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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Jobs Report; Interview with Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.; Teachers Strike

Aired September 7, 2012 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, HOST: OUTFRONT next some not so good news about the job market has a lot of people talking about big Ben, but what can he do? And a reported blowout between the United States and Israel that had the prime minister at his wit's end, so what really happened? A key person in that room OUTFRONT tonight and a rare virus has already killed three people at Yosemite National Park and tonight an alarming warning to nearly 30,000 other people.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett and OUTFRONT tonight big Ben getting ready to go to bat. Well tonight the man who has to save America actually was at a Washington Nationals game casually dressed -- a pair of jeans, got his hat on, but he always wears a belt. And I'm betting though that his mind is racing. His mood is only temporarily upbeat because next week, Ben might unleash the beast of hundreds of billions of dollars to America. Why? Well, today's awful jobs report, it was a measly 96,000 jobs that were created last month. And Ben Bernanke has called the jobs crisis in America a grave concern. And we all know that our elected leaders in Washington so far have not done much about it lately.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think what we've had lately is because you've had a lack of leadership on fiscal policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. Hold on, I just want to hit pause there -- Paul Ryan -- because a lack of leadership on fiscal policy. You do happen to be the Budget Committee chairman and you along with the president, wait, wasn't it the two of you that snubbed Simpson/Bowles and put out your own plans? OK, we're making -- just being a little snarky here, but there are plenty of opportunities on both sides here, that's the point we wanted to make. Now back to what you were saying, Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: You've had bad fiscal policies here in America. And you had the Federal Reserve trying to bail out fiscal policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: OK, so Ben to the bailout. Now it's not just Paul Ryan saying that. Now almost everybody is saying that. How much power though does Ben and the Fed really have because he has been funneling money, new dollars, into the U.S. economy now for nearly four years to the tune of nearly $3 trillion, $3 trillion. The goal was to lower interest rates which would then spark lending, new businesses and hiring. But still today's jobs report proves we still have an uphill climb on the most important of those things, jobs. That 96,000 number was only part of the problem.

June and July jobs numbers we also found out today were revised lower and the number today does not keep up with population growth. We need 125,000 jobs every single month just to keep pace with that, so you have to have 125,000 and then you have to have more on top of that to try to make some progress digging out of the black hole we've been stuck in for several years on jobs. And that other number you may have heard today, unemployment that fell, the rate from 8.3 to 8.1. Sounds like good news but it's not.

That was because 368,000 Americans gave up even looking for a job, so they now no longer count. Here's the number that matters. The share of the working age population, now actually working or trying to work is at its lowest level since 1981. So you may say well then why did the stock market actually crawl higher today? Well, because of the bet that Ben Bernanke would step in. The Fed meets next Thursday and investors expect that Ben Bernanke will act, creating more money to try to bring down interest rates, spark lending, new businesses and hiring.

But Ben does not have a silver bullet because since so-called quantitative easing started at the end of 2008, there are a few key things that have happened. Ben Bernanke succeeded in keeping interest rates low. That was a crucial goal, 30-year-fixed rate mortgages because he's trying to help housing, was at 6.41 percent in November 2008 when he announced his first round of easing. It's now at 3.54 percent. Low interest rates mean people with great credit can borrow. Low rates can drive prices higher, so you remember when housing was booming?

Well you know when rates went down, people could buy bigger houses and prices could surge so low rates mean prices can go up. And now that's happening to things like art. Shares of the auction house Sotheby's are up 258 percent since Ben's easy money started. And stocks in general have done pretty well as well. The S&P 500 is up as you can see right around 70 percent. Pretty amazing since quantitative easing was announced. But the thing is there's only half of Americans own stocks and it's a safe bet that probably fewer than one percent of Americans are buying multimillion-dollar pieces of art.

So easy money has also sent commodity prices higher (INAUDIBLE), gas prices, as you can see, about doubled. Regular unleaded was $1.89 in November of 2008. It is now $3.82 a gallon and food prices are up 54 percent over that same timeframe, so easy money isn't so easy. But experts believe we are going to get more of it and there is no denying that Ben Bernanke feels the entire weight of the economy on his shoulders. Enter Paul Ryan, Barack Obama and Washington, so he's going to do whatever he can, even if it's not the perfect solution.

So if he unleashes the beast next week, will that change America's mood fast? There's only 60 days to go until the election. If Ben comes out with the beast will it help Romney or Obama? OUTFRONT tonight "Strike Team" member Jim Bianco of Bianco Research, Reihan Salam, Republican strategist and Michael Feldman, former adviser to Vice President Al Gore. Great to see all of you, really appreciate it.

Jim Bianco, let me just start with you. Ben Bernanke is in a tough spot. Everyone expects him to act. Other people aren't acting, so is he going to act?

JIM BIANCO, PRESIDENT, BIANCO RESEARCH: Yes, I think he is going to act. I think we're going to get a third round of quantitative easing to be announced on Thursday. I think most of Wall Street expects that. We're just quibbling about the size and the type, but there's no doubt that he will act.

BURNETT: And how quickly will it do anything or -- and I mean I hate to say this because this is the way it usually goes, right, people like you, Jim, have thought this is going to happen for a while and now you all think it's going to happen, so it's almost as if I guess we have to say it's priced in. Once he announces it, we're not going to get any benefit. We already felt it because you guys are all betting on it.

BIANCO: That's right, since late July when we all thought it was coming, the stock market has gone higher. Ben Bernanke in his speech in Jackson Hole last month said clearly that he was looking for the stock market to go up and that would boost consumption and (INAUDIBLE) help the economy. So it should already be under way and if he doesn't give it to us it would be a disappointment.

BURNETT: Disappointment, Reihan, but what -- to Jim's point, it's already priced in. I mean and the translation to that is we're not going to get an immediate somehow help in the economy. Stocks have already reacted. A lot of Americans don't even benefit from those kinds of things. So does this do anything for the election? Does this help Barack Obama?

REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's very hard to say because there's a real debate right now about monetary policy. It's actually the most exciting debate that most Americans have never heard of. You recently have this guy called Michael Woodford (ph), a really important monetary economist, who's come out and said that we need the Fed to engage in demand management and we need clear signals for the Fed over the long term. So having a burst of QE here or there isn't really going to do it. We need a long-term commitment that the Fed is going to send clear signals that as long as the economy is really, really weak we're going to take action. The problem is that you still have a lot of folks, particularly hard money populists, a lot of folks particularly on the right, who are saying that you know this is dangerous. This is too much discretion --

BURNETT: Right, they don't like it. SALAM: Exactly. So, but you do have some conservatives who actually disagree. So this is a really open question and my own view is that we really need monetary stimulus. Does it help the president -- probably not. If it's this random grab bag. If Ben Bernanke sends a clear signal, it could help the country and sure it could help the president in the short term too.

BURNETT: I mean in a sense (INAUDIBLE) sympathize with the man. He has sent a clear signal I'm going to do it if I have to do it -- Congress could you please do it -- because I don't have the most effective tool. And he gets stuck doing it because they don't. But, Michael, let me ask you. Do you think that this helps the president? If the American people suddenly feel, look, whether they get more signals like Reihan is talking about, that Ben Bernanke has this under control, we're going to get some help?

MICHAEL FELDMAN, THE GLOVER PARK GROUP: I don't think it has a material effect on the election. At this point, it's not going to have an impact on jobs. It might have an impact on the market, but as you said earlier I think the market has already taken it into consideration, so it's not going to have an immediate impact on 401 (ks).

BURNETT: Right.

FELDMAN: But, look, the election for most people, if you're out of work or you're looking for work or you've stopped looking for work or you're having trouble making ends meet --

BURNETT: Right.

FELDMAN: -- whether the unemployment rate is 8.3 percent or 8.1 percent, that's not what you're voting on. And you're more likely voting on the trend where you think the economy --

BURNETT: But the trend on that rate is going down --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Even though it's not going down for the right reasons, but a down trend, you know, historically you would say that would help the president.

FELDMAN: I just don't think it does. I think actually the president -- I think what helps the president is 30 straight months of private sector job creation, a sense that he was digging out of a very deep hole from the very beginning. And I think polling shows that people do understand that he started from, you know from a very bad place. But more important, I think this is what Barack Obama did very well at the convention, is frame it at a choice. The decision people are going to make is who's likely to lead to that recovery faster --

(CROSSTALK)

FELDMAN: -- the guy who's in there now or the person who's challenging him? BURNETT: And a final word to you, Jim Bianco. Do you think quantitative easing if there is more of it will really help this economy at this point?

BIANCO: Only if you're a stockholder. It's definitely helped the stock market. It moves it around. Wall Street loves it because it give us a lot of volatility. If you're the 50 percent that are not a stockholder, as you mentioned at the top, we've had $3 trillion of it over four years. And I know Bernanke says it's created two million jobs. I'm sure that the Obama administration disagrees because that means they created none, but then I think that it really hasn't helped much in the way of job creation, so it depends on which chair you sit in.

BURNETT: All right, well thanks very much to all three of you. We appreciate it. It's going to be a big week next week, see whether that happens.

And ahead a report of a heated exchange between the United States and Israel over Iran behind closed doors. How tense was the conversation? Well the man inside the room OUTFRONT next. Plus, the threat of a teacher's strike could shut down America's third biggest school system, do their demands add up, and a worldwide alert about a rare and deadly virus that could have infected nearly 30,000 people who are here in the U.S.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, President Obama today reiterating his commitment to Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our commitment to Israel's security must not waiver and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And that was the president speaking at his address, accepting the nomination for president last night at the Democratic Convention and that came after an about-face from the Democratic Party this week when it reinserted a statement saying that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel into its platform. They had removed it. No one knows why. And behind the scenes there are reports of more friction between these two crucial allies. Congressman Mike Rogers says that he attended a -- what he calls -- tense meeting between U.S. and Israeli diplomats last month and he says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was at his, quote, "wit's end" over how the Obama administration is handling Iran. The whole world is wondering who is going to do what when it comes to Iran and will Israel strike? Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was also in that room at that meeting. I spoke with him earlier today and I asked him what really happened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL OREN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Well I've been through many meetings like that one, Erin and this one was no different. It was frank, candid, substantive, respectful. This is the way friends talk to one another and we are looking at the situation of the Iranian nuclear program. Israel is a small country with certain capabilities. It's located in the backyard of Iran. It's threatened daily by Iranian leaders with destruction. We have a window which is a small window. It's getting smaller. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, over the last four months alone Iran has doubled the amount of centrifuges that it has moved into its underground fortified facility at Fordo.

BURNETT: Yes.

OREN: It has increased the number of centrifuges at Natanz by 300. This program is racing ahead and we don't have much time. America, a much bigger country, farther away with bigger -- big capabilities is not being threatened by national annihilation. And so you know as President Obama said we have a right. We have a duty as a sovereign nation, as Israel to defend ourselves.

BURNETT: They of course deny all the things that you're saying. I mean that's their side of it. They do deny it. But when you talk about what you're going to do about it, I mean do you have this feeling and when you talk about this frank conversation that happened that Israel is going to end up making a move on its own and sooner rather than later. I mean that sort of sounds like what I'm reading between the lines as what you are saying.

OREN: What we're saying is what President Obama has said. He got up in front of a very large audience, 13,000 people last year at APEC and said that Israel has the right to defend itself against any Middle Eastern threat or any combination of Middle Eastern threats. Only Israel as a sovereign nation can best decide how to defend itself. And this is not just our right, Erin. It's our duty.

BURNETT: And so I guess the real question though that people -- people really -- I mean want to know, the Obama administration needs to know, is when. Do you have a feeling, Ambassador that the United States will not act unless the administration believes that Israel really will? And as long as they believe that you all are somehow playing chicken or would wait for the U.S., then they're not going to do anything?

OREN: Keep in mind that no country has a greater stake in the world in resolving the Iranian nuclear threat peacefully than the state of Israel. We have the greatest skin in the game and I'm talking personally. I have my children living back in Israel. We'd like to resolve this peacefully if possible. We've been very supportive of the sanctions. We were supportive of diplomacy. But unfortunately, the sanctions haven't worked. Again, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, over the period of these sanctions the Iranian nuclear program has accelerated so rapidly that right now we feel that they have close to five weapons worth of enriched uranium that have already been stockpiled. The diplomacy also hasn't worked over the course of the last few months waiting for the Iranians to make the slightest concession, nothing --

BURNETT: Ambassador --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: But when you say the sanctions are not working and you lay out your reason, right, you say they have five weapons worth of enriched uranium. That's the exact opposite of what the U.S. government says. They say the sanctions are working.

OREN: I think the U.S. government -- and I'm not a spokesman for the U.S. government, but I think we basically say the same thing that the sanctions have taken a bite out of the Iranian economy. They certainly have done a lot of harm to Iran's currency.

BURNETT: Yes.

OREN: But they have not had an impact to last, unfortunately, on the Iranian nuclear program. And it's not just -- we're seeing this and the Americans are seeing this and our intelligence agency but the International Atomic Energy Agency of the U.N. is seeing that --

BURNETT: So you feel the U.S. government --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: -- agrees with you that it's not affecting the nuclear program?

OREN: I think -- I think it's safe to say that they will also agree that the sanctions -- we're looking at the same information. We're looking at the same information that the U.N. is looking at. The U.N. has not only talked about the doubling of the number of centrifuges at the Fordo facility. They're talking about blatant flagrant Iranian attempts to deceive the international community about the military actions, military part of their nuclear program. How they try to clean up military sites. They basically -- the U.N. came out and called the Iranian regime a liar.

BURNETT: One final question. This week something happened that surprised everybody and you probably know what I'm going to refer to. It's not about this topic. It's about Jerusalem and it's about the Democratic platform where all of a sudden Jerusalem is the capital of Israel was removed. All right, then that caused, as you know, an incredible stir and now it's been added back in. But obviously somebody took it out and other people approved of it and voted for that, right. What is your feeling about what happened this week?

OREN: Well I'm going to disappoint you, Erin. I'm not going to get involved in internal American politics. All I will say is that Jerusalem was, is, and will remain the united capital of Israel.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: All right. I'm sure there were plenty of conversations that went on behind closed doors about that event this week. Well next a strike threat could keep more than 400,000 students out of the classroom. What do the teachers want? And does the country's first citywide ban on bottled water add up?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, battle with the unions. The city of Chicago bracing for a strike tonight, its intense negotiations to prevent nearly 30,000 unionized school teachers from walking off the job. There's a deadline Monday looming for more than 400,000 kids. The teachers union says it's going to walk if teachers don't get a raise. The third largest school district in America has not seen a strike in 25 years and city officials who are already dealing with a murder rate that's up 30 percent this year are scrambling to keep kids off the street. CNN's Ted Rowlands is in Chicago and OUTFRONT with the latest. Ted, let me just ask you as this gets down to the wire, what exactly is it that the teachers say they want?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a number of things that they're after. First of all, money, they're after a higher raise than is being offered. Right now the School Board is offering a four-year deal, two percent per year in terms of a raise. And in the fourth year, they want to be flexible enough to institute merit pay and that has not been agreed to by the teachers at this point. The teachers are also looking for some job security with their veteran teachers if there are school closures or consolidations, they want those people protected. And they want specifics as to Chicago's new longer school days.

They want it in writing when they'll have their lunches, when they'll have their prep times. Those are the three main issues. They were negotiating all day. They just wrapped up within the last half an hour. And we got a memo from the School Board say things went rather well but we just heard from the union, they said it was a horrible day and they are very pessimistic after today. They both will be back at it tomorrow and through the weekend up until this deadline though that now is looming larger and larger.

BURNETT: Well all right, so they reject the merit raises. They want more than two percent raise and they want to know their lunch hours. Now let me ask you this and you spoke to a member of the teachers union. Obviously they thought things went terribly today, but they're frustrated as well and also with the mayor?

ROWLANDS: Frustrated with the mayor because they believe that he's thrown them under the bus. They're arguing that this whole anti- union sentiment that has been bubbling up in the country over the past few months, years, going back to Wisconsin, they say that's part of this negotiation in their estimation. Take a listen to what he told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRANDON JOHNSON, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION: It is playing a part and I think what's most disconcerting is that you have Democratic mayors all over the country leading the charge on attempting to destroy the public sector, particularly, you know, public school teachers unions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROWLANDS: And of course the Democratic mayor here is Rahm Emanuel. He says that he wants a fair deal for both sides and wants kids in school Monday.

BURNETT: All right and Ted, a final question, the 400,000 kids, obviously these are kids of all ages. Chicago has had a murder crisis, a lot of kids in September on the streets. What's the plan to try to make that not have something that could turn into violence?

ROWLANDS: Yes, this is a huge problem and it could be very chaotic starting Monday if there's a strike with the school. What the School Board is doing and the city is doing they're opening up some schools that will be open from 8:30 to 12:30. People can drop their kids off at these schools. There will be no learning going on. They will feed the kids. And then there are some faith-based organizations that are opening up churches and community centers. But I tell you, Erin, parents are very, very worried about what to expect coming Monday. They're coming up with their plan B, some of them though just quite frankly don't have a plan B --

BURNETT: Right.

ROWLANDS: -- so they're crossing their fingers more than anything, hoping this will be resolved.

BURNETT: All right, well thanks very much to Ted Rowlands. We appreciate that. A major union battle for the whole nation to watch. And still ahead Ohio, no Republican has won the White House without it. Could this year break that trend? And a rare virus has already killed three people at Yosemite. Tonight, nearly 30,000 more are warned they could be at risk. We have some more information about this virus --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines.

First, senior Pentagon officials telling CNN tonight they believe a Navy SEAL's story about the death of bin Laden is wrong. CNN has learned the four-star general who heads Special Operations contacted some of the other SEALs involved in the raid to ask about bin Laden's final moments. Well, in the book "No Easy Day," the SEAL involved in the raid wrote that bin Laden was shot in the head after he peeked into a hallway.

That account, though, differs from what Pentagon officials have said. Their version, which they say they believe is the truth is that SEALs entered a room and found bin Laden standing there and they shot him after believing he posed a threat.

Well, the United States has designated the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network a terrorist organization. Now, the Haqqani group has been blamed for kidnapping, suicide attacks on American troops in Afghanistan. This label allows the Obama administration to go after the network's assets. So, assets in U.S. banks for example, and prosecute those who aid or assist the Haqqanis.

Terrorism expert Seth Jones told OUTFRONT the Haqqani Network has a very close relationship with al Qaeda, along with Pakistan spy agency, the ISI. He also told us he's skeptical the new designation will slow down or prevent any future attacks.

Well, OUTFRONT has learned that a victim of the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin is recovering. It's been more than a month since the shooting left seven dead, including the gunman. Of the four people injured, Punjab Singh is the only one who remains in the hospital. In a statement to OUTFRONT his family said, "Despite the heroic efforts of emergency responders at the scene and the medical he has received, he has not fully recovered." But the family since Singh has been moved out of the intensive care unit.

Well, CNN learning tonight that Congressman Jesse Jackson has checked out of the Mayo Clinic. The 47-year-old was being treated for bipolar depression. We're told the Democrat from Illinois is back in Washington with his family and when asked by CNN if Representative Jackson would be on Capitol Hill Monday, his chief of staff told us, "We hope".

It has been 400 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, the White House said today it needs more time to deliver a report to Congress, detailing how it will implement $109 billion in across the board defense budget cuts, also known as sequestration. Those take effect at the beginning of the year. White House Secretary Jay Carney says the report will be delivered late next week.

And now, our fourth story OUTFRONT: the fight for Ohio. It's a crucial battleground state, but it has become ground zero of this election. So, does the current electoral map add up to a wing for Obama or Romney?

Our John King owns the magic wall.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Ohio is always a big presidential battleground. Let me give you three reasons why that's even more true this year.

One is history. You have to go back to 1960. That's the last time Ohio got it wrong, if you will, voting for Richard Nixon over John Kennedy. In every presidential election since, including 2008 when then-Senator Obama carried Ohio, it has picked the winner in presidential politics.

Number two, especially important in the wake of today's job numbers, this is one battleground where the president can go in and try to make the case that people are better off. Look at the unemployment rate in Ohio: 8.6 percent when the president took office, 7.2 percent now.

As you see in some battlegrounds, like Colorado, it's up. Ohio, one of the big battlegrounds where it is down. The president says that's because of his work in the auto bailout industry.

Here is number three, if the president can hold Ohio, no Republican in modern times has won the White House without winning this state. We start here, the president at 237. Governor Romney at 191. If nothing else on the map change, and the president could put Ohio in the blue column, that almost puts him on the doorstep right there. Governor Romney would have to run the board.

And the man who wins Ohio, if a Democrat wins Ohio, almost certainly winning Iowa, that would be a huge speed bump if not a road block, Erin, to Mitt Romney being president.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: All right. Thanks to John King who makes the point as only John King can of how crucial Ohio is.

Matt Bai is a "New York Times" is chief political correspondent and his new cover story out this week is about Ohio. Did Barack Obama save Ohio? This is the crucial question. Once you realize how important Ohio is.

And, Matt, before we start, as John just mentioned, obviously, this is a state where unemployment is now 7.2 percent, and the nation is at 8.1. So, better than the country, and it's creating job, 122,000 in the past year and a half, which is better than most states in the country.

So I know the question is who gets the credit: President Obama or Republican Governor John Kasich who has been in office since last year. Obviously, the key, as you write, could determine the election.

So let me start with this. In Ohio, people seem split on this -- 33 percent say the state's economy is improving. A quarter of them say it's getting worse. We showed it getting better.

But what's your verdict?

MATT BAI, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: Well -- and thanks, Erin, for reading the piece. There's a disconnect, you have essentially two sets of data, right? You can look at the jobs numbers, saying 122,000 new jobs since the beginning 2011. Or you can look at all the shifts that are added, the factories expanding. And the news is really good.

But you look at the right track/wrong track numbers, right, the standard political poll number. Are things getting better or worse in the state? And you can't get more than a third of Ohioans to say things are moving in the right direction.

It points to, as I traveled around the state, I think I began to understand the disconnect, which is you see all this activity, shifts being added, jobs. But in a lot of the state, particularly in the manufacturing and industrial areas, you're talking about high-tech manufacturing that doesn't have the kind of impact on communities that it once did.

If you added a shift in a manufacturing plant or auto plant, you know, 25 years ago, you were talking about thousands of jobs. Today, if you add a shift overnight, you're talking about turning away thousands of applicants and hiring a couple hundred people because it doesn't take four guys to put in a windshield anymore.

BURNETT: Wow.

BAI: So those numbers do indicate I think good news on recovery in Ohio and people do deserve credit but I think it's not as pervasive or as transformational as it looks like on paper.

BURNETT: Yes, it's interesting. You know, you just reminded me, I was in one of those plants about a I guess year ago, and it's -- so much of it was people overseeing the line, so much of it done by machines. It was amazing.

BAI: I was in U.S. steel when I was working on this piece. You look over this vast expanse of rods. They were baking rods for extracting shale. There's not a single human being.

I said to the plant manager, this is great, but where are the people? He said, well, you know, we're a people company. We want to keep people out of harm's way as much as possible, which is a really nice way of saying --

BURNETT: Wow.

BAI: -- you know, we don't have them here.

BURNETT: Maybe that guy should run for political office if that's how he answered the question.

BAI: I think he's pretty practiced answering that question.

BURNETT: I think so.

OK. So during the convention, we heard a lot of success from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, touting the success of the automobile bailout. Governor Casey, though, obviously you spent time with him, the Republican, said, hey, look, the state has lost 3,200 auto jobs since those guys got into Washington. The bailout has nothing to do with the good news in Ohio.

When you balance everything you've seen from your reporting on the ground, what's your take? Who's responsible for any good news, Obama or Kasich?

BAI: Yes. They'll spin you right and left over the auto thing, but it really depends how you define an auto job. You could take the most narrow definition, which is what Governor Kasich does, or like the president, you can say, well, if a guy works in an auto dealership, he's an autoworker. So, it's a little confusing.

Look, the auto bailout, and I think you have to include the stimulus, the federal stimulus in this too, you have to -- you have to imagine that Ohio would be a very different and more ominous place today were it not for those federal interventions because the bottom would likely have fallen out -- a lot more unemployment, a lot of people losing employment insurance, Medicaid. So, I think you have to credit the federal government's responses with a stabilizing effect.

I think, you know, most of the people I talk to in Ohio think Governor Kasich is doing the right things to keep business. He's really enthusiastic. He's really persistent.

BURNETT: Right.

BAI: And he's got some success. But it's relatively early, you know, halfway through his term or so or less and governors, you know, can only effect to some extend the economic trajectory in their states which tend to follow a national course.

BURNETT: So bottom line, you write, Romney's bumper sticker for Ohio should be, quote, "Trust me, you're still miserable."

BAI: Yes. Well, of course, you know, Romney is often described in Ohio -- either party really as the odd man out, because he's the guy saying things are still bad. You've got the Republican governor and the Democratic president both saying things are great.

You know, but as I said, as we start out talking about, you know, I came to have some sympathy or not sympathy -- but some understanding at least of why they want to go that route in the Romney campaign and why they think it can be successful because you go to a lot of parts of the state, particularly in the industrial areas, and you'll find what the polls tell you, which is that people don't feel the reality of that improvement in their lives.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Matt, thanks very much. Everyone, of course, check out Matt's great article, "New York Times" magazine, it is going to be the cover.

And now to Yosemite National Park where a deadly outbreak of a rare virus related to rodents has claimed three lives and sickened five others. Health officials have now issued a worldwide alert and say as many as 29,000 people may have been exposed. I mean, these are people who just may have been in the park. You could have been there. You could have been driving through.

Exposure to the incurable Hantavirus occurred at the park where seven of the eight victims slept in those signature tent cabins. Now, this was some time after June 10th. The virus is carried in the droppings and urine of rodents and includes deer mice. You either inhale it or you could have direct contact.

Dr. Charles Chiu is an infectious disease expert of the University of California-San Francisco. He's OUTFRONT tonight. Dr. Chiu, obviously, this sounds pretty frightening that anybody that could have come into the park could have been exposed to this. How would you know if you were -- if you were possibly at risk?

DR. CHARLES CHIU, UCSF INFECTIIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Well, the main method of exposure to this virus is by inhaling contaminated droppings, usually from the urine or droppings of wild deer mice. This is a virus that's exclusively spread by exposure to wild deer mice.

So, if you have been hiking, if you've been camping, if you've entered kind of cabins that have not been used for some time or have not recently cleaned, you are at risk of inhaling contaminated droppings and potentially getting exposed to the virus.

BURNETT: And you wouldn't know that you inhaled it, right? You could have been walking by it? I mean, that's close enough.

CHIU: Well, it's thought that the virus is not that easily acquired, because there are many more potential exposures than there are cases.

BURNETT: Yes.

CHIU: I have to stress that this is a very, very rare disease. In fact, it's actually thought that typically the exposure is if you're in an enclosed space or if you (INAUDIBLE) dust by accidentally brooming or vacuuming the floor.

BURNETT: So, one thing that sort of amazed me when we were learning about this, at least from our understanding, tell me if I'm wrong, it's not curable. What are the survival rates? And how would you know, if you were there at the -- I mean, how long could it take to germinate in your body?

CHIU: Yes, this is a disease that has an incubation period of about one to six weeks. So, following exposure, you can become symptomatic and actually develop the disease within one to six weeks. There is no specific treatment and there is no cure.

However, it has been shown that the earlier that you present and seek medical care, the better that you'll do.

This is a very severe and deadly disease. It basically -- it has a 36 percent case fatality rate. Meaning that if you get exposed to the virus and you develop the disease, you have a 36 percent chance of dying from the illness.

So it's very, very important that if you are symptomatic and you've had the right, exposure that you seek medical care immediately. It has been shown that the earlier you get medical care and you get monitored closely in intensive care unit, the better you'll do.

BURNETT: And, quickly, just, you know, in a couple of worlds, the main symptoms would be what? CHIU: This is a disease that begins with -- it begins with flu- like illness. It will come with fever, aches and chills. It will be very nonspecific.

Then it will develop into more severe disease which is shortness of breath and a cough. And eventually develops into a full-blown pneumonia.

BURNETT: All right.

CHIU: But it begins just like a flu-like illness so it's important if you have recent exposure and you start to get flu-like symptoms, then you suspect that you may have been exposed, that you see a physician immediately.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks, Dr. Chiu, appreciate your time.

And OUTFRONT next, restaurants taking a page out of the airline manual, different prices at different times. Does that add up?

And the two different faces of one Vladimir Putin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Well, we've got some big news out of Massachusetts to tell you about. The town of Concord, it is the first community in the United States to ban bottled water. The ban on sales will go into effect on January 1st. It focuses on water served in one liter plastic bottles. They're not kidding. If you are caught selling a bottle of water in the New Year, you will face a warning the first time, $25 fine the second time, and $50 every single time after that.

The town law, the town won approval in April for this by just 39 votes after two previous rounds. I mean, they were, like, we're going to get this thing done. The environmentalists that champion the ban say it will reduce solid waste, not to mention all of the fuel that goes into producing all those bottles.

Which brings me to tonight's number: 6,600. That is the number of gallons of fuel that the Gulfstream 650 airplane holds. Look at that thing. It's beautiful.

Why is this important? Well, Concord is one of the wealthiest communities in the United States. It was announced this year that Hanscom Field, a private airport just outside of town that the town's wealthy residents use plan to expand its hangar by 130,000 square feet so they can house the larger Gulfstream 650.

So while the bottle ban might reduce the town's carbon footprint a little, it's still a long way to go because, you know, of the resident's private planes. One Gulfstream 650 which seats eight passengers holds the same amount of fuel it takes to produce 126,000 1-liter bottles of water. And since the airport is outside of the town limits, passengers can bring bottled water on board. And now to tonight's outer circle, where we reach out to our sources around the world. We begin tonight in Japan where the government says it's close to a deal to buy several small islands from a Japanese family. The problem is China claims the same islands as theirs. The purchase would likely leave the islands' sovereignty in dispute.

Paula Hancocks is in Tokyo and I asked her how close the deal is to being done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Japan's prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, tells me that a deal is almost done to buy the Senkaku disputed islands in the East China Sea. The government is buying them from a Japanese family that currently owns them and then they will nationalize them.

Now, this is a move that is certain to anger China. China also claims these islands and calls them Diaoyu. The Chinese foreign ministry just a couple of days ago said that any unilateral move by Japan would be considered, quote, "illegal and invalid".

Now, the prime minister did tell me, though, here in Japan that he was hoping to discuss this issue with China and make sure that everything was clear so there was no disruption in future relations. But he also said it's very unlikely the two sides will find time to talk this weekend at the APEC in Russia -- Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And thanks to Paula. And now, we go to Canada where the government has suspended relations with Iran. Iranian diplomats in the country have five days to get out.

Paula Newton's in Ottawa and I asked her what led to this rather significant decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, they gave several reasons. One them opening with the statement that, look, Iran, Canada feels, now poses the greatest threat in the world today, in terms of peace and security. Other than that, they claim that Iran is now a terrorist state. That it is basically sponsoring troops like Hezbollah, that it is encouraging Syria in its continuing civil war.

And they also pointed out that they fear for the safety of their own diplomats in the country. Having said that, though, this decision, Erin, really has more to do with Israel than with Iran. Many here feel in the last year Canada becoming much more pro-Israel than it has been in recent years. Many feel this was under some pressure from Israel that Canada decided it was better to cut ties with Iran -- Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: All right, thanks to Paula.

Now, let's check in with Anderson with a look what's coming up on "A.C. 360" on this Friday after a long and busy week -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It has been, Erin. Yes.

We're keeping them honest tonight on the program. With new jobs reports numbers that are presenting a spin challenge for President Obama. Unemployment fell in August, but it's mostly because hundreds of thousands of people stopped actively looking for work. With both the president and Mitt Romney in the campaign trail tonight, we're taking a look at how the new numbers could affect the end game.

Also tonight, another death from the Hantavirus. And now eight confirmed cases in people who visited Yosemite National Park this summer. There's a lot of mystery about this whole Hantavirus thing. We'll explain. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us for that.

Also, a murder mystery in the French Alps. This is a horrific story. A 7-year-old girl could be the key to solving it. Four people shot to death. The little girl survived.

Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" all at the top of the hour -- Erin.

BURNETT: Well, that's a tragic story. Thank God she survived. Thanks, Anderson.

Now, our fifth story OUTFRONT a new trend in dining inspired by airplanes. You think, oh, no, dining, airplanes, food, they don't go together. But they do, it's an idea that's taking hold in cities across the country and generating tens of millions for the restaurant industry. But it could spell the end of dinner at 8:00 for all of us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT (voice-over): It's as simple as supply and demand.

BEN MCKEAN, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, SAVORED: The opportunity was obvious.

BURNETT: But it's an idea that's putting a whole new spin on eating out.

MCKEAN: Just like in the airline or hotel industry where the price might depend on the demand of that hotel room or airline seat. We introduce that same model to the restaurant industry.

BURNETT: This is 26-year-old Ben McKean, cofounder and CEO of Savored, a restaurant reservation Web site that's built on a simple fact of life: time is money.

Like airlines, Savored offers cheaper meals for off peak hours. So, a table at a 9:30 on a Tuesday night at the famed 21 Club in New York would cost customers 30 percent less than one for Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Now, considering the quality of the restaurant, where dinner for two easily costs more than $150, that's huge.

MCKEAN: For them, it's really a unique value that is very compelling.

BURNETT: But on the flip side, are customers really OK with the idea of paying more for peak dinnertimes once they know they can get it for less?

Peter Esmond, director of operations at Rouge Tomate, says yes.

PETER ESMOND, ROUGE TOMATE: The same thing is, you know, why, you know, go to happy hour and you go to happy hour at 5:00 because it's early. They don't do happy hour at 9:00, you know? You do it at 5:30. So there's a reason for that.

BURNETT: And with the amount of money this idea is bringing in so far, it's likely here to stay.

MCKEAN: We're generating over $40 million a year for our restaurants and that's -- we have 1,000 restaurants on the platform. So, we feel we're making a significant contribution to their businesses.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Something to try out.

Well, next, Hillary Clinton, she says Russian President Vladimir Putin was dressed as a bird.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And now a story we've been OUTFRONT for almost a year. The two faces of Vladimir Putin. You know, first, there's the one you've seen recently, death-faced Russian leader who rules with iron fist and stands by while punk rockers get thrown in prison for speaking out against his government.

But then there's this side. The fun-loving Putin, into animals, looks great without a shirt. You know, you never know which put be you're going to get. Even at a technically serious event like the Asia Pacific Economic Council.

Listen to the exchange between the sultan of Brunei, an interesting guy of his own, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Did you see the story about President Putting dressing up like a bird? In a hand glider?

HASSANAL BOLKIAH, SULTAN OF BRUNEI: Really?

CLINTON: Yes. He does all sorts of things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Yes, he does do all sorts of things, because Vladimir Putin, the day before the summit, did go flying with birds. The secretary of state is right.

Reportedly inspire by the movie "Fly Away Home," Putin used a motorized hand glider to fly alongside a flock of Siberian white cranes. I mean, look at this.

According to the Russians, the birds were lost and Putin personally guided the cranes to their migratory ground in central Asia. And what is that ostrich on the shot.

This is the most recent adventure that Putin has embarked on. You know, he went to a shooting range. He's played with the tiger. He's a judo star. He played hockey.

He played hockey. He went diving for some ancient jugs, fished with his buddy Silvio Berlusconi. That was a pretty interesting one. There he is with the jugs. Berlusconi is -- we don't know why they were wearing suits there.

He's also of course a good horse rider. The jugs were later found to be fake. Maybe he really was guiding the cranes.

You know, it's kind of like Putin is at world leader summer camp. But someone needs to tell him summer is over because even though it's good to blow off a little steam, there are quite a few serious issues he needs to deal with. Instead of having fun all the time, he should be, you know, putting the toys away so he can fix some things.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" right now. Have a great weekend everyone.