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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Ambassador Stevens' Final Moments; Interview with Representative Mike Rogers; Mitt Romney Caught on Tape

Aired September 17, 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, we have new video showing the moment Libyans found the body of Ambassador Chris Stevens inside the American Consulate. Plus, as Mitt Romney tries to push out a new message, an undercover video leaked from a far left blog where the presidential candidate is making a joke about being Latino. We have that for you and there was an apparent deal to end the Chicago teachers' strike, so why are some union members refusing to go along with it? We have a union member live tonight.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett and OUTFRONT tonight we have new video from an eyewitness of the last moments of Ambassador Chris Stevens' life. Arwa Damon is live in Benghazi for us tonight and Arwa, I know we've had a chance to look at this video, I'll warn our viewers, it is a bit disturbing, but tell us about the ambassador's last moments and what we're going to see in this video.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what this video shows, Erin, is a group of men in a fairly chaotic scene crawling out of a window that they had just broken into trying to reach this part of the compound of the main building in the compound that had effectively been sealed off because there was no other entry point into it. The doors, the windows, all had bars on them. You hear a voice shouting that they found a dead body, and then in the midst of all of this chaos you hear someone screaming, he's alive, he's alive. And then you feel this wave of euphoria as these people realize that this individual is in fact alive and they start chanting "God is great". Now at this point in time according to the young men who filmed this, nobody realized that this was the ambassador.

He says they knew it was a foreigner. They suspected perhaps it was an American, but it didn't cross anyone's mind that it was in fact the ambassador himself. He says that they believed he was still alive because there was a pulse, a very weak one, and because his eyes were moving, but in the 10 minutes that it took for them to be able to transport him to the hospital, it appears that he died because the doctor at the hospital says that when the body arrived there, he received a code blue, patient arrested, resuscitation needed. He says he tried to for 45 minutes, but it was tragically too late -- Erin.

BURNETT: And Arwa, we're now able to hear -- everyone what we did was play it for you so you could see it. Now, we can hear some of the audio of what appears to be confusion, but all of the men talking. Arwa, give us a bit more of a sense -- when you say it's literally euphoria, I mean I think this may be an important point, the people that were here at the moment were happy that they found this person alive, right? I mean you also spoke to the man who actually filmed the video and that was his point of view, too, right?

DAMON: Most certainly and you hear it when they're chanting "God is great" once they realize that he is alive and that is something that you will traditionally hear as being a sign of rejoicing, praising God that this life had been spared or so they thought initially and when people realized that it was in fact the ambassador, that he had in fact later on passed away, the vast majority of Libyans were incredibly, incredibly horrified. They'd been repeatedly expressing their anguish, their sorrow to us because none of them wanted to see Libya down this course. None of them wanted to see a man who they say had sacrificed so much for their own country, who truly loved the Libyans have to suffer in this way and those people you see in that video, those as far as we are being told, are not the same individuals who launched the attack or at least the majority of them --

BURNETT: Right.

DAMON: -- are not the same individuals who launched the attack. They are people who went through, who were curious bystanders. Yes, there were some looters amongst them, but this most certainly is not the group we're being told was actually responsible for the assault itself.

BURNETT: And Arwa, I want to ask you about something you reported on this show on Friday. You -- and you've done more work on this. You've said the consulate was warned three days before the attack about a lack of security. Were there other warning signs, warnings given to American officials at that time?

DAMON: Look, Erin, it's important to note that over the past few months, there have been an increase in attacks against western interests in Benghazi. That same consulate was attacked in the past. The convoy of the British ambassador was attacked. The convoy at the head of the U.N. mission as well and the ICRC compound had a complex attack launched against it. So, officials are telling us that for months they have been warning the Americans about this growing security threat, about the growing presence in power of these extremist militia groups, specifically in Benghazi. There was a meeting shortly before the compound was attacked. It was meant to be about business economics, but the Libyan military officials there told the Americans who were senior officials from the consulate itself that look, now is not the time to be talking about expanding business, about increasing a western presence in Benghazi because we are not capable of containing this threat by these extremist militias and the ambassador himself was aware of the general overall deterioration and the security situation.

BURNETT: Right. All right, Arwa Damon, thank you very much. Arwa has been doing all of this reporting tirelessly from the ground. Representative Mike Rogers is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He has been following developments in Libya, been briefed, and he is OUTFRONT tonight. Chairman, good to see you. We appreciate your taking the time.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: Now you just heard our Arwa Damon report. She had more details tonight, but that there had been warnings of a deteriorating security situation. Perhaps not of a specific attack, but that there had been other attacks and that there had been warnings. How could this happen in a country that the Libyan government says it was unable to even defend. It was unable to even defend the U.S. Consulate. How could it happen that our consulate was unguarded to the degree it was on September 11th in a country like that?

ROGERS: Well a couple of things. First of all, yes, we had gotten threat streams over time. Months, many months as a matter of fact. Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and Northern Africa was seeking to attack Western targets. We know at that very site there was ED (ph) about two months prior to. We know all of those things in fact happened, but here's what we need to be careful. It was a bit expeditionary, so we were asking this ambassador and embassy staff to be expeditionary, to go to dangerous places and try to forge ahead a U.S. establishment there and so we have to be careful. We asked him to do dangerous things knowing it was expeditionary. What we're trying to do now is make sure we didn't miss anything because we're going to ask these people and we do it all over the world to do really dangerous things. Now we don't want to take unnecessary risks. But we clearly asked them to take what we argue is necessary risks, so we have to determine was this a necessary risk or were they just ignoring all the signs around them that caused this to happen? And candidly, Erin, we just don't know for sure and for certain right today.

BURNETT: Right. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Bob Menendez have both been on this show and both have been very direct in answering the question, were we caught flat footed and said no. What's your reaction to that though? I mean it does seem -- I mean you know Arwa had reported she's been into the consulate. There wasn't even a safe room that had food or communications equipment in there which would be standard operating procedure anywhere. Never mind in a county that isn't really governed by a rule of law.

ROGERS: Well I don't know how you argue we weren't caught flat footed. They stormed our consulate, were successful in that and killed our ambassador and three other employees. That is being caught flat footed.

BURNETT: Yes.

ROGERS: Now, what we have to ask is tell me all the circumstances surrounding that. Was it -- did we know about it and just missed it or was this one of those things where we did we get caught flat footed and we -- an ambassador paid his life and those embassy employees paid with their lives for that consequence of being there.

BURNETT: The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice said that this was not preplanned. I want to just play that for you and then get your reaction. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact, this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: As the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, do you believe her?

ROGERS: I'm not sure I believe her or not. I disagree with her clearly. All the information I see from the Department of Defense and our intelligence agencies, they're recommending at what something they call, Erin, a moderate degree of confidence, which is not solid --

BURNETT: Right.

ROGERS: -- that they think it was a spontaneous event. But there is lots of other information, some classified, some public, some open source, when you put it all together, when I look at the information, I mean it had indirect fire, artillery type fire from mortars. They had direct unit action. It was coordinated in a way that was very unusual. They repulsed a quick reaction force that came to the facility and then you look at other bits of information that we had including some that your reporter reported on that hey they were getting information that these extremists, some coming from other countries were coming around and they were having a very difficult time --

BURNETT: Right.

ROGERS: -- that all doesn't make sense to me. That certainly looks like it was a planned and coordinated event. Now, none of us know for sure to be fair, but to say for sure and for certain that this was a spontaneous event I just can't get --

BURNETT: You don't see it.

ROGERS: No, I can't see it.

BURNETT: You mentioned them coming from other countries. That's something the Libyan government has said. We've been talking about this for months, the rise of al-Qaeda in Northern Africa. You know and when you look at the map it's pretty stunning -- just throw it up for viewers -- I mean that is really the entire of Northern Africa, Mali among them and Chairman, actually, we went to the border of Mali in July to report on the al-Qaeda linked groups that -- militants who have taken over the northern part of the country and I'm just wondering from your point of view, do you think that we should regret what we did in Libya, the intervention, that it has caused so many weapons to go missing, to go all around North Africa (INAUDIBLE) al- Qaeda to rise in such a broad region?

ROGERS: The one mistake that we made and those of us who are voices of this very early on was not securing the weapon systems that were there. We knew that they had man pads (ph), anti-aircraft weapons and they had a whole cache, all spread across the country. Because remember dictators aren't worried about external threats. They're worried about internal threats, so the way they had the caches all around the country, once it happened and there was that period of chaos, this became an arms bizarre, so it's not unusual to understand that you had al-Qaeda, you had other groups. You had AQIM, which is affiliated with al Qaeda from Algiers, the (inaudible) who are -- you know have whole generations of contraband --

BURNETT: Yes.

ROGERS: -- and weapon sales and all of those things, all coming in saying we're going to get ourselves some weapons and I have argued both privately and publicly that Mali was the first victim of the Libyan revolution in the sense that those weapons ended up in the hands of people who try to overthrow the government of Mali. So, yes, I mean that was clearly a mistake. Now, we're going to have to rectify it and we're going to have to I think be more engaged, not less engaged to try to make sure we put a cap on this thing so that doesn't spread across the rest of Northern Africa and southern Europe and the Middle East.

BURNETT: Right. All right, well thank you very much, Chairman. I appreciate your taking the time.

And still OUTFRONT we have new details about the person behind the anti-Islamic film which remains at the center of the outrage. Tonight, he is no longer in his home, so where is he? Plus, Mitt Romney caught on tape making a joke about being a Latino, we'll play that for you next. And the booming economy of Super PACs, there is an economy booming in this country who is making millions of dollars on your vote.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT caught on tape. Now, this is a day when Mitt Romney was trying to retool his image, but then an undercover video came out and it is of Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser earlier this year joking about how being Latino might have helped his campaign. Now the video that we're about to show you was obtained by the left blog Mother Jones.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My heritage, my dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents I'd have a better shot of winning this, but he was --

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: -- living in Mexico and he lived in it for a number of years. And I mean I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Roland Martin, Reihan Salam, and John Avlon. Well, Roland, you seem really happy.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, no, first of all, I think what this says is that -- this is the MO of the Republican Party when you talk about what Romney also said that essentially 47 percent of the country, he's not going to bother with them. He doesn't care about them. All they simply want is a bunch of government assistance --

BURNETT: Well I'm going to play that one -- I'm going to play that one in a second, but let's stick with this one about the Latino joke.

MARTIN: Sure.

BURNETT: I mean is this -- how bad is this for him? I mean --

MARTIN: Well first of all --

BURNETT: -- is this going to come off as a racist kind of a joke?

MARTIN: Well a poll came out the other day by Matt McReddle's (ph) group showing that he is 53 points down to President Obama among Latinos. All I'm saying is it's not going to get you a higher amount of Latino votes and so he might think it's cute, but it doesn't necessarily play well. But the (INAUDIBLE) more (INAUDIBLE) comments what he said later.

BURNETT: That's right and I'm going to play that right now and Reihan let's go to you after that. Here is another clip of Mitt Romney at the same fund-raiser. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent (INAUDIBLE) who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Reihan, that has got to be something that his campaign is pretty upset (INAUDIBLE) come back. In fact, it's pretty surprising he would ever have said something like that.

REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think that the part of it that resonates with a lot of conservatives is the part about taxes. About 47 percent of folks aren't paying federal income taxes. The problem is that half of those people don't pay because they have very low incomes.

BURNETT: Right. SALAM: About a quarter of them don't pay because we don't tax Social Security benefits. That's pretty popular and there's another chunk that doesn't pay because it's people's low to moderate incomes with children, who benefit from the child tax credit, which was created by Republicans, by the EITC (ph), a program championed by Ronald Reagan and many other congressional Republicans and a variety of other measures that are designed to give parents of young kids a boost, so I think that this was definitely a really bad call on his part. And I think that what he was trying to do is appeal to folks in that room by demonstrating that hey, I'm one of you guys. I'm not a Massachusetts moderate, but in fact I'm a staunch conservative and I think that this is something where he's really going to have to demonstrate he's somehow going to have to spend the next 50 days convincing middle income and working class folks that he has plans that are going to benefit them. I don't think this is necessarily fatal, but it's a really bad sign --

BURNETT: Right.

SALAM: -- and I think that it's something that he's going to have to work to regain the trust and the big problem that Romney has is that he's oftentimes very opaque. He oftentimes seems to be catering to a particular audience rather than saying things that he authentically believes.

BURNETT: Right.

SALAM: And so that way a lot of folks who criticize him can basically project anything they want to onto him and that's a huge, huge problem.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: John Avlon, I mean what about the fact of what he said, that 47 percent of the people won't vote for him anyway?

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. It's a fundamental problem. He's setting up this narrative that there's this Obama entitlement army --

BURNETT: Right.

AVLON: -- and that we are really two Americans and there are people who are addicted, dependent on government and they're never going to vote for us any way and there's this sort of you know we feel compassion for them and we know they're with the other guy. When you all of a sudden telegraph that that's the vision of America you've got and you've got to start building a winning coalition outside your base and you already come across as out of touch and as a member of the super rich, this does not help. This is not the reset the Romney campaign wanted today at all.

MARTIN: Hey, Erin --

BURNETT: Yes, go ahead, final word -- MARTIN: What also stands out is when Mitt Romney says they think that they are victims. When you look at the fact that as Reihan said over half of the folks they're elderly. They're elderly --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Also, some of the people who don't pay, they are students. And so when you make that kind of comment, you're denigrating fellow Americans. How is this going to play to the woman who introduced Michelle Obama who said she had four kids in the military?

BURNETT: Right.

MARTIN: She's supporting the president. Is she a victim? Is she a moocher? What about the guy who founded Costco, the guy (INAUDIBLE)?

BURNETT: OK.

MARTIN: I mean Mitt -- the problem with Mitt Romney here is you're basically saying to the rest of you, you're utterly irrelevant. I don't even care about you.

BURNETT: OK.

MARTIN: I won't even focus on you.

BURNETT: All right. And of course people who don't pay federal income tax do pay sales taxes and all kinds of other things, so they contribute in other ways. It would seem very unfair to characterize them in this way. Thanks to all three of you.

Well ahead new details about the shadowy person behind the anti- Islamic film at the center of the protests in the Middle East. Plus the panda, there's something special about the panda.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Exciting animal news today. A baby panda was born in the United States. Now, a 14-year-old giant panda named Mei Xiang (ph) -- you can see her right there -- there she is being very protective of her young, gave birth at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. today. Now this is just Mei Xiang's (ph) second cub after years of failed pregnancies. According to zoo reps the next few days are going to be crucial for the baby which is currently -- I mean it doesn't get cuter than this -- the size of a stick of butter. Little teeny-weeny little thing. In keeping with Chinese tradition, the new cub will not be named for 100 days and despite the fact that the new cub was made in the U.S.A., it must be returned to China in four years, which brings us to tonight's number, one billion.

According to the White House that's the dollar amount China has illegally subsidized its auto industry. According to an action file by President Obama with the World Trade Organization today, between the years 2009 and 2011, China provided export subsidies to Chinese carmakers that are a violation of World Trade Organization rules. And this comes on the heels of another filing from the U.S. that claimed that China also imposed duties on American made cars that hurt us to the tune of $3 billion. It really starts to add up.

But China says that unlike its pandas, this issue isn't so black and white and today the Chinese filed their own WTO action against the U.S. saying a new U.S. trade bill would be deeply unfair to Chinese exports. And by the way, what's up with "TIME" magazine naming pandas number eight on the most evil animals of all time. Very, very strange, turns out they're scary.

Ahead, where's the controversial filmmaker responsible for the anti-Islamic movie sparking outrage around the world? Our Miguel Marquez investigates. Plus, as the outrages spread, we're going to take you to Egypt and speak to a blogger and activist who said that the new government now, the Muslim Brotherhood, is more oppressive than Hosni Mubarak's regime.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines. And for the first time now, we are hearing from the police officer who was shot 15 times during the mass shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple.

Oak Creek Lieutenant Brian Murphy was the first officer on the scene of the shooting. Moments after he exited his police car, he encountered the gunman and was shot in the parking lot. He spent weeks in the hospital. And just yesterday, made his first public appearance for the victims of the shooting, of which seven lost their lives, including the gunman.

Murphy was shot in the throat, but he thanked the public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. BRIAN MURPHY, OAK CREEK POLICE OFFICER: I just wanted to let everyone know how appreciative I am, my family is, for your kindness and prayers and support. It means so much to us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Very moving. Well, yesterday was also his birthday.

And now, an OUTFRONT update on a story we followed closely -- the drilling for oil of the coast of Alaska. We have learned that Shell has suffered a setback. The company says its oil containment barge was damaged while conducting trials. That means Shell will be forced to wait until next year to begin drilling for oil deposits in the Arctic. We're told workers, though, will still be prepping holes so that they are ready. But that is a significant delay.

And General Motors is reportedly pushing the government to sell its stake in the American car company. Now, as you know, we've been broken down these numbers before. If we were to sell now, it would be a big loss for American taxpayers. Right now, the government still owns about 30 percent of General Motors and if they sold it today, it would lose $15 billion.

Analysts have told OUTFRONT that G.M.'s stock price needs to reach between $62 a share to break even. Tonight's G.M. sits stuck at $23.80.

Well, it's been 410 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

And now, our third story. We have new details tonight about the man behind the anti-Islamic film which has been blamed for protests around the world.

OUTFRONT tonight, Miguel Marquez, who has been following the story from the beginning.

And, Miguel, I know that the filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was picked up this weekend by authorities. Do you know where he is now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do not. He wasn't arrested or detained, but was picked up at the behest of federal officials by L.A. County sheriff's deputies. He was taken to a location to talk to probation officers and then he was not returned to his home. And then early this morning, his family moved out as well, Erin.

BURNETT: And do you know where his family went? I mean, were they -- did they have explicit threats on their lives?

MARQUEZ: Well, look, there's a lot of media camped out in front of their house. The kids can't get to school. They can't leave the house. They've been basically under the watchful eye of the media since this thing broke out. So, the L.A. County sheriff's deputies pick up the family early in the morning, took them to a sheriff's office and then they reunited them with Mr. Nakoula, and then they all drove off to where the sheriff's office says is an unknown location.

He is not being surveilled or under any sort of custody whatsoever, Erin.

BURNETT: And obviously, trying to hide his physical identity in this video.

MARQUEZ: Absolutely. This is a guy who does not want to be known. It is not clear -- I mean, clearly, this film has garnered a lot of heat and a lot of frustration and anger around the world. But this is also a guy that comes with a very checkered past. It is not clear what his motivations are exactly for keeping his face out of -- or trying to keep his face out of the public eye.

BURNETT: And, Miguel, I want to ask you something, because I know you've had a chance, you were the first to speak with one of the female actors on the film. You've spoken to other actors and they've all tried to say they didn't know it's content in any way. They were using a different name for Muhammad than was used in the trailer. There was dubbing that happened for example. But when you watch it, you've got to wonder, is that possible?

What was your take having spoken to them?

MARQUEZ: I can only tell you what they've said and it does appear that the information given to most of these actors was very compartmentalized. This is a man who knew exactly what he wanted to produce and he was going to get it done no matter how he carried it out.

The actors that I spoke to said they were given very few pages of dialogue. It was given to them maybe the night before. They read it and it was only after they went to a sound studio somewhere, dubbed some of the more inflammatory words and phrases and they were done out of context and then those were then put into the film.

And it is truly not clear whether or not a fulfill m has been finished. One did preview here in the Hollywood area just a couple of blocks from here, but it's not clear if that was an actual film, if it was the 15-minute trailer. Only a few people showed up. It certainly didn't attract a lot of attention.

BURNETT: Very disjointed to even view it. All right. Thanks very much to Miguel.

Well, how Egypt handled the attacks on the American embassy has emerged as a major point of contention between the two countries. Egypt, of course, one of the biggest recipients of foreign aid in the world and has now made national security one of the hot button issues in the election of 2012. Attention is now on the Muslim Brotherhood, which already raised eyebrows this spring with this chant at a campaign rally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLERIC: Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews. Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: We have played that before on this show. We found that on YouTube. That was a cleric leading a rally in Cairo.

Well, that cleric has been named to the Human Rights Commission under President Mohamed Morsi.

Earlier today, I spoke with prominent Egyptian blogger and activist Mahmoud Salem and I asked him if that video and promotion of the cleric to the Human Rights Commission was shocking to him at all.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAHMOUD SALEM, BLOGGER: No, I think we're dealing with slightly, I don't want to say extremists because I think you know, extremists have some sense of their actions. I think we're dealing with people that have dropped the ball

BURNETT: Was Hosni Mubarak better when it comes to certain things like women's rights or progress than Mohamed Morsi?

SALEM: I think what we're dealing with is a different frame of reference here. I think Mubarak didn't care for women's rights or human rights for that matter, but he had to maintain some sort of a front about it. You know, because his words don't matter, he did not execute them. You know, I think what we're having now is a more clear oppressive regime. You know, one that basically doesn't care what keeping pretenses with the world.

BURNETT: When you say more oppressive, it sounds like you're saying that current government is more oppressive than what was a 30- year dictatorship.

SALEM: Yes, let me give you an example. Just two days ago, just a few days ago, actually, this young Christian guy called Alber Saber got arrested from his house. Apparently, he posted the video, the trailer of the offensive Muslim video on his Facebook page and that has prompted a mob attack on his house and the police to arrest him and beat him up and charge him with disdainful religion, which means he's going to spend two years in jail.

First of all, it's amazing that in our country, our government, that basically was brought on by a revolution that started through a Facebook page, that shared content that the previous regime thought was offensive, but never actually like jail the people who are running it, at least not for long, you know? It's now having government that is going the same thing, except this time, they're jailing them and they want to put them for two years.

They are fantasies about control and the way we're supposed to act that don't correspond with reality or the world or anything, you know? And it's going to be their end. Hosni Mubarak did not reach that level of insanity after 30 years of his rule. He doesn't reach the level of reach and connection between, you know, the businessman and his (INAUDIBLE) government corruption the way Morsi and his (INAUDIBLE) have been doing for the past two months.

BURNETT: President Obama said last week in an interview that got a lot of attention here in the United States, that Egypt is not an ally, but not an enemy. But he said it is no technically an ally. Obviously, there is a legal definition to ally in terms of treaties.

But Egypt gets a lot of money from the United States and a lot of Americans think you get that money when you were an ally. We put the question to you, Mahmoud. Is Egypt an ally of America?

SALEM: Well, the current government is not an ally of America. That's number one. Number two, if the United States wants to cut the aid, please do it. It's not really going to affect Egyptians. You know, the majority of the aid goes to the military any way. We don't see that money.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Interesting point of view there from an activist. Obviously, he is not a proponent of the current Muslim Brotherhood administration, but says they don't need the aid.

But joining us now, Democratic strategist Jonathan Prince, and Rick Grenell, who also briefly served as foreign policy spokesman for Mitt Romney.

OK. Great to have both of you with us.

Rick Grenell, interesting that you have someone there saying, well, we don't need the aid. Fine, and we're not an ally. What do you say?

RICHARD GRENELL, FMR. SPOKESMAN FOR THE U.S. AMB. TO THE U.N.: Well, first of all, you know, I can appreciate his point of view, but they do need the aid. It's $1.5 billion a year and they absolutely need it. It's not just military aid although that's the majority of aid.

BURNETT: Yes.

GRENELL: I think that his point about this government in Egypt and how nervous he is, is a great point. It's something that's been happening for many months and I think we've seen the Islamists across the Middle East gaining ground in Yemen, in Syria, in Egypt. They just killed our U.S. ambassador in Libya.

This is a problem that's been happening and shockingly enough, we have a White House who's saying it's all about some film. It's really been happening for many months, and we have an administration that has been looking the other way and parading around like they killed Osama bin Laden and their work is done. It's shocking.

And I think the media's got to start focusing on the fact that the Islamists have been on the move. They've been on the move for a while. This is nothing new, Erin.

BURNETT: Well, it's an interesting point and I think the administration certainly like everyone at least is confused on how to deal with it.

Jonathan, let me ask you this question though, because to Rick's point --

GRENELL: Not everyone is confused. Let me just correct that point. Not everyone is confused. They are confused.

BURNETT: Well, I think that -- well, I'm not going to get in the debate with you. I'll let you do that part.

But, obviously, the Muslim Brotherhood is different from country to country.

JONATHAN PRINCE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Certainly.

BURNETT: There are different factions within the Muslim Brotherhood. But what I want to ask you is what the public is saying so far about how the president handled these attacks. Get your response, then Rick's.

So, President Obama, 45 percent approve, 36 percent disapprove; Mitt Romney, 26 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove.

Those are obviously not good numbers for Mitt Romney. I'll get to Rick on that in a moment. But 45 percent approve, 36 percent disapprove for the president, is that a big win or no?

PRINCE: Look, I think those are good numbers. I think anytime in polling where you ask a question, where you put in an electoral context, where you say, what do you think of Obama, what do you think of Romney? People default to their partisan position.

The real question is where are they breaking? Where's the advantage? Where's the differential between the way they approve? How does it break down on the way -- you know, what you see internals of that poll. Democrats are highly supportive of President Obama.

BURNETT: Of course.

PRINCE: Republicans, very lukewarm on Romney. That kind of intensity is a problem for Romney. The differential, a 20-point differential, that's a problem for Romney.

BURNETT: Rick --

PRINCE: The reason is because what we saw from Mitt Romney is something in kindergarten, kind of engage brain before opening mouth thing. You can't play the kind of talk first shoot later think afterwards style of diplomacy. It's not what works for commander-in- chief.

BURNETT: Rick, you hear 26 percent for Romney. That's got to make you scared.

GRENELL: Sure. No, it's a terrible number. There's no question about it.

I'd like to know what was given to these respondents to respond because if they were given in any news media reports from the last week, I wouldn't blame them for thinking. I mean, the news media has been atrocious.

Here we have Mitt Romney waiting 15 hours while the Islamists are beginning to take over our embassy. We can debate on whether 15 hours is too early like this gentleman just said. I actually think 15 hours is too late for the president of the United States to come out and do something.

Why was he just sitting there when he got briefed that Americans were killed? When the 3:00 a.m. phone call happened, where was he? Did he go back to bed? Why was he missing his intelligence briefings?

PRINCE: Well, Rick --

GRENELL: There's a lot of questions that need to be asked. PRINCE: Rick, with all due respect, that's not an accurate version of events? What happened is --

GRENELL: What is? What happened?

PRINCE: We first heard late at night on Tuesday, one American had been killed. Secretary Clinton went out.

GRENELL: Fifteen hours.

PRINCE: Hold on a sec. Secretary Clinton went out right away and made a statement.

GRENELL: Not right away, 15 hours.

BURNETT: Seven p.m. is when we reported an American dead.

PRINCE: Correct. Secretary Clinton went out hours later.

Rick, Rick, Rick, let me say what I'm going to say and then come out on me. Let me say it first. It's a little reminiscent of the way your candidate jumped out.

BURNETT: All right. Make your point.

PRINCE: Secretary Clinton was out there that night, very clear, the loss of life is unacceptable. We did not have the facts. We did not know the ambassador was dead. No way to notify next of kin. What you do no diplomacy because words matter in diplomacy. Words --

(CROSSTALK)

GRENELL: OK, so let me have my point now.

PRINCE: Let me just finish. It's got to be clear --

GRENELL: No, you had your point. Words matter.

PRINCE: Overnight, you have to --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Rick, let him just finish, 7:00 in the morning --

PRINCE: Seven in the morning on Wednesday, the president of the United States was out there making it very clear how reprehensible these attacks were and what the position of the United States was.

BURNETT: OK, Rick?

GRENELL: OK. The only part I agree with is words matter. When we have a developing situation when people are coming over the wall, when the al Qaeda flag is being raised on the U.S. embassy, where is the president of the United States?

Don't tell me he can't speak up and say, shame on you. Stop. Call the president of Egypt. Do something.

Don't wait 15 hours and then when it's your turn to speak, don't come out and shake your fists at Mitt Romney. That's outrageous.

(CROSSTALK)

PRINCE: The president and his team were on the phone with Libyan leaders, with Egyptian leaders --

GRENELL: N, they weren't. It was 15 hours later and Secretary Clinton said something.

PRINCE: Got right on top it. They sent the troops --

GRENELL: Why was he slow? The president of the United States is not even talking to him. The president is not speaking up.

PRINCE: The president of the United States isn't the only diplomatic tool in the arsenal of the United States.

GRENELL: Here we go. So the president isn't the only person. So now that's the excuse from the Democrats.

PRINCE: You know very well that the entire apparatus of our government --

(CROSSTALK)

GRENELL: So let's dismiss the president.

PRINCE: The entire apparatus of our government is solely engaged on this. You know that very well and the American people frankly know that very well, which is why you see these dismal numbers for Mitt Romney but good numbers for President Obama.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I'm going to hit pause there. I think you both made very ardent and well phrased cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On top of each other.

BURNETT: And viewers can make, you've got the facts now.

Preliminary agreement was reached in the Chicago teachers strike. So teachers and students are still not back in the classroom. Why? A union member OUTFRONT, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our fourth story OUTFRONT, deal or no deal. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel takes the teachers union to court to force them to go back to school. This is the sixth day of the teacher strike in the nation's third biggest school district. But there is a preliminary agreement that includes. OK. Here are some of the key points. A 3 percent raise in the first year, 2 percent raises in the second and third. No merit pay, health care benefits were preserved, and at least half of all hires must be displaced teachers. They also agreed to a longer school day.

The union delegates including my next guests are asking for more time and saying no deal just yet. OUTFRONT tonight, Jay Rehak, a union delegate and high school teacher.

Good to see you, sir. Appreciate your taking the time. So, why no deal?

JAY REHAK, UNION DELEGATE: Thank you.

Well, the teachers are looking everything over. We've got about 30,000 members taking a close look at this, trying to make sure that the contract, that they're going to have to live under for the next three years is what they want.

And in fact, we're actually concerned about the various learning conditions inside the schools, obviously.

BURNETT: Right. I understand there's some concern about that, but yet kids are being kept out of school. And that's hard to get the sympathy of parents probably and also people around the country. Why not go back and work that out afterwards?

REHAK: Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, we want to get it right. It's tough to get 30,000 people, you know, engaged in the strike process. It's a difficult process as you well know, people don't get paid, et cetera. We went out because we felt we were mistreated by this mayor.

As you may know, our last contract was abrogated by the mayor as soon as he walked in. So, now, we're making sure that this one is ironclad. The people who -- we didn't just to hurry up and say, let's go back in without people having the opportunity to take a look at it.

So, this is sort of a bottom up democracy in our union, all 30,000 members are going to weigh in on this before we decide to end this strike because, again, to disengage in a strike is a deliberative process just like engaging in a strike is a deliberative process.

Give everyone a fair chance to take a look.

BURNETT: Right. I've read your term sheet and I think this is important for our viewers, you're going to make the days lost up to strike, right? I mean, every one of those days will be made of.

REHAK: That's absolutely right.

BURNETT: OK. Now --

REHAK: That's absolutely.

BURNETT: Let me ask you something else because I'm very curious. This whole issue about the teachers who were laid off getting the right -- you know, first sort of rights at jobs when they open up. Under the compromise, at least our understanding reading through it was about half, 50 percent of new hires would come from a pool of laid off teachers, some of those could have been laid off because they didn't have tenure, others because their performance wasn't up to standard.

How does that make sense?

REHAK: Well, really, I think you've got to really reframe the question. Really, the reason that we're concerned is because a lot of school closings, right now with the mayor has an active attempt to destroy schools and communities by going in and labeling a school a failure, knocking all the teachers out -- anybody in the building is suddenly deemed unworthy of unemployment, et cetera.

We think that's wrong. We think that it's criminal, actually, that they're destroying the stability in those schools and in those communities.

And so we're fighting that. And one of the ways we're fighting it, we're insisting that if you destroy those schools and you put those kids in another school that the teachers follow those students and, you know, don't de-stabilize the students by not allowing them to have the same teachers or similar teachers.

BURNETT: Just one question, do you agree as a teacher who has dedicated his life to being a good teacher, that some teachers are better than others?

REHAK: Of course. And the fact is that teachers get better, hopefully, with seasoning and with age. And so I like to think I'm a better teacher now than I was 25 years ago. I'd like to think you're probably a better anchorwoman now than the first year you went in.

I'm hoping the mayor becomes a better mayor than he was his first year. As you know, it's been a bit of a disaster for him. He's been attacking the middle class since he got in to his position and we're hoping that he will grow in his position and become better at what he does.

But currently, he's not doing a great job, as you know, and the fact is that teachers, I think get better with age. I like to think that. I'd like to think I'm better than I was.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, sir. We appreciate your taking the time. Jay Rehak, a high school teacher in Chicago.

We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our fifth story tonight is the super PAC economy, the one that supports Mitt Romney, has already raked in more than $65 million, more than outside groups in total spent at this point in the 2008 election. President, of course, is big in this, as well, but has not raised nearly as much money.

John Avlon is writing a series of reports on the super PAC economy. And he joins me now with some of the kind of stunning headlines.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's absolutely amazing. What we want to do is show you that there's a gold rush going on right now beneath the struggling American economy. Give people a sense of what we're talking about.

This is the most expensive election ever, Erin -- $5.8 billion is total of what's expected to be spent, $2.8 billion in the presidential election alone, more than any other election up to this point. But one of the dimensions of the super PAC economy, the new, new thing -- first thing, 840 super PACs have been formed in the wake of Citizens United.

And here's another stunning fact, only 100 individuals account for 59 percent of the money raised to date.

BURNETT: That's amazing.

AVLON: It's an amazing statistic.

There's also a real imbalance in the money raised to date and has been spent to date. Take a look at this. So far, super PAC money spent, super PAC and outside groups, conservative groups, $238 million, liberal, $85 million, three to one split. Now, that could make a big difference coming down the stretch in these swing states. So, that's one factor -- an X factor in the election we have yet to see.

And finally the question, who benefits? We look at all of these consultants. This is a gold rush for political consultants right now.

BURNETT: Right.

AVLON: Two companies in particular. These are companies that do media buy. This is the money they've taken in. They cut a percentage of it. It's not a pure profit.

Mentzer Media, 40 years ago, up to this point in the cycle, they'd made $2.8 million. So far $70 million, from only one super PAC Restore Our Future, the Mitt Romney associated.

Democrats side of the aisle, Mundy Katowitz. They made just under a million dollars four years ago. At this point of the cycle, $24 million taken in to date. And they take a percentage of that.

The point is, this isn't just democracy, Erin. This is big business.

BURNETT: Big, big business. Although it's amazing, you say super PACs $358 million, $5.8 billion spent. I mean, there's a lot of money floating around. AVLON: There's a lot of money, that's right. But this is a brand new partisan economy being grafted (ph) on. So, it's an extraordinary new development. We're going to be looking at some of the new aspects.

BURNETT: Yes, John's got special reporting on that all week. Thanks for watching.

Anderson Cooper starts now.