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Presidential Candidates Prepare to Debate; Romney's Supreme Court; Pre-Debate Expectations Game; American Express to Refund $85 Million; Wi-Fi Bug Hitting iPhone 5; Charity Scam Suspect Had Double Identity; Cops on Weight Loss Mission

Aired October 1, 2012 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Just two days before the first Obama/Romney debate and our new CNN national poll shows the president's lost, lost his post-convention bounce. But there's still a much different story in the battleground states. Stand by.

Mitt Romney could make a huge impact on the U.S. Supreme Court. You're going to see how he could change the direction of the court for decades.

And they make $10 a day to put their lives on the line. But they could lose their jobs if, if they don't lose some weight.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're now just 36 days from the presidential election and nationally our brand-new CNN/ORC poll of likely voters shows the race between President Obama and Governor Romney remaining up for grabs. The president leads 50 percent to 47 percent. But his three-point margin is within the poll's sampling error.

Our chief national correspondent, John King, is in Denver getting ready for the debate over there. That's the site of the debate.

John, take us into these numbers. What are you seeing?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I can tell you this. Talking to senior officials in the Romney campaign, they believe after a tough week or 10 days, in the last several days, they have a little bit of a breeze, not a wind, but a breeze at their back. They say the race has stabilized.

At 50-47, as you noted, that's a statistical tie. You dig into the numbers. What is the most important issue in this first debate? The economy. Look at this from our new poll. Which candidate would better handle the economy? The president, 49 percent, Governor Romney, 48 percent. A dead heat on the defining question of this election campaign, which tells you everything you need to know about the stakes of the debate Wednesday night.

The president has to defend his record. Governor Romney not only needs to attack his record but to convince voters he has a place to take them, a better place to take them if he wins the election. Wolf, you know this full well, the reason this debate and what both candidates say on the economy is so important is the Friday morning after the Wednesday night debate, we will get the latest unemployment report.

If Governor Romney could turn in a strong debate performance and then you get another tepid jobs report, there's a chance here for this race to change after debate number one.

BLITZER: If you're the Obama campaign, you're looking at all these numbers in our brand-new poll, what's most encouraging to you?

KING: In scrubbing through the demographics, the regional numbers, here's one thing they will like at the Obama campaign.

Among white voters nationally, the president gets 41 percent. Governor Romney gets 56 percent. You're asking at home, Governor Romney's beating him by a big number, how is that good for President Obama? Given the president's support among African-Americans, Latinos and other minority voters, pollsters in both parties will tell you Governor Romney needs to keep the president probably to 37 percent, no more than 38 percent of the white vote.

If the president's cracking 40 percent of the white vote, that's a formula for an Obama victory. And then you look around the country. Where are the key big battleground states? Well, there are several in the Midwest, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin. Look at the race in the Midwest. Obama, 52 percent, Romney, 43 percent.

The president is winning that part of the country. I'm out West in Denver today, Colorado, Nevada among the battlegrounds out here in the West. Look at these numbers, a 10-point lead in the West for the president, 54 percent to 44 percent. If you look at the key -- the white vote and if you look regionally, there are some things in there that give the president's team a bit of optimism.

BLITZER: If you're the Romney campaign and you're looking at these new poll numbers, what should give the Romney folks some optimism?

KING: One of the reasons we are back in a closer race, a statistical dead heat nationally -- again if you go state by state, it's a little different -- is this number -- Governor Romney has improved his standing among independents. He now leads by eight points among those who describe themselves as independent voters.

Heading into the first debate, he would like to build on that number, probably needs to do a little bit better there to win the election. But that's a significant improvement for Governor Romney, 49 percent to 41 percent, among independents. And again the defining question, when you have an incumbent president, what do the American people think of that president's job performance, not do they like him, not his personally favorability, but what about his job approval rating?

And the president's is down in our new poll; 49 percent of Americans approve of his performance, 48 percent disapprove. The country essentially evenly divided on how the president has handled this job. That gives Governor Romney an open if he can make a strong economic case against the president to drive the disapproval rating up a bit, that would help him if he needs to change the race.

BLITZER: John King is over at the university of Denver, where Wednesday night's debate will take place. John, thanks very much.

Our new national poll, though, only tells part of the story. If you zero in on the handful or so of battleground states where the Electoral College votes will decide the election, President Obama at least for now still has a wider lead.

Let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. Let's take a look at three of these states, Ohio, Florida and Virginia. Our poll of poll, we have averaged out the major polls, the reputable polls in those states. You see in Ohio, 51-44 for Obama, a seven-point advantage, in Florida, 50-45, five-point advantage, Virginia, 49-45, a four-point advantage.

Excuse me, in Virginia, 46-44. It's a lot closer there up on the screen than the notes I had here. But that's all right. We will take a closer look at Virginia. Maybe those numbers have just changed.

In any case, if you take a look at these state polls, as important as the national polls are, what's happening in these handful of battleground states obviously a lot more important.


And the question is whether the difference between the national polling and the battleground state polling is sustainable and whether that will continue. I think there are a bunch of things going on.

First of all, in some of these states like Ohio and Virginia, for example, the unemployment rate is lower in those states than it is nationally. And everybody I talk to says you're not sure whether battleground states are a leading indicator or are they a lagging indicator.

If the national polls tighten, will the statewide polls tighten? And of course, Wolf, and this is something we have talked about throughout this long campaign, is that this could really be an example of where essentially you have saturation bombing of millions of dollars' worth of political advertisements targeted on certain states, a state like Ohio, and whether that is actually paying off for the Obama campaign.

So we're going to have to see and see whether these things tighten at the state level.

BLITZER: We're just a little bit more than 48 hours away from that first presidential debate Wednesday night in Denver.

You have looked at the primary debates.

BORGER: So did you.

BLITZER: Yes. I moderated, what, three of them. What struck you most about Romney's performances when he was challenged by other Republicans? BORGER: Well, I think you would have to say that Romney did very well during these debates.

He very often seemed like the grownup on the stage. And he wasn't a big, big loser at any of those debates. He did make mistakes. Let me talk about his strengths. He's very good at turning around an opponent's weakness and turning it into a debating point. Take a look at this little exchange with Newt Gingrich in Florida in January.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Speaker Gingrich was hired by Freddie Mac to promote them, to -- to influence other people throughout Washington, encouraging them to -- not to dismantle these two entities. I think that was an enormous mistake.


BORGER: And so he did it with a nice tone, said, Newt Gingrich, you made an enormous mistake. And I think that was a good way of Romney pointing out the differences.

What he does, though, Wolf, is when he's in moment when there's a really candid exchange and he's not sure what to say, he can really look awkward. Remember this? I bet you do.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: You were for individual mandates, my friend.

ROMNEY: You know what, you've raised that before, Rick. And you're simply wrong.

PERRY: It was true then...

ROMNEY: No, no...

PERRY: And it's true now.

ROMNEY: Rick, I will tell you what...


ROMNEY: ... 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet?


BORGER: That became a real problem for Mitt Romney because it only fed into the narrative that he doesn't care about your problems, he's rich and out of touch. If you bet $10,000, not such a good idea.

BLITZER: Yes, he looked a little -- that was a little awkward.

BORGER: It was a bad moment for him. And that happens to him when he's challenged in a way he's not ready for. And he's not very good with this kind of just off-the-cuff remarks.

BLITZER: Yes. Overall, though, he's very solid on the debating front and so is the president. We're going to have a lot more on this, Gloria, coming up. Thanks very much.

BORGER: He is.

BLITZER: Both presidential candidates certainly have cleared their schedule for debate rehearsals.

The president's practicing right now out in Nevada. Mitt Romney's resuming his practice sessions after a welcoming rally tonight in Denver, both sides downplaying expectations.

But CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, who's moderating, by the way, the second presidential debate, noticed one high-profile exception.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Apparently, Romney supporter and Republican Governor Chris Christie didn't get the memo.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Wednesday night is the restart of this campaign, and I think you're going to see those numbers start other move right back in the other direction.

CROWLEY: Note to Governor Christie: No, no, no, no, no. SOP for pre- debate chatter is to lower expectations for your guy by raising expectations for the other guy, like this:

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama's a very -- he's a very gifted speaker. The man's been on the national stage for many years. He's an experienced debater.

CROWLEY: And because this is a bipartisanly accepted strategy, like this:

DAVID PLOUFFE, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: We have expected all along that Governor Romney will have a good night. He's prepared more than any candidate in history, and he's shown himself to be a very, very good debater through the years.

CROWLEY: Further, Governor, since you are supporting Romney, the candidate who is running behind, you are supporting him, right? Then you also need to lower the stakes for Wednesday's first of three presidential debates, like this:

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Frankly, I can't remember the last time there was one of these comments that grabbed everybody's attention, because, frankly, the candidates are too well-prepared. They're well-scripted.

CROWLEY: And like this:

RYAN: I don't think one event is going to make or break this campaign.

CROWLEY: But definitely, Governor Christie, definitely not like this:

CHRISTIE: And I'm telling you, Bob, Thursday morning, you're all going to be scratching your heads and saying, wow, we have a barn burner now for the next 33 days.

CROWLEY: Because the thing is, when you say that, the president's senior adviser says stuff like this:

PLOUFFE: They expect to come out of this with the race fundamentally changed. Now, what does that mean? If it's going to fundamentally change, that means, in seven or 10 days from now, you will see states like Ohio tied, states like Iowa tied, because that's what really matters here.

CROWLEY: Like they say, Governor Christie, there's no heavier burden than great expectations.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


BLITZER: I just want to clarify. The poll of polls for three key battleground states we spoke about earlier, I was actually right what I had here. Our graphics were wrong.

But now they're correct. In Ohio, once again, you see the president ahead. This is the poll of polls, 51-44, in Florida, 50-45. And in Virginia, we had it wrong on the screen before. But now we have fixed it, 49-45, four-point advantage for the president in Virginia. These are battleground states and you saw our new CNN/ORC poll number overall.

Please be sure to join us Wednesday night for the first presidential debate. We're marshaling the full resources of CNN to analyze the candidates' performance. We're fact-checking their answers and following the reaction of undecided voters in the host state of Colorado. Debate night in America begins right here on CNN Wednesday night, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Stay with us for complete, complete debate coverage.

Neither candidate's talking very much about an issue that could have an impact on everyone in the country for decades. We're taking a closer look at how Mitt Romney could change the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court.


BLITZER: The U.S. Supreme Court is now back in session for the first time since it ruled on the Obama administration's landmark health care law last June. So how might Mitt Romney change the high court if -- if -- he becomes president of the United States? He's already giving all of us some major clues.

Let's bring in CNN's crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns. He's taking a closer look.

What are you seeing, Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you know, the Supreme Court doesn't get talked about that much on the campaign trail. But choosing a justice is one of the most important things a president does. It's how on administration puts its mark on some of the nation's toughest, most divisive issues.

And we already have at least an idea how Mitt Romney might try to influence the court if he becomes president.


JOHNS (voice-over): Whenever Mitt Romney fielded questions during the primaries about his picks for the Supreme Court, he was armed with a stock Republican answer.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What I would look to do would be to appoint people to the Supreme Court that will follow strictly the Constitution as opposed to legislating from the bench.

JOHNS: But Romney would not risk offending the conservatives currently on the court by choosing a favorite.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you pick one, please?

ROMNEY: Yes, Roberts, Thomas, Alito and Scalia.

JOHNS: All that changed in June when Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote to uphold President Obama's health care law.

ROMNEY: As you might imagine, I disagree with the Supreme Court's decision and I agree with the dissent.

JOHNS: In an interview with CBS News, Romney singled out the chief justice calling the opinion political.

ROMNEY: Well, I certainly wouldn't nominate someone who I knew was going to come out with a decision that I violently disagreed with -- or vehemently, rather, disagreed with. And he reached a conclusion I think that was not accurate and not an appropriate conclusion.

JOHNS: The Romney campaign denies that the candidate has a problem with Roberts. In fact, the campaign's Web site still says, as president, Mitt will nominate justices in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

So, if Romney were elected president, how would the court change? Expect him to nominate reliable conservatives.

THOMAS GOLDSTEIN, PUBLISHER, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: They would be inclined to say there's no constitutional right to same-sex marriage, that affirmative action is unconstitutional in college admissions. They would be much more likely to think that Roe versus Wade should be overruled. JOHNS: In fact, just on Roe versus Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, Romney has already voiced his disapproval.

ROMNEY: Do I believe Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes, I do.

JOHNS: But Romney's influence on that issue really depends on a justice retiring, four justices are over the age of 70. If, for example, the liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg were to step down, it could really shift the balance of power. Conservatives could get the five vote control of the court they've been longing for.


JOHNS: Also, the Supreme Court can't overturn a decision like Roe without a challenge coming up from the lower courts. While Roe is settled law, new legal challenges to it are still popping up from time to time. For example, the Supreme Court this term has asked to decide a case on whether a ballot measure in Oklahoma giving personhood rights to embryos is constitutional -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So, step by step, that's the procedure. Potentially, it could take if there's a new makeup in the Supreme Court.

JOHNS: Absolutely, you still have to get a case.

BLITZER: That 5-4 makeup right now is pretty strong.

All right. Joe, thank you very much.

I want to dig a little deeper. Would a U.S. Supreme Court under President Romney tilt very much more conservative?

Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, is joining us. His new book is the "New York Times" bestseller entitled, "The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court."

What do you think? Would a new Supreme Court, if Romney had an opportunity to nominate one, maybe two justices, would it be a much more conservative than the current makeup?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it all depends on which justice would leave. The court is very evenly divided now. Five Republicans, four Democrats. But Anthony Kennedy, one of the five Republicans, is on record repeatedly as saying he believes Roe versus Wade should not be overturned. So if Kennedy left, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor or Kagan, then there could be a big change on Roe v. Wade.

If one of the conservative justices was replaced by a President Romney, there wouldn't be much change in the balance of power.

BLITZER: So, let's assume one of the liberal justices were to retire or leave and a new conservative justice were nominated and confirmed by the United States Senate. How would that go about? How do you overturn Roe versus Wade which almost 30 years ago gave women the right to have an abortion in the United States?

TOOBIN: Well, it's really not that difficult.

BLITZER: Forty years ago, I should say.

TOOBIN: Forty years ago, right. It's not really that difficult. You know, many states, many red states are chomping at the bit to pass laws that challenge Roe v. Wade. South Dakota almost did it. Oklahoma has this personhood law.

So it is not a long shot at all that one state would go all the way and say, look, we are banning abortion because we think Roe v. Wade will be overturned. If the majority really does change, if, say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is replaced by a conservative, I think a challenge to Roe would come up very quickly, probably within one year.

BLITZER: And normally, just to remind our viewers, someone nominates justices whether they're in their 40s or early 50s so they remain on the bench for maybe 30, 40 years. They have an enormous impact long after that president is gone.

TOOBIN: And, you know, that's become more and more part of the Supreme Court confirmation game. One of the stories I tell in "The Oath" is President Obama was torn between Elena Kagan and Diane Wood for John Paul Stevens' seat. And one of the deciding factors was that Elena Kagan was 50 and Diane Wood was 60. That is how presidents think about these appointments and that's going to be true whether Obama or Romney wins this election.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, the author of "The Oath," thanks for coming in.

TOOBIN: All right.

BLITZER: And one of the best-selling vehicles in the United States is now getting recalled. A defective power steering hose could trigger fires. Find out if your car is in the recall. That's next.


BLITZER: A suicide bomber targets a joint NATO-Afghan patrol.

Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Lisa, what happened?


Well, it's another reminder of the dangers in Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for today's attack in eastern Afghanistan. The Afghan interior ministry says 14 people, including three NATO service members, their interpreter and four Afghan police were killed when the bomber blew up a motorbike packed with explosives. Fifty-seven people were also wounded. And Honda is recalling nearly 16,000 of its popular Accord vehicles. That's because a faulty power steering hose can crack and leak, possibly triggering a fire. The recall affects midsize Accord models from the years 2003 through 2007. Fifty-three thousand Honda Accord TLs were recalled in May for the same reason. Honda will install a new heat resistant power steering hose for free.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with leukemia. The team's owner says he's very optimistic that Pagano will beat the disease. The coach's doctor says it is a highly treatable form of leukemia. And the Colts' offensive coordinator, he'll be taking over the team while Pagano undergoes treatment -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Wish him only the best, a speedy, speedy recovery.

SYLVESTER: Certainly.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are rehearsing for their first presidential debate. You're about to hear what may be some of the best advice they'll get and it's all free and unsolicited.


BLITZER: All right, at least for a little while, forget about the baseball playoffs, the NFL referees. The only game that really matters right now is the pre-debate expectations game. Everybody's playing. Here's a quick snapshot.


CAROL COSTELLO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEWSROOM": Right now, two days away. But if you listen to the candidates, neither one is expected to win.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Governor Romney, he's a good debater. I'm just OK.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Both sides are falling all over each other to praise the other candidate to lower expectations.

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's an experienced debater. He's done these kinds of debates before. This is Mitt's first time.

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, CNN'S "STATE OF THE UNION": Apparently, Romney supporter and Republican Governor Chris Christie didn't get the memo.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Thursday morning, you're all going to be scratching your heads saying, wow, we have a barn burner for the next 33 days.


BLITZER: All right, good advice, but sometimes the best advice is unsolicited. CNN's Jessica Yellin is standing by with our unsolicited advice panel. Jessica, you got a good panel there.


It is a little ridiculous, everybody playing the expectations game. But Ana Navarro, the truth is, there's a lot of pressure on Mitt Romney coming up in this debate to really change the dynamic of the race. You have an idea how he can do it?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, given what their surrogates have said, Jessica, there's a lot of pressure on both of them to come out, not stumble onto the stage, be able to articulate a sentence, I think, yes, Mitt Romney can do it, to answer your question.

I've seen Mitt Romney be on and I've seen Mitt Romney be off. I was on the McCain campaign so I've seen him in primary debates with McCain. I've seen him in primary debates in 2008 and now in 2012.

I can tell you, there are times he's on, like when he was in Florida in the last two primary debates. There are times he's been totally off, like the last two debates in South Carolina where Newt Gingrich had him on the ropes.

YELLIN: But, you know, Ross, he has to do something to turn around the dynamic in this race?

ROSS DOUTHAT, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, yes, what's interesting is, yes, you have sort of the official Romney/Ryan line that, you know, Mitt Romney can't form a complete sentence and Barack Obama is Cicero and it's going to be very hard.

But I think what Christie said is what you're hearing from people behind the scenes. There was a piece with a lot of anonymous quotes from Romney aides saying, we need a game changer and so they do.

I think the good news for Romney is that if you look back to those primary debates that you were talking about, he did the best in the debates where it seemed like he absolutely had to win. So the South Carolina debate, seemed like he was on cruise control.

He was sort of playing a prevent defense against Newt Gingrich. But then once Gingrich won South Carolina, he turned it on. The next couple of debates, everybody talked about Gingrich master debater and Romney won. He does have some debating skills.

NAVARRO: He's good under pressure and the good part is, he's under pressure.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER, OBAMA 2012 CAMPAIGN: Here's the historical problem with that. If you go back, there's very little correlation between debate performance and changing the dynamic of a race.

You have to search wide and far to find somewhere where the debate has changed the dynamic in the race in a person who's not leading 45 days out if a guy comes back and wins that race. He's up against history here for changing the dynamic.

GOVERNOR BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), MONTANA: But there is a challenge. He has to be likable. Only one out of five Americans are going to watch this. Those are the opinion makers across this country. What he has to be is likable. The pundits say, he didn't make this point or that point. You decide who wins a debate on television with a sound-off, not on.

DOUTHAT: I disagree with you a little bit. You go back to 2004, right? John Kerry went into the '04 debates down six or seven points in the polls to Bush. He came out down two or three points and he ended up losing by two or three points. Romney's only down three points. Romney needs to carry --

BELCHER: But he didn't win. Here's the other thing. The average going back to 68, I think the average undecided has been 13.5 percent. Right now, you have a small undecided electorate out there.

And part of that is this. You've had $72 million spent by the "Super PACs" already attacking the president. What is Mitt Romney going to say on Wednesday night that $72 million hasn't said about the president? Is he going to sing --

NAVARRO: Please, no singing.

YELLIN: Isn't it the truth that voters discount what is said in ads, because they already think it's spin and they trust a little bit more what the candidates say?

BELCHER: People hate negative ads.

DOUTHAT: There's a reason why they keep doing it because they work.

SCHWEITZER: Here's the bottom line, though. One of five is watching it. The persuadable voters are watching "American Idol" or "Dancing with the Stars."

NAVARRO: They're going to hear the news the next day.

SCHWEITZER: The opinion makers, the people that they talk to around the coffee the day after, you folks who talk about it on television, you're going to tell them who won and lost.

DOUTHAT: He's an insider.

BELCHER: Insider/outsider.

NAVARRO: I've seen a lot of debates. I've seen Barack Obama debate when he was a candidate. I've seen Mitt Romney debate. Most of the time, there is no clear winner in a debate, despite what the spinners will tell you. They'll both be saying each of them won. But only the memorable debates are the ones that can change elections.

DOUTHAT: There you go again. Where's the beef?

NAVARRO: They'll remember a very good memorable line or a bad -- DOUTHAT: Not the zingers. The idea of practicing zingers that they've said Romney is practicing zingers. I just hope that that's spin and misinformation. The idea of Mitt Romney trying to deliver a canned punch line at opposite of what he needs to do.

SCHWEITZER: He's too stiff. Loosen him up a little bit.

YELLIN: In debates though, he's very fluid. He's much more at ease. He's aggressive.

BELCHER: The governor of Texas would agree with that.

SCHWEITZER: Where's the governor of Texas now? He had some bad moments, but he out-debated Perry.

YELLIN: The Obama campaign is saying they want to have substance come out during the debate on the Romney side, pressing for substance. And team Romney is saying that they want to fact-check President Obama during the debate. So are we in for a wonky night?

SCHWEITZER: No. No. For people who really care about these things and you're expecting statistics and you're expecting when the five- point plan is, you're not going to get that. It's not long enough. It's too short to get to the details and beneath you are one of them really wants to give the details.

DOUTHAT: I don't know. I think Romney needs a little more substance. If you look at the polls right now, people still aren't sure they want to re-elect President Obama. But they don't feel comfortable with the idea that Romney actually has a plan. So he has to show a little more leg in terms of policy than he did at the convention.

SCHWEITZER: His race from the beginning is, I'm not Barack Obama, he is.

DOUTHAT: How is that working?

BELCHER: But here's the problem, you act as though his policies are actually popular. The vast majority of Americans, the polling shows Ryan's pick add Medicare at front and center especially in Florida where the vast majority of these voters don't want Medicare change so he has a problem --

DOUTHAT: I'm not arguing that.

NAVARRO: I don't think he's going to be able to avoid. I think you are going to get some substance. I think you need to get some personality. I think you need to get some spontaneity. I'm not sure either of these two guys is good at spontaneity. If you can fix spontaneity, you've achieved success in politics.

DOUTHAT: Here's one good piece of news for Romney. Whatever's happening in sort of the inside Washington game, I saw a poll today, I think it was ABC News said, 52 percent of Americans expect Obama to win. Something like 25 percent, 30 percent expect Romney to win. With the viewers, maybe they won't all be watching -- skewed polls. BELCHER: Christie is saying, everything will change Wednesday, everything will change.

SCHWEITZER: Let me see what Obama needs to be. Obama has to make sure that he doesn't come off as sort of arrogant, who are you to question me, the president of the United States? That never works. They are now equals in the eyes of the American people.

NAVARRO: You mean condescending, economic elitist?

SCHWEITZER: And Romney can't be so stiff. He has to be more likable. Right now, the undecided people are not going to decide this on policy. They're going to decide who will they trust to be on their television for the next four years?

YELLIN: Right. It's who you want to spend your time in your living room --

DOUTHAT: I think that's the pundit's fallacy, delivered by a politician.

SCHWEITZER: By the way, I've actually been in debates, a lot of them and most of the people in Montana would say I won them.

YELLIN: When we come back, we have a break now but when we come back, each member of our panel has unsolicited advice that you don't want to miss.


YELLIN: Welcome back to unsolicited advice. This is the time when we offer ours. Why don't we start with you, Governor Schweitzer, who are you offering your advice?

SCHWEITZER: I'm giving advice to congressional staffers. Your bosses have 11 percent job approval. That's four points below a toothache at 15 percent. It is the least active Congress in the history of this country and I know you're on vacation and everything.

But, really, partying all night, partying all night in the hotel room of a famous partier and taking pictures and getting arrested because you're taking pictures of this woman who -- I'm not even going to mention her name because if you don't know who's partying all night with a --

YELLIN: La-lo.

SCHWEITZER: Lindsay Lohan. So those staffers, leave the partying with Lindsay to the professionals. Do your day job.

DOUTHAT: But in the life of a congressional staffer, Governor, if you have the opportunity to just for one night escape a little bit that $13,000 a year working for a congressman grind, how can you begrudge them that?

SCHWEITZER: You're partying with Lindsay Lohan in her hotel room, what could go wrong?

BELCHER: I wish I was invited.

NAVARRO: Governor, can I call you Brian? You know, these are very young staffers. It takes a lot of youth to be able to put up with congressional members. A little partying is not going to kill anybody. The numbers are not 11 percent approval because of the staffers.

SCHWEITZER: It's not like they're the secret service or anything.

NAVARRO: Thank God it wasn't Cartagena.

SCHWEITZER: And by the way, Congress is not supposed to be a fraternity or a sorority either. I mean, they are supposed to be some decorum and when you have people working for you they ought to represent you wherever they at day or night.

YELLIN: All right, that's some good advice. Ana, you have some advice for someone else?

NAVARRO: Yes, my advice is to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

YELLIN: I want to hear this.

NAVARRO: I saw that interview yesterday on "60 Minutes." I have to tell you, I cringed the entire way. Now I couldn't stop watching it because it was so horrifying.

So my advice to Arnold Schwarzenegger is, first of all, if you're going to get married, you may not want to keep everything secret from your wife.

Second of all, if you want to rehabilitate your image and make amends with your wife, going on national TV and admitting you've had a number of affairs may not be the exact best path to follow.

Third of all, if you've had intercourse with somebody and they give birth nine months later, you might want to find out if there is any connection between what happened between you and her nine months before and what is happening now.

DOUTHAT: That's advice --

NAVARRO: And start giving her money because the kid looks like you, you just may want to have a conversation. There are certain things in life --

SCHWEITZER: I need to take notes. That is universally applicable.

NAVARRO: The last thing is his next housekeeper either has to be a man or a 100-year-old nun.

SCHWEITZER: But everybody's going to buy the book.

NAVARRO: That is true. YELLIN: The most astonishing thing about that interview, I thought because we've already heard the other piece, was he thought of getting open heart surgery without telling her.


NAVARRO: You thought that was the most astonishing part of that interview?

YELLIN: It was an astonishing part.

NAVARRO: You thought the part of him starting to give the mother of the child money without a conversation --

SCHWEITZER: That part wasn't even believable. You don't give them money unless you know.

NAVARRO: You served with Arnold, didn't you?



DOUTHAT: So my advice is for the Obama White House. And it is to get over your fear of the word "terrorism." Obama, the White House, his whole foreign policy team, they're dealing with a completely bizarre scandal related to the attacks in Benghazi.

Driven by the fact that they spent a week after they knew this was probably a terrorist attack insisting that it was all about an anti- Muslim video and had very little to do with terror. I'm not sure what their theory is.

It is part of a broader pattern where the Obama white house wants to continue George W. Bush's anti-terror policies, even expand them in terms of drone strikes and so on without completely acknowledging what they're doing. But in this case, it's made them look ridiculous. It seems unnecessary.

SCHWEITZER: I've lived in the Middle East and in Libya. And nothing that you see is as it seems. You don't have any idea who these people are. Sure, they showed up with grenade launchers and other sophisticated weapons. But in Libya today, everybody's got some.

DOUTHAT: That's fine. You don't even have to say, this is definitely terrorism. You just don't spend a week saying, well, it's all about this video that was made in Southern California and the Muslim world is really angry. If you want to hedge your bets, OK. But they didn't. They went all in --

BELCHER: I'm going to apologize for them for wanting to get all the facts before they opened up their mouths and started blabbering.

DOUTHAT: They did open up their mouths and start blabbering.

BELCHER: I'm going to cut them a little slack for wanting to get all the facts before they go out and say it was a terror attack for sure.

YELLIN: They were saying, they need to clarify --

BELCHER: They gathered the information. They revised it. We want them to gather the information and --

SCHWEITZER: I will guarantee you will never get the facts.

BELCHER: My advice is to Wall Street. Wall Street's been giving money at a 5-to-1 pace to the Republicans. It's never personal, it's always about business. Your political investments make no business sense.

If you look at the stock market, it's rallying right now for manufacturing jobs. S&P is at a high. The Nasdaq at a 12-year high. GDP's been growing faster under Democrats than Republicans. Your investments -- by the way, Mitt Romney, his ability to win this election is slipping away.

Your investments in the Republicans makes no business sense. You have to make a business investment, not a personal investment. It's never personal. It's always about business.

NAVARRO: You heard it here first. Democratic strategist makes an appeal for Wall Street money.

YELLIN: This is a great conversation. Thanks, everybody. We're going to toss it back to Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: Jessica, guys, thanks very much. Excellent unsolicited advice.

By the way, in our next hour, some of the best debate moments ever. But first, you just might be getting part of an $85 million refund from a credit card giant. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Credit card giant American Express is refunding millions of dollars to customers. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. What happened here?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Wolf. Well, some of the checks are going to be in the mail because American Express will refund $85 million to customers for allegedly deceptive practices.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says subsidiaries of American Express charged illegal late fees promised nonexistent monetary rewards and discriminated against applicants over the age of 35. Customers affected will start receiving those payments by next March.

Many users of Apple's new iPhone 5 are reporting a bug affecting the devices. They say they are being charged for using cellular data even when they are using Wi-Fi networks. That is eating up their monthly data quotas and resulting in hefty extra fees. Apple hasn't publicly commented, but it has issued a software update and says customers will not be charged for unwarranted cellular data usage.

Federal officials say that a man who was arrested in May and accused of stealing millions of dollars in a fake charity scam has been on the run from bank fraud charges for decades. U.S. Marshals say Bobby Thompson is really John Donald Cody.

The 65-year-old attorney went on the lam in 1987 and the Marshal Service says he's also wanted by the FBI in an ongoing espionage investigation. This guy was a piece of work.

He's allegedly stealing money from a Navy veteran essentially raising funds for -- that purportedly went to Navy veterans never -- was all a scam.

BLITZER: Espionage.

SYLVESTER: And espionage charges. I mean, it seems like the guy has a long -- this guy is a graduate of Harvard law school. So -- wow. It is a fascinating case -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much for that, Lisa. Pakistan's police officers could get kicked off the force so you are going to find out what they have to do to keep their jobs.


BLITZER: Pakistan's police are on a mission to shape up, slim down or get kicked off the force. CNN's Reza Sayah reports.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pakistan's street cuisine melts in your mouth treats. Deep fried in oil. Often served swimming in oil, food that's guaranteed to add inches to your waist.

And that has the government here worried. Some of the expanding waist sizes belong to police officers. The finest assigned to protect and serve the nation fast becoming Pakistan's flabbiest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have to do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course. They are bound to do this.

SAYAH: The police force's second in command says the department has put in place a mandatory exercise program. With this ultimatum for police officers, drop the pounds or risk losing your job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not more than 40-inch waist.

SAYAH: Daily workouts start here in the weight room, a barking trainer watching every move. (on camera): The equipment isn't the best here and maybe they don't have perfect form, but they are working up a sweat. Their heart rate is going and that means they are getting a workout. What if some people can't get to the required weight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Legal action will be taken.

SAYAH: They could lose their jobs?


SAYAH: Now we are out here in the exercise yard. Let's see what these guys do next.

(voice-over): After the weightlifting, it is time for aerobics and other fat-burning workouts.

(on camera): It is no secret many often make fun of overweight police officers. If anyone is considering making fun of these men, they should remember that they only make $10 a day and put their lives on the line and now they committed themselves to getting in shape.

(voice-over): Mohammed Asad says the last time he worked out was 20 years ago. Today, Mohammed has three children, suffers from diabetes, but he will do anything to serve his country, he says.

Our hearts are made of stone, he says. No matter what we are asked, we will do it. That includes slimming down, getting in shape. For Mohammed and hundreds of other Pakistani police officers, their jobs depend upon it. Reza Sayah, CNN, Lahor.