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Mystery Package From Alleged Colorado Shooter?; Killer Whale

Aired July 25, 2012 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: the mysterious package the Colorado shooting suspect apparently mailed before the massacre.

A new warning that African-American voters could cost President Obama the election.

And horrifying video of a killer whale attacking his trainer.

I am Wolf Blitzer in Aspen, Colorado. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Here in Colorado, we are learning about a mysterious package that might have been a red flag about the movie theater massacre that apparently was sent by the suspect, James Holmes. There are many questions about it, and what it might mean.

Let's bring in CNN's Ed Lavandera. He's in Aurora, Colorado. He's got the very latest -- Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we had known for the last couple of days that were packages, suspicious packages mailed to University of Colorado campus where James Holmes was going to school.

In fact, briefly that caused evacuation of some buildings. We now have learned from a law enforcement source as you mentioned that one of the packages was sent by James Holmes and that officials and authorities are analyzing what is inside. We have not been able to confirm what's inside those packages, but, clearly, nothing of an explosive nature.

We have also learned that James Holmes in early June did very poorly on one of his exams. This was all about the same time he was amassing all of his weaponry. Whether or not that played any role in the massacre is unknown at this point. But that's the pieces we're putting together.

All of this as victims of the shooting rampage are recovering and facing a scary situation as they heal and the mounting medical bills that they face.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): They came to this Batman premiere to watch a tale of good vs. evil. Now the shooting survivors find themselves in an epic tale of life and death. And when they emerge from the physical scars, they will find themselves battling another villain, daunting medical bills. Caleb Medley was shot in the head. He's still in critical condition. His family says he is slowly getting better, but will take years to recover. He's lost his right eye and is suffering brain damage.

Medley worked at Wal-Mart. At night, he chased his dream of being a comedian, finding stand-up gigs whenever he could.

CALEB MEDLEY, SHOOTING VICTIM: I found one of those door frame gyms, one of those things you set up on the door and you do the pull- ups and the sit-ups. I got my little setup, and started to do one pull-up, and I tore down my ceiling.


LAVANDERA: Medley's family expects medical bills to go well over a million dollars. The Medleys don't have medical insurance and his wife just gave birth to their first child.

So, friends have started a Facebook page and Web site asking for donations.

SETH MEDLEY, BROTHER OF VICTIM: Hospital bills are going to be insurmountable. It is extremely hard, it's very difficult. But I know that we're not going to see him like this for forever. He's going to be back on his feet in no time.

LAVANDERA: Petra Anderson was also shot in the head. She's required complex surgeries to remove a bullet that lodged in her skull. So her sister is making a desperate plea with this video posted online.

CHLOE ANDERSON, SISTER OF VICTIM: The reality of after the hospital stay is starting to loom large. My mother was preparing to go down for cancer treatment for a very aggressive, potentially fatal cancer at the end of this month. My sister's hospital bills on top of that are making the financial reality look pretty daunting. So that's why we're reaching out to you.

LAVANDERA: The hospital bills will be staggering. The family says it will be far more than the almost $175,000 they have raised so far.

ANDERSON: Thank you for standing with us and letting this joker know that he may have intended it as his story, but we're taking it back.

LAVANDERA: As if fighting for your life didn't require enough superhero strength, many survivors will battle another wound inflicted by a gunman who called himself the Joker, and none of this is funny.


LAVANDERA: Wolf, and just a few minutes ago I received an e-mail from a spokeswoman for the children's hospital here in the Aurora area where many of the victims were taken, and we were told that through the hospital's charity program and donations that have been made to the hospital, that that will be used to cover the medical expenses for all of those that don't have insurance that were brought to that hospital, and it will be used to waive any co-pays and deductible expenses for those patients that do have insurance.

We will continue to monitor that as those victims in this tragedy continue to deal with that fallout in the weeks ahead -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Our heart certainly goes out to all of those victims and their families. Thanks, Ed Lavandera, in Aurora, Colorado.

By the way, if you want to find out how you can help, go to, Impact Your World, for information,


BLITZER: Mitt Romney is in London right now. He's engaged in a long-distance dustup with the Obama campaign. The vice president, Joe Biden, is accusing the Republican of trying to undermine the president and America's special relationship with Britain.

Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is traveling with Mitt Romney.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Mitt Romney's overseas trip has only begun and already both campaigns are fighting like Napoleon and the British.

(voice-over): Mitt Romney has arrived in London for what his campaign calls a trip to listen and learn. But all of a sudden, the tour is over who said what, as the Obama campaign is seizing on a quote a British newspaper says came from an unnamed Romney adviser, which cannot be confirmed and the Romney campaign denies.

That so-called anonymous adviser is quoted in London's "Daily Telegraph" as saying, "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage and Romney feels that the relationship is special. The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."

In a statement, Vice President Joe Biden didn't hold back, calling the comments just another feeble attempt by the Romney campaign to score political points. "This assertion is beneath the presidential campaign."

Romney campaign officials say the quote didn't come from them, adding in a statement, "If anyone said that, they weren't reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign."

The Romney campaign insists the GOP contender will not criticize the president overseas, in keeping with political tradition.

But the trip does come with purpose. In London, where Romney will watch the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, he will be remembered for turning around the scandal-plagued games in Salt Lake City 10 years ago.

Romney's next stop in Israel is also no accident. Republicans have hammered President Obama for his tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

(on camera): Besides meeting with foreign leaders and going to the Olympics, Romney is set to attend some fund-raisers, seeking some of that campaign gold he will need for the long marathon to November -- Wolf.


BLITZER: Jim Acosta in London with us traveling with Mitt Romney.

By the way, I will be traveling myself to Jerusalem this weekend to sit down with the Republican presidential candidate. My interview with Mitt Romney will air right here in THE SITUATION ROOM Monday.

President Obama may need the support of African-American voters more than ever. We are taking a closer look at his new efforts to reach out to the African-American community and why his campaign could be worried right now.

And preventing another attack like this -- a killer whale drags down his trainer in a life-and-death struggle, and it's all caught on video.


BLITZER: President Obama is reaching out to African-American voters just a couple of weeks after he skipped the NAACP Convention. He will speak to the National Urban League in New Orleans later tonight. The group is out with a new report, warning that low turnout among black voters across the country could hurt his chances, especially in several critical battleground states.

Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, John King, taking a closer look.

John, what are you seeing?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, here is the map in the new Urban League report.

African-American turnout was way up in 2008, a chance to make history. It was just about 65 percent, just shy of 65 percent of eligible African-American voted. That report said if turnout drops back to 2004 levels, that would be about 60 percent, the report says the president could say goodbye to North Carolina, and that's a state he narrowly carried that last time.

That report also suggests the president would have a very hard time winning Virginia, a state he carried last time. The report warns Ohio would also be at risk if African-American turnout falls back to 60 percent, and it goes on to say Florida would be much, much harder to win if African-American turnout drops.

And, Wolf, it also says even potentially Pennsylvania could be in play. Look how big the president's win in Pennsylvania was four years ago, almost 10 points. But most of that margin came from right here in Philadelphia, compliments of African-American voters. A huge margin, 83 percent to 16 percent.

I spent a lot of time watching here the ground game in 2008, and decided to go back today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what it is saying, that you're going to support President Obama in the upcoming election.

KING (voice-over): In northwest Philadelphia, July has a late October feel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you registered to vote, sir?


KING: Obama campaign volunteers are everywhere asking passersby if they're registered to vote and collaring them if the answer is no. Loyalty to the first African-American president is not in doubt here, hardly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love him, our president, yes. One of the proudest days of my life was when he got elected to president.

KING: Local businesses like Paul Beale's Florist are helping the campaign register voters and helping customers navigate Pennsylvania's new voter I.D. law.

ALTERMESE BEALE, PAUL BEALE'S FLORIST: The older people don't have driver's license, don't have the I.D., but if they take this law and keep it, we will be in bad shape.

KING: Another turnout worry is complacency. The president won big here four years ago. Bruce Burton tells every customer this year is much tougher and that every vote counts.

BRUCE BURTON, OWNER, PRETTY BOYZ: We have voter registration forms in the back right now. We're recruiting as many people as possible. We do not feel as though this is a sure bet.

KING: This scene speaks volumes. It's one of six Obama campaign field offices in Philadelphia, packed on a midweek summer day, building lists and making contacts critical to November's ground war.

Dr. Kevin R. Johnson is senior pastor at Philadelphia's Bright Hope Baptist Church. He says if turnout is down in November, frustration with the economy will be the biggest cause.

PASTOR KEVIN R. JOHNSON, BRIGHT HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH: I believe the president could do more in that area. When you look at the unemployment rate in the African-American community, there is more that needs to be done.

KING: And as Pastor Johnson tells folks they must vote, he is also banking on a little help come Election Day.

JOHNSON: And the reason that I know that everything is going to be all right in November is because I trust in the lord. I love the president.


KING: And, Wolf, the level of activity you see on the ground in Philadelphia quite remarkable. Again, six field offices open in the city. To see it packed in the middle of the week on a summer day, all of that phone banking, tells you a couple things.

Number one, not having a primary has allowed the Obama campaign to start building the ground organization early. Number two, they understand history might be repeated, but it is not being made. In 2008, they said the volunteers were flocking to them in the African- American community. They do acknowledge this time, even though they promise to try to match the levels of four years ago, they have to do a better job reaching out, touching, corralling people, grabbing them, and keeping in touch. A good early glimpse 104 days out. We will go back a couple times between now and Election Day.

BLITZER: Good point, John. Thanks so much. He is going to need turnout from that base, especially the African-American community, if he wants to stay in the White House.

Meanwhile, new warnings today from America's top national security experts about al Qaeda and its continued goal to hit American targets. We're going to take a closer look at one weapon against terrorism.

And we will also hear from people who knew Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes. They knew him as a boy, and they used to call him Jimmy. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: I am here in Aspen, Colorado, with some of America's leading homeland security figures for a forum on the challenges of protecting the United States of America, one major concern, a flood of terrorist propaganda out there on the Internet.

Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, has the story of the State Department and how it is trying to combat that and more.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind this door, the State Department's newest weapon, the Center for Strategic Counter Terrorism Communications. Earlier this year, its staff penetrated a militant online forum in Yemen, the mission, discredit a terrorist message that celebrated the killing of Americans. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Within 48 hours, our team plastered the same sites with altered versions of the ads that showed the toll al Qaeda attacks have taken on the Yemeni people.

DOUGHERTY: From the front lines to drone strikes to the killing of Osama bin Laden, the public knows the role the Pentagon and the CIA play, but the State Department, too, is a key player in engaging the enemy.

Daniel Benjamin leads the department's efforts to give governments under siege the will and the tools to fight terrorism.

DANIEL BENJAMIN, STATE DEPARTMENT COUNTERTERRORISM BUREAU: And it's always better to have others taking the fight to the terrorism, so that we don't have to deploy halfway around the world when it comes to becoming a threat that we need to deal with through military means or other instruments.

DOUGHERTY: Training police forces, judges, prosecutors, investigators, developing tools to counter radicalization, it is all part of the State Department's job. But with recruitment efforts by extremist groups in overdrive, those who monitor terrorists online say the State Department faces a huge task.

AARON ZELIN, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Sure, they can combat things online potentially, and maybe even make a little headway there, but, you know, without being on the ground there and, you know, directly trying to influence individuals, it's not going to 100 percent eradicate some of this message.

DOUGHERTY: And Benjamin cautions it is a long-term battle.

BENJAMIN: The online space where most of this is happening, and so we are looking at their Web sites. We are analyzing it very carefully, finding what the weak spots are.


DOUGHERTY: And that's what I will be focusing on here in Aspen, the role of the State Department fighting terrorism. In fact, tomorrow, I will be emceeing a panel. It has three officials, former and present, who have headed up that operation at State -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Looking forward to that. Thanks very much, Jill Dougherty, in Aspen, at the Aspen Institute with me.

Imagine what al Qaeda terrorists may be thinking when they see what happened in Aurora, Colorado. We're going to talk about the message the movie theater massacre is sending to extremists.

And a SeaWorld trainer seems helpless as a killer whale drags him under the water.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Happening now: the message of the Colorado massacre. Is our national security at risk in the wake of the shooting? Former classmates of the shooting suspect James Holmes reveal what he was like as a kid.

And man vs. killer whale -- the terrifying video of a SeaWorld trainer fighting for his life.

I am Wolf Blitzer in Aspen, Colorado. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, says there are lessons to be learned in the wake of last week's Colorado theater massacre. And it is raising important national security questions, among them, did the attack expose potential weaknesses to terrorists at home or abroad?


JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We face a threat environment where violent extremism is not defined or contained by international borders. Today, we must address threats that are home grown as well as those that originate abroad.


BLITZER: Let's talk about this and more with Walter Isaacson. He is the president of the Aspen Institute and CNN security analyst, Peter Bergen.

Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming out.

Peter, let me start with you. If you're an al-Qaeda supporter, let's say, a terrorist out there, you see the reaction of what one lone guy can do in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Your goal is to cripple the economy, that's what al-Qaeda has been trying to do for many years, that's why they went over the world trade center. You know, that represents a serious potential threat out there, the lessons learned for these guys from what happened in Aurora.

PETER BERGEN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. We saw some of this in along these lines over the Fort Hood, Texas, about the same number of people who killed by major Nidal Malik Hasan, an al-Qaeda's sympathizer.

BLITZER: But, by all accounts, the shooter, this is not any al- Qaeda's sympathizer or anything.

BERGEN: Right. And I think terrorists might also draw kind of an opposite conclusion. I mean the response of the people in the movie theater and response of local law enforcement was actually pretty good. I mean, this guy was heavily armed. He managed to kill 12 people. It could have been much worse if the local law enforcement response and the people in the theater protecting that probably --

BLITZER: If you're a suicide bomber, willing to die, Walter, that lesson that Peter spoke about, is not going to make much difference.

WALTER ISAACSON, PRESIDENT, THE ASPEN INSTITUTE: Never going to be totally safe, don't want to attack society. We can't go to the movies without first going through the metal detector. So yes, there are always going to be vulnerabilities in our society. But I think we have to keep it in perspective.

BLITZER: So, what's the lesson you learned as a terrorism expert, Peter, from what happened in aurora, Colorado, which is not far from where we are now?

BERGEN: Yes. I mean, I think one of the big lessons is we are more than a decade after 9/11, is how little terrorist activity we have seen in the United States. So I mean, a lot more people have died in these kinds of columbine style massacres which we saw here in Aurora than have died at the hands of jihad terrorists, by my calculations, 17 Americans have died at the hands of people motivated by al-Qaeda ideology. That's not something we could have predicted a year or so after 9/11. But it is a fact.

BLITZER: So, is this al-Qaeda threat, Peter has been saying this for awhile, some disagree with him as Peter well knows, but is it as far as the U.S. is concerned the home land, over with?

ISAACSON: No. I wouldn't say it is over with. And I think you have very complex things going on, serious, particularly interesting where, you know, al-Qaeda is somewhat involved, but fighting against the Assad regime. They're actually, you know, maneuvering against Iran. I think al-Qaeda as you know from Peter's book is a very complex organization and we tend to oversimplify it.

BLITZER: Is al-Qaeda playing a significant role in Syria right now?

BERGEN: Al-Qaeda is actually played a significant role in Syria many years, Wolf. I mean, if you look at the United States recovered documents in 2007 that made it clear most of the foreign fighters coming into Iraq came through Syria, basically had facilitation sill there. So, it is not new. What is new, what "the Times" is reporting today is the extent in to which direction they're involved with the opposition which is kind of ironic because we are opposed to the Assad regime. Al-Qaeda is opposed to Assad regime. We are sort of the same side of this question now.

ISAACSON: Well, that's right. Being so complex, we're both seeking the fall of the Assad regime, and likewise they are, I think, saying their two great enemies after that will be, you know, the Shiite rulers in Iran and Israel, you know the rulers in Israel. So it is a very complex situation. I think when we try to lump everything into al-Qaeda and say it's our only enemy, you know, well, you've written about this better than anybody.

BLITZER: Quick question about the Olympics in London. How concerned are you, Peter, you studies terrorism many years, that there could be a credible terrorist attack against the athletes, all of us remember 1972 in Munich. BERGEN: Well, I think all of us remember 1972, which is one of the reasons the British made pretty good efforts to secure the Olympics. There has been some discussion about one of the security firms they hired that had hired incompetent security guards. But - I mean, that said, the British have a pretty good handle on the home grown extremist problem which is 30 large, but they have a good handle on it.

ISAACSON: And of course, you and I were in Atlanta. Remember the bomb there in the Olympics in Atlanta, which wasn't a typical terrorist thing. But, you know, whenever you have something like the Olympics, there's vulnerability.

BLITZER: You assembled a terrific team of national security people here in Aspen for this conference. I will be interviewing William McRaven, the head of U.S. special operations, guy that orchestrated the killing of bin Laden, subject of your bestselling book. We all know the subject of your bestselling book for Steve Jobs.

ISAACSON: Thank you for being here, Wolf. Great to have you. And, thank you for helping sponsor this conference.

BLITZER: CNN, "the New York Times" and the Aspen Institute are co-sponsors.

ISAACSON: Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you.

The Colorado shooting suspect is known as a loner. But guess what, people that knew him as a boy don't remember him that way.

Stand by. You are going to hear what a former classmate and a teacher remembers - what they remember about James Holmes.

And at 48 after the hour, the lucky break that saved a Sea World trainer dragged under water by a killer whale.


BLITZER: He is being called a serial infector, a medical lab technician accused of giving dozens Hepatitis C. Eight hospitals across the country right now are worried their patients may have been exposed.

KATE BOLDUAN, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a horrible story, Wolf. We are talking about hundreds maybe thousands of people that potentially that potentially may have had contact with this man. His name is David Kwicowski (ph). And federal officials say he spread Hepatitis C by leaving his dirty syringes behind for patients to use.

He was arrested in New Hampshire, but he worked in hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, and New York, if you can believe it. And federal officials say he was on the hunt for painkillers. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KACAVAS, U.S. ATTORNEY: He knew he had Hepatitis C, as of at least June of 2010. He continued to divert drugs and permit tainted syringes to be used on patients under his care.


BOLDUAN: Kwicowski (ph) was arrested earlier this month and faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted, a really tragic story.

Another headline that we are watching, in another troubling sign for the U.S. economy. June saw the biggest drop in new home sales in more than a year. New homes are selling at a rate of 350,000 a year, at down 75 percent from the boom year of 2005, despite low mortgage rates, loan applications fell last week.

And check out this amazing video of a volcanic eruption in southern Japan. They were taken from different angles, the videos yesterday, and the closer view you see is in slow motion. This is Mount Sakurajima, and one of Japan's most active volcanoes. Ash explosions like this are common.

And a new addition to the Pentagon's Web site will make it easy to check political candidates or really anyone else's claims that they have received military honors. The database contains the names of combat valor award recipients since September 11th, 2001.

In addition to catching liars, the database is also meant to honor people who deserved their awards.

And Wolf, you remember, this is also a response to last month's Supreme Court ruling that threw out a law that made it a crime to lie about military honor. So, this is an effort to go around that.

BLITZER: Yes. It is a good thing, really happy they're doing this, very important. Those who did amazing work should be honored, but the liars, get rid of them.

Thanks, Kate.

Let's get back to the Colorado massacre and news we broke a short while ago right here in the SITUATION ROOM.

Children's hospital in Aurora, Colorado tells us it will waive medical costs for shooting victims who don't have insurance and it will waive any and all co-pays and deductibles for those that do.

Also this hour, CNN is getting new insight into the Colorado shooting suspect, James Holmes from people that knew him before the red hair, before the arrest and the movie theater massacre.

Drew Griffin of CNN's special investigations unit joins us now.

Drew, talking about people that knew James Holmes as a boy, what are you learning?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, people that knew him in elementary school where he grew up in northern California. We have gone back that far, Wolf, because the picture we have gotten of Holmes so far has been pretty slim. His former classmates telling CNN this guy was hardly the loner everybody is describing now in Colorado. But they do admit he was one of the smartest kids in the class.


ADAM MARTINEZ, FORMER CLASSMATE: He excelled in academics, top of the class. And even back then, he was the head of every student academically, and his intelligence, you could tell, he was ahead of everybody at that time.

He is pretty normal. He wasn't a loner as like, I heard it depicted later now. He always got along well with the kids. He got along well with everybody.


GRIFFIN: Wolf, we also talked to one of his teachers, Paul Karrer. And we asked him, you know, what was his reaction when he found out one of his students, James Holmes, was the alleged shooter. And there's what the kid looks like at Jimmy, they called them.

His reaction, Wolf, has to be the same reaction anyone that knew this child or James Holmes at any time in his life must have had when they found this out. Take a listen.


PAUL KARRER, FORMER TEACHER: That's really disturbing. To be so close to something like that bothers you to your essence. And particularly as a teacher, you're thinking this is one of my kids. And then you also think, could I have done anything or did I see anything, did I miss anything. You know, could I have done anything to have prevented this. Did I do anything to cause this? You know, which the answer is no, but that's what you think and that's how you feel.


GRIFFIN: Wolf, I can imagine anybody along the line that knew James Holmes or interacted with him is probably having that same doubt in their mind, is there anything they saw, anything they could have done along the way that could have sparked them to call authorities - Wolf.

BLITZER: The picture I see merging, correct me if I'm wrong, Drew, because you have been doing some major investigating in all this. That he may have been relatively normal, pretty normal at least until he arrived in Colorado. Is that what you're learning?

GRIFFIN: It seems to be, and it seems to be centered around this elite neuroscience program he was involved with, which is why it has been frustrating for me and many reporters to get such little information out of the University of Colorado's medical school to see exactly how he was behaving, though a source with information related to his academic career there, Wolf, is confirming to CNN that he did score poorly on that oral exam on June 7th that was just three days before he told the school he was withdrawing. But again, the information has been pretty slim.

What we have been trying to do, though, is just try to get a composite picture of James Holmes, and try to pinpoint exactly where it was that, you know, not a scientific term, but where he may have snapped. And I think we'll be learning that later. The chancellor at the school actually told me yesterday that kind of information will only emerge in court - Wolf.

BLITZER: Drew, thanks very much for that good work.

And to our viewers, you can hear and see more interviews in the CNN documentary, madness at midnight, the search for answers in Aurora. It explores the massacre and honors the victim, survivors, and heroes. It will air Saturday, 8:00 p.m. eastern, only here on CNN.

A 5,000 pound whale could have killed his trainer in a scary underwater struggle. You're going to see how it all played out on videotape.


BLITZER: A heart stopping 15 minute video was just released showing a killer whale at SeaWorld grab his trainer by the leg and yank him underwater. It is chilling, but the trainer is OK after this 2006 incident.

David Mattingly is joining us now from Atlanta. David, walk us through what happened.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this video came out in 2006. It was released as part of legal proceedings that stemmed from a 2010 death of a trainer at a SeaWorld in Orlando. That trainer killed by a killer whale.

Now, four years earlier on this video, you see a trainer doing the same thing that trainer was doing, and watch now, see how he came to sharing the same faith.


This is the moment when everything went wrong. You can see the 5,000-pound killer whale (INAUDIBLE) biting the foot of trainer Kenneth Peters. He struggles but there's nothing he can do. In seconds, he's pulled under, helpless as the whale drags him below, out of the camera's view. We don't see him again until almost 20 seconds later, still alive but still trapped.

Then, just when Peters might have been running out of time holding his breath, a tremendously lucky break, the whale surfaces. What was this whale doing?

DOCTOR JEFFREY VENTRE, FORMER SEAWORLD TRAINER: She obviously knew that he was about out of breath, brought him back up to the surface, allowed him to compose himself and drug him back down. So, you know, looked pretty obvious to me that she was sending him a message.

MATTINGLY: Several tense minutes go by, Peters' foot still in the whale's mouth. He doesn't try to struggle, hoping to calm the whale. But instead of letting go, the whale seems to play with him, dunking him, swirling around, then, another abrupt dive to the bottom. This one lasts only about 30 seconds. Back at the surface, Peters, still helpless, appears exhausted when the whale lets him go.

VENTRE: Kenneth Peters is very fortunate to be alive. And that's about it.

MATTINGLY: You can see the fear. Peters swam for his life and out of the pool. He suffered puncture wounds and a broken foot. Six years later a statement now from SeaWorld says Peters returned to work shortly after this incident and remains a member of the team at Shamu Stadium to this day.


MATTINGLY: But at all SeaWorld's, they now have a rule in place where those trainers are not allowed in the pool with those killer whales - Wolf.

BLITZER: David Mattingly with the stories for us, an amazing story indeed.

David, let me ask you a quick question about restrictions as a result of what happened. There were some restrictions, OSHA imposed some restrictions. Give us a little background on what's going on.

MATTINGLY: Well, OSHA imposed restrictions after the trainer was killed in 2010. And we asked OSHA why weren't similar restrictions put in place after this obviously potentially deadly incident occurred just four years before? We sent that up the chain of command and we're still waiting for an answer - Wolf.

BLITZER: Let us know when you get that answer, David. Amazing video. Thanks very much.

Kate, that's a pretty tough job being a trainer over there at SeaWorld.

BOLDUAN: I could not believe that video. That is amazing, amazing stuff, just so happy that he was OK. That was a very fortunate break, and no pun intend there, of course.

Thank you, Wolf.

A new ad we should tell you uses a sweating supermodel to send a message. Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Pumping up for the London Olympics, even the buses are getting in on it. Our video of the day is straight ahead.


BOLDUAN: Just two days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, people in London with getting very pumped up. I guess so is this bus. Yes, that's a traditional London double-decker doing none other than push-ups. A sculptor came up with the idea to promote the game. He modified an actual 1957 bus, all six tons of it. And for realism, if you can have realism when a Bus is doing push-ups, the bus apparently even groans.

Pretty creative, don't you think, Wolf?

BLITZER: Very creative. Abs steel on that bus, I can see right there.

Kate, let's look about this next report. An Italian supermodel steams up the screen in her latest acting gig playing a dog.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is one thing to be hot on you tube, for being cute while enjoying air conditioning, but being hot while left in a parked car is anything but cool. Instead of the usual warnings acquainting a hot car with a hot oven, PETA opted for a hot model, panting and crawling around a locked car. The skull locks are a nice touch. Trapped like a dog in a scorcher. She resorts to sticking her nose out of the cracked window.

How could an Italian supermodel impersonate a dog in heat without wearing a certain fashion accessory?

Turns out the idea for the PETA spot came from a similar video by PETA's German branch featuring a German personality. But PETA supporters aren't the only ones sweating up a storm to get out the message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm your pet and I'm now in the car.

MOOS: Instead of banging on windows, North Carolina vet doctor, Ernie Ward (ph), spent 30 minutes --

ERNIE WAD (ph), DOCTOR: It is stifling in here.

MOOS: With a thermometer in a car.

WARD: It's about 106 degrees. I want out of the car.

MOOS: By the time it hit 113.

WARD: I'm fully drenched now and I can do that. A dog can't. A dog can't perspire.

MOOS: The demo at kcal radio involved donning a Dalmatian costume. An animal rescue group called Red Rover used a chocolate dog to show how fast it melted. Makes you want to reach for the AC.

But if you get all hot and bothered, just measure the temperature. An Illinois animal control officer stayed cool outside using a laser thermometer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 118 degrees.

MOOS: And a dog left in that kind of heat won't last for long. A passerby recorded this dog left behind with the windows shut. And when its owner returned --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was only in there for a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. You weren't only in there for a minute. I have you on video the whole time.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I apologize. I didn't want to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to apologize to the dog. And just don't do it again.

MOOS: As for the steamy Italian model, she tweeted out a photo of herself taking a break on top of the car right where Mitt Romney's dog used to ride.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Tomorrow right here in the SITUATION ROOM, I'll have a rare interview with Admiral William McRaven. He is now at the U.S. military special operations command. He was in-charge of the Osama bin Laden raid. Tomorrow, 4:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.