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THE SITUATION ROOM
Facebook Frenzy; Donna Summer Dies; Romney Rejects Controversial Ad; Joe Biden's Son Jumps Into The Campaign; V.P.'s Emotions On The Campaign Trail; Justice Breyer's Home Burglarized; 28,000 Postal Service Jobs At Stake; Huge Landslide In Switzerland; Alleged Bike Thief Face Plants; Rare Look At the Car Of The Future
Aired May 17, 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: I'm Wolf Blitzer. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The markets are about to close. We're awaiting the announcement from Facebook setting the price of its historic initial public offering, one of the biggest ever, which could make Facebook a $100 billion company. Could happen at any moment.
Just listen to the bell closing on the New York Stock Exchange for a sec. All right, the markets are now officially closed. Clearly, there's an insatiable demand for Facebook stock in part because those initial shares are hard to get. Most will go to -- first to Facebook insiders, the dozens of banks involved in the IPO and well-heeled investors with big active brokerage accounts.
Ironically, the Facebook frenzy comes during a rather bad week for the market, wrapped up in concerns about Europe's huge debt problems.
Let's bring in our chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi,who is watching all of this.
We're about to know any minute now, Ali, how much the stock will go for.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And, you know, the bottom line is they could actually take hours. We think it is going to come out very, very quickly.
The top of the range is $38. All indications are that Facebook is oversubscribed. There are more people who want to buy the stock than there are stocks available. And that's -- as a result they're probably going to go at the high end of the range. They can go higher, according to SEC rules, but we're thinking about $38, and again that is the price at which institutional investors will get it.
That's not the price that retail investors tomorrow morning at 9:30 who want to buy it are going to get it. I will show you on the right side of the screen here, Wolf, it's important to understand. Look at that loss on the Dow. That's got nothing to do with Facebook. That actually has got way more to do with what's going on in Europe.
And, frankly, the average person may be more concerned -- or Greece may have more to do with your economic life than Facebook does. But there is no -- there is some effect of Facebook. There are going to be a whole bunch of people who get a lot richer overnight. And they pay a lot of taxes.
And I was saying to Dana Bash earlier the state of California stands to gain $2 billion in tax revenue because of all these people who will owe tax on their new gains. If you're the state of California, Wolf, or any state in the United States, $2 billion out of nothing is a pretty big windfall.
BLITZER: Two billion dollars is huge
BLITZER: And I'm sure the state treasury could use that money. Just ask the governor, Jerry Brown.
BLITZER: But right now they will come out with a price. Then, tomorrow, when the stock starts trading on the Nasdaq, people will either see it go up or go down. There's no guarantee in this business at all that it is going to continue to go up.
VELSHI: No. So the price today will be what those institutional investors will buy it for. Right?
Now, tomorrow morning, again, it could start trading at any time. Generally speaking, it's around 9:30. Some of these tech IPOs sometimes come out at 10:30 and 10:40 and sometimes it takes a few minutes to start trading.
But that's when you can put a trade in through your E-Trade or Schwab or Ameritrade or Scottrade account and you will pay what the market offers. If you say that you will pay up to $40 and the stock's trading at $50, you're not going to get it. You will pay whatever it is and you're buying stock from people who bought it either at the IPO price or back in the old days when they were venture capitalists and they were funding this little startup and they got stock in exchange.
So, these are people who have been in the company maybe four or five years. They have been invested. They want to monetize their investment. They want to sell the stock to you for a profit. You will then own it, hoping that it is worth more in a year or two years or three years.
That's a decision you have to make. Remember, Wolf, if you feel it important to invest in Facebook for you, a couple things to remember. It doesn't have to be all of your portfolio and you don't actually have to buy an IPO the first day. There's nothing wrong with waiting a few days, seeing how it goes, maybe buying it next week or a month from now.
The reason we're doing this kind of coverage is because so many people seem so eager to get in on the stock. I'm getting all of these e- mails and tweets saying, how do I buy it? How do I buy it? How much should I put into it?
So some people might think we're encouraging that. I'm actually saying, think about this. Maybe it makes sense for you to buy Facebook. Maybe it doesn't.
BLITZER: Only if you can afford it and only if you can afford to lose money, because there's every possibility that it could go down after it goes up. That's the nature of the stock market, as we all know.
VELSHI: That's exactly right. Right.
BLITZER: Don't do it unless you can really afford it and don't do it unless you're not going to be all that concerned if you lose some money.
Ali, good advice as usual.
The initial public offering should turn many Facebook employees into instant millionaires, if not some of them billionaires.
Let's check in the scene over at company headquarters out in California.
Our Silicon Valley correspondent, Dan Simon, is joining us from Menlo Park.
Dan, there's going to be a lot of new millionaires working at Facebook right behind you.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Wolf. And the Valley, Silicon Valley, is expecting a huge windfall of money being invested throughout the local economy here.
You're talking about new home sales, perhaps some new car sales. High-end retailers, they're al Well, expecting to get a billion of piece of that Facebook money that is going to be available shortly, hundreds if not thousands of newly minted millionaires in this complex behind me.
Let me tell you about what they're going to be doing tonight, Wolf, and this is interesting, this is an interesting public relations move that Facebook is doing. They're doing what is called a hackathon. This is for all Facebook employees to build whatever they want to build, kind of get back at the company's roots in terms of building stuff.
And so employees are going to be coding at their computers. They're going to be doing all kinds of projects not related to their job. However, if they find something that sort of catches fire, that can be their full-time job.
Mark Zuckerberg is going to be here with all the employees for this hackathon tonight. They have done this many times. This is their 31st hackathon and some of the most innovative features that you see on Facebook today came as a result of these hackathons, including that eponymous like button that you see on the Facebook page.
And then as soon as that hackathon is over -- well, the hackathon is going to end as soon as that Nasdaq bell is rung and they are expecting to do here tomorrow morning 6:30 a.m. local time -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Have you been speaking to a lot of the folks over there, a lot of the workers? How do they feel? What kind of reaction are you getting from that?
SIMON: You know, it's interesting. You can't really get much access to the employees because they're under what is called the quiet period leading up to the IPO
But we have spent the last couple of weeks talking to various experts in the Valley and of course this is all that everyone is talking about. In terms of whether or not this represents a bubble, there's been a lot of talk about that in terms of the Facebook valuation. Most people we talked to say this does not suggest a bubble. Facebook is in its own category.
If you look at some of the other companies in Silicon Valley, maybe it's bubbling a bit in terms of the very high valuations, but not necessarily a bubble. The businesses that you are seeing today and Facebook taking the lead on this, they actually have lots of users, they have actual profits, and they have solid business plans behind these companies, unlike say what we saw a dozen years ago when the bubble burst with Web 1.0 -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Dan Simon reporting to us from Menlo Park, headquarters of Facebook, Dan, thank you.
I want to go right to Alison Kosik.
Alison, I take it "The Wall Street Journal," others are now reporting what Ali suggested right at the top of the hour, $38 a share?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. That's what the IPO is expected to be according to "The Wall Street Journal" for Facebook, that it will price at $38.
We were given this range of $34 to $38. That was -- that had actually been raised throughout the week because of so much interest in this stock. In fact, one investor called this nothing short of pandemonium. So, when this stock opens tomorrow morning at 9:30, an hour later, when things start rolling, it is going to price at $38.
But if you're an ordinary investor trying to get in on this, good luck getting that $38 price, because as soon as that price hits the market, those orders have already been in. You have got those buyers and sellers working feverishly and they're bidding that price up most likely, so don't be surprised if that $38 shoots up much higher within minutes -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let me go back to Ali. Alison, hold on for a second.
Ali, you said it, $38. It now looks like it's going to be $38. This is not a huge surprise.
VELSHI: Yes. The way a company prices an IPO is they want it to be attractive enough that these big investors will get in and think that they can make some money off of it, but high enough so that the initial investors, the ones that bet on you years ago and invested in you will get a good return on their money, because those are some of the people making the decision.
So it's a complicated dance that companies do with their investment bankers, Morgan Stanley, in this case, where they say how much can we charge for this? They started off by saying $28 to $35. That was more than two weeks ago. Then Mark Zuckerberg and team hit the road. They went to these investor meetings and there were more people coming to these meetings than they had space for. They were standing room only and they started talking to groups of investors.
And people said, yes, we want a lot of shares. And so they kept pushing that price higher and higher and higher. So $38 is the top of the new range that they suggested they were going to offer it at. So, that means that's the price that if you said you wanted to buy the stock and you were a big institutional investor, that's what you will get it at.
It doesn't mean you will get as many shares as you would have liked. Now, tomorrow morning, some people will be eligible to sell their shares. Those are going to be shares that are on the market. Facebook is putting shares on the market and then there will be buyers, as Alison said. Our viewers might be some of those buyers. They will put a buy in.
I will tell you this, Wolf. If you are going to be a buyer tomorrow morning -- and, again, this is a personal decision -- there is no endorsement here of Facebook. Some tech IPOs, other IPOs, go down. Here's the thing, make sure you put in a limit order, because if you put in what is called a market order, which means sell me those shares no matter what price, you could end up paying far more than you expected for shares of Facebook.
BLITZER: We will see what the market does tomorrow, but much more important we will see what the market does in the weeks and months that follow.
BLITZER: One day does not make a stock, as we all know from personal experience.
Ali, don't go too far away. We will stay on top of this story.
But I want to move on to some other important news we're following right now, including the passing of a legendary music winner. She was the queen of disco, a five-time Grammy winner with a string of smash hits. Donna Summer died today in Florida after a long battle with cancer. She was 63 years old.
Let's turn to our entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner.
Nischelle Turner, tell us a little bit about Donna.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, gosh, there was so much.
Her career spanned so much any decades. The entertainment and music world are simply reeling today over the loss of a singer whose successful career like I said spanned decades.
TURNER (voice-over): Donna Summer's "Last Dance" wrapped up nights at the disco for a generation. Her voice became the soundtrack of the '70s dance scene and she was the queen, as seen here in a performance on "American Bandstand."
Summer's career took off with the controversial 17-minute "Love to Love You Baby." The song's oohs and aahs were considered too racy for many radio stations in 1975, fueling its appeal with fans. Summer's other disco hits included "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls." Her song "She Works Hard For the Money" became the anthem of the '80s working woman.
And Summer worked hard touring and performing for nearly two decades before slowing down to focus on her personal life and her faith. Despite recording less, her fervent fans stuck with her through the years. In a 2008 interview with CNN, Summer spoke about the appreciation she had for their loyalty.
DONNA SUMMER, MUSICIAN: It makes me feel blessed, just completely blessed. I don't have an answer for it, except that it's the favor of God on me. It really is, because I go away and come back and they're there and it's, like, wow, what a remarkable thing.
TURNER: Summer's most recent album, "Crayons," was released in 2008 and she brought her music to a new generation of fans with an appearance later that year on "American Idol."
Despite performing music in a variety of genres, Summer retained her title as queen of disco, a moniker she says she didn't mind.
SUMMER: I'm the queen. It's fine. Look, it's nice being the queen of something, darling.
TURNER: Summer died Thursday morning of complications related to a long, private battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her family at home in Florida.
Summer's favorite song to perform? "Last Dance."
SUMMER: That song was -- you know, was a song that I would get to sing at the end of every show, mostly, and by that time I had finished the show and I'm getting my paycheck. So, that is a good song for me. (END VIDEOTAPE)
TURNER: A representative tells CNN that Summer's family asked that in lieu of flowers they would like for people to make donations in Donna's honor to the Salvation Army -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What a great, great talent. She will be missed.
BLITZER: Our deepest condolences, Nischelle, to the entire family.
BLITZER: Thanks very much.
Mitt Romney rejects a proposal to bring back a controversial figure from the last presidential campaign -- the uproar over a proposed ad offensive that aimed to hit President Obama on a sensitive issue.
And the Obama White House adds a few little extras to the biographies of former presidents. Anything wrong with that?
Jack Cafferty is next.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama, Wolf, is under fire for adding his own policy plugs to the official biographies of past presidents on the White House Web site. Here's how it works. The White House added blurbs to the ends of official biographies. The so- called hey did you know factoids appear on every president going all of the way back to Calvin Coolidge.
For example, June 28, 1985 speech, President Reagan called for a fair tax code where a millionaire didn't have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same thing with the Buffett Rule. These added links plug everything from Obamacare to Social Security, Medicare, the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell".
The RNC has created its own Obama in history Web site. It shows the president is part of other historical events like the moon landing and the declaration of independence, and with historical figures like Einstein and Richard Nixon and, of course, Elvis.
The White House insists the biographies themselves were not changed. They say they simply added links at the bottom of each page and it's a commonly used Internet practice to explore people further. Maybe so.
However, one expert told ABC News that while these additions didn't cross the line by changing the presidential biographies themselves, the White House could have made it clear that they were not part of the official White House presidential biography. So, here's the question: is it appropriate for President Obama to change the official biography pages of past presidents on the White House Web site?
Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile and post a comment on my blog. Go to my post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page.
Not a weighty issue, but interesting.
BLITZER: Yes, I suspect most people would say it's not appropriate, but I'm curious to hear what our viewers think.
CAFFERTY: It wouldn't be the first time a politician would do something inappropriate, would it?
BLITZER: Not the first time, won't be the last.
All right. Jack, thank you.
Mitt Romney is rejecting a proposed advertising offensive that would have brought back a rather controversial figure from the last presidential campaign.
Let's bring in our national political correspondent Jim Acosta.
A fast-moving story here, Jim, what do we know?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Wolf, at a campaign event earlier this afternoon here in Florida, Mitt Romney condemned a proposed ad campaign aimed at dredging up the president's former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. The return of Wright is a sign of how this race could be no holds barred.
ACOSTA (voice-over): It was a pitch to tear down the president laid out in this proposal obtained by "The New York Times" for a multimedia ad campaign that recommends, quote, "hitting Barack right between the eyes."
Entitled "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End the Spending for Good," the proposal sketches out a series of TV spots featuring the president's former pastor with Jeremiah Wright in those clips that nearly derailed his 2008 campaign.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT, PASTOR: Not "God bless America", God damn America.
ACOSTA: A conservative political action committee called Ending Spending says it received a proposal, but rejected it.
JOE RICKETTS: We've got to stop this incredible spending.
ACOSTA: The PAC is aligned with online brokerage tycoon. Joe Ricketts seen in his own web video railing against the national debt. In a statement, Ricketts PAC said Ricketts is neither the author nor the funder of the Ricketts plan to defeat Mr. Obama. It is filled with racial overtone, referring to Obama as the metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln, who has emerged as a hyper-partisan, hyper-liberal politician.
It was at the kickoff of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Vice President Joe Biden questioned the morality of the planned offensive.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think guys like that so misunderstand the state of the nation. They act like it's 1942.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It looked like breakfast is served.
ACOSTA: When asked about "The Times" story on his campaign plane, Mitt Romney said he hadn't read it yet.
REPORTER: Sir, have you seen the report on "The Times" this morning?
ROMNEY: I haven't seen the papers this morning.
REPORTER: Governor, do you think Reverend Wright is off limits in his campaign?
ROMNEY: I'll be right back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Mitt Romney --
ACOSTA: Slammed by the Obama campaign for that non-response, Romney went further at a campaign event later in the day.
ROMNEY: I repudiate that effort. I think it's the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign. I hope that our campaigns can respectively be about the future and about issues and about a vision for America. I've been disappointed in the president's campaign to date which has focused on character assassination.
ACOSTA: But the GOP contender did raise the question of Wright's influence on the question earlier this year in a radio interview with Sean Hannity.
ROMNEY: The president takes his philosophical leanings in his regard not from those who are ardent believers in various states, but instead on those who would like to see America more secular. I'm not sure which is worse, him listening to Reverend Wright or him saying that we must be a less Christian nation.
ACOSTA: Romney defended those comments.
ROMNEY: I stand by what I said, whatever it was.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: Back in 2008 John McCain was offered the chance to use Jeremiah Wright in his race against President Obama, but he declined, saying he did not want to run that kind of campaign.
As for this latest ad campaign that proposed to use Jeremiah Wright, it managed to inject the reverend into the news cycle, Wolf, without spending a dime on air time -- Wolf.
BLITZER: One thing I don't understand, he strongly ran away from that whole proposal, today saying it wasn't his proposal, he doesn't want anything to do with it. He wants to deal with the economic, substantive issues of his campaign. Why didn't he tell through a spokesman that same thing to the New York Times before they went to press?
ACOSTA: That's a very good question, Wolf. You know, this response that came from Joe Ricketts came several hours after that article first appeared in "The New York Times," and I think what basically happened was pressure was starting to come to bear on Joe Ricketts, on this political action committee.
Keep in mind, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, he's not very pleased with Joe Ricketts right now. He has said through a spokesman, "The Washington Post" is reporting right now, Wolf, that Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, is very upset with Joe Ricketts. Joe Ricketts is the owner of Chicago Cubs. So, Mr. Ricketts has to keep people in Chicago happy. But right now, he's not doing that when it comes to the mayor of that city -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, I write about the whole subject on our blog, CNN.com/SituationRoom today, just posted that blog a little while ago. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
The Vice President Joe Biden gets emotional at an event with firefighters, talking about the tragic death of his wife and daughter coming up. One of the surviving members of the fatal car crash, the vice president's son, Beau Biden, the attorney general of Delaware, he'll join us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Let's get right to our strategy session. Joining us now: Democratic strategist and CNN contributor, Hilary Rosen, and the Republican strategist, also a CNN contributor, Alex Castellanos.
Guys, thanks very much for coming in.
Hilary, let me start with you. I assumed you were please that Romney ran away from this strategy of trying to revive the Reverend Wright in this current campaign, just as John McCain ran away from it four years ago. Romney did the right thing today, right?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think he did do the right thing. It makes no sense to resurrect something like that. It didn't work the first time and frankly, I think he did it because he knew it wouldn't work this time, too. BLITZER: It's going to certainly, even if they were to do that, Alex -- and you're an expert in this field -- it would alienate a lot of those independents out there, the moderate Democrats, Republicans, undecideds. They may have problems with the president's economy strategy or whatever, but he's likable according to all of the polls. And if they were to take that strategy, that could be counterproductive from the Republican perspective.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think that's true, Wolf. And, you know, this election was about the economy. The economic house is burning down and if we're talking about other things that are aren't central to that, then you're really out of the discourse. You're playing the Super Bowl in the wrong stadium, and I think Romney saw that today.
But you know, on both sides on both extremes of the political spectrum, Democrat and Republican, there are funders out there who always want their unique or weird issue heard and there are always some consultants out there who are willing to take that money. So, I think that's where that came from and that's where it should go back.
BLITZER: And it's really uncharted territory because of this new era of unlimited spending, Hilary, with the super PACs, you could have far right groups, far left groups come up with millions of dollars of commercials that are nasty, trashy and ugly and there's not much that the candidates themselves, if anything, can do about it.
ROSEN: Well, that's true, and I think that, you know, we just saw in the Republican primary where really, you know, Mitt Romney's super PACs outspent the other Republican opponents by hundred of millions of dollars and essentially with really negative attack ads. That's the strategy. That's going to be Romney's strategy.
And I'm not saying I think the Obama supporters are going to be not looking at the same thing, but we have a president here who is supported legislation to stop that kind of money from coming in to campaigns. Mitt Romney has supported that and it's very frustrating for all Americans I think.
BLITZER: You wrote a provocative column, Alex, today. Let me read a line from it and then we'll discuss. Team Obama has turned the candidate of hope and change into a ferociously political animal.
They've discarded their most valuable asset, his stature, the outsider who flew above the hated, polarized politics of red and blue now does nothing, but campaign and polarize. Pretty strong words, Alex, back it up.
CASTELLANOS: Well, I think you've seen -- I think you've seen the candidate who ran saying there is no red and no blue America, just one America, you know, four years ago now running a very different campaign.
He is polarizing men against women, this mythical Republican war against women, rich against poor, employer against employee. Young with college loans against old, and I think the strategy is not unlike the Bush strategy for re-election when 43 ran, which is if I can't win the middle, I'll win the middle.
I'm going to polarize the country along every other issue, but the economy and that's what we see the president doing. But, you know, what that does, it ask people to live in an America.
Where we each have to fight each other to get to the front lines and really do something about our real problems. Americans don't want that kind of a divided, angry people tearing at our own throats.
BLITZER: Hilary, go ahead.
HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I couldn't disagree more with my friend, Alex, but campaigning as Mario Cuomo used to say, campaigning is poetry and governing is prose. You know, Mitt Romney's prose is not quite as Alex says it.
You know, it's nonetheless, fairly ugly. We are operating in a very polarized environment today, but the issues that the president has sought to accomplish for the American people have brought people together.
He has worked together on things like banking and consumer reform. Republicans have been against it. Just yesterday, there was a meeting at the White House to bring people together on the budget. The president reaffirmed his commitment to working to reduce the deficit and bring people together on a budget.
This is a president who I think every single time has reached out across the aisle and has tried to find ways to include Republicans and Democrats alike in solving the problems of the country.
But it is fairly clear as many people have studied recently that there's just no getting across this kind of political divide. So you have to find those moments where you rise above it and it's increasingly difficult in politics.
BLITZER: Substantive issues to debate as opposed to the some of the sleazy stuff that's out there. Glad we're focusing in on the important stuff. Guys, thanks very much.
It was the defining moment of Joe Biden's life, a horrific, tragic crash that killed his wife and daughter. Coming up, I'll speak with one of the survivors of that fatal crash, the vice president's son, the attorney general of Delaware, Beau Biden. He's here to discuss that and more.
BLITZER: Vice president Joe Biden has been giving it everything he can out there on the campaign trail with some rousing, fiery speeches and plenty of emotional moments. Heartfelt politics is something that apparently runs in the Biden family.
BLITZER: And joining us now from Norfolk, Virginia, the attorney general of the state of Delaware, Beau Biden. He is the son of the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden. Attorney General, thanks very much for coming.
BEAU BIDEN (D), DELAWARE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Great to be with you, Wolf.
BLITZER: You know, you're getting involved now in the campaign and you're trying to energize veterans out there. You are a veteran of the war in Iraq and you're trying to get them to support your dad and the president of the United States for their bid for re-election.
It didn't take very long though for the Republicans to hit right back. Let me read a statement from the former secretary of Veterans Affairs put up by the RNC. It says this. It says, I believe that they, referring to veterans are not being well served today because some of the policies in place -- because of some of the policies in place under the Obama administration.
Goes on to say, today we see a significantly higher unemployment rate among those young men and women who are coming home and can't find meaningful jobs and it impacts their well-being and it impacts their mental health, which is another area that they're not being well served.
All right, tell us why you believe that statement is inaccurate, why the president and the vice president have been good for American veterans.
BIDEN: Well, number one, the president has been great for veterans as well as the American people, 26 months of sustained job growth. You know, 4.6 Million jobs created in the private sector. An effort by the president through joining forces to create new jobs for veterans.
Tax credits for employers to hire veterans and a commitment of 160,000 new jobs by the private sector to do just that with returning veterans who are incredibly well suited for a variety of jobs, number one.
Number two, Wolf, it's important to note that this president has increased spending for Veteran Affairs by more than any president in the last 30 years. His 2013 budget would increase Veterans Affairs spending by 10 percent.
This is contrasted with a fellow from Massachusetts, Governor Romney who had his first months in office in Massachusetts tried to slash veterans' benefits by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And most importantly, he literally announced on Veterans Day last year that he wanted to privatize veterans; benefits. He literally said to the tens of thousands of soldiers coming home from decades of war that he wants to privatize the veterans, the VA.
Come on, there could be a good debate about what the role of government is, but I think the role of government for sure is not only how we send our troops overseas, but how we take care of them when they get home. BLITZER: Your dad is really out there. He's really on fire on the campaign trail. I'm sure you've noticed. What was your reaction when he seemed to get a little bit ahead of the strategy on the issue of gay marriage?
BIDEN: Look, my dad spoke from the heart. I'm incredibly proud of what he said. I'm even more proud of what the president said as it relates to making sure that, look, this is a fundamental civil rights issue. It's a civil rights issue.
It's something that people in my state in Delaware and every state that I go are incredibly proud of the stance that the president's taken on the matter of equality. It's simply about equality and civil rights.
You know, at a moment when we're sending people to defend our nation, whether they be gay or straight to not allow them to have the same rights that we have on the home front just doesn't make sense.
And that's why you saw the president talk the way you did last week about this. But you also saw my dad talk about jobs and job creation in Ohio. Look, this is a president who literally saved General Motors, which has done an incredible amount to save jobs in Youngstown and across Ohio, in Michigan.
Contrast it against a guy -- with Governor Romney who literally said let GM go bankrupt. That's what he said. He's trying to pedal that back now. But you're not going to let him do that and the press won't let him do that. The American people won't.
BLITZER: Your dad also got emotional yesterday when he was meeting with firefighters and he had this exchange and he mentioned you. Let me play the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: (Inaudible) Christmas shopping, December 18th -- my two sons were saved by my fire company and the Jaws of Life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You were just a little boy. How old were you when that occurred?
BIDEN: I was just shy of 4 years old and, Wolf, last week, I celebrated the 85th anniversary of the fire company, the Mill Creek Fire Company that responded to the scene in 1972 in December 18th that helped me, my brother and helped my dad and took care of my family.
They've been doing ever since. These are incredible people and one of the greatest honors I've gotten was about 10 days ago at the Mill Creek Fire Company when they made me an honorary member.
And these are folks, we have an all-volunteer fire service in our state and whether it be Mill Creek and others across our state, incredible group of people not just in Delaware, but across this nation.
BLITZER: Do you remember anything from that accident?
BIDEN: I remember bits and pieces and it's not something I talk a heck of a lot about. What I remember is a father who was at my side before that, and from that moment on, he took the oath of office, didn't go to Washington.
And the sergeant of arms of United States Senate had to come to my bedside to take the oath and my dad's been at my side ever since and my brothers and my sister.
I have a sister who is 30 years old and getting married next month. Look, if I'm half as good a dad to my kids as my father has been to me and my brother and sister, my kids will be in good shape.
BLITZER: I know he's been a terrific dad. All right, Beau Biden, the attorney general of Delaware. Thanks very much for coming in.
BIDEN: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: The U.S. Supreme Court justice's home is burglarized. This isn't the first time. You're going to find out where and how it happened. That's coming up.
We have chilling new video reminding us just how powerful Mother Nature can be.
BLITZER: The home of the United States Supreme Court justice is burglarized. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that story and also other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. What's going on here, Lisa?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it has been a rough year for Justice Stephen Breyer. We are just learning that his home in Washington has been burglarized. Fortunately, no one was home when it happened two weeks ago.
A Supreme Court spokeswoman wouldn't specify what was stolen, but says no material from the court was missing. In February, Breyer was robbed at machete point in his vacation home in the Caribbean.
And the Postal Service says it's moving forward with a plan to cut 28,000 jobs at 229 plants. It will save more than $2 billion over the next two years. To customers it will mean slower mail delivery for the most commonly sent mail.
Congress may pass a bill to save those jobs, but probably not until the summer at the earliest. The Postal Service reported a $3.2 million loss for the first three months of this year.
An incredible video of a landslide in Switzerland, about 800,000 cubic meters of rock and debris, the equivalent of over 200 million gallons were on the move. Just take a listen to just how loud it was.
The landslide happened in intervals over several hours. The area was evacuated and roads were closed. So far no deaths or even damage to buildings have been reported.
If you're going to steal a $500 bike, well, make sure you know how to ride it first. Check out the surveillance video coming to us out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It shows a man completely face planting off a bike, which he had allegedly just stolen from a bike shop. So I guess, you would say he might have gotten what he deserved -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly did. Don't steal. Bad, bad, bad. Thank you, Lisa.
Here's something you should know, as well. If you renounce your citizenship for tax reasons, the United States will, quote, "defriend" you.
Two U.S. senators are about to get tough with one of cofounders of Facebook.
And we are also getting a glimpse into the future, a new car that drives itself. We'll show you what's going on.
BLITZER: Jack's back with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour, Wolf, is, is it appropriate for President Obama to change the official biography pages of past presidents on the White House web site?
Megan writes, "I found the additions inappropriate, and I hope future administrations refrain from this example of hiding propaganda in history."
Gigi in Oregon, "Your question is much ado about nothing. I think President Obama getting Bin Laden will be with me on Election Day, and I didn't lose a son or grandson when he was killed. President Obama slowly, but surely, bringing a more stable feeling hope to our household."
Josh in New Orleans writes, "The president's using an official web site page to gain political edge? Shocker. The Republicans were upset they didn't think of doing it first."
Kathy writes, "He didn't change anything. They simply added the president's accomplishment for comparison. I don't understand what the big deal is with this. It is only the first month of this race and I'm already tired of the B.S. from both sides."
Bob in Florida writes, "No, Jack, it is not only inappropriate for the administration to alter the biography pages of former presidents. It's flat-out disgraceful. The only thing bigger than the debt Obama's racked up is his ego."
Mike in Massachusetts, "The White House has a website? That people actually visit?" Kathy writes, "This man knows no shame. The audacity of this narcissistic excuse of a president, it blows my mind the links to which he'll go. Truly he thinks we're stupid and some of us are."
And Cy writes from Virginia, "It's the White House web site. What did they change? They added some information. He did promise change, remember?"
If you want to read more about this, go to the web site, the blog, not the web site, cnn.com/caffertyfile or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We'll do, Jack, thank you.
The latest tragedy to hit the Kennedy family. A life unravels and ends in suicide. We're taking a closer look.
And Google brings it's driverless car to Washington, D.C. Our own Brian Todd goes along for the ride. You'll be amazed by this new technology.
BLITZER: It's like something from a futuristic movie. Google is unveiling the car that can actually drive itself. We're taking it for a test spin here in Washington, D.C. and CNN's Brian Todd got a chance to experience this amazing, new technology first hand -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is Oscar. This is Google's new self-driving car. It's been in development for at least four years and this is the prototype for a technology that Google is going -- is here in Washington to display.
They hope that it's going to be able to help elderly people, blind people get from place to place without having to actually rely on another driver. We'll show you some features of this car.
We're not allowed to film some of the technology inside it because it's proprietary technology and Google doesn't want us to give some of that away. There is a laptop here, which they are using just in the development of the car.
To kind of sense where people are and where other vehicles are and it allows them to program that into the software of the vehicle and let's come over here and we'll show you a couple of features of this car.
These are all sensors. These are sensors on the side and on the side here and what we will also show you is a camera, which obviously is a crucial part of this vehicle. It anticipates what other cars are doing in front.
All of this information is gathered into the camera into the radar, into the laser scanner on the top here and it's processed into a computer. The computer then commands the car what to do, to stop, to turn and do other things.
And it all happens dozens of times a second that information is processed through so the computer is in the car and this stuff is mounted in the car and the computer gives the car the commands on what to do.
We took a test drive just a couple of moments ago where we were, you know, just going around the block here with the Google engineers without driving and we were able to get some still pictures from inside the car to show that.
We were out driving this thing and a garbage truck moved across the road in front of us and the car on its own came to an abrupt stop and it was doing that the entire time we were in it so a lot of very cool and very strange sensations when you're moving around in this car.
He's got no hands on the vehicle. This has stopped automatically. Why did it stop automatically? There was a taxi who was cutting us off there a little bit. A lot of questions around this car because there are questions about is it going to be able to anticipate pedestrian behavior in addition to car behavior.
Google says they're developing a software that does anticipate pedestrian behavior and will make the car abruptly adjust to something that a pedestrian might do which is very, very unpredictable.
And there are also questions about possible hacking of some of this technology. Hackers have been able to hack other technology and other cars like antilock brakes on occasion.
Google says they have engineers at Google who are used to their technology being attacked all of the time and they're doing everything they can to minimize the prospect of hacking of this vehicle.
But a very exciting new piece of technology that Google is developing, the self-driving car, emphasizing that Google has no interest in actually making cars. They're developing this technology so that car companies can put that into their vehicles -- Wolf.