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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
New Protests; Response to Libyan Violence; Anti-Islam Film; Romney Bashes Obama Libya Response
Aired September 12, 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": All right we have breaking news right now. Welcome to OUTFRONT. You're looking right now at a live picture of Cairo. Breaking news tonight, there are protesters that you are looking at near the U.S. Embassy. They have been rioting and setting fires in the street, just a couple of moments ago. It's 1:00 a.m. in the morning there. Ian Lee is in Cairo for us tonight. He'll be joining me on the phone in just a moment. But what we can tell you, what we've heard has happened on the ground is that Egyptian security had to tear gas some of those protesters that you see there and obviously it looks calm at this particular moment, but they had to tear gas security barbed -- brought in barbed wire.
We're hearing from a social activist who is there on the ground. Protesters then were able to push that down and the fight according again to CNN sources on the ground, then moved to a mosque in Tahrir Square, where there is also tear gas, about 200 meters from the U.S. Embassy. So that's what you're looking at right now. As we get Ian Lee ready, I'm joined by Nick Kristof here, columnist for "The New York Times", a man who has spent a lot of times covering the Arab Spring and now obviously thinking about the tragedy that has happened over the past 24 hours both in Cairo and in Libya, which we're going to talk much more about in a moment. But what is your reaction to how this seems to be escalating?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well I think the thing that strikes me the most is that at least in the Libyan government, you have a real sense of people apologizing and people trying to prevent it from happening again, trying to crack down the perpetrators. In Egypt, you have a government that has been waffling. That hasn't been living out to its responsibilities to protect the Embassy and the people in it and that has been simply appealing to the crowds.
BURNETT: And let me bring in Ian Lee. We have Ian as well. Ian, what can you tell us is happening on the ground right now in Cairo outside the U.S. Embassy?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Well Erin right now, we have protesters and police squaring off, seen (ph) Molotov cocktails, rock throwing between the protesters and the police. Not many protesters, but definitely enough to create a large disturbance and we're seeing the two go head to head. These are definitely more your hard core protesters that you see that are willing to go up into the front lines and really go in and attack the police -- Erin. BURNETT: And Ian, I know that you were reporting last night, there had been flags destroyed, flags burned, American flags. What is your sense of how much worse it has gotten or has it gotten worse? I mean some people thought maybe this would be -- happen one day and then burn out. Obviously, does not appear to be the case.
LEE: Well Erin, this is definitely an escalation. Yet you know when they enter the Embassy, we didn't see the police react, but now we're seeing the police react and protests in the past where we see protesters and police start to square off and start using tear gas, using rubber bullets, protesters using Molotov cocktails, these things can sometimes turn into a life of their own where you're going to see days potentially of clashes between protesters and police and unfortunately, most of times, these turn very, very deadly -- Erin.
BURNETT: Nick, when Ian says these most of the time turn very, very deadly, how much worse could this get?
KRISTOF: They certainly get substantially worse. Anytime you have a Embassy there, an American Embassy, you have these kind of crowds and you have you know people competing to demonstrate their religious and patriotic credentials, then you obviously worry about it especially when the government does not seem to be standing up to do its job.
BURNETT: And that is the key question here. I mean this is a government that one of the clerics that supported the government, was chanting banish sleep from the eyes of the Jews, this is a man who Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt just named to the Human Rights Council in Egypt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely and I mean I kind of fear that we're (INAUDIBLE) players in this. That what is really going on, this is some degree of competition between the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi element, radical element, and each trying to compete for religious support, for patriotic support and that the Salafists are trying to attack you know, that the U.S. Embassy may not only be their target, but really they're trying to outflank the government and show its vulnerability.
BURNETT: Ian, how much anti-American sentiment as you've had a chance to report, to talk to people to be there, how much anti- American sentiment specifically have you heard?
LEE: You know, it definitely is a lot among the crowd, obviously. The people are very, very upset about that film that came out that they say insults the prophet. You know I did talk to a few Egyptians on the street who said they are completely against the scenes we're seeing right now on the streets of Cairo. They said that they want stability. They want security. They want their country to move forward and they think these sort of things don't help Egypt move forward and one thing I want to point out, too, it's a lot of the time, these protesters, the ones that clash with the police have a tendency to be ultras from local soccer clubs that were very -- that have a very strong presence during the revolution. They challenged the police during the revolution and we still see them out there battling the police most of the time during the clashes.
BURNETT: Do you see security though? I mean we're talking about tonight, Ian, the tear gas that Egyptian security forces are firing outside the U.S. Embassy. But have you seen a real security presence that they've really stepped or -- and what have the Americans done?
LEE: It definitely looks like the Egyptian security forces have stepped up their security crackdown. They're allowing the protesters to go by the Embassy right now. You see the protesters and the police on their side throwing rocks at each other. (INAUDIBLE) cocktails (INAUDIBLE) tear gas -- definitely it looks like the police are making a stand to protect or at least protect the area around the Embassy.
BURNETT: All right, well thanks very much to Ian Lee. Nick Kristof, thank you very much, very lucky to have Nick with us tonight as well, a man who knows more about this than anyone.
It has been a very shocking and confusing day. As you just saw the breaking news out of Cairo, but the U.S. is still reeling from attacks on American diplomats in Libya. U.S. officials telling CNN tonight that it's too early to determine the motive for the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Earlier today they had actually said it was premeditated. Now, when we first reported news of the deadly attack here last night, we didn't know how many people had been killed. Now, we know that four Americans were murdered, including U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Stevens. Now the attack in Libya happened just hours after protesters first stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo where they burned down the American flag.
As that escalates in Cairo, in Libya tonight, America is responding. Within the past hour we have confirmed two warships, American warships are on their way to Libya. U.S. Marines are en route and the Defense Department is ramping up the number of drones. Now, American troops have been put on alert and may be moved at a moment's notice to protect U.S. Embassies worldwide. That was a statement from the Pentagon today. And in Egypt tonight, CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is on Skype. She is from Tripoli -- I apologize for that -- and Chris Lawrence is at the Pentagon. Chris, first of all, what can you tell us about the U.S. response? Specifically what the United States is now doing?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well you mentioned it briefly, Erin. Right now, we've learned that two Navy warships are heading to the coast of Libya. Both of those warships are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles. That's very important because those Tomahawks are satellite guided and can be programmed to strike a very specific target. Now, when one got the order, it was just a couple of hours away from Libya. The other was a few days' sail, but we know that the U.S. has been conducting surveillance drone flights over Libya for several months. Today, we learned that that surveillance will now be much more focused on trying to find the insurgent cell that is responsible for this attack. So, between the drone surveillance and these two ships, when they both get there, that gives the administration some options if and when it decides to strike back.
BURNETT: Jomana, what's the response on the ground in Libya to that, to this -- to the fact the United States is sending in warships, the Marines?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have not heard a reaction yet, Erin, from the government here. They have been busy this evening electing a new prime minister amid all this chaos and what seems to be a real disaster for the new Libya, but I have spoken with ordinary Libyans to get their reaction to this news and they seem to be pretty divided. Some who I have spoken to said it is a good thing. Someone needs to take action. Someone needs to take out these extremist groups that the government and the rest knows has been operating in eastern Libya and these people say that if their government is unable, it seems to have been idle, not doing much to tackle this issue, then someone else should and if the United States is going to do that, they should, but others here completely rejecting this, Erin, saying that they are going to try and turn Libya into another Iraq.
BURNETT: And they've said that that explicitly, about turning Libya into another Iraq. How did they say that -- I mean so many people tonight are trying to understand what the U.S. should so, whether the U.S. should stay, whether Americans should support the U.S. staying. Could you tell me a little bit more about those who are very anti-U.S. and their sentiment?
KARADSHEH: These people, Erin, did say that they do not agree with this attack. They really felt ashamed by what happened, saying that diplomats here, foreigners in Libya here should be protected, but at the same time, they said they reject the presence of any foreign troops or any sort of outside military intervention in Libya they said -- we've also heard that last year during the revolution, there was unity in the stands of Libyans who were fighting the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. They welcomed the support of NATO air strikes, but said that they did not want to see any boots on the ground. So at this point, this could be a real controversial issue here in Libya. We have to wait and hear, see what the Libyan government officials say about this. They have clearly said they are unable to deal with these groups --
BURNETT: Right. And that -- I mean Nick Kristof, let me bring you in here, which you just heard Jomana say that some people had told her tonight, regular Libyans, they don't want Americans in the military --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BURNETT: -- and they want to turn Libya into the next Iraq.
KRISTOF: Yes. But I do think that Libya is profoundly different from Egypt in that respect. There's a real current of anti- Americanism in Egypt and that's why the government is not responding. In Libya, on the other hand, there is clearly a sense of deep mourning at what happened, I think a sense of responsibility. They may not want Americans to take action against the killers, but I think that they -- that the government really is going to go after them. It's going to do what it can and there is you know Libya may well be the most pro American country in the region in a way that is profoundly not true and I'm a little skeptical about what American warships are going to be able to do in that kind of context.
BURNETT: All right -- I don't want to put words in your mouth, but are you going in the direction of perhaps that's more of a political move? I mean we have an election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BURNETT: Mitt Romney's been critical of Barack Obama's response and so go at and go all in visibly with force and --
KRISTOF: If you have an attack and you don't have anything clear that you can do, you move warships to the area. It's a show of force even if it doesn't revolve things. It does give you options and I think you can vaguely imagine some scenario in which we through drones get intelligence about where some al-Qaeda linked group may be and -- but I think that's a little bit farfetched.
BURNETT: Chris Lawrence, what's your reporting in terms of what the -- I guess the organization is of the U.S. response. I mean it did seem during the day, first, they said premeditated, then they said they're not sure what the motive might be. Now there are warships going in. Was it disorganized or no, just sort of dribbled out that way?
LAWRENCE: Well as it so happens, Erin, a lot of these cases it does dribble out that way because first accounts are just rarely right in any circumstance, you know and in this case, the U.S. did fairly respond very quickly to the actual situation there, you know in Benghazi, in Tripoli, with the diplomats. The Marine fast reaction team was on the ground as of early this afternoon. They're going to be beefing up the security there at the Embassy for the few American diplomats that are still left there and of course they're just keeping these other troops and units on alert right now, seeing perhaps where they may have to move them to Embassies around the world if those Embassies require some additional support.
BURNETT: OK, Chris Lawrence, Jomana Karadsheh and Nick Kristof thanks to all three.
Next, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Intelligence Committee, on who she thinks is behind the attack in which four Americans were murdered, and the controversial film about the prophet Mohammed that has sparked so much outrage. One of the actors in the film says she was conned into doing it. We have an exclusive interview with her OUTFRONT next.
BURNETT: And now, the film that's been blamed for the violence. The angry protests against the U.S. in Libya and Egypt are blamed in part on an amateur film called "Innocence of Muslims", which ridicules the prophet, Mohammed. Now I have watched the video. It's about 14 minutes long. It's supposedly a trailer for a longer film and we have decided not to show it, but we can tell you that it's bizarre and it portrays the prophet Mohammed as gay, a child molester and a quote "murderous thug". It depicts Islam as a fraudulent religion. OUTFRONT tonight, Miguel Marquez and Miguel, I know you spoke to an actress who worked on the film, had some of the -- had some of the hard and painful lines I just said there were among hers. What did she tell you?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well -- look she is horrified at what's happened and the only reason she went on camera is because she is horrified by what's happened. She doesn't want her name used. She's afraid for her life, but she's more angry at what the filmmaker has done. She said she took a small role in this film that she thought it was called "Desert Warriors". That's how it was represented to her. That it was an adventure film set 2,000 years ago. There was no discussion of Mohammed in the film. She says the character that plays -- that Mohammed was in the film is actually named George in the film and was referred to her either as Master George or Father Master during the film. She says that she made -- she was paid 500 bucks about three or four days of work on this film. She made a small, low budget film and she finds herself now in an international nightmare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: I would never be involved in a film to ever hurt or bring harm to anybody. And this makes me sick to my stomach to think that I was involved in that movie. That brought death to somebody else and I think it's unfair. I think it's very unfair. And I'm very sorry for that man, his family and everybody else that was hurt. I really don't know what to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: She is absolutely shocked by how this thing has taken off. This was a little tiny film. She also during that interview apologized to Muslims everywhere. She wants them to know that she and no other actors had anything to do with this being a propaganda film or anti-Islam or political. None of that, she says, was what she got into this for. It was a simple film that she was making and has completely been -- was misrepresented to her and changed after they had filmed their parts -- Erin.
BURNETT: Miguel, I'm curious because you know, watching it, there were a lot of people involved. Apparently, according to a statement CNN obtained on behalf of the 80 cast and crew members, the statement that they released to CNN said quote "The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100 percent not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose." However, you know when I watch it, they're talking about Mohammed and not the prophet Mohammed, but Mohammed, and they're talking about him being a child molester or being gay and I'm wondering do you believe this statement? Do you think that they possibly may not have known and really are upset? I mean what's your take?
MARQUEZ: She says they did something called looping. They made the film. She came back later and she did other lines. It is possible that some of those lines were also read by other people. If you watch that film, which just looks like a cheap, low budget -- BURNETT: Yes.
MARQUEZ: -- you know it looks like a comedy more than anything --
MARQUEZ: -- it appears that some of the lines have been completely dubbed over. She did say that she talked to Sam Bacile, the film's producer today, who is defiant. He's been described as somebody who is in hiding and fearful for his life. But she says that this guy is defiant. That he says he's done this because he's tired of radical Islamists killing Americans and that he is at fault for the movie. He is the writer he said. Don't let anyone blame you. It's me, the writer Sam Bacile, who is at fault here -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, well Miguel thank you very much and Miguel just mentioned that name, Sam Bacile. So much is unknown about the supposed filmmaker. He has been identified by that name Sam Bacile. Well earlier I spoke with Jeffrey Goldberg of "The Atlantic". He has been digging and digging to find out more about Bacile and I started by asking him if that person, that guy even exists.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG, THE ATLANTIC: I don't know if that person exists. There's no record of this person existing. He claims to have been a real estate developer, nobody's heard of him in that community in California. People in the Jewish community haven't heard of him. Hollywood -- IMDB has no record of this person being a director. The state of Israel says they have no citizen by that name. So my guess and this is all provisional because it can all change is that this is a pseudonym that this person does not exist. This person is not an Israeli Jew. He is someone else and he is -- whoever it is has been making up stories about the origins of his film.
BURNETT: And you talked to a man named Steve Klein, correct, that was --
BURNETT: -- who was a consultant on the film who -- so who is he and what did he tell you about this -- why, when, who this movie came to be?
GOLDBERG: Right -- right. Well again, going back to the hall of mirrors, I did talk to a guy named Steve Klein. I think he's a real person. There is a footprint on the Internet for this guy. He is a militant Christian activist in California. He spends a lot of time protesting outside mosques and schools warning people, these are his words obviously, warning people about the dangers of Islam and he claims to have been a consultant on this film. He says he met Sam Bacile, but this is what he told me. He said he believes that Sam Bacile is not an Israeli Jew. He believes that he is either an evangelical or a Coptic -- this is what he suggested -- a Coptic and a Christian from Egypt. This is what he suggested the people involved in the film are and he also said that it's not his real name.
BURNETT: Right -- right. Well, the Coptic Christian part, sorry --
GOLDBERG: He also said -- he also said --
BURNETT: That would be -- obviously when you get to see the violence that's already happening against Coptic Christians in Egypt I mean that could incite more violence.
GOLDBERG: Right. It's fairly obvious that if you're going to make a film like this that you're probably going to want to hide your name. Let's assume that for starters.
BURNETT: Right. Well, our Brian Todd also spoke to Steve Klein. I want to just play a short clip of that and then ask you something about it, so here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a very brave man. He's very depressed and he's upset. I talked to him this morning and he said that he was very concerned for what happened to the ambassador.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's obviously talking about Sam Bacile, and everyone, the man again you were looking at there is Steve Klein. So do you believe what he said?
GOLDBERG: There's somebody who put this thing together and put it up on YouTube. That's all we know. And Steve Klein's reporting that this person feels upset. We'll take him at his word, but what we'd really like to know is who is this person and who is this person, more to the point, who is alleging a vast Jewish conspiracy to make this film. That has real ramifications because this is spreading around the Middle East that a group of Jews in California are behind this. If it's not true, it would be very nice to know.
BURNETT: Right -- right. I mean -- I mean some of the things I've seen they're alleging there was a group of Jews who put millions of dollars up to specifically fund this film.
GOLDBERG: Yes and you've seen this clip. There's no million of dollars in that clip.
BURNETT: Right. No, definitely that would be no, it doesn't appear that way at all.
BURNETT: So, do you think, Jeff that we're going to find out who did this or is this going to remain sort of a mystery? GOLDBERG: There are a lot of reporters right now who I think are trying to flood the zone and come up with the identity of this person. I know that there are people who are right now trying to see Steve Klein in person, and so I imagine that it's only a matter of time before we understand the true identity of the person or people behind this. Assuming that Sam Bacile is not real and again, let me cautious here. There's a small chance that he is actually a real person. This is -- as I said this is -- we're a wilderness here of misinformation.
BURNETT: Jeffrey Goldberg, thank you very much. He's been reporting on who and what was behind this film. Thanks again.
BURNETT: And next, the Senate Intelligence Committee chair on who she thinks is behind the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya. Plus, Mitt Romney stepped into the conversation, was it a misstep?
BURNETT: The attack in Libya has raised serious questions about America's presence in the war-torn country. Here's Dianne Feinstein.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: The secretary of state is absolutely correct. You know we have tried to help Libya in every way, shape or form and now our ambassador, who was somebody very skilled in the area and had been in Jerusalem and Cairo and a number of other places and had helped in the transition, is murdered, as well as three other Americans and this is unacceptable.
BURNETT: You were briefed today. Can you tell us the latest that you know about what happened or who was responsible?
FEINSTEIN: I think this is the investigation that's going on now. It isn't clear and nobody quite knows. You know Zawahiri has done a message urging revenge for the death of an al Qaeda leader. And I think that was too soon to this event to have caused the event, but it may well be --
BURNETT: So you think it could be al-Qaeda?
FEINSTEIN: I think it could be. I can't say it was, but it certainly could be. Their weapons were somewhat sophisticated. They blew a hole in the building. They started a big fire and that's how the ambassador died, in the fire.
BURNETT: It would seem that if it's al Qaeda, their hallmark would be to claim responsibility. So, does this make you think it could be another group we don't know about?
FEINSTEIN: It's very hard for me to think regular Libyans would do this. People who wanted to be free and we've helped that freedom be achieved. As the secretary has so eloquently stated, it's very hard for me to think that.
And the head of the national assembly issued a very strong statement, I thought. I thought it was completely appropriate, saying the justice will be met, that they will find the perpetrators. I hope that's true. And I know we have 50 Marines on the way, so there will be a big investigation. I don't think we should let this one go.
BURNETT: When you say let this one go, the decision to intervene in Libya was bipartisan. That's fair to acknowledge. President Obama supported it. John McCain supported it. Mitt Romney supported it at that time.
But now, Americans see the U.S. ambassador's been murdered, three other Americans have been murdered. It just seems like the U.S. was really caught flat-footed in a situation where it appears now looking at it was already sort of a disaster.
FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't think we were caught flatfooted. I think this was a premeditated attack and it was carried out to do what it did. I have no doubt about that.
I think what it's a symbol of is that there is a great deal of unrest in the nine Muslim countries that were products of the Arab spring and I think nobody really knows which way things are going to go.
BURNETT: This summer when we were in North Africa, we experienced a little bit of the aftermath. You know, Malians are telling us about RPGs and surface-to-air missiles that were from Libya now there. You know, the morning after we left a village on the border, a local called us to say al Qaeda linked affiliates were there in a pickup truck with machine guns launched on the back of it.
Did the U.S. government really understand all the repercussions? I mean, that Gadhafi's cache of weapons could go missing empowering al Qaeda in northern Africa?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I think we have to be prepared for some unforeseen events. There is no question that al Qaeda hasn't gone away. I mean, we've made a real dent in al Qaeda in terms of removing a good deal of its leadership. Problem is, leaders are replaced and as you said, they've gone to Mali. And you know a great deal about it.
So, terror is not going to end as I see it, anytime soon.
BURNETT: Do you think, Senator, from your briefings and understand so far, or what do you think about the timing? Obviously, this happened yesterday in Libya and the attack on the embassy in Cairo, on September 11th. This video though that was either fully behind or partially behind what happened in Libya has been online on YouTube since July.
FEINSTEIN: Well, it's a stupid video. It's inaccurate, it's provocative, and it's just plain stupid for an American to do that. Nonetheless, it was done. Now, I'm surprised that anybody saw it, but someone did, and used that as a point of organization to really institute an attack. I mean, this wasn't the lonely person attacking. This was a group of 20. They were well-armed. They knew what they were doing.
So, I have to assume they were fighters of some kind and they certainly weren't on our side, that's for sure. And they did tremendous damage. And I think we have to see that and do something about it and catch them and put them to justice. And hopefully, Libya and the new government will be in the forefront on doing just that.
BURNETT: All right. Senator Feinstein, thanks as always. Good to see you, ma'am.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you. Nice to see you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. And now, to the political fallout from the attack in Libya and the attacks continuing in Cairo tonight. Sadly, it took this tragedy to put the foreign policy debate right front and center of this election. And it is a debate that has quickly turned nasty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions. It's never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans, and to defend our values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: President Obama then hit back late this afternoon on CBS News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that. It's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Have both sides made mistakes with regards to Libya and does this foreign policy debate benefit one or the other?
Former NATO commander, retired General Wesley Clark, who is also a foreign policy expert for the Obama campaign joins us now, along with the former U.S. senator, Norm Coleman, a foreign policy adviser for the Romney campaign.
Great to have both of you with us.
Let me start with you, Senator Coleman, because what Mitt Romney was referring to there was a statement put out by the American embassy in Cairo, talking essentially about the film that we were just reporting on, saying -- condemning, quote, "efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims." So essentially apologizing for that video.
That statement was put out before the embassy was attacked. Now, they did stand by it after the embassy was attacked. Does that mean it's fair for Mitt Romney to say that it's disgraceful, using his words, that the Obama administration's response was not to condemn, but sympathize with those who --
NORM COLEMAN (R), FORMER MINNESOTA SENATOR: Yes, because actually it was disgraceful and the Obama administration didn't disavow that statement until after Romney made his statement. So, the bottom line is that when American property and when American embassies are being attacked and besieged, the first response should not be to sympathize with protesters and it wasn't until Governor Romney stepped forward that the administration then responded.
Again, mixed signals. And, by the way, our enemies watch this. The problem here is not about statements. It's a problem of lack of leadership. Things are a mess in the Middle East and in America leading from behind has put us in a very difficult position.
So that statement was absolutely accurate. The Obama administration disassociated itself from the embassy statement only after Governor Romney acted in. In a Romney administration, embassy officials will not make those statements under these circumstances.
BURNETT: General Clark, is there anything to that or do you think, no, the Obama administration did the right thing and the embassy, which they say the ambassador wasn't even in Cairo, didn't approve the message, even though they stood by it, and President Obama certainly didn't know they were putting anything out?
WESLEY CLARK: The embassy was just trying to diffuse the crowd outside and I think that's what we would want. It's not an authoritative statement of the United States of America, certainly not a statement of the Obama administration, and it wasn't after the embassy was attacked. It was in order to diffuse the crowd.
Further more, there was nothing in that statement apologizing for America or for American values. So, I think it was just tactical move by the embassy that's been borne all out of proportions and what it shows is that I think you know, I think it's important to have a foreign policy debate and I think the American people welcome it.
And this is what it takes to get it started? Fine. But in general, usually, the first reports are wrong.
CLARK: And when you jump too soon to make statements and especially a statement like Mr. Romney made in the middle of the night last night, just to get on the record with a statement, you generally end up regretting it the next day. And what I've seen is that the rest of the Republican Party is not behind it. They all recognize the most important thing about this is first, the fact that we lost four diplomats there, including a very distinguished ambassador.
And, secondly, that this was a serious attack on the United States. It's our property over there. There's no excuse for it and the Obama administration's condemned it in the strongest possible terms.
BURNETT: Senator Coleman, what is Mitt Romney going to do next here? Because to General Clark's point, you know, Indiana Republican Dan Coats among others, have criticized Mitt Romney for this statement. Republican Dan Coates saying, and I'm quoting, "Making a kneejerk or quick political response, or kneejerk policy response, you have to amend that before we jump to too many conclusions," referring to Mr. Romney's statement.
COLEMAN: Again, the response of Governor Romney was absolutely -- very appropriate and there was no statement condemning the violence until after Governor Romney stepped forward. The other part of it -- and first of all, the most important thing here, the sadness of the loss, the murder of four Americans. That's primary and our hearts go out to the families.
Secondly, the issue that Governor Romney raised and people aren't talking about is the lack of leadership. That's what this is about. You ask Senator Feinstein the earlier segment, were we caught flatfooted? The issue is not flatfooted in what happened at the embassy.
The fact is that we were flatfooted in Egypt during from the transition from Mubarak. Joe Biden was calling him a champion of democracy until shortly before he left. Hillary Clinton called Assad in Syria reformer about a year ago. Syria, we subcontract our Syrian policy to Kofi Annan, which has been a failure.
And so, America, by leading from behind, has made the region a much tougher place. And the Israeli prime minister, you think you should be a little concerned about whether America's going to stand with you when facing an Iranian nuclear weapon?
BURNETT: General Clark, a final word to you, though. You were caution on this. You wrote an op-ed before the U.S. intervened, NATO intervened, in Libya, saying be careful, it's going to be your problem. I mean, in a sense, it's a miracle this hasn't happened yet.
You were the one cautioning the Obama administration to not to do this in a way they did.
CLARK: (INAUDIBLE) cautioning, Fouad Ajami and Paul Wolfowitz and the neocons not to rush in there, just like I'm cautioning right now, those in the Republican Party who are so eager to push the United States into Syria. I think the president's shown extremely good leadership in this matter. He got the allies to do everything they could to in Libya.
It hasn't worked out quite as smoothly. We knew it wouldn't, but it was better than standing by watching Gadhafi slaughter people. Mubarak and Assad work with the Bush administration extensively. And so to say President Obama doesn't have leadership because of these men is crazy. They've been in power for years and years and Bush's father, George H. Bush worked with him. So there's nothing new about the fact that Mubarak and Assad dealt with Americans there.
If the Republican Party wants to get a grip on foreign policy and enter this election fray, it should propose some policies, not just snipe from the sidelines.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you and obviously working with dictators is something both parties have been guilty of for many administrations.
Thanks to both of you. We appreciate it.
And, of course, as you know, tragically, four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya lost their lives during that violent attack last night in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Next, colleagues and friends remember what truly was a remarkable man. We'll talk about the ambassador.
BURNETT: The U.S. ambassador to Libya who died in last night's attack was a career member of the service. Chris Stevens was 52 years old. He grew up in northern California. He was fluent in Arabic and French.
Now, his background is fascinating. He was actually in the Peace Corps. He taught English in the 1980s before he joined the State Department in 1991.
Over the course of his career, he served in Israel, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and finally Libya.
Today, his colleagues and friends praised his work and legacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.
CLINTON: He risked his life to stop a tyrant then gave his life trying to help build a better Libya. The world needs more Chris Stevenses.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The American people have lost a self-less and dedicated servant of our interests and our values. And I have lost a friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Both of my next guests knew Chris Stevens as well. Elise Labott, our foreign affairs reporter, and David Tafuri, a partner at the Washington law firm Patton Boggs. He specializes in post-conflict countries including Libya and has spent a lot of time there.
So, thanks to both of your for taking the time. And both of you knew him well.
David, how passionate was he about Libya? I know you have been there several times recently and worked with him personally.
DAVID TAFURI, U.S. LEGAL COUNSEL TO THE LIBYAN GOVERNMENT: Yes, Chris Stevens was one of the finest diplomats the U.S. has to offer. He was an expert on Libya. After the war, he was appointed as the representative to the opposition, which was a great distinction and he worked very hard and tirelessly in that role, both coordinating the response to the humanitarian crisis and serving as liaison to the opposition figures.
He was a critical person for the administration in working through the problems in Libya. It's a huge loss and it's not only a loss in terms of a great diplomat, but someone who was really important to the past and future of Libya.
BURNETT: Elise, what can you tell us about the man? You knew him for a decade. What was he like personally? He, his family, the choices he made to go overseas?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, Erin, he was what you call at the State Department, a classic Arabist -- really loved the Middle Eastern region. And as we saw from his bio, just kept traveling around the region trying to understand. As David said, really loved Libya in particular and was really interested in helping this country build anew.
But, you know, as one colleague put it today, he was just a very laidback guy. He had this incredibly cool kind of northern California exterior, but inside, had this kind of burning desire to get it right. It's not that he wasn't a serious diplomat. He was very serious about the work he did, but he was very passionate.
And he wasn't a pinstriped diplomat. This was not a guy who stood in his office and went to meetings just with government officials. He was someone that would put on khakis and a button down shirt and roll up his sleeves and really get in the trenches as David said, working with the rebels on the ground.
He was a funny guy, a nice guy, always had a smile for everybody, and really seen as the cream of the crop at the State Department, really popular guy among the Foreign Service.
BURNETT: David, I guess the question is, is this something that, you know, given the way that he -- the passion that he felt for his job and that life that he has chosen, that he would be all right to die in the service of his country as a diplomat? TAFURI: Well, he certainly put his life on the line during the war by going to Libya, serving in Benghazi. He was a very courageous man. Also, cool, calm and collected under pressure. It's ironic that he died now in Benghazi, the place where he served during the war where people really loved him because he helped save so many people. You know, other than that, I can't answer that question, but he truly a great public servant.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. We appreciate it.
And ahead, the other stories that we are following for you tonight, including the latest on the teachers strike in Chicago that's now entering day four and Apple unveiling a new iPhone. We'll be back.
BURNETT: All right. Now to some other stories we care about, where we're focusing on our reporting from the front lines.
And tonight in Chicago, we're told some progress is being made to reach a deal to end a teachers' strike that's now in its first day. The vice president of the teachers union said the latest discussions are focused on teacher evaluations but added that some substantial movement was made. But it still appears both sides think a deal is not near. Chicago, of course, is the third biggest school system in the country, with more than 350,000 students.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev believes Pussy Riot should be released from jail. And according to "Reuters," Medvedev said he was sickened by what the band members did, but said a prolonged jail sentence seemed to him to be unproductive.
Now, three members of the band had been sentenced to two years in jail after they went to a Moscow cathedral singing a song criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now, of course, Vladimir Putin is the one who makes the decisions, so standing up to him could be a big deal for Medvedev.
OUTFRONT, though, talked to Peter Verzilov, the husband of one of the band members, he said it's tough to give any weight to Medvedev's comment, in his opinion. He says the prime minister is not taken as seriously as Putin.
Well, a plan to rescue the euro cleared a major hurdle today. A high court in Germany backed the European stability mechanism. Basically, it's a $500 billion euro bailout fund that's going to provide loans and buy bonds to try to stabilize the euro, which is used by 17 countries.
Now, following the news, European stocks went up, borrowing costs and some of the really in duress countries went down to their lowest level in six months. All good news but as Peter Breitbart told OUTFRONT, it appears right now members of the euro have, quote, "central bank beer goggles on that turns all good news into good news."
Well, the iPhone 5 arrived and there's one question for the biggest country in America. Will it be special enough?
BURNETT: Big news for Apple fans. The iPhone 5 is finally here. And as expected Apple unveiled the new phone at a packed invitation- only event today. So, the new iPhone is lighter and thinner. It has a larger screen than the iPhone 4S. The processor is twice as fast and has better battery and cameras. Sounds pretty good.
You can get it in black or white and it starts at $199. So you can start preorders on Friday and the 5 will launch officially on September 21st.
Now, since the original iPhone came out in 2007, Apple has sold about 244 million of them. For the new one they're going to sell 10 million in the first 10 days -- this is the projection -- and 50 million by the end of the year. The total, about 300 million iPhones in history. Which brings me to tonight's number -- 500 million. That's the number of Google android devices that have been activated.
In a Google Plus post last night just before the Apple announcement, Google announced the total and said there are 1.3 Android activations every day. So, if that number holds, Google will hit 640 million activations by the end of the year and a billion by October 2013.
Of course, that's not just a phone, it's tablets too, but as of last month, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the most popular Android in the world, became the number one selling smartphone in America.
We'll see if the iPhone 5 is exciting enough to get Apple back to being number one.
Thanks for watching.
"A.C. 360" starts now.