin. Ryan has a little bit of selective memory here when he talks about the Ryan plan. The reality is not only does Paul Ryan want to cut Medicare, he also wants to cut taxes for the wealthy people at a time where most Americans think that's probably the wrong election --.
SALAM: Jamal, don't forget that Obama also cuts the Medicare.
SIMMONS: -- as national policy that we don't want to be cutting taxes for wealthy people right now.
But what we want to do is want to find a way to get everybody in this together. As the president said today, we don't do best when we have everybody at a go it alone strategy. Now, we shouldn't be doing that. Now, you asked a question at the very beginning about women. I think this is going to be a very key point for Mitt Romney is he's got to get his numbers up with women. When president Obama won the election last time, he got 13 percent more than John McCain over women while George Bush in 2004 only lost women by three percent. Romney has got to do better with women or he is not going to make it across the finish line.
BURNETT: But, David Frum, can he do better with women without coming out aggressively against some of the more radical members of his party who are taking dramatic lines on issues like contraception which Mitt Romney has said, look, get out of people's business on that issue?
FRUM: Look, the contraception issue doesn't help and that kind of rhetoric doesn't help. But Republicans need to be very clear about why they have had for 25 years a gender gap of 10, 12, 15 points. And that is that the real difference, contraception plays a part, abortion plays a part, that social issues play apart, what is fundamentally different is women are less economically individualistic than men.
If you ask the question should people left to stand on their own two feet or should the government help them when they need it, however you ask that question with regard to whatever program, women will give you an answer that is 10, 12, 15 points less individualistic.
So, when the Republicans go in the direction of strong message of economic individualistic, that is capitulated by the Ryan plan, that's their problem. It's not contraception. So I think Reihan Salam is really wrong about this. It isn't the president who changed the subject from unemployment to Medicare. It was the Republicans who made it possible for him to do that. Ryan is right. That's what Republican should have been talking about. And that's why this Ryan plan adventure is so very costly.
BURNETT: All right. Hold on one second, because I want to ask James Carville, there are two interesting stories out today. And we look at these gaps between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and the hypothetical tie-up. And obviously the gap has increased in Barack Obama's favor. But there are people who think this race could be incredibly tight.
Today, there was a story saying, Muslims make up less than one percent of the U.S. population but there's big population of Muslims in swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia. They could actually turn the vote. That sort of sounds like the Jewish conversation we are robbing a few months ago when it came up that 46 percent of the Jewish population that supported Barack Obama was not excited about voting for him this time.
Could you see a small group like that making a difference this fall?
CARVILLE: Look, if it's a close selection which is a possibility, they could. But you know, there's 150,000 might be off, but there are like more Mormons in Florida than I thought when I was reading up on the Florida primary. So, they could make a difference. And once you get down to, you know, really tight numbers, that any number of groups can make a difference. And you know, turn out in the margins can make a difference or anything like that.
But certainly, any number of Muslim voter, you know, I think Michigan probably has the highest percentage of them. But they are in different places. And you know, sure they'll vote, but Mormons are going to vote and Jewish voters will vote and other people are. Tight elections are going to be decided on the margins. Look at how diverse northern Virginia is and that's a swing state.
BURNETT: All right. We'll leave it there. Thank you very much, all of you.
Still OUTFRONT, the latest developments in the Trayvon Martin case. George Zimmerman has a new attorney.
And the airlines have found a new way to charge you a fee. It's not a little fee. That's coming up.
BURNETT: We start the second half of the show with stories we care about, where we focus on the reporting, do the work and find the OUTFRONT five.
First, a very good month for car companies. In fact, the best since the summer of 2007. GM reported a 12 percent jump led by the subcompact sonic car which gets 33 miles a gallon. Chrysler which of course is technically Italian now, Fiat, reported a 44 percent jump in sales thanks to the Fiat 500. One analyst we spoke to said, the numbers are showing a gradual return to peak sales. We are not there yet. But that would be 17 million cars a year in this country.
Number two, a man accused of killing seven people execution style is showing no remorse. That's what police in Oakland, California, are telling us at this hour. Authorities say, One Goh went to Oikos University looking for a specific administrator. When he found out she wasn't there, 43-year-old started shooting. This is what sources at the college are saying. They say that Goh had been expelled from the religious college and had been planning this attack for several weeks.
Number three, demonstrators in Argentina attacked the British embassy with firebombs today. Video is pretty incredible. You'll see literally a shot fly across. It's just pretty stunning. Comes right about -- that's it. Riot police clashing with demonstrator throwing rock and slain bottles at the embassy. The attack coincides with the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falkland's war conflict between Argentina over the United Kingdom over the Falkland islands lasted 74 days and obviously, tensions are still high.
Number four, in a reverse decision, a transgender contestant will be allowed to compete in the miss universe Canada pageant. This is something was actually called for this last week on OUTFRONT. The organization said Jenna Talackova can participate if she meets the legal gender recognition requirements. Now, it's not totally resolved, because we don't know what the requirements are. Last month, organizers have blocked her from the beauty pageant because she wasn't a naturally born female. The 23-year-old said, she knew at the age of four, she was a girl. Talackova underwent sexual re-assignment surgery at age 19.
Well, it's been 243 days since the U.S. lost the top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, according to its latest minutes of its intrastate position, the Federal Reserve seems to be leaning away from a third round of so-called quantitative easing. That would be known as QE3. Quantitative Easing is when they do things like buy mortgages and that keeps mortgages and other borrowing rate, lower. So, if they don't do another round, it could mean interest rates are headed up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Race had nothing to do with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are asking for justice. Justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Shot in the arm today for George Zimmerman's defense as the 28-year-old volunteer neighborhood watchman added a new lawyer to his defense team. Hal Uhrig will join Craig Sonner in the controversial case. And earlier today, he spoke out on FOX affiliate WOFL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAL UHRIG, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S NEW LAWYER: You know, if you look at the forces arraigned basically against George, if you look at the media, particularly the national media, you look the state attorney's office, special prosecutor, FDLE, the U.S. justice department and Craig has been standing in there tall, trying to stand up for this guy, I think it's time we have more effort into putting the truth out and getting George's story out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, as the investigation into the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin continues, both sides of the case are disputing the evidence. And there aren't definitive answers on what we learned from the 911 calls, the surveillance video or even what the witnesses actually saw. Zimmerman said he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense and Martin's family, as you are probably aware, wants him arrested. The FBI, the department of justice and the state attorney are actually all conducting parallel investigations. But there's no arrest tonight.
David Mattingly, is OUTFRONT in Sanford. Good to talk to you again, David. What can you tell us about the new lawyer? We just saw a little brief of him there with George Zimmerman's new attorney. DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Uhrig is a very well- know and long time defense attorney in Sanford, Florida. He actually started his career out as a police officer, as an attorney one time, he was a general counsel for the Orange county office. He worked as an assistant attorney general here in the state of Florida, prosecuting Rico and organized crime cases.
But he's also distinguished as a pioneer in cases involving DNA evidence. It's not known if that type of expertise will need to be brought to bear here. We all know that George Zimmerman so far has not been charged and not been arrested in this case of any wrongdoing.
BURNETT: And so, what are you hearing about where George Zimmerman is right now?
MATTINGLY: Well, we don't know where he is. And there are a lot of people that's been looking for him. But back when we were still able to get answers from the Sanford police department, they assured us that they knew where he was, they knew how to reach him and that they were in contact with him. So his whereabouts are not a mystery apparently to the authorities here. Only to the public at large.
BURNETT: So is there any indication, David, from what you're hearing and from various attorneys there could be an arrest before the grand jury next week or is it safe to say that's not going to happen?
MATTINGLY: Well, that option is on the table. The special prosecutor here has the option of arresting and charging Zimmerman outright if there's enough evidence for probable cause. She has the option of not charging him with anything after looking at the evidence and then there's also the option of calling the grand jury. There's some indication from the office early on there may not need to be any kind of grand jury called in this case. But I have to tell you for the last week or so after they were leaks from the police department and unauthorized information coming out here in Sanford, that there was a real clamp down on the information. So, the special prosecutor now, not releasing any information, playing everything very close to the vest. Or at least as closely to the vest as possible when you're under this kind of intense national scrutiny, Erin.
BURNETT: David, thank you very much.
And there's also something else to tell you about what happened today. A new taskforce being formed to re-evaluate Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. The law allows you to use deadly force if you feel you're in danger of imminent death. Since the law was passed in 2005, justifiable homicides have more than tripled in Florida. The murder rate is down too, but we should point that murders have declined across the country.
Florida state senator Chris Smith is the man behind the task force.
And Senator Smith, thanks for coming OUTFRONT tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: Florida's Rick Scott has appointed a task force to evaluate the "Stand Your Ground" law a few weeks ago. Obviously, you're not satisfied. How come?
CHRIS SMITH, FLORIDA STATE SENATE: Well, in appointing his taskforce, what he is trying to do is wait until after the Trayvon Martin case has gone through. And I think that would take a little long and besides "Stand Your Ground" law was misused and misapplied way before Trayvon Martin.
And so, it is not only about that case, but about this controversial law in Florida that's been misused. And we have eight years of evidence on this law and so there's no need to wait. There's a lot of misinformation about this law and waiting only perpetuates that misinformation throughout the nation and throughout Florida.
BURNETT: So let me ask you a question about this. I know that back in 2005 when this law passed, you were not in favor of it. But you said that there are positives and negatives.
First, could you give us an example of when the "Stand Your Ground" law specifically in Florida has gone wrong?
SMITH: Well, when people are the aggressor and then they avail themselves of this law. Remember, this law came out of what's known as the Cassel doctrine. Everyone believes in defending your home or car and what this law did and what the legislature did in 2005 was extend that to any place you're legally allowed to be.
And so, what it did was say you can be out in the street. You can be in the mall. You can be anywhere and stand your ground. The big problem with it is if you initiate contact and you're the aggressor, you shouldn't be able to avail yourself of this. You can still avail yourself of, you know, common law self-defense and then have to go to court to prove it. But it's been misapplied when people are the aggressor and criminals are getting off and they have been doing it for number of years in Florida. And I think that's why I have assembled legal minds to actually look at this and come up with some suggestions so that we can set the parameters of a civilized society in Florida.
BURNETT: And let me make sure to be clear. I have talked to George Zimmerman's lawyer and he says he doesn't plan to use the "Stand Your Ground" law in this case. He plans to use pure and simple self-defense. I would imagine that doesn't change your view on the stand your ground law separate from this case, right?
SMITH: Well, you see in this case and that's why I said the governor is wrong in saying he has to wait until the end of this case. I'm mean, this one has been viewed and I'm glad that this case is actually shining a light on it.
Two weeks ago, this case -- this law was used in Miami, Florida where a gentleman chased a thief a block down the street and stabbed him to death. And the judge had to let go under stand your ground law. It happened in 2008 here in Tallahassee, Florida where you had gangs shooting at each other in the street. And the state attorney had to be dismissed under the "Stand Your Ground" law. So, no, it doesn't change. That's why I have assembled legal minds to actually review this law, to review what's going over the last eight years and come up with some suggestions so the governor and legislator can act and se the parameters of what we should live by in Florida.
BURNETT: All right. Tornadoes ripping through Dallas-Ft. Worth tonight. We have video just in to show you.
Plus, a guy who, like the movie, gets his thrill chasing twisters.
And a massive bounty on one man's head tonight.
BURNETT: We do this at the same time every night, our out of circle where we reached out to our sources around the world. And tonight to Pakistan where the United States is offering a reward of $10 million -- $10 million for information leading to the arrest of Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. He is a Pakistani man accused of master minding the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai that killed 166 people. But the bounty is one of the highest ever offered by the U.S. state department's rewards for justice program. Why?
Well, I asked Nick Paton Walsh that question.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's the man alleged to be behind the Mumbai hotel attacks in 2008. Also, the leader of the group that is considered by America to be one of the more dangerous terrorist organizations inside Pakistan but also, now alleged to be assisting the insurgency inside Afghanistan.
It's important to point out though that this man lives quite openly inside Pakistan. Apparently appearing on Pakistani TV recently to denounce this particular measure by Washington against him. I'm sure many observers will see this at a time when U.S. and Pakistan are trying to see that kind of relationship they can salvage over Iraqi recent few months or even years as perhaps as measure from Washington to see is that to how serious Pakistan are about cracking down on terrorists who they say are living in the midst - Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, thanks.
And now developing story on the tornadoes. They have been ripping through the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. And today, tossing the tractor-trailers through the air. Its kind a like tank of trucks when it looked it. Hundreds of homes destroyed, schools damaged, businesses wrecked, but miraculously, they aren't any reported deaths tonight. It's pretty incredible when you consider when these tornadoes go through the towns where journalist well-prepared with few got deaths and this much damage, no deaths. Multiple injuries though are reported. Rescue teams right now are combing through the wreckage. And all flights were grounded at Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. Severe hail causing more than 400 cancellations. Passengers moved to shelters more than 47,000 people in the Ft. Worth area are still without power at this area.
Storm chaser Jason McLaughlin caught this tornado touching down Cannondale. It's about 14 miles outside of Ft. Worth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON MCLAUGHLIN, STORM CHASER: Tornado down. Tornado on the ground. There it is. Right behind the tree. Tornado on the ground. Large tornado on the ground! Large tornado! Large tornado on the ground! Larn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A short time later he caught this tornado touching down their school in southeast Dallas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: I'm in route behind the storm. That's a tornado right there. It's important that everybody take cover. This is not a storm that you ca can -- you shouldn't be outside during this. Very strong. The tornadoes have not been -- they haven't moved consistently. They have kind of wobbled, back filled throughout the day.
So again, very dangerous situation. This is on 548. Oh, my goodness. We've got what appears to be a roll of businesses being hit at this type. Oh, no it's going to hit Forney High School.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jason is OUTFRONT with us on the phone.
Jason, what was the most frightening or bizarre thing you saw today?
MCLAUGHLIN (via telephone): One of the most frightening things I had saw and had the experienced was falling in there in the Forney as home edition burly after that tornado hit. When I pulled in, there was nobody outside. It was kind of immediately everybody came running outside screaming and it's just -- it's just one of those things you don't ever want to hear again.
BURNETT: And yet, you do this -- I mean, what is it about the storms and the tornadoes that makes you -- well, go towards them and chase them and try to find them?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I'm fascinated with weather, but I'm out there to help protect the public. I'm constantly in communications with local law enforcement, media, and national weather service, just trying to make sure that, you know, every possible opportunity for warning is out there for all of the residents that are around. Because, you know, the more prepared, the more advanced warning that everybody has of what's coming, you know, obviously helps to save lives. Today we lost none, so, that was a good thing from today.
BURNETT: And Jason, one of the things we heard there on the video, we heard you watching, you were very calm and then you raised your voice, the tornado touch down, then your voice got much more urgent and quick. So, does that mean, it's coming near you? You actually moved away. I mean, how does it work when you see one coming that you would, you know, which way to go?
MCLAUGHLIN: It's just one of those -- I kind of know the times of it and what's happening. That's a wide angle lens that's there. Starting to see, you know, the roofs being ripped off homes and just knowing that people's lives are completely being shattered right before you. It's just, you know, it's just one of those things. It's more shock than anything that is happening.
So, you know, you get your adrenaline going, but yet it's a regard for -- I really hope everybody is OK there. As immediately, what happened after the tornadoes passed. I was right out doing rescue and making sure that, you know, everybody was safe.
BURNETT: And Jason, is this the better, worse, normal season for tornadoes from your experience?
MCLAUGHLIN: So far for this area this is very low. This is actually the first tornado event we have had and we're clear into April. Today's event was somewhat unexpected. This kind of just the conditions really started to set up last night for tornadoes right across the Metroplex, that's a boundary from yesterday's storms actually came out and were sitting right across the Dallas and Ft. Worth area.
So, just one of those -- really our first severe event we had this year. So, it's just, you know, it's not the number, it's what comes from them that does the harm.
BURNETT: Well, Jason, thank you very much. We appreciate your taking the time. Jason, of course chasing those storms. I know you may have heard him mention nine deaths in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. At CNN we have been unable to confirm any deaths at this time. But, obviously, if that does happen, we will of course let you know.
Well, the airlines have added insult to injury. A fee injury. This is honestly like rubbing into an open sore.
And why is your computer at work so slow? We found out. And there's a person to blame.
BURNETT: Well, legion airlines a competitor to spirit will start charging for carryon luggage tomorrow. Yes. This is not April's fool day, but this is real. Spirit was actually first on this initiating the carryon bag fee last year. But here's some relief. Initially, they won't charge you for the bag you can store underneath your seat.
Charges will rages from $10 to $30, depending on the route. The airline says the fee on most route, though will be less than $15. But, you have to pay in advance because if you wait until you get to the airport, its $35. That is more than the checked bag fee at American or delta. Like I said, salt in open sore.
Our number tonight is 2.6. That's how many billions of dollars U.S. airlines made on baggage fees in just the first nine months of 2011.
OK. Why is the internet at work so slow? Could your cube mate's laziness be hurting your salary? That's next.
BURNETT: Some, betting that you've screamed at your company's computers for being so slow. Or it turned out the blame may rest on your colleagues. Today, P&G, the maker of tide, discovered that more than 50,000 you tube videos were being downloaded a month on company computers and the employees were listening to 4,000 hours of radio a day. The Cincinnati inquirer reported this today, along with a memo sent b P&G executives saying the problem is so severe, immediate intervention was required.
So, P&G blocked Netflix and Pandora, the radio Web site. They left you tube alone, saying some employees need to use it for marketing purposes. But P&G said it would have to spend $15 million a year to expand its web capacity to support this growing personal use of company property.
Now, some people believe that a little social media or video watching at work is good for morale. You know, you can check up on your dog during the day so that means you'll stay at work longer. There's probably something to that. This goes way beyond it.
Network security formed vocal found that people spend 25 percent of their time at work doing personal stuff specifically on line dating or e-bay auction. I don't know if it at same time. Should the people who all these personal web staff personally pays the $15 million to P&G so their harder colleagues don't forego salaries increases because of their video watching? It's easy for me to say and be judgmental because after all, here at CNN, we get to watch lots of videos for the show. Like these.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
BURNETT: A hole with camels gets whatever he wants. Camel form - I love this job.
Piers Morgan starts now.