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THE SITUATION ROOM
Mitt Romney Booed at NAACP Convention; Cambodia Health Mystery Solved; Wealthy Heir Arrested
Aired July 11, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Here is something I like to say to President Obama. You should have attended the NAACP Convention in Houston today. Mitt Romney did. It was the right thing to do. The Republican knows the nation's oldest civil rights group isn't exactly friendly turf, but he went anyway. On the whole, he got a polite reception, though he was booed when he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to eliminate every nonessential expensive program I can find. That includes Obamacare. And I'm going to work to reform and save...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Despite the boos, it was a smart political move for Mitt Romney to address the NAACP. He knows he is not going to win over a lot of black voters, but attending these kinds of events is important in reassuring a lot of those suburban white voters that he is a moderate, decent politician, someone who wants to work with all Americans.
I'm surprised the president was a no-show. He is sending his vice president, Joe Biden. He will send a video as well. I checked the president's schedule for today. He is here in Washington, D.C., and he's over at the White House. He's got meetings. I assume those meetings are very important.
But he could have found the time to pay his respects to the NAACP. The president should not take the African-American vote for granted. Let's not be under any illusions. He certainly received 95 percent of the black vote four years ago. He will do almost as well this time around, for sure.
But his problem is voter turnout. The president needs excitement, he needs enthusiasm in the African-American community, especially in the battleground states he carried in 2008. Yet fewer African-Americans may actually go to the polls this time. They might not vote for Romney, but they might not show up, especially now that black unemployment has risen nationally to 14.4 percent. It's a lot higher than the 8.2 percent for all Americans.
So in my opinion, the president missed an opportunity today. My bottom line is this. Romney did the right thing on this day. The president did not.
Now some folks will disagree with me, Kate. That's just me offering my sense of what's going on.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, as you know, the White House not surprisingly was asked about this. And Jay Carney really didn't answer the question, only saying that the president enjoyed speaking to the NAACP in the past. This will be much more -- we will talk about this with our panel a little later.
But, first, we want to get you caught up on some other stories we're watching. You hear a lot about scandals brewing in Washington, D.C., of course, but the now mayor of the nation's capital has found him smack is in the middle of one. It involves a $650,000 shadow campaign. But today Mayor Vincent Gray said he is not going anywhere.
Bring in our Brian Todd. He's been tracking this down.
Brian, what's the mayor saying about this?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mayor Gray says he is still the best person to lead the city and said he has no plans to do anything other than serve out his full term that ends in two-and-a-half years.
But Vincent Gray did voice concern about the scandal that has cast a shadow over him and his 2010 campaign. Today, the mayor said -- quote -- "This is not the campaign that we intended to run."
This week, the top federal prosecutor for Washington, D.C., Ronald Machen, described what he called a shadow campaign in 2010, compromised by shady backroom deals. Machen said Gray's campaign got $653,000 in secret money that was not reported to campaign finance authorities. The money came from a wealthy local businessman and contractor, according to prosecutors, and they say it was coordinated with members of Gray's campaign.
Yesterday, one ally of Gray's as part of a plea deal admitted that she helped disburse and hide that money. Prosecutors have not said that Gray knew about these payments. Today, Gray defended seemed to indicate the same, defending himself for not scrutinizing where he was getting the money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VINCENT GRAY (D), MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: I don't think any candidate can say I'm going to sit down and review with everybody every check that you get. It's just not possible, Mark. You think about that from a campaign finance perspective, yes, it might be desirable, but you can't do it. It's not possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: This investigation is ongoing. The woman that pleaded yesterday said although the money came from that wealthy D.C. businessman, he didn't hatch the plan. That was done she said by someone else that hasn't been named yet.
BOLDUAN: Obviously this is far from over, Brian. But as you have been looking into this, what are the chances the mayor could lose his job over this?
TODD: There are a lot of questions about that right now. Maybe a little early now to speculate on that, but at least two D.C. City Council members have called on Mayor Gray to resign.
Gray as you mentioned earlier said he has no plans to quit. It's also worth remembering, this city has endured huge scandals before, like former Mayor Marion Barry being caught smoking crack in a hotel room. It didn't force him out of office while he was still in office. He didn't run the next time, but then, of course, he come back later and won the mayoral.
BOLDUAN: Yes. No one really ever forgets Mayor Marion Barry.
BOLDUAN: Brian Todd, thank you very much.
BLITZER: I was watching today the House of Representatives voting for the 33rd time to repeal President Obama's health care reform law, even though it is sure to die in the Senate. I should have had some popcorn. It was quite a show, as our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is about to show us.
Dana, tell our viewers what happened in the House.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the end of the day, the vote wasn't even close. It was 244-185. Five Democrats crossed party lines to vote with Republicans, all Republicans, I should say, to vote to repeal the health care law.
Republicans did this knowing full well that that is the last stop. It cannot pass the Senate. There wasn't a lot of suspense in that, but there was drama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Green for five minutes.
BASH (voice-over): If it was just political theater, Democrats figured why not put on a show?
REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: I shall read the replacement bill.
BASH: Al Green's routine marked repeal-obsessed Republicans for not having a plan of their own. GREEN: Let me just read half of it first. I shall now read one- half of the replacement bill. Now I shall read the other half of the replacement bill. That's the replacement bill. Here is the bill that we can read.
BASH: Another Democrat evoked grandma's favorite remedy.
REP. JOSEPH CROWLEY (D), NEW YORK: Republicans want to go back to the day when chicken noodle soup was the only option for hardworking families who couldn't afford care. The truth is, chicken noodle soup might be mmm-mmm-good for lunch, but as a health care policy, it is mmm-mmm-bad.
BASH: They even tapped into 1980s movie trivia.
REP. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: You ever seen the movie "Fatal Attraction"? It's a great film. At the end of movie, by going and boiling the Douglas family bunny. Well, Mr. Speaker, I would submit that having now had 30 different debates on this floor over repeal of the health care bill, that House Republicans have finally hit their boil the bunny moment.
BASH: Not to be outdone, this Republican chose '80s television character Boss Hogg to make his point.
REP. PHIL GINGREY (R), GEORGIA: I call this boss Obamacare. The only health care that citizens of this country can access are those approved by the boss.
BASH: Democrats are trying to turn this repeal rerun to their advantage with ads against vulnerable Republicans.
NARRATOR: Tell Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack she shouldn't repeal our benefits if she wants to keep hers.
BASH: By the GOP count, this is the 33rd vote to dismantle the health care law, even though repeal dies in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
So Democrats asked over and over, why bother? Republicans say public opinion is on their side.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: We're going to keep at it until we get this legislation off the books. It was a bad bill. It has become a bad law.
BASH: Politically, what Republicans are effectively trying to do, Wolf, with this vote, is to gin up the Republican base, remind them they're here and focusing on this issue, especially since they know the real only way they can do this, repeal this law, is if they win the Senate, keep the House, and get the White House with Mitt Romney.
But I should note before getting back to you it is not just Republicans that take political votes. When the Democrats were in charge of the House, they took votes over and over, for example, to bring troops home from Iraq when President Bush was in the White House. They knew it wasn't going to happen. They were trying to make a political point as well.
BLITZER: Even if Romney were to win the White House, if the Republicans hold onto majority in the House, and let's say they get a majority, a slight majority in the Senate to repeal the whole thing, they would need to break a filibuster of 60 votes on some of the aspects of the president's health care reform law. That would be very, very difficult unless you bring in a whole bunch of Democrats it join them in breaking that filibuster because you need 60 votes.
BASH: Here is what's interesting about that.
That is there is a procedural tool that Republicans can use. It's the same tool Democrats used to get major parts of this legislation passed into law in the first place. And that tool can make it so that a filibuster isn't allowed on some of the major aspects of the bill like the individual mandate. They can possibly use it to pass this with just 51 votes, and that means they would just need that majority.
BLITZER: All right, Dana. Dana will be watching all of this on the Hill. Thank you.
Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by. He's going to join us live from Cambodia once again. I will ask him about his direct role in helping solve the mystery of why children, a lot of children have been dying in Cambodia.
And at 47 after the hour, a midair incident so bad, it had grown men crying. You're going to find out how you can avoid the same kind of problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought we were going to die. It was scary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Doctors now know why children have been dying suddenly and painfully in Cambodia. The mystery has been solved after more than 60 deaths and fears the illness may spread to other countries.
CNN sent our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon himself, to Cambodia to investigate what's going on. He asked very tough questions. He held officials accountable and he most likely saved lives, young children's lives.
I will talk to Sanjay right after this report on the crucial medical discovery.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The only thing the doctors knew for sure was when the children arrived at the hospital, they were dying and fast, a fever, convulsion, and encephalitis, and then the lungs completely destroyed.
Since the end of April, doctors in Cambodia struggled with a medical mystery.
(on camera): And that mystery was ultimately solved right over here. Blood samples from those sick and dying children were eventually brought to this laboratory, analyzed -- as you see right over there -- and eventually they concluded that there were several different pathogens. There was Enterovirus 71. There was streptococcus suis and also dengue.
And all of those infections were made worse by the use of steroids.
(voice-over): To crack this case, the lab had to work backward. First, eliminate known viruses like avian flu, SARS, and Nipah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing that goes through your head is to try and determine whether this is one of the usual suspects that you haven't detected before. If it is, has it mutated or changed in such a way that it causes more severe disease, or is it something completely new?
GUPTA: Epidemiologist Dr. Arnaud Tarantola and virologist Dr. Phillipe Buchy, two French doctors living in Cambodia, solved the mystery.
(on camera): One of the things that we have heard several times now from the World Health Organization is no steroids should be used. They seem to say that steroids made this problem worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you have a dying child, you try to use what you have at hand. And they were right to try that. Now, whether or not it helps remains to be determined.
GUPTA: I don't want to belabor this point, but they really seem to indicate that it hurt, that these infections a lot of times they can be a problem, but they are not particularly dangerous, but something pushes them over the top. And they thought that the steroids seemed to be a common denominator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the cases that we reviewed, almost all of the children died and almost all of them had steroids.
GUPTA (voice-over): Steroids can be a potent antiinflammatory, but when given to children with aggressive infections, steroids can also suppress the body's own immune system, allowing the infection to become even worse, as was the case with Enterovirus 71, also called EV-71.
(on camera): You hear about a lot of different viruses, avian flu, Nipah virus. EV-71, as far as they could tell, really had not been in Cambodia before for sure. Why does it suddenly appear like this and why does it appear with such a vengeance?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like this has emerged strongly probably because it had not circulated to the same -- with the same intensity in the past years.
GUPTA (voice-over): It is believed that a slight variation in the EV-71 made the virus stronger. And the steroids made the body's resistance even weaker.
(on camera): So, case closed. It sounds like the case is closed from your standpoint?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think we can close the case.
BLITZER: And Sanjay is joining us now live from Cambodia.
So, Sanjay, are doctors hoping because they found the source of the illness, they can now stop it before it is to late?
GUPTA: I think they can certainly bank on the fact that they can stop it from progressing as aggressively and as deadly as it was, Wolf.
I mean, this is a part of the world where a lot of infectious diseases occur. But the problem was these particular pathogens were just behaving so much more aggressively than they expected. I think the idea they're going to tell people not to use steroids anymore, they're sending an alert all over the country telling doctors in several provinces to stop doing that, I think it will stop this dangerous pathogen from turning into a deadly one.
BLITZER: I know, Sanjay, all of our viewers know you're not only a great journalist, but you're also a doctor, you're a physician, a neurosurgeon. You're also a modest guy because I know you quite well.
But you did play a roll helping these other doctors on scene come to this conclusion. I wonder if you want to share what you -- you asked some pretty tough, important questions that pushed these guys in the right direction.
GUPTA: You know, Wolf, I think any time you put attention on this and you do ask the hard questions -- I think everyone was sort of scratching their heads, and a lot of people were asking questions.
I think when you were able to come in there and say, look, something is just different here, what is it? I mean, we have seen EV-71 in many parts of the world, we see it in the United States, we see streptococcus, even dengue. It doesn't cause death the way that it was causing now, within 24 hours of admission.
So let's really try and figure out what is that other crucial ingredient here. So I think asking the questions about the steroids, and subsequently making sure that they say to health care practitioners out there refrain from using steroids, this could be a problem, it can be a good medication, but it is a problem here, I think that that probably did help, Wolf.
BLITZER: And we're all grateful to you, Sanjay, for what you did. Not the first time you have been on assignment and you have helped to save lives. A lot of our viewers will remember what you did in Iraq in 2003.
You went in. You saved a lot of children at that time who were badly, badly hurt. You put on your surgeon's hat. You took off your journalistic hat and you did the right thing. And you did the right thing now.
Sanjay, once again, thanks so much for doing what you're doing.
GUPTA: Thanks so much, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Sanjay is a great guy, and he's a great journalist. Now we know why he was almost, could have been the surgeon general of the United States.
BOLDUAN: I am just happy to hear that the mystery is solved, children -- all of the children, they know what's going on and they can fix it. It is just good that the mystery is solved.
And, of course, wonderful to have Sanjay there as well.
Coming up, the FBI suspects that in some cases, its CSI teams may have helped convict the wrong person.
Also, is a wealthy socialite with a Clinton connection going to extremes to avoid paying taxes?
BLITZER: Mitt Romney, he told African-American voters today that he would be a better president for them than President Obama. I will discuss that with two African-American lawmakers, one Democrat, one Republican.
Also, they had lots of money and drug problems. Now the wife is dead, the husband is under arrest, and police have a huge mystery on their hands.
BLITZER: Mitt Romney stepped into the lion's den today, going after President Obama's most loyal base, and we're talking about African-American voters. Kate, he talked about this. We talked about, I talked about it a little bit at the top of the show, played a little clip of what was going on. But he certainly did not hold back.
BOLDUAN: He definitely did not hold back. That's absolutely right.
Romney spoke to the NAACP Convention telling everyone in attendance he would be the best president for them. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Let's bring in chief national correspondent John King.
John, to say Mitt Romney is facing an uphill battle with African- American voters, I think, is quite an understatement, yes?
JOHN KING, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Considerable understatement. Kate, imagine if you're running a race at a track, and you get to start a lap or two ahead of your opponent. Or say the game is football, and I spot you at the beginning a 15- or 16-point lead. That is essentially what President Obama has because of his lopsided advantage among African-American voters and other minorities.
Let's take a closer look, and let's start with the battleground today. That was African-American voters.
Let's go back to 2008. This was the result. African-Americans were 13 percent of the electorate back in 2008, and look at that. Wow, that's a thumping, 95 percent for then-Senator Obama, 4 percent for John McCain. And Romney strategists will tell you today he's doing a little bit better than that, but not much better than that. So the president maintains that huge advantage.
Now, why does it matter? Let's pop down to the state of North Carolina. We'll show you why. Because the African-American vote is critical in some of this year's key battleground states. In North Carolina, African Americans represent almost a quarter of the electorate. In Virginia, it's 20 percent. And look at this: Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, African-Americans make up double digit, a double-digit slice of the electorate that starts 95 percent or so in President Obama's court. That is huge. That's just African-Americans, Kate. Let's look at it this way. That's right. Talk about the big lead the president gets.
Look at his minority advantage. African-Americans, again 13 percent of the electorate last time. The president gets 95 percent of their votes. Latinos, 10 percent of the electorate last time. That will be higher this time. The president got two-thirds of their votes in 2008. Other minorities: Asians, Native Americans, other non-white voters, 5 percent of the electorate. The president gets almost two- thirds of that. Twenty-eight percent of the electorate is non-white. When you add up this advantage, that gives the president heading in, Kate, 15 or 16 points essentially being spotted in the race. The rest of the competition then in the rest of America, meaning white America.
BOLDUAN: So John, prognosticate a bit, if you could. How can Romney win the election if President Obama can hold this coalition together on his side?
KING: It makes the math very, very difficult. Priority No. 1, is why Governor Romney went into the lion's den today, to try to change that number a little bit, bring the African-American number down a bit, bring the Latino number down a bit.
But then Governor Romney has no choice. Republicans traditionally do win the white vote. As you go back to 2008, he has to not only win it. Let's look at the state of Ohio, for example. John McCain won it out in the rural areas, the small rural towns, but look at this: Senator Obama now President Obama then carried the state. So what does he have to do?
Romney has to win in these rural areas, but he also has to do better with whites, particularly among white women in the suburbs. Here's the Ohio example. Watch up here. The Cleveland suburbs, the suburbs around Cincinnati, see that blue. When George W. Bush carried the state in 2004, he won in the suburbs.
I'll give you another example. You come back to this big state of Pennsylvania, this has been a Democratic state for a long time. Let's come forward to '08. Let's come down here. Look at the Philadelphia suburbs, all blue. Right? A lot of suburban women there.
Again, John McCain won the white vote out in the rural parts of the state. You have to do it in the suburbs. You have to go back to 1988, George H.W. Bush, when he won Pennsylvania. Look where he did it, Kate, winning in the suburbs.
So Governor Romney's challenge: try to dent the president's numbers among minorities but also has to win big, he has to keep President Obama to about 38 percent of the white vote to have a chance to win.
BOLDUAN: John King, thank you so much.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit more about what's going on with two United States congressmen. Senator Richmond is a Democrat from Louisiana. Congressman Tim Scott is a Republican from South Carolina.
Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming in. How do you think Romney did today?
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D), LOUISIANA: Well, I think he gets credit for attendance. But perfect attendance doesn't qualify you to be class president. So I thought that it was a good gesture to go, but I thought his content was lacking.
And one example is his calling Obama care a nonessential program that he would cut. But he's had two years to come up with an alternative, and he didn't say anything except "I would like to lower health-care costs and keep people with pre-existing..."
BLITZER: At the top of the show, I said I thought the president should have been at the NAACP convention, pay his respects to the nation's oldest civil rights organization. I thought that would have been the right thing to do. He decided to send Joe Biden instead. What do you think?
RICHMOND: Well, he sent Vice President Biden and the attorney general. He is going to the National Urban League, which is down in New Orleans, and I think it provides him with an opportunity to see the continued rebuilding of Katrina and to check on the effects of the BP oil spill. So it enables him to do more than just speak at a convention.
And at some point, you have to make a decision of which ones you can go to. So it's almost like me and the president, I wish I could be at the White House every night and fly on Air Force One, but he has a job to do and he's doing it.
BLITZER: Maybe he should have gone to both, Urban League and the NAACP.
BOLDUAN: You know where Wolf is (ph). Congressman, I want to ask you kind of a similar question. But first, listen to something that Governor Romney said to FOX News following his speech at the NAACP. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I expect to get African-American votes. And by the way, at the end of my speech, having a standing ovation was -- was generous and hospitable on the part of the audience, and I believe that, while we disagree on some issues like Obama care, on a lot of issues, people see eye to eye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Romney says that he expects to get African-American votes, but you know, you look at the polls; you look at the facts. President Obama won with 95 percent of the vote. I think Romney -- here's a poll we have right here. Romney has 5 percent support among black registered voters now.
So what percentage of the African-American vote would you predict that Mitt Romney could get realistically?
REP. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think it's very realistic that Romney will get close to 10 percent of the African-American vote. And I'll start by being one of those 10 percent.
There's no doubt that what we're looking at from a Romney perspective, the fact that African-American unemployment since 2008 is up 40 percent. Forty percent. Home closures, 25 percent.
So what we have is the same message that works for the rest of America, works for the black community, too.
BOLDUAN: But did -- what he did today, did that backfire? I mean, he was booed.
SCOTT: Absolutely, no, I think that it's disrespect, No. 1.
SCOTT: The booing was absolutely disrespectful.
However, he does get credit for showing up. And he does get credit for having one single-minded focus for all of America, and that's jobs and the economy. That was the success.
And most importantly, I think, is his approach to education. Charter schools, public school choice, private school choice, a major part of the unemployment rate ten years from now.
So he addressed two very important issues in the African-American community: first, the joblessness. Huge. Among young folks in the black community, it's almost 40 percent. And he addressed the symptom, which is the joblessness rate, as well as the problem, which is the educational outcome.
BLITZER: He's got to get, Congressman -- he's got to get turnout; he's got to energize that base. They certainly were turned -- they were energized in 2008. But you know in North Carolina and Florida, unemployment among African-Americans is way over 14.4 percent, which is the national average for African-Americans. Approaching 20 percent in key battleground states like that. A lot of these folks are not going to vote for Romney, but they're just not going to show up.
RICHMOND: I think they will show up. Part of what candidate Romney did today was articulate a problem. But what he didn't do is tell the full story. And he didn't say that the budget that he adopts, the Ryan budget, most of the cuts, 62 percent of the cuts come from lower-income Americans, including cuts to Head Start, which gives you a nine-to-one return on your investment into young people.
So if you're going to cut Head Start, and you're going to cut Pell Grants that helps almost half of African-American college students pay for their college tuition, which we know helps you get out of poverty and on a path to sustainability. He left that part conveniently out, that the budget that I want to adopt cuts those vital programs.
And I think that that's the part that I was looking for. If you're going to go to the NAACP and you're going to tell it, tell it all. And I don't think he did that. And I think that the more you articulate that message, the more the African-American base will see what's at stake this election. OBAMA: Quick question. Allen West, he caused an uproar the other day. The African-American Republican congressman from south Florida.
SCOTT: He is clear, though.
OBAMA: But let me play the clip, because it's a very sensitive issue. The word "slavery" has a history in our country, as we all know. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: He does not want you to have the self-esteem of giving up and earning, having that title of American. He'd rather you be his slave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He'd rather you be his slave. We're talking about the president of the United States. He says he wants you to be his slave.
SCOTT: I mean, there's no question about it, when you look at the issues that need to be addressed in the community, slavery is not one of them. Bottom line is that unemployment is. The foreclosure rate is. The high dropout rate among our high-school students is one of the issues that we must address.
SCOTT: The question -- the question we have to deal with today is how do we get people back to work? We can look at side issues if we want to. We can make a great story out of it, but the reality of it is that the average person in America does not consider the African-American community in any way a slave today.
BOLDUAN: True. But is it appropriate for a member of Congress representing a vast -- a large segment of America to use this word, to say this in a public forum?
BLITZER: About the president of the United States.
SCOTT: I would suggest that you guys get Allen West in here to answer it for himself.
BOLDUAN: Probably will.
SCOTT: I would simply say that when we're looking at Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney cannot -- Mitt Romney must focus on the presidency and how to win. And how do you win is by bringing the country together. Mitt Romney is doing that by going to the NAACP, as you call it, the lion's den. I consider it the place you go when you believe that every single vote counts.
BOLDUAN: Good surrogate.
BLITZER: Appreciate it very much. We know we're in good hands. You used to work for Allstate.
BOLDUAN: Had to make the joke. You knew it was coming.
BLITZER: So that's why I didn't ask you about Allen West, Congressman. Thanks very much for coming in, both of you. An important day.
Stand by for a story of drugs, money, and the mysterious death of a millionaire's wife.
And the airline trip -- another story we're working on -- that made grown men cry. We're going to tell you about a way to avoid turbulence. Stand by.
BLITZER: The London police are investigating the mysterious death of an American woman married to the son of one of the world's richest men. Her body was found in their home this week, and he's under arrest right now. Both of them had a history with drugs and drama.
CNN's Atika Shubert is in London.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, both Hans and Eva Rausing were known in London as devoted philanthropists. Unfortunately, they were also notorious for hardcore drug use.
(voice-over) Staggering wealth, hardcore drugs. The tragic story of Hans and Eva Rausing now plastered across Britain's tabloids, since he was arrested for questioning in her death.
(on camera) This is the Rausing home in London. It's a six-story townhouse in one of the wealthiest parts of the city. Police only came in here after apparently arresting Hans Rausing on suspicion of drug possession, and when police went into the house, that's when they found the body of Eva Rausing.
(voice-over) The death is currently unexplained. Police say they do not know how long the body had been there. A coroner's inquest is ongoing, and police say Hans Rausing, who was initially arrested for driving erratically, is undergoing medical treatment.
He is the wayward son of a billionaire. She was the free- spirited daughter of wealthy Americans. They met in rehab in their 20s, and built a life in London with four children and a dedication to fill and throw pee. Their money came from this, the now ubiquitous Tetra Pak liquid container, invented by Hans Rausing Jr.'s grandfather in Sweden, making the family billionaires.
In 2008, both Hans and Eva Rausing were arrested for possession of heroin and crack cocaine. A few years earlier she had put nearly a million dollars into Mentor, a charity dedicated to preventing drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers.
PAUL TUOHY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MENTOR: It is very, very clear to us that Eva had her own problems and fights with drugs and drug misuse, but she certainly cared passionately about young people, and she wanted to make sure that young people didn't fall into that trap.
She knew that prevention was important. She knew that it was actually far harder once you're involved in drugs to get off drugs.
SHUBERT: In November 2006, Eva Rausing posted a blog on MySpace that can still be seen today. She wrote, quote, "I know what I need to do but can't seem to do it. Please send me some energy, motivation, good vibes, anything. I'll pass them on one day to someone else."
Eva Rausing may have lost her battle with addiction, but she seemed to hope that others, perhaps even her husband, could learn from her mistakes.
(on camera) Now, it could take some time before we know the exact cause of death. We are hoping to get results from the coroner possibly in a few days, but it could take several more weeks to get the results of the toxicology report -- Wolf, Kate.
BLITZER: What a story. What a sad story, indeed.
BOLDUAN: The British tabloids have been on fire with this, not surprisingly. Such a sad story, though.
Coming up, turbulence can be very scary, obviously, but rarely like this. Passengers on an American Airlines flight talk about flying out of their seats.
And in our "Video of the Day," you'll see an amazing way to survive a car crash.
BLITZER: For 15 terrifying seconds, dozens of people on board an American Airlines flight feared they were going to die. The plane was shaken by turbulence so severe, some passengers flew out of their seats.
CNN's John Zarrella is joining us now in Miami with more on the flight and a way all of us can tell if there might be turbulence the next time we fly.
What are you learning? What happened here, first of all, John?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Wolf, for anybody who flies very much, chances are you've experienced some turbulence. But absolutely nothing like what the passengers on a Miami-bound flight went through last night.
ZARRELLA (voice-over): Thunderstorms: in the summertime, they are particularly hard to avoid. And when you're flying, the turbulence they cause can make for a bumpy, choke-the-armrest frightening flight. Late Tuesday was just such a moment.
Passengers on board an American Airlines flight from Aruba coming into Miami thought it was over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never felt something like that in the past. Basically with the noise and the bumps, you just think that it's going down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought we were going to die. It was scary.
ZARRELLA: About a dozen people suffered minor injuries. Two flight attendants and a passenger were taken to a local hospital, treated and released.
Eight-year-old Javier Silva was in the bathroom when the plane started shaking.
JAVIER SILVA, PASSENGER: When I closed the door, the airplane started jumping around. And I hit myself in the knee.
ZARRELLA: The American flight was about 30 minutes outside of Miami Tuesday afternoon, beginning its initial descent, when it encountered what meteorologists say was severe turbulence. The violent shaking lasted about 15 seconds. According to airline officials, there was nothing on radar to indicate turbulence in the area.
PABLO SANTOS, METEOROLOGIST: It is these cells right here where you see the reds that you're going to see the planes trying to avoid --
ZARRELLA: Pablo Santos says he's not surprised nothing was indicated on radar. Santos, the National Weather Service meteorologist in charge of the south Florida office, says the turbulence caused by thunderstorms can be experienced miles away from the storm.
SANTOS: Planes do not fly through thunderstorms. You normally see them being routed around thunderstorms. But sometimes thunderstorms, especially very strong thunderstorms, they can disrupt the air flow for ten, 10 miles away from the thunderstorms.
ZARRELLA: Very simply, turbulence is a disturbance in the normal flow of the air. With their rising and sinking air, thunderstorms can really mess up the atmosphere. So what's the best time to fly to avoid turbulence?
PETER MURRAY, TURBULENCEFORECAST.COM: I would tell them that the best time of day to fly is early morning. ZARRELLA: Seven years ago, Peter Murray created TurbulenceForecast.com. Today, Murray's site gets 35,000 visitors a month. They can view maps that display the potential for turbulence anywhere in the world, nearly real-time.
MURRAY: The maps update every 20 minutes. Most of them update every hour.
ZARRELLA: According to the FAA, there have been 64 serious injuries from turbulence incidents in the past six years. The FAA says two of three passengers who died in turbulence-related events since 1980 were not wearing seat belts, even though the seat belt sign was illuminated.
ZARRELLA: Bottom line, every expert says when you're in your seat, whether the light is on, keep your seat belt on -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Good advice, especially for those of us who have lived through some of those turbulent flights. I know you have, as well.
BOLDUAN: I would be right on board with all those people. I'm not a good flier, to say the least.
Thank you so much, John.
So coming up, when you sing "The Star-Spangled Banner," is it OK to cheat? Ponder that. A country star is caught red-, white- and blue-handed.
BOLDUAN: A sunroof is not the usual way to get out of a car, obviously. One man, though, did it involuntarily. It's next, in our "Video of the Day."
BOLDUAN: So Wolf, do you have a sunroof in your car?
BOLDUAN: I do. So we are both going to be very thankful for that after seeing this wild video from England. I want you to watch this car. It crashes into a wall. We're going to show you video. And then you will see a man flip out of the sunroof. You see it right there.
His girlfriend was driving and lost control of the car. And a security camera captured it all. He casually gets up, adjusts his shirt, and walks away. I can giggle, because we're told he is just fine.
Our director had a very good point. We should go to Las Vegas with that guy. He's very lucky. BLITZER: He's lucky he escaped.
BOLDUAN: It's amazing video.
BLITZER: Goes right through the sunroof.
BOLDUAN: Don't try this at home.
BLITZER: All right. Performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" isn't always easy. It's a hard song to sing. And some people get tripped up by "the dawn's early light and the twilight's last gleaming." So is it wrong to have crib notes? Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
LUKE BRYAN, SINGER (singing): O, say can you see...
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So far so good. Country star Luke Bryan was singing the anthem at the all-star game. Right before he got to the "ramparts" part, he oh so subtly glanced at his hand.
BRYAN (singing): Through the perilous night.
MOOS: Some of Bryan's fans suggested he was just looking at his watch so he'd be on time for the stealth-bomber flyby, but others suspected a star-spangled cheat sheet. As one sports commentator tweeted, "Luke Bryan sings the national anthem the way I used to take geometry tests."
(on camera) (singing) O, say, can you see the lyrics written on me?
(speaking) Bryan definitely didn't want to end up like Christina Aguilera at the Super Bowl, getting the words wrong. We've written the right ones on the screen.
GRAPHIC: O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
CHRISTINA AGUILERA, SINGER (singing): O, so proudly we watched at the twilight's last screaming.
MOOS: By the dawn's early light, what was so gallantly streaming over Twitter, was Luke Bryan's heartfelt and charming confession.
(voice-over) "I had a few key words written down to ensure myself that I wouldn't mess up. I just wanted to do my best. I promise it was from the heart."
The last key words we remember written on someone's hand were "energy," "tax cuts" and "lift American spirits" on Sarah Palin's palm.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to start reigning in the spending. We have got to jump-start these energy projects. MOOS: Luke Bryan had plenty of energy, and at least he didn't come to a full stop like Michael Bolton.
MICHAEL BOLTON, SINGER (singing): ... the ramparts were watched (pause) were so gallantly streaming.
MOOS: On the bright side, by looking at his hand, Michael Bolton got an extra 1.6 million views on YouTube.
ROSEANNE BARR, COMEDIAN (singing): ... rocket's red glare.
MOOS: Watching stars sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" is a little like watching a tightrope walker cross Niagara Falls. We wait for a stumble. Whatever you do, don't look down.
BRYAN (singing): ... perilous ...
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: You did it once, right?
BOLDUAN: I sang once for President George W. Bush. And, really, it's tough.
BLITZER: But you knew all the words. Did you screw up?
BOLDUAN: I did not mess up the words. But I mean, it's easy to do it.
BLITZER: Would you sing that song for us, all of our viewers?
BOLDUAN: I will sing it someday -- no.
BLITZER: Really? I'd love to hear it. Is there a videotape of that?
BOLDUAN: That is not videotape, I assure that.
BLITZER: We've got to go. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.