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George Zimmerman to Face Charges?; Romney Turns Attention to Obama; Interview with Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Syrian Regime: Ceasefire Is Hours Away; Fatal Crash Of Marine Aircraft; Obama Plays Romney's "Greatest Hits"; Government Sues Apple Over Price Fixing; "I Live In Uncertainty, Chaos"

Aired April 11, 2012 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: A senior law enforcement source says George Zimmerman will be charged in the Trayvon Martin shooting death. Florida's special prosecutor will hold a briefing. You will see it live right here on CNN.

The fight is on. Mitt Romney turns all his attention to President Barack Obama and turns a Democratic battle cry upside down by accusing President Obama of a war against women. The Obama campaign is firing right back.

And North Korea at this moment getting ready to fire a long-range rocket -- why that launch could set off a powder keg in one of the most dangerous corners of the world.

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

Let's begin with the breaking news right now in a case that really has gripped the entire nation. A senior law enforcement source says George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who shot dead an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin, will, in fact, be charged.

Florida's special prosecutor has scheduled a news conference two hours from now. Of course, we will bring that to you live.

Let's go straight to CNN's Martin Savidge. He's in Sanford, Florida, watching all of this unfold.

Set the scene for us, Martin. What do we know right now?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that Sanford is, of course, the epicenter and right now there is a lot of tension in this town in the lead-up to that special announcement that will come from the special prosecutor at 6:00.

What we do know is that she has said quite plainly and this was the press release, the wording and it is very carefully worded. The release says -- quote -- "Ms. Corey is prepared to release new information regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting death."

It doesn't say anything about charges, but that is what CNN has learned and that is what is much anticipated here. There are those of course that are divided. Some wish to see George Zimmerman arrested and put on trial. Others believe this clearly was a case of Florida's stand your ground and he had the right to defend himself and that's why he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

News is only just starting to filter out in this community. I had a conversation a short time ago with the mayor, that is Jeff Triplett, and says "We are prepared." What he means by that is the city has been preparing for weeks for some sort of determination by the special prosecutor, whether it's the charge or not to charge. They say they're ready either way, reaching out to other communities if they need backup.

They don't expect they will, they hope and they believe everything will remain peaceful, Wolf.

BLITZER: Do we know what kind of charges will be filed against Zimmerman?

SAVIDGE: We have not heard the specific charge or charges. What's been talked about a lot has been manslaughter. In the state Florida, the shooting of Trayvon Martin, him being a juvenile, it possibly could get George Zimmerman up to 30 years if convicted.

There's been other talk of maybe second-degree murder. We know it can't be first-degree murder because that's not allowed, at least not with the special prosecutor without a grand jury and that is not going to happen. Angela Corey has already said that. There's also been talk about aggravated battery with the use of a gun. All speculation up to this point until we hear from the special prosecutor herself and she says up to this point no charges have been filed.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of George Zimmerman is of concern especially to the family of Trayvon Martin after that rather bizarre news conference by his attorneys yesterday -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Because they said those former attorneys for George Zimmerman he's probably not in Florida. He could be far away which immediately raised speculation in my mind. He may be right outside of Washington, D.C., in Northern Virginia, where he used to live where he has family members. Do we have any clue where he might be right now, George Zimmerman?

SAVIDGE: No. We have no clue other than what the attorneys spoke of yesterday and they did not say that they didn't know where he was.

They said that they had lost contact with him and had not spoken to him in a number of days. They implied that they did, in fact, have a general idea, maybe not the specific address, but a general idea of in what community he was and that he had been in contact with law enforcement. So it's not believed that he's disappeared from the map, but it is unsettling when you have the attorneys quit. You wonder what real communication path is now in place for George to turn himself in if he has to do that?

BLITZER: Stand by, Martin Savidge on the scene for us in Sanford.

I want to dig a little bit deeper right now into the breaking news with our legal analyst Sunny Hostin. She's a contributor to "In Session" on our sister network truTV.

Sunny, based on what we know right now, do you agree manslaughter is the likely charge that will be filed or second-degree murder?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think manslaughter is the likely charge to be filed, Wolf.

Bottom line is prosecutors don't want to overcharge cases and they don't want to charge cases they can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt and that's the evaluation made in every case. And this is an especially high-profile case. The last thing the specially assigned prosecutor wants is to get this case dismissed before trial if she charges this case or to get an acquittal if she tries this case.

And so when I look at the facts as we know them -- and to be sure, Angela Corey at this point knows many more facts than have been disseminated in the public domain. I would suspect that manslaughter would be the case that you could prove beyond a reasonable doubt and that's an unintentional killing.

And when you look at sort of the facts, again, that case would be a more comfortable case, a safer case to charge and try.

BLITZER: Given that very strange news conference yesterday by the former attorneys who disassociated themselves from George Zimmerman right now, is it likely that law enforcement if they are going to file at least a charge against Zimmerman that they at least know where he is, if they haven't already taken him into custody?

HOSTIN: I think that's anyone's guess. Of course, when you're a prosecutor and you are going to lodge charges against a person whom you know is represented, you do, sometimes, as a courtesy work with those defense attorneys to allow someone to bring themselves in especially in a high-profile case where a defendant's safety is at issue.

You want someone to be able to surrender themselves to authorities rather than to conduct this sort of perp walk. But now that we know he is unrepresented, it is possible that authorities will have to look for him and that an arrest warrant would have to be issued. And that really is a place that most prosecutors and investigators don't want to be.

BLITZER: Because let's say he's in Virginia or someplace out of Florida. Then you have to get extradition papers to send him from that state back to Florida. That takes time.

HOSTIN: That takes time. You have to have the cooperation of other local law enforcement officials.

It's done all of the time, though, Wolf. It's done frequently, and I suspect if that needs to be done that can be done, but again, it is just not the place you want to be especially in a high-profile case like this and a case where the potential defendant's safety has been called into question. And so perhaps we will find out where he is, if he is charged and we will find out that he will be allowed to surrender himself. And we had every indication of that when he was represented by the two attorneys but now that he's an unrepresented party as far as we know, I think an arrest perhaps could be difficult.

BLITZER: I want you to listen, Sunny, to the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder. He spoke out on the Trayvon Martin case earlier today.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have a very high barrier, high bar that we have to meet in order to bring federal charges in this case. And so we are continuing in that regard.

The FBI has been on the scene doing things to try to build that case, while at the same time, we're helping the state in its attempts to build a case as well.


BLITZER: Sunny, what did you think of that statement from the attorney general weighing in on obviously a very, very sensitive matter right now?

HOSTIN: Well, it goes on show you sort of the depth of government that this case has reached, right?

The president has commented on this case. Now we have the attorney general commenting on this case. But we have always known that there was this parallel investigation going on, that the Justice Department had opened up a civil rights investigation, but I think if you listen closely to what our attorney general said, he said that they're helping local law enforcement.

And I suspect that this is really a local law enforcement case. This is a case that should be tried in a state court, not in federal court because a federal civil rights violation, Wolf, will be very difficult to prove.

It's difficult to prove in any case, but given the facts that we know right now that are in the public domain, very difficult case, and I believe that's what -- if you read between the lines of what our attorney general said, that's where he was headed.

BLITZER: Sunny, I know you will be with us throughout our program as well. Don't go too far away.

The parents of Trayvon Martin have been speaking out and they have a news conference themselves scheduled tonight immediately following the prosecutor's announcement.

CNN's Lisa Sylvester is joining us now. She has more on the reaction so far.

What are the parents of Trayvon Martin saying? Because I know they're here in Washington right now.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They are expected to have that news conference in about three hours here at the Washington Convention Center.

And earlier in the day they did have a press briefing. It's not clear if they knew what was coming down at the time, but their lawyers opened that news conference by asking the public and for people to remain calm, to have faith in the justice system no matter what the outcome is.

This all began, as you know, 44 days ago with the death of Trayvon Martin. And it was his father, Tracy Martin, who is really probing and asking the question, why? Why was his son killed when his son was visiting him carrying just candy and a drink at the time? And this could very well end in possible charges being brought.

And the pain of the family, though, Wolf, was very evident as the family spoke out at the news conference this afternoon.


SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: For the last 44 days, it has been a nightmare. And this is coming from a mother's perspective. I have been up and down as if I was on a roller coaster.

But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that justice will be served.


SYLVESTER: Now the lawyers and the family members, the parents, they also did address and they took a few questions and one of the questions that came up was about that for lack of a better word bizarre news conference that Zimmerman's attorneys held yesterday and now his former attorneys.

And there was some question on whether or not he was going to be a flight risk. The parents said that they are hopeful, but the lawyers expressed some concern.


TRACY MARTIN, FATHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: We're hopeful that when it's time to make an arrest that they will be able to make an arrest.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF TRAYVON MARTIN: They don't know where he's at, do they? And that's the troubling thing. The killer of Trayvon Martin is unaccounted for. We are concerned that he's a flight risk.


SYLVESTER: So now we will hear more from the parents and the lawyers after the special prosecutor has her news conference. And that is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Eastern. And immediately following that, we are expected to hear from the family to get reaction, Wolf. BLITZER: And I know you will be on the scene for us. Lisa, thanks very much.

We will have much more on this story coming up, lots of questions remaining unanswered so far. Stand by. We will continue the breaking news coverage.

We also are following other important news, including some rather controversial remarks about Americans by the outspoken New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Jack Cafferty is coming up with "The Cafferty File."

And very high tension right now just ahead of a North Korean rocket launch that could happen literally at any moment. I will talk about that and more with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He's here in Washington.

And it's a burning question that has overshadowed much of this man's life. Look at him. Is his father the cult leader, the convicted mass killer Charles Manson?


BLITZER: We're watching lots of news, but let's get to Jack Cafferty right now. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.


Well, here he goes again, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says the United States is in danger of becoming a nation of, quote, "people sitting on a couch waiting for their next government check," unquote. The refreshingly blunt Republican governor says this is the least optimistic period he's ever seen for this country.

And he goes on, boy, doesn't he, saying, quote, "It's because government's now telling people stop dreaming, stop striving, we'll take care of you. We're turning into a paternalistic entitlement society that will not just only bankrupt us financially, it will bankrupt us morally," unquote.

Governor Christie says when Americans stop believing that hard work and integrity will bring them success, they will turn into couch potatoes waiting for the next government handout. He didn't mention President Obama, but he has previously said lawmakers need to stop tiptoeing the need to reform entitlement spending. Christie has even called for raising the retirement age for Social Security.

That's why people like Chris Christie and why a lot of them were disappointed when he decided not to run for president. A brand new poll in New Jersey shows Governor Christie with his highest approval rating yet, 59 percent.

The man has a point here. Entitlement spending is out of control, consuming an ever-growing portion of the federal budget. We recently reported in "The Cafferty File" nearly half of Americans live in a household that gets some form of government assistance. Another study shows the public's dependence on the federal government jumped 23 percent during President Obama's first two years in office.

So, here's the question: Chris Christie says the U.S. is turning into people sitting on the couch waiting for their next government check. Is he right?

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

BLITZER: And let's not forget, you know this better than I do. New Jersey is basically a Democratic state and for a Republican like Chris Christie to have those high approval numbers in that state of New Jersey --

CAFFERTY: Phenomenal.

BLITZER: -- that's pretty good.

CAFFERTY: I wonder if he might get on someone's short list for running mate situation.

BLITZER: Yes. I suspect that's not going to happen.

CAFFERTY: Probably not.

BLITZER: But I think he's still a young guy. Four years from now, eight years from now he could decide to run if he wants to.

CAFFERTY: Well, he is refreshing. Whether you agree with him or not, the guy speaks from his heart and spits it out in pretty plain English.


CAFFERTY: And for a politician, that's unusual.

BLITZER: Yes, he doesn't mince words and that's what a lot of folks like about him.

All right. Jack, thanks very, very much.

It's all about November now. Mitt Romney is free to focus all of his attention on President Barack Obama and he's going right after one of the president's strengths.

Let's bring in CNN's national political correspondent Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Mitt Romney has spent his first full day as presumptive GOP nominee, in a war with the presidents' campaign over women voters. It's a move by the Romney team to address one of the big general election shortcomings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for coming to Alpha Graphics.

(voice-over): It was no accident Mitt Romney visited Karen Brinker, a small business woman who owns a printing shop in Connecticut.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president has failed America's women.

ACOSTA: The man who is almost certain to be the GOP nominee is on a charm offensive to attract women voters. According to the latest ABC News/"Washington Post" poll Romney trails by seven points among registered voters, but by 19 points among women, which explains why Romney is now slamming the president on how women have fared during the Obama economy.

ROMNEY: Ninety-two-point-three percent of all of the jobs lost during the Obama years have been lost by women. His failures have hurt women.

ACOSTA: But the watchdog Web site PolitiFact rates that claim as mostly false.

While 92 percent of the jobs under the president were held by women, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, the number is much lower 40 percent since the start of the recession in mid-2007. That's because men were laid off first, the agency notes, women second as with other recessions.

The president's re-election team fired back, asking whether Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Act, a law that aims to make sure women are paid the same in the workplace. Romney aides responded saying their candidate would not change the law and dredged up former administration communications director Anita Dunn who is quoted in Ron Suskind's book "Confidence Men," calling the White House a hostile workplace, something she later denied saying.

ROMNEY: I was a severely conservative Republican governor.

ACOSTA: And if those aren't enough fireworks, consider this campaign web video which chronicles the conservative positions Romney took during the primaries on women's issues.

ROMNEY: Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes.

ACOSTA: Contrast that with what evangelical leader Richard Land has to say that Christian conservatives are still warming up to Romney now that his main rival Rick Santorum is out of the race.

RICHARD LAND, PRES., THE ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION: It's hard for people who are pro-life and people that are pro-traditional marriage to understand how someone as an adult could have been pro- choice and could have been for gay marriage and then convert.

ACOSTA (on camera): Late in the day, the Romney called on PolitiFact to retract the story of job losses under the Obama economy. It's a sign that this debate over women's issues could go on for days if not all of the way to November -- Wolf.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

A blunt assessment -- very blunt -- on the crisis in Syria. I'll talk about that and much more with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Also, is this man the son of Charles Manson? He tells us why he thinks the cult leader and convicted killer might be his father.

And we're waiting for the special prosecutor in Florida to announce what, if any, charges will be filed against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case. You're going to see it live right here on CNN. We'll update you with information as soon as it comes in.


BLITZER: North Korea right now says it's fueling the long-range rocket and that's fueling fears that the launch could set in motion a potentially disastrous chain of events. The launch could come within hours, we're told, and there are already reports out of South Korea that the North may soon follow with an actual nuclear test. As the clock ticks away, tensions are clearly rising.


BLITZER: And Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is joining us right now in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Mr. Prime minister, how serious of a threat right now is North Korea and what's going on? Is it a little showboating on the part of the new young leader there or is there a real potential nuclear crisis under way?

TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is to an extent him trying to display with the new regime coming in or new leader coming in that he's not going to cower or bow down in front of the West. On the other hand, yes, of course, it's serious because what they're doing is testing a missile that could have serious implications for the region.

So you've just got to keep up the pressure. The role of China is obviously immensely important, and you got to spare the people of North Korea.

BLITZER: They say this is not a missile. They say this is a rocket and they're launching a satellite in space, that it's only peaceful purposes. That it's not a missile.

BLAIR: I think they know what they're doing. I think we know what they're doing. And the question is just keeping up the pressure for them. As I said, realizing that for the people of North Korea, I mean, they're impoverished and denied many of the basic necessities of life while the elite live an extraordinary life of luxury and while they carry on trying to develop this nuclear program.

BLITZER: Let's talk about Syria. Do you have any confidence at all in President Bashar al Assad that he'll live up to the so-called commitments he offered the former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan?

BLAIR: He hasn't kept up the commitment so far.

BLITZER: Do you trust him at all, Bashar al Assad?

BLAIR: I don't trust him at all. No, frankly.

What I do think however is that if you keep ratcheting up the pressure on him and make it clear that this isn't going to disappear, this issue is not going disappear and we'll keep coming back to it. We're going to continually to look for ways to putting pressure on the regime to do the right way, then it's an outside chance -- it's got a chance of working. I hope it does.

BLITZER: So many experts, Syrians and others, have said to me, either he survives or the rebels survive. Both can't survive. This is a war of survival between the regime of Bashar al Assad and those who are oppose to him.

BLAIR: So, the question is: is he prepared at this stage to take the chance of a negotiated way out? There's no way you could have the situation stable again unless there's an agreed change in the way the country operates.

BLITZER: Do you think there can be a negotiation that will allow him to stay in power?

BLAIR: No, I don't think there is a negotiation that allows him to remain in power, but I think it's possible -- possible, I'm not saying it's likely, but it's impossible that you could have a situation in which if the Annan -- Kofi Annan's initiative is allowed to work, then you could have an agreed process of transition.

BLITZER: In other words, that he goes away, he leaves the country? Is that what you're saying?

BLAIR: There are all sorts of possibilities as to what happens to him personally. I think the most important thing is that there's change in the country, and this -- for us, from the outside and what is important is that the people inside the country know we're not abandoning them. We're going to stick with this. We're going to make sure that this process and change continues and we will -- we're prepared to take further steps if necessary in order to put pressure on the regime to do what I think -- the one good thing that's emerged in the last few weeks is the general consensus in the international community, it has to be this way (ph).

BLITZER: You know his wife is British. She was born in Britain. Is it far-fetched to think, give them asylum in Britain given the fact that she's a British citizen?

BLAIR: I've not come across that suggestion.

BLITZER: You are former prime minister of Britain.

BLAIR: I am the former prime minister -- BLITZER: Would that be something that would be appropriate do you think, let them escape and set up shop, if you will, in Britain?

BLAIR: Wolf, let's get this first stage coming under way. I think the issue now is, you know, will they break the promises they're breaking now as they've broken previous promises? I hope not. The only thing that will give us a chance to keeping them with the promises is if we keep up the pressure. I think what happens to then Assad and his family personally, that's for another day.

BLITZER: Your other job is to try to negotiate peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, obviously a tough challenge. What are the chances any time soon that Prime Minister Netanyahu will sit down with President Abbas and you and others and work out a deal?

BLAIR: There is a chance. There is always a chance.

BLITZER: How good of a chance is it?

BLAIR: Well, somewhat better than it was maybe a few months back.


BLAIR: Because I think on both sides there is a willingness to engage if the negotiation's credible. The key thing is the Palestinians need to know that if they're going into, sitting down with the Israelis.

And talking about issues like borders and security that the Israelis are prepared to engage with what's necessary for a viable Palestinian state.

And the Israelis need to know that on issue like security, there's recognition by the Palestinians. They have a genuine concern.

So over these past few months with the Jordanians playing a very central role in this, we've been trying to work out, is there a way that we can get the sides back together.

BLITZER: How far apart are they right now?

BLAIR: It's hard to judge, frankly. I mean, on one level I think with a bit of creativity and imagination we can actually get people into a negotiation where the differences are clear, but not unreachable.

BLITZER: Do you think the Israelis will bomb Iran's nuclear facilities any time soon?

BLAIR: I don't know. The Israelis will take a view about their own national interests and security interests. What I do think is Iran with a nuclear weapon is a very bad idea. So I think, here again, as we thought to be strong, clear and determined.

BLITZER: Are you with President Obama that there is no policy of containment, in other words, allowing Iran to have a nuclear weapon that it will be removed one way or another before it gets to that. BLAIR: He's absolutely r right. I'm in that region a lot. It would be a disaster for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I would also a consequence on the stability of the region, on other powers in the region trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

And I think this is one of the president's main concerns and you have the potential leakage of the technology or even of the weaponry. So, no, he's absolutely right.

You, in my view, I think one of the things that submerged over this past period is a very clear and agreed position, how you can debate, how we deal with it, but the clear position is we mean what we say. Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

BLITZER: Prime Minister Tony Blair, thanks very much for coming in.

BLAIR: Thank you.

BLITZER: Good luck.

Mitt Romney's greatest hits. President Obama's campaign has plenty to pick from when it comes to turning Mitt Romney's own words against him. Stand by.

And did Apple conspire with publishers to fix the prices of E-books? The federal government says it's costing consumers millions of dollars and now there's a lawsuit.

And we're waiting for the special prosecutor in Florida to announce what, if any, charges will be filed against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case.

You will see this unfold live here on CNN. We're going to update you with new information as it comes in.


BLITZER: This just coming out of the Pentagon right now. Let's bring in Barbara Starr. She's over there. What's going on, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there has been a helicopter crash in Morocco in North Africa involving the U.S. military. This is an MV-22, one of those tilt rotor aircraft that U.S. Marines use in the war zone. They were on an exercise in Morocco when it crashed.

We are told two Marines are killed and two others severely injured. Again, this was during an exercise. No indication of any type of hostile fire. An accident now under investigation, the Marine Corps unit was from Camp Lejeune on the East Coast -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, a lot of the viewers might be surprised to know that the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. military is engaged in joint exercises, military exercises with the Moroccan military. Is this something new? Has it been going on a long time? What's going on here? STARR: Well, you know, Wolf, this is part of the U.S. military effort to step up their presence in North Africa, work with the militaries across that region. As you know, al Qaeda is making a lot of moves across Africa and especially in the North African region.

The Arab spring, with some of the efforts, that has gone on there. The U.S. wants to support the militaries in the region, help with training and assistance as they try to continue to build their own capacity and fight against al Qaeda in the region where it pops up its head -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Barbara, thanks very much.

Political news we're following as well, while Mitt Romney wastes no time going after President Barack Obama, the president also in full campaign mode finding any way to use Romney's own words against him. This general election campaign is now under way.

Let's bring in our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin. What's the latest over there, Jessica?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, from Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago to right here at the White House, it is clear that campaign 2012 has begun.


YELLIN (voice-over): The general election curtain raiser from the Obama campaign, a look back at the other guy's greatest hits.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Corporations are people, my friend. I like being able to fire people that provide services to me. I was a severely conservative Republican governor.

YELLIN: The president's aides haven't been shy about their strategy.

DAVID PLOUFFE, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: His top adviser said the general election would be like an etch a sketch where you can erase your record. Those things are etched in stone. They're not going to be erased and they'll be seared in the public consciousness by this November.

YELLIN: So expect more videos like this.

ROMNEY: Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, yes. Planned Parenthood, we'll get rid of that.

YELLIN: At the White House, the president smacked down Republican attacks on his tax policy.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What they won't tell you is the truth that I've cut taxes for middle class families each year that I've been in office. I've cut taxes for small business owners, not once or twice, but 17 times.

YELLIN: And got snarky about the Republican primary during an event for his millionaire's tax.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That wild-eyed socialist class warrior was Ronald Reagan. He thought that in America the wealthiest should pay their fair share and he said so. I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days.

YELLIN: That's hotter than usual rhetoric from the president at the White House and when Mitt Romney took this swing --

ROMNEY: The real war on women has been waged by the policies of the Obama administration.

YELLIN: Campaign senior adviser, David Axelrod snark on Twitter, tough day on the Mitt rehab with women tour. And from the podium, the press secretary doubled down on the pro-women message.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: From the very first action he took as president by signing into law the Lilly Led Better Pay Act this president has been focused on the essential role that women play in our economy.


YELLIN: Wolf, it's no accident that opening day began with a fight for the women's vote. Currently, the president's polling shows that he is 19 points or is double digit ahead of Mitt Romney when it comes to support among women.

But keep this in mind, there is a reason the Democrats are going after the women's vote and one part of that has to do with the fact that Democrats traditionally have a ceiling of support among white men. If they want to make up for that and win in November they have to have a healthy showing by women voters -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting. The president is speaking with women behind him today. Romney is speaking with women behind him. Women as you know, Jessica, they vote in higher percentages than men here in the United States. So the president really needs these women to come out and vote for him. It will be an uphill challenge, I suspect, for Romney.

YELLIN: It will be a challenge, but it's one we're going to hear him wage aggressively because if he wants to win the White House, he does want to win the White House, he also will have to get a majority of those women's votes. They will be a battleground in the coming election -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. Jessica Yellin at the White House.

So did Apple conspire with publishers to fix the prices of e-books. The federal government is now going after the computer giant.

And before the killings made him infamous, did the cult leader Charles Manson father this man? He tells CNN why he thinks the mass murderer is his dad. And look at this. You're looking at live pictures coming from Florida. Angela Corey the special prosecutor, getting ready to make an announcement.

We believe she will formally file charges against George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. This is one of the aides for Angela Corey just testing the microphones there.

We'll, of course, have live coverage as soon as it begins. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: The U.S. government is going after America's most successful company right now, Apple. The Justice Department is suing the tech giant over an alleged price-fixing scheme involving e-books.

CNN's Silicon Valley correspondent, Dan Simon is joining us outside Apple headquarters. What's going on over there? What's the story all about, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN SILICON VALLEY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. When Apple came out with the iPad two years ago, it was a big boost for electronic books, but according to the Department of Justice it resulted in a big boost in price for those same books.


SIMON (voice-over): Electronic book sales have skyrocketed thanks to the devices like the Kindle and iPad, but prices have also risen. A few years ago an average e-book might cost $10. Today, they can run around $13 or more s.

And that's exactly why Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Apple and five of the nation's largest publishers alleging an illegal price-fixing scheme.

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Concerned that e-book sellers had reduced prices worked together to eliminate competition among stores selling e-books ultimately increasing prices for consumers.

SIMON: Before the iPad came along, Amazon completely ruled e-books with its Kindle and set its own prices for e-books, but then the iPad appeared and Apple allowed the publishers to set their own prices with Apple taking a cut of the proceeds.

The publishers in turn demanded similar pricing from other e-book sellers said the DOJ that led to higher prices across the board and according to Attorney General Holder, costs consumers millions of dollars.

HOLDER: During regular near quarterly meetings, we allege that publishing company executives discussed confidential business matters including Amazon's e-book retailing practices as part of a conspiracy to raise, fix and stabilize retail prices. SIMON: Three of the publishers have already settled with the government, which will likely mean better prices for the consumer. Sales of e-books rose more than 100 percent last year, generating nearly $970 million according to "Publisher's Weekly."

By their very nature e-books generate higher profits than physical copies, and that's why the pricing is so important.


SIMON: Well, Apple, for now, is refusing to comment about the suit. As for those three publishers that settled, they've agreed to pay $51 million in restitution -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Dan, thanks very much. Dan Simon reporting.

On the Trayvon Martin killing, news that George Zimmerman, the shooter is about to be formally charged. We just got a statement from the Florida Governor Rick Scott. I'll read it to you, it's short.

"We are fortunate in our state that most Floridians and local civic leaders are law-abiding, responsible citizens who all want justice to prevail no matter what State Attorney Angela Corey determines following her investigation of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

I trust in the goodness of all Florida citizens to allow our justice system to reach an appropriate conclusion in this case. That statement is coming in from Rick Scott, the Florida governor.

Remember, we're standing by for a news conference, Angela Corey, special prosecutor about to announce what she plans on doing. There you see one of her young aides. They're testing the microphones there in Florida right now. We'll go to Angela Corey's news conference as soon as it begins. Stand by for that.

Meanwhile, before the killings that made him infamous, did cult leader Charles Manson father a son? The man on the right side of the screen tells CNN why he thinks the mass murder on the left with the Nazi on his forehead, the Nazi sign over there, the swastika is his dad.


BLITZER: Jack's back with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCOR: Wolf, the question this hour, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says the U.S. is turning into people sitting on couch wait for example their next government check. Is he right?

Gary in Arizona, "Christie is absolutely, positively, completely correct. Robin Hood now in the White House has an appetite for spending and doling out money to a growing audience of deadbeats. Government handouts are no longer a temporary safety net, but rather now a long-term comfort sofa, and long as Obama's president it will only get worse."

B in Canada writes, "I listened to Christie's comments and thought they were a little off the wall. I think his crack about people sitting on their couches waiting for the next government check is nasty. I'm sure many Americans would love not to be on unemployment or welfare. But thanks to the financial mess that the government created, there just aren't enough jobs."

Tom in Texas writes, "This sounds like someone campaigning to be the Republican vice presidential candidate. If nothing else he has more credibility than the last Republican vice presidential candidate that would be Sarah Palin."

Joshua writes, "In a way if you think about it, he's right, but what do you expect when there are no jobs available and people can't get decent work. It's hard to survive, but a person would have no choice, but to apply for government aid."

Tom writes, "Governor Christy doesn't let being right become a habit. The American workers are among the most productive in the world. We get less time off and work at stress levels only topped by the Japanese. The governor's fat, dumb and happy. The rest of us are working our arses off."

And HR writes, "Christie would know all about that couch-sitting thingy. Just look at him." If you want to read more about this, go to the blog at or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jack, thank you.

We're also following breaking news out of Florida. We're awaiting a briefing where a senior law enforcement source says charges will be charged against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting death. Stand by.


BLITZER: Convicted killer Charles Manson has been denied parole for the 12th time. One man takes particular interest in Manson's case. He believes Manson may be his father. He spoke to CNN's Miguel Marquez.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I live in uncertainty and chaos.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Matthew Roberts is a haunted man. Is he the son, the spawn of Charles Manson?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like holy hell it does seem like it's more than just possible, but probable.

MARQUEZ: Robert's adopted as an infant had by all accounts a normal childhood in Rockford, Illinois. In 1998 at age 30, he sought out his birth mother over clues living in Wisconsin who told him he was conceived in 1967 in San Francisco where she met Manson at a drug- fuelled orgy.

(on camera): One account I read at that orgy, there were four men present?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's what I understand. Originally, that's what I was kind of looking at, there was about a one in four chance.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Robert says he wasn't convinced his birth mother knew Manson until he began exchanging letters with prisoner B- 33920. In those letters Manson quoted things only his mother would know, stories about her early life.

So sure he is Manson's son, Roberts twice tried to get a DNA match, the test, though, inconclusive. Manson's DNA sample was contaminated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unless I see somebody scrape a piece of skin off his ass and bring it to the lab, I want to know.

MARQUEZ: What is not just unmistakable is not just that Roberts looks like Manson. Here are two photos, both in their 30s, a striking resemblance, the eyes, nose, mouth, and forehead. But it is the way Robert speaks and what he says that sounds eerily familiar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because every time you send somebody after me they can't find me because I'm not really there in your minds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know what goes on in my head. You guys can only guess, but I know what goes on in my head.

MARQUEZ: Even more eerie, the similarities between the two men run deep. Roberts is a militant vegetarian, pacifist and considers himself an environmentalist. Claims also made by Charles Manson.

Roberts moved to L.A. in 1986 like Manson, wanted to be famous, a rock star. Robert's band "New Rising Sun" is pure rock and roll. Manson's music more folksy and at times, downright weird.

Today, Roberts pays the bills working in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley. He's been accused of cashing in on Manson's notoriety. Roberts says it's anything but.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's ruined by career. It has got me nothing but grief.

MARQUEZ: Roberts just wants to know the truth before the now 77-year- old Manson dies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he is my father then it would be nice to lay eyes on him and be person to person with him once in my life.

MARQUEZ: For now, Matthew Roberts lives with a hope and a fear of knowing who his father is.


MARQUEZ: And now Robert says that if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn't do it this way. He would not seek out his birth mother and his birth father. He says at this point though, he just wants to know the truth, good, bad or otherwise -- Wolf. BLITZER: Miguel Marquez reporting for us. Thank you.