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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
The Risk of Deportation Relief; Changing Voting Rules; Romney's Plan
Aired August 15, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, the Obama administration opens its arms to thousands of people who came to this country illegally. And now it's being offered to them, you're protected from deportation. It's a good promise but could it actually do more harm than good.
Also breaking news, a last-minute change in one state, an important over controversial voter ID laws and Facebook could be losing a lot of fans tomorrow. And this could come at a really steep price too. Let's take you OUTFRONT.
Good evening everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, let's start this way, double-edged sword, for all those people coming out of the shadows, today people who came to this country illegally were lining up by the thousands and you can see the crowds for yourself. This is LA.
But it's a scene that was repeated in consulates and centers right across this country. These people came forward because they want passports and they want other records that are needed to apply for the president's policy that allows them to apply for a two-year deferral of deportation. The Pew Hispanic Center has estimated that 1.7 million immigrants may qualify for this. The requirements include this -- that they're under the age of 31 as of June 15th and they have to have $465, too, because that's what the application costs.
And if they're accepted, they now have a chance to work legally here in the United States. Oh it sounds great, doesn't it? But these young men and women are really taking a big leap of faith, too, because the order is not a law. It's an executive action or a policy. Have you heard of that?
The president put this in place and it can be reversed at any time. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman, Peter Boogaard (ph), tells OUTFRONT this, quote, "as with any policy, it is subject to change by a future administration." Did you hear there's an election coming in about 90 days or so? And we don't know what Mitt Romney would do with this provision should he be the one that wins the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive order. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So we don't know what that long-term solution is in terms of the actual specifics but we do know something. Romney's stance when it comes to Obama's larger vision for immigration and specifically the DREAM Act. That thing has been on hold for years now and it would allow immigrants to seek citizenship if they attended college or if they served in the U.S. military.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: And I've indicated I would veto the DREAM Act if provisions included in that act say that people who are here illegally, if they go to school here long enough, get a degree here, that they can become permanent residents, I think that's a mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Well it's certainly a potential risk for these young men and women standing in line today. They're handing over all their personal information to the government, information like your name, your address, your phone number, where you entered this country, information that in theory could be used against them at some point down the road.
According to the Department of Homeland Security quote, "The information may be shared -- shared -- with national security and law enforcement agencies including the Immigration of Customs Enforcement also known as ICE -- you might have heard it or seen that on the jacket -- also that information could go to Customs and Border Protection. That's also known as CBP and that information can be used for purposes other than removal" -- flash deportation.
So with all that, are these risks worth the benefits that are being promised by this new measure? OUTFRONT tonight Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and an undocumented worker. He publicly revealed his status in a "New York Times" magazine article. And while he doesn't look like he's too old, he is four months too old to apply for this deferred action.
And to his right David Leopold is also joining us. He's an immigration attorney and also former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. And he's been advising people on the risks of applying for deferred action, which is this policy today. David, let me begin with you. Risk, yes, but really what other option is there and is this risk really such a terrible risk to take?
DAVID LEOPOLD, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Well, you know, Ashleigh, for the average person who's undocumented, the benefits here far outweigh the risks. Look this is a process. As you pointed out, it's a temporary process. But it's going to allow promising youth, people who have gone to school, are going to school, people who have served in the Army, people who have abided by the law, done everything right and most of these people, most of these young people didn't come here on their own volition. They're here through no fault of their own and they're living in a terrible immigration limbo. So what President Obama has done is really created enforcement priorities and he has said, look, I am going to go after the hardened criminals. I'm going to go after the terrorists. And I am going to give a reprieve to promising students and veterans who have done the right thing, abided by the law. And now Congress, it's going to be up to Congress to fix the law. Congress has sat on its hands for years and needs to fix the law.
BANFIELD: You know I've been thinking this through all day today. And when I think of reprieve, I think that you don't have to look over your shoulder anymore. This is two years.
BANFIELD: Are these people registering for uncertain fate in two years?
LEOPOLD: Well, you know nothing in life is certain. And of course this is, as you pointed out at the top of the show, this is a process and a process that's temporary. And the president has said that really it's a stopgap measure. What it does and what hopefully will happen is that Congress will roll up its sleeves, get to work and fix not only the DREAM Act, pass the DREAM Act so that these young people can have some permanency -- and these are fantastic people.
I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with the leadership of United We Dream (ph) in Kentucky. These are some really outstanding kids. These are people that are going to really do our country proud. And now they have a chance to give back --
BANFIELD: And let's not forget they were kids. They were just that.
LEOPOLD: But Congress has got to change the law.
BANFIELD: They were kids when they came here. So and to that end, Jose, I know you're not a kid now but you were a kid then. And every time I see you on TV I keep wondering if you've had the knock at the door and every time you answer, not yet. But now you have this -- well you would have had this option, were you four months younger. Would you be taking it if you could?
JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, UNDOCUMENTED WORKER: Yes.
VARGAS: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I mean look like I'm actually in Chicago. And I was here today -- there were about 13,000 young people that lined up today here in Chicago to apply and to get information about this reprieve. And you're talking to people -- it was really interesting listening and watching people carrying their high school diplomas with them, carrying their school transcripts with them -- BANFIELD: Did they know all the facts though?
VARGAS: -- carrying any documentation that says -- yes, I mean everybody right now is trying to get the facts. Look the government just issued this online yesterday. Everybody's still trying to figure out what are the applications, what does it mean, the cost. How am I going to pay for that? You know for a lot of people, 400 or so dollars is a lot of money. Right, there's actually been a fund that just got set up to defray those costs. But absolutely I think you know look (INAUDIBLE) day we have a policy here that's going to be giving us more taxpayers, right? More people are going to be entering the workforce that's going to be providing tax revenue to our society. I think that's largely a very good thing.
BANFIELD: All right let me just replay --
LEOPOLD: I think that's a great point.
BANFIELD: Go ahead, David.
LEOPOLD: I was going to say Jose just made a great point. I mean most people don't realize, the Congressional Budget Office itself has found that you know giving DREAM Act eligible youth the chance to work is going to lower our deficit by I think it's $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. And you know if we pass immigration reform, we're looking at $1.7 trillion in gross domestic product over the next 10 years. There's really no economic argument against immigration reform. It makes sense for America. It makes sense for American workers. It's going to raise all of our wages.
BANFIELD: Well, it will be fascinating not only to see how this plays out with those who apply but also two years from now whether this is a living policy and it changes. But thank you to you both, Jose Antonio Vargas and David Leopold. Appreciate that very much.
And still ahead, just in, two decisions on voter laws that could really change this election. Yes, it's going to come down to Ohio like so many people say or is it?
And also Mitt Romney revealing new details of his plan to fix the economy -- do his numbers add up? And also a brother accuses a car insurance company of defending the man who killed his sister. But is he just going too far with that accusation?
BANFIELD: Our second story OUTFRONT, breaking news. After heavy criticism, Ohio's secretary of state has just ordered that all 88 counties in that state have to abide by the same early voting rules. And to understand why this is such a big ole deal, there's a controversy and the map will help to explain it. Before tonight's announcement these four counties had been denied extended hours for early voting.
They included the big cities of Cleveland, Akron, Toledo and Columbus. And they were all four cities that voted very heavily for Barack Obama back in 2008. Remember I said they didn't get the extended hours. But there were two counties that had been approved for the extended early voting four years ago. Both of them went heavily for John McCain. Are you getting the idea here? So was this a coincidence or was it something more sinister as the Democrats were definitely charging on this one?
I need some help. John Avlon, CNN contributor and senior political columnist "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast, as well as Reihan Salam, CNN contributor and co-author of "The Grand New Party" and Roland Martin, CNN contributor, all about to weigh in on this one. I wish I had more air time for this you three.
Roland, let me start with you because I know this is really near and dear to your heart. The -- this really just all happened in the last couple of hours, so we're putting a lot of it together and I have a quick quote that I want to read from the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted when he made this decree.
"Today I am leveling the playing field on voting days and hours during the absentee voting period in each of the 88 counties. All Ohio voters will have the same amount of time, 23 days or 230 hours, to vote in person prior to Election Day." Wow. I wasn't expecting this to happen so quickly. Were you expecting this to happen?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He had no choice --
BANFIELD: Why? Did he cave?
MARTIN: He had no choice because of the pressure that was being put on him and it was absolutely blatant how they were trying to do it and what happened was on the local boards, you typically had two Democrats and two Republicans, so it was two and two. So when they tied it then went to the secretary of state to break the tie. He wouldn't do it and so he -- there was going to be a massive rally tomorrow in Hamilton County to pressure him. He had to do it. But here's the deal, Ashleigh. This is only one of the issues. You still have that law that only allows military folks to vote early -- three days before the election, which is also shameless, which should be overturned as well that the Obama campaign has taken to federal court.
BANFIELD: OK, so I'm going to ask you about that in a moment. And when I come back to this topic, I'm going to brand it as souls to the polls, Sunday services. I'll ask you about that in a moment. But not before I just deal with this map still. Reihan Salam, join me on this one. Tell me where -- talk me off the ledge. Let's start that way. Get me off the ledge. Why on earth would this have been different anyway? Why wouldn't it be uniformed in a state? Why wouldn't every state be I would assume federally mandated to have uniform laws? It just seems crazy.
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well partly it could be because of different counties have different fiscal positions and that could have been why he weighed differently on different counties. But the important thing to understand about Jon Husted, the secretary of state of Ohio is that he is one of the leading Republicans who is critical of photo voter ID laws. That is he's been arguing with a lot of conservatives in Ohio who actually want there to be photo voter ID and he says they know we don't need it. It's too strenuous. It's something that's going to make it too difficult for a lot of folks to vote. So the idea that he's someone who is really actively interested in limiting people's access it's a little -- you know it doesn't sound quite right to me given that he's taken this position that is heavily criticized by a lot of conservatives and also is shared by many of the activists who want to expand access.
BANFIELD: You make an amazing point with that. I did not know that he took that point --
SALAM: And it's actually been tough for him among Republicans --
BANFIELD: -- on that voter ID law.
SALAM: -- many who have been very critical.
BANFIELD: And you know something? What I found shocking about what you just said is that it seems to be real juxtaposed and John maybe you can weigh in on this, with his position as the arbiter of the even vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
BANFIELD: Because when those county election boards come along and they say hey we're split evenly on whether we can have extended voting hours, guess who gets to make the final cast vote? He does.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right and his statement I think really gave the game away. He said today I'm leveling the playing field. That's to the extent that it's an admission that it was an unlevel playing field before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
AVLON: And when you look at that map, it is hard to say that there wasn't politics behind some of these county disparities. Reihan makes a great point about each county taking (INAUDIBLE) local economics into account, but the bottom line is we all have -- should have a common interest in lowering barriers to vote and encouraging people to vote. And this sort of thing, whether he was forced into it, he did the right thing and you know I'll take that. He leveled the playing field. Good for him. Too bad it took this controversy.
BANFIELD: OK. Cue the organ music, souls to the polls, shall we. I'm coming right back to you, Roland for this because the other issue is this lawsuit that currently exists, same state. We're not leaving Ohio right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
BANFIELD: The Obama administration is suing because that state has ended early voting, the Friday before the election, so you know obviously a lot of people know that Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the election have been very important for a lot of people. They work. They need the weekend to vote. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BANFIELD: And church services for African-Americans have souls to the polls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.
BANFIELD: Explain it and tell me why Sunday is so critical.
MARTIN: Because it's the Sunday right before the election, so you're telling people, let's get out to the polls. In 2008, an estimated 93,000 Ohioans voted in that period. Last year, the legislature changed the law and this onerous voter suppression bill changed the law. More than 300,000 folks in Ohio signed signatures saying no, it can't go into effect. We'll put it on the ballot.
The legislature knew it was going to get thrown out so they said we'll throw out the whole law -- the whole bill except this provision. What they said now is if you're in the military or a veteran, you're the only people to vote. So they're trying to make it sound as if the Obama campaign doesn't want people in the military to vote early. The Obama folks are saying no, everyone should vote. No Republican, no Democrat should defend this law because everybody should have the ability to vote early, not just if you're in the military.
BANFIELD: OK, so let me ask you this.
MARTIN: It was done precisely to target those people.
BANFIELD: OK, so early is how many days because --
MARTIN: Three days.
BANFIELD: Well hold on, there's 35 days that I'm counting here.
MARTIN: Well actually the early voting --
BANFIELD: Hey, hold on.
MARTIN: -- starts October 2nd, October 2nd.
BANFIELD: Let me actually quote the secretary of state again Mr. Husted. He said "for the vast majority of voters, the early in-person voting period begins 35 days before the day --
BANFIELD: -- of an election and ends at 6:00 p.m. the Friday before the election." Why do we need those three days if we have 35 days?
MARTIN: Why not? Why not --
BANFIELD: It's expensive.
(CROSSTALK) MARTIN: Ninety-three thousand -- here's the deal. They allowed it in 2008. Why all of a sudden the change? If 93,000 people voted on those three days last time why all of a sudden change it this time? What was the rationale?
BANFIELD: I hear you.
BANFIELD: It sounds fishy. It's a bit stinky because it does certainly sound coincidental with those very important days, particularly the Sunday (INAUDIBLE). Real quickly, John Avlon, another big development -- I can't walk away from this segment before we talk Pennsylvania.
AVLON: Pennsylvania, big deal. We've been following the story OUTFRONT. A judge today, Judge Simpson (ph) in Pennsylvania declared their controversial voter ID law -- he upheld it, pushing back the challenge to the bill. Now this is significant for a couple of reasons. One of the things we learned in this court case is that the state's attorney general and governor said that there were no known cases of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania, which made a lot of folks say well what was the need for the law? In addition, you had the Republican head of the state legislature say on camera, much to his --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
AVLON: -- I think ultimate displeasure that thanks to voter ID law Pennsylvania will vote for Governor Romney, so the argument that this was about principle -- cutting down on fraud was challenged pretty convincingly in this court case. Nonetheless, the judge said that there was no evidence that it would result in an immediate or -- an indefinite disenfranchisement. That law is upheld as of today.
SALAM: That's not quite what the gentlemen said, you'll recall.
AVLON: Oh that is.
SALAM: He said it would let him -- it would let him win. That is it would allow him to win.
AVLON: That would have yes --
SALAM: It would not determine the outcome of the election --
AVLON: No, no, no because of voter ID law, Pennsylvania would vote for --
SALAM: I think the important thing to know about Judge Robert Simpson (ph) and his findings is that he determined after listening to expert witnesses that it would not be an undue burden to get access to absentee ballots and he said that for those voters --
BANFIELD: But the expert --
SALAM: -- for whom there would be an undue burden --
BANFIELD: Reihan --
SALAM: -- that it might be permissible to not --
BANFIELD: One of those expert witnesses --
SALAM: -- have the ID requirement for those voters --
BANFIELD: -- was the Pennsylvania secretary of state took the stand and said I don't know of any evidence of any kind of malfeasance.
AVLON: This is the document that actually they testified that there are no known cases of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania. And moreover the secretary of state did testify that at least three quarters of a million Pennsylvanians currently don't have photo ID, so it is relevant.
BANFIELD: OK and you know it's not the last state to have this challenge too, so we're going to have this conversation again. Thank you both and thank you Roland and still OUTFRONT Facebook un-liked. There are a number of reasons why the site could be on the verge of losing a lot of fans and a lot of money, too.
Plus, a scandal in the military, a four-star general under investigation and accused of -- are you ready -- spending money on quote "inappropriate activities" -- more in a moment.
BANFIELD: Investors are going to be keeping a pretty close eye on Facebook shares tomorrow because it is the end of the company's first lock-up period. If you don't know what lock-ups are, they're pretty common when a company goes public. They require early shareholders and the people on the inside to hold on to some of their stake for a particular period of time. And that prevents the market from being flooded with the company's stock. So tomorrow, if those people choose, certain Facebook shareholders are going to be able to sell these formerly locked-up shares.
And if every single personnel person eligible to do so does so, and they can sell all the shares they can, it means an additional 271 million shares of Facebook will be available to you for purchase. It is highly unlikely that 271 million shares are going to hit the market all at once. But we certainly could see a bigger than usual move in the stock market on this. And here's the thing. This is only the first lock-up expiration. There are many more.
And the number tonight is 1.9 billion. That is the total number of Facebook shares, including those freed up tomorrow, that could potentially hit the market over the next nine months. And the chance that all of these shares are actually going to hit the market, slim to none. However, Facebook investors really wanting to keep an eye on these potential moves.
Coming up next, Mitt Romney revealing new details of his plan to fix the economy, but does it add up? And a woman killed in a car accident, did her own insurance company assist the man who ran the red light and smashed into her?
BANFIELD: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines.
Let's start with this. The mayor of Dallas has declared a state of emergency due to the West Nile virus there. The declaration clears the way for aerial spraying to kill infected mosquitoes. The United States is seeing a spike in West Nile cases this year, the biggest since 2004.
According to the CDC, there have been at least 693 West Nile cases and there have also been 26 deaths. Texas has accounted for nearly half of the cases reported this year.
We told you about the X51A Waverider last night. That's a hypersonic aircraft designed to fly at six times the speed of sound, if your stomach can take it. It turns out it failed its first test flight, sorry to say.
In a statement, the Air Force said the unmanned Waverider successfully launched from the B-22 bomber that it was attached to and its rocket booster fired as planned, but -- and there's a big but -- there was a problem with one of the device's control fins which keeps the cruiser from maintaining control, and that caused the flight to end just seconds after it began.
I'd like to get to London in an hour. So I hope they figure this one out.
Also, an OUTFRONT update for you, on a story we've been closely following, the LIBOR rate scandal. I bet you didn't think that you're going to know this much about the LIBOR rate, but you will. A source with knowledge of the investigation is telling CNN, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, he subpoenaed seven banks as part of the inquiry into the manipulation of the key interest rate that's known as LIBOR.
It affects, for instance, the way the interest rate on your credit card or adjustable mortgage rates fluctuate. So it's a big, big deal here. And among the banks receiving subpoenas, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and HSBC.
The 911 tapes from the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, have been released. And the audio is nothing short of chilling. In one of the tapes, you can actually hear what it sounds like when the gunshots in the background are going off.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Yes, Milwaukee sheriff. Hello, can I help you?
CALLER: I'm calling from 7512 South Howell Avenue. There is shooting.
911 OPERATOR: OK.
CALLER: There is shooting in this.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Did anybody get hit, sir? Did anybody get hit? Ma'am, sir?
CALLER: There is shooting.
911 OPERATOR: Sir?
CALLER: There is shooting.
911 OPERATOR: Sir, I understand that. Did anybody get hit? Hello?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BANFIELD: We also learned today that one of the shooting victims has now been released from the hospital. There are two others that remain hospitalized. One of them is in critical condition. And another who's a police officer is in satisfactory condition.
So, to the number now: it has been 377 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, the data out today shows that higher food prices were offset by lower energy costs, keeping inflation flat. In July, the expectation was for prices to rise slightly.
Let's go to our third story OUTFRONT tonight. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney mapping out his plan on how he's going to deal with tax cuts and create more jobs, and then the bigger economic picture for the next four years, if he's elected. That's a pretty tall order.
But managing editor of "Fortune" magazine Andy Serwer interviewed Mr. Romney by telephone on Monday August 6th. The interview was released online today. It will hit the stand in "Fortune" magazine tomorrow.
Andy is here. And John Avlon is also OUTFRONT with us tonight.
So, Andy, let me start with you -- wow, you do the interview on the 6th. He knows his pick for V.P. on the 1st. He's had five days to mull over, gee, we're not so close on all our numbers and now when you look back at it, are you thinking, man, this guy's good?
ANDREW SERWER, MANAGING EDITOR, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: Yes, he's good. I mean, there's obviously a lot of differences between what Mitt Romney has been espousing and what he was talking to me about and what Paul Ryan, his V.P. choice, has been espousing.
It's going to be interesting to see these guys get their ducks in a row. Paul Ryan very famous for a plan to slash Medicare. And Mitt Romney has not been on the same page there.
There's a lot of other differences. You know, Mitt Romney has come out and said that he supports the Simpson/Bowles fiscal responsibility plan. Paul Ryan was against that. It just goes on and on. At some point, they're going to have to line things up.
BANFIELD: And that's Medicare. And I know people have been prior to press him on the campaign stump to find out where they agree and what they don't agree. And that's not always happening.
But let's talk infrastructure, because there's some discrepancies here as well. For instance, let's try this one. Quote, "I believe infrastructure is going to see very substantial investments over the coming decade. I'm talking about highways, as well as rail, air and communications infrastructure."
This is Mitt Romney, OK?
So now let's look at how Paul Ryan talks about infrastructure. He wants a cut from $52.5 billion a year invested in highways, to $37.5 billion a year. And, of course, there are some statistics that we need to add to that. This is from the Highway Trust Fund and it's, of course, also depending on gas revenue.
So there are some wiggling you could do in here. But that's a lot of money and a lot of discrepancy between those two positions. Are they reconciling? Did they reconcile it to you? Did you get a feel from Mitt Romney one way or the other?
SERWER: It's certainly not reconciled right now. Actually, there's no question about that. I mean, if Mitt Romney is for small government, Paul Ryan is for smaller government.
And, you know, to the extent that Mitt Romney would say he's going to invest in these public works and transportation sectors like that, he would say it would have offset by other cuts as well. Paul Ryan will just say, more than likely, my interpretation of that is -- no, we're not going to put federal funding there, the private sector can do this on its own, can grow on its own.
BANFIELD: Right. All right. Well, let's talk a little bit about job because he suggests that in four years, in this interview, coming out, he suggests that in four years, he will have been able to create 12 million jobs. That's sweet music to the people out there who are looking for a president who's going to give them a job, and there are so many who don't have one.
But Erin Burnett break the numbers down a while back. And she found that if you add 250,000 jobs per month every month for the next four years, you would get to that number. And that is more than double the rate that we're adding jobs right now.
Is it feasibly possible and where does he get this idea that he could do 12 million jobs?
SERWER: Well, it's very aggressive obviously. And, you know, politicians are always going to be looking out in the future and suggesting they're going to be incredibly success. If he creates 10 million jobs, that would be a huge win over that time period.
BANFIELD: And gas prices to be $2 a gallon.
SERWER: Yes. And there's way that is he gets to Christmas by suggesting if he does this with Obamacare, then the health care system will create thousands and millions and millions of jobs.
You know, to be fair to Mitt Romney, the other side makes promises about job creation, too. So this is sort of one of the oldest political games in the book. But it's a big number.
BANFIELD: Well, since you said oldest, I'm going to quote something from 1939, because since 1939, there's only 27 percent of monthly jobs reports have actually had numbers grow of 250,000-plus. So, that does sound --
SERWER: Well, he has to hit it out of the park every single month.
BANFIELD: Way to go, go for it, I say. Hallelujah.
All right. John Avlon, let's talk about loopholes because that's always fun political talk and they don't seem to necessarily be on the same page when it comes to either closing or leaving loopholes alone. I think some people say, closing loopholes amount to tax increase.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. And this has been one of the big debates going on. You see a fundamental contradiction between the Romney plan as he set it out so far and the Ryan plan, far more specific.
Here's the crux of the debate, about the politics and the policy of it. Romney saying he would embrace something like Simpson/Bowles. Paul Ryan served on the Simpson/Bowles commission and voted against its recommendations.
One of the key questions about if you're going to lower rates but keep the revenues basically in place is what loopholes they're going to close.
AVLON: And the devils always in the details. So, where the Simpson/Bowles commission says we should close loopholes, like mortgage interest, like deduction, Mitt Romney said, that's off base. And here right when Erin interviewed Paul Ryan in the halls of Congress earlier, he spoke about it as well. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, HOST, ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT: It sounds to me like you're opening to increasing revenue by doubling revenue by trillion dollars by getting rid of loopholes?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Well, and lowering tax rates. Don't forget the second part which is, broaden the tax base, like you just described, but lower the tax rates.
Here's the deal. Like I said, most of our businesses, we don't want to charge them with a 45 percent tax rate when their competitors, like, say, in Canada, are having a 15 percent tax rate or in China a 25 percent tax rate. We want to lower these tax rates to get more economic growth. So we think we can get at least as much revenue to the federal government through this kind of a system. But we think we'll get more at the end of the day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: So Erin's pressing Paul Ryan there for specifics. What loopholes would you close?
This is not a small deal. If you promise to cut rates across the board, you have to figure out how to make up some of that revenue.
Here's where press for specifics, both folks actually run the other direction, unlike Bowles/Simpson, which took the political risk of laying out specifics and that's why some politicians ran the other way, including Paul Ryan.
Now, Mitt Romney actually talked about mortgage interest. But in his interview with Andy, he was really specific saying, we're not going to let those get out of control. So, here, you see the devil's in the details. If you have these massive tax cuts, you got to tell people what loopholes you're going to close and that could be politically costly.
BANFIELD: Devils on the details and we can't even nail these details on the stump because they walk right by us ands give us a one- line, working on it, way right to the bumper sticker.
Good reading. Thanks for coming in.
SERWER: Thanks a lot, Ashleigh. Good to see you.
BANFIELD: Great to see you.
And, John Avlon, thank you, too.
Andy Serwer and John Avlon joining us live.
Let's go to our fourth story tonight. It is developing, a four- star general under investigation and in some serious danger of being demoted and not just any demotion -- a dig demotion.
General William "Kip" Ward is commander of the U.S. Operations in Africa and he is accused of spending Pentagon money on inappropriate travel expenses. And among other things, according to several administration officials directly familiar with the case.
OUTFRONT tonight, Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joining me live.
So, this is a big deal, a four-star general. You would think there would be a serious microscope, especially since he sort of answers directly to the SecDef on this.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ashleigh, let's walk through of what we do know here.
Now, Kip Ward actually formally retired last year as the head of Africa Command, went through the whole ceremony, was wished the best but never really left. He was served (ph) off to a staff job because this investigation into his expenses was under way. What we now know is the inspector general has presented the findings to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
The allegations are that General Ward engaged in extravagant and inappropriate travel expenses, allegations of inappropriate use of his military staff and misuse of government funds.
How much money is involved, we don't really know. One official telling us it's not an insignificant amount. Somewhere in the thousands by all accounts but we really don't know how much.
The findings are with Defense Secretary Panetta. And Panetta has to make a decision, does he bust this general back down to a three star, the last rank in which he is reported to have served honorably and have him retire at that lower rank.
It has happened before that people have been busted down certainly. But this one is pretty high profile and is getting a lot of attention.
BANFIELD: Barbara, some might say -- what do you mean busted down to the three star, what about busted and booted completely and how about charged? Is that a possibility?
STARR: Well, that's a good point. We don't know at this point whether he possibly could face charges. That is always possible. That is much more likely to be up to the Army, if there are the charges are referred from this report from the inspector general. But the findings right now do rest with Panetta. They will go through some legal processes and decide what their next step will be.
BANFIELD: That's just fascinating stuff. I always love these stories when it comes to the three and four-star generals because they seem untouchable, little Jack Nicholson there.
All right. Thank you very much, Barbara Starr. Good to see you.
Still OUTFRONT, his sister was killed and he won a court case. So why does he feel like her insurance company betrayed her?
And later on, he was a rock legend for decades. But he never saw a dime and here's the weirdest part -- he had no idea he was hugely famous. I'll explain it tonight. He's OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Now to the company synonymous with these ads featuring Flo, a company under fire tonight, Progressive Insurance is finding itself smack dab in the middle of a social media firestorm that has some people questioning the company's motives.
Our Alina Cho is OUTFRONT with the story tonight.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the headline that went viral. "My sister paid Progressive Insurance to defend her killer in court.'
MATT FISHER, KATIE FISHER'S BROTHER: My Tumblr is not an especially large soapbox. So, I -- you know, I was speaking out of a sense of obligation to my sister and my parents.
CHO: Matt Fisher posted the blog on Monday. But the story begins in June of 2010, when Matt's sister, Katie, was killed in a car crash in Baltimore, Maryland. The SUV that hit her had run a red light. The 24-year-old was killed instantly.
FISHER: The day she died, she had just run a 10-mile road race.
CHO: Her brother says Katie had a $100,000 insurance policy with Progressive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Flobot, great job.
CHO: The family says Katie's policy also stated Progressive would make up the difference if she was killed by an underinsured driver, like the one that hit her. So the Fisher family was paid $25,000 and thought Progressive would pay the rest, $75,000. They were wrong.
FISHER: Progressive took the position that my sister was at fault in the accident that killed her, which under Maryland law would free them of the obligation to pay.
CHO (on camera): Out of a sense of honor and because Katie Fisher had student loans that still had to be paid, the family decided to go after the money. But in Maryland, it's against the law to sue an insurance company that refuses payment. So the family had to sue the man who killed Katie, establish negligence and then armed with that decision, forced Progressive to pay.
(voice-over): But in court --
FISHER: Progressive, my sister's insurer, sat across the room. Their lawyer argued for the defendant in the case, argued that he was not negligent in my sister's death.
CHO (voice-over): So outraged he wrote on his blog, "If you are insured by Progressive and they owe you money, they will defend your killer in court in order not to pay you for your policy. And when the chips are down, your money will have bought you nothing, but a kick in the face."
After a whirlwind of criticism on Facebook and Twitter, Progressive responded with the same tweet over and over, saying in part, "We properly handled the claim within our contractual obligations," and that in the eyes of some made matters worse.
ERIC DEZENHALL, CRISIS MANAGEMENT EXPERT: When you respond to a very emotional issue using a mechanical technology like Twitter, it doesn't work. It's very difficult to tweet compassion.
CHO: The tweet has since been taken down and progressive released a statement saying it did not serve as the attorney for the defendant in the case. He was defended by his insurance company, Nationwide.
"There was a question as to who was at fault and a jury decided in the Fisher family's favor just last week. We respect the verdict and now can continue to work with the Fisher family to reach a resolution."
But Matt Fisher says his family has not yet seen a check.
(on camera): What's your message to Progressive if they're watching?
FISHER: When there's an adjuster or one that sits in the room and says this policy should be paid, should we pay or drag this out? Add this -- add this to the calculus.
CHO (voice-over): Alina Cho, CNN, New York.
BANFIELD: Still OUTFRONT, he was a rock star for years but he had no idea about it. He's OUTFRONT next.
BANFIELD: Our fifth story OUTFRONT tonight: imagine if Elvis Presley lived his entire life in another country and because of that, he had absolutely no idea that his music was wildly popular here and made him the king of rock 'n' roll. Imagine that.
It's actually a story that happened, although it wasn't Elvis, it was this guy, Sixto Rodriguez. He's a man from Detroit and his music was a total flop in the United States but let me tell you, somehow it found one heck of a following in South Africa.
Poppy Harlow has the story OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thought it was like the inner city poet. He was this wandering spirit around the city.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sixto Rodriguez, a Dylan-esque Detroit native who tried his hand at rock history in the '70s.
MIKE THEODORE, CO-PRODUCER, "COLD FACT" BY RODRIGUEZ: When we walked in and heard the songs he was singing and what he was writing, we had to record him. WE had to make a deal. He's great. We said this is it.
HARLOW: But it wasn't. Rodriguez's albums flopped in the U.S. Somehow, though, his first album "Cold Fact" made it halfway around the world and became a massive hit.
MALIK BENDJELLOUL, DIRECTOR, "SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN": In South Africa, he was in a pantheon of rock god.
STEPHEN SEFERMAN, OWNER, MABU VINYL: To us, it was one of the most famous records of all time.
HARLOW: The soundtrack of the anti-apartheid movement, fueling a revolution.
HARLOW: But at home in Detroit, Rodriguez had no idea. He had given up his music career. That was four decades ago.
(on camera): You used to play right across the street there, right?
SIXTO RODRIGUEZ, MUSICIAN: I played at a lot of places in Detroit.
HARLOW (voice-over): Unaware of his fame abroad, and getting no royalties, Rodriguez lived on little, raising his daughters doing demolition work.
SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: I'm not a stranger to hard work.
HARLOW: He made failed bids for mayor, city council and state rep. (on camera): You call yourself a musical political.
SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: Musical political, yes. I don't se how anybody can't be and it's not political.
HARLOW (voice-over): Then at 57, he was rediscovered by a South African music journalist and a record star owner who found clues in his lyrics.
SEFERMAN: We found him. We found him.
HARLOW: They brought Rodriguez to South Africa and he played to thousands of adoring fans.
SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: Thanks for keeping me alive.
SANDRA RODRIGUEZ, SIXTO RODRIGUEZ'S DAUGHTER: He's on stage and the crowd is just going wild and they're singing and they're crying.
HARLOW (on camera): It brings you to tears to see something like that happen to someone.
S. RODRIGUEZ: Yes.
SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: It was epic.
HARLOW: Do you not think that your story is exceptional beyond belief?
SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: It's pretty wild, the story, you know? I'm a lucky man to be so fortunate at this late date.
MALIK BENDJELLOUL: This is a true Cinderella story.
HARLOW (voice-over): Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul tells it in his documentary, "Searching for Sugar Man."
BENDJELLOUL: A man who lived his whole life in Detroit, as a construction worker, really hard manual labor, without knowing at the same time, he's more famous than Elvis Presley in another part of the world. I thought it was the most beautiful story I ever heard in my life.
HARLOW: A beautiful story but also a mystery. Where were all of the royalties?
BENDJELLOUL: I don't know. I don't know. I do think it's an important question because the reason why Rodriguez didn't know he was famous for 30 years was that he didn't get royalties.
HARLOW (on camera): Do you ever feel gypped?
SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: No, hate is too strong an emotion to waste on someone you don't like, you know?
HARLOW: Do you want the fame and the fortune? SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: Fame is fleeting.
HARLOW (voice-over): Now 70, Rodriguez may finally get his due.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Rodriguez.
HARLOW (on camera): Do you ever pinch yourself and ask is this real?
SIXTO RODRIGUEZ: Is it real? It certainly is a different life. You know, it's certainly not what it was.
HARLOW (voice-over): Poppy Harlow for OUTFRONT.
BANFIELD: That is just cool. There's no other way to say it. That's just wicked cool. It's important to note a story could not happen like this again, though, because it was in the '70s and there was no Internet. Rodriguez didn't even have a phone, and South Africa was isolated because of apartheid.
Thanks for watching, everybody.
"ANDERSON 360" starts now.