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Brazil Has Infrastructure Challenges Ahead Of Rio 2016; A recap of CNN's Favorite Olympic Moments

Aired August 13, 2012 - 16:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Farewell to a glorious games. We follow the Olympic flag to Brazil for the start of a new sporting chapter.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London this is Connect the World.

FOSTER: Now seven years of planning, 17 days of success and celebration, London's Olympics have been a triumph. So what's Rio doing to top them?

Also tonight, as Egyptians celebrate some surprise changes at the top. We'll look at how the balance of power has shifted.



REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: : I think it's become so...



FOSTER: A less than warm welcome for the man hoping to be America's next vice president.

Right now the Olympic flag is making its way from London to Rio de Janeiro where it'll take its place ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics. Last night saw the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and the ceremonial handing over of the flag to the mayor of the next host city. Ahead is four years of complex preparation. And CNN's Shasta Darlington is in Rio de Janeiro joining me now.

Shasta, I guess it's all started from today.


You know, the clock is ticking, but Brazilians here in Rio are pretty mellow about it, I have to say. Their feeling is, OK, maybe we can't compete with Beijing in terms of technology. We don't have the same pop culture that London does, but we know how to throw a party. And it's true. I mean, if you look at it, Rio, every year they stage this amazing carnival with great music, great dancers and enormous floats. And they think they can pull it off for the Olympics as well.

There is that little question about infrastructure. But those are just details, right Max?

FOSTER: OK, Shasta. Back with you a little later on in the show, but Rio has got a tough act to follow. Despite last minute security concerns and fears of possible chaos, the London Olympics have turned out to be an unbridled success. And the British are reveling in it as Dan Rivers reports.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Britain is basking in a happy and glorious games. The closing ceremony the final icing on a cake that few dared to predict would be so successful. And Team GB also did remarkably well. Britain truly great, finishing third in the medal tables behind the U.S. and China.

That's the 23rd time we (inaudible) since 6:00 this morning.

RIVERS: One London radio station was playing nothing else but gold on its breakfast show on Monday, 29 replays, one for each British medal. The author of the song Loving Every Minute.

GARY KEMP, SPANDAU BALLET GUITARIST: It seems to have become a sort of people's anthem this last two weeks, which I'm very proud of.

RIVERS: The country has been gripped by gold mania. Even normally red post boxes have been painted to reflect the victory of local athletes, but amid all this feel good after glow it's easy to forget what could have gone wrong.

Just days before the opening ceremony private security firm G4S failed to fulfill its contract to provide 10,500 security guards. The British army stepped in and saved the games and arguably made the experience of spectators even more positive.

CHRISTIAN CULLEN, INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: We saw on the TV screens all over the world the best of our military mingling with tourists, having photographs taken with them.

RIVERS: Olympic security coordinator Chris Allison says the police also helped to fill the void averting disaster.

CHRIS ALLISON, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, METROPOLITAN POLICE: The army stepped up to the mat, the police service to provide a hole that extra police officers to do the G4S duties and collectively we saw our way through it.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: Welcome to the Olympics 2012.

RIVERS: Prime Minister David Cameron was quick to acknowledge the country's debt of gratitude to the Olympic volunteers.

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF ENGLAND: I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. They were joined by our brilliant armed forces, our army, royal navy and royal air force who mucked in and kept us safe.

RIVERS: Many are crediting Lord Coe, himself a former Olympian, who has navigated the challenges, bringing in the games on time, predicted to be under budget and largely without hitch.

SEBASTIAN COE, OLYMPIC ORGANIZING COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We said at the beginning of this that these would be a games for everyone. I think by the end of last night we were able to say these were a games by everyone.

RIVERS: Empty seats were perhaps one failure, but this was quickly dealt with. Corporate ticket holders threatened to fill their seats or lose them.

Even the predicted travel chaos never materialized with London's transport system moving like clockwork. London's mayor summed up his emotions.

BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR OF LONDON: The overwhelming thing is thankfulness that it's over, I suppose. I mean, totally. I mean, totally. But in a good way. In a good way.

RIVERS: London is a city with a new pride as Lord Coe put it :when our time came, we did it right."

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Well, London is a much quieter place today as thousands of athletes, officials and fans head home. Heathrow Airport is open a special temporary terminal to deal with around 8,000 athletes over three days. And it's decked out to look like a British park with red telephone boxes and beefeater guards. And there's a special check-in back at the Olympic Park to make things easier.

A couple of athletes told us what they thought of the organization of the games.


ANNALIE LONGO, NEW ZEALAND FOOTBALLER: I'm actually really impressed today. This whole new terminal that we can come in and just check our bags. Yesterday we were over there checking our piece of luggage so we didn't have to wait in lines and queues. So, yeah, they've actually thought about it and organized it really well. I'm impressed.


FOSTER: So as we look to the future and Rio 2016, what can we expect?

Well, Shasta is back with me. What does Brazil's most famous city have, then, in store for us Shasta?

DARLINGTON: Well, Max, as we were saying, to start with they really will promote what they have naturally from the beaches and the beautiful landscape to the musical culture. Having said that, they have a lot of problems. There are things that they're not very good at. I can't imagine the word clockwork would be used to describe the Rio Olympics when they're over.

So there are some things that we'll see them working on.


DARLINGTON: It was an easy sell: Christ the Redeemer embracing Rio de Janeiro's beautiful beaches and Brazil's sport loving culture. Now it has to prove it can deliver. In just four years, the marvelous city will host the 2016 Olympic games, the first time ever for South America. The city is hard at work on venues. And officials insist they're on schedule.

ROMARIO GALVAO, RIO DE JANEIRO'S SPORTS AND LEISURE DEPARTMENT SECRETARY (through translator): The government has already delivered the athlete's park here at Barro Dachaducha (ph). And how we started work on the race tracks where the Olympic village will be.

So, if you look at it in terms of chronology we are ahead of schedule.

DARLINGTON: But one of the biggest challenges is infrastructure. Traffic clogged streets, lack of public transit, there's a shortage of hotel rooms, and the airport is aging.

Another is security. Police, often backed by the army, have invaded some of the most notorious hilltop shanty towns, seizing control from drug gangs. But they still have to secure dozens more.

For Fernando Meirelles, the man who directed City of God and created the video that helped Rio win its Olympic bid, samba music, the carnival spirit and Brazil's famously friendly people promise to make Rio's Olympics a success. But he hopes Rio will use the games to showcase its natural beauty and promote sustainability.

FERNANDO MEIRELLES, FILM DIRECTOR: It should be more organice, like an organice games, you know, rather than technological and -- it's a game from a different world.

DARLINGTON: Rio has the added challenge that it will also host some of the matches when Brazil stages the 2014 World Cup. Of course, that also means many venues will be finished well ahead of the Olympics.

Fans hope that it's the athletes who improve their game over the next four years to win more of the medals closest to their hearts.


DARLINGTON: You know, in fact, Max, when we went out onto the beach here in Rio and asked people if they thought the city would be ready a lot of them told us they were much more worried about whether or not the athletes would be ready. They want to see a bigger medal intake when Rio hosts the games in 2016.

FOSTER: Well, they'll have home advantage as the Brits did this summer. Shasta, thank you very much indeed.

A bit later, we'll head back to the Olympic Park here in London with Alex Thomas and take a look at the record breakers of London 2012.

Still to come tonight, a surprise move by Egypt's new president dramatically alters the balance of power, but is the military willing to take a back seat?

Plus, failures and inadequacies. Police in Norway come under fire for not acting quickly enough to stop last year's massacre.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

Now his powers were dramatically weakened before he took office, or even took office. Now Egypt's first democratically elected president is fighting back. Mohammed Morsi took the country by surprise when he reclaimed some key powers that had been stripped by the military. He also forced several top generals into retirement, including Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. And President Morsi is trying to marginalize the army.


MOHAMMED MORSI, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translator): The decisions I took today were not meant ever to target certain persons, nor did I intend to embarrass institutions, nor could my aim ever to be to narrow freedoms for those whom god created free.


FOSTER: We'll get much more on this story in around 15 minutes time for you in a live report from Cairo.

Here's a quick look at some other stories connecting our world tonight. And police in Norway are facing tough criticism over their handling of last year's massacre that killed 77 people, most of them teenagers on the island of Utoya. And independent report has concluded that the bomb and gun rampage could have been avoided and lives saved if police had reacted faster.

CNN's Atika Schubert reports.


ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: On July 22, 2011 a car bomb detonated in the center of Oslo killing eight people. It took police more than eight hours to catch the man responsible Anders Breivik. In that time he shot and killed 69 people, mostly teenagers, on nearby Utoya Island.

A Norwegian commission now says both attacks could have been prevented. The commissioner chairperson said it's been demanding and meaningful, many strong impressions. There are a series of areas that need to change. And we believe they are urgent.

Now this report scrutinizes everything from Breivik's childhood to Norway's emergency radio system. But the key questions are what happened that day? And Why? And perhaps most importantly how could Norwegian society let this happen?

The commission showed security video of Breivik driving a van laden with fertilizer explosives and carefully parking in front of the prime minister's offices. No security to stop him.

The commission says this exact scenario had been anticipated and even rehearsed by police and should have been detected.

The report also found that police could have responded much more quickly, potentially stopping Breivik's shooting rampage on Utoya Island before so many were killed.

The report cited a failure of, quote, leadership and communication as well as understaffed police forces with limited access to helicopters that could have placed them on Utoya Island much sooner.

The report was handed over to Norway's prime minister who has accepted responsibility for the lack of preparedness cited by the commission, but says he will not resign. He said, "it is not possible for a report from a commission to change what happened on July 22 last year, nevertheless this report is very important. It is important because it gives us facts and knowledge and understanding of what happened."

The report goes a long way to understanding the security failures that made it possible to carry out the mass killings. But while Breivik has admitted his role as bomber and gunman, his trial is still ongoing and he has demanded acquittal. The key question, was Breivik sane at the time of the killings? That will be critical in determining what sentence he will face.

Atika Schubert, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Syrian rebels say they've shot down a military jet and captured the pilot. This video purports to show the shooting. But Syrian state television blames the crash on a technical fault and says the pilot hasn't been found. According to the rebels this is the pilot. However the man is not in uniform and doesn't show any identification. CNN can't confirm the authenticity of these videos. But the man appears to be calling on other military officers to defect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): How are you? Identify yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm (inaudible) pilot Rafeed Hamid Suleiman (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (through translator): And what's the task assigned to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our task is to bomb the city of Mohaseen (ph).

UNIDNETIFIED MALE (through translator): What do you say to your fellow Assad army officers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I tell them to defect from this gang (ph).


FOSTER: The pope's former butler has been charged with aggravated theft for allegedly leaking hundreds of papers to an Italian journalist. Details of -- from some of the documents ended up in a best selling book. According to the judge the butler, Paolo Gabriel (ph) acted out of a desire to combat, quote, evil and corruption everywhere in the church. The Vatican says the investigation isn't over and that more arrests are possible.

Nearly 5,000 people are being forced from their homes as wild fires rage on Spain's Canary Islands. Tenerife and La Gomera (ph) are the worst affected where a heat wave has sent temperatures soaring, reigniting some fires that had already been extinguished. High temperatures and strong winds are hampering efforts to bring the flames under control.

We're going to take you to a short break, but when we do come back, 30 world records were smashed at London 2012, but how many Olympic records were broken? Find out after the break.



SANYA RICHARDS-ROSS, OLYMPIC 400 METER CHAMPION: David Rudisha breaking a world record on this stage is just incredible. He just runs with so much poise and heart. And he inspires me to just run freely.


FOSTER: You are watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.

Now that was American 400 meter champion Sanya Richards-Ross telling us her favorite moment of London 2012, the moment Kenya's David Rudisha won gold in a record breaking time of 1:40.91, smashing his own mark by a tenth of a second. And he's just one of the 30 word records broken at the London games.

Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time. The American swimmer won a record 19th Olympic medal and then added to that ending the games with 22 career medals.

And who could forget the incredible lightning bolt? Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt became the first mane in Olympic history to defend his double sprint golds. He took the 100 meters and the 200 meters gold in consecutive games.

Now after 17 days of excitement, fun and sporting excellence the post Olympic blues are beginning to kick in. For many of us here at CNN covering the games was a true privilege and a truly unforgettable experience. And here's a look behind the scenes of some of team CNN's most memorable moments.



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: The London 2012 games came to a triumphant close here at the athletics stadium, but the first great Olympic moments were here at the Aquatic Center.


RYAN LOCHTE, US SWIMMER: I am coming home to a country with five Olympic medals, which is unbelievable.

MICHAEL PHELPS, US SWIMMER: I'm done. I don't if people really believe me, but I am actually finished.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: An Olympics always feels more successful if the host nation does well. And Team GB did do well. It was their best games in more than a century.

No call from the prime minister?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not had a call from the prime minister, no, no, not yet.

THOMAS: President Obama calls American athletes all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he? I'll have to have a word then.


DAVIES: Right. Well, while most of the sporting action is taking place at the Olympic venues and the Olympic stadium, most of our action is taking place in this building here. This is CNN's Olympic bureau. Let's go and have a look.

This is where it all happens. It's 8:01. We've got makeup in here. We've got the edit room and the office in here. Come this way. Here's all the team -- the production team working away. And somebody out there I think you might recognize.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: ...forward, scored in the first minute.

CHRIS ELDERGILL, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Away from the bright lights, I wanted to show you inside the engine room. Perhaps not as glamorous as next door, but Flo, Harry, and Zain have met the charge over some of our biggest story lines and wealth of guests, including our very own Piers Morgan.


ELDERGILL: OK, well it is a little glamorous.


HARRY REEKIE, CNN PRODUCER: OK, so you've seen the anchors, you've seen the producers, but there's three other people that we can't forget of this and that's our three Australian cameramen.


LINFORD CHRISTIE, CNN OLYMPIC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, what are my highlight to the games? There are several. There's Allyson Felix in the 200 meters. Both men and women 4x100 meters relay. There's David Rudisha in the 800 and of course who can forget the legend that is Usain Bolt? Three golds, including one world record. But that's my opinion. What do you think guys?

THOMAS: Well, my favorite Olympic memory wasn't even a gold medal moment, it was taking advantage of having Olympics on home soil for maybe the only time in our lifetimes and getting to take my baby daughter to see all the excitement of the road race cycling, because it was practically on our doorstep.

DAVIES: Yeah, that was fantastic. I have to say for me it was a Team GB moment. And I was lucky enough to get into this stadium just as the bell went for the final lap of Mo Ferah. He claimed his 10,000 meter title. And it was just the most fantastic atmosphere I've ever been at a live sporting event. It was great.

ANDERSON: And possibly that you'll ever feel.

And the privilege, I think, for me was seeing the crowing of arguably the greatest Olympian ever. Michael Phelps swimming into the history book here in London at the 2012 games.

We've enjoyed it, all of us, from the team here in London. Good-bye.


FOSTER: That really does feel like the day after the party, but great times here in London in the last couple of weeks.

Still to come on Connect the World, intellectual leader of the Republican Party or a friend of the rich who will change Medicare for the worst? We'll discuss the pros and cons of Mitt Romney's new running mate.

But up next, some Egyptians are celebrating whilst others are deeply concerned. We'll see what a huge shift in political power could mean for the country at the heart of the Arab Spring.


FOSTER: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Max Foster and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.

Syrian rebels say they shot down a military jet northeast of Damascus and captured the pilot. This video purports to show the shooting. The government blames the crash on a technical failure.

In Norway, an independent commission's report concludes that police should have done more to stop last summer's massacre. Seventy-seven people died in the rampage, and the panel says police should have moved faster to stop the suspect Anders Breivik.

The United States is urging Egypt's government and military to work together after a major shift in the balance of power. President Mohamed Morsi reclaimed some key powers from the military yesterday. He also forced several top generals into retirement.

Police in the US state of Texas say two people have been killed by a gunman, including an officer who responded to the incident. The suspected gunman was also killed. The shooting took place near the campus of Texas A&M University.

Let's return now to Egypt. Ending decades of de facto military rule was a key demand of last year's revolution, but now that Mohamed Morsi has reclaimed the powers for the civilian presidency, some worry what the Islamist leader plans to do next.

Let's bring in Ian Lee, live in Cairo. Thank you very much for joining us, Ian. Just take us through what's changed in terms of leadership over there.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, Egypt is really in a state of shock right now. For the last two months, we saw a power struggle between Mohamed Morsi and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, each one vying for power.

Well, yesterday, we saw a decisive move by Mohamed Morsi, basically eliminating his rivals within the military, but while keeping the institution intact as a whole, sort of trimming off the top. His message to the military was really, father knows best.


MOHAMED MORSI, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translator): With thanks, appreciation, and in gratitude to my sons, my brothers. To the respected men in the armed forces. I only wanted the best for them. I wanted for them to focus on a mission that his wholly for all of us, which is protecting the homeland.


LEE: Well, now, Mohamed Morsi holds all the cards. He has all the political power. Other than having presidential power, he now has legislative power. He also has power -- a lot of influence over the writing of the country's new constitution.

As one prominent political figure in Egypt, Mohamed ElBaradei, says, he has super powers. Well, with super power comes super responsibility. If anything happens now, whether good or bad, it's on his head. He can no longer hide behind -- saying that this was the military's fault. Everything now comes to him.

And there are some who are worried about this, worrying that this power grab could be the Muslim Brotherhood trying to ensure that their in the politics -- or in the political system for the years to come. So, this has some worrying.

But also, all that aside, this is a -- this was a very historical day yesterday for Egypt, because this was the first time in the country's history that you had a civilian elected leader that didn't have to answer to the military, Max.

FOSTER: Ian Lee, thank you very much, indeed, for that. Well, let's take a closer look at the balance of power, then, in Egypt. The last time we showed you this graphic, Egypt's -- aren't very clever, isn't it?

Egypt's highest court had upheld a decision by military rulers disbanding parliament, and those same rulers claimed sweeping powers, clearly giving them the edge over Mohamed Morsi, president.

But now, it's a very different story. You're actually seeing the balance tipping. Mr. Morsi's new moves to weaken the military's grip have tipped the scales in his direction, and that means for now, at least, the power in Egypt rests with an elected civilian president for the first time ever, actually.

But we still don't know how other key players will eventually factor into the equation, including the parliament and the Supreme Court.

Fawaz Gerges is here with us to help sort all of this out. He's director of the Middle East Centre of the London School of Economics, of course. Fawaz, first of all, in terms of what's happened most recently, it does seem like the military has accepted what's been imposed on them. Is that the right reading?

FAWAZ GERGES, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST CENTRE, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: You're absolutely correct, Max. I think we might be witnessing an historical shift in the balance of power between the civilian leadership -- the presidency -- and the military. Since the early 1950s, the military ruled Egypt single-handedly, decimated civilian institutions. The military was it, the driver.

Today, in the last 48 hours, we have seen the beginning of a shift that is the emasculation and weakening of the military as an authority within the political system in Egypt. This does not mean that the presidency is it, because you have separation of powers. You will have separation of power.

You will have the parliament, as you said, the Supreme Court, and still the military. The military is an important institution. But the presidency now, Max, is the only elected, legitimate institution in Egypt because the parliament, which had been elected, was suspended a few months ago.

For now, I think the presidency has gained the upper hand, but we should be cautious and say for now, because more to come in the next few weeks and next few months.

FOSTER: And in terms of democracy, many people are cheering about what's happened here, power being taken away from the military. But once the president -- anyone gets power, they don't really want to let it go, do they? And he's already put his people in charge in the military. What's going to happen, then, at the court and in the parliament?

GERGES: Well, you know, Max, he did not put his own people. The people who have replaced -- Tantawi and the other general are basically part and parcel of the military institution.

FOSTER: They've been promoted.

GERGES: Absolutely. So, we're not talking about new blood, we're not talking about radical elements. And still, you're going to have a new parliament, and the military still exists. Checks and balances.

And more importantly, Max, you have a rejuvenated Egyptian society. What we have seen in Egypt in the last two years is the birth of civil society, public opinion. And Mohamed Morsi knows very well, he cannot overstep his authority, his legitimate authority.

And I would argue, most Egyptians welcome the move by Morsi to emasculate the military. And why? Because the military, since the ouster of Mubarak, has been trying very hard to maintain its privileges, to escape supervision by the civilian leadership.

And let's be frank about it. Tantawi and Sami Anan, his chief of staff, were remnants of the old regime. And that's why you have many Egyptians cheering for what Morsi did in the last 48 hours.

FOSTER: He does need to -- in terms of the parliament and the Supreme Court, though, he does need to make them strong institutions, though, doesn't he? So they can be the checks on him, which the public will want.

GERGES: Well, this is the big question. The question, really, at the end of the day, Max: what kind of system will emerge out of the rubble of authoritarianism in Egypt? Will it be a presidential system? A parliamentary system?

My take is that Egypt will have a strong presidency. It has always had a strong presidency. But our hope, you'll have checks and balances. You'll have strong parliament, you'll have a strong Supreme Court, and also you'll have the military in terms of checks and balances.

This is the ideal situation. My take on it, for the next few years you're going to have a very strong president. But at the end of the day, now he is a strong president. Egyptians will hold him responsible.

FOSTER: You want a flatter balance, though, right?

GERGES: Absolutely.

FOSTER: You want it to come up a bit, but still --

GERGES: And that's what really ideal democratic system is. You want to be -- checks and balances. That's why you call them checks and balances as opposed to a system dominated by one branch of government, either the presidency or the military.

FOSTER: We'll be following to see how progress goes. Fawaz, as ever, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, a bold choice. But is it the right one? We'll discuss Mitt Romney's decision to pick Paul Ryan as his running mate for the presidential election.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to cut Medicare?

RYAN: I think it's become --


RYAN: Like I --


RYAN: Like I said, she must not be from Iowa. So --


FOSTER: The man hoping to be the next vice president gets a less than welcome reception in Iowa. A heckler was led offstage as Paul Ryan, Republican Mitt Romney's running mate for the presidential election, attempts to carry on.

Now, on the heckling shows -- Paul Ryan shows strong reactions. Well, the Wisconsin congressman is seen as a bold choice for Romney. He's adored by the Tea Party Republicans with his tough stance on federal spending.

But others believe the candidate is a risky choice for what's known as the Grand Old Party. Chief US Correspondent John King has more.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF US CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ryan is the GOP's numbers guy, the House Budget Committee chairman who isn't afraid to say, in his view, the only way back to fiscal sanity is to dramatically shrink government and fundamentally change Medicare.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), US VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you don't address these issues now, they're going to steamroll us as a country. And the issue is, the more you delay fixing these problems, the much uglier the solutions are going to have to be.

KING: In short, he's a lightning rod.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: From a Democratic point of view, they are salivating, because they really want to run on Medicare and the Medicare reforms in the Ryan plan. So, that's why it's risky, but there's no question that it enlivens the base and the conservative intellectuals, they all love him.

KING: There are upsides. It will energize a GOP base sometimes suspicious of Romney. Ryan is an energetic debater and campaigner, and at just 42, he would add youthful vigor to the ticket. Close friends like former House colleague Mark Green say Ryan will help Romney in Wisconsin and across the midwest.

MARK GREEN (R), FORMER US REPRESENTATIVE, WISCONSIN: I think he does get Wisconsin. But I think more importantly, he gets that sort of blue collar conservatism that I think's the heart of the Republican party.

KING: But tapping Ryan is a big gamble because of the House GOP budget that bears his name. Up until now, Romney has done everything to make this campaign a referendum on the incumbent.

ROMNEY: The president's policies are not creating jobs.

KING: But by adding Ryan to the ticket, there's no escaping this.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it must be taken off the table.

KING: Other potential downsides: Ryan has never run statewide. He has no foreign policy experience, and some will question whether a 42-year- old House member is ready to be commander-in-chief.

GERGEN: One of the stars of the Republican future over the next to 20 years. Whether he's ready at this moment, only the campaign trail could tell. And he's going to get -- I will tell you, he's going to take a real beating.


FOSTER: As John King reported, Paul Ryan wants to radically change Medicare. It's an issue which looks set to define the election for both parties and puts Medicare back in the spotlight for US voters.

Medicare is the federal health insurance program started by Congress in 1965, and it provides health care benefits for millions of Americans, most of them 65 and older. Last year, Medicare covered more than 48 million people in the US at a cost of more than $549 billion.

But with a growing number of seniors and rising health care costs, government experts estimate that Medicare could run out of money, perhaps as soon as 2024. Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided on how to fix Medicare, and it's a key issue in states with large numbers of older voters who use Medicare, like Florida.

So, will Paul Ryan radically boost Republican support, or are his views on Medicare ultimately a gift for the Democrats? With me to discuss this and other issues surrounding Paul Ryan is Liz Chadderdon. She's a Democratic strategist and president of the Chadderdon Group. And Rich Galen, a Republican strategist and former press secretary to Newt Gingrich.

Thank you both very much for joining us. First of all, Rich, if I could ask you what you think this vice presidential candidate has offered to Romney? He's got very strong views. So, do his views become Romney's views?

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, no. He doesn't have to -- the president doesn't have to adopt his vice presidential candidate's views. Four years ago, Obama ran very strongly on his opposition to the Iraq War. He chose Joe Biden, who had voted for the Iraq War, and nobody suggested that somehow Obama needed to change his views on that. So that's not the case.

The issue here is clearly what -- your view of the future of these vast entitlement programs. The Republican view typically is that they're unsustainable in their current form, that some adjustments have to be made, and both sides -- both sides, depends on who is in charge -- both sides have always used scare tactics to scare older people.

FOSTER: Liz, has Ryan's appointment made it easier for the Democrats, do you think, to debate on Medicare and win that debate?

LIZ CHADDERDON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, what's really interesting is, it is a little bit of a bold choice to go with Ryan. Some people saw it coming, most people didn't. But as everyone has discussed, it absolutely puts the Ryan budget first and foremost.

And the big highlight in the Ryan budget is redoing Medicare as we know it. It will not look the same way it does today if Paul Ryan has his way. And that's a very easy thing for us as Democrats to say to senior citizens who depend on Medicare.

If you like the system the way it is, if you see the doctor you want to see, if you like the way it's working, Paul Ryan is going to change all of that. It may not be there for you tomorrow. And all of a sudden, lots of states are back in play that might not have been in play before.

Big important piece of information is that senior citizens were the only crucial voting block not to go for Barack Obama in 2008. They were going to be a heavy lift for him in 2012. Now, they are right back in play, and that could be a big coup for the Obama campaign.

FOSTER: Rich, in terms of the debate around --


GALEN: Yes, but Liz -- Liz -- wait a minute, hold a second, Max.


GALEN: Liz, I'm 65 years old. I am on Medicare. I understand this. I am not frightened by this. And you did put it correctly, because you're really smart, and I hate that about you, you're really smart.

But you said it right. It will change Medicare. It won't destroy Medicare. Much as voucher systems for schools didn't destroy education, it just altered it and, by the way, for the better.

FOSTER: In terms of the Republican debate around Medicare, Rich --



FOSTER: -- I just want to ask you, the argument seems to be that it's going to help economic growth. Your strategy will help economic growth, and Medicare's tied into that. How is that argument made? Because it seems quite spurious. But economic growth is the key thing, isn't it?

GALEN: Well, economic growth is where we are. If -- I tweeted the other day that rather than chanting "USA! USA!" people at Republican rallies should chant "8.3! 8.3!" Which is the unemployment rate in the United States which, for the United States, is very high.

The -- it's not -- the Medicare discussion is a separate discussion from the jobs discussion. But it does tie in down the road, because at some point, you have to free up some of the revenues of the federal government to be able to do other things.

And as Congressman Ryan has described for the last year and a half, left to its own devices, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will suck up every dime of -- not Social Security, but the federal debt will suck up every dime of federal revenues, and there won't be any money for anything.

FOSTER: Liz, in terms of Paul Ryan entering the scene, he is youthful, he's very energetic, he's got very clear views. He does seem to offer some sort of hope to people who may be disillusioned with politics right now, exactly what Obama did last time around. How concerned are you about that?

CHADDERDON: Not concerned at all. Paul Ryan is no Barack Obama. Yes, he's young, but he doesn't have the oratory gifts, he doesn't have the ability to raise people up.

And what I will also say, going back to Rich's earlier point, is that people fear change. Whether or not changes in Medicare are the right thing to do, people 65 and older right now who are comfortable with their Medicare are not interested in seeing any changes.

And what's more important than any of this --


GALEN: But it doesn't affect them, though --

CHADDERDON: -- is that the Republicans and Paul Ryan -- wait, hang on. The Republicans and Paul Ryan want to dismantle Medicare but still give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. That's what doesn't make sense to American voters.

It's what really is going to play in our favor, in the president's favor in November, particularly in states like Florida and Ohio. If the president wins both those states, it's game over.


GALEN: Well, the -- Liz realized her mistake, so now she's being tougher on -- now we're going to dismantle Medicare --


GALEN: -- as opposed to adjust it. The --


GALEN: The -- but the reality is, again, I am 65 years old. It doesn't affect me. It doesn't affect anybody who's 55 years old or older.

And even at that -- and we'll get into this as we go through the next two and a half months -- even at that, Medicare recipients have the option to either use what we kind of refer to shorthand as vouchers or stay on the current fee-for-service program.

It's up to the individual, and I think that's the part -- that's the difference between Republicans and Democrats. We have the confidence that individuals, once they have this explained, will be able to make the right choice for them and their families.

FOSTER: Rich Galen, Liz Chadderdon, we thank you very much for joining us on the program. We'll speak to you again before the election, of course. Thank you both.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, we'll be heading to the Olympic Park for the last time to take a look at some of our favorite moments from London 2012.


FOSTER: As we say farewell to London's Olympic Games, all eyes are on the next of the world's Olympic hosts. In four years' time, sports' finest athletes will be heading to the not-so-shabby shores of Rio de Janeiro. There'll be sun and sand and samba dancing with a little bit of sport thrown in, too.

If the Brazilian fans in London are anything to go by, Rio 2016 promises to be a truly wild party. CNN's own Olympic star joins us now, Alex Thomas. He's live from the London Olympic Park. And we're going to be focusing, of course, on Rio for the next few years, but before we go, we need to know what your favorite moments were, Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, seeing those sunny pictures from Rio just underlines how different the mood is here at London's Olympic Park.

Eerily quiet compared to this time 24 hours ago when we were listening to a noisy closing ceremony in the stadium behind me as London waved farewell to the whole world and all those terrific athletes who've enjoyed their performances over the last two and a half weeks, particularly Usain Bolt in the track and field in the stadium behind me.

In the aquatic center a bit further on, Michael Phelps. Both those were athletes of the Beijing Games four years ago and replicated their record-breaking here. There was a fast track here, so we saw records and personal best performances. Countries sometimes getting medals for the first time in other of the 26 Olympic sports. There are so many achievements.

A terrific performance for the host nation, as well. And having an Olympic Games on our doorstep, Max, was something I particularly enjoyed.

Here I am, enjoying reporting for CNN on the whole world's achievements, yet I could take my one-year-old daughter down to the end of our road and see the road race cycling event, for example, along with all the hundreds of other families in that part of West London.

So, it was really a Games that was literally on our doorsteps, possibly for the last time in our lifetimes.

FOSTER: Newspapers making something of the fact that this was an Olympics for women in many ways, where they dominated in so many different areas.

THOMAS: Yes, I think that's fair, Max. And earlier in the show, we heard a sound bite from Sanya Richards-Ross, the American who became the 400 meters champion. Her big thing is that athletes should get paid to compete in the Olympics.

But she also said in our special "Aiming for the Gold" show last night that whereas women have enjoyed more equality in the Olympics, their pay is still below that of the men. But nonetheless, this was a bit of a breakthrough Games for women, particularly when it came to those countries from Islamic nations that have never sent female athletes before, but did here.

Like Wojdan Shaherkani from Saudi Arabia, who competed in the judo. Her dad said today that she's received some vile abuse from fellow Saudi Arabians back home, some calling her a prostitute. Despite that, she enjoyed her first judo experience and has promised to come back and win next time if she can. She got knocked out in the first round, here.

You also saw some images seconds ago of Sarah Attar, who competed on the track and field as well, again wearing sort of Islamic clothing. So, it's great to see that equality spreading to women athletes here at the Olympic Games.

That was an important feature of London, who won the bid to host the Games on promoting youth and promoting equality and the multicultural nature of London. It certainly proved that, as it also proved that it was capable of putting on a great Olympic Games.

FOSTER: Alex, thank you very much, and thanks for all your work over the last couple of weeks. It's been fantastic stuff to watch.

And in tonight's Parting Shots, we pay tribute to another Olympic legend, with is Twitter. The social network says there were more than 150 million tweets about the Olympics over the 17 days.

And the gold medal went to the Spice Girls. During Sunday's closing ceremony, they were the subject of 116,000 tweets per minute, more than any other topic.

The most talked about Olympic sport was football. Over the course of the Games it got over 5 million tweets.

And the most popular athletes on Twitter -- no surprise -- Usain Bolt. The biggest tweeting moment of the competition was when he won the men's 200 meter final, and that got over 80,000 tweets per minute.

Those statistics go to show why London 2012 was dubbed the first social media Games, a record of its own.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching. The world headlines are up next after a short break.