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Battleground Ohio; Changing Impressions With Independents; Candidates Push to be Likable; Secret Agent Reveals Secrets; Prosecutors Charge Alleged Cannibal Cop; CDC: 11 More Meningitis Cases; Single Mom Fights for Air Force Commission; Comics Poke Fun at Politicians

Aired October 25, 2012 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: President Obama uses some surprisingly coarse language to describe Mitt Romney.

Also, Romney takes a page out of the president's campaign playbook. And it could have you doing a double-take.

Plus, a possible real-life horror story for the Northeastern United States. The pieces are now falling in place for a monster weather event dubbed Frankenstorm.

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

Just a dozen days left in the race for the White House, the candidates and their campaigns are now pulling out all the stops. And so are we.

Our CNN correspondents are reporting from all of the most critical states in this very, very tight race, as President Obama and Governor Romney throw virtually everything in their campaign arsenals at the battleground states.

Let's start with the Obama campaign right now. The president drew a huge crowd in Richmond, Virginia, today, his most recent stop on a whirlwind two-day eight-state swing that culminates next hour.

CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, has the latest.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, President Obama is moving through his schedule at a healthy clip. He's even running early, all so he can get to his hometown of Chicago and cast an early ballot for himself.



YELLIN (voice-over): Fresh off on all-nighter.

OBAMA: My voice is getting a little hoarse.

YELLIN: The president didn't break stride delivering his closing message. OBAMA: You know I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

YELLIN: The campaign says it's not too late to make the case Governor Romney can't be trusted. And they got a boost with a surprise endorsement.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012.

YELLIN: On CBS's "Early Show," General Colin Powell echoed the message, calling Governor Romney's positions a -- quote -- "moving target."

POWELL: The governor who was speaking Monday night at the debate was saying things quite different than what he said earlier. So, I'm not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy.

ACOSTA: In a moment of candor, the president drove home that theme, telling "Rolling Stone" magazine and historian Doug Brinkley he thinks Governor Romney is a -- quote -- "," but he's keeping it clean on the trail.

OBAMA: He's hoping that you come down with a case of what we call Romnesia.

YELLIN: And picking up his pace.

OBAMA: Just got to keep on keeping on until every single person out there who needs to vote is going to go vote.

YELLIN: Hopscotching from Florida to Virginia, hometown Chicago and Ohio. Strategies are three. One, turn out the early vote, which their ground operation can move and measure. This new memo from Chicago says they think they're winning in firewall, Ohio.

OBAMA: It's up to the young people here to choose the future that you believe in, that you want to see.

YELLIN: Boost turnout among voting groups already leaning to the president, youth, Latinos, union workers. Three, woo undecided women, including with this new ad.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe v. Wade.

Hopefully, reverse Roe v. Wade. Overturn Roe v. Wade.

YELLIN (on camera): And as for that endorsement from General Colin Powell, the president said he was grateful and appreciative of it. He had no advance notice it was coming. But after the general announced it, the president did call him and thank him for it. And he mentioned it here at a rally to the crowd, saying it was a deep honor and no doubt something of a boost to his campaign -- Wolf.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: No doubt about that. Jessica, thank you.

Mitt Romney is focusing in on one of the most critical states for him. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio. And that's where the GOP nominee is campaigning nonstop on this day.

Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is with the Romney campaign in Worthington, Ohio, right now.

What's the very latest, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Mitt Romney just wrapped up a campaign event here in the Columbus area. He's headed next to the northern part of this battleground state.

And with most polls showing that he is trailing President Obama just slightly in this critical swing state, he is traveling across Ohio by bus in the hopes of closing that gap. And he is debuting a new catchphrase for the final stage of this campaign. And he's hitting it big time.


ACOSTA (voice-over): How's this for a role reversal? In Ohio, Mitt Romney is declaring he's now the candidate of not just change, but:

ROMNEY: Big changes, big changes, big changes.

ACOSTA: And President Obama who won the White House four years ago with the slogan of hope and change is now in Romney's view just more of the same.

ROMNEY: The path we're on does not have new answers. The president has the same old answers as in the past.

ACOSTA: On a bus tour across this critical swing state, Romney appears to have settled on a final line of attack, that after months of campaigning, the president has yet to present new ideas to jump- start the economy.

ROMNEY: The Obama campaign doesn't have a plan. The Obama campaign is slipping because he's talking about smaller and smaller things, despite the fact that America has such huge challenges. And that's why on November 6, I'm counting on Ohio to vote for big change.


ACOSTA: Among those smaller things, the Romney campaign points to comments Mr. Obama made in the latest issue of "Rolling Stone" magazine. "You know, kids have good instincts," the president said. "They look at the other guy and say, well, that's a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I can tell."

The Romney campaign fired back, saying: "President Obama is rattled and on the defensive. He's running on empty and has nothing left but attacks and insults. It's unfortunate he has to close the final days of his campaign this way."

ROMNEY: This fall, I'm supporting Richard Mourdock for Senate.

ACOSTA: But Romney's campaign also has been on the defensive this week over his continued support, including this ad, for Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who said pregnancies resulting from rape are what God intended.

At a breakfast shop in Cincinnati, Romney ignored questions from reporters, who asked whether he would like Mourdock to pull the endorsement spot. Any sudden movement could alter what is almost a tie in Ohio. The latest CNN poll of polls has President Obama with a slight edge. But polls also show the president is far ahead among voters who have already cast their ballots, which is why Romney and his top surrogates are urging their supporters to get busy.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: At the Board of Elections right now, they're open for business. So how about after this event we get in our cars and we go down to Broadway and vote early to be sure we can bank our votes?


ACOSTA: Now, we should point out that the Romney campaign put out a political memo you could call it earlier this afternoon making the case that this race here in Ohio is a dead heat.

They are not really buying into those polls right now that show the president with a slight advantage. But just in case they lose Ohio, they are looking at other swing states like Iowa, which explains why Mitt Romney will be in that state tomorrow delivering what his aides are calling a major speech on the economy -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We will be watching that speech. I think it's in Ames, Iowa, tomorrow. Jim Acosta on the campaign trail for us, thanks very much.

By the way, later in THE SITUATION ROOM, David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, he will be joining us. And we're going to get his reaction to what's going on, on the political front today, David Axelrod here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is getting some fund-raising help from former Vice President Dick Cheney and the first President Bush. A source tells CNN Cheney will be the headliner at an event in Dallas tonight, while George H.W. Bush will be on hand for a fund-raiser in Houston next week. Neither Romney nor Paul Ryan will attend the events.

For independent voters, the debates may have changed everything. Our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, is standing by with some revealing brand-new poll numbers.


BLITZER: Just four years ago, it would have been very hard to imagine some of what we're hearing from both Mitt Romney and President Obama right now.

Let's get an inside look at the candidates and their closing messages with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Let me play a little clip from each of these candidates, Gloria, sort of summarizing, summing up their final thoughts.


ROMNEY: So, our campaign is about big things because we happen to believe that America faces big challenges. We recognize this is a year with a big choice and that Americans want to see big changes. And I'm going to bring it to this country.


OBAMA: I told you I would end the war in Iraq. I did. I said we'd transition out of Afghanistan, and we are.

I said we'd go after those who actually attacked us on 9/11. Al Qaeda's on the path to defeat, Osama bin Laden is dead. A new tower is rising over the New York skyline. Our heroes are coming home. I have kept those promises.



BLITZER: All right. Gloria, what do you think? A little surprising? Similar? What do you think?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What a difference four years makes, right?

OK. When you're the challenger, you run as a candidate of change. President Obama last time ran as a candidate of change. There was no incumbent, but he was all about change. This time, Mitt Romney is all about change, promising big change on the campaign trail.

And what's the president talking about? The president is talking about promises kept and moving to the future. What Romney's trying to do is say, this president is an unacceptable status quo. And what the president's saying is, if you elect him, you're going to go back, you're not going to forward.

It also helps that Romney can call himself an outsider because the president is of course in Washington, part of government, part of the gridlock that people hate. So it's a very, very different role for the president this time around.

BLITZER: Both of these candidates are really going after the independent voters, the swing voters, those who haven't yet decided.

I was intrigued by this "Washington Post"/ABC News poll. These are likely independent voters. The poll was taken mostly before the final debate, but after the first two presidential debates. How did your impressions change after the debates? Forty percent for Romney said their impressions improved. Only 10 percent for President Obama said their impressions improved; 20 percent said they deteriorated, 18 percent for Romney.

What do you make of this?

BORGER: Well, most people feel that they know President Obama. They have seen him for the past four years. So whether or not their impressions improved or changed, they figure they know him.

What's important in that is, for Mitt Romney, that people started thinking of him better. And that's important, because he had to introduce himself to voters. Now, when it comes to independents, what I look at and "The Washington Post" also looked at is the question of who could do better on the economy. And in this same poll Romney has a 17-point lead on who's better able to handle the economy with independent voters.

Now, during the campaign that we've been covering, Wolf, the question of who's best able to handle economic problems has been going back and forth and back and forth. If you look at this snapshot -- and, again, it is a very quick snapshot, you'll see that Romney has actually made some improvement on that ground and that his economic message may be getting through.

However, independent voters are notoriously fickle. So, we're just -- we're not sure where they're going to wind up.

BLITZER: But these are national polls.

BORGER: They are.

BLITZER: And obviously they're interesting. But what's really important are the swing states.

BORGER: Swing states.

BLITZER: What do we see if anything from these national numbers in Florida or Ohio or Virginia?

BORGER: Well, it's really hard to extrapolate. We do get state swing polls. But they're all over the map. And the campaigns are fighting each other about what to read into a poll and whatnot to read into a poll. For example, yesterday, "TIME" magazine had the president up by five points.


BORGER: In the state of Ohio. Very, very important. The most crucial state.

Today, the national polling director for Mitt Romney sent out a memo, I just happen to have it here, which pointed out that Mitt Romney -- that same poll showed that Mitt Romney was ahead with independent voters 53 percent to 38 percent. He said, well, if that's the case, we're winning this state. Here's the thing I love what he wrote. He said, "Write it down. If Mitt Romney wins independent voters by 15 percent in Ohio, he'll be the next president of the United States."

BLITZER: I just wrote it dun.

BORGER: Write it down. OK.

BLITZER: Thank you. Gloria, appreciate it.

Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some other stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now, including an outburst of violence across Iraq.

Lisa, what's the latest?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, at least 12 people were killed in a series of shootings and bombings across Iraq. Daily violence had been largely dropping over the past four years. But last month was the deadliest in two years. The Iraqi government blames the violence on insurgents linked to al Qaeda.

And more good news today for the U.S. housing market. Foreclosures fell in nearly two-thirds of the country's biggest markets in the third quarter. RealtyTrac says the most markets are past the worst of the housing crisis, but there are still a few trouble spots including several cities in Florida. That state was especially hard hit by the downturn.

And the inside of the Statue of Liberty will be open for business on Sunday. The interior has been closed for a year because of renovations to make it more accessible for disabled visitors. The changes will allow 26,000 more people to visit every year. The final cost of the renovations will be about $30 million when they're finished early next year.

So the chance for people to go, it should be great. You can get back inside and see what it looks like inside, Wolf.

BLITZER: I've been there, done it. It's great. I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Lisa, thank you.

Campaign humor or campaign desperation? Our political panel getting ready to take a closer look at President Obama's one-liners. That's coming up.


BLITZER: President Obama is making use of one-liners on and off the campaign trail. And the Romney campaign says his attacks simply show the president is on the defensive. Take a look at our snapshot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The snarkiness continues, with talk of Romnesia. He even used a word in talking about Governor Romney that we can't say on television.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:, that he thinks he's just full of it.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He continues to launch these misdirected attacks at me. He knows they're not accurate and they're not making much progress for them.

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Likability is another thing that's kept Obama afloat so far in this campaign.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If anybody comes from Ohio to the White House, they will get a Hershey bar this big.


OBAMA: It will be huge.


BLITZER: All right. Let's get straight to Sirius XM radio host Pete Dominick and our excellent, excellent panel -- Pete.


Let's get right to it. Likability -- what is it? Why does it matter if we like these candidates that we're voting for? And how do we measure it?

Donna, what is likability versus favorability, by the way? I have no idea the difference.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it really goes to the heart of do you want to have a beer or soft drink or even share a hot dog --

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: A Yoo-hoo in Mitt Romney's case.

BRAZILE: Or a poor boy sandwich, you're fully dressed.

It's really about trust. It's about do you trust this person to handle these difficult issues especially the presidency. It's one of those decisions most Americans don't walk into the booth and say I don't like this guy. It's more like I trust this guy, I believe he will follow through on his promises.

NAVARRO: I think it's a lot more than about trust. I think there's been a change in campaigns in the last few years. We know these guys now. We know these candidates. We --

DOMINICK: Do you like them?

NAVARRO: We know what they eat, we know what their dog's name is, we know their children -- we know everything about them. So you want to like them. Because if you don't like them, with as much as we know about them, it's hard to vote for them. And I also think, you know, a lot about the presidency has to do with likability. It helps to be likable if you're negotiating treaties. It helps to be likable --

DOMINICK: That's the point.

NAVARRO: -- if you're dealing with foreign diplomats. It helps to be likable if you're trying to rally the nation back after some sort of tragedy.

DOMINICK: What was Mitt Romney's dog's name again? I'm sorry. I'm sorry.


DOMINICK: Likability. Yes?

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: First, we've known a lot about Mitt Romney. We've been hearing a lot from Mitt Romney for years. And he's been net unfavorable all year. Even now as a race is tightening he still has struggles with likability.

So I think as people have learned about him, they continue to be unsure if they like him. And in focus groups as a pollster, I do a lot of focus groups around the country and we often ask people things like which candidate would you want to go to the amusement park with your kids or grand kids. We ask questions like that, projected techniques to tap into likability.

But ultimately, it's more than just that. It's about which candidate do you feel likes you and wants to fight for people like you.

DOUTHAT: I think there's truth to that. But there is also sort of a chicken and the egg issue here, right? Where voters want to vote for candidates that they like, but they also want to like candidates that they're voting for.

So, one of the things we saw happen with Romney's likability numbers after his impressive performance in the first debate was that they went up. Did they go up because people suddenly decided, oh, I guess he wasn't such a bad guy when he closed those factories down running Bain?

No, they went up because he seemed more like a competent potentially successful president. So people maybe said, well, I guess I should like him. So I think we can -- you know, you can parse which comes first.

I would be hesitant about putting too much weight on the sort of have a beer with end of the spectrum. I think if a candidate comes across as a -- you know, plausible president, people are going to say I like him.

OMERO: For 90 minutes, he didn't say half of the country feels entitled to food.

DOUTHAT: Well, that helped too. That's true.

DOMINICK: I wonder sometimes -- I talk to people every day on the radio, I wonder how much we should be measuring hate-ability.

Think about 2004, right? I mean, nobody -- liberal Democrats weren't inspired and excited about voting for Mitt Romney, they just hated President Bush. And there's a lot of similarities here --

DOUTHAT: This is the secret of democracy. Democracy, we like to talk about it in sort of gauzy terms, but there is a sense in which every election often comes down more to who you hate than who you like. And you end upcoming up with reasons to like your own candidate.

BRAZILE: When President Obama wins re-election, the one thing we can be sure of the same people that dislike him and hate him right now, they'll be upset because they've been upset for the last four years.

But, you know, I do think there's a lot of stock we put in campaigns in making sure that the candidate comes across as accessible, somebody who's honest, straightforward, somebody you would like to have as your neighbor.

NAVARRO: And certainly we saw the Obama campaign put a tremendous amount of resources and stock into the likability issue. They spent millions of dollars over the summer when Mitt Romney had no money that he could access because he wasn't the nominee yet, they spent a ton of money on TV trying to make him dislikable. And it worked for a very long time.

DOUTHAT: It did. This is what's interesting, right, it also maybe hurt Obama's likability numbers too. I mean, there's an interesting dynamic here with --

BRAZILE: After the Republican primary he never --

DOUTHAT: No, no.


BRAZILE: -- disliked for a long time.

DOUTHAT: I completely agree. But if you look at the Obama campaign, if Obama wins this election after running what I think even the Democrats on this panel would agree has been a slightly more negative campaign than in 2008, it would at least partially confirm that -- voters always say they don't like negative campaigning, but it does often work, that sort of cuts against the idea of likability.

DOMINICK: Wouldn't it be great if it had nothing to do with likability and had everything to do with their policies and what they presented? Wouldn't it be great if it didn't matter that much about their family and what they're interested in?

NAVARRO: No. You want to see a jerk on TV for four years?

DOMINICK: I would rather see a jerk smart on policy. I'm not going to have a beer with anybody.

OMERO: There's more to leadership than being smart on policy. There's how you work with others. How you negotiate with Congress. How you bring people together and talk about difficult issues in a way that galvanizes the country. And those things are different from whether or not people agree with a long list of policy descriptions.

DOUTHAT: And you're not going to get -- I mean this goes to Ana's point that you're not going to get your sort of policies through if you can't actually sit down and work with people in Congress. And I think one of the things --

OMERO: You're very unlikable.

DOUTHAT: One of the things you hear about the struggles the president's had sometimes getting legislation passed is that he's not as thrilled as Bill Clinton was to say get on the phone with a congressman or senator. It's not likability per se --

NAVARRO Campaigning today requires sitting down with your friend Oprah, requires going to "The View," required going to Jay Leno, going to Dave Letterman --

DOUTHAT: And someday coming on "Unsolicited Advice".

BRAZILE: Talk about getting on the phone with members of Congress. Many of them are not --

NAVARRO: Likable themselves.


DOMINICK: We got to take a break. During this break, I want everybody watching to decide who they think on our panel's most likable. We'll be right back here on "Unsolicited Advice". Vote for me.


DOMINICK: Welcome back to Wolf Blitzer's THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Pete Dominick and our brilliant panel has stolen it to give our unsolicited advice to some unsuspected target. Yesterday, Ross Douthat, you focused on the hobbit. I'm excited to see if you've stepped it up a notch. Go ahead, sir.

ROSS DOUTHAT, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": No, I'm going back to political. Taking us back to the serious issues, my advice is for both Republicans and Democrats. We have a lot of conflicting poll information out there.

There are six new polls every 7 minutes and so on, but there are overall patterns. Overall Obama's performing slightly better than Romney in some key state polls and Romney's been performing slightly better in Obama in national polls.

So as a discipline headed into the final couple weeks of the election, I think Republicans should only follow state polls for a few days and Democrats should only follow national polls just to both sides have a dose of realism that we will all need when we spend two weeks after the election waiting for Ohio to count its votes.

DOMINICK: There will be so much crying.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Let me tell you something, as long as we're not counting in Florida, I don't care where else we're counting.

DOUTHAT: It's going to be Ohio this time.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It was Ohio in 2004. So hopefully we'll have another state this time. We've had enough of Ohio, enough of Florida. Who knows maybe it's Colorado.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go to Louisiana.

BRAZILE: Well, you cannot count all of us.

DOMINICK: Are we going to know who wins this election at midnight?

BRAZILE: No. I don't think so, in large part because we have several western states that will also help to determine the outcome.

DOMINICK: When I wake up?

BRAZILE: Well, given the fact that you don't go to bed until 4:00 a.m. --

DOMINICK: Strong point, Donna. Margie.

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Pete, you've asked me this before. Last time you asked me I said if you're a Republican candidate for office, don't talk about rape, it's going to end badly.

Clearly people have not been taking my advice. So now I'm going to re-emphasize that advice and take it to Romney and Ryan. If you want to lead your party to narrow the gender gap, take a strong stance against rape. What's the problem?

Don't avoid the question in front of reporters. Don't have your staff do it. Just take a strong stance against rape. That's step one. There may be a few steps to go after that to close the gender gap, but I think it's a pretty basic step.

NAVARRO: You don't think they've taken a stance against rape?

OMERO: I don't. I just posted --

NAVARRO: Mitt Romney has said that --

OMERO: He said I don't want to answer the question. That's what he said.

NAVARRO: We're not talking about rape. DOMINICK: We were talking about whether or not to have an abortion if you've been raped.

OMERO: Mourdock's comment was this is something that God intended, right. And it is something so cruel and such a far fringe thing to say that a majority of Americans are just completely turned off by that. And you can tell that Romney -- if it's such an obvious thing, why doesn't Romney just say what Obama said.

BRAZILE: Withdraw his endorsement and let it go. It's like he did with Todd Akin. I will not campaign in Missouri.

DOUTHAT: But what Mourdock said wasn't remotely like what Akin said.

DOMINICK: It wasn't.

DOUTHAT: Akin said there isn't anything like there's fake rape and fake pregnancy, Mourdock said children who are conceived in rape are equally God's children.

NAVARRO: A gift from God.

BRAZILE: Which is God's will as if God is --

DOMINICK: It would be helpful --

NAVARRO: We're fabricating an issue here. Did he word it poorly? Absolutely. Was he intending to say the rape was the will of God? No, it's the child. Donna --

BRAZILE: Republicans like to say it's because our statements are worded poorly.

NAVARRO: Democrats don't do poorly worded segments --

DOMINICK: Ladies, it should be women talking about this issue, but we've got to move on. Go ahead, Ana.

NAVARRO: My advice is to elected officials, folks running for office. I think they should follow John McCain's example. Yesterday when he got asked about the Mourdock issue, he said, look, I will support him if he apologizes, if he explains and shows some remorse.

Mourdock has done that, but I think it was so refreshing to hear John McCain say that. He's the son of a strong woman. He's the husband of a strong woman, the father of strong women, the friend of strong women.

And you know, there's something about apologizing, admitting you said it wrong, explaining it. We've seen too much doubling down in this campaign of things that have been offensive or said in a wrong manner. I'm glad for John McCain.

BRAZILE: Well, John McCain is a man of strong convictions and principles. He's also the candidate that four years ago denounced some of the crazy comments that came at those rallies. DOMINICK: Yes.

BRAZILE: My word of advice, unsolicited as it is, is that there are millions of Americans who are casting their votes early including now President Obama. I would hope that most Americans will take an example from President Obama if they can cast their ballot early.

I intend to cast my ballot before this nor'easter hit. God forbid if I'm unable to get out of my house to vote. But please if you can vote early, go and vote early. Bring all the proper identification so there's no problem with counting your ballot.

NAVARRO: I cast mine ten days ago.

BRAZILE: I know. Thank you for your vote.

DOMINICK: My advice is for both Mitt Romney and President Obama, I guess, it's going to fall on deaf ears with Mitt Romney, but it would be so nice to hear one of them talk about going after the financial industry. It's crazy how the financial industry has such a choke hold on both of these parties.

We have to break up these banks. Four banks have over 50 percent of GDP. We have to bring back this glass ceiling that separates investment and commercial banks. They are too big to fail. Dodd Frank doesn't go nearly far enough.

It's something that we came together as a country after 9/11, but we never came together after what caused the economic collapse to blame the criminals who caused it the financial industry.

Not everybody in the financial industry, but many, OK. And we need to bring back strong regulation, have referees. It would be great to hear, but they donate so much to campaigns. I just don't think we're going to see this.

NAVARRO: You're not going to hear anything in the next 12 days except the same lines and same stuff. You're going to hear Romnesia until your ears bleed and we get amnesia.

DOUTHAT: This was Romney's one of his best moments at the presidential debate where he did what you suggested and criticized Dodd Frank. You're right except there isn't a Romney alternative.

DOMINICK: There's one person to break up the banks, one legitimate candidate, that's Jon Huntsman. He actually campaigned on that and he got laughed at --

NAVARRO: I think he's in China eating dumplings.

DOMINICK: Americans could come together on this issue, we really could. I wish we would talk more about it and learn to understand it. But you're right. A boy can dream. Thank you guys very much. We've got to give it back to another young boy, Wolf Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much. Appreciate it, excellent discussion.

We've got more news coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM including some shocking claims by a former biker. He says he became a secret agent and went to incredible lengths to help the CIA take out a top terror suspect.


BLITZER: It's a tale of espionage and betrayal and even an arranged marriage. CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson investigates some remarkable claims by a Danish man who says he helped the CIA take out a top terror suspect.



PIERRE COLLIGNON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, JYLLANDS POSTEN: He's a very likable person and he seems to me like a chameleon.

MAGNUS RANSTORP, RESEARCH CHIEF, SWEDISH DEFENSE COLLEGE: He's really been a double or triple agent so to speak.

ROBERTSON: A former biker, he became a militant Islamist, visited Yemen several times and befriended a man who would become one of al Qaeda's most wanted, cleric Anwar Al Awlaki. Then he changed sides and turned secret agent. Storm says he worked for the CIA and Danish Intelligence Services.

RANSTORP: It's such an unusual story because it is so rare that two services completely mishandled -- misjudged him.

ROBERTSON: In the movies, James Bond never gives up his secrets. But Storm is telling it all to the Danish newspaper "Jyllands-Posten."

COLLIGNON: He called our main number and started to explain his story. We were scared this could be some kind of a weird trap. We did set up the first meeting one night on a dark parking lot.

ROBERTSON: The story that includes his part in a CIA plot to track down Awlaki by finding him a young, blond European wife.

(on camera): Storm says he was paid $250,000 to set up Al Awlaki's wedding. He describes meeting a man he calls a CIA agent at this hotel in a Copenhagen suburb June 9th, 2010. He says the agent gave him a briefcase.

It was locked. He asked for the combination. The agent told him 007. Storm says he opened the case. Inside, he found $250,000 in cash.

(voice-over): To backup his claims, Storm not only had a photo of the case of cash, but this match making moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This recording is done specifically for sister at her request and the brother who's carrying this recording is a trustworthy brother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's me. And I just want to tell you that right now I feel nervous and this is very awkward for me. So I just tape this just to see that you can see how I look.

COLLIGNON: When I watched these tapes of video marriage proposals from an al Qaeda leader and this woman's answers, I thought, well, this story is impossible to deny.

ROBERTSON: Storm says the CIA sent him to Vienna to meet Amina, a Croatian convert to Islam. He gave her a suitcase with a secret tracking device in the handle and got her to Yemen to meet Al Awlaki. He has the hotel bills to prove it.

COLLIGNON: They are paid by a company that we know is a Danish Secret Service company.

ROBERTSON: There is more. Storm hoarded a trove of documents including secret coded communications with Awlaki. Even this, a photo he says that shows him with his intelligence handlers in a hot tub. His revelations however are not to everyone's taste.

RANSTORP: It brings danger to I think Denmark. It also exposes the very secret, the very essence of intelligence services and that is means and methods. They never discuss means and methods.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So far U.S. officials here in Denmark have offered no explanation about Storm's claims. And certainly no acknowledgment of the CIA agents he claims to have met, Michael, Alex, Jed and George.

Storm says his final mission was to take a USB thumb drive to Yemen for Awlaki, inside it, a CIA tracking device. He handed it off to an al Qaeda courier. Within weeks, Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike.

A week after Awlaki was killed Storm was angry with the CIA. He felt they'd let him down. Danish intelligence agents convinced him to come to a meeting here on the 7th of October 2011. Storm was recording the meetings.

He met with a CIA agent named Michael. Michael told him President Obama knows about you, that important people are aware of what you are doing and we are grateful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's against your honor as American as the super power of the world.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The recordings reveal he wanted credit for killing Awlaki, but Michael was told him a parallel operation was responsible. The meeting was a watershed.

RANSTORP: They lost control over him and they now have to sort of sweep up the mess he's left behind.

ROBERTSON: Now Storm is in hiding. CNN has been in contact with him. COLLIGNON: He realizes, of course, that he's in danger, but he also strongly believes that he's been in danger for years. And his analysis is that going public is not worsening his security situation.

ROBERTSON: But his life as a double agent is surely over. Nic Robertson, CNN, Copenhagen, Denmark.


BLITZER: Storm, by the way, has a Facebook page, which suggests he is living in a town in southeast England. Among the messages posted in the last few days, a link to the theme song from the new James Bond movie with a comment and I'm quoting now "feels related."

A New York City police officer is accused of being nothing less than a monster. And a single mother who lost her commission as an officer is fighting mad and taking on the U.S. Air Force.


BLITZER: Lisa's back. She's monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now including a New York cop who allegedly aspired to become a cannibal? What's going on?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a wild story, Wolf. Prosecutors in New York are accusing a police officer of absolutely heinous crimes. They say he plotted to kidnap, rape, torture and eventually eat a number of women.

The 28-year-old is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and one count of illegally accessing a national crime database. Prosecutors say there's no evidence he's harmed anyone, but their investigation is ongoing.

And the meningitis grout break is growing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 11 new cases in the past 24 hours. This brings the total number to 328 cases with two dozen deaths.

The FDA lists more than 3,000 medical facilities across the U.S. that have received potentially tainted drugs. And it is urging patients who received those drugs be alerted.

And a single mother who lost her commission is accusing the Air Force of discrimination. Rebecca Edmonds was sworn in as a second lieutenant after graduating from Marquette University on full scholarship.

But a short time before graduating she found out she was pregnant. And the service forbids single mothers from enlisting. The Air Force says Edmonds' case is under review, but she has already been accused of fraud. We'll have to see how that turns out.

BLITZER: We'll watch it together with you. Thanks, Lisa. Thanks very much.

Donald Trump provides political fodder for some late night TV talkers out there. We're taking a closer look at the latest campaign humor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speculation rampant. Was it a long-rumored Obama divorce papers proof that Obama's white half is also black? No, even bigger, folks. Trump dropped a ten-mega-Trump bombshell.



BLITZER: The presidential election is a gift to comics everywhere and there's no shortage of material for writers from late night television to Comedy Central and beyond. Donald Trump gave them his own version of an October surprise.


DONALD TRUMP, ENTERPRENEUR: I will give to a charity of his choice a check immediately for $5 million. One caveat, the records must be given by October 31st at 5:00 in the afternoon.

STEVEN COLBERT, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE COLBERT REPORT": That's right. He has to have it by 5:00 on Halloween because that night he's renting out his enormous orange head as a Jack-O-Lantern.

JAY LENO, HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW": I don't know. I think people get a little tired of Donald. Well, here, show what happened during the announcement.

TRUMP: If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications, and if he gives his passport applications --

JON STEWART, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE DAILY SHOW": He offered the president of the United States a charity gift of $5 million if the president would release his college transcripts. I believe we have the footage of the announcement of Trump making that.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, CBS' "THE LATE SHOW": Donald Trump called President Obama and said I'll give you $5 million if you can release your college records and your passport. Here's $5 million.

Release your college records and your passport. And I said, Don, I'll give you $5 million if you release that thing on your head. Let it go. Let it run free. Go on.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, NBC'S "LATE NIGHT": He gets a spray tan before major campaign events. I guess that explains Romney's new secret service code name the mittuation. Yesterday, Obama visited the swing state of Ohio for the 17th time this year, 17 times, people are so used to seeing him they're like hi.

LENO: Experts say the entire 2012 election could come down to just eight states. The states are confusion, dismay, depression, apathy, shock, disbelief, despair and anxiety. It's been a busy, busy day for the president. President Obama is traveling 5,300 miles in just one day. That breaks the previous record set by Lance Armstrong on his bicycle.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC'S "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": The first lady will be a guest on our show tomorrow. She'll be here to encourage people to vote and also to promote her new reality show "America's Next Top Lady." I'm excited to get a chance to interview Mrs. Obama and even more excited about partying with her Secret Service agents after the show.