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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
New Details in the Libya Attack; Cherry Picking Data; Interview with Rick Santorum; Off the Record; Blacklisted From Military For Being a Single Mom
Aired October 24, 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, breaking news. Another leaked e- mail indicating what the White House knew, when, and what they knew about the deadly attack in Benghazi. And a new poll in Ohio tonight. Can Mitt Romney lose the Buckeye State and still win the presidency? We're going to ask former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
And a cadet in the Air Force forced to choose between giving up her child or staying in the military. Tonight an OUTFRONT investigation, does the Air Force policy add up?
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we have breaking news of a new e-mail, I've got it in my hand, about the attack on the American Consulate in Libya and I want to read it to you. It says, "DS Command reports the current shelter location for COM," which stands for chief of mission, "personnel in Benghazi is under attack by mortar fire. There are reports of injuries to COM staff." This e-mail was sent just before midnight on September 11th of this year.
Suzanne Kelly has been working the story for us all day and she is OUTFRONT for the latest -- with the latest. And Suzanne what can you tell us about the significance of this particular e-mail?
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what this e-mail really shows us is that the military nature of that attack, Erin, and it came some eight hours after the first attack happened. But keep in mind what U.S. officials knew about groups that were in Benghazi at the time. They knew, for example, that Ansar al-Sharia was a very well-equipped group with anti-American sentiment. They had RPGs. They had mortar rounds. They have a fleet of vehicles. So it wouldn't necessarily be surprising that there are groups in Benghazi that had that material readily available, but it did indicate that very early on they knew that this was something that had some coordination to it and I think that's why you've seen the political debates stem out of that.
BURNETT: Certainly, as you said, coordination and other words that have been used obviously don't seem to quite fit with that. You also have been reporting today, Suzanne, on a report on an arrest of a man who is linked to the attacks in custody in Tunisia tonight. What do you know about him and have American authorities been able to question him?
KELLY: They haven't been able to question him yet, Erin, and we do know that he was arrested. He was moving through Turkey and there was a request by the U.S. to detain him, which Turkey did, and then turned him over to the Tunisians. Now Senator Saxby Chambliss was talking about this a little bit earlier and he has told us that he was believed to have taken part in the attack on the compound.
Another really interesting part of this, too, Erin, is that he was apparently posting details about the attack as it was happening on social media websites.
BURNETT: Wow, so they found out about him on social media?
KELLY: That's how they found out. They followed that link and tracked it back to find this guy.
BURNETT: That's pretty incredible. It shows the power of social media. Well, thanks very much to Suzanne Kelly, who has been breaking the story for us today.
Well, the e-mail that Suzanne was just talking about is one of four e- mails we have obtained here at CNN today regarding the attack. Now, as you can see, and we'll throw this up here on the screen, the recipients of these e-mails work for the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and the FBI and they learned Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda were claiming credit for the attack in Benghazi just two hours after it began.
So I want to lay out the timeline of the e-mails that we have. And the first one is from a government employee to about 35 other e-mail addresses. These could be individuals or groups of the administration. It was sent at about 4:05 Eastern. That's 10:05 p.m. Benghazi time, while the attack was happening. And it says, "SBU," which means sensitive but unclassified, an important distinction. "The regional security officer reports the diplomatic mission is under attack. Embassy Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM personnel are in the compound safe haven."
That was that e-mail. Fifty minutes later, a second e-mail was sent that said this: "Embassy Tripoli reports that the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped. The compound has been cleared. A response team is on site attempting to locate COM personnel."
And then at 6:07 p.m., a third e-mail. The subject line to this one reads, "Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack." The e-mail reads, "Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli."
White House spokesman Jay Carney today saw those e-mails and described them as open source, unclassified e-mails about a posting on Facebook. The e-mails also raise new questions as to why the White House waited eight days to formally label the attack a terrorist attack. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the administration holds itself accountable. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work looking at everything, not cherry-picking, you know, one story here or one document there, but looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, this is very important. Clinton added, and I want to quote her, "posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence." That was her way of saying, you know, that e-mail that we said about Ansar al-Sharia, that was off a Facebook posting. But of course as you just heard, our Suzanne Kelly is reporting the reason the suspect in Tunisia is in custody is because of information he posted on Facebook and other social media websites.
General Wesley Clark is the former NATO supreme allied commander. Jason Chaffetz is a Republican member of the House Oversight Committee and they're both OUTFRONT and appreciate you both taking the time.
Congressman, let me start with you about the statement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She appeared to chuckle a little bit as she talked about an independent review. She said we're not cherry- picking. Obviously, that's become a very politicized term over the past month. Do you think the administration cherry-picked the more and more you hear, the more cloudy and uncertain the situation was, conflicting data, do you still think they cherry-picked?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) UTAH: Well, yes, I mean as soon as this happened they were very swift and very definitive in saying this all had to do with this mob gone wild because of a video. They didn't -- they didn't talk about terrorism as a possibility here. They want on and on and on to sell the American people and the world this story, that a video was the genesis. Let's pretend that a video was part of it, but to ignore -- let's ignore the idea that maybe terrorism was part of it. You have Ansar al-Sharia laying claim to this while the attack is going on. In fact, it goes on for hours more. None of that is ever mentioned. That's where the American people I think feel like they've been misled.
BURNETT: General Clark, what's your response to that? Also, of course, as CNN has reported, there were calls intercepted from members of that militia talking about how to handle an attack, claim responsibility for an attack. You know, we've known that this has happened, but how do you make sense of this?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FMR. NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Confused situation. Lots of reporting. Some of it has been released. Some of it hasn't been released. You have to, when you're in a situation like this, you're not sure there wasn't a demonstration in the first place. It looked a lot like it might be the same thing that had just happened in Cairo, but these people had weapons. Couldn't tell what it was. Just because somebody claims responsibility for it doesn't mean they did it.
CLARK: Because almost every accident, every terrorism incident in the Middle East, someone always tries to take credit for it. When a helicopter fails for mechanical reasons, supposedly, it was shot down. Often it isn't.
CLARK: And so you have to just do a thorough investigation and get the facts out.
BURNETT: What about what seems to be just a little bit jarring because it happened today? You know, the third e-mail came out and the subject line said, "Ansar al-Sharia claims responsibility". And you have an interesting point on that. Jay Carney, spokesperson for the president, said, well, just because it's on Facebook doesn't mean it's evidence. The same day -- and that's what Hillary Clinton is saying, but meanwhile the guy that we have in custody we only have him because of evidence on Facebook.
CLARK: Yes, but you know he posted -- we want to know why he posted it. Why did he think there was a connection? Why was he trying to make a connection? Maybe they were planning something else. Maybe he did some other act of terrorism. You know, there's a network of these people that do have communications with each other internationally. They work on Facebook. They're probably circling around -- we know Mali is an area where there's not a lot of lawlessness.
So every person we can detain as part of this is a good thing for us and we'll get information from it. But the most important point is this: when you start in the public affairs business, that's peripheral. What's really important is what the president did. He immediately reinforced security. He sent the military there. He called international leaders and told them to fulfill their responsibilities --
CHAFFETZ: No, he didn't. General, with all due respect, he --
CLARK: And started a process -- he did and he started --
CHAFFETZ: He did not send the military --
CHAFFETZ: He did not send the military --
CLARK: He did --
CHAFFETZ: He did not send the military into Benghazi.
CLARK: No, he -- not into Benghazi --
CHAFFETZ: General, he did not send the military into Benghazi --
CLARK: He deployed ships --
BURNETT: He deployed a ship -- yes.
CLARK: Those ships had special assets on them.
CHAFFETZ: No, General.
CLARK: Those ships can take --
CHAFFETZ: No, General.
CLARK: Those ships can take action.
CHAFFETZ: You're misinformed.
BURNETT: All right, but hold on. General, let me ask you this question, though, because separate from the point of what happened on that day --
BURNETT: What about in the days before?
BURNETT: Hold on, Congressman. Let me just ask the General this. What about in the days before when Ambassador Stevens had requested additional security and wasn't given it?
CLARK: Yes. I think it's a good question and the State Department is going to have to answer for that. But that's not --
CLARK: That's not the policy question. In other words, when 9/11 happened, America pulled together. But there wasn't a presidential election. But Democrats supported a Republican president. When this happened, the Republican partisan machine decided they'd found a chink in President Obama's excellent foreign policy and has gone full board to exploit it for partisan advantage, so it's not to say --
CHAFFETZ: Erin, Erin --
CLARK: -- that we can't get to the facts. It's to say, it's hard to get through the partisanship to get to the facts.
BURNETT: All right, Congressman, why don't you respond to that? Because it is true that there are some real questions here about information that they had and intelligence or in the administration and when that information became available publicly.
CHAFFETZ: It should be bipartisan outrage because in April 2012, our embassy was bombed, that consulate in Benghazi. And on June 6th, a terrorist activity there in Benghazi, at our consulate, breached the wall. They blew our wall apart. And the president, the vice president, the Secretary of State diminished our security profile. That's what's outrageous.
General, with all due respect, you've been out that touting the response by the president and what he's done. What he didn't do, what he clearly didn't do, is react when we were bombed on June 6th. Five days later, the British ambassador had an assassination attempt. The British got out of town. The Interior Minister in Libya on September 1st issues a warning that says we've lost control of eastern Libya. They put them on high alert.
Ambassador Stevens sends a cable back to Washington, D.C. on September 4th and this administration did nothing. We have four dead Americans. And with all due respect, he did not send in the military into Benghazi. That firefight went on for hours and I think it's an untold -- that's a real question about what this administration did when the firefight started --
CLARK: Well, excuse me. I am going to say this --
CHAFFETZ: -- but they should have been dealing with it back on June 6th.
BURNETT: OK, Congressman, let the General --
CLARK: We don't know exactly what was done back on June 6th because that hasn't been made a public -- a matter of public record --
CHAFFETZ: Yes, we do. Yes --
CLARK: I'm sorry --
CHAFFETZ: General, we had a hearing about this.
CLARK: I don't know that because I haven't seen it. And I haven't seen that.
CHAFFETZ: We had a hearing about this.
CLARK: I don't know that we've had all the classified information released that's come out, whether you had a hearing or not. Maybe you had a classified hearing. I haven't seen it. But I do know this.
CHAFFETZ: No, we didn't. It was an open, public meeting.
CLARK: OK. I do know this. I do know the administration -- the ship was -- a naval ship was deported in the area. I know what the capabilities are on that ship and that was sent there to reinforce the diplomatic security. I'm not going to address what happened in June. I wasn't there in that hearing.
CHAFFETZ: The FBI --
CLARK: I know what happened in the aftermath of the incident --
CHAFFETZ: The FBI couldn't get in for weeks. CLARK: That's true.
CHAFFETZ: The FBI couldn't get in for weeks.
CLARK: That's true, but there was security there --
CHAFFETZ: You had a CNN reporter go pick up the material --
CLARK: -- FBI investigation --
CHAFFETZ: We didn't go in and do that.
CLARK: That was an FBI investigation team. That wasn't the team that went in there --
CHAFFETZ: CNN walked in and picked up the diary days afterward --
BURNETT: CNN did, right, and that is because the FBI didn't feel that there was security to come in there. All right, well, gentlemen, thank you very much. We appreciate your taking the time and sharing your point of view. Obviously, a crucial issue for the country right now.
And OUTFRONT next, a change to our electoral map. A toss-up state tonight actually looking like it will go to Mitt Romney. All right, there's the good news for him. But a new poll out of Ohio could change the entire race. Rick Santorum is OUTFRONT next.
Plus, the Obama campaign says comments made about Latinos were off the record, but now on the record. Well, is this a 47 percent moment or not? And did you know you can drive 85 miles an hour legally in this country? And I know where.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, the electoral map, it is a- changing. North Carolina is no longer in the toss-up column. Here at CNN, we are now classifying that state as leaning towards Romney. And our new electoral map now looks like this. Obama in the lead at 237, Romney at 206.
Now, remember, the magic number is 270 and to that end there is good news for President Obama and not so good news for Mitt Romney in the all important Buckeye State. Ohio is home to 18 electoral votes and a new poll out tonight shows President Obama leading there by five points over Mitt Romney, 49-44.
And among those who have already voted because there's early voting going on, this is pretty incredible. Obama has a 2-1 lead over Romney, 60-30 percent. But among voters who have yet to cast their ballot, but say they intend to, candidates are running dead even, 45- 45. You can see that, when you put that math together, that is really difficult for Mitt Romney.
If the overall Ohio numbers hold, can Romney become the first Republican to win the Oval Office without the state of Ohio? OUTFRONT tonight, one of Romney's competitors for the GOP nomination, former Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, author of "American Patriots". Great to see you. Appreciate your taking the time, Senator, and let's get straight to it.
Do you think Mitt Romney can make history and win the White House if he doesn't win Ohio?
RICK SANTORUM, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN PATRIOTS": Oh, certainly the numbers add up in winning other states. I don't think Governor Romney is by any sense conceding Ohio because of one poll in which, at least I looked at some of the cross tabs, and the poll has Governor Romney trailing among women in Ohio by 19 points. I don't know anywhere that I see any kind of polls that show Governor Romney doing that badly.
So, you know, look, you can't look at one poll. You got to look at all the averages and pretty much the averages have this thing pretty much at a dead heat right now in Ohio. I think it's going to come down to the wire and who has the momentum at the end. And, again, I think Governor Romney is doing a pretty good job holding the momentum right now.
BURNETT: So let me -- let me just follow this up because I love the numbers of it. I think I've been infected. You know, I -- my inspiration of John King. Florida, so let's just go how Mitt Romney could get there without Ohio, because I wanted to lay this out and get your thoughts.
BURNETT: So if he wins Florida, that's great. He gets 29 electoral votes, 235. Right now, the latest poll - again, these are all latest polls -- Romney is up one in Florida -- Virginia, 13 more. And Romney right now is up one in Virginia. Colorado, nine more electoral votes. Latest poll also has him up one. New Hampshire, if he wins that, he gets four electoral votes. He's up two in that state.
Now, if we give him Iowa -- right now the latest two polls, one have a dead heat, the other has Obama up eight. So he has to get all of those states plus either Nevada or Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, he trails Obama by six percent -- six percent right now. So doesn't -- when you lay it out that way, it starts to look more like Ohio has got to be on that win column, doesn't it?
SANTORUM: Well, look, I mean Ohio has always been you know the lynch pin for a Republican to be able to win the presidency and I don't think this is any different right now. But there -- as you just laid out, there's clearly another path. I mean he's ahead in all the states that you just labeled and Nevada is certainly a state -- I certainly know that -- he cleaned my clock in Nevada. So he has -- you know, he's worked hard out there. I know he's spent a lot of time during the primary there and it's a state that I think leans a little Republican. And we have a Senate race out there that is leaning Republican. I think it's very likely that he could win Nevada and do it without Ohio.
But I think this race is moving actually even -- I think it's moving Governor Romney's way even more than that. I think that we could see not just all those states you mentioned, but a few more. I think this could be a good solid win for Governor Romney.
BURNETT: All right. And in part perhaps because he has been wooing people who are persuadable more in the center and I say that because of social issues, something I know is important to you, important to a lot of the Republican base, and brings me of course to Richard Mourdock, the GOP Senate nominee, who made controversial comments last night on abortion and here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MOURDOCK, (R) U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE, INDIANA: Life is a gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now today the Romney campaign of course, as you know, Senator, said they're not going to ask Mourdock to pull ads that Mitt Romney has made on his behalf, but that Mitt Romney disagrees with what the Senator had to say. Do you worry that it's people like you --
SANTORUM: I don't believe -- let me just say --
SANTORUM: -- what the Senator -- what the Senate candidate said is that the child is a gift from God and whether it's conceived by rape or not, it's still the gift of human life is a gift from God. And that's what he said. I don't - I mean, he didn't say rape was a gift from God. You'd have to contort words beyond meaning to get that understanding of it.
Look, this is, you know, this gotcha stuff in the media is just that. It's just trying to play gotcha politics. And I don't think anyone's who watched that -- I watched it -- could think anything other the fact that he was talking about the baby in the womb as something that is precious and is a gift through the horrible circumstances of that gift being created, yes, but it's still that life needs to be protected.
BURNETT: Yes. And let me just -- the reason I want to ask this and ask this question, which I know is a personal one, but, you know, when you look at the polls in this country, 88 percent of people think abortion should be legal if the mother's life is in danger and 83 percent of Americans say it should be legal in cases of rape or incest. And I know that Mourdock was not saying, and you are not saying -- I mean rape is a horrible thing. You're saying it's the life itself that is precious but --
BURNETT: -- most Americans disagree with you. And I guess this is a question people always say, if you talk to Rick Santorum, ask him this. You know, if it was one of your daughters, would you be more open-minded about it?
SANTORUM: Well, obviously, if anything happens to your children -- I have seven children and it's just -- I can't even think about something as horrible as this happening. But what you would do is you would love your daughter and support her and do whatever you can to help her and certainly, you know, understanding that that child in the womb is a human life and it was a horrible thing to be created, but it's still a human life and my children all know, as I do, that that is -- that is a human being that deserves our love and support and protection. That child didn't do anything wrong. That baby didn't do anything illegal.
SANTORUM: Here's the sad part. The United States Supreme Court said that that person who commits that rape cannot be executed. You're not allowed to execute people who commit rape, but the Supreme Court -- that same Supreme Court says you can execute the child who's the innocent victim of the rape. That is the society that has its morals upside down.
BURNETT: Are you saying then that you would think that we could execute rapists or not execute either?
SANTORUM: I'm not saying we -- yes, I'm not saying we should execute either, but the fact is that we can't execute the rapist, who committed a horrific, violent act, but we can execute the baby in the womb, who is a victim just as much at that -- as -- of this act. That's a court that has its morals upside down in my opinion.
BURNETT: Right and just -- I mean just because I always like hearing you talk as a father and a family man, I mean, is it -- I know -- I know you know you say your children understand your point of view and what you would want them to do, but I would imagine if your daughter made another choice, you'd still love your daughter. I mean --
SANTORUM: I love my daughter no matter what she does. I mean that's unconditional love. I wear this little bracelet. It says family on it. I won't pull it out and show it, but it says family. And it says and what family means in this bracelet, it's got a period after each letter, is, "Forget about me. I love you." And that's what I believe in.
I believe that unconditional love. It's not about me. It's about giving yourself to your children and my children make mistakes every day. I make mistakes every day. I don't love them any less and I'm going to support them no matter the choices they make and try to make the best of it, but I'm going to also encourage them to make the right choices.
BURNETT: All right, well, Senator, it's always good to talk to you. Thanks again for your time.
And our third story OURFRONT now, off the record comments made by President Obama are now on the record. The White House had wanted to keep a conversation the president had with "The Des Moines Register" private, but when the newspaper protested, the Obama campaign quickly reversed course and now in that interview we know that the president revealed that if he's re-elected, he's confident he can pass immigration reform in his first year.
He went on to say and I'll quote him, "The big reason I'll win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing Democratic -- demographic group in the country, the Latino community."
OUTFRONT tonight, John Avlon, who's traveling to key battleground states around CNN's Election Express, and this evening he is in Winter Park, Florida. And John, I know you're having fun on that bus there, but it's interesting to see how blunt the president was, perhaps in part because he thought it was off the record. Now it's on the record. We all know what he had to say. No problem with that. It this something that could hurt him?
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't -- I don't think so. He's really talking about reality. The president's campaign strategy has been to bet big on demographic changes in this nation. It is a risky bet. It may reflect where the country would be in 2020, but not necessarily 2012. But everybody understands that the president needs to get a huge percentage of the Latino vote and he seems to be getting it.
Mitt Romney, in most polls with Hispanics, is doing worse than any recent Republican, in part because of campaign tactics he took in the primaries. So he has made a really steep climb for him and the president's campaign is betting on it. That's clear.
BURNETT: Now, did the editor of "The Des Moines Register" have a point in urging the Obama campaign to allow them to publish the interview? I mean, obviously he had thought it was off the record when he did the interview.
AVLON: Yes, but the idea that anyone running for president, let alone the President of the United States is conducting an off the record interview two weeks out from Election Day is ridiculous. What are they trying not to tell the American people? We all understand the dangers of gotcha politics and all this, but this is sitting down with an editorial board and everything should be on the record. Everything should be above board. To request an off the record interview, on the part of the president's campaign, I think is ridiculous.
BURNETT: All right and a final question. The president's hold on Latinos, which he was talking about there, especially where you are in Florida tonight, how strong is it?
AVLON: Look, I mean it is a significant race right here. It's amazing. We've got Romney momentum, but, again, the president betting on demographics and the reality is the Hispanic vote here, while it's over 20 percent of the electorate, is not a simple stereotype.
Earlier today we spoke to a gentleman named Abraham Lajara, who told us about just how complicated and non stereotypical the Hispanic vote is in Florida. And I don't know -- maybe we can toss that sound real quick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAHAM LAJARA, LATINO VOTER: Got many Cuban friends and I share their views when it comes to you know some of the political points against communism. When you come from Latin America, you are either a little bit to the center or all the way to the right. I happen to be closer to the right when it comes to those views. But when it comes to social views, they've got a little bit of Democratic seasoning on them, but they won't tell Mommy and Daddy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: So what is the point he's making, Erin, is that, you know, the Cuban community in Florida, everybody knows it's very Republican. But in fact the Hispanic community overall, as he said, is under many flags. It's very diverse especially up here in the Orlando area, a large number of Latin Americans, Puerto Rican -- folks from Puerto Rico, really changing the demographics. In 2006, for the first time Hispanics in the state of Florida registered more Democrat than Republican. So it's -- you can't go by stereotypes, so it's a competitive fight for the Hispanic vote even in this key state of Florida.
BURNETT: All right, John Avlon. And John will continue to be on the bus and we'll continue to check in with him every night.
OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump. He claimed to have an October surprise. He trumped it like the second coming. And then we found out what it really was.
And she says the Air Force gave her a choice, her career or her child. Did military brass cross the line? An OUTFRONT investigation.
BURNETT: Our fourth story OUTFRONT: The October surprise. It wasn't.
Donald Trump promised a bombshell today, saying it was something very, very big, concerning the President of the United States that would possibly change the election. I mean, everybody was talking about it. They were talking about it in the green room of Conan O'Brien show last night. What could it be? What could it be?
Oh, well, then we found out. Donald did this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications and if he gives his passport applications and records, I will give to a charity of his choice, inner city children in Chicago, American Cancer Society, AIDS research, anything he wants, a check immediately for $5 million.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: The Twitter-verse exploded with bipartisan snark. There's no other word for it.
Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer wrote, "I will give $50 to the charity of Donald Trump's choice if he tries to stop making this election about himself. Who's with me?"
Republican strategist David Frum tweeted, "Trump's genius plan: trap Obama into releasing his transcripts, then blast him as an elitist when he is shown to have earned straight As."
Even the Obama camp got in on it. When asked for a comment, top adviser David Plouffe told reporters, "Direct those questions to Boston because Donald Trump is Mitt Romney's biggest supporter, so he owns everything he says."
OUTFRONT tonight, Haley Barbour, former Governor of Mississippi and a top surrogate for Mitt Romney, and the former Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, who's also the host of "The War Room" on Current TV.
Really appreciate both of you taking the time. Governor Barbour, let me start with you. You know, Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney back in February. At the time, Romney called the endorsement a delight, to use his word. This was despite, of course, Donald Trump's long- standing tradition of questioning whether Barack Obama was born in this country.
Is it true what David Plouffe said, then, that Mitt Romney owns whatever Donald Trump says and does?
HALEY BARBOUR, (R) FORMER GOVERNOR OF MISSISSIPPI: Of course it's not true. But, you know, anytime that we're not talking about jobs and economy, it's not the right thing for Mitt Romney. That's what what's on the American people's minds. That's what families talk about at the dinner table at home, about how bad the economy is, how weak the job market is, about how family incomes have gone down under the Obama administration.
And so the best thing that anybody can do for Romney is to keep people focused on the most important thing and that's the economy and jobs. Even Obama has finally, here two weeks before the election, come out with a jobs plan.
BURNETT: Well, all right, let me ask you, Governor Granholm, is this sort of a dream come true for Democrats, that Donald Trump did this?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, (D) FORMER MICHIGAN GOVENOR: Honestly, Erin, why are we even uttering the man's name? I mean, really, he is just a carnival barker. This is all about him. The only October surprise would be that if Donald Trump didn't call attention to himself.
But, you know, I mean Governor Barbour, you know I love you, but the president's jobs plan that he put out is actually the same plan that he has been talking about on the campaign trial. It's not -- nobody claims that this is a new plan. This is the very plan that he's been talking about for the past year and it's the reason why he's been able to create 5.1, 5.2 million jobs in the past 31 months. It's the reason why we are starting to see an uptick, why unemployment is the lowest it's been since the president took office, why consumer confidence is on a five-year high, why housing starts on a five-year high.
We are moving in the right direction. We haven't arrived at the promised land yet, but thanks to the policies that the president has put place, we are on the right track.
BURNETT: What jobs plan though?
GRANHOLM: Well, that's what I'm saying, Erin, the job -- he's got five points. He wants to cut our dependence on foreign oil in half. He wants to create a million manufacturing jobs. He wants to double our exports. He wants to reduce the deficit with a balanced plan that includes both cuts and revenues. He wants to make sure that the plans that he had put in place are wisely carried forward because we are seeing movement.
What he put on paper, Erin --
GRANHOLM: -- was in fact the plan that he has been talking about. Mitt Romney has a five-point plan. The president has a five-point plan that he has been talking about. It's just is an accessible way for those undecided voters to be able to get it all in one place.
BURNETT: Governor Barbour, when I hear Governor Granholm, it does sound -- I mean, they both have five points and I know there are differences in the plans. But, you know, the energy goals are actually rather similar. In terms of their tax plan, I know there are serious differences, but they are both relying on closing loopholes, adding revenues in some places, cutting in others.
They may disagree on all those places, but there's actually rather a lot of similarities there on those five points.
BARBOUR: Well, there's a lot of similarities between what they say but not between what they've done. Obama's energy policy has been to produce less oil and gas on federal lands. This huge, huge surge of oil and gas production on the United States is on private lands. It's been done with technology that the American government had nothing to do with.
Look, we went through the moratorium on offshore drilling. We still haven't caught back up. So the idea that this is a pro-oil and gas, or much less a pro-coal, president? And the president very serious about the budget. We haven't had a budget in three years. The president sends his budget up to Congress. The Republican House passes budget. The Democrat Senate will not take up the Democrat president's budget.
So what does he do? He just shrugs. He is unserious about the budget and I think most people will look at that economic plan for jobs and say it's essentially the same thing he's been doing -- spend, spend, spend. Raise taxes on employers.
GRANHOLM: That is just not true. I know it's a nice talking point on the Republican side, but it is just not true.
Federal spending, the growth of federal spending, is the lowest that it's been since the Eisenhower years, for the past 50 years. This past year, we've seen a significant reduction in the growth of spending in federal government. The president's plan is a balanced plan that, if he had cooperation in Congress, I mean, you know, Haley, we've got all these Republicans in the House that have signed pledges not to cooperate, and that's what's prevented a balance budget from emerging from Congress, but hopefully after the election --
BURNETT: But Governor Granholm, why should we trust that the president would be able to get something done when he didn't back Simpson-Bowles? He and John Boehner had a deal, failed to reach it. He's now coming out and saying, oh, I'm going to have this combination of cuts and revenue, sort of similar to the way he had before. How is he going to get it through now when it's failed before?
GRANHOLM: Well, I do think that after an election, people understand that there is a window of time to get things done. I do think the fiscal cliff, as horrific it would be if it were to actually happen, is the opportunity to get a deal before it does happen.
So people in Congress know that once the election is over, they have to act. Their incentive to not cooperate, like Mitch McConnell said that their goal is to not have him be a two-term president. Once he is a two-term president, that goal goes away. So there will be incentive to cooperate once the election is over and hopefully there will be some more sane people inside of Congress that will be able to compromise.
BURNETT: -- coal companies.
BARBOUR: The problem here is the Democratic-controlled Senate. They won't take up the president's budget. It's not the Republicans.
When the president had 60 Democrats in the Senate, a huge majority in the House, and he had said he was going to introduce comprehensive immigration reform, did not need one Republican vote to pass comprehensive immigration reform -- never even offered a bill.
And the idea that we've created 5 million jobs, that's very creative math.
BURNETT: All right. Well, we'll leave it there with both of you. But I really appreciate having both of you on together. We thank you.
Still to come, this woman was forced to make a terrible choice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REBECCA EDMONDS, FORMER AIR FORCE CADET: He just says, I don't know what would happen to a cadet if she were to become pregnant, but I don't think it would be good. At that point, I don't thought, OK, I don't think I have to tell anybody this. I'm scared now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Did the Air Force policies add up?
And Conan O'Brien talks about Mitt Romney, breakfast cereal and his own drinking issues.
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT: punished for being pregnant. That's what a nursing student and Air Force cadet says happened after she accidentally became pregnant. Rebecca Edmonds was sent to become a commission officer in the Air Force until she reported she was pregnant and intended to keep her baby. They kicked her out of the Air Force and told her she owes nearly $100,000 in scholarship money.
Tonight, Kyung Lah has an OUTFRONT investigation into Air Force policies that some say don't add up.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Having children changes your life. For Rebecca Edmonds, her baby ended hers in the military.
(on camera): Your son was a bit of a surprise?
EDMONDS: Yes, he was. Unexpected.
LAH (voice-over): Edmonds was a cadet with the Air Force ROTC studying nursing at the Marquette University earlier this year. Just weeks away from graduation and from this moment, commissioned as an Air Force officer. She had a required meeting with an Air Force instructor and was surprised when the subject came up.
EDMONDS: He just says I don't know what would happen to a cadet if she were to become pregnant, but I don't think it would be good, so just don't get pregnant. She said that word for word to me and at that point, I thought, OK, I don't think I have to tell anybody this, I'm scared now.
LAH: Scared says this Catholic woman, that she would be pressured to abort the baby. Instead, Edmonds completed the rigorous training and physical. At her commissioning ceremony, Edmonds' father, a career naval officer, administered the oath to his then 13-week pregnant daughter making her a second lieutenant.
By then, her family knew and supported her decision to keep the decision and her military. But all that came crushing down when she reported her pregnancy. The Air Force revoked her commission, said she was dis-enrolled, kicked out. The reason, this document.
In 2007, when Edmonds joined ROTC at age 18, she signed this agreement. This one line states she needs to report any change in medical status like pregnancy. A line Edmonds says she did not remember.
An officer told her by not telling the military before she commissioned, she had committed fraud.
EDMONDS: I said to him, after he told me that, had I terminated the pregnancy, before my commissioning, would I have been able to commission? At that point and he said, well, technically, yes.
LAH: Edmonds appealed to her congressman, who received this letter outlining why the military does not allow single parents to enlist.
But the letter from the Air Force colonel added this: "She would have been able to commission if she were not a single parent. For example, if she were married or had given up the child for adoption."
Dan Conway is Edmonds' attorney.
DAN CONWAY, ATTORNEY: The way I would interpret this letter is that they're telling you that you have three options, but they're only stating two of them. What they don't tell you, which is an option, is abort the pregnancy.
LAH (on camera): There's a reason for the policy. It comes down to military readiness. This thick policy of recruiting procedure states single parents don't have the flexibility for deployment because of child care needs. That's why they're ineligible for enlistment.
Edmonds' attorney calls it a policy filled with unintended consequences.
CONWAY: We're telling young, single women that they can't serve, that they've got to get married, give up the baby for adoption or have an abortion.
LAH (voice-over): In response, the Air Force told CNN, "The assertion that the Air Force would in any way encourage single parents to give up their children is unfounded. The Air Force is very concerned about the well-being of children, which is the primary reason the Air Force does not enlist or commission single parents into the Air Force."
LAH: Edmonds, who now lives with the father of her son, says she has the family's support to handle a long deployment.
EDMONDS: Interior toughness (ph) and proptosis.
LAH: But instead, she works as a pediatric nurse. She needs the job. Since the Air Force says she owes the military $92,000, the amount of her college scholarship. She pays what she can afford, $100 a month with interest.
Edmonds is appealing and hopes a positive decision will act not just her, but other single parents who want to serve their country. The Air Force says her case is under review.
Meanwhile, she juggles work and a child.
EDMONDS: There we go.
LAH: Edmonds named her son Dominic, meaning "belonging to God", a symbol of this Catholic woman's choice. A reminder of what she lost to keep him and what she says she gained.
LAH: Now, the Air Force does allow single parents to remain in the military, but that's only in cases of people who become single parents after they've enlisted, not before -- Erin.
BURNETT: Kyung Lah, thanks very much for that investigation.
And OUTFRONT next, what would you pay to legally drive 85 miles an hour? That number is next.
And the brave story of a 14-year-old girl who stood up to Islamic extremists. Tonight, exclusive detail about the men who tried to kill her.
BURNETT: And we are back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to our sources around the world.
And we begin in Pakistan where police told CNN exclusively that they have identified the main suspect in the shooting of Malala Yousufzai. The teen targeted by the Taliban for promoting girls' education.
Saima Mohsin is in Islamabad and I asked her for the latest in the investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, I spent the day in Swat today and I met a senior police official involved in the investigation. He's told me that they have six men in custody. All of them from the local area, from Swat, where Malala Yousufzai also lived and they believe them to have acted on some of facilitators, is what he said. Maybe they carried the attack, perhaps they planned it. We're not sure on that. But he called all facilitators.
He also told me about the main suspect, the man they want to speak to, is Atta Ullah Khan. I've managed to get ahold of a photograph for you today. And he is just 23 years old. He's from Swat as well.
Police have arrested his mother, his brother and his fiance speaking to them, hoping to find out where he is -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, the fastest highway in America is now open. Earlier today, workers in Texas removed barricades from a new toll road officially linking to state highway 130. Now, this is a new stretch of road. It completes the stretch from Austin to San Antonio. And it has a legal speed limit of 85 miles-an-hour. I mean, look at that, 85.
I mean, can you do the same role? You know, you only go 10 over and you still don't get stopped.
Anyway, it's the highest posted speed limit on any highway in this country. The private company that built the road at its own expense is going to operate it and maintain it over the next 50 years, so they get to keep most of the toll money. Fair.
Which brings us to tonight's number: $6.17. That's how much it's going to cost drivers to take the new road. You didn't think it would be free, did you?
Six dollars and seventeen cents could sound like a lot of money, but you're actually getting a lot for your money. In addition to a higher speed limit, you get more road. The new extension, 41 miles long. So, at $6.17, that's 15 cents a mile, which actually compares incredibly favorably, say, to the Chicago Skyway. Or the Delaware Turnpike 36 cents a mile.
I mean just rip off honestly and you can only probably go 55 on those roads.
Personally, I would probably more than happy to pay extra to drive that fast. Hopefully no one sits in the left lane chatting on their cell phones and looking at your with confusion when you have to pass them on the right as they block the entire highway on the road.
What do you think? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to try the road for free, you can but you got to fast. It's free for a few weeks. They start charging on November 11th.
OUTFRONT next, Mitt Romney's very strange late-night craving.
BURNETT: Last night, I was a guest on Conan O'Brien's show. Team Coco was great.
And during the interview, Conan had some questions about Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": I was talking about Governor Romney, all right? I have to admit, I still don't feel I know enough about him as a person. I'm very intrigued he doesn't smoke, he doesn't drink, he doesn't use caffeine. Does this guy have any vice?
BURNETT: He has a vice.
O'BRIEN: Which is?
BURNETT: When he is feeling really stressed out at night, he has a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. O'BRIEN: He has Cocoa Puffs?
O'BRIEN: That makes -- I like -- I can relate to that. Why isn't he out talking about that? That's relatable. That makes him seem more human to me.
BURNETT: Yes, he doesn't need to have a glass of wine, or three or four.
O'BRIEN: You know what's great? Wine with Cocoa Puffs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Cereal and wine. You know I have heard stranger ideas.
So don't be surprised if you see a new product in the grocery shelves in time for the election. The best part is the wine. I bet even Mitt Romney will try them. I mean, they've got to be kosher, right?
Thanks for joining us. "A.C. 360" starts right now.