Return to Transcripts main page


Facebook's IPO; Mitt Romney's first General Election Ad; Interview with RNC Chair Reince Priebus; Campaign Ad Wars Could Get Nasty; U.S. Allows a Castro in the Country; Murder Charge for Suspected Highway Killer; Firefighter Falls Through Roof; Swarm of Bees Delays Game; Possible Sniper Targeting Children

Aired May 18, 2012 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S THE SITUATION ROOM: Happening now -- the company that started in a dorm room finally makes a big debut on wall street. Hype about its high-priced initial offering. Though Facebook has a sort of bumpy first day. The markets are about to close. Ali Velshi, Erin Burnett, Alison Kosik are all standing by live.

Her uncle, and now her father, have ruled Cuba for half a century. Anything wrong with giving another visa to someone named Castro?

An urgent hunt for a man who pointed a rifle at a school bus. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The markets on Wall Street are now closed, and while investors made a frenzied rush to get their hands on Wall Street's hottest new stock, the passion quickly cooled down.

Let's go straight to CNN's Alison Kosik. She's over at the Nasdaq for us.

Alison, walk us through this ride for Facebook today.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, let me start with the positive here.

And I just heard you talking about that. You know what? Facebook raised a lot of money today, close to $16 billion, if not more. You know what that means? It means Facebook is worth just under $100 billion. So for Facebook, it's a good day.

Now, considering all the hype that led up to this IPO, this public offering for Facebook, well, many people may step out and say, wait a minute, look where the stock is ending today, the stock ending only up about a fraction of a percent just above that initial IPO offer price of $38.

Look, many would say it was a messy debut plagued by technical difficulties and not as much demand as everybody thought. And then we saw other social media stocks tumble as well in sympathy for Facebook, which everybody thought would really pop at the open. And it did.

We did see Facebook shares pop as much as 18 percent, but clearly they are ending pretty flat on the day -- Wolf. BLITZER: Alison, the whole point though is that that $38 number, it came in at the high end yesterday. That was a number -- because earlier estimates, it could have come in at $25, $28, $30 -- $38 was considered pretty big.

KOSIK: And that was based on the investor interest.

You remember, Facebook went on this road show gauging investor interest and there was a lot of investor interest, and Facebook thought that it could get that price. And it did. It did get that price. Look where it ended today. But, clearly, what the expectations is for the hype though, when you see how these other sort of social networking sites did in their IPO, you at LinkedIn, you look at Google, they have jumped tremendously since their IPO day.

That's why that expectation to see Facebook do much better than just ending a fraction higher, a fraction of a percent higher, that's why that expectation is there -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What about final numbers on the Nasdaq and the Dow Jones? How did they do?

KOSIK: It looks like it was pretty much a flat day overall, flat to lower Nasdaq and the Dow ending -- actually, no, the Dow down 73 points, the Nasdaq down about 34 points.

A tough day. It is a tough market and there's a lot going on for investors. You have to remember the debt crisis in Europe continues. That's a huge focus for many investors. and for many investors, they see the Facebook offering today as more of a "Sideshow" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, Alison Kosik, thanks very much. Only, it wasn't that long ago the Dow Jones was above 13000. And now it is closer to 12000. So we will assess what's going on, on that front as well.

We will take a closer look at this extraordinary day on Wall Street.

Joining us now, our chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi, and CNN's Erin Burnett.

Facebook's chart looks more like a sort of yo-yo than a skyrocket, Ali, today. What's your analysis?


First of all, the markets all closed with their worst week of the year, so didn't help. There was no market sentiment in Facebook's favor. But really the problem was as this thing was supposed to get started about 10:30 this morning, trading didn't get under way. This is remarkable volume that's been traded today, more than 500 million stocks.

To give you a perspective, Wolf, on an average day Microsoft will trade 50 million, Apple will trade 25 million. To trade 500 million is a big deal, but it didn't get started. So, I think some of the momentum fell out of it immediately. But here's the problem. At $38, that's what Morgan Stanley and the investment syndicate told Facebook they will be able to get based on demand.

An investment bank and a syndicate never wants it do go below the price that it actually comes out at. So, this $38.23 you are seeing and the fact that it hardly got below $38 means that Morgan Stanley and its friends have been very, very busy holding that stock up. And if this wasn't an IPO day, the stock would probably be lower.

Bottom line, Wolf, though, for long-term investors, you still have to make the same decision. Is Facebook stock going to be worth more a year from now or two years from now than it is today? A lot of people still bet yes, but this is not the way you would really want your IPO to go.

BLITZER: Erin, what's your analysis?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: I think Ali is spot-on.

When you see it holding this $38, Wolf, it's doing that mostly because -- you know, what I'm hearing from traders, just near that close to prevent it from breaking the IPO price, it would be the only -- of the top five biggest IPOs in this country's history, it would be the only one to close below its IPO price no day one.

Morgan Stanley was aggressively trying to prevent it doing that. Wolf, maybe they were a little bit too greedy some people are saying. Had they priced it at $25, as you were saying, originally, that was on the table, and then it rose, there would be just a broader perception of success.

It is though fair to say, Wolf, this is a huge IPO, 532 million shares traded today. There's never been an IPO in this country's history that's never traded that many shares. The fact they were even to get all that done is a measure of success. Certainly people at Facebook are happy about it.

One other thing to point out, Wolf, I think is interesting, usually you can bet that a stock is going to go down and you would have a lot of pressure on a stock on a normal day when there weren't a lot of buyers. You would have people betting it was going to go down.

A company that is IPOed, you were are not allowed to short the stock. So no one was shorting the stock today. And even without that, it was really struggling.

But -- and one other thing Ali said. Look, we have lost $1 trillion in the past few weeks in this market because of fears of Greece. They are putting this behemoth of an IPO into an already tough market. So, you could call it a success, but it does seem they were too greedy and they did overprice it.

BLITZER: Ali, how much did media hype play in all of this?

VELSHI: I have been analyzing this a lot because I have been getting a lot of critiques about it, reading it.

I have to tell you, I think America knows more about IPOs and public companies as a result of the coverage of Facebook. I think a lot of people got warned that just because you use Facebook doesn't mean that you should invest in it. A lot of people learned that you don't get into an IPO just because you can actually buy the stock.

You actually have to consider whether it goes up from where you bought it. I have to say I think net-net we're smarter about IPOs and public companies. And today's example, the fact that the stock isn't closing at $80, means that maybe people are actually pretty smart, they think this is fairly priced. It is not terrible. It is not horrible that -- this is a $100 billion company.

But I think we were measured in our buying and I think the media probably played some role in this. This is an exciting company. We covered it well. I never think it is a bad thing to give people as much information as you can about a stock. And even here at CNN, we have had different opinions on this.

There are some people who think it's a shift in paradigms for the Internet and it is going tonight next big thing and others who say, stay away from IPOs, you're not smart enough to get into them.

BLITZER: If you're at all nervous, don't buy this stock, because you don't know.

It could wind up, Erin, as you well, $60, $70, $80, $500 in a few years. On the other hand, there have been plenty of stocks, especially technology stocks, that have crumbled.


BURNETT: That's right. You look at -- everyone says it is going to be sort of like Groupon, which is a recent IPO which is 40 percent below where it went public or is it going to be Google, which after a very different style IPO went public at $85 a share and we're somewhere $620 or something right now.

It could go the way of Google. By the way, if it does go the way of Google in the same time frame when Google went public in 2004, in six or seven years Facebook would need to be valued at nearly a trillion dollars, which is a pretty stunning number. It's about double where Apple is today, which of course is the biggest company by market cap in the country.

So it's just sort of fun to play with the numbers. Of course it's possible, Wolf, but it is hard to tell which way it will go.

BLITZER: Erin is going to have a lot more coming up 7:00 p.m. Eastern on her show. We will be watching, Erin.

Ali, terrific job from you as well. Guys, thanks very much.

The company that started in a Harvard dorm room is now based in Menlo Park, California. But it wasn't too hard for the man who linked millions of friends over the Internet to ring the Nasdaq opening bell long distance.

The founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is now a multibillionaire and many employees today became instant millionaires.

Our Silicon Valley correspondent, Dan Simon, is joining us now live from Facebook headquarters.

Dan, how did it go out there today?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I spoke to a Facebook executive a short time ago. And he said the enthusiasm, the energy was just off the charts inside that Facebook square when Mark Zuckerberg rang the bell.

I should you tell right now it is a little bit more subdued. A lot of people have gone home and gone to sleep after pulling an all- nighter. They had what is called a hackathon. This is where people get together and try to come up with new ideas for Facebook.

They did that all night, then they met in the courtyard about 6:00 this morning. Wolf, I should tell you that people here in Silicon Valley are also a bit divided about this stock. If you look at Google during this stage when they went public, they were growing at 90 percent a year.

Facebook right now growing about 35 percent to 40 percent a year. There's been so much anticipation for the stock here in Silicon Valley. Nonetheless, people have been divided in terms of whether or not people should buy it.

In terms of what we're seeing here right now, again, well, we're seeing a full parking lot of cars, so there are still a number of people here, but of course, you had that hackathon last night, so a lot of sleepy people, a lot of people going home to rest.


BLITZER: Did they come up with any brilliant ideas in that hackathon, Dan, as far as we know?

SIMON: We don't know yet. It will be interesting to see. In years past, they actually have come up with some interesting ideas. That like button that you see on Facebook came as a result of the hackathon.

What they do is they pull these all-nighters and then they actually meet in committees in subsequent days and try to figure out what some of the good ideas are. And if some of these ideas take hold, it's interesting, they can actually make that their full-time job.

The only requirement for the hackathon is you have to work on something that you have never worked on before. It is an interesting way to sort of spur innovation at the company.

BLITZER: Let's see if they did. Maybe a new company could be formed out of that hackathon. Who knows.

All right, Dan, thanks very much.

Mitt Romney finds a new campaign symbol.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the absolute bridge to nowhere if there ever was one. That's your stimulus dollars at work, a bridge that goes nowhere.


BLITZER: And Romney launches his first general election ad telling what he would do on his first day in office.

And she's got a communist pedigree. The daughter of Raul Castro -- the niece of Fidel Castro gets a visa to come to the United States -- why some people aren't all that happy about that.

And authorities in Georgia on an urgent hunt right now for a man who was seen pointing a rifle at a school bus and then allegedly fired a pistol at a witness.


BLITZER: Lots of news happening on the road to the White House today. The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, found another bridge to nowhere today, revealing a new campaign symbol even as he launched his first ad of this, the general election campaign.

Our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is joining us now with more.

The first general election ad.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, the first general election ad and a very interesting visit that he made.

An Obama campaign official today told me, admitted to me that it is pretty difficult for the president to win the White House again without winning the state of New Hampshire. So it is lucky for Mitt Romney that he owns a home there and also was governor of the neighboring state.

And today he went for a visit and taunted the president.


BASH (voice-over): As far as campaign imagery goes, this was impossible for Mitt Romney to pass up, a stop in front of a project that received 150,000 taxpayer dollars, part of the Obama stimulus plan. But it is a 19th century bridge that doesn't have vehicle traffic and doesn't even cross the river. ROMNEY: This is the absolute bridge to nowhere if there ever was one. That's your stimulus dollars at work, a bridge that goes nowhere.

BASH: The Romney campaign also launched their first television ad of the general election.

NARRATOR: What would a Romney presidency be like? Day one, President Romney immediately approves the Keystone Pipeline creating thousands of jobs that Obama blocked.

BASH: The ad is noteworthy for its tone, positive, against a backdrop of uplifting music, a series of promises, what he'd do, and a little help getting voters used to the way the words president Romney sound.

AD NARRATOR: President Romney introduces tax cuts and reforms that reward job creators, not punish them.

BASH: It's it is a far cry from the much maligned first Romney ad of the GOP primary season which featured the president out of context saying this.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.

BASH: It was actually something then-candidate Obama said in 2008 about his GOP opponent.

OBAMA: Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.


BASH: Another interesting note about the new ads from the Romney campaign, it isn't just what they say but where they're airing. Four states that President Obama won last time around. The states are Ohio and Iowa and North Carolina and Virginia.

One other bit of news -- that is a Romney source toll me that Mitt and Ann Romney each gave $75,000, which effectively by law is the max that they can give, to the Romney Victory Fund and they did that this week.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Giving to their own campaign. That makes some sense.

Dana, stand by. Gloria Borger is here as well.

Gloria, what's the purpose of this first Romney ad from your perspective?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It is a positive introduction. It's a handshake with the American public saying glad to meet you, and, by the way, this is my agenda on day one.

It is also a way of saying why don't you ask President Obama what his agenda would be in his first term? You're going to be hearing a lot more of that question from the Romney campaign. So a general positive introduction.

BASH: And the other thing in talking to Romney officials today is that it is positive but it is also specifically contrasting things that President Obama is not doing, the Keystone Pipeline, repealing health care law, of course. So, it's generally what he would do but also specifics in what they call contrast with the current president.

BLITZER: Now that he's in the general election campaign, he doesn't necessarily have to go as negative as he did in seeking the Republican nomination.

BORGER: I'm sure that will come, Wolf. But not right now. Because of course they have the super PACs who are going to help them out.

BLITZER: That's what I mean -- he's got others who can do it.

BORGER: That's right. For example, here's a little bit of an ad running from Crossroads GPS, a Republican super PAC. Take a look.


OBAMA: Today, I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.

AD NARRATOR: Broken, because he hasn't even come close. We need solutions, not just promises.

Tell President Obama to cut the deficit and support the new majority agenda.


BORGER: Wolf, this is the super PAC that's Karl Rove is running. And I will tell you, listen to these number. Super PACs in this election cycle just so far have spent more than $100 million. That's more than twice the amount of independent expenditures in 2008.

BASH: It's only May.

BLITZER: It's only just beginning. Wait, just wait.

BORGER: Absolutely.

BLITZER: On the super PAC front, the Republicans have a lot more money than the Democrats. There's no doubt about that.

BORGER: We'll see if the Democrats catch up.

BLITZER: The Democrats started that super PAC game much later than the Republicans did.

It's interesting this first Romney ad also came out with a Spanish language version.

BASH: It is interesting. What's also interesting is that the Romney campaign won't tell us what their ad buy is, meaning how much they actually spent and where it is running. That suggests that they -- it is very small. Otherwise, if it was a substantial size we would know about it. And also suggests they are doing it probably a good reason for them, to public relations, to reach out to the Latino community which we al know are a community and voting bloc that the Romney campaign is desperately trying to get back in the Republican column after they went "D" last time.

BORGER: You want to talk about money and spending, Crossroads GPS ad buy, generally, is normally $25 million. The only folks who can spend that kind of money and are spending the kind of money is the Obama campaign. Not the Romney campaign. The Obama campaign and Crossroads GPS.

BLITZER: I notice this first general election ad that the Romney campaign put out today was in mark contrast to that Jeremiah Wright proposal that was quickly removed yesterday.

BASH: Absolutely. Yesterday it was the whole idea that that could have been a potential ad and that Mitt Romney had to repudiate it right away. Initially potentially problematic but ultimately actually was helpful for them politically because it allowed him to distance himself from that and it also happened again in May and not September.

BORGER: That's right.

BLITZER: Guys, thanks very much. We'll continue obviously on the road to the White House.

A top election official in Arizona says it is possible President Obama won't be listed on the state's November ballot. How could that be? I'll ask the Republican Party chairman, Reince Priebus. He's standing by live here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

And the urgent hunt for a man who pointed a rifle at a school bus. Stand by.


BLITZER: There are some early indications about how rough this campaign may get. Mitt Romney may have met one proposed ad offensive, but rejecting an idea to revive the controversy over Jeremiah Wright, President Obama's former pastor.

Let's discuss what's going on in this race for the White House. The Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is joining us now.

Reince, thank very much for coming in.


BLITZER: When you saw that "New York Times" story, I was thinking about you, suggesting that it's time to revive the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and throw him in to this super PAC. What went through your mind when you read that story in the "New York Times"?

PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, not a whole lot to tell you the truth, Wolf. It is not something we're planning on doing here at the RNC. Obviously, we don't have any control over these super PACs, but I agree with Governor Romney's assessment on the whole situation there and I don't know how much of it was truly an emotion or wasn't, but the fact of the matter is that's not a place we want to go.

We want to talk about this president's record, which has been atrocious. And the president doesn't want to talk about his record and that's because it is a lousy record. So our focus is going to be hold this president accountable to the words that came out of his mouth, the promises that he made and if we do that and show the American people where we're at in this country, boy, we're feeling pretty good right now and I think we'll feel even better in November.

BLITZER: Will you urge your fellow Republicans out there to support these super PACs that can raise unlimited sums of money to come up with ads to stay away from reviving those nasty allegations and obviously the whole birther movement?

PRIEBUS: Listen. You don't hear those things coming out of our mouth here. Obviously if that's a tale to others, that's what it is.

I want to talk about the economy, I want to talk about jobs and I want to talk about this president's failures in fulfilling promises that he made.

I mean, look, this president's in line with the man in the mirror and what comes out of his mouth. But what he's not in love with is following through for the American people. We know that. People can't put a full tank of gas in the car. They're not buying groceries the way they ought to. People aren't making what they should.

And I've got a feeling, just a hunch, that the president has a whole lot to do with that and people hold the CEO and the man in charge of this country accountable.

Look, Stephanie Cutter said in a video that was release dad from last week that, you know, the economy is a challenge. That's why the president doesn't want to talk about it.

BLITZER: You heard Mitt Romney yesterday -- I want to move on -- he repudiated that Reverend Wright suggestion reviving him.

I'm not hearing you say you're going to urge, you're going to tell your fellow Republicans: don't do it. The RNC is not going to do it but I'm not hearing you say they shouldn't do it.

PRIEBUS: What I am telling you is I'm in full agreement with Mitt Romney. I think it's a bad idea. I don't think it is something that this group ought to do. I mean, sounds like now they're not going to do it -- I don't know what they're up to or what they're not.

But I support Governor Romney's position on this. We repudiate it as well. I'm going -- I'm in agreement with everything that he said.

BLITZER: When you say the president's in line with the man in the mirror, what do you mean by that?

PRIEBUS: This is a president who was a community organizer, a state senator, and a U.S. senator for two years. Never really ran a business in his life. But yet he somehow is trying to make a claim that we're all better off today than we were three or four years ago when in reality, we all know that there are fewer people by half a million employed today than four years ago.

We've got a president who gives speech after speech after speech. Hasn't really can point to two or three things he's accomplished as president of the United States. Hasn't passed a budget in three years.

So, I'm interested in what it is the president has actually done other than give speeches that makes them believe he deserves another four years.

So, my point is he's a person in love with the sound of his own voice. He loves giving speeches but he doesn't love following through on his promises.

BLITZER: The economy is not great by any means but there have been millions of jobs that have been created. When he took office about 700,000 or 800,000 jobs a month were being lost, and there's been a steady job increase over these many months, maybe 100,000 or 200,000. It's nowhere near where it should be but it is still a lot better than three or four years ago.

PRIEBUS: But it's not better. There's over 560,000 people still not employed today that were employed four years ago. If we had the same rate of people that were actually looking for work in the marketplace, we'd be at over 10.5 percent unemployment.

I mean, he said he's going to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term? I mean, if there was ever a joke for a promise that wasn't even attempted to be followed through on, it's that.

Now, I know there's the job issue but I think the Americans are starting to look across the Atlantic Ocean and say, you know what, if we don't get serious about spending, and these debts and deficit, just basic economics in America, we're going to become one of these European countries. You know, Europe doesn't work in Europe, and it certainly isn't working the White House. So, I think that we need to fire Barack Obama to start saving this country.

BLITZER: He seems to be working though for big business when you take a look at Wall Street. They've done great over these past 3 1/2 years. The low point of the Dow Jones was about 6,500. It's now over 12,000. It was already over 13,000.

How do you explain the bonanza that big business is going through right now?

PRIEBUS: Well, what I think what's going on in the marketplace is certainly a bet that some of these companies that people are investing in are doing well and obviously, that's a good thing. We don't want that to not be the case.

But I think in the end even if you were to look at investors and people that are in the marketplace, look -- a lot of folks have 401(k)s like I do. I'm worried about the future. I'm happy that some of my investments are safe, but a safe investment today doesn't mean it is going to be safe a year or two years from now.

That's why we need to get our debt bomb under control, get our deficits under control. We need to pass a budget in Washington that starts spending less and starts spending within our means. This president hasn't done that.

So I think how people feel across this country -- I'm from Kenosha, Wisconsin -- they feel uneasy about where we are in this country and certainly by the president's own standard that if I don't have this economy.

And if you're not better off today than you were three or four years ago then it is going to be a one-term proposition, I don't think people are feeling better off, Wolf. Unfortunately, this president just hasn't led.

BLITZER: One final question before I let you go. The Republican secretary of state of Arizona says he's not yet ready to put Barack Obama's name on the presidential ballot in his state.

He issued a statement referring to the president's birth certificate. This is Ken Bennett, in Arizona. He says first I have been on the record since 2009 that I believe the president was born in Hawaii. I am not a birther.

At the request of a constituent, I asked the state of Hawaii for a verification in lieu of certified copy. We're merely asking them to officially confirm they have the president's birth certificate in their possession and are awaiting their response. What do you think about Ken Bennett's statement?

PRIEBUS: I don't know, Wolf. I'm not going down this road. I said from the very beginning I believe the president is an American and it is a distraction. I think that where we need to be focused in on is the economy and the lousy job this president's done for this country.

He hasn't followed through on a single promise. It's time to put someone in the White House that's made a life of making a promise and keeping one and that's Mitt Romney, someone who actually understands how business and small business operates so that we can get our country back on track.

BLITZER: Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Republican Party. Reince, thanks very much for coming in.

PRIEBUS: Thank you, Wolf.

Prominent Democrat James Carville says it is time for his party to panic. But the head of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz told me she needs to, quote, "peel James Carville off the ceiling."

So what is James' wife and strong Republican Mary Matalin think about all of that? She's standing by live.

Is the United States really allowing Raul Castro's daughter to visit the United States?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a big offense to the Cuban-American community in USA and it's a big offense with all patriots.



BLITZER: Let's get right to our strategy session. Joining us right now, the Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala and the Republican strategist and CNN contributor, Mary Matalin.

Guys, thanks very much for coming in. Let me -- let Paul quickly react to what you heard from Reince Priebus. What do you think of the chairman of the Republican Party on what we had to say.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first off, I'll say he's doing a good job. He's raising money. He's raising hell and he's doing a good job. He just got a crummy product.

I took notes during your interview, Wolf. He didn't say one thing about what God, forbid, if Mitt Romney became our president he might do for us. He did say the president didn't have any accomplishments.

Let me remind him that he saved General Motors, which Mitt Romney opposed. He killed Osama Bin Laden, which Mitt Romney said he would not move heaven and earth to do.

He signed the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay act, which I really doubt Mr. Romney would have signed it. He created more jobs in three and a half years that George W. Bush did in eight. I can never pronounce his name so I'm just calling Reince Priebus because I believe in --

BLITZER: Mary, Reince Priebus may not have said what Mitt Romney would do, but Mitt Romney in his new ad that just came out today. He did announce through his campaign what he would do on day one if he were in the White House. Let me play a little excerpt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would a Romney presidency be like? Day one, President Romney immediately approves the Keystone pipeline creating thousands of jobs that Obama blocked.

President Romney introduces tax cuts and reforms that reward job creators, not punish them. President Romney issues order to begin replacing Obama care with common sense health care reform. That's what a Romney presidency will be like.

I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message.


BLITZER: Mary, you a good Republican strategist. Pretty good ad. What do you think, very positive, didn't really slam the president as hard as some of those other ads out there?

MARY MATALIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Mitt Romney's been the presumptive nominee for under a month. Just in a couple of week and he's already tied and in some polls ahead of President Obama.

In all cases, whatever the top line numbers are, among independents and swing voters particularly those who voted for President Obama in the last go-round.

They are now supporting -- either supporting Romney's positions framed up in that spot right there, or they're intensely opposing the president's positions, economic positions on the grounds that they had no impact, or they made it worse.

We could talk about the number of jobs but the people who are underemployed or unemployed, about 15 percent. They're not listening to these numbers. They are feeling it every day. This economy when it is growing at 1.7 percent.

That is not growth. President Bush enjoyed 52 consecutive months of growth. He put policies in place that took us out of a recession and overcame the attacks of 9/11.

So Mitt Romney will put in place the same sorts of policies with more reform because we're in a worst place now because Obama did nothing for the last three years.

BLITZER: Go ahead, Paul.

BEGALA: Well, look. Our president of having to dig us out of an enormous hole, a hole that Republican policies put us in. Massive tax cuts for the rich, endless war in Iraq. This is exactly what Governor Romney wants to do should he take office.

The first thing a President Romney would do would be to try to cut taxes for rich people like Mitt Romney and then pay for it by causing what the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a non- partisan think tank said was the gradual demise of traditional Medicare.

This is what Mitt Romney would do. It is completely consistent, by the way, with his business record where he took over companies, loaded with debt, paid himself millions and fired the employees.

These are the values of Mitt Romney, which is to hammer the middle class and help tiny elite. That's not the way to get us growing again.

BLITZER: Mary, your husband, James Carville, the Democratic strategist, our good friend, a CNN contributor, has written a few pieces including last week saying it is time for the Democrats to panic out there because this is going to be a really close race.

And a lot of Democrats presumably think the president has it all sewn up. To which the DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, she was here in THE SITUATION ROOM earlier this week, said this about James Carville.


DEBBIE WASSEMAN SCHULTZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It's my job to peel folks like James Carville off the ceiling because it is certainly not time to panic.


BLITZER: Tough question for Mary. Who's right, Debbie Wasserman Schultz or James Carville, your husband?

MATALIN: Good luck with that, Congresswoman. James is a permanent inhabitant of the ceiling. My husband is right. He is a genius. He will distort Romney's positions.

If you want to know what Mitt Romney's positions are, you can go look on his web site, but James is speaking the truth and it aggravates him when his colleagues and his comrades are fooling themselves.

It doesn't do any good as a strategist or businessman or mother or anybody to delude yourself around the Democrats are delusional. They never support James. But if Debbie wants to take a whack at getting James off the ceiling, go for it, girl!

BLITZER: Good luck. And Paul, he will be here in our next hour, James Carville. You agree with James, your good friend, that the Democrats are going to have a tough, tough fight, they better start to panic?

BEGALA: Absolutely. Look, the only way to run is to run scared to begin with, right? Because all of us who have a mother or grandmother on Medicare would like to keep her on that, Romney wants to slowly destroy it.

But this is a terrible, terrible economy this president has inherited. He's made it better. He is climbing out of that ditch, but this is going to be a very tough election. When you have a guy like Romney who will say or do anything and has limitless right wing money, then of course he's going to have a huge advantage.

Every Democrat -- by the way, I advised the pro Obama "Super PAC" maybe he wants to give me a couple of million bucks like those right wingers given Mr. Ross Back, I'd be glad to take it. And advertise the real We'll check that one out.

BLITZER: All right, Paul, Mary, guys, thanks very much. We'll look forward to speaking with James in the next hour.

Meanwhile, the United States is giving Pakistan as you hundreds of millions of dollars every year and there are a lot of supplies that are waiting to come to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

We wanted to find out where the money's going so in a report from Pakistan that you're going to see only here on CNN. We're going to tell you why some U.S. equipment, military equipment needed by American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is simply sitting -- not moving -- in Pakistan. Stand by.

And tensions are high between the United States and Cuba causing tempers to flare on Capitol Hill.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's all gotten worse, and yet here it is just all systems go for the Obama administration. Raul Castro's daughter wants to come to the U.S.? Sure, she's an academic. Let her come.



BLITZER: Lot of Cuban-Americans, especially in South Florida, are furious right now at the Obama administration that a Castro -- yes, a Castro from that Castro family is being allowed to visit the United States. Our foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty has the story.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, she's an expert in sexuality, but that's not the issue. No, it's politics and Cuba. Here in the U.s., that can be a more explosive topic than sex.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Her family name says it all. Castro. She's coming to the United States. Mariela Castro Spin, daughter of Cuban leader Raul Castro, granted a visa by the State Department to attend an academic conference.

In Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, some Cuban-Americans are furious.

TERESA PENICHET, CUBAN-AMERICAN: She's coming here just to spread their communism, because that's what it is, and they're coming under false pretence to try to lift the embargo.

DOUGHERTY: The 50-year-old directs the Cuban National Center for Sex Education in Havana. She's an activist for gay rights in Cuba, which were none existent in the early years of Fidel Castro's regime, but have changed in recent years.

In a 2008 interview with CNN, Castro is seen to be brushing off her communist pedigree. "The only advantage is that the person who's now president is also my father --"


BLITZER: We apologize. We're obviously having some technical difficulties with Jill's piece. We're going to try to fix that and bring you that report shortly. Stand by for that.

Other news we're following -- video of a firefighter falling through the roof of a burning building. We're going to tell you what happened to him. Stand by for that.


BLITZERL: Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. What else is going on, Lisa?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the suspect in the roadside shooting deaths of two people in Mississippi will be charged with capital murder. Police arrested 28-year-old James Wiley on an unrelated offense after a woman claimed he raped her.

Wiley had a gun that matches the one used in the highway murders. Police thought he posed as a cop, but now they don't think that happened.

And take a look at this. An Oregon firefighter is lucky to be alive after falling through the roof of a burning building. Fortunately, he caught himself in the rafters and was able to climb back out.

Two other firemen had to be treated for burns and exhaustion. The fire engulfed several condos leaving eight people homeless. But fortunately, no one was seriously injured or killed.

And talk about a stadium buzzing with excitement. A baseball game in Colorado had to be stopped briefly after a swarm of bees took over a spot near the dugout. A beekeeper arrived with a large vacuum to relocate them.

It wasn't a Columbus yellow jackets hockey game. Maybe they'll be reconsidering their mascot. I've never seen anything quite like that in the middle of a game. The beekeeper comes to the rescue, Wolf.

BLITZER: Rain delay, bee delay. Thank you.

Pakistan has been blocking war supplies for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, she is here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'll ask her for an explanation.

And urgent hunt for a man spotted pointing a rifle at a school bus.


BLITZER: The town of Georgia is on high alert looking for a man who appears to have been targeting schoolchildren with a rifle. George Howell is in Hampton, Georgia right now. George, what's going on?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is the last day of school for students in Clayton County, Georgia. What we've seen, today, we've seen all day a great deal of police presence like this mobile command center that is set up in the community.

And we are learning this will continue through the weekend and it doesn't matter who you talk to in this neighborhood, everyone is taking the threat against a school bus very seriously.


HOWELL (voice-over): On the last day of school in Clayton County, Georgia, this is the last thing any parent wanted to see at a school bus stop, but the heavy police presence here since a man pointed this rifle at a school bus comes as welcome news to many.

(on camera): There's the helicopter right there, right over your neighborhood. Are you surprised by that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I've been seeing it all week so I'm happy to see it each morning I'm out here.

HOWELL (voice-over): From an eye in the sky to dozens of squad cars on the streets, Clayton County Police essentially moved into this neighborhood after the threat was reported Monday, their main focus to keep close watch of grade school students as they make their way to and from school and to reassure parents like Anjannette Grigley.

ANJANNETTE GRIGLEY, PARENT: I am nervous. I have students in the Clayton Country school system. I'm just nervous and scared.

HOWELL (on camera): So what's your protocol as far as taking the kids to the school bus in the morning? I see you're out here.

GRIGLEY: Yes, sir. I'm out here and I'm patrolling my children, and I'm watching them as they get on and off the bus.

HOWELL (voice-over): Witnesses spotted the man in this neighborhood on Monday crouched down in someone's backyard, pointing a rifle at a school bus. The police say one of the witnesses yelled at the suspect.

He dropped his rifle and a note pad with some information on it that investigators are looking into and he took off on foot. Another witness then gave chase. The police say the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired one shot, but missed. (on camera): Are you any closer to finding this person?

DEPUTY CHIEF TIM ROBINSON, CLAYTON COUNTY, GEORGIA POLICE: Well, we've had a lot of information coming in and we're working several leads and we're hoping that that will lead to a suspect, but right now we don't have a suspect.

HOWELL (voice-over): As police talk with neighbors to determine a description of the man they're looking for, the Clayton County School District suspended all outdoor activity as a precaution.

(on camera): How do police patrols like that help you in the school district situation?

DOUGLAS HENDRIX, CLAYTON COUNTY SCHOOLS: Well, it builds confidence. It builds confidence not only for the school district, but I'm sure it builds confidence for the community as well.

HOWELL (voice-over): Even as bus drivers make their final rounds through the neighborhood, people here hope the patrols will continue until the alleged gunman is caught.


HOWELL: There were some descriptions that came out early on just after this incident, but police are backing off those descriptions. They are currently, Wolf, trying to put together a composite sketch of the person they're looking for.

BLITZER: I hope they find them soon, George. Thanks very much.