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Director Tony Scott Commits Suicide; Outrage Over "Legitimate Rape" Claim; Scandal In The Sea Of Galilee; Democrats Unveil More DNC Speakers; West Nile Virus Cases Spreading; Christian Girl Charged With Blasphemy; Relentless Violence Taints Muslim Holiday; Eddie Murray Settles Insider Trading Case; Lawyers Fight Deceptive Food Labels; Romney And Ryan Reunite On Campaign Trail
Aired August 20, 2012 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Time to check on sports. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "It ain't over 'til it's over." That's how Jimmie Johnson must have felt in Michigan. With only six laps left in the race, Johnson's number 48 car blew his engine. That allowed Greg Biffle to take the checkered flag and Nascar's points lead away from Jimmie Johnson.
More details on Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera's failed drug test. According to a report in the "New York Daily News" his associate set up a fake web site featuring a fictitious supplement. Apparently, the idea was to blame the fabricated product for Cabrera's elevated testosterone levels. It didn't work, though. The scam was found out.
If you're a savvy fan, well aware of baseball history, so when Adam Dunn's 400th career homerun come sailing over your head, what do you do, you go get it, right? You also get arrested.
That's what happened to this Royals fan who the dove into the fountain at Royal Stadium to retrieve the ball. That would be a no, no. The royals have a policy against entering the fountain.
And to add insult to injury, the fan was also forced to give up the ball. It's a look at sports.
The next hour of NEWSROOM starts right now.
Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM. At any moment, we'll hear from Mitt Romney and he will have his wingman by his side. VP running mate, Paul Ryan, will join him for the first joint appearance in a week. They'll team up on the thorny issue of Medicare reforms.
Your employer has some explaining to do when it comes to those fees you're being charge as part of your 401(k) plan. The Labor Department is now requiring your employer to disclose that information. Expect a statement in the mail by the end of this month.
A group of attorneys who became the tobacco industry's worst nightmare are turning their focus to their next target. They are teaming up to hold the food industries accountable for what they say are deceptive levels that could be harming your health.
Also this hour, two Russian cosmonauts are embarking on a space walk outside the International Space Station. They are setting aside six and a half hours to installed new debris shields and perform routine maintenance.
Good morning. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Carol Costello. "Top Gun" and Tom Cruise leaps to mind, but the man behind the camera, Director Tony Scott, has committed suicide. It happened in Los Angeles last night. Scott was just 68. He is the brother of fellow Director Ridley Scott.
"Top Gun" was Scott's biggest film success, but his death leaves behind a real Hollywood mystery. Casey Wian is live in Los Angeles. I know that a note was left behind. Do we know what it said?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't at this point, Carol. The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office is telling CNN that Tony Scott's death is being investigated as a likely suicide.
At 12:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, the LAPD received a 911 call from a passerby who said they witnessed a man jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.
And that bridge is about 18 stories above the water at the Port of Los Angeles, where Scott's body was recovered by Los Angeles Port police later in the afternoon. Now the coroner has declined to comment on reports that a suicide note was found in Scott's office.
Now Tony Scott is best known for directing the 1986 film "Top Gun," which of course, made a huge star out of Tom Cruise. A movie about a hotshot young fighter pilot became the biggest hit of that year.
Scott was at work on a remake of the film at the time of his death along with a series of other projects. There you can see a list of some Tony Scott's most popular movies including the second film he made with Tom Cruise, "Days of Thunder" in 1990.
And directed Will Smith in the action film "Enemy of the State" in 1998, another major box office hit and he worked repeatedly with Denzel Washington, most recently on the runaway train movie, "Unstoppable."
They also made "Crimson Tide" and the remake of "Taking Pelham 123" together. But his brother, Ridley, Tony Scott, formed Scot-Free Productions, which is responsible for the current TV series "The Good Wife." He is survived by his wife and twin sons -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Have we heard anything at all from the Scott family?
WIAN: Well, the family has issued a very short statement confirming Tony Scott's death and they are, of course, asking for privacy at this time, Carol. That's all we have heard.
COSTELLO: All right, Casey Wian, live in Los Angeles.
This morning, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are reuniting in New Hampshire, but their plans to focus on Medicare may take a hit. That's because of a statement from a fellow Republican, it stirred so much outrage.
Even the GOP's presidential ticket has had to weigh in and step way back from it. The well known conservative Congressman Todd Akin who's hoping to win a big Missouri Senate seat from the Democrats was asked about his staunch opposition to abortion. Here's his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about in the case of rape, should it be legal or not?
REPRESENTATIVE TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: Well, you know, people always want to make that as one of those things, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question?
It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: National political correspondent Jim Acosta is in New Hampshire with the Romney I team. Jim, the Democrats have already pounced linking Ryan to Akin. Is the campaign responding?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Carol, the campaign is responding and not only the campaign, but also so are many Republicans in the House and the Senate, putting out statements basically condemning what Todd Akin had to say in that TV interview.
Kelley Ayotte, the New Hampshire senator is just getting up on stage now. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be here shortly, but the Romney campaign did put out a statement last night, Carol.
We can put it up on screen if you have it, it reads, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement and a Romney/Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.
That is interesting because there is sort of a distinction there for Paul Ryan. That is not his position when it comes to abortion. He opposes abortion in cases of rape, but that's his personal opinion.
But because he's on the Romney/Ryan ticket, his concerns, his opinions are second now to the GOP nominee or the unofficial GOP nominee, and that is the statement from the campaign.
Now, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be out here in a few moments from now, Carol. I had a chance to talk just briefly with a senior Romney adviser earlier this morning.
You know, Carol, it was thought that these two would not reunite before the GOP convention, but this adviser says because of the chemistry that they feel these two share and because of the energy level.
And the crowds they have been seeing since Romney and Ryan joined forces. They wanted to get them back together on the campaign trail. That's why they are out here today -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Going back to the controversial comment made by Congressman Akin, that the Romney camp responded so quickly, and I mean in an instant they responded, what does that say? Does that say they're really worried? Because I know there's quite a gender gap in place.
ACOSTA: Well, you know, it is a big concern for the Romney campaign at multiple levels. Obviously, there's a gender gap that the Romney campaign is up against. They know the president enjoys a pretty wide margin of support when it comes to women voters and comments like this are not going to help.
Yes, it is -- it is statement made by a Republican congressman who is running for a Senate race out in Missouri. People may ask what does that have to do with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? But it does, as a mentioned in that statement coming from the Romney campaign.
It raised the distinction that is there between Paul Ryan's views on abortion and Mitt Romney's views on abortion and to the extent that those differences are magnified by this controversy, it's not good for the Romney campaign.
Also, we should know Scott Brown, who is running for the Senate once again for re-election down in this neighboring state of Massachusetts, he put out a very tough tweet just moments ago, sharply criticizing what Todd Akin had to say.
All of this comes, Carol -- this is sort of a drama that is going to be unfolding over the next 24 hours because Todd Akin has until late tomorrow to pull out of the that Senate race and give the GOP there in Missouri a chance to field another candidate.
And so this is really going to be sort of almost a political death watch for that congressman out there to see whether or not he jumps out of that race.
COSTELLO: I already know some conservative Republicans in Missouri have tweeted, you know, it's time to get out of the race, Congressman Akin, sorry.
But as far as we know, he's staying in, as you said, we'll see in the next 24 hours. Jim Acosta, we'll get back to you when -- go ahead, Jim.
ACOSTA: You bet.
Scandal in the Holy Sea of Galilee. According to "Politico," the FBI is probing a late night swim that involved drinking and skinny dipping by Republican members of Congress.
The report says one of them, Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas dipped into the sea without a stitch on. He was nude. This all happened during a fact-finding congressional trip to Israel.
Yoder wasn't the only member of the American delegation to jump into the sea, although the others were at least partially clothed.
Also involve Congressman Steve Sutherland of Florida and his daughter, Congressman Tom Reed from New York, Congressman Ben Quayle of Arizona, Jeff Denham of California, and Michael Grimm of New York.
Earlier I asked "Politico's" Jake Sherman who broke the story about why the FBI was looking into this incident?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE SHERMAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": They were asking folks whether anything inappropriate happened in the water. Obviously, when a member of Congress, Mr. Yoder of Kansas, is nude in a foreign body of water, that would raise some eyebrow in some quarters, one would think.
It's not a terribly usual thing to hear about in D.C. that an elected official while overseas especially in Israel, a holy site to many religions, would jump into the water naked. That's not totally something that have seen in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The Sea of Galilee is an important religious site for Christians. It's the place where the bible says Jesus walked on water and fed 5,000 people.
The Democratic National Convention gets under way two weeks from today. We have some of the new names added to the speakers' list. The party faithful will hear from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
You might remember he served as President Obama's chief of staff for the first two years of his presidency. Also taking the podium, U.S. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, he was the Democrats' presidential nominee eight years ago.
And the Democrats are hoping to give a booth to former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. He chaired the Democratic National Committee and he is now running for U.S. Senate. A 76-year-old man in suburban Chicago has become the latest victim of the nation's worst West Nile outbreak in eight years. Nearly 700 cases have been reported in over 32 states at least 26 people over those 32 states have died. Texas has been the state hardest hit.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Dallas covering this story. They sprayed again in Dallas, right?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in Dallas has been described as the epicenter of this entire outbreak across the country. We have seen 10 people killed because of this West Nile virus. That has led city officials to take on very drastic measures.
They have spent the last few days carrying out an aerial spraying assault to kill off millions of mosquitoes that are infected here in the Dallas County area. There have been four planes that went up last night.
The mayor of Dallas now says that a fifth plane will be going up and they hope to have covered the entire Dallas County area twice here by this time tomorrow. All of that has been going on, Carol.
It's been a controversial move, some people questioning the effectiveness of it, the timing of it, whether or not it will do any good at this point, since so many people have been infected.
But the mayor of Dallas is standing behind the plan to continue the aerial spraying, saying that this county desperately needs it to fight this epidemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MIKE RAWLINGS, DALLAS: We listened to the EPA. The EPA is a very conservative organization. The CDC says it's the right way to go. Our state officials do it. We have got to make sure we get every crack and crevice, so we can't just go in every neighborhood to do a hand to hand combat. I think this is the most efficient process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: So they will have a fifth plane up tonight that will continue. The weather has been dicey the last few days and some people have questioned whether with the rains that have happened over the last few days.
If that's washed away any of spraying that has done. Some people are saying that these chemicals are quickly absorbed by the plants and everything on the ground. There's a round of testing that will be done throughout today to test whether or not just how effective this have been. The mayor kind of hinted that those results are coming back looking positive, but we'll get better details on that throughout the day today -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Ed Lavandera reporting live for us this morning. Deceptive food labels that could be harmful to your health are being called out by the same group of attorneys that took on big tobacco. Now they are focussed on some big names like Conagra and Pepsi.
COSTELLO: It is 16 minutes past the hour. Checking our top stories now.
In Pakistan, an 11-year-old Christian girl now under arrest on blasphemy charges. The girl who lives in Islamabad is accused of burning pages from the Koran. Police say the girl told them she didn't realize the paper she'd gathered to light a fire to cook contained text from the Muslim holy book. Local media reports say the girl has Down syndrome.
In Syria, intense fighting rages on even as Muslims mark the second day of a major holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The opposition says at least 47 people were killed today including a mother and two children.
Baseball hall of famer Eddie Murray will pay more than $350,000 to settle insider trading charges. Investigators say Murray benefited from an inside tip from a former teammate in 2009. Under the settlement, Murray pays back profits and interests, but admits no wrongdoing.
OK, take a look at this. This is a rare side for just the second time in some 130 years. "Old Ironsides" sailed under her own power. The "USS Constitution" was commemorating the 200th anniversary of the victory over a British Brigate in the war of 1812. Ship doubles at the museum anchored in the Boston Harbor, but she went out for a swim, awesome.
A group of lawyers who targeted big tobacco makers a decade ago have a new mission, holding the food industry accountable. The tobacco suits turned out to be a big payday for some of those lawyers, but it also helped exposed chemicals that were harmful or even deadly for tobacco users.
Now these same guys and girl are now making sure the food you put in your body is the same food manufacturers label on their packaging. A recent class action lawsuit against Chobani Yogurt, the Greek yogurt.
It claims their labels contain false and deceptive nutritional values. Consumers claim the ingredient section fails to list sugar. They are accused of renaming ingredients. You know the drill.
CNN legal contributor Paul Callan joins me now. Welcome, Paul.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Nice to be with you. I hope you had your bowl of Froot Loops to get ready for this segment. They have been sued, too, you know.
COSTELLO: A lot, what, Pam cooking spray, Hunts canned tomatoes, Pepsico products including those sugary sodas, right?
CALLAN: You name it.
COSTELLO: You're pretty cynical about this though, Paul. Why?
CALLAN: Well, I am cynical. Because, well, first of all these class-action lawsuits, a lot of people think they exist for the purpose of raising money for lawyers, because the lawyers collect enormous fees in these cases, but there is a social purpose to a class-action lawsuit.
The idea is that you go out and buy your box of Froot Loops, and maybe pay extra, because you believe it's all natural. It's got fruit in it. Actually one lawsuit said people were buying Froot Loops because they thought it had fruit in it, real fruit in it.
That was thrown out of the court. But theoretically, you're paying a little bit more maybe for the cereal because it's all natural and you're not going to be able to bring a lawsuit yourself to get redress.
But if they team you up with thousands or millions of other consumers with the same problem, the court will look at that. In the end, maybe you get a half box of cereal as a consumer.
But the lawyers get millions in fees. So there's a real incentive for the lawyers to find targets and bring these lawsuits.
COSTELLO: You know, John Grisham wrote a whole book about that and it's on the bestseller list right now. It's called "The Litigator." So I'm sure a lot of people have read that book. So it's sort of like that, right?
COSTELLO: But still even though these lawyers makes gobs and gobs of money, there is some good that can come out of it, you know, i.e. when they sued big tobacco.
CALLAN: Well, absolutely. That's the flip side of it. I think that's why the courts recognize the need for class-action lawsuits. You know, the tobacco litigation, classic example, they struggled for years, these lawyers, to bring these suits and to convince the courts that it was legitimate for somebody to sue, even though they're voluntarily smoking the cigarette.
Now in the end, what happened, of course, lawyers made a lot of money, but we now see very aggressive educational programs. We see labelling on cigarettes and hopefully fewer people are smoking cigarettes and having their health affected by it. So there is a good side to it as well.
COSTELLO: So let's say these class-action lawsuits are successful and the case against Pam Cooking spray, which apparently has been some sort of accelerant in it that's not really listed on the back of the can, right? CALLAN: Yes. Yes.
COSTELLO: So let's say that suit is successful. Does that mean the price of Pam will go up? Will it be taken off the market? I mean, what's the goal here?
CALLAN: Well, yes, the price of Pam could very well go up. You know, just that you've open by talking about the yogurt suit involving Chobani yogurt. I found that to be a very interesting one.
Because they say on their label that they have cane evaporated sugar in the product, which comes down healthy, you know. It's sugarcane that's evaporated. Well, you know, the FDA and these regulatory agencies have all said sugar is sugar.
It doesn't matter whether it's cane evaporated or anything else. It's the same thing so you shouldn't be suggesting that cane evaporated sugar is better than other kinds of sugar.
If they are forced to change their labelling or they get hit by a big verdict, the price of the product is going to go up.
COSTELLO: But doesn't it make you wonder when it comes down to it why our government isn't requiring Chobani to say sugar instead of that other thing?
CALLAN: Well, I think that it's very, very tough for the FDA to regulate in this area. I'll give you another example. The FDA has an informal policy on the use of word "natural." Now you would think that's pretty easy define, right?
Haagen-Dazs ice cream got sued for saying it was a natural ice cream because they use some kind of preservative I think in the ice cream. The FDA came out with this definition that "natural" means that nothing synthetic or artificial goes into the food.
But what is synthetic or artificial, I mean, there are a lot of things that we use to preserve food that we accept in everyday life that maybe people would consider to be natural.
So it's hard to define these terms. So the government just sort of formally regulates it and then leaves it to the lawyers to bring lawsuits when these things are violated.
COSTELLO: OK, and that's what's happening now. Paul Callan, thanks so much.
CALLAN: Always nice being with you.
COSTELLO: It's nice to have you here.
Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan in New Hampshire. After a break, we'll take you back there to see if they're talking yet.
COSTELLO: Take a look at this picture. This is out of Manchester, New Hampshire. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan expected to be behind the podium shortly to talk to all these supporters in the crowd.
They're expected to talk about Medicare, but we suspect that their conversation might widen to include abortion rights. Paul Steinhauser is in Washington. And of course, this all stands from what Congressman Todd Akin said.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: That's something they appropriate didn't talk about today because they want this event about to be about Medicare and about the economy. And about welfare, they have a new welfare ad attacking President Obama today.
Carol, that's what the Romney/Ryan campaign wants to talk about, but of course, Congressman Akin, the Senate candidate in Missouri, Republican candidate changed all that, and, you know, it's something that the Romney and Ryan campaign will have to deal with.
You're looking at beautiful pictures here. I got to say in some colleges right outside in Manchester, New Hampshire. Carol, this is where we are CNN debate back -- do you remember back in June of 2011?
This is where we had it, yes. This is a stop for most presidential candidates both in the primaries and in the general election -- Carol.
COSTELLO: So when Paul Ryan/Mitt Romney, you know, get up before the podium and speak to the crowd, they probably will talk about Medicare and then stuff like welfare, right?
STEINHAUSER: Yes, you will hear that theme. Medicare has become a huge topic on the campaign trail in the last nine days since Romney publicly announced Ryan, the House Budget chairman as his running mate.
Mostly because of Ryan's budget plan, which has the controversial steps to alter Medicare and that's why both sides have been piling on each other.
Some facts, some not so factual attacking each other's positions. Medicare has really blossomed grown to be an issue on the campaign. I was covering a Ryan event this weekend, Carol, down in Florida.
Of course, there are a lot of seniors down there. I spoke to them, of course, Medicare a crucial issue for them, but both sides say, you know what, neither plan will affect anybody over 55 -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Yes, but are people generally receptive of Medicare reform?
STEINHAUSER: You know, a lot of people are very upset about Medicare reform because people over 55, of course, either those on Medicare or those about to join the system, want to make sure they continue to have their Medicare throughout their retirement years.
So there is a lot of -- a lot of -- both campaigns, Carol, this is why both campaigns are really emphasizing this. Both sides see an advantage here. The Obama campaign sees a political advantage in painting Romney and Ryan as people who will weaken Medicare and privatize Medicare.
The Ryan/Romney campaign pushing back saying, guess what, President Obama is taking that Medicare money and putting it to the national health care law, which Americans don't find nearly as popular as Medicare.
So both sides see an advantage here and there's a lot of seniors in some crucial battleground ground states like Florida, like in Ohio even New Hampshire -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Got you. Well, Jim Acosta is somewhere in that. We're going to search for him. We're going to take a break. When we find him, we'll come back. Stick around.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Oh it is a beautiful day in Manchester, New Hampshire. Take a look at this live pictures. That's St. Anselm College right out of Manchester, all of those people awaiting Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to go behind the podium and speak to the crowd. They want to hear about Medicare reform and how President Obama allegedly wants to gut welfare I'm sure.
Let's bring in Paul Steinhauser and yes, we did find Jim Acosta. He is wandering somewhere out there on the crowd. Hi, Jim. The crowd seems pretty excited.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they are revving up the music here in New Hampshire, Carol. I can just barely hear what you're saying.
But yes Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney will be out here shortly. And I -- I just have to tell you just a few moments ago they were playing a video off on these big screens behind me, playing some of the Paul Ryan's comments out on the campaign trail with some images, some patriotic images laid over them. It almost looked like a preview of what we might see at the Republican convention.
It certainly worked on this crowd; they are revved up here in New Hampshire. But as you've been talking about all morning, Carol, this morning has come with some distractions for the Romney-Ryan campaign -- most notably those comments made by Congressman Todd Akin, a Republican out in Missouri who is running for that senate seat. His comments about abortion have really ignited a firestorm of controversy in Washington.
But Mitt Romney, I can tell you Carol, just made some comments to "The National Review" online earlier this morning, and those comments are now up on Twitter and across social media. He called those comments quote, "Inexcusable and frankly wrong."
So I think this is some evidence, Carol, that the -- the first comment, the first statement that the campaign put out, they may have felt was not sufficient, that they wanted to put out a more forceful statement from Mitt Romney and that's what they did earlier this morning -- Carol.
COSTELLO: I want to -- I want to play Congressman Akin's comments for our viewers in case they haven't heard them yet. But this is what Congressman Todd Akin told a local reporter yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?
REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: Well, you know people always want to try and make that as one of those things, how do you -- how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question?
It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, but let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Ok he's talking about abortion. He says a woman shouldn't be able to get an abortion in any case and he said it in a most controversial way.
And Paul Steinhauser, Paul Ryan co-sponsored a house resolution with Congressman Akin and in that resolution was the term "Forcible Rape". That caused a lot of controversy. That term was later taken out. Democrats are sure to bring that up, right?
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well Democrats in fact have been bringing it up. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was out with a statement last night, a very strong one tying Romney to Ryan.
The two men are a little different when it comes to abortion. As you mentioned, Paul Ryan believes the only exception on abortion should be when a mother's life is endangered and not for rape. You saw the Romney statement there that was put out last night by the campaign, which does allow for that exemption. I spoke to some Ryan/Romney campaign officials and they said listen, it's the number one on the ticket, not the number two who dictates this policy. But yes, you'll see Democrats continue to attack on this one. And you'll also see Republicans trying to push back and distance themselves from -- from Akin. You've seen it from Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan; you've now also seen it from some other lawmakers, Carol.
But what's the politics here? Listen, you look at almost any poll that indicates President Obama has an advantage among women voters when it comes, you know, to his battle against Mitt Romney and that is a problem for Romney and the Republicans. And we are less than a week now from the start of the convention.
COSTELLO: And Jim just to clarify -- we've lost Jim, so Paul maybe you can help me with this. Mitt Romney - his views on abortion have evolved, so that might make it difficult for women to determine exactly where Mitt Romney stands on this issue.
STEINHAUSER: And that was a problem for Mitt Romney in the primary -- his stance on abortion and some other social issues. His opponents during the primaries of course attacking and saying he flip- flopped on these issues, but it will also be interesting to see today Carol what some social conservative groups say about this. The social conservative groups who may not agree for that exemption on rape.
So there's a lot to talk about here and again all this is happening with the Republican convention one week away a convention where Republicans want to make the case to female voters -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Ok I think we found Jim again. Jim -- Jim Acosta, can you hear me? Or is the crowd to loud?
ACOSTA: Hi Carol, I think you're talking to me right now. Can you confirm that?
COSTELLO: Yes, I am talking to you Jim. I just wondered if you could hear me well enough?
ACOSTA: That's right, it is so loud here. It is so loud -- this may be the loudest and I know I've said that -- I probably said this in the last week or so but this maybe the loudest that we've heard on one of these Romney-Ryan events.
They want to get the energy going here. I talked to a senior Romney adviser earlier this morning Carol, who said they like this chemistry that exists between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. You know it wasn't really in the cards for these two guys to be out on the campaign trail together before the convention, at least that's what the campaign told us a week ago.
But they felt that looking at the crowds that they got together when they were out campaigning together in Virginia and North Carolina that they wanted to do this again. That's why they're out here in New Hampshire.
But Carol I have to tell you something very interesting just happened on these jumbo screens behind me when you were talking to Paul Steinhauser. I can't show it to you now, but they were playing what sounded like an extended speech from Mitt Romney and over that, they laid over images of you know patriotic images, images of Mitt Romney out on the campaign trail. It felt very much a sneak preview of the convention.
We'll have to talk to the campaign about that and confirm it, but it looked like something that they would be pumping out on the jumbotron down in Tampa a week from now. You can tell that the Romney campaign is getting its game face on, they are kind of getting into battle mode here with one week to go before the convention.
This Todd Akin controversy distraction set that aside for a moment. The campaign there definitely getting things revved up -- Carol.
COSTELLO: All right, Jim Acosta you stand by, Paul you too. We're going to take a break. We'll be right back.
COSTELLO: You're looking at a big campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire where Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will appear together on stage to address the crowd. Of course, the big distraction for them, Congressman Todd Akin from Missouri, and his comments on abortion and whether abortion rights should be put into play if a woman is raped. This is what Congressman Akin told a local reporter yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?
AKIN: Well you know, people always want to try and make that as one of those things, well, how do you -- how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question.
It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, but let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Congressman Akin is in a tight senate race with Democrat Clair McCaskill. He is just a little bit ahead of her percentagewise, but she is firing back today, as you might expect. Here is what she had to say on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I don't probably need to explain how -- how wrong his statement was. And by the way, he may be acting like he's backtracking, but he didn't say he was wrong. All he said was he now is acknowledging that someone can become pregnant when they have been raped. But what he said in his statement was that it was rare and that there was a -- something in the women's body that could shut down a pregnancy. Because if it was a legitimate rape, I mean, he hasn't said that that's a wrong statement. He hasn't apologized for that statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Ok. Let's head to Washington and check in with Paul Steinhauser. Tell us why this senate race in Missouri is so important for Republicans.
STEINHAUSER: Now this is one of the crucial races, Carol. This is one of the seats they think they can win back. They can take back, remember currently the Democrats control the Senate, 53 to 47 but they are defending 23 of the 33 seats up for grabs.
Now, you can see Mitt Romney Carol arriving at the event there. If you have Jim Acosta I'll gladly defer to him. But as I wait, they really think they can win back Missouri. There was just a primary there and Akin won that primary Carol, but he is the candidate the Democrats really think they can beat in November.
So they were very happy when Akin won the primary and they're probably even happier now that he is surrounded by this big controversy.
STEINHAUSER: The one question is, will Akin maybe now step down and have another Republican run in his place. Stay tuned Carol.
COSTELLO: Yes stay tuned. And stay tuned to see -- to see what if anything Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan will say about Akin's comments today in New Hampshire.
Let's head back to Jim Acosta in Manchester. Because as you said, Paul, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have entered the stage. Hey Jim Acosta.
ACOSTA: Hi Carol that's right. Yes we just saw Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. I think I can see them in there somewhere. I don't -- you've got to forgive me, it's a little difficult to see through the crowd here but they are heading up on the stage. We just saw their motorcade pull up.
And you know, Carol this is -- this is where the campaign has said they intended to hold this launch for the Romney-Ryan ticket, but because of various factors, they decided to go with that Virginia launch on Saturday morning.
And -- and so I think this is sort of where Mitt Romney feels at home here in New Hampshire, this is a state that he definitely wants to win. He knows he's not going to win Massachusetts.
New Hampshire is more of a traditional toss-up state. And they have a good chance of winning the state, quite frankly, especially with Paul Ryan on this ticket. He's a fiscal hawk, a deficit hawk. He's somebody the Republicans would like to put out there on budget issues and of course the Live Free or Die State, they're always conscious of taxation issues. So that's going to play well here in New Hampshire.
We've been talking about that controversy all morning with Todd Akin. I have to tell you, talking to folks, talking to various Republicans here, talking to people in the crowd, nobody's really talking about that controversy. So there is probably going to be some push-back I think by some of the Republican Party that this is becoming kind of a media fascination story.
No doubt about it, what Congressman Akin said was arguably probably one of the worst things you could possibly say as a public servant. But obviously very, very distracting to the Romney campaign. But we're not hearing that out here today. They're obviously really here for what Romney and Ryan here have to say in just a few moments from now.
And they're getting started now, so we'll toss it back to you.
COSTELLO: All right. Let's listen to Mitt Romney as he speaks from the middle of the crowd.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want you to know that I brought someone with me who I don't think you've met yet here in New Hampshire. This is going to be the next vice president of the United States, Paul Ryan.
PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, everybody. Great to be back at St. A's. Good to see you. Wow. Look at this.
Father, how are you? Good to see you. The great thing about a row of priests, you can say "Father, how are you?" And they all say "hi" back. It's great.
I was here with the Sununus a couple years ago, and I serve in congress with some very capable, conscientious legislators. Thank you for sending us Frank Ginta to congress. He's an awesome guy. What about Charlie Bass? That is a man who knows fiscal responsibility, who has fought with us, and your rock star, Senator Kelly Ayotte -- you are the best. Great to see you, Kelly.
You know, it's nice to see some family. My cousin Francie lives in Portsmouth. My cousin Mary lives in Boston, so it's great to see some family here today.
Friends, we've got a big decision to make. This is no ordinary time. It's no ordinary election. And the choice is basically this. We can stay on the same path we are on -- a nation in debt, a nation in doubt, a nation in decline. Or we can elect real leaders like Mitt Romney and get this country back on the right track.
The problem we've been having in Washington is that too many politicians like President Obama -- just wait, I'm about to make a point -- too many politicians like President Obama have been more worried about their next election than they've been worrying about the next generation. That's not leadership. That's politics.
We won't do that. We will lead. We want to earn your support. We want to deserve this victory, so that when we do this, we have the moral authority and the mandate to fix this country's problems to reacquaint ourselves with the American idea and get people back to work.
Now, let's be very clear and fair. The President inherited a difficult situation, no two ways about that. The problem is he made things worse. And that's why the President has run out of ideas. And so his campaign has now been relegated to waging a campaign based on frustration and anger. Dividing people, distracting people, to try and win an election by default.
Of all times, when we need leadership, it is now. It is such an amazing moment in history, because I have rarely seen a moment where the man and the moment meet so well like Mitt Romney does at this moment in our history.
When you think of the challenges we confront, you need a leader. When you look at this man and his life, the example, it spells leadership.
Remember the Olympics back in the late '90s? All those stories at Salt Lake about the wasteful spending and the bloated spending and the corruption? It sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it? Who did they call? They called this man, Mitt Romney. And he went to Salt Lake, dropped what he was doing, he saved the Olympics, and he made our country proud.
Look at what he's done in business. For me, I think it's a good thing that we have a leader who actually knows how to create jobs. His success in business is the American dream. It's the American success story. It's the thing we want to see happen to our own children. He took small businesses and grew them. He took struggling businesses and turned them around. An 80 percent success rate. That's astounding.
I am proud to stand next to a man who created jobs tens of thousands of which made more prosperity and more opportunity for working Americans. And I'm proud to stand with a man who from experience knows that if you have a small business, you did build that.
That's what drives our economy, that's what gives us prosperity. We should be proud of that. It's who we are.
When we see people work hard, take risks, achieve success; we take pride in that. We don't resent that. It's as if the President's speaking to the people like they're stuck in their current station in life and only the government's here to help them cope with it. Wrong.
We believe in prosperity and opportunity and upward mobility. Those are the things we want to see. Take a look at the record which is such a clear contrast between the record of Mitt Romney as a leader, as a governor of Massachusetts and President Obama.
Remember when the President said, when he came into office he would create jobs. Unemployment would never get above 8 percent. It's been above 8 percent for 42 months running. 23 million Americans -- back at you -- 23 million Americans are struggling to find work. Nearly one out of six Americans are in poverty today -- that's unacceptable.
Now, look at the record of this man, the credit rating was upgraded when he was governor of Massachusetts. The credit rating was downgraded under President Obama's failed leadership as president.
Unemployment went down -- unemployment went down in Massachusetts. And household income over the past four years, family income has dropped by more than $4,000 under President Obama's failed leadership. When this man was governor of Massachusetts family income went up by more than $5,000. Real results with real leadership.
Well he was governor of Massachusetts he worked with people across the aisle. Look, we all come from states where you have to work with the other party to get things done.
President Obama came in and said, "We're not red states. We're not blue states. We're just the United States. We're going to put aside childish things." This is the third president I have served with and I have never seen such bitter partisan rhetoric like the kind we have today.
When Mitt Romney was governor, he reached across the aisle. He got things done and he balanced the budget without raising taxes.
Now, we've had heard a little bit about Medicare lately from the President. We want this debate. We need this debate. And we are going to win this debate about Medicare.
You know like you, when I think about Medicare, it's not just a program with numbers and words, it's personal security that has been there for my family when we need it. I have my Mom Betty down with me in the Villages in Florida on Saturday. She's been on Medicare for over 10 years.
When my grandma moved in with my mom and me and we were her caregivers when she was suffering from Alzheimer's, Medicare was there when our family needed it then. It's there for my mom when she needs it now. And what President Obama will not tell you, is that his signature achievement Obamacare, raised $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare.
What's more, he pushed this new board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats that he's about to appoint who are required to cut Medicare every year in ways which will clearly lead to denied care for current seniors. His campaign calls this an achievement? Do you think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare and putting bureaucrats in charge of cutting it is an achievement?
I don't think so, either. Next time you get your paycheck, look at the line about payroll taxes. We pay our payroll taxes for two programs -- Social Security and Medicare. That's the law; that's how it's supposed to work. But now because of President Obama, it's being siphoned off to partially fund Obamacare as well.
That's not an achievement. That's a raid on Medicare. And Mitt Romney and I are going to stop that raid on Medicare. We're going to restore this program and we're going to get these bureaucrats out of the way standing between our senior citizens and their Medicare.
Medicare should not be a piggy bank for Obamacare. It should be a guaranteed promise that our seniors can count on. And in order to save this program for those who are already retired and people who are about to retire, you have to reform it for my generation because by the way, it won't be there for us when we retire.
The good news is there are bipartisan solutions to this problem. It originated in the Clinton commission in the late '90s. The bipartisan commission to save Medicare -- it has bipartisan support in Congress today. For younger American, when they become Medicare eligible, let them have a choice of guaranteed coverage options, including traditional Medicare, that they can select from. Just like I do as a member of Congress, just like Kelly and Charlie and all the rest of us, we choose.
I think the future to saving Medicare is to let 50 million seniors decide how they get their health care instead of relegating that decision to 15 unelected bureaucrats. That's the American way to save these programs so that we can guarantee the promise of Medicare for today's seniors.
I won't go into all the things that we're proposing to do to give jobs back, because I wanted to leave something for Mitt to talk about. The point is we're offering you solutions.
The President has a failed record. He clearly can't talk about that. He didn't change tune, he tacks far to the left but it's not just that that we have to talk about are solutions. How to get people back to work. How to have more jobs, higher take home pay. The Romney/Ryan plan for a stronger middle class is aimed at doing just that.
Now, it really comes down to this. Are we going to stick with the path we are on or are we going to get this economy growing again?
My dad said a lot of things that really stuck with me since I was a kid. He would always say, "Son, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution." He usually was saying that to me when I was part of the problem. Right, Francie? Today sadly President Obama is part of the problem and Mitt Romney is the solution. It's just that clear. That's what it is.
Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to get this back. We're going to turn this economy around. We're going to be truthful to our founding principles. We will not blame others, we will take responsibility. We will not duck the tough issues or kick the can down the road. We will get things done, and the way we're going to do this is we're going to elect leadership at the 11th hour. Cue the bells.
You know what? That reminds me of one of my favorite figures in history. I'm a big fan of Winston Churchill and I have a bust of Winston Churchill in my office.
(ENDED IN PROGRESS)