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John Edwards Trial Continues; FBI Launches Inquiry Into J.P. Morgan; Phones to Be Allowed on Certain Virgin Flights; Mississippi Highway Killer May Be Posing as Cop; Watch YouTube, Get Targeted for Political Ad; Romney on 'Spending Inferno'; Zimmerman Had Broken Nose, Cuts

Aired May 15, 2012 - 18:00   ET


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you for joining us. I'm Jessica Yellin. John King is off.

Tonight: The FBI launches an inquiry into the multibillion-dollar loss at one of the nation's biggest banks, but J.P. Morgan Chase's shareholders say their boss can stay.

Also, anticipation builds at the John Edwards trial. His eldest daughter is expected to testify soon.

And that day has come. We will tell you which airline will let you use a cell phone during your flight.

First, dramatic new developments today in the battle between Washington and Wall Street. An FBI source tells CNN the government is looking into the $2 billion trading loss by one of the nation's largest banks, J.P. Morgan Chase. Also, today, bank CEO Jamie Dimon assured his shareholders that J.P. Morgan Chase remains very strong and can withstand that huge loss.

He was speaking at today's shareholders meeting in Tampa and Dimon played down the sudden departure of the bank's chief investment officer, or CIO, Ina Drew.


JAMIE DIMON, CHAIRMAN, J.P. MORGAN CHASE: While we have taken loss of a CIO, no clients were affected, no customers suffered as a result of our mistakes. The bottom line is that however unfortunate this incident is, we want to do what we always do, admit our mistakes, learn from them and fix them. I'm confident when we are done here, we will with be an even stronger company.


YELLIN: Well, not only did the bank's shareholders vote to let Dimon keep his job as chairman and CEO; they also voted to let him keep his $23 million pay package.

Bob Lenzner is a columnist with "Forbes" magazine.

And, Bob, thanks for being on to break this down with us. Let's get right to it. The FBI, SEC and the Federal Reserve are all now reportedly looking into this $2 billion trade.


YELLIN: What is confusing is so far there is no indication that J.P. Morgan violated any rules or any laws, so why this investigation?

LENZNER: Of course, I don't know why the FBI is doing this. I doubt they are going to find out that there was any criminal action over in Europe on these trades.

The SEC and the Federal Reserve have to look into -- they're -- the Federal Reserve is supposed to be regulating the holding company of J.P. Morgan and the CIO office with $370 billion is -- should be regulated by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, but I don't know how they could possibly be regulating these transactions over in Europe on a real-time basis.

I think that's where the mistake is. We have not been told exactly what these transactions were, but some of them were done in very, very large amounts in murky credit default swap securities that only a few people understand and where the market -- you don't -- the market is not public. It's not where the public can see what's going on.

Nobody can see what is going on except the handful of people that are playing in it. So I doubt whether any federal crime has been committed.


YELLIN: OK. That's the big question. We will find out if a federal crime has been committed.

At the J.P. Morgan shareholders meeting today, they voted to let Jamie Dimon keep his job as chairman and CEO...

LENZNER: They should.

YELLIN: ... instead of splitting up those the jobs. He said that no customer suffered as a result of the company's mistakes.


YELLIN: Do you believe him?

LENZNER: Yes, because he wouldn't say it if it wasn't true. He's a completely honest, straightforward, hard-driving man who I have known for well over 30 years. I would have great confidence that he is going to straighten this out right away and kick whoever's butt needs to be kicked.

I would say that, by his saying that no customers' money were lost, he's saying for the first time that the money was not deposits by depositors.

YELLIN: It was the bank's money.

LENZNER: It was the bank's money.


YELLIN: OK. I have got one other quick question I want to get to...


YELLIN: ... which is that we keep hearing right now that the banks are bigger today than they were before the financial collapse in 2008.


YELLIN: How did that happen? How is that possible?


LENZNER: Well, for J.P. Morgan, it happened because they took over Bear Stearns, which was going out of business. And then they took over WaMu, which was a big -- a huge, big savings bank.

YELLIN: So they swallowed up other banks.

LENZNER: They took those over because they were failing and they were asked to take over -- or they -- it developed that somebody needed to do something to prevent a systemic breakdown, and J.P. Morgan took over those banks, just like Wells Fargo took over...

YELLIN: Can you just say, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

LENZNER: I think it's worrisome about the fact that there's five or six banks that are responsible for 95 percent of all the credit default swap trading in the world. If one bank were to get into very serious problems, it would affect all the other major banks, and then you would have a possible systemic crisis where too big to fail would be operating again.

YELLIN: OK. All right. Too big to fail, we have gotten even bigger.

Bob Lenzner, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

And moving on, John Edwards' lawyers spent today picking apart the financial motives of one of the prosecution's key witnesses, former Edwards aide Andrew Young. Meanwhile, Edwards' daughter, Cate, is expected to take the stand as soon as tomorrow.

Edwards' friend and adviser John Moylan testified that the former presidential candidate knew nothing about the money coming from heiress Bunny Mellon until after he admitted the affair. Moylan said -- quote -- "He was as surprised to hear it as I was. Senator Edwards said, 'Bunny, you should not be sending money to anyone.'"

So did Edwards' friend help his cause?

CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin joins me now. So, Jeffrey, let's start with Cate Edwards. Everybody wants to know, look, is putting her on the stand just a clever attempt to avoid putting John Edwards on the stand and letting his daughter make his case for him?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's part of it, but I don't think that is the whole thing.

Sure, she can tell his side of the story, but I think there is a symbolic thing here that's very important. So much of this case is about how John Edwards treated his family horribly, that his wife was dying of cancer, that he cheated on her, and that he lied to her.

And if Cate Edwards can forgive him, then the jury should. That's got to be part of the message here. And we will see if the jury buys it. But it's not just that Edwards will testify through his daughter. It's that she will forgive him in a way that the jury perhaps will accept.

YELLIN: If she forgives him, then the jury should forgive him...


TOOBIN: Correct. Right.

YELLIN: Now, we expect Cate Edwards to testify that her father loved her mother, Elizabeth Edwards. Any indication what the prosecution plans to ask Cate during cross-examination? Or can you guess what they would ask?

TOOBIN: Well, I think by and large the prosecution will want to stay away from Cate Edwards. They have made their case. They have put in the evidence that this money came in from Bunny Mellon and from Fred Baron and it was, in effect, a campaign contribution.

I don't think the prosecution will get a lot of mileage out of attacking the daughter, the blameless daughter of the defendant, when her mother has died, her brother has died. She's undoubtedly going to be a sympathetic figure. I think the best thing for the prosecution would be to get her on and off the stand as quickly as possible.

YELLIN: Right. They won't win any points by attacking her.

TOOBIN: Right.

YELLIN: All right, Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much for being with us.


YELLIN: One of the nation's newest high-tech fighter jets has a problem. The F-22 Raptor is making pilots and its mechanics sick. And no one is sure why.

So, today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered special precautions.

Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence. Chris, this is an odd situation. What do they think is wrong with these jets?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jessica, basically, these -- some of the pilots who have been flying the F-22 have complained of these symptoms, dizziness, feeling like they are going to black out, the things you don't want to be feeling when you are flying well over twice the speed of sound.

So they are feeling the effects of oxygen deprivation. And the Pentagon is trying to figure out why, what's going on with the jets. They think it is some sort of engineering problem. So, for right now, they have mandated that they install a backup system in these jets and they are limiting the distance they can fly from the airstrip. In other words, if the pilots get in trouble, they don't want them to have to fly too far to be able to land that plane.

YELLIN: That's just terrifying. How is this going to affect the Air Force's ability to conduct its missions?

LAWRENCE: Well, in the short term, it means some of those long-haul flights over Alaska, they are going to have to use other planes to pick that up.

But big picture, this is America's most advanced fighter jet. So this is a very big deal. It is used not only in deployments overseas, but also used to protect the airspace right here at home. So there are some real questions here that the military has really got to delve into.

YELLIN: I can imagine. They must be all over that.


YELLIN: Thanks so much, Chris, for giving us that update.

And we will stay on top of that story.

Mitt Romney, he keeps saying he wants to repeal President Obama's health care reform law -- so, next, a report card on what he would do to ensure that Americans would still get health insurance.

And later, would you be more or less likely to fly on an airline if they let passengers use their cell phones in flight? Yes, it's happening. Find out which carrier coming up next.


YELLIN: We are continuing our candidate report card series with a weeklong look at presumed Republican president nominee Mitt Romney's record.

Today, we dig deeper on Romney's health care positions.

John King breaks its down for us with this.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Romneycare came before Obamacare and both have been and will continue to be debating points in this presidential campaign.

Now, to some, there is a conflict between what Romney did as governor and what he proposes now as a presidential candidate. Central to his record on health care issues is the Massachusetts law enacted back in 2006 that has expanded access from 94 percent of state residents to more than 98 percent, including virtually all children.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every citizen with affordable comprehensive health insurance, small businesses able to conveniently buy insurance for their employees at a cost that's competitive with big businesses, medical transparency, bringing marketplace dynamics to health care really for the first time, and, finally, beginning to rein in health care inflation.

KING: Now, though, as a presidential candidate, Romney says he would repeal the health care law, arguing Washington oversteps its authority in enacting a national mandate.

ROMNEY: We dealt with people in our state that were uninsured, some 9 percent. His bill deals with 100 percent of the people. He puts in place a panel that ultimately is going to tell people what kind of care they can have. We didn't do anything like that.

What the president did was simply wrong. It is the wrong course for America. It is not what we did in Massachusetts. The people in Massachusetts favor our plan by 3-1. And states can make their own choices.

KING: And Governor Romney now embraces dramatic but controversial reforms to the Medicare program -- that's the government's program for the elderly -- including a voucher or an allowance that critics say might not be enough to cover retiree health care costs.

ROMNEY: We want to keep Medicare alive not just for the current people that rely on it, but for coming generations. It is Paul Ryan and people like him and me who are going to preserve Medicare and will not cut Medicare to pay for something like Obamacare.


YELLIN: All right, thanks, John.

And here to discuss Romney's health care record of Romney, Tevi Troy, who is a health care policy adviser to the Romney campaign, and Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress.

Thanks to both of you for being here.

Tevi, let me start with you.

Long before Mitt Romney was running for president, before the Republican primary began, I was covering the health care law as it was being written. And my reporting was that the Obama White House and Congress were basing their plan on the Romney health care model that was in Massachusetts.

Is that not true? What are the differences between Romney's plan and the president's plan as it exists today?

TEVI TROY, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Well, thanks, Jessica.

And, of course, I agree with what was said in the pretape about how the Romney plan was successful in Massachusetts. And I also agree with him that there are problems with the Obama plan. Some of the main differences are that the Obama plan is 2,700 pages long. The Romney plan was only 70 pages long.

The Obama plan hikes taxes. The Romney plan didn't. The Obama plan calls for cuts in Medicare, $500 billion in cuts. The Romney plan doesn't do anything of the sort. So there are so many differences that they are just different. The Romney plan doesn't have IPAB, which is where bureaucrats tell people what kind of health care they can get. So, there's just a ton of differences. There may be surface similarities, but it is a different plan.

YELLIN: Neera, you were there helping to craft this plan. Now, weren't there actually some tax increases in the Romney plan, as I understand?


YELLIN: And IPAB can't be done on a state level, can the?

TANDEN: Right.

YELLIN: So some things are -- couldn't be done in the state. Go ahead.


TANDEN: So we actually studied the Massachusetts plan. I worked with the White House. I worked at the White House on the president's -- on the Affordable Care Act for the president.

And we studied the Massachusetts plan because it was the same plan that the Congress was looking at. And we -- it has the same idea of insurance market reform. It has the same idea of exchanges where people could purchase health insurance. These are fundamentally -- it's fundamentally the same idea.

And, you know, Romney six, seven years ago -- not today, when he's running for president, but six or seven years ago, talked about the virtue of applying those principles nationally.


TANDEN: And just on these issues that Tevi has raised, I just have to say, you know, Romney actually used hundreds of billions of dollars over 10 years of federal money to subsidize the Massachusetts plan.

So that's why it didn't use as much on taxes. But he went to the federal purse to get a lot of Medicaid money to fund that plan. So, when you're talking about the costs of the plan, they are virtually the same.

YELLIN: And we have this old -- this interview, not that old, from 2009, when we asked -- Jim Acosta of CNN asked Mitt Romney if it could be applied nationally. Here's what the governor said.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think this plan, the Massachusetts plan, could be a model for the country?

ROMNEY: I think there are a number of features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans. The fact that we have portable insurance and that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they could learn from.


YELLIN: So, Tevi, he now says that he would like to repeal the Obamacare or the National Affordable Care Act because he doesn't think it should be applied on a federal level.

My question is, what happens to the 2.5 million young adults that are currently getting health insurance on their parents' plan because of the Affordable Care Act? What happens to the 60,000 who are getting coverage despite their preexisting conditions because of the Affordable Care Act the day after Governor Romney, let's say he becomes president and repeals Obamacare?

TROY: Yes.

Well, first of all, I completely agree with what Governor Romney said in that interview, that there are certain aspects he would look at. But that doesn't mean he embraces the entire plan. I think the entire plan is much more problematic, as we were talking about earlier.

In terms of what happens after, Governor Romney has a very aggressive plan for what he would do to help fix the health care system after repeal. I think repeal is essential and is the key first step.


YELLIN: Over time. But the day, literally the day after these -- someone is in the hospital. What do they do for health insurance coverage?

TROY: Look, first of all, we have EMTALA in this country, which covers people who need emergency medical treatment.

Governor Romney has a series of reforms that would help change the system over time. Our system is clearly far from perfect. There are a lot of changes that need to be made. There are a lot of people who aren't covered that won't be covered even under the Obama health care plan.

This calls for a lot of health care costs. Actually, CBO says there's still over 20 million uninsured in 2019. So there are still people uncovered under the Obama plan. So, it's not like the Obama plan has solved all our problems and Romney would fix that. The Obama plan has a lot of challenges, a lot of problems. It's expensive. It will cost over $2 trillion. Originally, they said about $1 trillion.

YELLIN: Neera, quickly.

TROY: So there's a lot of problems here.

TANDEN: I think what Tevi is saying is that those people who have coverage today will lose it.

And if it is comfort to them that they have emergency room coverage, like they do today, instead of a doctor's visit, that's cold comfort, I think.

And the challenge with Romney's plans are that he would essentially have a bunch of tax policies that would mean people would lose the coverage they have even today, because he takes away tax subsidies for health employers -- for employer-based coverage.

And so that's a big challenge. And people who have health insurance today would lose it under the Romney plan. And that's I think something we should be very concerned about.

TROY: I think people who have the plan now should worry about it under the Obama plan, because 30 percent of employers, according to a nonpartisan study, said that they might drop coverage as a result of the Obama plan.

TANDEN: That wasn't really a nonpartisan study. It was actually a Republican study. The Congressional Budget Office disagrees with that.

YELLIN: OK, thanks to you both of you. I think we could probably keep talking about this for so much longer.

TROY: Hours.

YELLIN: Hours longer and a whole campaign longer, because I think this will keep going.

Neera Tanden, Tevi Troy, thanks so much for being with us.

Campaign-savvy political ads, does that sound like a nightmare? It's reality, and you will be seeing ads showing up where you have never seen them before. Find out where coming up.


YELLIN: Welcome back. (NEWS BREAK)

YELLIN: And next: a deadly mystery. We will tell you where drivers are being warned to be careful if they are pulled over because a killer may be posing as a police officer.

Also ahead, an airline lifts the ban on in-flight calls using your own cell phone.


YELLIN: This half-hour: Cell phone addicts and frequent flyers, rejoice. Hear which airline is letting passengers make calls from 30,000 feet.

Terror on Mississippi highways -- two drivers found dead, and now police say a fake officer could be the killer.

Plus, House Speaker John Boehner says he's drawing a line in the sand on government spending. Why he's gearing up for another showdown on the debt ceiling.

If you've ever gotten a nasty glare from a flight attendant for fidgeting on your phone after it was supposed to be turned off, maybe you should book your next flight on Virgin Atlantic.

Passengers can now use their phones at 30,000 feet if you're on certain flights between London and New York. CNN aviation and regulation correspondent -- correspondent Lizzie O'Leary is here.

Lizzie, I can't even get the words out. I know this makes some flyers ecstatic. I just cannot believe it comes to this.

LIZZIE O'LEARY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ecstatic or really annoyed. Is this the person you want to be stuck next to for several hours?

What this is -- and people shouldn't freak out just yet -- this is not about using your cell phone, your BlackBerry, or your iPad when you're on the ground, getting ready for takeoff or while you're taxiing. Not that. It's a little bit like in-flight Wi-Fi but just with phone calls. So Virgin Atlantic is doing this. They're rolling out more of these flights. We've seen Emirates do it. We've also seen Singapore Airlines, British Airlines, some of the overseas ones.

Lobbyists are pushing hard. They want this to start happening. I talked to one of the guys who was pushing for this. He said, "Customers want this. We love our phones."


CARL RIERSACK, JET FLIGHT PASSENGER COMMUNICATIONS COALITION: People want to stay connected. We're not so much addicted to it, but we feel like we have to be connected.

I think flying can be stressful. Being able to connect -- not whether you connect or not, but being able to connect -- might be just enough to ease the nerves of one passenger on each flight, and that might make the whole thing kind of smoother.


O'LEARY: So about 8 million people have made these calls so far on flights affecting about 50 million people. One of the catches is it's very expensive. Remember those air phones back when those were in the back of the register -- or in the back of the seat? Those cost a lot of money. These can be anywhere from $3 to $9 a minute.


O'LEARY: Yes. There you go. That's why you don't see it widespread yet, but they're pushing for it. So some of these airlines have it.

YELLIN: And how safe is it to do this? Is it true that it's safe to use your phone on takeoff?

O'LEARY: It's a -- it's a different kind of technology. So essentially, it's like a little tiny cell tower in the plane, and your phone is communicating with that little teeny cell tower inside the plane. So it's not actually reaching down. And that's what has the FAA, the FCC -- they're still investigating whether that would interfere with plane.

I talked to the FAA administrator today about whether we will start to see a relaxation. Everybody wants to use their phone.


O'LEARY: They're looking at it. They're studying it.

YELLIN: Yes, we do.

O'LEARY: Everybody's holding meetings. They know customers want it. It's going to be a while.

YELLIN: OK. And another time we'll talk about what to do with a super loud talker in air...


YELLIN: ... when he won't stop talking on his cell phone. Right?


YELLIN: The new problem. Air rage, I bet. Thank you, Lizzie, for that report.

And on a more serious note, much more serious. A warning for drivers on Mississippi highways. There's a killer who may be posing as a cop, pulling drivers over, then shooting them to death. Authorities say it happened twice last week. And they're telling drivers in the area to be alert next time they see those flashing lights in the rear-view mirror.

Here's CNN's Martin Savidge. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, Mississippi officials say they don't want to panic people, but they do want to alert people.

Two deaths have occurred last week on an isolated stretch of highway in the northwestern part of the state. The first was a 74-year-old man from Nebraska on I-55. It was around 1:30 in the morning. His body was found inside his pickup truck. He had been shot and killed.

Then the next event occurred three days later. A 48-year-old woman, different stretch of highway, about 55 miles away. She, too, shot and killed, this time found just outside of her vehicle.

In both cases the vehicles had pulled to the side of the road. And that's what is key in the minds of investigators, because in both cases the automobiles seemed to be fine. So why would a person pull over in the middle of the night? They theorize that there could be somebody out there impersonating a police officer. And it could also mean fatal consequences.

Authorities have no suspects that they're identifying. Won't say if robbery was the motive here. They do say that shell casings link both of these shootings. They are now warning people if you're driving and get flashing lights behind you in the middle of the night in that part of Mississippi, call the police, ironically. Turn on your flashers and drive at a safe speed to a well-illuminated, well-populated place before getting out of your vehicle -- Jessica.

YELLIN: Thanks, Martin. Very upsetting.

Joining me now for the latest on the investigation in Mississippi, Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Warren Strain.

Mr. Strain, an upsetting story. Both of these victims were found late at night on the side of the highway with their wallets missing. Some interesting, noteworthy similarities. Are investigators any closer to determining whether this is the same killer?

WARREN STRAIN, SPOKESMAN, MISSISSIPPI HIGHWAY PATROL (via phone): Well, at this point a motive is yet to be determined. And we're not saying that -- that any personal effects were missing from Lori Ann Carswell, the victim from the Friday morning shooting. But there are similarities, primarily the fact that the vehicles were on the side of the road, on the shoulder of the road in the early morning hours in relatively remote areas of our state.

YELLIN: There are reports that the perpetrator may be impersonating a law enforcement officer. So what advice are you giving people who live in that area? If they see flashing lights in their rear-view mirror, should they pull over or just keep driving?

STRAIN: Well, that is one of the plausible theories, among others. But out of an abundance of caution and concern for public safety, we put out the statement yesterday that individuals who believe they're being pulled over, if it's not apparent or obvious that it's a law enforcement officer initiating the stop, to call 911. And that way they can -- the dispatcher can alert the officer that this individual is not trying to flee.

But oftentimes in these remote areas there may not be a lighted area where other people are around. So the best thing to do is call 911 and get in contact with the emergency dispatcher.

YELLIN: All right. Better safe than sorry. All right. Warren Strain from the Mississippi Highway Patrol, thanks for being with us.

STRAIN: Thank you, Jessica.

YELLIN: We'll stay on top of that story.

It is no secret that candidates will do just about anything to get their message out: TV ads, robo calls, e-mails, flyers, yard signs, you name it. But for the first time now, political ads are popping up online in places they'll be tough to ignore, and they are aimed directly at you. Here's CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Want to watch these funny moments on YouTube? First, Duracell wants to sell you batteries.


BASH: How about some cool snowboarding? Wait. Chevy wants you to check out its new car.

Now the political world is catching up to corporate America in online advertising.

(on camera) The Chamber of Commerce is using brand-new technology to help seven House Republican candidates in New York state. The technology allows them to target voters by finding their computers in specific zip codes like out here on Long Island, in 11954, voters click on YouTube, and they will see an ad against Democrat Tim Bishop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where was Congressman Bishop when they wanted to push energy bills even higher?

BASH: Now, voters here in central New York, in a different ZIP code, will see a different ad, one that promotes its Republican Congresswoman, Ann Marie Buerkle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Buerkle is fighting against Obama care.

BASH (on camera): The technology became available in March. But this is the first time it's being done in public policy.

SCOTT REED, SENIOR PUBLICIST STRATEGIST, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: We believe this is the first time it's being done in such an aggressive manner, in such a sophisticated manner. BASH (voice-over): Longtime GOP strategist Scott Reed, now with the Chamber of Commerce, says these ads will pop up on New Yorkers' YouTube pages for a two-week trial run. The same ads will be on TV. YouTube users can opt to not watch the ad. Those who do watch will be watched themselves. YouTube will gather key information, like estimated age, gender and interests.

It also tests the ad's messages.

REED: We're able to go in and look at how long people are on the ads, if they like the ads and stay to the end of the ad. If they stay on for a positive ad or a contrast ad.

BASH: Dan Maffei is a Democrat challenging a New York Republican the chamber is posting ads for. He argues this new frontier in political ads won't help what he calls a flawed message.

DAN MAFFEI, DEMOCRAT: You have to talk to voters. You can't just spoon-feed them. They know what they're interested in. And they can see through things like this, because they know Ann Marie Buerkle's record is one of trying to end Medicare as we know it niand again raise taxes on working families.


BASH: Now, this online advertising costs between 10 to 15 cents per view. The more voters click, the more expensive the ad buy.

A Nielsen study commissioned Google found the more viewers see advertising across multiple platforms, the more likely the message sticks. Jessica, what political consultants hope they use the same success -- find the same success in this online advertising that the corporate world has.

YELLIN: It's the future, and it's here now.

BASH: For sure.

YELLIN: Thanks a lot for that.

Coming up, a very unusual Mitt Romney endorsement as the elevator doors close.


YELLIN: Mitt Romney took his economic pitch to middle America today, saying a prairie fire of debt is sweeping across the nation, and he is the right guy to put it out.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will lead us out of this debt-and-spending inferno. We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can't even imagine from foreign countries we're never even going to visit. I will work with you to make sure we put out this spending and borrowing fire. (END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Joining us to talk about the political impact of the ballooning national debt are "TIME" magazine deputy bureau chief Michael Crowley, Obama campaign pollster Cornell Belcher, and Republican strategist Rob Johnson. Thanks to all of you for being with us.

First of all, Romney hit the president also on the stimulus. He called it, quote, "the biggest, most careless one-time expenditure by the federal government in history."

But before we get to that, I also want to point out that Joe Stiglitz, who is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, said that the stimulus was not big enough. And he said -- here's just one quote -- "We will see in the next two years the real cost of there not being a second round of stimulus. We will see the economy slow down at a very high economic cost."

So Rob, as a Republican, will you acknowledge at least there is a debate to be had about whether or not government spending is wise?

ROB JOHNSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No. I will not. I will admit there is a debate going on, but I don't think the debate -- we should be having this debate. I agree with Governor Romney. I think he did a great job today laying out his plan and laying out the problems we have in this country.

YELLIN: Is this an issue, Cornell, that Democrats can win on, or do they have to just agree the spending is too much and has to be spent down?

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, let's put this in some context. Most of the debt, you know, occurred under George Bush's watch. Two unpaid-for wars. You know, policies that put us in the economic collapse that sort of further grew into -- grew into this debt.

But the spending -- the spending thing is interesting, because quite frankly right now you see two parties in very -- two different areas. Republicans say, well, let's not do anything to stimulate the economy at all, and the president took bold leadership to stimulate the economy.

And since taking that action, our economy has grown 26 straight months of job growth here. And when you look at sort of, quite frankly, go across seas and what the problem that the juries (ph) are having right now is because they didn't, in fact, do a stimulus program and they're going...

YELLIN: Europe is suffering austerity.

BELCHER: A recession.

YELLIN: Michael, I want to play for you something that Bill Clinton said today, his advice to President Obama. Talk more about proposed budget cuts. Former president.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President, I think, should talk more about the Medicare savings he has proposed. And the -- the defense cuts he has proposed and the fact that he proposes -- and I disagree with this, by the way. He proposes to take discretionary nondefense spending to its lowest percentage of GDP since President Eisenhower was in office.

He is at least trying to honor the deal he made with the Republicans. And I think he should talk more about it.


YELLIN: He's talking about the budget deal. So do you think this could actually be a winning issue for Democrats somehow, the debt deal?

MICHAEL CROWLEY, DEPUTY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "TIME" MAGAZINE: I don't think Democrats are going to end up winning on spending cuts, but I do think that Bill Clinton has sort of been there and done that. You know, he -- he was the guy who got up there and declared the era of big government is over. And I think he did a pretty effective job of trying to convey the Democratic Party had turned a new leaf, so to speak, and was moving away from spending.

But I think that when it comes to the question of people wanting budget cuts, Obama is not going to win that fight. I think the better fight for him is on taxes.

And the thing that Romney did not talk about today was increased revenue. His speech was all about cutting spending, cutting spending. The implication being that we can cut our way out of this debt crisis. You're going to find -- you're going to fill a phone booth with -- with economists who agree that that's a plausible way out of the situation.

Obama is saying raise taxes, particularly on the wealthy. And Republicans don't want to do that. I think that's the winning issue for Obama. And that's where he...

YELLIN: Taxes.

CROWLEY: That's how he responds to Romney on a speech like that.

YELLIN: Let's look for a minute, because here's an issue I know you will want to talk about. Today the Gallup poll came out. There's all sorts of poll numbers, but this is what struck me.

Mitt Romney's favorability has jumped up. His favorables right now, 50 percent favorable to 41 percent unfavorable. Look at -- it's almost right in line with the president's 52 percent favorable to 46 percent unfavorable. It's a big change from just a month or so ago. What do you think accounts for the jump in Mitt Romney's sort of likeability? JOHNSON: There's several things that account for it, Jessica. One, the Republican Party is coalescing around -- around Mitt Romney. And it's obvious that he's going to be our nominee.

But also he has a bold plan and a strong plan for our economy. And Americans care about the economy. I think the poll talked about the economy -- the importance of the economy and that they trust Mitt Romney more than Barack Obama on the economy.

And I think that has a lot to do with his favorability. So it's more important to see how the president's have just stayed the same.

YELLIN: Cornell, should this be worrying for the president?

BELCHER: No. I mean, the polls are all over the place. I mean, I would be surprised if, in fact, you know, Mitt Romney's numbers didn't bounce up. The Republicans should be galvanizing around him. If they're not, it would be -- it would be a real problem.

However, you know, this is the part where we begin to define who Mitt Romney is. And it's only interesting...

YELLIN: As the president's negative ads...

BELCHER: It's also interesting that the less Mitt Romney has been out there, the more his favorables have been going up.

YELLIN: Well, he's been out there a lot this week. That's not quite fair to say.

CROWLEY: No, I think there's truth there, though, Jessica. That I think for Romney, the more we're talking about the unemployment rate, the better he does. The more he's out there talking spontaneously -- the man made a lot of gaffes, especially at the end of that primary season. I think he should just let the economy and the unemployment rate do the work for him. I think that's why he's looking more...

YELLIN: When he was under attack he was less likable also, and now the...

CROWLEY: That was a part of it. There's no doubt. There's no doubt.

BELCHER: He's doing most of the attacking. He's doing most of the attacking.

YELLIN: We've got to wrap. We'll have another conversation, another time. There will be plenty more.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is coming up at the top of the hour. And Erin, you attended a fiscal summit here in Washington, but even more exciting, you spoke with House Speaker John Boehner. What did you learn?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it was a very interesting summit throughout the day, Jessica. I have to say. Bill Clinton talked, giving a ringing endorsement for Simpson-Bowles, saying he thinks he could get it -- get Democrats to vote for it and even go further.

Speaker Boehner, though, made some headlines trying to say that, well, look, if he's going to raise the debt ceiling later this year, he's going to make it be one for one. Every dollar of a debt ceiling increase they're going to have to have spending cuts or other reforms, which he says will not include obvious tax increases.

And I pushed him on that, whether that was partisanship. And here's what he said.


BURNETT: it out that you have to have -- you have to have the cuts and the reforms that are equal to or greater than the debt increase, Chris Van Hollen said that's a line in the sand.

JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It is a line in the sand.

BURNETT: That's the partisanship.

BOEHNER: It is a line in the sand, because Washington has kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road. And the American people think we're crazy. They're ready for Washington to take action. I'm here. I'm ready to do it. Let's go.


BURNETT: Well, tonight we have two members of the Gang of Six. And you know what, Jessica? I have to say I think it's going to be a very uplifting interview.

We'll also going to push back a little bit more on Speaker Boehner, and you'll hear what he had to say when I asked him why the budget he endorsed, Paul Ryan's budget, comes with $5.2 trillion in a debt ceiling increase? Why is that OK and this debt ceiling increase is not? So that's coming up top of the hour.

Back to you.

YELLIN: All right. That's interesting. We'll listen for that. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: All right.

YELLIN: And we are tracking new developments in the Trayvon Martin case. His admitted killer had a broken nose and cuts the night after the shooting. That's according to ABC News. He had those cuts. What this means for George Zimmerman, who's always claimed that he shot in self-defense.


YELLIN: New developments are just in on the Trayvon Martin case. ABC News is reporting that the man who killed Trayvon Martin, Neighborhood Watchman George Zimmerman, had a broken nose, a pair of black eyes, and several cuts on the back of his head on the day after the teenager's death.

ABC News says that's according to a medical report put together by Zimmerman's family physician.

Let's get to CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin in New York.

Jeff, hi. Thanks for coming back. Zimmerman, he has always claimed that he shot Martin in self-defense, so how do these medical reports now support that?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they potentially do, because after all, a broken nose is a serious injury. Obviously, it's not life-threatening, but it certainly suggests that Zimmerman was injured and there was a struggle.

Same thing according to the autopsy reports, also an ABC News report that the knuckles of Trayvon Martin were damaged, suggesting that he threw some punches.

Again, it doesn't prove that Zimmerman was engaged in self-defense, but this is evidence that his lawyers will be able to make use of.

YELLIN: Well, a lawyer for Trayvon Martin's parents released a statement, as well, and that says, quote, "My thoughts are the same as before. Our position hasn't changed at all. This information has already been out there before. We're ready to respond if need be."

So does the prosecution need to change its case at all, or can they just argue that these injuries came because Trayvon Martin was trying to defend himself?

TOOBIN: Right. The key issue here is not resolved. The key issue is who was the aggressor between Martin and Zimmerman? That is the heart of this case. And that, frankly, at least based on any evidence I've seen, remains a mystery, and that's going to be the central issue when this case goes to trial.

But the fact that Zimmerman had a genuine injury, a broken nose, is certainly something that he is going to be able to point to and say, "Look, I was the victim of an attack." Does it prove it? Does it mean he's going to be acquitted? No. But it's certainly a favorable piece of evidence for the defense in this case.

YELLIN: A little more evidence for the defense. Jeff Toobin, thanks for your insight as always.


YELLIN: And here's Kate Bolduan now with more of the latest news you need to know right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of news this evening.

Hello, everyone. Let's catch you up on other headlines that we're watching. France's new president was sworn in today. Socialist Francois Hollande beat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in a bitterly fought election this month. Economists worry, though, about how well Hollande will handle the debt crisis in Europe.

And Dominique Strauss-Kahn filed a $1 million lawsuit today against the New York City maid who accused him of sexually assaulting her last year. In court papers, he claims the maid's accusations were, quote, "malicious," as it led to his imprisonment and house arrest.

The criminal case against the former head of the International Monetary Fund was dismissed, but he still faces a civil suit.

And flames have consumed more than 9,000 acres of forest and grass land across Arizona. Let's look at some of the photos -- images that we're bringing in for you right now. Forecasters say winds could threaten even more damage where crews are battling four wildfires. It's forced hundreds of residents into mandatory evacuations. These blazes are the first major fires this season after last year's record 2,000 wildfires.

And a hip replacement isn't stopping the -- this 93-year-old. She marched with Gandhi twice, and now Tao Porchon-Lynch just landed a Guinness world record for the world's oldest yoga instructor. She's been teaching for 61 years and says she won't stop until she can't breathe any longer.

Porchon-Lynch also does competitive dancing, of all things, with a partner 69 years her junior. Hope he can keep up with her, but I know I definitely cannot.

YELLIN: I am impressed.

OK. We're moving right on, because this is impressive, too. Tonight's "Moment You May Have Missed." Or maybe we should put it in the form of a question. What is tonight's "Moment You May Have Missed?"

CNN's own aviation and regulation correspondent Lizzie O'Leary showed off her "Jeopardy" skills as part of the show's power player. Yes, there she is with Trebek. And she faced tough competition. She went head to head with President Obama's former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, and MSBNC's Chris Matthews.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY": The full name of the U-2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 -- Chris.


TREBEK: We need the full name.

MATTHEWS: Who is Gary Powers.

TREBEK: No. Lizzie? LIZZIE O'LEARY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who is Francis Gary Powers.

TREBEK: That's it. Yes. Full name. Lizzie benefits. She selects.


YELLIN: Lizzie ended up coming in second after getting stumped in "Final Jeopardy."

That is so impressive to me. Could you ever do that?

BOLDUAN: I think it's -- I've been actually trying to track her down to talk to her about it today. It's not only do you know these answers, it's do you know the answers on command...

YELLIN: She said the buzzer was an issue.

BOLDUAN: Right. That's, like, the hardest thing, apparently.

YELLIN: She said she practiced on a ballpoint pen, and there's -- if you press too soon, you get locked out for a few seconds or something.

BOLDUAN: A nightmare, stressful. I'll stick to kind of the television we do.

YELLIN: Exactly.

And that's all from us tonight. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.