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THE SITUATION ROOM
Brother of Trayvon Martin Speaks Out; President Obama Releases Tax Returns; North Korean Missile Breaks Up in Flight; Tornado Watches in Oklahoma; Hilary Rosen Apologized to Ann Romney; President Obama Got Supporters in Hollywood
Aired April 13, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: the brother of Trayvon Martin speaking out about the death of the unarmed Florida teenager. He says something doesn't sound right. Stand by.
Also, the White House releasing the president's tax records. Who pays a higher tax rate? Would it be the president, would it be Mitt Romney or the president's secretary? We're finding out about that as well.
Plus, the threat of deadly cargo in U.S. ports. Our disturbing investigation revealing how a nuclear weapon could be smuggled in undetected.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It's one of the more mundane documents Americans have to deal with every single year, but for President Obama, the tax return is politically charged in this, an election year.
The White House released his 2011 filing today, along with that of the vice president, Joe Biden, and there are some surprises in both documents.
CNN's Lisa Sylvester has been carefully going after these tax returns.
What do you see?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First off, Wolf, the Obamas, like the Romneys, gave generously to charities.
The president's income, which was $1.7 million in 2010, was down significantly as sales of his popular books dropped off, but the focus is on taxes and more specifically tax rates. And there are some surprises there.
SYLVESTER (voice-over): Who was taxed at a higher rate, the president, Mitt Romney or the president's secretary? It might surprise you, but it's actually the president's secretary.
She makes $95,000 a year. The Obama administration confirms her tax rate is higher than the president's 20.5 percent, the rate he paid on the $789,674 he made last year. Romney's projected tax rate was even lower, about 14 percent. Yet, Romney's projected salary was more than $20 million last year.
Democratic strategist Liz Chadderdon says the tax rate gap is an argument that is hurting Romney.
LIZ CHADDERDON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Does it look good to people four years after a terrible recession where most people in this country are struggling to make ends meet? No. In my business, we call that an optics problem. He's got a serious optics problem around his tax returns.
SYLVESTER: President Obama has been driving the point home with calls for Congress to pass the so-called Buffett rule that would increase taxes on people whose earnings top $1 million.
Mr. Obama, who made less than that, wouldn't be included based on his 2011 returns. Neither would Vice President Joe Biden, who, last year, made about $379,000. But the Romney campaign is firing back. Spokeswoman Andrea Saul saying -- quote -- "It's no surprise with the worst job creation record in modern history that President Obama would try to distract Americans from the real issues with a series of sideshows."
Romney pays a lower rate on taxes because most of his income comes from interest from investment on savings as opposed to earned income from a paycheck.
Conservative writer Stephen Moore says Romney has to do a better job explaining why personal success shouldn't be penalized.
STEPHEN MOORE, SENIOR ECONOMIC WRITER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": I think Mitt Romney has to make the point, look, my money was investment income. This is from saving in investment. We need more of that if we're going to have a growing economy. And to raise taxes on the investment that people put into businesses is not a way to create jobs.
SYLVESTER: Romney is also under pressure to release his final 2011 returns, which the campaign says he will do. Democrats want more, though. They want him to release tax returns going back into the last decade.
SYLVESTER: Now, the tax returns show generous donations from the Obamas, $172,000 last year and the majority of that was donations from his children's book to the Fisher House Foundation that helps military families receiving medical treatment, about 22 percent of their income.
Now, the Romneys had a projected $7 million in charitable giving last year. That's about 16 percent of their income. Joe Biden and his wife listed $5,500 in donations to charity. That's about 1.4 percent in their income. And I think some people were surprised at that number.
BLITZER: Because he made almost $400,000 and only contributed $5,000 or so.
BLITZER: Is there an explanation why so little of his income goes to charity?
SYLVESTER: There isn't an explanation at this point, but I think that as we go forward, that a lot of people are going to be looking at that and saying why not when you have 14 percent, when you have 22 percent, when you have some of these other candidates and other members of the administration certainly donating and giving more.
BLITZER: Lisa, thanks very much for that.
And just a little while ago, Ann Romney took center stage and addressed the National Rifle Association. Ann Romney found herself at the center of a political firestorm this week when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said Ann Romney, who raised five sons, had -- quote -- "never worked a day in her life."
Hilary Rosen has since apologized, including here in THE SITUATION ROOM yesterday, but let's take a closer listen to what Mrs. Romney had to say today before the NRA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: Let me give a shout-out to all moms that are working and, by the way, to all dads that are working.
We love all of you. You know, I often think that you're only as a parent as happy as your saddest child and you never, ever stop being a parent. Our boys are grown now. They have children of their own. But it is such a wonderful opportunity for me to think about the heritage that we're leaving those children.
And I love the fact that when my kids were growing up, that we lived a stone's throw away from Lexington Green and pretty soon, on April 19, they will be celebrating something again in Lexington, Massachusetts, the shot heard around the world and how grateful we were for those patriots that had the ability to fight tyranny and how grateful we are for all of you here today.
You know, I have heard recently something, how women were being referred to as a special interest group. And I thought to myself, really only Washington could do that. There's only one part of that phrase that's correct. Women are special. We love this country. We love the people of this country.
We have had an extraordinary experience going across and meeting tens of thousands of wonderful Americans that are so concerned about the future of this country. We recognize that we are heading in a direction that is perilous. We're also -- and this is what I love the most -- women are talking about the economy and jobs and about the legacy of debt that we're going to leave our children.
And we are mad about it and we're going to do something about it November with your help. We need to make sure that we keep this country strong and fighting for the right reasons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Ann Romney, the wife of Mitt Romney, speaking just a little while ago, introducing her husband before the NRA convention.
Let's get some reaction right now from the Obama reelection campaign.
Joining us from Chicago is deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter.
Stephanie, thanks very much for coming in.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA 2012 DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Hey, Wolf.
BLITZER: And let's get your reaction right away. You want to react to what Ann Romney just had to say?
CUTTER: Sure. I would love to.
With one exception, there's nothing that this president disagrees with, with what she said. The one exception would be the perilous direction of this country. The president has put this economy, put this country back on track and turned the corner of the policies that Mitt Romney actually wants to go back to.
But let me tell you what we do agree with that Ann Romney said. We do respect working moms, working dads, people's own choices in this economy. We do agree that women do want to talk about the economy. I guess we're just wondering when Mitt Romney is going to talk about women's prospects in this economy and what he's going to specifically do to increase their security.
Now, Mitt -- I mean, Wolf, I don't have to remind you just two days ago they couldn't answer the question of whether Mitt Romney supported the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which is a hallmark law for women across this country. There's barely a woman across this country that doesn't know what Lilly Ledbetter has done for them.
And it's pay equity, that if we work hard, if we do the same jobs as men, we should get the same paycheck as men. So if Mitt Romney can't answer the question of whether he supports Lilly Ledbetter, then what exactly is he going to do for women in this economy?
BLITZER: He also says, Mitt Romney, that since President Obama took office, of all the jobs lost, 92 percent, that according to Mitt Romney, 92 percent of all the jobs lost since President Obama took office were jobs lost by women, not men.
BLITZER: You have had a chance to review that.
CUTTER: I have, as have dozens of independent fact-checkers, who have all said that that's not true and that he is distorting the facts.
And here's why. Most of those jobs lost were when the president was just taking office, before he had a chance to even implement his policies. Let me tell you why those women lost their jobs, because of policies that Mitt Romney wants to go back to, where Wall Street could write up their own rules, that hard work didn't pay and middle class was left behind.
The wealthy, millionaires and billionaires, were given tax cuts that were supposed to trickle down to middle class and never did. That's why women were losing their jobs. Now, as opposed to Mitt Romney, the president has been working to put women back to work.
In the last 25 months, a million women have been put back to work and have found jobs to help secure their family. Now, there's a big difference between someone who's actually working in the economy, rebuilding it, building an economy meant to last and someone who is using pure rhetoric, distorted rhetoric, talking about the economy and not talking what he's going to do specifically to help women in this economy.
BLITZER: Let's talk about women for a moment.
Hilary Rosen, a woman you know well, a CNN political strategist, a Democratic strategist here, she was in THE SITUATION ROOM yesterday.
CUTTER: I do.
BLITZER: You were quick and other Obama campaign officials, White House officials, the president and vice president themselves, you tweeted this shortly after Hilary Rosen said what she said about Ann Romney never having worked a day in her life.
"Families must be off-limits on campaigns," you tweeted, "and I personally believe stay-at-home moms work harder than most of us do."
Here's the question. Why were all of you so quick to throw Hilary Rosen under the bus?
CUTTER: Let me first say that Hilary is a friend. I have known her for a long time and she's apologized for that remark.
But I tweeted that out because I disagreed with it. I do believe that family has to be off-limits. As someone who worked for the first lady in the last campaign, I think that it's very dangerous to start going after families. And I also believe that I know a lot of moms out there and I know a lot of moms who are staying home to raise their kids.
And, oftentimes, I believe they work harder than I do. So those are my beliefs, but I think that the entire debate distorted the real issues in this campaign. This was sort of a faux argument yesterday. The real issue is what are we going to do to help secure women in this economy?
And that's what Mitt Romney doesn't want to talk about. They had a conference call yesterday with surrogates to hit back on this faux debate. And they had two surrogates on that conference call who voted against Lilly Ledbetter, so what is their strategy to put women back to work?
We're waiting. The president's been clear. Something else that Ann Romney said, that women are not a special interest group, the other person who said that last week was President Obama and he has done everything to ensure that women aren't a special interest group, helping them get into math and science jobs, competing with men, ensuring they have college affordability and can pay their student loans and have the things like child care and all the things that help them balance work and raising their families. That's what women need in this economy, not some faux debate.
BLITZER: Well, that debate's going to continue.
And, as you know -- and I will leave it with this because we're out of time -- the Romney campaign quickly issued a fund-raising appeal, and the firsts line out of it say, "If you're a stay-at-home mom, the Democrats have a message for you. You have never worked a day in your life."
BLITZER: So they're going to use this, as you well know, and this debate will continue.
Stephanie Cutter, or @stefcutter on Twitter, thanks very much for joining us.
CUTTER: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Celebrations in North Korea despite a spectacular rocket launch failure. CNN's Stan Grant is in the North Korean capital for us. Stand by.
Also, for the first time, we're hearing from the brother of Trayvon Martin. He's speaking out about the deadly shooting. He says something doesn't sound right. You will hear what he has to say.
And we're also watching some amazing live pictures coming from Oklahoma. Look at this. We're keeping an eye on severe weather. Our own Chad Myers will be joining us next. Wow.
BLITZER: The North Korea rocket launch had much of the world on edge turned out to be a spectacular failure. Broke up just 81 seconds into flight, never even managed to leave the atmosphere. But the botched launch isn't impacting celebrations in the country's capital, Pyongyang.
CNN's Stan Grant is there.
STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the scene of triumph here in North Korea despite the abject failure of the rocket launch. You can see the fireworks going off behind me here. And over my shoulder those massive statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. And, of course, Kim Jong Un, the third generation of the Kim dynasty is here as well. When he walked out onto the stage, there was absolutely enormous roar from this crowd.
And this is how North Korea is trying to sell the message to its own people. The rocket launch has failed but they are still trying to say they're a strong, prosperous and powerful country.
What this country runs on is a personality cult ruled by the Kims, and they must be able to show their people they are invincible, that they can withstand any attack from the outside world as what we've seen by their own people (ph).
Just listen to this noise here. The fireworks starting to fade down now. But, of course, there has still been no real response to the rocket failure itself. The news agency here KCNA did respond, admitting to the failure, saying they're now investigating it.
But this is where we've been brought by our government minders here. They don't want to hear about the rocket. What they want to do is show their adulation to their leaders past and present.
Stan Grant, CNN, Pyongyang.
BLITZER: All right. This just coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM. Tornado watches in effect for the Oklahoma City area. Check out these amazing pictures.
Chad Myers is at the CNN center with more of what's going on.
Chad, I understand it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
It sure is, Wolf. This is going to be a violent weekend. Today, probably a few tornados, but tomorrow, there may be 10, 20, maybe 100 on the ground with a tornado outbreak.
Tomorrow's problem is that many of these tornados will be on the ground after dark, and so you won't be able to see them. You won't be able to look at them. There won't be as many spotters trying to find them either.
But here's the storm we're worried about right now and I'll draw it for you. Here's Oklahoma City right there. This would be Edmond on up that way. Here's Newcastle, here's Midwest City. Very large storm right there over Okarche. The tornado, if there would be a tornado, would be back here to the north and to the northwest of Chickasha.
I have been watching these pictures. This is northwest of Chickasha. This is our affiliate KWTV. You can see the cloud level right there. Here's the ground and the area in between the ground, we would look for the funnel to be right like that, and then obviously attached to the cloud there, doing the damage on the ground.
We have not seen a tornado. There are no warnings right now. There are tornado watches, which means some storms may rotate, some storms may put down a tornado. A watch has five letters. The word watch has five letters. The word warning has more than that. The word warning has seven letters -- more letters, more important.
There are not tornado warnings right now, there are watches and that watches for the entire area from Oklahoma City down to almost I would say Ardmore and Lawton.
There is this storm that will move in to Oklahoma City proper. If you are in Mustang, jus to the east of El Reno, Piedmont, all the way up toward the village, you could see two to three-inch hail.
Even if you don't see the tornado with this, this is a very tall storm. Almost 50,000 feet tall. Do the math. Yes, that's nine miles tall with this storm.
An amazing series of events going to happen today. It will be more severe tomorrow, and there will be big tornados on the ground tomorrow -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And there are a lot of folks in Oklahoma and the region watching us right now.
Chad, very briefly, give us one of two of the most important life- saving pieces of advice you can offer these folks.
MYERS: With the tornados that we're going to have this weekend, they may be moving 70 miles per hour. You can not outrun that tornado. If you must if you see it coming, get out of the car. If there's a building to get into, that's the most important thing.
Get yourself covered in a building. Stay on the lowest level. Most homes in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas don't have basements. Up toward Nebraska, you do have basements, but in Oklahoma, the ground is just literally a rock. They pour a slab, they put the house on that slab.
The best thing you can do if you don't have a basement, go inside of your house. Most of the time, the kitchen, the bathroom in the middle of the house, still standing even after a tornado hits. That's what we want to be. That's where you want to be if you see a tornado coming to you or hear of a tornado warning for your town.
Today's the day to buy that NOAA weather radio if you don't have one. It could save your life. It's 50 bucks, the best money you could spend.
BLITZER: I totally agree. Chad, thanks very much. We'll stay in close touch with you.
MYERS: All right, Wolf.
BLITZER: It looks like a monster storm heading that way.
Trayvon Martin's brother is speaking out to CNN. How he felt when he learned of his brother's shooting. Stand by for the interview.
And Democrats as communist. How one Republican congressman is now trying to profit from his controversial words.
BLITZER: The man who shot unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin could get out of jail as early as next Friday. That's when the bond hearing will be held for George Zimmerman, who's facing a second degree murder charge.
And now, Trayvon Martin's brother is speaking out. He spoke to legal analyst Sunny Hostin, who's joining us now.
Sunny, what did he tell you?
SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: He gave me really some insight into who Trayvon Martin was, and to his relationship with his brother, into sort of the dynamics of this family. This is a very close knit family, a family that vacationed together and two brothers who shared a room together and were really very, very close, and who shared the same temperament.
So, it gave me and I think it will give our viewers a lot of insight into who Trayvon Martin was.
BLITZER: You know, and I think we have a clip, Sunny, of the interview, that you did with the brother of Trayvon Martin. Let's play it right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: When you found out what happened, the details of what happened, how did you feel?
JAHVARIS FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S BROTHER: Confused. Everything I heard was coming from -- perspective and it didn't sound like my brother at all. You know, my brother attacked him and did all this stuff. It doesn't sound like him at all. He wasn't confrontational or violent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And how did this brother, who's obviously older than Trayvon, how did he appear to you and what did he say about the whole family right now in the aftermath of George Zimmerman being charged with second degree murder?
HOSTIN: You know, he's very thoughtful, insightful young man. He is in college.
The family is very sad. I did ask how his family was doing, especially his mother.
It's clear the brothers were very close to their mother and Jahvaris is very close to his mother. I could see that.
And he said that they're coping. That there isn't a hatred there. There isn't anger. Just a profound sense of sadness.
BLITZER: Seems like a really nice young man and we, of course, extend our condolences to him and to his entire family. They're going through obviously a lot, a lot of grief.
Sunny, thanks very much for doing that.
Just an important note to our viewers out there. The full interview with Trayvon Martin's brother will air on "A.C. 360" tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
His own son died in gun violence. Now, Bill Cosby is speaking out to CNN about the deadly shooting of Trayvon Martin. Bill Cosby speaking to CNN. We're going to have some of that interview as well. Candy Crowley had a chance to speak with Bill Cosby.
Also, our Special Investigations Unit discovered shocking gaps in security at U.S. ports. Here's a question: could a nuclear bomb, a small crude nuclear bomb if you will actually make it through?
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Bill Cosby is speaking out about the death of Trayvon Martin. Listen to what the actor, the comedian, the educator told our chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: So, you saw more of gun issue than a race issue?
Bill COSBY, COMEDIAN, ACTOR: How you going to solve a race issue when it becomes he said she said or he said he said? And the other question is what is solved by saying he's a racist? That's why he shot the boy. What -- what solves that? This and what is he doing with it and who taught him and told him how to behave with this. I'm going to say you can't have it in your homes to protect yourself because people are on drugs really don't care. They don't think well. And they will kick in your door. So, you've got to protect yourself in your own home.
But I also believe when you tell me that you're going to protect the neighborhood that I live in, I don't want you to have a gun. I want you to be able to see something, report it and get out of the way because you happen to be a part the neighborhood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Candy is here with us. He is amazing man and feels very passionate about this. What other impressions did you get? CROWLEY: It was interesting to me how nuanced his position was on both the race issue and the Trayvon Martin case and on guns because he said, you know, in the end, it doesn't make any difference whether it was about race. What makes a difference is there was a gun involved. And yet, he confided to me that he had a gun before and the cop who taught him how to use it said, you know, you can't take it back once you pull that trigger and he says he eventually gave it up. And because he fell in himself, he didn't use the word empowered, but you hear something outside and think I'm going to go see what it is and you've got that gun and sort of, you know, makes you do things you wouldn't ordinarily do.
Very pro Barack Obama. We discussed politics. We discussed whether he had any disappointment in what he had seen in the first term. He thinks the president has been up against a lot. It was a fascinating interview.
He was there, by the way, to help open the Howard Theatre, which is a very old African-American theatre here in the district.
BLITZER: Part of Howard University deficit.
CROWLEY: Well, it's actually -- its same people, but different place.
BLITZER: Howard University here in the nation's capitol. A lot of people don't realize, you know, he has a Ph.D. in education. He's Dr. Bill Cosby. He is very passionate about education.
CROWLEY: He is and I asked him about what worried him most about. As a looking forward, let's say, if as you hope, there's a second Barack Obama term, what worries you most about the country going forward? He said families. Families worry me most. And what's dragging them you know, pulling them apart. So, he's very passionate about a lot of things.
BLITZER: I got a chance to meet him a few years ago. He is amazing, wonderful guy.
All right. Thanks very much, Candy, for that.
This important note to our viewers, once again, you can see Candy's full interview with Bill Cosby on state of the union, Sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, also at noon Eastern on Sunday.
He called Democrats members of the communist party. Now, Republican Congressman is actually doubling down on the explosive remark and he is doing fund raising, finding and gets the money as a result as well.
And Hilary Rosen, the democratic strategist apologizing for saying Ann Romney, quote, "never worked a day in her life." Will this issue die down? Is there permanent political damage? Donna Brazile and David Frum, they are standing by for our strategy session.
BLITZER: Look at these pictures. These are live pictures from Oklahoma right now, severe weather threatening the area. There's tornado watch is in effect right now. Tornado warnings expected over the next few hours as well. We're watching this very closely. Our Chad Myers is monitoring what's going on at the CNN severe weather center. We're going to have more on this story coming up. Very ominous pictures coming from right now and we're told it's only going to get worse over the next several hours. We'll stand by and watch what's going on. If you're in this threatened area, be very, very careful.
Let's move back to politics right now. Joining us in our strategy session, Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, Donna Brazile, and former speech writer for President George W. Bush, our CNN political contributor and contributor to CNN.com, David Frum.
Guys, thanks very much for coming in.
Republican congressman Allen West of Florida caused a stir this week by suggesting this. I'll play the clip and then I want to see what he's doubling down on it right now, but here's what he said this week in response to a question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card carrying, Marxists or international (INAUDIBLE).
REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: I believe there are about 78 to 81 members of the Democrats Party that are members of the Communist Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: David, he says that there are 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party, he says the Democrat Party, but the Democratic Party that is members of the communist party and now, he's doubling down. He's putting out a fund raising appeal. He's asking his supporters to donate money to fight what he calls extreme left positions.
Now, this is a guy that Sarah Palin suggested would be a good vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney. Nikki Hailey, the governor of South Carolina, said he should be at the top of anyone's list as well. What's going on?
DAVID FRUM, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: They said a good running mate for Sarah Palin. Well, think of it this way. There are 92 members of the communist party in the Russian Douma. So, at said if there's only 70 to 80 in the U.S. congress that would be a big improvement over the Russian standard.
I think he was probably trying to say something else. I can't imagine what it was then he got stuck, then he said what he said and now, he took a barrage of criticism and the way our modern outrage is constructed, people don't back away from saying a foolish thing. They don't apologize when they safely could. They double down because one person's outrage is another's fund raising opportunity. BLITZER: It's pretty shocking when you think about it because it sounds so much like McCarthyism back in the early '50s, you know. Have you now or ever been a member of the Communist Party? It's pretty outrageous.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's like the ghost of Joe McCarthy is coming back to the House of Representatives. Sorry, my allergies are little acting up today. But you know I work on Capitol Hill. I know many of the members that belong to the house progressive caucus. SO, let me tell you. They fight for a fair economy. They fight for jobs creation. They fight for young people. They fight for housing. There's nothing communist about the congressional progressive caucus. They want what most Americans want. They want to see people get back to work, to stay in their own homes and want every kid to have both a healthy start as well as a head start in life.
BLITZER: Let me move on to the flap you've generated here as a result of Hilary Rosen, our friend, the democratic strategist saying on "ac 360" what she said about Ann Romney, she never really worked a day in her life. What do you make of this? Is this going to have legs as they say, is it just blips right now or continues to haunt the Democrats?
FRUM: Well, what we're seeing I think with this and also with the west thing, we are in a period now where parties are to, whatever move they can, rallying their support in tribal signals. And this is a difficult election because you have two nominees, none of whom really excites anymore in rock. And neither has ever excited Romney's case, neither whom excites anymore in Barack Obama's case. Real tribal base of the party. Real liberals, real progressives, they're not as in love with Barack Obama as they used to be and the real conservatives in the Republican party, not super in love with Mitt Romney.
BLITZER: They were never really super in love.
FRUM: Exactly. So you need to give them these things, this outrage. That is the thing someone has said this about African mother. Somebody has said about communist in my host and that pulls people together so these things get magnified because it's in people's interest.
BLITZER: Do you think this is going to be a continuing issue, what Hilary Rosen said or it is going to be over with this?
BRAZILE: Well, you know, I thought, I watched Hilary Rosen yesterday, the interview she gave and she's very sincere in her apology to Ann Romney and I'm sure Ms. Romney will accept the apology.
Look. The personality aside, Wolf, there's a real issue here. Six hundred pieces of legislation, 600 all over the country has been introduced to roll back women's health care, to attack women's reproductive rights, to focus on women's birth control and of course, equal pay. Next choose is equal payday. Let's get away from personalities. Let's talk about why in the 21st century women are still making 77 cents every dollar a man makes. Let's talk about the fact that black only make 62 cents of his spending in 53 cents. Let's talk about the issues and whether or not the policies are Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney will help change the status of (INAUDIBLE) policies. That's really what is at stake in this conversation.
BLITZER: It was an awkward moment yesterday when some of Romney's advisers couldn't answer a relatively simple question whether or not he supports the Lilly Ledbetter law which is now a law in firing equal paper, equal work, men and women. And they didn't have an immediate answer to hat.
FRUM: Well, I don't know who those advisers were, if they were political specialists, it's reasonable. It's also reasonable with Ann, because the Lilly Ledbetter law is not really a law of equal pay. It's about how do you sue people? How easy is it to sue people under charges that there is not equal pay? It's not a law about pay. It's a law about litigation and understands this procedural nation of this. That's a hard thing to explain on the call. It's a hard thing to explain here on CNN. And you can see why political adviser, --
BLITZER: They're doing a conference call on the issue of women's rights and women's issues. They would have been prepared for something like that.
BRAZILE: It was the first law President Obama shad signed into law. Yes, it has to do with judicial efforts to ensure that women has that right, but -- just recently, governor Scott Walker signed a law in Wisconsin that would also make it harder for women to sue when they are not being paid the same amount as a man. Look, David, you and I look good. I want to get paid the same amount, Wolf.
BLITZER: Probably make more money, strong suspicion.
BLITZER: I don't know. You make -- I have no idea what you make. I'm betting that Donna makes more than David though.
BRAZILE: As my Mama say, put it on the table.
BLITZER: Guys, thanks very much.
So, what's next for North Korea after the failed rocket launch? Could Pyongyang be planning a nuclear test? We're waiting and watching.
And sneaking a nuclear bomb into an American port. We have a shocking new report on why it may be easier than experts thought.
BLITZER: Spite move by North Korea and Iran to develop nuclear missiles. The biggest fear counter terrorist officials right now maybe that someone will sneak in to the United States with a crude nuclear bomb and put it in a cargo container. Drew Griffin, our CNN Special investigation unit found out that that may be a lot easier than security officials want to admit despite of the congressional mandate to try to fix the threat. Drew is joining us right now.
Drew, you've been investigating this problem. Where do things stand right now?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT: I got to tell you, Wolf, more than any other scenario, the idea of a nuclear bomb or dirty bomb being slipped into the country without protection, that's what keeps security officials up nights and despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent, that real problem, that real threat is still a possibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. The terrorist only has to be right once.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It was a congressional mandate, a directive of the 9/11 commission, pure common sense. By the year 2012, every single cargo container being shipped into the United States would be scanned, x-rayed, somehow, peered into to prevent terrorists from delivering a nuclear bomb to America. It is now 2012, we're not even close.
NOAH GANS, WHARTON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: That's 100 percent of containers and that's not happening by any stretch of the imagination.
GRIFFIN: Noah Gans at University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, estimates the number of containers subject to non-intrusive imaging like x-rays is less than one-half of one percent.
There have been improvements. Everything coming into the United States through land and sea ports passes through these detectors, 100 percent scanning according to Warren Stern, the department of homeland security's director of nuclear detection.
What do you mean exactly on that?
WARREN STERN, DHS DIRECTOR OF NUCLEAR DETECTION: Well, there are scan for radiation using large coil detectors and there are some portions of those are also x-ray.
GRIFFIN: Northeastern University's Steve Flynn was an adviser to the U.S. commission on national security. The professor gives the current system a grade of c minus.
STEVE FLYNN, PROFESSOR, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: What it will not help us find is a nuclear weapon. What it won't help us find likely is highly enriched uranium that could be used to be made into a nuclear weapon. And it won't help us find a dirty bomb that's potentially been well disguised, shielded, so it does not give off much radiation. GRIFFIN: The U.S. wants a lot of that detection to happen overseas. The aim to equip 100 foreign sea ports with radiation detection systems by 2015. So far, 27 ports have been equipped. Just two months ago, government investigators in a scathing report called the department of homeland security's ability of perform 100 percent scanning unproven. Other government watchdog reports produced a fire storm of criticism from Capitol Hill, prompting DHS to pull the plug on one radiation monitoring technology, but not before spending more than 200 million of your tax dollars.
STERN: There are a variety of reasons why we're not at 100 percent overseas. Obviously, when ports are in sovereign countries, our control is less than at U.S. port of entry, but we need to look at this layered approach and allocate our resources in the most effective way possible.
GRIFFIN: But clearly, the department of homeland security didn't believe in that layered approach here at airports, where you and I all need to go through those nude x-ray scanners. It's 100 percent scanning here, and that's what Congress wants for cargo containers, too.
FLYNN: Congress mandated by law that the department of homeland security by 2012 has in placed a system to scan containers that are going to be put on ships and send to U.S. ports.
GRIFFIN: Why? Take a look for yourself. This is the port of New York. It's at the center of the population. You could find the same proximity to mass populations in Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami. If a nuclear device gets this far --
GANS: And if for some reason, it gets through or gets detonated right there at the port, at that level, it's too late already.
GRIFFIN: And it's fair, Wolf, DHS officials say the problems with reaching this congressional goal have long been due to the inability of technology to peer inside these cargo containers. We're going to show you a company that claims they can do that tonight at 7:00. But in the meantime, right now, could a lose nuke shield a nuclear material that come through a U.S. port? Unless intelligence picks up on it, that answer, Wolf, is yes.
BLITZER: So is the bottom line, they're not devoting enough energy, resources, money, to this problem or just neglect?
GRIFFIN: I think it's a combination of, one; the technology has not been there that they can reach out, grab, buy and put in place. They've also bought technology that didn't work. Didn't work up to standards and number three, the logistical problem of trying to get all these foreign sea ports on board to say hey, your stuff coming into the U.S., you've got to get that scanned.
So they've got three problems on their hands, not the least of which is the technology. BLITZER: Drew, thanks very much. Solid reporting, as usual.
Coming up in our next hour by the way, new details of why North Korea's rocket launch ended in that spectacular failure, plus, why the U.S. is now on watch for more nuclear activity and underground tests perhaps in North Korea.
And up next though, Hollywood star power of President Obama, will the election be different than in 2008?
BLITZER: After tough criticism, Hollywood, once again, warming up to President Obama. A growing number of stars throwing their support behind him, but will the enthusiasm reach 2008 levels?
CNN's Kareen Wynter is in Hollywood with more -- Kareen.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, President Obama's approval rating in Hollywood seems to be on the rise. And that's welcome news after the tough stretch when many stars were giving him grief.
MATT DAMON, ACTOR: I no longer hope for audacity.
WYNTER (voice-over): With friends like these, President Obama may have thought who needs political enemies? Last year, some of his staunches Hollywood supporters began to criticize him.
HARRY BELAFONTE, SINGER: He's only listened to the voice that shout, the loudest.
WYNTER: Harry Belafonte slammed him for catering to the right wing. Matt Damon accused him of failing to take on special interests. He told CNN's Piers Morgan tonight -
DAMON: You know, I get who needs the Wall Street money.
WYNTER: But there are signs Hollywood is swinging back to Obama. To some, he looks good compared to his likely Republican opponent.
CHELSEA HANDLER, ACTRESS: Mitt Romney does not have my vote. Barrack Obama has my vote.
MELANIE GRIFFIN, ACTRESS: Obama, Obama, Obama.
AMY POEHLER, ACTRESS: He has my vote and he has my heart and if he wants, he can have my number.
WYNTER: Despite lingering criticism of Obama, many celebs are greeting the president with open arms and open wallets.
Actor/producer Tyler Perry kicked in five grand into the Obama re- election campaign, the max allowed by law. The president also got checks from Evan Longoria, Rob Reiner, Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Lynch. And the president's super PAC which can accept unlimited sums, got a mega gift from Bill Maher.
BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: $1 million.
WYNTER: Variety Ted Johnsons says the White House also boasts a not so secret weapon to counter those celebrity critics.
TED JOHNSON, VARIETY: George Clooney, a god friend of Matt Damon.
WYNTER: Clooney will host a fund-raiser for the president next month. Johnson says the actor's been urging stars to stop their griping.
JOHNSON: He's pretty much said, you know, get on board. Get in line because this is going to be a pretty important election.
WYNTER: But Johnson says there's still some doubt Obama can generate the kind of enthusiasm in Hollywood that he did four years ago, when enraptured stars lauded him in song.
JOHNSON: That's a big question, whether we're going to see the viral videos. I'm kind of skeptical that -- that something like that is going to emerge.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WYNTER: The Obama campaign did post a short film online last month. That was narrated by Tom Hanks. It attracted more than two million views so far. Still, a far cry from the popularity of the "Yes, We Can!" video which went viral in 2008 -- Wolf.