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Pentagon's Message To Iran; Losing The War On Suicide; Interview with Ken Feinberg; How Much to Give; Caregiver Abuse; Made in China; Second Amendment

Aired July 12, 2012 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Romney's allies see healthcare a different way, controlled by the insurance companies. The tax code that Governor Romney and his allies envision continues to be skewed to help the very wealthy. Education doesn't play a center role in the Romney Republican vision of the future of America.


BLITZER: The Vice President Joe Biden on the attack, hammering a way at Mitt Romney before the NAACP Convention one day after the presumptive Republican presidential nominee appeared on the very same stage. The two speeches and more importantly the way they were received, a study in contrast.

Our chief political correspondent, the host of CNN's "State of the Union," Candy Crowley, is here. She's joining us. It's almost like a tale of two parties.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And listen, both of those men knew what they were going to get when they went it. They were going to get a largely partisan pro-Obama crowd.


CROWLEY (voice-over): The NAACP knows Joe Biden and he's known Mitt Romney.

BIDEN: Let me close, my friends, by saying --

CROWLEY: Twenty-four hours earlier, the same crowd disagreed with Mitt Romney, not because he was leaving too soon, but because he wants to end Obamacare.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to eliminate every nonessential expensive program I could find. That includes Obamacare. And I'm going to work to reform and save --

(BOOING) CROWLEY: If Romney's Wednesday speech was a trip to unfriendly territory, Joe Biden's Thursday appearance was like old home week.

BIDEN: Mouse, mouse, you out there? Hey, mouse, how you doing, man?


CROWLEY: The latest Gallup poll shows 87 percent of African-Americans support President Obama down from 95 percent in 2008 but still solid and just as critical in swing states like North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida. Still with Black unemployment over 14 percent and some criticism that the president has not done everything he could for the community, the question is whether the enthusiasm that drove turnout last time remains.

Joe Biden's appearance was designed to make sure it does. It was a political revival meeting, the time and place to preach to the faithful.

BIDEN: He saved the nation's financial system. In doing so, he prevented a worldwide depression. It wasn't a popular decision, but it wasn't a central decision. And he was right.

CROWLEY: Biden's high profile speech essentially his standard fair was aimed not just at the room but at all hope and change voters of 2008 who may now be the unenthused or the swing voters of 2012. He comes not just to praise President Obama, but to bury Mitt Romney.

BIDEN: Romney's allies see health care a different way, controlled by the insurance companies, where pregnancy's a pre-existing condition, where coverage can be taken away if you get sick or hit your limit.

CROWLEY: There was applause, but no full-throated wars for Mitt Romney, but he, too, used the scene to send a message beyond the confines of that ballroom. First, to unwrite the Etch-A-Sketch story line by showing still where a conservatives that his message remains constant even in the face of opposition.

And with the latest round of daily Gallup polls showing the votes of independents split down the middle, Romney's willingness to show up at the NAACP meeting was also a signal to swing voters turned off by the harsher edges of party politics.

ROMNEY: I hope to represent all Americans of every race, creed, and sexual orientation. From the poorest to the richest and everyone in between.


CROWLEY (on-camera): Twenty-four hours apart, same group and wildly different reactions. Still, you can't help but think both men got not just what they expected, but, Wolf, exactly what they came for.

BLITZER: Do you think Romney really expected that, at least, when he spoke about, quote, "Obamacare," he would be booed? CROWLEY: I think -- I don't know whether they looked at that line and thought this will get boos. I think some people go that far. But they knew that this was not going to be the warmest reception. They knew they were going to be followed by what would be a very warm reception whether it was President Obama or whether it was Barack Obama -- I'm sorry -- whether it was President Obama or whether it was Mitt Romney.

So, I think in the end, they knew it wouldn't hurt them. That showing up -- what was that great line Ronald Reagan used to quote all the time, you know, showing up is 98 percent of life or something. They knew that showing up -- and I was told -- talked to a Romney advisor yesterday, he said, there really was never any question about whether he would go or not --

BLITZER: he did the right thing. He did the right thing, absolutely. Politically and morally, if you will, as well.

CROWLEY: Yes. It's good to see. And you know, I must say, the other thing that sort of struck me while I was, you know, watching this unfold is that it also helps to go there and say I'm going to be the president of all the people, because if you do have folks going I'm really upset with President Romney, he really didn't deliver and then you have, you know, a possible person who could replace him go, I'm going to be president of all the people, that might just help in that column as well.

BLITZER: Because I just think it's respectful to show respect for the nation's oldest civil rights organization and showing up as half the battle right there if not 98 percent --


CROWLEY: Ninety-six or whatever it was.

BLITZER: Whatever it was. Candy, thanks very much.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: The United States is putting new and additional sanctions on Iran. The treasury department says 11 companies and four individuals are being barred from doing any business with U.S. firms, and it publicly identified whether it called front companies involved in Iran's oil trade

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is keeping an eagle eye on Iran following recent threats, including one to shut down one of the world's most vital oil shipping lanes. And as tension rises, so is the U.S. naval presence in the region. CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is following all of these developments, and she's joining us now. Well, what's the very latest, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Wolf, the Pentagon has been beefing up in the Persian Gulf for some time, but now, it looks like it's not going to stop anytime soon.


STARR: There's just one reason defense secretary, Leon Panetta, may decide to keep two aircraft carriers in or near the Persian Gulf for at least another year. It's all about oil. According to the U.S. energy department, one-third of all oil traded worldwide, some 15 million barrels a day, passes through the choke point Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has threatened to shut down the strait, a potential disaster for the global economy.

CAPT. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: Part of the challenge in the region is, frankly, Iran. I mean, just need to be honest about that. And they have been in the past at least verbally threatening. And have made it -- you know, made their intentions pretty clear.

STARR: Now, the Pentagon is sending a message back to Tehran.

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, (RET.) U.S. ARMY: If you continue to develop a nuclear capability, there will be an American and a coalition capability to address those threats.

STARR: The two aircraft carriers on duty right now, the USS Lincoln, which is actually headed home through the Red Sea, and the USS Enterprise, which is just outside the strait of Hormuz. This comes as the navy is keeping a hefty presence in the region. Right now, there are 17 combat ships inside the Persian Gulf, including destroyers with advanced radars and missiles to detect Iranian military movement.

In Bahrain, there are six ships designed to look for Iranian undersea mines as well as the USS Ponce, essentially a floating military base that gives the U.S. the ability to conduct operations without needing approval from a host nation. There are also three amphibious ships that could put marines quickly into action.

There are also new underwater drones to find Iranian mines. The mines can be marked so ships can avoid them or they can be blown up. But is the U.S. looking at the right threat? Even as worries grow about Iran's nuclear weapons and missile programs, the head of the U.S. navy says Iranian naval forces are behaving.

ADM. JONATHAN GREENERT, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS: They have been professional and courteous of committing to the rules of the road.


STARR (on-camera): But still as those sanctions continue to tighten, the concern is that Iran might lash out. And the thing it might lash out against are those critical oil shipping lanes. That's why the U.S. navy is there -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A rather tense situation, I should say. Barbara, thank you.

In France right now, at least nine people climbing Mont Blanc were killed by an avalanche that sent a six-foot wall of snow, crashing down. About a dozen people were injured. Our meteorologist, Chad Myers, has been monitoring this story for us. Chad, what do we know about this avalanche?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, we know that it was a six-foot wall, a six-foot slab of snow and ice that fell off part of the Alps. People climb up the Alps all the time. Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc, here's France, Italy, Switzerland. We're talking about the area, the boundary right there. Mont Blanc and Mont Maudit, the climbers were going up right through here today.

Now, it has been warm in this area, two to three degrees above normal this summer. And it has rained. You start to melt the snow, then you rain on top of the snow, and you will get pieces of snow that wants to go down with gravity. Now, this isn't a real time picture, but this is from Google Earth. You can see cracks in the snow where it has slid before.

And this is where these climbers were in the avalanche zone here on the west face going up Mont Maudit. I have a picture of it right there from a previous climber. This is not really a difficult climb, although I'm not a climber. They can tell me that it's a pretty decent climb. Lots of people do it. I'm going to make it much bigger for you here.

But I'll tell you what, that's a very steep slope. And you get snow coming down that hill. At the rate that that snow is coming down, those guys didn't have any chances. I guess, they're still looking for a few people, but most of them have been accounted for at this time. Nine people lost their lives on that mountain -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sad story, indeed. Thanks for the explanation. Chad Myers reporting.

Shocking numbers on suicide in the United States military. More American soldiers have killed themselves than have died in the Afghan war. So, what's behind the soaring numbers?

And video that's hard to watch. A disabled girl apparently being abused by the very woman who's supposed to care for her.

And amid the uproar over outsourcing, we learn U.S. Olympic team uniforms were actually made in China.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's here with the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here we go. One in five voters has a problem with Mitt Romney's money. According to a new Gallup poll, 20 percent of those surveyed say Romney's net worth of over $200 million makes them less likely to vote for him for president. Most Americans, 75 percent say Romney's money makes no difference.

Only four percent say his money makes people more likely to vote for him. Democrats and independents make upmost of those who say they're less likely to support Romney because he's rich. He's really rich. Most of the Democrats probably wouldn't vote for Romney, anyway. But when it comes to the independents, we all know how important they are, especially in the swing states.

Voter income plays a role in all this. Nearly 30 percent of those making under $24,000 a year say they're less likely going to support Romney because he's rich. Romney's money has become a campaign strategy for President Obama and the Democrats. Call it class warfare.

They've been highlighting Romney's wealth, how he made many of those millions working for the venture capital firm, Bain Capital, and how he has yet to release all of his tax returns for the last decade. President Obama, who is also a multi-millionaire, wants to convince Americans that Romney cannot relate to poor and middle class Americans, and that his policies as president would mostly help the wealthy.

Of course, this is America, and it's no crime to be rich. You can also make the argument that as the economy keeps sputtering along, a businessman in the White House as opposed to a community organizer wouldn't be the worst thing for this country. At this point, it's unclear if poverty and high unemployment will prevent Americans from voting for a rich guy, a very rich guy.

Here's the question, you got a problem with Mitt Romney's money? Go to, post a comment on the blog, or go to the post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thank you.

Grim numbers, very grim numbers flagging a growing crisis in the United States military. Suicide among active duty troops is up 18 percent this year with an average of one service member a day taking his or her own life. Even more stunning among all veterans a suicide occurs every 80 minutes. It's the cover story of the new issue of "Time" magazine, which along with CNN is owned by Time Warner.

"Time" magazine's managing editor, Rick Stengel, is here to talk about it with us. Rick, a shocking article. Amazing statistic in your piece that nearly one-third of the suicides -- military suicides between 2005 and 2010 were troops who were never even deployed to the war zone. So, what's going on here?

RICK STENGEL, MANAGING EDITOR, TIME: Yes. I mean, Wolf, intuitively, we would think that these are men and women who are risking their lives, risking their lives on our behalf who are in the line of fire. Of course, there would be terrible anxiety and even depression afterwards.

But so many of these military suicides are among people who were on active duty but not in combat. And so, it's a very bewildering and perplexing problem. You know, the secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, has said in some ways it's the most vexing problem that the military faces.

BLITZER: A clip from what Panetta said. Let me play that sound bite from Leon Panetta right now, the defense secretary of the United States. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Suicides is, perhaps, the most frustrating challenge that I've come across since becoming secretary of defense last year.


BLITZER: The article in "Time" magazine and excellent article by Mark Thompson and Nancy Gibbs points out that so many of these military personnel, they get depressed, but they're reluctant to seek professional help, psychological or psychiatric help, because that could hurt them in terms of their military advancement, promotions, and things like that. How big of an issue is this?

STENGEL: It is a big issue, Wolf. And if you look, however, at the story itself which follows two men, two officers who happen to commit suicide on the same day, they each sought help. And they each, in a form, got help. But for many, many other servicemen and women, they feel that it can jeopardize their career.

It can make -- it can -- it's the sort of thing that they don't want higher officers to know. So, that is part of the problem. Although in this case, both of these people did seek and get help.

BLITZER: Is the military doing enough, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, to help these troops?

STENGEL: You know, Wolf, I don't know the answer. And, again, these are men and women who are risking their lives in many cases for all of us. The military, according to our story, spending almost $2 billion a year on mental health issues. So, I -- you know, personally think that amount of money is very large.

It has to be applied, though, in the right ways, and there cannot be an onus against those who seek help. It can't be something that gets in the way as a hindrance to their own career success.

BLITZER: Because as even the wars in Iraq now over and Afghanistan beginning to wind down, the casualties over there are going down. But suicide -- the suicide rate is going up. Eighteen percent we reported. Do we have any explanation for this?

STENGEL: You know, it's hard to know. And without seeming puzzle (ph), so many men and women in the military, the most dangerous place is not being in combat but being at home, because so many of these suicides are men and women who are at home, who are off duty, who are getting rest, R & R away from their actual service.

So, that is part of what's so perplexing about it and what's so complex about the problem.

BLITZER: The cover story, one a day. What a shocking, shocking development. Rick Stengel, thanks very much for coming in.

STENGEL: Thank you, Wolf. BLITZER: Scientists make a big announcement on Alzheimer's research. Why is it a discovery that could potentially pave the way for successful treatment?

And a woman gets a lot more than she was fishing for. You're going to want to see what we're talking about.


BLITZER: Scientists are announcing what could be a significant breakthrough in Alzheimer's research. Lisa Sylvester's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM. Lisa, what are they finding?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, they have found a rare genetic mutation that seems to slow the production of a protein that's long thought to be a cause of the disease. Researchers say the mutation is so rare that it's not actually worth testing for, but they say that it points drug companies in the right direction for developing a successful drug treatment. More than five million Americans have Alzheimer's.

And a milestone this afternoon in the Senate Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine, passed her 5,000th consecutive role call vote. Impressive, historic, but it's actually not a record. Collins now ranks third behind Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa who's cast 6,400 votes. The all-time leader is former senator, William Proxmire, of Wisconsin. He cast 10,252 consecutive votes.

And a bomb threat closed a major tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario causing traffic backups on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border. The anonymous phone call to tunnel employees came in around midday. Authorities evacuated the tunnel in search for any possible device. Officials say the call came from the Canadian side of the border.

And President Obama is acknowledging some of the criticism against him and admitting there are some things he could do better. Listen to what he said in an interview with Charlie Rose.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then my first two years, I think, the notion was, well, you know, he's been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but, you know, where's the story that tells us where he's going? And I think that was a legitimate criticism.

And, so getting out of this town, spending more time with the American people, listening to them and also then being in a conversation with them about where do we go together as a country, I need to do a better job of that in my second term.

CHARLIE ROSE, CBS NEWS: That's a job of explaining.

BARACK OBAMA: Yes -- well, explaining but also inspiring.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: So, his hope is still there.


SYLVESTER: OK. And this next story, this is not your average fishing home video. Watch what happens as this woman reels in her first fish.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's on mine! It's on mine! Get it!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a shark! A shark! It's a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) shark.


SYLVESTER: My, my, my. Yes, you heard it right there. It's a huge shark. It jumps in and takes it. Her fiance obviously caught the whole thing on tape. They estimate the bull shark was between four feet and six feet long and weighed more than 200 pounds. Imagine that as your first catch. You catch a shark. Pretty incredible stuff, Wolf.

BLITZER: They're lucky that shark didn't jump even higher. That is pretty scary stuff. A lot of bleeping in that video.


SYLVESTER: Some colorful and creative language, right, Wolf?

BLITZER: Correct. Correct. All right. Lisa, thank you.

Lives and livelihoods destroyed in major disasters. We're going to talk to a man with a seemingly impossible task of determining how much they're all worth.

Also, the heartbreaking abuse of a disabled girl, apparently, by her own caregiver. The video, it's hard to watch.

And critics are calling it disturbing, even shameful. Uniforms for the United States Olympic team made in China.


BLITZER: Ken Feinberg is both a lawyer and a policymaker, but it's also his job to compensate people for some of the biggest tragedies of our time. He's worked with thousands of people, Vietnam veterans sickened by Agent Orange, victims affected by 9/11, witnesses of the Virginia Tech massacre, executives from companies who received TARP money, and the Americans who lost their savings in the Gulf BP oil spill. He's had to determine how to value livelihoods and lives. In his new book entitled "Who Gets What" he reveals how he decides how much to give. He's joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Ken thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: Thanks for all the work you've done over the years. Thanks for writing this book. You did get a call, this is a little newsy from Penn State University at one point to maybe come in and help with compensation for the victims, the young children, their families, others from what happened there. What was the upshot? What happened there?

FEINBERG: Well that was about eight or nine months ago before the trial, before everything. They just gave me a call. (INAUDIBLE) they want to do the right thing. They want to do right by people. And they just called and asked some questions about how to design the program. Sexual abuse claims, you announce a program and you're going to get a flood of claims. And how do you prove them? How do you verify them? How much do you pay them? These were just some of the initial questions they posed and --

BLITZER: So you just gave them some advice --

FEINBERG: Just gave --

BLITZER: But you haven't been brought in to try --

FEINBERG: No, no, not at all.

BLITZER: But they -- if they were to ask you to come in and say, you know Ken, you've done an excellent job with these other claims, we need your help. What would you say?

FEINBERG: I would be glad to chat with them. But I mean they may -- they want to do the right thing. I think they're trying to feel their way along and decide how best to do it.

BLITZER: You were involved in the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. You gave away a lot of money to folks. But you say Congress should never do such a thing again. Why?

FEINBERG: Bad things, Wolf, happen to good people in this country every single day. And you don't have a 9/11 fund paying millions of dollars very generous taxpayer money. There was no Katrina fund. There was no Oklahoma City fund. The victims of the first World Trade Center in '93, they weren't compensated. Be very careful about setting up very special programs just for these people when innocent victims are harmed every day and they have to fend for themselves.

BLITZER: You were involved in the BP oil spill, the Gulf Coast claim facilities and all of that. There were a lot of angry folks down there. I'm going to play a little clip just to remind our viewers what was going on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what I'm tired of proving my damages, sir? You know you can sit there and shake your head all you want.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just don't know what I've been going through.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do we trust that these people are going to know what they're doing? This is my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You opened the door for everybody to come in and get money to make yourself look good.


BLITZER: You remember -- you called yourself -- and you call yourself in the book a human pinata. But it was important to hear these folks, wasn't it?

FEINBERG: Absolutely. Anger like that, Wolf, is human nature. If you're going to do this, you better be prepared to take the heat because people through no fault of their own don't know about their financial future, the impact of the spill in the Gulf, absolutely understandable. And you have to take it. And you've got to confront them. You've got to talk with them. You've got to explain what I can do and what I can't do under the program.

BLITZER: You -- this has been a very emotional experience for you. And in the book you write movingly at one point where you broke down. What happened?

FEINBERG: Well, I think in the book what I'm talking about is 9/11 when I met with families of 9/11 and I held individual hearings with family after family that lost a loved one. And there was one case in particular I'll never forget where a woman came to see me and said, Mr. Feinberg, you're going to give me money, give it to me immediately because my husband was a fireman. He died at the World Trade Center, but I have terminal cancer. I only have 10 weeks to live. My kids are going to be orphans. A story like that you just don't forget.

BLITZER: Because you didn't really show a lot of emotion in public. But when you were alone in your hotel room, it was a different situation.

FEINBERG: Absolutely. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be -- no matter how professional you want to be, when you're talking about people who are innocent, they've lost loved ones and you hold eight, nine, 10 hearings a day, it gets to you.

BLITZER: We did some math. It likes like you've distributed at least $13 billion if you add up all these two decades, the Agent Orange, 9/11, Virginia Tech shooting, the Gulf oil spill, 13 billion, is that about right?

FEINBERG: It is about right. Give or take I think that's probably right --

BLITZER: But that's probably close, but you say one of your biggest mistakes was over-promising, over-promising victims of the Gulf oil spill. Why was that?

FEINBERG: Big mistake. As I say in the book, you raise false expectation about how quickly people are going to get paid and if you can't live up to your promise, right away the credibility of the program is undercut. I made the mistake when I went down to the Gulf of telling people you'll have money in 24 hours or one week. And then when we got the claims, the claims were written in crayon, there was no corroboration, no proof.

We do things with a handshake. And immediately they jumped on me. Well, where's my money? Finally, after three months of having to deal with this as the money flowed $6 billion in the first 18 months, people saw the wisdom of the program. But at the beginning a serious mistake that I made.

BLITZER: Ken Feinberg is the author of "Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval". Ken thanks very much for coming in.

FEINBERG: Thank you, sir.

BLITZER: The video is very, very disturbing and what it appears to show is outrageous. Authorities in one state are investigating just what this supposed caregiver was doing to this mentally ill girl.

And authorities uncover a drug tunnel more than two football fields long. In our new 6:00 p.m. Eastern hour you're going to find out what they found inside.


BLITZER: It's a video that's both heartbreaking and angering. A woman responsible for taking care of a mentally disabled patient repeatedly strikes her and even kicks her. A warning, some of the video you're about to see is disturbing. It was dropped off with authorities and with a CNN affiliate. Here's WFSB's Eric Parker (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over): The video was shot at this East Hartford (ph) group home. It's only about 30 seconds long, but the commissioner of the State Department of Developmental Services calls it the most heinous thing he's ever seen.

TERRENCE MACY, COMMISSIONER, CONN. STATE DEPT. OF DEVELOPMENTAL SVCS.: Why would any one human being do this to another human being? Why would they do it knowing full well this person can't defend themselves?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The video shows a young disabled woman being kicked in the gut. Then she's hit with what appears to be a belt. Finally, she's dragged out of frame by her hair. The state says the caregiver was suspended immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This person was immediately put off duty with no pay and pending an investigation, which now will be conducted by the East Hartford police.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The group home is run by Options Unlimited, a Bloomfield company that runs six group homes and cares for two dozen disabled adults.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a person who requires a lot of support, bathing and assistance, eating and certainly (INAUDIBLE) shots that were taken makes you wonder. There was a belt in one case and you're intimidating somebody and scaring the daylights out of them. This is -- it is so outrageous.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: After seeing the video, state staff rushed to check on the residents of this home but found no bruises or other signs of recent abuse. The ITEAM (ph) has learned that this very same group home was the focus of an abuse investigation last year. After that investigation cameras were installed in the home.

Since this abuse wasn't seen on those cameras, the state believes this video was shot at least four to five months ago. Those cameras were installed after several staff members were fired. This latest investigation will also try to determine who shot the video. The state says that person could face charges too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody who had any role in this should be prosecuted.


BLITZER: Report from our affiliate WFSB's Eric Parker (ph). The group that runs the home tells our affiliate and I'm quoting, "we are deeply saddened and appalled by this incident. As soon as we became aware of it, we took prompt action and placed the employee on unpaid administrative leave. We are working closely with the Department of Developmental Services and the East Hartford Police Department on the investigation."

The National Rifle Association takes on the United Nations accusing the world body of trying to step on Americans' Second Amendment rights.

And Team USA uniforms made in China, details of an Olympic-sized controversy that's brewing right now.


BLITZER: The athletes representing the United States of America in the upcoming Olympic Games are American of course. But there's outrage growing in the United States because the clothes they'll be wearing are not. Lisa Sylvester's looking into this story for us. Lisa, their clothes won't be made in the USA.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That is right, Wolf. The official outfitter for Team USA is Ralph Lauren and instead of using a U.S. manufacturer, the company has gone overseas.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): They are the pride of America, the U.S. Olympic team, but their 2012 uniforms strictly made in China. Ralph Lauren touts on its website that it's the proud outfitter of Team USA. But not everybody's happy with the company's sourcing.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I am so upset that I think the Olympic Committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.

SYLVESTER: That was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid going off on the U.S. Olympic Committee.


SYLVESTER: Reid isn't the only one with strong opinions about it. U.S. fashion designer Nanette Lepore says this was an opportunity to help support U.S. jobs.

NANETTE LEPORE, U.S. FASHION DESIGNER: It's very disturbing because it completely could have been manufactured here in the United States in New York City or in any other city where there's factories that still exist. And it's frustrating for us because it's a cause we've been fighting for and we've been trying to raise awareness and trying to convince designers to move work back to our shores and stop off- shoring and start on-shoring. This would have been the perfect opportunity.

SYLVESTER: The U.S. Olympic Committee responded with this statement. Quote "unlike most Olympic teams around the world, the U.S. Olympic Team is privately funded and we're grateful for the support of our sponsors. We're proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company, and excited to watch America's finest athletes compete at the upcoming games in London." Frame market (ph) advocates like the CATO Institute says none of this is surprising. Globalization means manufacturing companies will be drawn to countries where the costs are lowest.

DAN IKENSON, CATO INSTITUTE: When companies are able to outsource, they are able to produce most competitively. They're able to attend to their costs. And if they can do that, then they can deliver better quality, greater variety at lower prices for U.S. consumers.


SYLVESTER: And we have a total here that one man's outfit if you tallied it all up would be $1,609.50. We've reached out to Ralph Lauren. The company is saying that it has no comment at this time -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I suspect they will at some point. Thanks, Lisa. Stay in touch.

Jack Cafferty's here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: You can't make this stuff up, you know. You know who the richest president was, Wolf?

BLITZER: I don't know. Who was that?

CAFFERTY: Adjusted for inflation, George Washington --

BLITZER: Oh yes.

CAFFERTY: -- was worth more than $500 million. Anyway, the question this hour is, do you have a problem with Mitt Romney's money?

Ted writes "Romney's money is no different than the Kennedy money, John Kerry's money, Charlie Rangel, Nancy Pelosi or Hollywood money. The rule is liberals are allowed to have money. Not conservatives. Anyone who has money invested in the stock market knows a lot of the investments are overseas. Too many people just listen to the talk and don't do their homework."

Ruth writes from Indiana "it's not the money, it's the low rate of taxes he pays and it's how he got it and where it is now. I would never consider voting for him without a lot more information and tax returns for multiple years."

Jimmy in North Carolina says "his money is his business. I'm glad I live in a country where people have the opportunity to make money. How much does LeBron James make, Tigers Woods, Bill Gates, President Obama?"

Martha in Pennsylvania, "no, my problem is he doesn't understand the rest of us don't have any."

Gary in Arizona says "I don't, Jack, the fact he's rich is his business. That some people dislike his wealth overlooks the fact that virtually all American presidents have been among the one percent. You don't get to be president by being a Joe lunch bucket."

Michael writes "we have a choice. A president who has sent us into debt to the tune of multiple trillions of dollars with more debt to come because of Obamacare, or a candidate who is wealthy because he knows how to turn a buck and has shown that he could turn our economy around, tough choice."

And Craig writes from Florida "I'm more bothered by his actions like tying his dog to the roof of the car than how he manages to hide his money. If elected he'll most likely make a few more billion dollars and continue to treat the rest of us like his dog."

If you want to read more about this, go to the blog or through our post on post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page. I was surprised to learn that about Washington.

BLITZER: You know me too. George -- well you got a beautiful estate, Mount Vernon, have you been to Mount Vernon along the Potomac?

CAFFERTY: Yes and adjusted for inflation, $500 million. He was a rich guy.

BLITZER: That estate, if it were to be sold and it won't be sold because it's a national treasure --




BLITZER: -- beautiful land. You know it's basically what people remember about presidential candidates, you know, putting the dog up on the roof of the car --


BLITZER: -- or John Kerry wind surfing, you know stuff like that obviously has an impact.

CAFFERTY: Yes. Yes and it will be with him, whether he becomes president or not, it will be in the consciousness of the people of this country forever now, tied his dog to the roof of the car. Who does that?

BLITZER: I don't know. Stuff happens. All right Jack. Thank you.

The explosion was so strong windows were blown clear across the street. You're going to find out what firefighters think blasted this house right off its foundation.

And while it is too late for you to get your free slurpee from 7- eleven, it isn't the only store with a free chilly treat for you -- free Starbucks, anyone? Stand by.


BLITZER: Here is a look at this hour's "Hotshots". In Sri Lanka, journalists protest harassment of members of the media. Here in Washington, a Russian general salutes U.S. troops during a ceremony over at the Pentagon. In New York, a rare phenomenon caught by CNN iReporter, Rachel Coven (ph), the setting sun can be viewed at the end of every East, West Street when it aligns with the Manhattan street grid. And in German, look at this, a baby gorilla nuzzles on its mother's chest -- "Hotshots" pictures coming in from around the world.

And check out this terrifying video shot by CNN iReporter Jody Brandon (ph). It shows a window washer dangling in a broken rig on the side of a skyscraper in New York. He and his partner were stuck outside the 42nd floor. Fortunately firefighters were able to pull them both to safety and our iReporter caught it all on video.

Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now, among them, Lisa, payout from Wells Fargo in a discrimination case. What happened?

SYLVESTER: Hi there, Wolf. Well the Justice Department announced today that Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $175 million to settle charges it discriminated against minority borrowers. Justice had accused the bank of pushing thousands of African-Americans and Latinos into costly subprime loans and charging them higher fees than white borrowers. Under the settlement Wells Fargo will pay $125 million to victims, 50 million will go to down payment assistance to borrowers in affected communities.

And the woman who lived in this house says she is thanking God she was not inside when it exploded. Last night's blast collapsed the back side of the House and blew the windows across the street. The fire chief says the explosion knocked the house clear off its foundation. Firefighters are investigating the cause, but say natural gas was involved.




SYLVESTER: And a milestone for the Rolling Stones. Fifty years ago today the band played its first gig at London's (INAUDIBLE) club a popular jazz venue. The lineup changed somewhat over time but always with Mick Jagger as front man as the band went on to sell more than 200 million records. Now entering their sixth decade (INAUDIBLE) tour saying the band is already rehearsing.

And if you're hungry, thirsty, and a little daring, well check this out. Tomorrow, Chick-fil-A is offering a free full meal to any customer who shows up fully dressed as a cow. I am sure there will be a few people who will do that. Also tomorrow some Starbucks stores will offer the chain's new refresher beverage for free between noon and 3:00 and Saturday evening between 7:00 and 9"00 "dippin' dots" will give away free clusters (ph), so a lot of people always looking for freebies and there are a few of them -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Still admiring Mick Jagger after all these years.

SYLVESTER: I know --

BLITZER: I actually met him once in South Africa at the USA Ghana World Cup (ph) soccer games. It was a great, great thrill. He walked in and you know how amazed I must have been when he said hi, Wolf (INAUDIBLE) blew me away Mick Jagger --

SYLVESTER: That is amazing.

BLITZER: He knew who I was.

SYLVESTER: That is amazing. Mick Jagger and Wolf Blitzer together --

BLITZER: Yes, he was moving like Jagger (INAUDIBLE). All right. Stand by.

One of the most controversial issues in U.S. politics is going global, at least that's the way the National Rifle Association sees it. The group is fighting a proposed United Nations arms treaty that says it would take away Americans' gun rights. CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports.





FEYERICK: -- to Sudan civilians caught in violent conflicts around the world are dying, by some estimates 1,500 each day, almost one person every minute.

SUZANNE NASSEL, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: It is a huge problem that the international community has never really come to grips with.

FEYERICK: The treaty being negotiated by members of the United Nations is designed to help stem the violence in search of refugees, by monitoring the international weapons trade.


FEYERICK: Among the key goals is preventing dealers from transferring weapons to armed groups, terrorists and other actors like Syria and Iran who are violating human rights. Even though the treaty does not ban any weapons, American program activists are trying to block it anyway.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: Anybody that thinks this is not about civilian firearms is naive on this whole process.

FEYERICK: Wayne LaPierre heads the National Rifle Association.

LAPIERRE: Americans don't want their dead bodies to be added to the pile of the dead when they've been left defenseless by these U.N. policies.

FEYERICK (on camera): But the dead American bodies, are you talking about people who are over there as peace keepers? What are you talking about? You're certainly not talking about dead bodies in America because of an international arms treaty --

LAPIERRE: Well that's what Americans don't want --

FEYERICK: Is that what you're talking about?

LAPIERRE: I mean Americans know --

FEYERICK: But are you suggesting it is possible?

LAPIERRE: You're darn right.

FEYERICK (voice-over): The proposed U.N. treaty would not take away any U.S. citizens' guns which we pointed out to LaPierre. (on camera): So the fact that they may want to regulate the guns so that they know who is getting what where, why is that so problematic?

LAPIERRE: That's not what the U.N. is saying. The U.N. wants a civilian ban. They want -- don't want you to have the right of personal protection.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Nowhere in the treaty does it say that, focusing instead on the illegal flow of weapons creating humanitarian crises around the world.

(on camera): But what is so wrong, for example, about a treaty that basically says that anyone who's under a U.N. arms embargo such as Iran, such as North Korea, that they should not be entitled to guns. Why is that wrong?

LAPIERRE: All I'm saying is keep your hands off of the United States of America.

FEYERICK (voice-over): The State Department has said it will not support any treaty that restricts legal gun ownership in the U.S. or that infringes on the Constitution.

(on camera): I want to know what it says that you're so against.

LAPIERRE: We have told the U.N. stay away from our Second Amendment. Stay away from our freedoms and we're sure not going to let you anywhere near our guns.


FEYERICK: And even with the treaty American gun ownership will remain untouched. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Wolf, are among the leading weapons exporters and like the other 170 or so countries will have to individually ratify the treaty at home -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick, thank you.