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THE SITUATION ROOM
Romney Makes Birth Certificate Joke; New Presidential Poll Numbers; Serious Accident Helped Cement Romney's Faith; Haiti Braces for Isaac; Book on bin Laden Raid Raises Security Issues; Lost Interview with MLK Found in Attic
Aired August 24, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Haiti, Cuba and the United States in the path of the storm as Isaac churns closer.
Also, a campaign joke or an unforced error? The uproar over Mitt Romney's birth certificate comment.
Plus, a Navy SEAL's controversial book and the strict warning from the head of U.S. special operations.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
It was one of the most contentious issues of the presidential campaign and now it's roaring back to life, Mitt Romney telling a crowd in his home state of Michigan, and I'm quoting now, "No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate," an apparent reference to the controversy over where President Obama was born, an issue settled months ago when the White House released the president's birth certificate.
CNN's national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is out on the camp trail with the very latest.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, just as Mitt Romney was about to reintroduce himself to voters, he made a birth certificate joke and the Obama campaign is not laughing.
(voice-over): Mitt Romney was on a roll, riding into Michigan on his campaign bus with his wife and running mate at his side. But moments later, the GOP contender took what appeared to be a sharp turn into birtherism, cracking what sounded like a joke at the president's expense.
M. ROMNEY: Now, I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital.
No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.
ACOSTA: The comment drew an instant rebuke from the Obama campaign. "Governor Romney's decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America."
M. ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you.
ACOSTA: The Romney campaign told CNN the candidate wasn't using prepared remarks and that it was just a reference to the candidate's Michigan roots, saying in a statement "The governor has always said and has repeatedly said he believes the president was born here in the United States."
But the line was a hit with some in the audience, who say they still have doubts about the president.
JENNY SIMONI, ROMNEY SUPPORTER: I personally loved the joke. I am one of those people, so I really believe that holding out on giving that birth certificate out publicly was the wrong thing to do.
ACOSTA: President Obama has joked about the subject himself and his campaign has made light of the conspiracy theories by putting Mr. Obama's birth certificates on mugs.
ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: Mitt and I grew up here. We fell in love here.
ACOSTA: But the comment quickly overshadowed the campaign's attempt to reintroduce Romney to voters just days before the convention. Ann Romney choked up as she talked about the couple's early days.
A. ROMNEY: It's amazing.
ACOSTA: And in a media blitz, they are getting personal. Romney admitted he needs to loosen up to "Parade" magazine, saying: "I'm an emotional person. There's a, I don't know, societal norm that if you're running for office, you can't be personal and perhaps I bow to that too much."
Polls show Romney still trails the president in likability but leads on the economy. To work on Romney's personal appeal, Ann Romney is slated as the featured speaker on the opening night at the convention. Tuesday brings a tribute to Ron Paul. Then, on Thursday, the convention will dive deep into Romney's leadership in the Mormon Church, a reversal for a campaign that has largely avoided talk about the candidate's faith.
(on camera): Romney and Ryan will have one more joint appearance in Ohio before the GOP Convention, and then Ryan will get a send-off in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, on Monday -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
And tonight, Mitt Romney is trying to play down the birth certificate remark as simply as joke. Listen to what he told CBS News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was great to be home, to be in a place where Ann and I had grown up and the crowd loved it and got a good laugh.
QUESTION: But this was a swipe at the president, and I wonder why you took it.
ROMNEY: No, no, not a swipe. I said throughout the campaign and before there's no question about where he was born.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The Obama campaign is trying to cash in though on the controversy, the campaign Web site calling it -- quote -- "a new low for Romney" and includes an appeal for donations.
The latest on Tropical Storm Isaac closing in on Haiti right now, threatening potentially deadly flooding and mudslides, and millions of Americans are also in the storm's predicted path as well. Tropical storm watches are now posted in Florida.
BLITZER: Let's get the latest from Tampa right now, where it's not just Isaac threatening the Republican Convention, but anarchists as well.
Our own Brian Todd is on the ground for us in Tampa.
Brian, what's the latest on that front?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A couple of different storms, including Isaac, could be converging on this place, Wolf. We will deal with the storm first.
As you just heard Chad talk about the models going all over the place, officials here know very well that this storm even if it tracks west could take a sudden turn toward this city. They also know that any residual effects of this storm could make things dicey for the thousands of visitors about to converge on this town.
TODD (voice-over): Rush hour buildup on I-275 outside of Tampa, plenty of volume. And this is a normal day. This city is about to take on 50,000 more people downtown, delegates to the Republican National Convention and others. If Isaac comes near Tampa, officials face a logistical migraine.
(on camera): How are you going to get the 50,000 out-of-towners out of here or to safety?
BOB BUCKHORN, MAYOR OF TAMPA, FLORIDA: Obviously, the buses would be available to move folks. The key is to get folks from the low lying areas to higher ground where it's safe. Part of that will depend on the track of the storm, which will dictate which bridges are used and people are moved out to the middle of the state.
TODD: Mayor Bob Buckhorn says sheltering in place could be an option but it depends where people are when the storm hits. Neither the mayor nor other local officials would give specifics of evacuation plans. One official said that's due to security concerns but they said they've gamed it all out inside two command centers to, which we got access to.
HOLLY WADE, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER: It helps keep track of where the system started, how the system is moving.
TODD: Even remnants of the storm could cause big problems in the convention zone.
(on camera): This is Bay Shore Boulevard, the main drag here in Tampa. Just a few weeks ago parts of this road were underwater, flooded by tropical storm Debby. You could see how close it is to the water. Tampa Bay just comes up as kind of a funnel, ends in this corner right here.
You can you see how close all of it is to the Tampa Convention Center and the forum where the convention is going to be held. Officials are worried that not only will they have a headache of trying to evacuate tens of thousands of people from this area during a storm, but that out-of-towners may venture down here during the storm out of curiosity, not knowing the risks.
(voice-over): Another major concern: a possible shortage of police.
Many law enforcement officers slated to patrol at the convention are coming from other Florida counties. If their jurisdictions get hit by the storm, Mayor Buckhorn says if that happens, they've got more than a thousand of National Guardsmen ready to make up the shortfall.
BUCKHORN: I would expect their law enforcement personnel would stay, as supposed to coming here to help out.
TODD: Mayor Buckhorn says, if that happens, they have got more than 1,000 National Guardsmen ready to deploy to hopefully make up that shortfall in police and hopefully that will be enough if that happens, Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd watching all of this unfold, thanks very, very much.
BLITZER: Just ahead, our brand-new CNN poll is kicking off the convention season with a surprising new look at the state of the presidential race. We're breaking down all the numbers for you. And a pivotal event that changed Mitt Romney's life and helped form his fate, it happened while he was serving as a missionary. He talks about it with CNN's Gloria Borger.
And cyclist Lance Armstrong is giving up his fight against doping charges -- what that decision may cost him.
BLITZER: A very tight race for the White House, according to our brand-new CNN/ORC poll.
Take a look at this -- 49 percent of likely voters say President Obama is their choice, 47 percent say Mitt Romney. But with a 3.5- point sampling error, that's a statistical tie.
Let's talk about this with our senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein. He's the editorial director of "The National Journal."
You have written a fascinating piece about the individuals both of these presidential candidates are searching for.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
And your poll really kind of captures where we are. We talked about yesterday a very close race with a slight advantage for Barack Obama. The new math for Barack Obama, he won 80 percent of minority voters in 2008. They are about a quarter of the electorate. If he holds that percentage, he can win with 40 percent of whites. Your poll shows him exactly at 40 percent among whites, really close to the bare minimum he can attract in order to win.
Once again, a big difference between those college-educated white-collar white women who are socially liberal and the rest of the white electorate. Your intrepid poll director, Keating Holland, ran the numbers for us today -- 53 percent of college white women supporting Obama, about the same as in '08, 39 percent or below among college white men and non-college white men and women.
So this one group of white women plus minorities are just enough to hold him ahead, but with really no margin for error.
BLITZER: I will put these numbers on the screen, these three polls, and we will show them to our viewers.
Likely voters' choice for president among whites, look at this, Obama 40 percent, as you point out, Romney 56 percent. That's a big 16-point gap. Look at this. Choice for president among likely voters who attended college, men and women, Obama, a nice 52 percent to Romney's 45 percent.
And look at this one. Likely voters' choice for president among women, just women, 54 percent Obama, 42 percent Romney. That's a 12- point spread. Does he need more than that among women?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think, look, this is probably about -- this is kind of reality for the president. And the reality is, is the gender gap is much more a function of kind of upper middle class than working-class America.
I mean, if you look at your poll, Obama is running almost exactly the same among white men without a college education and the so-called waitress moms, right, women without a college education. The gender gap of those upscale college-educated women, Democrats have won them in four of the past five elections. Obama was at 52 with them in '08 and he's holding there.
What that does, Wolf, is it creates enormous just mathematical pressure on Romney. If Obama holds his '08 percentages among those white-collar women and minorities, Romney has to win almost two-thirds of everybody else. And that is not impossible, as your poll shows, but it is a steep hill.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Ron, we want to just get your thoughts real quick. There's been really fiery, almost a firestorm of reaction, especially on social media today, over Mitt Romney's remarks that he made at a stop in Michigan.
He says it was a joke, it was not a swipe at the president and kind of hinting towards, nodding towards the birther controversy that has really been put to rest, but what was your reaction when you heard this brought up and you heard that remark first off?
BROWNSTEIN: Taking him at his word that it's a joke, it's still an odd joke.
If you look at your poll, there is enormous enthusiasm among Republicans. You have this very big gap between registered voters, where Obama is ahead by nine, and likely voters, where he's ahead by two. The Republican base is energized.
What Romney really needs to do is move some more of these swing voters, particularly I think these upscale women who have been part of this Democratic coalition. And that is just not the tone. They're looking for hi Medicaid his potential advantage is running as a less partisan, less ideological problem solver. That is his road into those suburban counties that have moved Democratic since the '90s and they have helped Democrats flip states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.
This is kind of the wrong tone, the wrong road to be going down. I'm guessing we don't see any more jokes from him along those lines.
BOLDUAN: Even with humor, you need to be careful.
BLITZER: Yes, very careful all the time. I called it an unforced error when I was tweeting earlier today. I take him at his word, though. He thought it was a joke. It wasn't very funny.
All right, thanks very much. (CROSSTALK)
BLITZER: Here's a note for all of our viewers. You can experience what it's like to be at the Republican National Convention. On Tuesday, I will be hosting the CNN election roundtable, along with CNN's political team. Submit your questions and get answers in real time. Join our live virtual chat Tuesday noon Eastern. Log on to CNN.com/roundtable to find out what's going on. And we will do it.
BOLDUAN: Of course we will.
Also coming up, politicians do a lot of talking and seem to have a language all their own. Just ahead, our John Berman with his always unique take and a unique translation.
Plus: the horrifying video of a woman and her child falling onto train tracks. Find out what happened coming up next.
BOLDUAN: Here's a quick look at some of the stories that are trending right now on CNN.com.
Dramatic surveillance video of a woman and her child falling onto the tracks at a train station near Boston. A man then jumped into the pit to grab them, handing the child up to passengers on the platform.
Our affiliate WHDH reports -- you're going to get a closer look at the video now -- our affiliate WHDH reports the woman was rushing to catch an incoming train. Both are recovering now at home.
Wolf, scary, scary moments.
And this is a horrific story to tell you about. A 19-year-old missing woman has been found after reportedly managing to escape a Saint Louis home where she was held captive for several years. Police raided the home of the man who is allegedly responsible. The suspect is also believed to have fathered a child with this woman.
And the man who admitted killing 77 people in a bomb attack and shooting rampage in Norway last year has been sentenced to at least 21 years in prison. A Norwegian court ruled Anders Breivik was sane at the time of the attacks. Breivik has said he will not appeal. He says he acted out of the necessity to prevent the -- quote, unquote -- "Islamization" of his country.
And finally trending tonight, cyclist Lance Armstrong is giving up his fight against doping charges and it may cost him his seven Tour de France titles. The U.S. Anti-Doping agency immediately issued a lifetime ban on Armstrong and stripped him of his wins since 1998.
But the agency's authority to strip him of those titles is a bit in question at the moment. International agencies will be reviewing the decision. The editor in chief of "Bicycling" magazine reacted to Armstrong's decision. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER FLAX, "BICYCLING": Well, I think he's picking the least worst of his options.
And I think here he can claim the moral high ground and correctly portray this as a witch-hunt. It definitely appears to me like it was an unfair process that came after him. And at the same time I think it's an acknowledgement on his part, not spoken, that he's cornered, that the charges are largely accurate and he's guilty of a lot of these doping allegations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And Armstrong has consistently said that he has done nothing wrong and has said -- as he said, it has been a witch-hunt against him. But Nike -- his sponsors, Nike, Anheuser-Busch, they're sticking with him.
BLITZER: Yes. We will continue to watch this story as well. Thanks, Kate.
BLITZER: In just a few minutes: the many facets of Mitt Romney. Perhaps the deepest was carved many decades ago. In her compelling new documentary, our own Gloria Borger uncovers the terrible event that solidified Mitt Romney's faith.
And at 41 past the hour: Tropical Storm Isaac bearing down on Haiti right now, where hundreds of thousands of people still live in tents. We're going there live.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Next week he'll officially become the Republican presidential nominee, but there's still much about Mitt Romney that so many people don't know, including one pivotal event that changed his life and helped form his faith. It happened while he was serving as a missionary in France. He talked about it candidly with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): By the time the 1968 French riots ended, Mitt Romney had been promoted to be the assistant to the Mormon mission President Anderson. They had an urgent assignment.
SCOTT HELMAN, CO-AUTHOR, "THE REAL ROMNEY": They had got word that there was some little dispute in the southern city in this Mormon congregation, so they decided to drive down to try to resolve it in person, and Mitt was driving.
BORGER: It was a warm summer day in June when they began a six- hour drive between Paris and the south of France. Romney was driving Anderson and his wife, Leola.
ANDY ANDERSON: They, I believe, were in the town of Beaulac. And as they come north, they come near the top of a hill. At the top of the hill in their way is a Mercedes. They had no time to react. It was -- the car was on the wrong side of the road.
BORGER: And the Mercedes driver, apparently drunk, slams into them at full speed. Both cars crushed and mangled. Mitt Romney and Leola Anderson, unconscious.
ANN ROMNEY, MITT'S WIFE: George called me on the phone and said, "We have some bad news about Mitt," but he didn't tell me what. And he came and picked me up and then took me to his home. I had word that he was killed.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The policeman on the scene apparently thought I was in worse condition than I was and wrote in French "He is dead" on my passport.
A. ROMNEY: We waited for hours and hours, most of the night to get word from France that he was actually alive.
M. ROMNEY: I was knocked unconscious and only recall waking up for a brief moment in the ambulance going to the hospital.
BORGER: It turns out Romney had a severe concussion and broken bones. But Leola, the mom away from home to 200 young missionaries, was dead.
HELMAN: This was a huge deal. I mean this rocked the Mormon community, not just in France but all over the world and in Salt Lake City.
M. ROMNEY: It was a great time of challenge and soul searching for all of us.
BORGER: And by the end of his mission, Romney had cemented his faith.
M. ROMNEY: These things drew me closer to the eternal and convinced me that, in fact, there is a God, that Jesus Christ is the son of God and my savior. And these are -- these are features that continue to be important in my life.
BLITZER: That is so, so compelling. Gloria is joining us right now, Gloria, how surprised were you that Mitt Romney really, really opened up so dramatically to you about all of this?
BORGER: Well, what was really interesting to me, Wolf, these interviews were a long time in the making. And at first I think the campaign was really reluctant to have Romney talk about his faith, to have the candidate talk about these times in his life when he served as a Mormon missionary in France and the car accident that you just saw. But I think over time, and I think you'll see this at the convention coming up next week, they decided, if you look at the candidate's likability numbers, that they needed to let people in, because running for president is a very personal vote. And people aren't going to vote for you unless they have a sense of you, feel they know you and feel that they trust you.
And I think that inside the campaign, a decision was made to allow Romney to do just that and to answer these kinds of questions. And you see that both in Ann and in Mitt Romney himself.
BLITZER: And you also really delve into his life as a church leader at some critical points in his life. He opened up to you about that, as well, didn't he?
BORGER: He did. And what's interesting about the Mormon church is that there's no paid clergy. So members of the congregation are asked to in effect serve as voluntary pastors.
And at the age of 34, Romney was asked to serve as the pastor of his church in Belmont, Massachusetts, and he did what pastors do, which is he ministered. So if there was a sick kid or if somebody's roof needed repair or somebody in the parish needed help or was going through a divorce, they would go to Mitt Romney.
And he talked to us about that. And Wolf, that's not the way you really think of Mitt Romney. There were some women in the congregation. This is a time when feminism was gaining ground. They'd say, "You know what? He didn't listen to our feminist concerns." So you'll hear those complaints about Mitt Romney in the documentary. But you're also going to hear from people in his church with whom he was quite close.
BOLDUAN: And Gloria, just -- it's so interesting. Just this morning Romney -- a Romney campaign adviser on a conference call of reporters mentioned that members of Romney's local church who had worked with him will play a role in the convention.
So how important do you think it is that Romney do more of what he did with you in the documentary: talk more about his faith?
BORGER: Well -- well, I think that's what you're going to see at the convention. But, you know, it's got some risks, because evangelicals, lots of them, believe that Mormonism is a cult. That's why Romney was very reluctant to talk about it, and that's, in fact, why in the 2007 campaign he had to give a speech on his faith and then decided after that, "Well, maybe I don't need to talk about that anymore."
So there are lots of people who are curious about -- about Mormonism and I think that this is something in the end that is so central to who Mitt Romney is. When you ask the question what's at his core, I think one of the things you'd have to say is that it's his faith.
And the people of his congregation describe him as devout and very involved. And you know, I think when you weigh that on balance, the campaign is saying, "You know what? This is who he is, and we need to open that window to the voters."
BLITZER: Gloria worked really, really hard on this documentary.
BORGER: Thank you.
BLITZER: She traveled -- I know you traveled to France to gather information. You were all over the country. This is must-see TV Sunday night, Gloria. We are really proud of what you accomplished.
BORGER: Thank you so much.
BLITZER: Thanks so much for doing it. Our viewers will be grateful to you for doing it.
And this important note to all of our viewers. You can see Gloria's special this Sunday night, 8 p.m. Eastern. It's entitled "Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power." Afterward we'll have a special convention preview. And Starting Monday night, I'll be leading our live coverage of the convention. That starts Monday night, 7 p.m. Eastern. It's going to be great.
BOLDUAN: It will be great. Wolf will not be sleeping for the next two weeks, everyone.
BLITZER: No, I'll be on television a lot. You'll be on -- we'll all be on television a lot.
Other news we're following right now, including hundreds of thousands of people living in tent cities, and Tropical Storm Isaac is coming. When we come back, we're going to Haiti. We'll go there live. Our correspondents are on the ground.
And later, the Pentagon is in an uproar over a soon-to-be released, unauthorized book about the raid at the compound that took down Osama bin Laden.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: In just a matter of hours, Tropical Storm Isaac could have a devastating impact on Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people in tent cities could be slammed by flash floods and landslides, not to mention the risk of disease that comes with it.
CNN's Martin Savidge is in one of the poorest areas of an already impoverished country. Martin, how are residents there preparing?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, right now Isaac is playing kind of a cat and mouse game. There have been bands of rain that have been coming in, but the wind is pretty much calm right now, and there is no rain falling. But that is expected to change in the next coming hours.
As far as how are people preparing here? They haven't been doing much for a couple of reasons.
No. 1, they've been through this drill before, they would tell you, and storms have never materialized, so they're jaded about all the warnings they've been getting from the government. On top of that, though, the reality is many don't have money to buy the things you might use to prepare. And they certainly don't have other places to go than where they're already living, and that's the problem.
Many of them are living in very difficult and very flimsy conditions. Port-au-Prince, you pointed out, hundreds of thousands of people living in tent cities. It's been that way ever since the earthquake of 2010. Even in this area, Jacnelle (ph), which was also devastated by the earthquake, there are severe concerns about flooding.
That's the problem with this particular storm. It's not the winds of this tropical storm; it is the water. It's expected that you could have anywhere from 14 inches plus that would fall. Haiti has a very steep mountain terrain here. And as a result, the water would come flooding down those mountainsides and come roaring into the towns. Jacnelle (ph) is one of those communities where landslides could be a very real possibility. That's what the mayor fears. I spoke to him. He says residents are being prepared to evacuate, but so far nobody has moved -- Wolf.
BLITZER: You know, our colleague and friend Gary Tuchman is in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as well. He spoke with the Haitian president, Michel Martelly, about efforts to evacuate people in the capital city, especially those in tents. Any sign of any similar event, any such evacuation, where you are in a much -- even poorer area?
SAVIDGE: No, none whatsoever, Wolf. The mayor says that they have prepared certain areas to move people if necessary, but he says it's a waste of time to try to get people to move before the rain starts falling or the wind starts moving in, because they say people just don't pay attention. So they have to wait until the very last minute.
That's so counter to the way, say, in the United States, where they give days of warning and ask people to move at least a day in advance. Here they don't expect people to start moving until the weather closes in. And of course, that's the worst time of all to leave shelter.
BLITZER: Be careful over there, Martin. And we wish only the best for all the folks in Haiti. It's going to be an awful situation, I fear. Thank you very much.
While Tropical Storm Isaac is setting its sights on Tampa, so are we. Tom Foreman is sitting in for Erin Burnett on CNN's "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT." That starts at the top of the hour.
The Republican convention will be Mitt Romney's true coming-out party. What's on the horizon, Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you what's on the horizon, Wolf. Let the hurricane go by. There's going to be a storm of money coming out of the Republican side of this race.
Now, what impact that's going to have, that's going to be the big question. We're going to talk about that a little bit.
Plus the big terrible shooting today over at the Empire State Building. We'll have the police commissioner of New York with us to talk all about that, Wolf.
It's coming up "OUTFRONT."
BLITZER: Tom Foreman, thanks very much. We'll see you right at the top of the hour.
Meanwhile, ominous fallout from an ex-Navy SEAL's new book about the raid that killed bin Laden. Extremist Web sites are already calling for an end to the author's life.
And politicians seem to have their own language. CNN's John Berman is here to translate all of this for the rest of us.
Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: A controversial new book by a Navy SEAL who took part in the mission to kill Osama bin Laden is causing an uproar over at the Pentagon and raising serious concerns about the safety of Special Forces. CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is joining us. She's got more on what's going on.
Barbara, the top commander now weighing in directly. What's the latest?
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. You know Admiral William McRaven. You've talked to him, head of Special Operations Command. So you know he doesn't pull his punches.
Well, now he has fired off a three-page message to the troops that he has written personally, furious, reminding them of several things.
First of all, reminding them, as if they had to be reminded, they've signed classification agreements. They can't disclose classified information. Reminding them, if they do want to write a book, they have to submit it for security review to make sure there is nothing classified in it.
The Pentagon says this author, the former SEAL, did not do that, that he had to. We talked to an expert lawyer about this matter about what this former SEAL could now be facing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ZAID, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: The failure to submit it for such review is a violation per se of the agreement, flat-out violation, and subjects that individual to potential civil penalties. Royalties being seized, any type of advance being seized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Admiral McRaven even threatening to go as far as criminal prosecution if the troops violate their security agreements. That may be very tough to do, but that's what he's putting on the line.
And now, Wolf, as you say, there is a militant Web site, at least one of them, posting a picture of this Navy SEAL, calling if not a death threat for his life to be over. This is the very thing that the military worries about, that jihadists are going to find out who America's Special Forces are. And now it looks like they have found out the identity of at least one of them.
BLITZER: Scary one of them.
STARR: Scary stuff. What are the specific examples? Give me an example or two of the kind of classified information that worries the U.S. military brass, that might have been released.
STARR: Yes, good point, Wolf. On this raid, a couple of things concern them, in particular. There were a number. There was this secret stealth helicopter that crashed into one of the compound walls.
By all accounts, the author was on that helicopter and he writes about the crash and getting out of the helicopter. If he disclosed information about how that technology worked, if he disclosed information about SEAL tactics and procedures, if he disclosed information, maybe something didn't work right, maybe besides the helicopter crash, of course, maybe some piece of technology did not work appropriately. All of these things are classified. You're not allowed to just suddenly decide to disclose them yourself when you're in the U.S. military. It could pose a real problem, Wolf.
BLITZER: It certainly could. Barbara, thanks very, very much. Kate, I've spent some time with Admiral McRaven, the head of U.S. Special Operations, not that long ago. I haven't spoken to him about this, but I can only imagine how upset he must be.
BOLDUAN: People are already saying there was so much detail out about the raid. We'll have to wait and see how this back and forth continues. But very interesting, nonetheless.
Also, a historic discovery in a Tennessee attic. An audio recording of a long-lost interview with Martin Luther King Jr. It's giving absolutely new insight into his hopes for the civil rights movement years before his "I have a dream" speech. CNN's Lisa Sylvester has details.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words have been inscribed, quoted, passed on to generations and have touched tens of millions of people. Now, 44 years after his death, words from Dr. King that have never been heard before.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: If one is truly nonviolent, that person has a loving spirit.
SYLVESTER: Those words come from an audio recording reportedly found in an attic n Chattanooga, Tennessee, hidden till now. The date, December 21st, 1960, Dr. King being interviewed on topics ranging from nonviolence and the impact of the sit-ins.
KING: When the history books are written in future years, historians will have to record this movement as one of the greatest epics of our heritage. I think the movement represents struggle on the highest level of dignity and discipline. No one of good will can disagree with the ends of the sit-in movements. The end to break down all barriers between people on the basis of race or color.
SYLVESTER: The recorded interview was supposed to be used for a book on racial tensions, but the author never finished the project. His son found the tapes rummaging through old boxes. He declined an interview. But a broker who was handling the sale of the original reel to reel spoke to CNN. Keya Morgan is a collector of rare artifacts.
KEYA MORGAN, KEYA GALLERY: I authenticated the reel. It is a 1960 reel to reel. We played this for John Lewis, who is a civil rights legend, and he said this tape is so significant and important, he said, "I want all of Congress and the president and everyone to hear Dr. King's message about nonviolence over and over and over."
SYLVESTER: Harry Johnson is president and CEO of the Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. He believes that there are more hidden recordings out there.
HARRY JOHNSON, PRESIDENT/CEO, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. NATIONAL MEMORIAL PROJECT FOUNDATION: You're going to see more and more people saying, "Hey, I found this in my dad's attic, my mother's attic, somewhere in the basement, some rare finding of what Dr. King said and did in 1960, '61, '62, '63.
SYLVESTER: Johnson says the words of Dr. King are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.
Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.
BOLDUAN: Lisa, great report, thank you so much.
Still coming up, politicians do quite a lot of talking, and they seem to have a language all their own. Up next, our John Berman with a unique political glossary.
BLITZER: At times, it seems politics has a language all its own. CNN's John Berman has a glossary for all of us -- John.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, sometimes it really does seem as if politicians are speaking a completely different language. A kind of politic-speak. So we thought it would be useful to provide a kind of political glossary.
(voice-over) According to apple, the magic of the iPhone is...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to check snow conditions on the mountain, there's an app for that.
BERMAN: The magic of being a politician: no matter what you say or what you do, there's a word for that.
REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to probably shut that whole thing down.
BERMAN: A word for a comment that sets off a major controversy and political firestorm? Misspoke.
AKIN: I misspoke one word.
BERMAN: What's the word for what you do after a political acquaintance misspeaks? Distance.
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Ryan and Romney want to distance themselves from Akin's comments.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves.
BERMAN: How about a word for that special kind of misspeaking that seems to cause you repeated embarrassment?
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're going to put y'all back in chains.
BERMAN: That's called a distraction.
OBAMA: His phrasing is a distraction from what is at stake.
BERMAN: Notice the attempt to distance himself from the distraction of the misspeaking.
Then, there are other political words. A wife is never a spouse but a secret weapon. A friend, colleague or co-worker who goes on TV to talk about you, a surrogate.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: President Obama, through health-care reform, strengthened Medicare.
BERMAN: And what comes out of their mouths, talking points.
ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: They're in a dialogue with the people about jobs and the economy. Economic prosperity.
BERMAN: Of course, if a surrogate goes off their talking points and misspeaks, it can be a distraction, and then distance is in order. But if that doesn't work, you don't just ask said person to quit. You ask them to...
REP. BART STUPAK (D): Spend more time with my family...
BERMAN: Family. It provides few distractions.
(on camera) Now, if that's not enough, we understand that Vice President Biden will be in Tampa during the Republican convention. He won't just be visiting. He will be bracketing the Republican convention. The Republicans tell us they will do the same thing in Charlotte to the Democratic convention, but they'll do it even more so. So they're doubling down on the bracketing strategy. So, it just goes on and on and on -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly does. John Berman, thanks very, very much.
We've just heard that Ann Romney now will speak Tuesday night. Marco Rubio continues speaking at the convention Thursday night. We're all over it. Thanks very much for joining us. We'll be in Tampa all of next week. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.