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JOHN KING, USA
Interview With Senator John McCain; Interview With Senator Joe Lieberman; Mitt Romney Defends Business Record; Secret Service Speaks Publicly
Aired May 23, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm John King.
Tonight, Mitt Romney defends his job-creating credentials and his record at Bain Capital. And get this. Governor Romney says President Obama is a nice guy, but is in over his head.
The Secret Service director talks publicly for the first time about the Cartagena prostitution scandal and clashes with key members of Congress over whether it was an isolated incident, or reflects a sordid agency culture.
And did top Facebook officials and their banks hide vital information so they could cash out before everyday investors bought the much-hyped stock only to see it sputter?
We begin this evening with our first extended glimpse today of how Mitt Romney, at least for now, plans to respond to President Obama's critique of the former Massachusetts governor's work at the private equity firm Bain Capital.
The Romney strategy? Turn the tables.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would like to also focus on his record. What is it that he has done as the president of the United States over the last four years? Has he established the revitalization he promised he would bring to us? Did he hold unemployment below 8 percent? It has been, what, 39 months now. That hasn't happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In that interview there with "TIME," Governor Romney also said his 25 years at Bain taught him a lot about why companies succeed and why some fail, about international trade and more.
But in each of his answers to four questions about Bain, he also took time to critique the president's economic credentials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: This is a president who spends his time blaming other people for the fact that he has been unsuccessful in turning around this economy. And I think the reason you are seeing across the country people saying they would like to try someone new is because they believe this president, while he may be a nice guy, is simply not up to the task of helping guide an economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You are looking at a live picture right here. That's President Obama speaking at a fund-raiser in Colorado just moments ago. The president responded, saying Governor Romney has drawn the wrong lessons from his time running Bain Capital. We will bring you more of the president if news warrants.
The exchanges are getting more personal as the stakes become more clear. The new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll out just today shows a national dead heat, but also includes some ominous data for the incumbent.
Just over half of those polled now disapprove of how the president is handling the economy. And 53 percent of Americans described themselves as less optimistic about the economy. That's nine points higher than felt that way just in January.
Our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, and chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, here.
Gloria, I want to start with you.
And Governor Romney clearly has a strategy on Bain, which is to say, I understand the economy, pivot, turn it back to the president. Is that good enough? Does he have to be more specific and go company by company and essentially open up the record more?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, at some point, he is going to have to answer questions. The more specific that the Obama campaign questions become, the more specific his answers have to become. At this point, what they are trying to do is, as you say, turn the tables.
They don't want this be a choice election, as the Obama campaign wants. They want it to be a referendum on President Obama's lack of success as they would say for the last four years in terms of handling the economy.
So every time he gets asked a question about Bain, right now, he says, OK, let's take a look at the president's record and what did he do and generally tries to disqualify President Obama from talking about the economy by saying something vague like, he doesn't understand. Eventually, I think they are going to have to answer these things head-on.
KING: And from the White House perspective, it is early. They have only been on the Bain thing for a little more than a week. And sometimes it takes time to change public opinion. Do they think it is working? They know some Democrats are complaining. What is their assessment so far? JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They think that this is a strategy that works, but it is not for everybody. It specifically goes to working-class Rust Belt voters who they think this really resonates with, because they think -- they hear that the sort of deck is stacked against them.
But this is one arrow in their quiver. And they will also be going at Romney's record in Massachusetts, maybe his record, say, at the Olympics. But also we are going to see them segmenting the American public and going at Romney's record on Hispanics, gays and lesbians, seniors.
John, remember, he ran and saying we are one America. This time, he is going to splinter America into lots and lots and lots of little Americas.
KING: More constituency groups.
BORGER: But there is a danger for the president there, because people like President Obama. If they see him sort of running a negative campaign, they are not going to like him as much.
And that's a finely nuanced line you have got to walk when you are up for reelection and you are popular.
YELLIN: ... about Romney's values on the economy. That's the way they're say it...
KING: So how do they deal with the psychology?
It is no surprise given the tough economy that a majority disapprove of the president's handling of the economy. And his numbers have gotten a little bit better in that regard. That tend to bounce a little bit. But the psychology is what pollsters tell you to worry about. And when 53 percent say they feel pessimistic about the economy, and that was only 44 percent in January, that's heading in the wrong direction.
As a trajectory line, if people feel good about the economy, they will keep their incumbent president. If they feel bad about it, they might look for change. How do they deal with that when it is hard to say things are better if people don't feel it?
YELLIN: They understand that. But there has always been this disconnect -- and this is from their perspective -- between how people are feeling about the economy and how they feel about the president personally. And so the president's personal approval numbers are higher than the approval on the economy. His job approval is still at 48 percent, which is higher than the approval on the economy. And so there is this disconnect in voters' mind between where the economy is going and how they think the president is doing. And they want to build on how well they like the president and the sense that that can carry the president a long way as long as Romney is seen as even worse...
BORGER: But it is a question of optimism. And these polls you're talking about, one of the numbers that struck me today is that 63 percent aren't confident that the lives for their children will be better than their lives.
KING: It is the American dream question.
BORGER: It is. And that's a big problem for any incumbent, because you have to give people a reason to rehire you. And you can't just say, you know what, things would have been worse. You have to make the case it's going to get better.
KING: Gloria, Jess, thanks so much.
You need some more evidence we have got a very competitive presidential election? A new poll shows Governor Romney pulling ahead in the critical battleground state of Florida. Governor Romney leads the president 47 percent to 41 percent. That's a new Quinnipiac University poll. And that survey shows an even bigger Romney lead if he were to choose the Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio as his running mate.
KING: Now to the growing firestorm over Facebook's less-than- stellar -- that's an understatement -- initial public offering of stock. It closed at $32 a share today. That's up a buck from Tuesday, but still well below the stock's initial price of $38.
Well, today, investors filed a class-action suit against the company, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as Morgan Stanley and the other big banks involved in the IPO. Facebook promises a vigorous defense. It faces even more problems.
Investigators in the financial industry and Congress also want to know if people were intentionally deceived about the stock's potential.
In addition to the congressional inquiries, the state of Massachusetts is also looking into the matter, issuing a subpoena to Morgan Stanley about communications it had with investors over Facebook's revenues. Joining me now from Boston is the man leading that inquiry. William Galvin is the Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth.
Mr. Secretary, let me use my language, not official language. What you are worried about here is that the big guys essentially conspired to screw the little guy?
WILLIAM GALVIN, MASSACHUSETTS SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH: Yes. Yes, that's my concern.
We have had a history actually in Massachusetts of finding this kind of behavior. For instance, last year, we fined Goldman Sachs $10 million for engaging what they euphemistically referred to as huddles, providing information to their preferred clients, as opposed to average clients.
Similarly, with the mutual fund industry, we saw market timing to the benefit of certain customers over others. The issue here is were all investors treated the same or was information given to specified clients which might have led to a different result as to purchase the stock?
And the greater issue here is, if we are going to attract people, average investors, back into the marketplace, there has to be a sense of fairness. There has to be an understanding that it is -- everyone is even, that my money is just as good as yours.
Investors will not feel that way if they think that certain people are getting insider information and others are not.
KING: What is your concern, that they told people, look, this thing is going to drop like a rock, don't buy it, or that they told them, it is going to drop, so buy it and sell it fast?
GALVIN: Well, my concern would be that not so much exactly what they told them, rather that they told everyone the same thing, that if they were suggesting hypothetically that the revenues might not be as strong as they had originally projected, that they told that to everybody, if the information that they gave to one party was the same as they gave to another.
The whole concept of an IPO is a very fragile concept to begin with. Basically, it is, you are dependent very much on the projections and the analysis that is being made. You don't have the history of revenues in a clear and transparent way to rely upon. You don't know exactly what the prospects are for the future. You are very reliant upon the lead bank in these cases.
So the dissemination of information and to whom it was disseminated is the critical issue.
KING: Are your questions limited to the banks? Or do you have any questions about what might have happened at Facebook headquarters? They decided just three days out to offer 25 percent shares than they were initially going to offer. It is the Facebook team, including Mr. Zuckerberg and his CFO, who decide -- you have a range of potential to offer the stock.
They decided to pick the high end. Any questions about what they were up to?
GALVIN: Well, not at this time, only because our focus right now at this time is on Morgan Stanley. Obviously, if there was improper communication between the prospective issuer and the bank, that could be another issue and another cause of inquiry.
At this point, our focus is on the Morgan Stanley activity.
KING: That's the Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth, William Galvin, a bit earlier.
Morgan Stanley did release a statement in response to the allegations saying that the company -- quote -- "followed the same procedures for the Facebook offering that it follows for all IPOs. These procedures are in compliance with all applicable regulations."
We will keep on top of that story.
It's a landmark day for the Arab spring. Coming up, Egyptians vote in their first presidential election where the result isn't a foregone conclusion.
And next, the head of the Secret Service assures Congress his agency's sex scandal was a one-time thing. We will hear from a prominent senator who isn't so sure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: A lot of people, including myself, find it hard to believe that all of the sudden, one night in Cartagena, 13 Secret Service agents went to four different nightclubs or strip clubs and drank to excess and brought women back to their rooms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The director of the Secret Service spoke public today for the first time about the prostitution scandal that overshadowed President Obama's recent trip to Colombia.
Eight Secret Service personnel, including two supervisors, lost their jobs for being involved in a night of heavy drinking that included bringing prostitutes back to their hotel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The behavior is morally repugnant. And I certainly do not want to downplay that fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Director Mark Sullivan was apologetic, but he was resolute in making his case the agency doesn't have a deeper cultural or discipline problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK SULLIVAN, DIRECTOR, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: I am deeply disappointed and I apologize for the misconduct of these employees and the distraction that it has caused.
This is not a cultural issue. This is not a systemic issue with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Senator Joseph Lieberman is the chairman of that committee. He called the hearing. And he joins us from Capitol Hill.
Senator, you cited five past cases. There was also testimony about some Secret Service agents being caught with underaged women during the Olympics back in Salt Lake City. When Director Sullivan says it is not cultural, it's not systemic, do you agree?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I would say this.
We don't know enough now based on the evidence the committee has received to conclude that there was a pattern of misconduct like what happened in Cartagena, Colombia, but there were clearly individual cases of misconduct that the committee has learned about through our investigation, and we're going to investigate them further.
There were three cases in which Secret Service agents were involved with foreign nationals as here. There was one case where an agent patronized a prostitute. There was one case of non-consensual sexual intercourse. And then there was through a hot line tip from the public -- and this is very important -- a report of a case at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, where apparently three agents were apprehended involved in a party with underaged women and a lot of alcohol.
Discipline was imposed on all of them. But -- so, again, this is over a period of years, thousands of employees of the Secret Service. So can you conclude that there was a pattern of misconduct that should have warned the agency that something worse was coming, like what happened at Cartagena? Not yet, not in fairness. I can't conclude that.
KING: You say not in fairness, you can't conclude that. How about Director Sullivan? Does he have your confidence? Is he doing what it takes to -- whether this is systemic, cultural, or just an occasional thing that keeps happening, is he doing what is necessary to stop it from happening again?
LIEBERMAN: Well, he has certainly conducted a quick and tough investigation. The big news today at our hearing I think going forward is that the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, oversees Secret Service, said that he would conduct his own independent investigation of what happened at Cartagena. So that's important.
Let me go to Director Sullivan. Basically, he kept saying to us that he believes that what happened in Cartagena was rare, was the exception, it shocked him.
A lot of people, including myself, find it hard to believe that all of the sudden, one night in Cartagena, 13 Secret Service agents went to four different nightclubs or strip clubs and drank to excess and brought women back to their rooms.
So, we had a bit of a tug of war with the director there. But I urged him at the end of it to assume that what he believed was not true, that in fact this was a pattern of behavior. And what I mean, John, is that he ought to assume that as he goes forward and takes tough steps to make sure that it never happens again.
KING: Does he have your confidence going forward?
LIEBERMAN: He does at this point. He does. I think he has done a rapid investigation. I think he was a great agent.
He has been a good leader of the Secret Service. And he is trying real hard to restore public confidence in the Secret Service agency. And I think he still deserves our confidence.
KING: The Secret Service says no, but have you seen anything, Senator, that the safety of the president or the security of Secret Service protocols, operational secrets and things like that have been compromised here?
I agree with Director Sullivan. I have seen nothing to suggest, certainly nothing to prove that the security of the president was compromised in any way by the irresponsible behavior of those Secret Service agents in Cartagena.
But, ultimately, that is not the point. When you go out to nightclubs and strip joints, and you are a Secret Service agent, and you drink to excess, and you bring home women who you know probably are prostitutes, you are running the risk that you are being compromised by some enemy of the United States or some individuals who want to do damage to the president.
And this kind of behavior is irresponsible, to the point of being outrageous.
KING: Mr. Chairman, thanks for your time tonight.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, John. Thank you. KING: Coming up: Egyptians line up for something that's never happened in their country's long, tumultuous history.
Also, former Joint Chiefs Chairman and Secretary of State Colin Powell weighs in on the same-sex marriage debate.
KING: Welcome back.
KING: Coming up: A union official says there is no reason to apologize, no reason to apologize, she says, for taking a baseball bat to a pinata decorated with the face of South Carolina's governor.
Plus, the message Senator John McCain wants the international community to give Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: You are either in this game of developing on the path to nuclear weapons or you are not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In this half-hour of "JOHN KING, USA": a warning from Senator John McCain as Iran nears a deal to let inspectors see about what its nuclear program is about.
Also, the "Truth" about a problem Mitt Romney dodged today. Speaking to a Latino audience, he said nothing about immigration.
And a South Carolina union official takes a baseball bat to a pinata of the state's Republican governor and says there is no reason to apologize.
Begin this half-hour with today's important development in the U.S.-led effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Negotiators for the world nuclear power and the Iranians sat down today, those talks in Baghdad. They are trying to make a deal under which Iran would open its nuclear facilities to international inspectors.
In return, Iran hopes for a loosening of economic sections. Now, many credit those sanctions for getting Iran back to the table in the first place. But others see the talks as nothing more than a cynical Iranian effort to stall for time so it can finish work on a nuclear bomb.
KING: Among the many skeptics is Republican Senator John McCain, who along with two Senate colleagues, wrote a "Wall Street Journal" essay today wishing the negotiators well, but urging them not to ignore Iran's history in such talks.
"The opportunity will be lost," the senators wrote, "if we allow Iran's negotiators to fool us into easing pressure before the Tehran regime has truly abandoned its military nuclear ambitions."
Senator McCain is with us from Capitol Hill.
So, Senator, you are quite the skeptic. What is the test? In most negotiations, if they give some, the other side gives some. You are saying, the United States and its allies should wait until they get it all before they ease sanctions?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, first of all, John, we have seen this movie before. There have been numerous other times where they have said they'll let the inspectors in. They have denied that they are even embarking on this process, when the evidence obviously contradicts that.
So we need verifiable standards that would prevent them from reaching a point where they can, quote, "break out." In other words, have sufficient materials and capabilities that they can break out and, in a short period of time, develop a nuclear weapon. And so that means very stringent adherence to the U.N. Security Council resolutions, inspection and including the abandonment of all enriched materials and doing away with their facility at Fordow.
KING: You know how these things tend to work. They will say, "Send in the inspectors. We will agree to 'X' and 'Y'. But then, we need confidence-building measures. You should, A, ease the sanctions. You should give us more latitude to sell our oil. You should take up some other economic sanctions." What should the answer be then?
MCCAIN: The answer is, you are either in this game of developing on the path to nuclear weapons or you are not. The criteria should be that whether they have taken sufficient steps to really eliminate that process.
KING: And so what should the United States' position be if somebody else at that table -- let's say it's Russia or China or both of them -- say, you know, "They're giving us some, so let's give them a carrot."
MCCAIN: John, again, viewing the context of the past behavior where they have made similar pledges, where they have denied that they were doing these things. And it's obvious that they had violated resolutions, contradicted their own statements. And so we are at a point where they are either going to have sufficient evidence that they are not on the path, or they really are.
KING: You know people by a certain age, and you know a regime by a certain age. Do you believe that these guys are actually willing to give up their nuclear weapons program? Or do you think this is just the sanctions are beginning to hurt and they're just trying to find a way to wiggle?
MCCAIN: I'm willing to give them a chance here. I'm not saying we should not listen to them. But I would expect a very short time frame for them to comply with, really, what are not really complicated steps. Letting the inspectors in, intrusively, any place that they want to go; getting rid of their enriched material; and complying with other resolutions that were passed by the U.N. Security Council. It's not that complicated.
And we have to be able to verify. We cannot take their word.
And again, don't forget what they are doing in the rest -- in the other part of this world we live in. And that is supporting terrorist organizations everywhere, including on the ground now in Syria, helping Bashar Assad slaughter the Syrian people. So there's no doubt about what kind of actors they are.
KING: Senator McCain, appreciate your time tonight.
MCCAIN: Thanks, John.
KING: Thank you, sir.
It's no secret there is no love lost, no love lost between union officials in South Carolina's pro-business Republican governor, Nikki Haley. But is this a protest that goes too far? Check it out.
It's a video from last week's gathering attended by the South Carolina AFL-CIO president, Donna Dewitt, and some friends from the Labor Movement, another progressive organization. Two things you need to know. It's Donna Dewitt with the baseball bat, and the face on the pinata, that's Governor Haley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA DEWITT, PRESIDENT, SOUTH CAROLINA AFL-CIO: She looks like a tough old girl here.
All right. Now ready. Wait until her face comes around and whack her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Donna Dewitt joins us now from Columbia, South Carolina.
Donna, we just showed a segment of it there where you hit the pinata twice. In the portion of the clip that is online, you hit it seven more times. Nine times taking a baseball bat to the face of your governor. Any regrets?
DEWITT: Oh, no, John. I don't have any regrets. It's a pinata. And it was a very casual occasion honoring my retirement, my upcoming retirement, which I have planned for five years.
And it could have been any face on that pinata that I have dealt with on union issues for the last 16 years but, of course, the most recent one is the relentless attack by our governor and on the union members in South Carolina.
KING: You don't think you owe the governor an apology for taking a baseball bat to her head at least nine times?
DEWITT: No, I don't, John. My friends were honoring me. It was a pinata. It could have been anything on the pinata. It was a home- made pinata. And what people are saying is quite different from what happened. It was made very sturdily by one of the members. It was very hard to break. It is a child's game. But you know and I know that people use pinatas and play games at many of these occasions like this.
It was not ill-intended. I have no hostility toward the governor. You know, she thinks that she is doing her job. I think I'm doing mine. They could have put a lot of issues on that pinata.
My husband and I have been married 44 years. There are times you could have probably put his face on it, and he feels the same way about me.
It was a pinata. It was not anything that was intended to be -- I certainly didn't have any hostility. So it wasn't intended to be hostile. I never even thought about that until the governor put it on her Web site.
KING: You have a son, I understand, and a stepdaughter. Do you think that if they have a disagreement with their teacher, their principal, their future boss down the road, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, should they take a pinata and a baseball bat and take a bat to that pinata nine times or more?
DEWITT: Well, I mean, should people put bull's eyes on people like Gabby Gifford? No, I don't think so. But that was not my intent.
My intent is innocent. I didn't make the pinata. It's a free country. I would never say to my friends, you know, you need to take this down, because I believe in the freedom of media, John. I believe in the freedom of speech. I believe in a lot of the things that our government no longer believes in. You know, I believe in the rights of people to have -- to have a right to protest. And you mentioned that.
I have many times -- you take a look at her Web site and see who she's representing and take a look at our Facebook. And you will see me with signs representing seniors, representing young people whose education is being cut. The mentally disabled who our state has probably had more cuts in the funding for the mental health than any other state in the United States.
KING: You know, that -- and that's the issue. Do you undermine the credibility of that cause, a cause that is critically important? You've dedicated a lot of your life to this.
DEWITT: I have.
KING: Do you undermine your credibility in that cause when people show images of you taking a baseball bat to the governor's head? DEWITT: Well, you know, John, my son text me this morning. And he's a very conservative, very, a fine husband and a fine, you know, father. And, you know, he just text and said, "Well, Mom, so much for riding off into a peaceful sunset. Love you."
And he knows who I am. He knows who I represent. I've had overwhelming support from people that understand that this has become a tool for our governor to go out and raise money and to try to discourage union membership.
KING: Donna Dewitt, I appreciate your time and your perspective tonight. Thank you for coming in.
DEWITT: Thank you, John. I appreciate you having me on your show.
KING: Thank you.
Coming up, Mitt Romney's Latino problem. Can he mend fences with this critical constituency before election day?
KING: Mitt Romney has a Latino problem, and he knows it. Well, today, he began an effort to try to fix it, choosing education as his focus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here we are in the most prosperous nation on earth. And millions of our kids are getting a third-world education. And America's minority children suffer the most. This is the civil rights issue of our era, and it's the greatest challenge of our time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Governor Romney proposes a voucher-like system, allowing low-income and disabled students to attend charter schools or private schools or even to go to public schools in better districts. Well, it's a start.
Remarkably, though, not once in a 38-minute appearance at a Latino forum did he mention immigration policy, the biggest part of the Republican Party's credibility crisis in the Hispanic community.
Senator John McCain knows full well the quicksand of immigration politics. He has this advice for this cycle's GOP standard bearer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I think that we have to present a very humane face to the whole issue of immigration. That's because we know that's what -- how our nation became what it is today.
We also need to have a set of principles on overall immigration reform, which we would be willing to sit down together and work it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, the new NBC/"Wall Street Journal"/Telemundo poll illustrates the steepness of the hill. Sixty-one percent of Latino voters back President Obama. Just 27 percent favor Governor Romney.
The truth is, the president can't take it for granted that 2012 will be the same as 2008 when it comes to Hispanic voters. For starters, that 61 percent support in the poll? That's below the 67 percent then-Senator Obama received on election day 2008.
Plus, 68 percent of Latinos in that NBC/"Wall Street Journal"/Telemundo poll said they were highly interested in the election. That compares to 81 percent of all voters who were highly interested.
That suggests -- suggests -- a possible intensity gap. If the election is as close in November as it is today, even a tiny drop of Latino turnout or support for President Obama could swing a few critical states Governor Romney's way.
The "Truth" is, Governor Romney has more to worry about when it comes to the Latino vote, much more. But the president is hardly worry free.
Let's talk truth tonight with the "New Yorker's" Washington correspondent, Ryan Lizza, and Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Maria Cardona; and Republican strategist, Ana Navarro.
Ana, there was a Latino coalition event today. The governor chose to focus mostly on education. It's a good issue to focus on. But he never, never says the words "immigration." And I believe in those 38 minutes, twice maybe he said the word "Hispanic."
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think he could have and should have tailored his comments towards the audience a bit more. I don't think he'll need to talk about immigration every time you go in front of a Latino audience. This was a business audience. And education certainly is one of the top priorities for Latinos.
Immigration's going to be an issue that's going to be aired out in this campaign. We also heard today from Mitt Romney, that he's going to be participating in a Latino forum at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials next month. It's going to be the first time that Obama and Romney go back to back in front of a Latino audience.
And I think there, you're going to see immigration talked about. And it should be talked about, because certainly, it's a vulnerability for Romney, and it is also an Achilles heel for Barack Obama.
KING: She says Achilles heel, Maria. Look, again, if you look at the numbers, the president is in great shape: 61 percent. But that's not 67 percent. Now, that intensity gap, do you hear that from your friends in the community? Turnout, again, in a place like Colorado, in a place like Florida, in a place even like Virginia or North Carolina, if Latino turnout is down this much and he gets 61, 62, as opposed to 67, we get a different result.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there's no question that the president can't take it for granted. And he's not. The results of what I am seeing from this Obama campaign towards turning out Latino voters and speaking to the Latino voters, it's unprecedented. Historic, the kinds of resources that they're putting in this early on.
But I will say this. The fact is, is that Mitt Romney is absolutely in a huge hole with Latino voters. And it doesn't surprise me that he didn't mention immigration today. And I don't know what he's going to say. It's going to be very interesting. He's got nothing to say right now.
I agree with Newt Gingrich when he actually said on the stage that Mitt Romney is the most anti-immigrant candidate that we have had. Given all of the statements that he's made.
He talked today about immigrate -- about education, sorry. His education policy would actually decimate the programs that a lot of Latino college students have benefited from.
So, again, he says something, but then when you look at his policies, it absolutely goes against the interests of Latinos.
KING: You can hear Senator McCain say, you need to be more hopeful. Can Romney afford to try to move back to -- I'll call it the center? He tried to move back there. Remember, it wasn't all that long ago McCain-Bush-Kennedy had a path to citizenship. Now nobody says that. That's toxic. Yes, but they say maybe a path to status. Can he go there? Or would that be flip-flop, flip-flop?
LIZZA: As recently as 2008, Obama and McCain basically had the same position on immigration reform.
I think, actually, Romney has quite a bit of room to move to the center. I think the base of the Republican Party in the primaries. They're not willing to tolerate a whole lot of dissent. They didn't like a lot of his positions. He moved far to the right on immigration.
I think the conservatives are willing to look past some of the moves that Romney's going to have to make to the middle. And it becomes more of a character issue. It's not so much with conservative voters as with independent voters. And he can -- he can hit the president. He can hit the president and say, hey, you had four years. Where is the immigration reform bill? You never passed it.
CARDONA: He is so locked in, though.
KING: ... deportation. You don't think he's locked in. CARDONA: I think he's so locked in.
KING: We'll see if he tries to -- if he gets some help from Senator Rubio and others.
Barack Obama is locked in to what he said four years ago. He's going to go in front of Naleo (ph), Maria, and you and I know that four years ago, he told that audience and he told many other Latino audiences, "I will do immigration reform in my first year." He had -- you know what? He had the chance. And he didn't.
CARDONA: And you know what? People are going to have to understand that...
CARDONA: The American people understand, and Latinos understand there is disappointment. There's no question about that. But they also understand that he tried. Two years ago, he made calls to Republican senators see if they could at least pass the DREAM Act. And guess what he got? A slap in the face.
KING: Should he have -- should he have put the immigration bill on paper? You are right that the Senate Republicans would not go along with the bill, but should the president, Ryan, have put it on paper just so he could go to the community and say, "I didn't just make phone calls. I sent up legislation. They blocked."
LIZZA: I covered this stuff. I covered Obama's policy making in '09, covered him very closely. Immigration reform was never one of the high, high-profile priorities like the stimulus, cap and trade, Wall Street reform. Those are the biggies in 2009. Immigration got squeezed out of the agenda because of the economic crisis.
CARDONA: There was legislation. So he didn't have to write it. It was there. It existed. What he tried to do was to get any -- any -- Republican senator to support it. Zero.
KING: Some Democrats, too. I'm going to call a quick time-out. We'll be right back to continue the conversation. These guys are going to stay with us, and I hope you'll stay for us, too, for tonight's "Moment You Missed." We asked Senator John McCain if he has any advice for Mitt Romney when it comes to picking a vice president.
KING: We're back talking politics with Ryan Lizza, Maria Cardona, Ana Navarro.
I want you guys to help me out here. Remember, it was 12 years ago -- 12 years ago Joe Lieberman was the Democratic candidate for vice president.
Four years ago he ran around the country with Republican John McCain saying, "Elect him."
Now, Senator Lieberman is now an independent. I spoke to him earlier today. He's the chairman of the committee investigating the Secret Service scandal. And I asked him, "Senator, who are you going to vote for, for president?"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Well, you know, I'm not running for re-election to the Senate. I am really enjoying not being in elected politics, and I'm going to carry that right through to the top office in the country.
And for the first time in my life in a long time, anyway, I'm just going to go into the voting booth on election day like most every other American and vote in private for president.
KING: Do you know who you're going to vote for, even if you won't tell me?
LIEBERMAN: I don't yet. No, I'm watching very carefully and listening carefully. And as an independent, like most independents, I'll not vote based on party, obviously, but based on who I think will be the person who can best secure the future of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Maria Cardona, politics is an interesting business. But he is the chairman of a committee in the United States Senate, because he caucuses with the Democrats, and they give him a committee chairmanship. Now he gives them their vote, which keeps them in the majority.
But should he be a chairman in what is not only a Democrat Senate if he won't say, "I'm going to vote for the Democratic president of the United States?"
CARDONA: Look, he said it himself. What he is doing is keeping the brand of what his party is right now. What is that brand? Independent. He can't right now come out and say -- of course, we would love it if he would come out and say that he was voting for Obama. I think that he probably will at the end of the day. But that's his brand.
KING: What if he said he -- what if he said he was going to vote for Romney? Should he keep his chairmanship, then?
CARDONA: Well, then maybe I think there might be a question as whether he keeps his chairmanship.
LIZZA: If there's anyone who owes Barack Obama, it's Joe Lieberman. Remember in the transition, Obama won. The Democrats had to make a decision. How do we treat Lieberman? He voted for McCain. He campaigned with McCain. He's obviously the vice-presidential nominee. And Obama, very diplomatically, said, "No, we're not going to -- we're not going to throw him under the bus. He's going to keep that committee."
NAVARRO: He's not running -- he's not running for re-election, so he gets special dispensation, I think. And everybody in the Senate, Democrat, Republican, recognized Joe Lieberman as a great statesman.
KING: But in a close election when you need everything you can, and maybe there are some independents out there who respect Senator Lieberman's opinion, saying, yes, this is a guy who was brilliant. He was a Democrat. He left his party. Then he supported Republicans. He's a straight shooter.
NAVARRO: You know, I read the other day that it's been months since he's spoken to Barack Obama. So if he wants his support, maybe the first thing he needs to do is pick up the phone.
LIZZA: A lot of people on Capitol Hill will say it's been months since they talked to Barack Obama.
CARDONA: I don't think at the end of the day that, whether he comes out for support -- to support Barack Obama or not, it's not going to swing a lot of votes for this election. Either President Obama is going get elected or he's not. And it's not going to basically hang in the balance as to what Joe Lieberman says.
NAVARRO: I think it can help him with some Jewish voters. You know, I think he's done a lot on that. I think it could help him on some foreign policy issues. I think it could help either Romney or Obama. I think they should think of him as a secretary of state.
CARDONA: And he might say, we'll come out a month before the election.
KING: Check back close to...
LIZZA: He's not going to be secretary of state.
NAVARRO: Secretary of defense, maybe?
LIZZA: I don't know.
KING: Private citizen, I think, is what Joe Lieberman is going to be, about that long. Maria, Ryan, Ryan, stay with us. You're going to like the "Moment I Missed" -- "Moment You Missed." Stay right here.
But first, Kate Bolduan is back with the latest news you need right now -- Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: hey there, John.
Some more headlines to catching you up on, everyone.
A woman who sparked an in-flight scare by claiming she had a device implanted in her body has been handed over to international authorities. The FBI says Lucy Rico Marigot (ph) won't face criminal charges for allegedly disrupting U.S. Airways Flight 787 from Paris to Charlotte, North Carolina. That flight had to be diverted to Maine where the woman was examined. But doctors found no signs of recent surgical scars. Very strange story.
Former first lady, Nancy Reagan is recovering from several broken ribs after a fall in March, according to a representative. She did not attend a speech delivered by House budget chairman Paul Ryan. Ryan yesterday at the Reagan Presidential library.
Mrs. Reagan has been hospitalized at least twice in recent years, and her public appearances have been increasingly rare. She is 90 years old. Wishing her a speedy recovery.
And computer maker Hewlett-Packard plans to lay off 27,000 workers over the next year and a half. Smart phones and tablets are at least partially to blame. They're making it a much tougher market for the personal computer. The cuts represent about 8 percent of HP's work force.
And he may be the heir to the throne of England, but just call him DJ Prince Charles. He's at it again. Here he is in Toronto where an instructor taught him how to screech, scratch and fade. You can tell he's no DJ. He's in Canada for the Diamond Jubilee, the celebration surrounding Queen Elizabeth's 60-year reign. It sure looks like he's having fun. Talk about a fish out of water, John.
KING: Princes can do that. I don't think a king could. What do you think?
BOLDUAN: Definitely a distinction must be made there.
KING: He was the weatherman just last month. Doing weather on the BBC.
BOLDUAN: You might as well.
KING: You know what? You might as well. Have fun, go with it. All right. Stay right there, Kate.
Tonight's "Moment You Missed." No one knows the stress of picking a running mate, and the criticism you might get for it, better than Senator John McCain. A bit earlier today, I asked him what it takes to make the final cut, and then why he passed on Mitt Romney four years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: The answer to that first question is can I trust that that person can take my place immediately?
But the second thing, obviously, is how does this person help me win the election? Let's be clear: that is a -- that is a really important factor. And that decision, I think, can only be made by the president, with all the facts that he can gather at the time, and that won't be until a couple of months from now at the earliest.
KING: Four years ago, you vetted Governor Romney and then, in the end, settled on Governor Palin. Why?
MCCAIN: Well, I thought at the time that we needed a catalyst. We needed an energizer, which we got. As soon as she spoke at our Republican convention, we were up by three points. She energized our base. That's what I thought we needed at the time. She had experience as a governor, and she obviously had an enormous amount of charisma.
And I thought it was really -- and I still do think it was the right choice at that time, and I'm still very proud to have had her as my running mate.
The circumstances may be very different for Governor Romney when he has to decide, and that is why I don't presume to tell him who he should -- who he should choose, but he does have a good bench.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Kate, do you think if he presumed to tell, that Governor Romney would listen, given what happened to him a few years ago?
BOLDUAN: I was going to say, wasn't there a whole movie about that? A lot of people inside, outside Washington are watching.
I always find it interesting, because the veepstakes is always such a fun game. I mean, we've been talking about it; we talk about it all the time. But how interesting is the veepstakes to anyone outside of Washington is always my question.
KING: Well, unless you're maybe a governor. If you're a governor out there, you might care. Maybe they're watching in Alaska. Who knows?
We'll see you back here tomorrow night. That's all for tonight, though. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.