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Supreme Court Shocker; Egypt's President Speaks Out; Health Reform Hero or Conservative Traitor? Did Roberts Switch His Vote?; Countdown To November; U.S. Friends Doing Business With Iran; Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes Divorcing; A Rare Look At The White House Garden

Aired June 29, 2012 - 16:00   ET


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: A troubling vow by Egypt's incoming president, telling a crowd of thousands he will free a convicted terrorist he calls a political prisoner of the U.S.

Also, we're sifting through clues in a Supreme Court shocker. Did Chief Justice John Roberts switch his vote on health reform at the last minute?

And tragedy upon tragedy for one Colorado family. First, four children lose their parents. Then fire turns their lives upside-down again.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Candy Crowley. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Almost a decade before the world heard of Osama bin Laden there was Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric who was the spiritual leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. He was later convicted of plotting to blow up other New York City landmarks and is serving a life sentence in the U.S., but now a surprise development.

Egypt's first democratically elected president, who will be sworn in tomorrow, is vowing to free Abdel Rahman, whom he calls a political prisoner.

Our CNN senior international correspondent, Dan Rivers, is in Cairo.

Dan, tell us about this speech in general by president-elect Mohammed Morsi.

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was here in Tahrir Square to tens of thousands of jubilant Muslim Brotherhood followers who were hanging on his every word.

He certainly knew how to work the crowd up into a frenzy. He was talking about the kind of blood of martyrs that have been spilt in this square and the blood of martyrs that have been spilt down the decades trying to get Egypt to the point where it would have its first ever democratically elected president, even at one point saying, opening his jacket and saying, look, I'm not wearing a bulletproof vest. The only person I fear is God. So that was the kind of tone of it. He tried to be inclusive as well, mentioning Christians and women. But it at times was pretty fiery. And as you mentioned, at one point, especially when he mentioned political prisoners in the U.S. and specifically Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who is a controversial figure, to say the least.

This is the man before Osama bin Laden was on the scene who was kind of public enemy number one in many ways. He was convicted back in 1993 for planning a sort of urban war of terrorism, in which he and his fellow conspirators were going to blow up two bridges in New York, two tunnels, a federal building.

They were going to try and assassinate Hosni Mubarak. So, he was a pretty kind of full-on terrorist that's now being someone that they are saying that they want to free. Now, since that speech, his people are rowing back on this, saying, well, we're just saying we want him extradited back here to serve out his sentence. But, nevertheless, it's going to raise some eyebrows in the U.S.

CROWLEY: It definitely will. Dan Rivers out of Cairo tonight, thank you so much.

We want to dig a little deeper on this with CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend, former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

So, Fran, just bottom line, the chances even that the U.S. would transfer Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman to Cairo are slim to none, correct?


Look, in these really big cases, whether they're terrorism or spy cases, foreign governments make the request. Our viewers will remember Jonathan Pollard. Every year, it seems, Israeli leaders ask for his return to Israel. He spied against the United States when he was in the Navy for Israel. The answer has always been no across Republican and Democrat administrations.

And this will be no different. Look, the troubling part about this, Candy, is that what -- in the speech, the president-elect suggested that Omar Abdel Rahman's views were a legitimate political ideology.


CROWLEY: Right. He called him a political prisoner.

TOWNSEND: Exactly. I mean, when you look at that and you take that together with his earlier statements after the election results about wanting to strengthen Egypt's relationship with Iran, you can understand how there will be grave concerns not only in Israel and in the region, but here in the United States, about what exactly the views of the president-elect of Egypt are going to be and his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, what that portends for our relationship. CROWLEY: Now, often when we hear these sorts of speeches, if we put them in a local context, it often makes more sense. In other words, sometimes you say things for the hometown crowd. Here is Egypt's first democratically elected president. He will be sworn in tomorrow. He gives this speech in a square where freedom literally started for the folks he's talking to.

Is this perhaps sort of a hometown couple of grafts for Morsi?

TOWNSEND: Candy, there are a lot of policy-makers in Washington hoping that you are exactly right. And I think that that's fair.

Look, Israel -- as I mentioned, Israel makes these requests every year. That's a political move. They know the answer is going to be no. And I suspect, I would hope that the newly -- the president-elect of Egypt understands that he can say that in Tahrir Square and sort of politically whip up, as Dan Rivers talked about it, the crowd there for domestic political reasons, understanding there is exactly no chance of that transfer taking place.

CROWLEY: What does it say, though? What does it bode for the future of U.S.-Egyptian relations? This is a man, he was educated here in the U.S. He has two American-born children. So, it sort of sounded like it was a promising beginning. Does this kind of shade that a bit?

TOWNSEND: Well, look, I think people in Washington who I have spoken with have said you have got to be realistic.

As you pointed out, Candy, all politics are local. And so he's going to be pulled in a direction, a more right-wing extremist direction, by his own political constituency in Egypt. He's going to have to balance that in order to be an effective player on the international political scene.

And so we're going to have to see how he walks that line. It's true of every politician, American, international, our allies. These are always difficult balancing acts that take place. And we're going to see how he does. This will be new for him, however.

CROWLEY: Exactly. This is his first rodeo. So we will see how this all works out.


CROWLEY: Fran Townsend, our national security contributor, thanks so much.

TOWNSEND: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: Within the last few minutes, CNN has learned that the Justice Department, as expected, will not prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder, who was found in criminal and civil contempt of Congress yesterday in a Republican-led vote.

The citation stems from a long-running dispute over a failed ATF program that allowed guns to go from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels. The House Oversight Committee accuses Holder of withholding documents pertaining to the program known as Fast and Furious. The matter will still move forward under a congressional civil contempt charge, but that could take years to work its way through the courts.

Mitt Romney is vowing to get rid of Obamacare despite the Supreme Court ruling upholding it. But repealing might prove just as hard as passing it was.

We're also looking at the clues peppered throughout the ruling that some think point to a dramatic last-minute change of heart by the chief justice.

And President Obama gets a firsthand look at the worst fire in Colorado history.


CROWLEY: The Supreme Court decision upholding health care reform is energizing both the Obama and Romney campaigns and underscoring the starkest contrast between the candidates.

Both of them talked about the decision hours after it came down.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's why, even though I knew it wouldn't be politically popular and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so.

In fact, this idea's enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for president. Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive. I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a time a choice for the American people. Our mission is clear. If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama.

My mission is to make sure we do exactly that, that we return to the American people the privilege they have always had to live their lives in the way they feel most appropriate, where we don't pass onto coming generations massive deficits and debt, where we don't have a setting where jobs are lost.

If we want good jobs and a bright economic future for ourselves and for our kids, we must replace Obamacare.


CROWLEY: Let's get more now with CNN contributor Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker."

So, just some truth squadding. First of all, the White House thought this would be a popular law, despite what the president says.


CROWLEY: And despite what Mitt Romney says, he can't -- it's not like he can walk into office and go, I repeal this law. It doesn't work that way.

What's behind that rhetoric?


Look, I think the scenario by which he can repeal this is he has to win the Senate. Remember, the Senate is controlled by Democrats. The Republicans needs to retain the House. And obviously has to win the presidency. If he wins the presidency, it's a better possibility that the Republicans did well in Congress.

But then he has to -- he's got the Republicans' best friend, the filibuster, to deal with in the Senate. And repealing Obamacare would be almost as difficult as passing Obamacare, right?

CROWLEY: Right, 60 votes.

LIZZA: Sixty votes.

So then you move to this very complicated parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation. There is a budgetary device where you can get things through the Senate with just a simple majority, 51 votes.

And this week, just within hours of the Supreme Court decision, lots of Republicans now are gaming out, can we -- if Romney is president and we take over the Senate, can we repeal Obamacare through reconciliation? There's a big debate about that.

CROWLEY: You mean just defund it, just not give it any money?

LIZZA: That's another option. You can defund it, but then you leave all kinds of pieces.

Just as when Obama was implementing -- or was trying to pass the law, the White House had this debate, do we do it with overcoming a filibuster with 60 votes? Or do we do it with reconciliation? They decided at least at first to do it with 60 votes, because they decided that doing it through reconciliation would create what they called a Swiss cheese law. You couldn't do everything you wanted.

So that's -- so it's not as easy for Romney to get rid of this thing as he stated in those remarks yesterday.

CROWLEY: And then comes the hard part, replace. But..


LIZZA: And that's where the Obama team now is coming back with him and saying, hey, OK, if you're going to get rid of this, let's put some pressure on Romney and say, well, what are you going to replace it with?

And so far, the Romney camp has been shy about giving details on that.

CROWLEY: One of the things that interested me in the notes that we saw on the Supreme Court was Justice Ginsburg noting that Congress' basis for this health care law was Mitt Romney's health care law.


CROWLEY: It just seemed like a political...


LIZZA: Yes. You know, it reminded me -- both Scalia and Ginsburg in decisions this week took little shots or at least references to what's going on in the campaigns, which I don't think there's anything wrong with that. These guys are political actors in a sense and they watch what's going on.

Scalia in his Arizona dissent I believe mentioned President Obama's recent decision on not deporting certain classes of illegal aliens. And Ginsburg talked about how the idea for Obamacare originated in Massachusetts. Now, on the one hand, it is just factually true. On the other hand, for us, it's so, she's being a little political there, because that's the Obama campaign's argument.


CROWLEY: A little of a, we get it, folks. We're not really behind an ivory tower here or...

LIZZA: Exactly.

CROWLEY: Health care has not been a winning issue for the president. He hasn't talked about it out on the campaign trail. Is it more of a winning issue now? I sort of look at it and think, well, it's a little bit like he's gotten that Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and maybe people take a second look?

LIZZA: Yes, look, I always think that part of the reason the polls are so poorly -- the polls are so down on health care is, one, there are a lot of liberals in those polls who wanted his health care law to go further. So they express disapproval.

But even if you take that into consideration, it's never -- it's never done well in the polls.

CROWLEY: Health care has not been a winning issue for the president. He hasn't talked about it on the campaign trail. Is it more of a winning issue now?

I sort of look at it and think, well, it's a little bit like he's gotten like good housekeeping seal of approval and maybe people take a second look?

LIZZA: Look, I always think part of the reason the polls are so down on health care is, one, there are a lot of liberals in those polls who wanted his health care law to go further. So, they expressed disapproval.

But even if you take that into consideration, it's never done well in the polls. And the Obama campaign -- this campaign, they've not really talked about it. His biggest achievement, he's not running on it.

But I think a lot of people don't know what it does. The opinion polling on health care is highly sensitive to the data that people have. And so perhaps, we'll see now that the Supreme Court, which still garners a great deal of respect in America has upheld it, we'll see if that affects --

CROWLEY: New light on it for some people.


CROWLEY: Ryan Lizza of "New Yorker" -- thank you.

LIZZA: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: Congress gets to work in the nick of time. The vote on lower interest rates that affect millions of student loans.

And there's no shady spot, no snow cone big enough to beat the heat around most of the country where the temperatures are soaring past 100 degrees.


CROWLEY: We have just received news about professional cyclist Lance Armstrong. Lisa Sylvester has that and some of the day's other top stories -- Lisa.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Candy. Well, we are just getting it confirmed that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has decided to file formal doping charges against Lance Armstrong. This goes back to Lance Armstrong and his win of the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005. Armstrong has always maintained he is innocent.

We have a statement that we can read now to you. It says, quote, "The USADA can confirm that the independent three-person anti- doping review board has conducted a full evaluation and has made a unanimous recommendation to move forward with the adjudication process in accordance with the rules." Essentially what this means, Candy, is both sides will have a chance to present their case and their story and it will be up to the arbitrators to decide.

And in other news, Congress only had until July 1st to extend a 3.4 percent interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford loans for another year. Otherwise, the rate would double, affecting more than 7 million students. Lawmakers decided to pay for the extension through changes in the way companies fund pension programs. The same package gives the green light to $109 billion in transportation funding for highways and bridges. And President Obama is expected to sign both bills.

And we've seen the dangerous situation the scorching temperatures have created in Colorado. Well, now the massive heat wave stretches all the way to the nation's capitol. A third of Americans, about 100 million are under some type of heat warning today. Temperatures across much of the country will be at 100 degrees or higher. And forecasters predict little relief to come in the next week.

And the world's most powerful rocket launched into space today, carrying a new spy satellite. It's a classified mission for the U.S. military. Its makers say the Delta IV heavy booster has the most powerful rocket engines ever built. Today's launch was just the second mission in just over a week for the United Launch Alliance. It's a partnership between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

And the Dow leaps 277 points. That's more than 2 percent as European leaders reach a deal to help troubled banks. The E.U. hopes to have a plan implemented within the next two weeks. Meanwhile, the official end of the first half of 2012 ended with all three major indexes posted healthy gains.

A lot of folks out there, I'm sure, Candy, happy to hear that news.

CROWLEY: Yes. We'll take good news wherever we can get it. Thanks so much, Lisa Sylvester.

All eyes on Supreme Court chief justice. Some say John Roberts surprise vote to uphold Obamacare wasn't really surprising at all. On the other hand, we will also talk with long-time court watchers about signs that Roberts may have made a dramatic last-minute switch in his vote.


CROWLEY: He's a new hero to some, but now seen as a traitor by others. For the first time ever, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's entire liberal bloc yesterday to uphold President Obama's health care reform act. And in doing so, he thrust himself into a very hot spotlight.

CNN crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns is here.

Joe, if you look closely at Roberts, there was always some indication that he could be a surprising guy.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's true, I think. And it's not entirely a surprise, Candy, because Roberts was able to preserve some conservative ideas in this ruling while still protecting his legacy on the court.


JOHNS (voice-over): Conservatives are still shaking their heads.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: It was really a shock.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm disappointed in their decision. They came to the decision. I respect it.

JOHNS: How could one of their own on the Supreme Court side with liberals on the court to uphold the constitutionality of the Democratic president's health care plan? But in many ways it was still a conservative decision.

TOM GOLDSTEIN, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: This was a conservative judicial philosophy that says the role of the courts is to be the last resort, not the first resort. We only strike something down when it's a big piece of economic regulation if we absolutely have to. That's still quite conservative.

JOHNS: And this type of thinking shouldn't be a surprise coming from Roberts. You need look no further than his confirmation hearings for the evidence.

JOHN ROBERTS, THEN-SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Judges and justices are servants of the law. Not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules. They apply them.

The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. It makes sure everybody plays by the rules, but it is a limited role.

JOHNS: Translation, it's not about legislating from the bench. It's about finding a narrow path to deciding cases. Not exactly what then-Senator Obama thought of Roberts when he voted against his confirmation back in 2005.

BARACK OBAMA, THEN-U.S. SENATOR: That he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak.

JOHNS: And as president, Obama kept up his criticism, calling out the Supreme Court over the Citizens United decision, opening the flood gates for outside money into campaigns.

OBAMA: I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests.

JOHNS: For Roberts, the health care decision is a legacy builder, which helps the credibility of the court without throwing away a policy idea that almost every president has grappled with going all the way back to Theodore Roosevelt.

GOLDSTEIN: No doubt he voted this way because he believed it. But for him as chief justice and Supreme Court as a whole, an incredibly smart decision -- insulates both of them from criticism of being partisan out to get liberals, anything like that, for decades.

JOHNS: What's in the background says so much about Roberts. A lawyer worth several million dollars, Harvard grad, 57 years old, husband, father of two adopted children. Roberts has had brushes with health issues including seizures, one as recently as 2007.

Tom Goldstein, who has argued 25 cases before the court, doesn't think the chief justice's health issues impacted his decision.

GOLDSTEIN: I think the idea that his health somehow influenced this is silly. This was a real legal question. He is the consummate lawyer. And there's no reason to believe that anything external influenced him.


JOHNS: And the big picture it kind of goes without saying that Chief Justice Roberts is still very conservative and he is not somehow moving to the middle. This was an unusual case. Also, there are likely to be more health care cases related to the president's plan. So, he and others on the court will once again get a chance to show their stripes, if you will.

CROWLEY: That's the best thing about a court is we can't predict it always. We're not really sure what they were thinking other than what we read in their --

JOHNS: That's right. But it's a great game. And everybody tries it. A lot of people don't get it right.

CROWLEY: Most of us lost on that last one. That's for sure. Thank you so much, Joe Johns.

The health care ruling has sparked a Supreme Court mystery. The text is peppered with signs that Chief Justice Roberts may have switched his vote at the last minute.

CNN's Tom Foreman is sifting through the clues.

Tom, what are you saying?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what I'm seeing, Candy, I'm seeing that in this umpire analogy here, there are a lot of Republicans who wish they could go to the instant replay booth on this because they want to know what happened from the time they heard the oral arguments and they went into that private room where the nine justices made their first vote and then started talking about it and writing opinions about it, what happened in the meantime?

Here's what we saw yesterday when the vote was actually taken. Sotomayor goes over here. Breyer over here, Thomas goes over here, Scalia goes over here. This is expected, nothing surprising here.

Kennedy winds up over here. He's the one they thought might go other way. Ginsburg over here. Alito over here. Elena Kagan over here.

And now there's this thought that maybe Roberts was headed this way. Maybe he was headed this way or already there.

Why do they think that? Because legal scholars were reading over comments and they've been noticing things like this. First of all, bear in mind, the winning group is called the opinion. The losing group is called the dissent. We have it backwards in case Roberts were over here.

So you have a comment written by Scalia, Thomas over here where they're saying a few respectful responses to Justice Ginsburg's dissent on this matter suggesting that they were writing as the majority, as if they had won, as if Roberts were with them.

So they're talking about her dissent again, another part, same thing. The dissent claims to say that we failed to explain -- the bottom line is, these people are writing in language that says they think they're the winners and this group is the losers.

So much so even here Justice Thomas again says, I dissent for the reasons stated in our joint opinion, he's talking about their opinion as if they are the winners.

So the bottom line is some legal scholars are looking at this language and saying this suggests that through the writing process for some considerable period of time this group over here thought that they had Roberts in their camp.

And somewhere along the line they were either mistaken or he switched and wound up over here. This became the opinion. This became the dissent. It's an awful lot of tea leaf reading I'll tell you, Candy.

An awful lot of going to the instant replay booth, which we don't have and frankly, I'm not sure I buy it having read through all of it.

But it's really an interesting theory to which we will probably never ever have proof unless somewhere way down the line Justice Roberts retires and I'll write my memoir and tell all.

CROWLEY: Yes, right. I'm a step behind you. I'm not sure I know enough to buy into the mysteries of the Supreme Court. I'll stick with politics.

FOREMAN: It doesn't make any difference. They made the decision. That's the way it goes.

CROWLEY: Exactly. Tom, thank you.

For more on the mysteries surrounding Roberts' vote, I talked with Tom Goldstein, publisher and co-founder of

So there are a lot of signs, one of them being that in the dissent the conservatives didn't address John Roberts' reasoning until the end of their dissent. And that's taken as a mystery. Do you go with it?

TOM GOLDSTEIN, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: This is all a possibility. When you have a really long opinion that goes on for so many pages, you can always kind of find tea leaves in there. I still think it's unlikely for two reasons.

The first is, we can tell from who was assigned opinions throughout the course of the term that Chief Justice Roberts always had the principle majority in the health care case. So we know that he was always writing.

And second, it seems very unlikely that at the last minute he would have changed his mind given that they've known this case was coming to them for years.

So I think that there are probably some indications that the votes may have changed around some. Things may have moved some, but I doubt that this was a last-second switch in time.

CROWLEY: And some people think there were hints in his questioning that he might have gone this, OK, you could call it a tax route.

GOLDSTEIN: That's right. His questioning, that's exactly right. During the oral argument did raise this question of, well, it might be unconstitutional under the commerce power.

This idea that conservatives were so concerned about overreaching as an attempt to regulate interstate commerce, but maybe the fallback position of the Obama administration might be enough to save the law and that's how it ended up.

CROWLEY: You have to listen to them very carefully.

GOLDSTEIN: That's right.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you about the chief justice, I read in some of the commentary afterwards that this was an opinion that seemed to be the chief justice in his role as chief justice.

That he was very aware that the court is seen as an increasingly politicized and that this was his sort of, OK, American people, you can trust this court to follow the law, decision. Take us inside his mind if you can.

GOLDSTEIN: Well, you know, the chief justice only speaks through the opinions. There's a lot of speculating going on, a lot of psychology. But I think you can start with the premise that he believed this was the right outcome.

But the premise actually follows from a philosophy that says with big economic legislation that can affect hundreds of millions of people. The Supreme Court ought to be the last resort rather than the first resort that this is simply Congress' job.

I think in him writing it, because that's the choice he had to make, just join somebody else's opinion or would he be the author, he was showing the country that it's not a partisan institution.

That the conservative appointed by Republican president chief justice of the United States can be the pivotal vote to save the signature accomplishment of a Democratic president.

Even if that's not the necessarily intended result, it is certainly the result.

CROWLEY: Right. So the law was there that helped him back up his decision as a justice. But the opportunity was there for him to act as a chief justice.

GOLDSTEIN: Yes. That's exactly right. And many people have said and I agree that this is really going to be remembered as a pivotal point in the Roberts' court.

The Supreme Court over the decades is known by the chief justice. And it's going to be incredibly hard to criticize either him or the court as a whole over the next 10 years for being too conservative because people can always point to this decision.

CROWLEY: Next term, major cases on affirmative action. We may get some voting rights cases, perhaps even same sex marriage. Anything that Chief Justice Roberts said tell you about how he's going to view these next cases?

GOLDSTEIN: I don't think so. Remember that before yesterday there had never been a single case that we had 5-4 with John Roberts joining the four more liberal members of the court against four conservatives. His first year, then one 5-3 decision.

This was unusual and doesn't suggest a trend in any way. I don't think this fundamentally changes his philosophy about how the law ought to be interpreted as a conservative. Instead of this notion limited role for the Supreme Court. I don't think you should read anything else into it.

CROWLEY: Tom Goldstein, tell us the name of your blog again.


CROWLEY: OK, that's where you go to find it all out. Thank you so much.

GOLDSTEIN: Thank you.

CROWLEY: The countdown to November is on. Ahead, our "Strategy Session" weighs in with advice for both candidates with just a little more than 100 days to go.

And the star couple calling in divorce lawyers. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


CROWLEY: Joining me for today's "Strategy Session," CNN contributor and Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen and also Republican strategist, John Feehery, he is president of Quinn Gillespie Communications. Thank you both. All right, 130 days away from the election. So we have four months for them to write their campaigns and win it. When you look at the Obama re-election campaign, what worries you the most?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, we started out this month pretty sour. Polls were going down. Our jobs numbers were not moving as quickly as we'd hoped.

But we're ending on a high note. And I think for a couple reasons, obviously health care puts a little bounce in the president's step. They know he took a risk and it was worth it and we'll see it play out.

But also we're going to see Congress this week now passing the student loan bill the president's been calling for, for the last several months. Maybe even a transportation bill the president has sought that can help with construction jobs.

So I think going forward the president has a lot to talk about in terms of what he's looking for, for the future. The biggest risk, of course, is always overconfident. You know, remembering that it goes bad just as easily as it goes well.

CROWLEY: Which this month of June would tell us if you just look at it.

ROSEN: Right.

CROWLEY: Take to the other side. When you look at the Mitt Romney campaign, what worries you?

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I'm going to answer like Hilary.

CROWLEY: Tell me the good things first.

FEEHERY: If I were the Obama campaign, I would be most worried about the economy because unemployment is still above 8 percent. Things don't seem to be getting better.

And the thing for the Romney campaign is they are focused on that like a laser beam. Even with this health care ruling with a tax argument, Mr. Romney can make the argument that it's keeping back the economy.

The thing I'm most worried about if I'm the Romney campaign is we have to pump up the Hispanic vote for Romney much more. We have to have a better answer on these questions on immigration and things like that. He's got to focus on getting that answer right if he wants to do better with that community.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you both, do these candidates have time to get themselves right with issues that are this big? My sense of it is along about August or September you better have your act together. We're still a little off Broadway now. ROSEN: Well, I don't know that the country's really intensely focused on the campaign at all. But I do think that people are obviously paying attention to the economy.

They're paying attention as they're making their summer vacation plans. Can I afford to go away? Is it a little better this year?

Gas prices are down from last summer some. So people notice that. I think that people are starting to relate the politics to where they live. You know, come August and September it will be more about the bigger picture.

CROWLEY: Consumer confidence is going down at the same time. So somebody's living somewhere where they're not feeling great about it. Let me ask you about -- you brought up immigration, some things that the Romney campaign has to get right by.

What is the holdup here? Not in a big holistic plan for immigration, but just a simple answer, of course I'll leave the president's directive in place, but I'm going to come up with something much better.

Or, no, I'm going to immediately turnover what the president has done, which is allow young illegal immigrants come here under the age of 16 and stayed clear of any law enforcement violations that they can stay and get work release.

FEEHERY: That's a very good question. I think the thing for him is he's worried a little bit about the white ethnic vote making sure not to alienate them.

I think he could say I'm with Marco Rubio. This is a good short term solution, but we need a long-term solution. I think part of this is feeling things out. There are so many other things going on.

You have this health care ruling. You really want to focus on that for a while. You want to talk about taxes. You want to stick to the economy. We've kind of gotten through this thing, but he does have to have a better message at some point in time to get that turnout.

ROSEN: He's trying to figure out if he can get away with saying something exactly opposite of what he said during the primaries. And I think right now they don't think they can. That's a good thing.

CROWLEY: But isn't now the time -- if you're going to say, without buying into that, if you're going to say something that seems to contradict yourself from several months earlier, shouldn't you do it now?

FEEHERY: Sometimes evolving slowly is the best option. I think they'll probably get there.

ROSEN: They're allowed to evolve on gay marriage so -- FEEHERY: Yes. This doesn't tend to be one of those issues.

ROSEN: Immigration is not a social issue. It's an economic policy issue.

FEEHERY: For Mitt Romney the most important thing with the Hispanic community is talking about the economy because the economy with Hispanic voters, they're just as worried as anybody else about not being able to find jobs.

Many Hispanic people are small business owners. You have to talk about small business. For Romney, you have to really focus on that like a laser beam because it helps with the general message.

CROWLEY: John Feehery, Hilary Rosen, we have to stop there. But thank you guys very much. Have a good weekend.

ROSEN: You too.

CROWLEY: Loopholes in international sanctions against Iran. They are large enough that some U.S. allies are doing big business in the Islamic republic.

And coming up in our next hour, only months before -- after being orphaned, four children are now homeless as well thanks to Colorado's massive wildfires.


CROWLEY: This week the toughest sanctions yet against Iran are going into effect, but there are loopholes that may keep Iran from feeling the full impact.

CNN's Erin Burnett is going out front on this story. Erin, describe to me what these loopholes are.

ERIN BURNETT, HOST, CNN'S "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": It's pretty amazing, Candy. This weekend we're going to see Europe stop buying Iranian oil. The U.S. has another round of even tougher sanctions. This is the worst it's ever been in terms of sanctions on Iran and it has really hurt the economy. There's no question about it.

You know, average Iranians were getting a subsidy every month for food. That's been cut back because the government's been hurt so badly. But there are some amazing inconsistencies in the U.S. government's handling of the sanctions.

I mean, this is a Samsung Galaxy phone, Candy. Outsold the Apple iPhone in the United States this year, it's pretty amazing, right? Everyone wants this device. Samsung is a South Korean company. It does a lot of business in Iran.

When I was there they were full Samsung stores, televisions, you name it. Over 2,000 South Korean companies operate in Iran, and yet the United States Congress signed off on the biggest free trade deal since NAFTA with South Korea.

So there are some real inconsistencies in how the U.S. has handled it. Obviously Samsung is doing nothing wrong. It's going about its business. So far this year as we've seen all these sanctions take effect, this is an amazing number, Candy.

Iran is importing 49 percent more from South Korea than it was a year ago. So sanctions may be working and may be tough, but there are some real serious questions about how effective they may be and whether the U.S. government's really doing everything it can.

CROWLEY: So basically just quickly you're just saying that these loopholes could mitigate the actual effect that we want?

BURNETT: Yes. They absolutely can mitigate. And of course, there are other small loopholes allowed by Congress where U.S. companies that have subsidiaries overseas even fully owned subsidiaries overseas, if they do business with Iran, that's allowed in some cases.

That's been dramatically scaled back, press coverage of some things. You know, people find out you're doing that, that gets pulled back. There are loopholes out there and they're being exploited.

Although, again, South Korea, it's not a loophole. These companies are doing what they're allowed to do. The U.S. isn't using the leverage that we have on something that our government says is so important.

CROWLEY: "OUTFRONT" with Erin Burnett, we will be watching tonight. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: A firsthand look at scenes of devastation. President Obama visits Colorado where wildfires are burning out of control.

Also, the celebrity split sending shock waves through the entertainment world. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes call it quits.

And it's a plot of pride at the Obama White House. We get a rare look at the first lady's garden.


CROWLEY: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are splitting up after almost six years of marriage. A lawyer for the actor confirms that Holmes has filed for divorce and that the actor is, quote, "very sad about it."

Carlos Greer is with "People" magazine owned by our parent company, Time Warner. He has more on the break up. Carlos, tell us anything you can about what caused it, was it a surprise? How did this happen?

CARLOS GREER, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: It was definitely a surprise. We interviewed Tom a few weeks ago in the magazine and he was talking about how much he loved Katie. He was talking about how much he loved his family.

He seemed pretty satisfied. So this is a huge surprise that they're getting a divorce. Katie, she filed for divorce. The details we're still reporting them out, but it's definitely a shocker. It's a huge surprise in Hollywood.

CROWLEY: Actors are pretty good at acting. So it just seems to me not quite conceivable that Katie Holmes could be unhappy enough for a divorce and Tom Cruise would not know about it.

Is there anyone kind of in their immediate circle that, you know, saw something like this coming? Have you been able to figure that out?

GREER: Well, you know what's interesting, is that for the past few months they have not been photographed together. This is a couple we're used to seeing them together. She's always by his side.

He's been out promoting his film "Rock of Ages" and Katie hasn't been at a single premier. They've been apart. Even now the last time she was photographed she was in New York and he's in Iceland filming a movie.

She's usually with him onset with Suri. That's a huge shocker too. Maybe that was the writing on the wall that they were getting a split.

CROWLEY: And I also know that little news from Adelle, the singer, today.

GREER: Yes. Adelle is expecting. She went to her site and says she's expecting a baby. She's pregnant with her boyfriend, Simon.

CROWLEY: This is going to take probably some of the angst out of that music that's made her so famous, I would think.

GREER: You would think so. She's been wanting to be a mom. She told "People" that that's one of the things she really wants to do. She's extremely over the moon and will probably change the tune of a lot of her songs.

CROWLEY: Now was this a surprise?

GREER: That she's pregnant?


GREER: It's not a huge surprise because she does want to be a mom. She's young and she's been dating him since last summer. She's a very private star, but I'm not surprised she's pregnant. I'm actually very happy for her.

CROWLEY: Carlos Greer, "People" magazine. Thanks so much.

GREER: Great, thank you. CROWLEY: The first family's food goes from farm to table. Granted we're talking about the White House garden here. But Lisa Sylvester discovered an idea is growing out of the rows of fresh vegetables. It's not just what's for dinner, Lisa?


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why have a garden in the White House?

SAM KASS, WHITE HOUSE CHEF: I think the first lady really wanted to start a conversation around our food, where it comes from and the implication it has on our health especially for kids.

When kids are empowered as actors in this and they get to become part of the process of planting a seed and watching it grow and preparing it to eat, their minds just open up because they take real ownership in the process.

That can happen even just in cooking. We have some cherry tomatoes over there that are starting to come in now.

SYLVESTER: So is this stuff actually end up on the first family's table then?

KASS: Absolutely. So I get to come down here every night and I'll harvest something pretty much every night for dinner. You want to see a sneak peek of the first potato? These are baby red ones.

SYLVESTER: I bet the kids love doing this, don't they?

KASS: Yes, potatoes always great for kids.

SYLVESTER: It's like a treasure hunt.

KASS: Exactly. The first family eats -- any time the president's in town, they eat dinner as a family. It's a great way for families to use food to sit down and be a family.

It's critical in getting kids to eat their vegetables too. These plants are doing so well. Let's see if we got a bigger one. There's a Zuccini for you.

SYLVESTER: The thing about have been fresh foods is it really does make a big difference in taste.

KASS: It's so good.

SYLVESTER: I know, juicy.

KASS: Yes.

SYLVESTER: You can see the juice literally coming off of that.

KASS: Yes.

SYLVESTER: This is great.

KASS: I'm incredibly worried, so is the first lady. Right now one in three of our youngest generation will have diabetes in their lifetime if we don't significantly turn this around.

SYLVESTER: How do you get kids to eat healthy?

KASS: I think really it is including them in the process. When you go shopping, one thing that works is, OK, you get to pick out three different vegetables. Now your kid has a role to play.

SYLVESTER: So is there like a go-to one that they love that the president really loves or the first lady really loves?

KASS: That's top secret information. There's no way I can disclose -- no. We really balance healthy meals. We also have a lot of fun with food too. We also have young children.

So we make sure we throw them a bone now and again and serve just some fun stuff for them. But they practice what they preach. There's balance on the plate. We cook my plate and then go from there.

SYLVESTER: So where are the beets?

KASS: Well, we don't have any -- we've already harvested the beets.

SYLVESTER: I heard the first lady saying something about not being a beet family.

KASS: She's not -- they're not the biggest beet fans, but we find other ways to use beets. It's not the most staple crop. This little thing right here, see it? This will turn red. That thing packs a punch.

SYLVESTER: You're not going to eat this?

KASS: No way. Don't let the size fool you.

SYLVESTER: How did you meet the first family?

KASS: My dad was Malia's teacher. I'm a High Parker so I've just known them from the area. It's a small neighborhood. Got lucky enough to come here.

SYLVESTER: Tell me about the state dinner. I'm fascinated about this. I love this idea.

KASS: Yes, we're so excited. Families have been putting in their recipes for healthy lunches for kids, working with their kids. And a winner from every state in the nation's going to come to the White House and have a state dinner with the first lady. And it's going to be so much fun.


CROWLEY: So, Lisa with me now, do they have a date for the August dinner?

SYLVESTER: They don't have a specific date yet. We're still waiting. I know there are a lot of kids out there that are excited and want to know if they're winners.

He's a very modest guy. He was actually named one of "People" magazine's 100 most beautiful people. He just brushes all that to the side and just wants to keep the conversation going having parents and kids talking about healthy eating, Candy.

CROWLEY: So in his honor, we'll keep the conversation going. Does he have any specific advice, you're a mom, I'm a mom, it's just tough to -- I realize when someone says they'll eat anything if you put it in front of them. Mine used to run around snacking on green pepper until they hit school.

SYLVESTER: Yes. It is, as a mom, I can tell you it's tough to convince the kids to give up the chicken nuggets, the macaroni and cheese and reach for something healthier. But he says families need to make it interesting. Get kids involved.

Give them choices. Give kids a sense of empowerment of they're making the decisions. He also says plan meals. This is something he does with the White House. On Sunday, take a half an hour, plan your meals. Figure out what you're going to be making.

And also he says families need to have conversations about this. You know, if you get a kid to start a garden in the backyard, plant some seeds, make it their plants, make it their tomato plant, now it has a whole different level and much more exciting for them, Candy.

CROWLEY: OK. I'm not sure I'm going to go home and start a garden in the backyard.

SYLVESTER: I haven't done it, but I have to tell you I want to start doing that. After doing this story, it's something I'm really looking forward to doing. I asked him also about the deer and rabbits, he said of course we have the secret service for that.

He was obviously making a joke, but that's the big thing. But you can always start, you can do container gardens. There are so many wonderful things that you can do, Candy.

CROWLEY: Lisa Sylvester, thank you so much.