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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Devastation On Staten Island; A New Plea For Help In Queens; New CNN Poll: Obama 50, Romney 47 In Ohio; Romney Makes Last Minute Push For Pennsylvania
Aired November 2, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Bloomberg comes to his senses, canceling the New York City marathon. Why, because the storm story isn't over. We have the pictures to show you.
A new poll is out in what could be the state that decides the election. No one knows the electoral map better, John King here tonight.
And new report looks at the CIA's role in the Benghazi attack and what it means for Director Petraus. Let's go OUTFRONT.
I'm Erin Burnett and good evening. OUTFRONT tonight, Bloomberg comes to his senses. After days of standing his ground despite anger, frustration and resentment, the New York City mayor late today canceled Sunday's marathon. It is the biggest in the world.
He said we cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event even one as meaningful as this to distract attention away from the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track.
The controversy, holding a marathon with all the generators, food, water and police that that requires as New Yorkers still reel from Sandy. Many here have lost their homes. Hundreds of thousands are still without power.
On Staten Island today, there was this furious message for the mayor deflecting what we heard from person after person there. We were there again today and met this owner of a Hilton Garden Inn. This hotel is overflowing with people sharing rooms.
Every single one of his rooms, people there has nowhere else to go of the storm. Richard Nicotra refused to kick them out to make room for the marathon runners that were supposed to stay there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NICOTRA, OWNER, HILTON GARDEN INN: People are dying on Staten Island. They are dying and I have a dilemma, do I pull people out who have no place to go to make room for marathon runners? I don't think so. I'm not doing it. I can't do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: But while victims on Staten Island and many other New Yorkers are relieved the mayor canceled the marathon, the news was hard for some. When our producer broke the news to this marathon runner that the event had been canceled, tears filled her eyes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUREN BMANDEL, MARATHON RUNNER: They're pulling out bodies of little children and us runners are going to walk through and run through their neighborhood in our fancy marathon outfits like nothing happened. Let me tell you, the mayor made the right decision 24 hours too late.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Emotions are running very high tonight. The long lines for gas are not getting any shorter. For a third straight day, drivers from New Jersey to Long Island lined up for miles waiting hours and hours to get to the pump before the gas runs out.
A lot of them are running out of gas before they even get to the gas station. The government says it's trying to make sure fuel gets there more quickly. They're trying to lift restrictions on non- American tankers to let them transport fuel to the ports.
Some might say why didn't that happen sooner and for some, the progress is not happening fast enough. We're hearing stories of fights. In one case, a man pulled out a gun during a fight for gas in Queens.
But the problem isn't just getting fuel to the gas stations, it is getting power there. Power will make a lot of the gas stations start working like that.
And across the country, at home, 3.2 million customers are without power and the majority are in the New York and New Jersey areas. Those are people filling up those containers for generators.
We brought you stories of desperation on Staten Island last night, frustration at the slow response. People I spoke to there call it the forgotten borough and said they were being treated differently.
Well, today, some of their cries for help were heard. Just hours ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano went to Staten Island to view the clean-up and she assured the island's residents that they have not been forgotten.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We know that Staten Island took a particularly hard hit from Sandy. And so, we want to make sure that the right resources are brought here as quickly as possible to help this community, which is so very strong, recover even more quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Brian Todd is live on Staten Island and Brian, what is the situation there tonight?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the same here is still one of devastation. You've got scenes like this behind me. This house on Cedar Grove Avenue and many others like it. Either completely leveled or in a condition that's not much better than that.
But this neighborhood has seen some signs of life, some signs of hope, after a couple of days of just real despair and feeling cut off quite frankly at the lack of relief agencies here. We've had New York City bulldozers, front end loaders, sanitation trucks, dump trucks here clearing off debris in this neighborhood all day today.
The National Guard was on the ground all day today and there have been some shelters set up about a little less than a mile from here run by the Red Cross and FEMA and also Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was on the ground.
Those are all important steps at the very least symbolically for the residents of this neighborhood who, as I said, who have felt cut off over the last several days. They're still kind of angry that it took so long to get here, but the fact of the matter is that FEMA and the Red Cross are on the ground right now, so that's a very positive step.
The one key thing to remember here though is that this shelter, the FEMA facility, the Red Cross facility, they're about a mile away from here. A lot of the people in this neighborhood don't necessarily know that they're there because they have no TV. They have no internet.
They have no phone service. They have very little cell service, so word of mouth isn't getting around to quite as many people as maybe as those who could use that facility over there.
So that's still a challenge for the Red Cross and FEMA to serve people inside this neighborhood and get aid to them when people here don't necessarily know that they're only about a mile away -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Brian Todd, thank you very much. As we said, so many were frustrated that it took so long, but it's good that people are there now trying to help.
As Brian said, a lot of people there have trouble communicating. A lot of what we saw yesterday there, these are areas where there's a lot of poverty and that's something that is similar to another part of New York tonight crying for help. In addition to Breezy Point, Queens, which as we told you, we first visited the morning after the storm. The Rockaways in Queens are desperate for assistance. There is no power. There hasn't been food. There is no clean water.
It's not a place that you've heard a lot about. It's home to 120,000 people, but more than half of them live below the poverty line and that is making a desperate situation even worse. OUTFRONT tonight, Congressman Gregory Meeks (D), New York, who represents that district and you were out visiting with your constituents today and the situation is desperate.
REPRESENTATIVE GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: It is very bad and people felt neglected. You have a number of public housing development, no power, young children, cold, don't know what tomorrow's going to bring and no food because they're isolated.
You know, they are on a peninsula that has no train service anymore. There's no gasoline and there's no place to go. So they have not ate literally. They don't have anything to eat for the last three or four days.
Fortunately today, there were trucks. FEMA did deliver some trucks and there was food being delivered. Working, he was able to get JetBlue and Delta Airlines, and I want to give them praise because they brought in food and they were feeding some, but it's still similar.
People don't know. We've got to get the word out, but there's no electricity. There's no telephone. There's no internet access and trying to get the word out and they're frustrated.
BURNETT: And what are the biggest frustrations that they have?
MEEKS: Well, there are a number of things. Number one, of course, first thing is eating and then at night, because of the security, you know, you've got individuals that are concerned about security.
You've got some who still want to go back to work, there's no bus. The bus service, the last bus leaves there at 5:00 p.m. So folks facing isolated after that. Some people work late. Some need to go to work early. That's over.
You have I saw today, fortunately, some of the shop owners had generators and they allowed some of the residents to come in and just get some warmth and plug in and charge their cell phones so they could try to communicate with someone. It's a tough situation.
BURNETT: And it's hard, too. I mean, these are the awkward things to talk about, but I mean, this is a place where half of the people are below the poverty line and that plays a part in this, in their voices being heard.
MEEKS: And what's concerned is people are hungry. You know, some others -- start breaking or looting or anything of that nature, we want to make sure that does not happen.
And so, you know, there's some National Guard out there and I had a chance to talk to some of them. They said they need some other and I got to say, people do not want to be forgotten about.
BURNETT: But who's blame for this happening? I know it's hard. The disaster is in so many different places. Some places get assistance more quickly. Who's to blame for the neighborhood like this not getting what it needs as quickly?
MEEKS: Well, you know what? I don't necessarily put blame on someone. I'm an elected official. We all have to do more. We've got make sure they know that the people there exist and they've got to be taken care of.
So I've been able to communicate with the governor's office. They have been very concerned and said what do you need? We want to make sure that it happens. I've had an opportunity to talk today to Secretary Donovan of HUD.
And I believe he's going to come in tomorrow. We're going to try to -- resources there. So, it's just we've got to make sure that no one is left behind. No one is forgotten about and everybody has some kind of special circumstances.
And these individuals, they are the ones that probably need the most. There are seniors that are there that need help and assistance. And you have the problem with this, you know, that as I said, no one on the peninsula from the east end to the west end has there any power
But there are a lot of individuals who still have water in their basements, in some of the homes, working class families. So when you talk about turning the power on, you've got to have generators out there to get the water out first so that when the power does come on, there's no chance of anyone getting electrocuted.
So there are not enough generators out there for those who own their homes. Hard working class people lost everything. When I was out there, many were saying thank God that you came because we thought we were forgotten about.
But I know that, you know, some of the electorates, they are out there. They're working and it's a difficult situation. I also found the people to be resilient also. I mean, that was amazing to me also that a number of the people were resilient in saying thank you for being out here. We know there's going to be some help, but we need it in short order.
BURNETT: I hope the people hear you tonight and all the organizations that can get out there and get more people out there do it. Thanks so much. We appreciate your time.
It has been a very tough week with many stories of anguish and loss, but today, eye witnessed totally unexpectedly a bright light of hope out of the darkness. It really was and we have the full story still to come for you tonight.
Up next though, John King with a brand new poll out of Ohio, how close is the race in the buckeye state, really? That's where it's all going to come down to.
And later, the Obama administration gets a bit of a boost from today's jobs report. So, this is not something I want to say, but I didn't say it. Someone in this campaign did, why are they talking about the president? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, just four days before the election, a brand new CNN poll in what probably is going to be the most crucial swing state of all. We say probably.
Most people say it definitely is. It's most certainly, but we will see, 50 percent to 47 percent with the president ahead. That is within the margin of error for the poll.
John King is in Cincinnati tonight. John, another poll neck and neck, it's going to probably be a very, very long night on election night. What stood out in that poll to you?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is remarkable, Erin. If you look deep into the poll, yes, the president might have a slight advantage, but this is a classic swing state and we have a classic dead heat.
So what happens? We know the president's getting the Democrats. Governor Romney's getting the Republicans so you want to look at the independents in the middle, right?
Well, look at this, 48 percent for Governor Romney, 46 percent for the president so essentially a dead heat for independent voters today as both candidates are in the state today and both will be back to make their case.
Because of Ohio's diversity, this is one of those states where we'll want to see in the early exit poll what's the composition? The demographic composition of the electorate and if you look here, the president starts with a big head start.
Because among non-white voters, he's getting 70 percent of the vote in our poll that's African-Americans in Cleveland, Columbus, here in Cincinnati, that's the Latino population. Not as big here in Ohio as some other states, but a growing Latino population. So the president starts with a head start.
If you look at the white vote, the president is getting about 44 percent to 53 percent for Governor Romney. I would say this. If Governor Romney can keep the white vote closer to 40 percent, he has a chance on Election Day.
If the president is about 40 percent and getting high minority turnout, that was the president's recipe for success four years ago. We'll see what happens Tuesday.
BURNETT: You know, county by county, I know that that is so crucial when you look at Ohio, what do you see there?
KING: The reason, this is such a bell weather state because it has a little bit of everything so you look at the regions, it has cities. It has agriculture and farming. It has smaller cities as well. It has suburbs and exurbs. So you look at a couple of different places. Let's look at the industrial north of the state essentially the swamp across Cleveland over to Toledo. A place where we think, Erin, we see evidence the auto bailout is helping the president, 52 percent to 45 percent in the president's favor across the industrial north.
That means a lot of blue collar white voters supporting the president in a region that's critical because it includes a couple of big population centers like Cleveland and like Toledo.
Then you come here to the southwest corner of the state. Cincinnati is in Hamilton County. It was blue four years ago. That was an obvious sign to us early on election night that John McCain was in trouble.
Mitt Romney needs this county to be red and at the moment, he is doing what he has to do. In the southwest part of the state including Cincinnati, 52 percent for the Republican ticket, 47 percent for President Obama.
Mitt Romney would probably like to stretch that lead just another point or two more to make it competitive, but it's a classic swing state, both campaigns essentially getting what they need where they need it, which means it will come down to who can turn out the vote come Tuesday?
BURNETT: And turn out the vote comes down to the ground game and I know they both are saying well, you know, we have a better ground game. We have more people, but you're there and what do you see?
KING: I see the president has a head start in early voting and that's important because his coalition includes college students and African-Americans, people who are less reliable to turn out on Election Day, so that head start and early voting certainly helps the Democrats and the president there.
I will tell you this. I was here four years ago. I like to retrace my steps in campaign years to see how does it feel now compared to then? In this corner of the state four years ago, it was crystal clear, Erin, heading into the final weekend that John McCain, forgive me, was toast.
That the president was going to carry Ohio and if you win Ohio, you almost certainly win the presidency. It's a lot different this year because the Romney campaign has enough to get over the top, that's the question that we'll answer in the next hundred hours or so.
But the intensity at the Romney campaign headquarters we visit today was off the charts. People say the response from the phone bank is very well. Governor Romney's expecting some 30,000 people at his event in Ohio tonight not that the Obama people aren't working hard, too.
They have a very impressive Obama operation in Cincinnati and around the state, but the Republican operation compared to four years ago, it's not a comparison. It's a much better operation, much more intensity and energy this time. We're going to have an interesting day come Tuesday.
BURNETT: We are down to the wire and it's going to be exciting for the whole country.
And now our third story OUTFRONT, last minute moves. It's a strategy that's either desperate or brilliant, depending on whom you ask. Mitt Romney is making an 11th hour push for Pennsylvania, a jackpot with 20 electoral votes, pouring $6 million into the state on advertising.
He's never led in a single poll there since he became the nominee. CNN has that in the Obama category, it's not a swing state, but the president's lead has been shrinking and polls show President Obama had been up as much 11 and 12 points over the summer and early fall.
But in the latest poll, it was a Quinnipiac poll. He was only up by four. CNN contributor, Paul Begala and Reihan Salam join me along with John Avlon who is in Toledo, Ohio tonight.
All right, Romney actually has outspent the president in Pennsylvania since he became the nominee. I mean, I saw this. I was stunned when our producer, Britney, looked at these numbers, 16 million to about 9 million that's a pretty incredible differential.
Big chunk of Romney's spending on 6 million of the 15 million total just in this week alone. Is this money well spent?
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I actually think it makes a lot of sense for this reason. Now, it's true that Ohio might be a tighter state, but the question is, it's the marginal benefit.
Mitt Romney spent a ton of time in Ohio and if spending an additional few hours as we get closer to the election could make a big difference in Pennsylvania given he has spent far less time in that state, that's what you've got to think about.
Because again, real additional hours in Ohio really make that much of a difference there, where as in Pennsylvania, it could be a difference between the victory and defeat. It's 20 electoral votes versus 18 in Ohio. This could really scramble the map and really, you know, improve his chances.
BURNETT: I'm going to look at the map in a second, but first, Paul, I want to go to you. The president playing a little bit of defense now that Mitt Romney is doing this, he has put 2 million ads worth in Pennsylvania just over the past week.
And Bill Clinton is going to campaign for him on Monday. He obviously had a much, much wider lead in the summer. How did he lose the lead?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's a tough race. It's tough year. Come on. He's not going to win Pennsylvania by 10 or 11 or 13 or whatever he won by last time. You know, Reihan might be right, but he's not. This is a bad move for Romney. It's going to disappoint, frankly, all those people who were counting him in places where he actually might have a chance, like Iowa, Colorado, Florida.
Pennsylvania's not gone for a Republican for president since Reagan and Bush and when Bush Sr. not Bush Jr. When Bush Sr. carried Pennsylvania, he also carried California and Illinois and New Jersey, places where they would hunt Romney down with dogs.
So this is not anything like the kind of map that Mitt Romney needs if he wants to win Pennsylvania. I don't really wish him well. I don't wish him any ill, but he's not going to win Pennsylvania. He is wasting his contributors' money and his campaign's time.
BURNETT: So what's the strategy, John Avlon? You're in Ohio tonight. Is the Romney campaign's push in Pennsylvania, a sign of weakness in Ohio? I mean, you know, John King's talking about he really feels it's neck and neck, very different than he felt in the last election, but do you think that?
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Erin, I mean, look, Ohio is -- President Obama has had a small, but steady lead in Ohio. I think the Romney campaign in part is looking at a saturation point.
There's no more air time to buy. There's not much more that you can do except get out the vote. The move to try to play in Pennsylvania with money, with the candidate's time more importantly, I think does speak to attempt to change the strategy in the last inning because the current strategy isn't working.
They're looking for alternate paths to 270. States where it looked like Mitt Romney was pulling ahead in just a few weeks ago, Florida, Virginia are back incredibly tight, Colorado.
The fact that the Romney campaign is running an ad in Florida trying to tie the president to Castro and Chavez speaks to insecurity on his part about whether the Cuban population will come out to vote. So I do think this is actually evidence of a scramble to hit 270 rather than a campaign that's working a plan onto Election Day.
BURNETT: And let's look at the map. I promised I would. So Paul and Reihan, let me throw this up. If Romney could pull off a win in Pennsylvania, to Reihan's point, he's got more electoral votes in Ohio. This does make the path to 270 completely different.
So, he wouldn't even need Ohio. Here's current map, we have 237 for Obama, 206 for Romney, 95 up for grabs. So if Romney gets Pennsylvania, we call it a snatch because it's very difficult to do, he's suddenly in the lead, 226 to 217.
So then it becomes easier. He gets Florida, Colorado, Virginia and he wins. He doesn't need Ohio. So is that his best hope, Reihan, because that sounds like a very difficult task?
SALAM: I wouldn't say it's his best hope, but I think that it makes a lot of sense to make an investment. The resource right now is the candidate's time and you have Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania is doing much better than anyone expected.
And that's kind of softening that demonstrates that there might be an opportunity there. The other thing, to Paul's point is that, yes, you know, it's quite possible the Republicans will lose.
But if you get a better result than you did in 2008, you're building a foundation for the future and for the party, if not necessarily for Mitt Romney that makes a big difference.
Losing that state by a few points rather than, you know, 10 or 11 points that actually matters.
BURNETT: So, Paul, you're saying that Mitt Romney should spend his time somewhere else, Nevada, Colorado, some other states that's considered swing, Iowa.
BEGALA: Right. Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado. Ohio, he ought to be with Avlon buying him hotdogs. You're in Toledo, Avlon?
AVLON: Yes, I am.
BEGALA: He ought to be hanging out with you in Toledo or hanging out with John King in Hamilton County in Cincinnati. He's down three in our poll in Ohio and that seems to be pretty baked in, so I don't have high hopes for him there.
But certainly Florida, my goodness, Iowa, Colorado, those are Republicans in those states who are breaking their necks for Mitt Romney right now and he's telling them he'd rather be in Pennsylvania. Bad mistake.
AVLON: If he loses Florida, Paul, you know it's game over.
BEGALA: He should go to Florida.
AVLON: I understand, Paul, but I mean I think if he wants to win the election, so obviously -- clashing --
BEGALA: I actually -- won't win Pennsylvania. He's not going to win it.
BURNETT: Go ahead, John.
AVLON: That's the point. Is that Romney right now -- just a few weeks ago, starting in Florida, you could feel it. Those polls have all tightened up and here in Ohio, I have to say that small lead President oOama's had, this is a main street Republican state historically.
But with the Toledo area where I am tonight, Erin, you know, this is home to that jeep plant that the Romney campaign has been running ads on. I can tell you that has back fired badly among locals here.
There's a real sense that he was in play, he had been spending a lot of time, but people here take the auto industry very personally and that ad that, which has been called dishonest by some folks has caused a lot of ill will to the Romney campaign.
I can tell you that from the ground here in Toledo. I think it makes a lot more sense to play in those states rather than trying to push in Pennsylvania.
BURNETT: All right, thanks to all three. Scrambled map makes for an exciting weekend.
Next, how big was the CIA operation in Libya and what does it have to do with what the Obama administration has been telling the public about what happened there.
And an update on the crane hanging over New York City. The plan to secure it and how long it's going to take.
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our reporting from the front lines.
And we begin with the Department of Justice, which is sending observers from the civil rights divisions to polling sights to make sure no one violates the voting right laws. Seven hundred eighty observers will go to 51 jurisdictions in 23 states. They're going to be watching so that people who have disabilities are accommodated and to see that there is no discrimination based on race or color. The number of observers sent out for this election is about the same as in the year 2008.
Well, there are now plans to secure what has become New York City's latest tourist attraction. That's the crane dangling over west 57th Street. Try and go by there. Tourists love taking pictures of it.
In the press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced work to secure the crane is going to begin tomorrow. They say it will take 36 hours just to secure the boom to the building. Officials are hoping they will be able to let people back into their homes and businesses by Monday night. They say over the next four weeks, they'll build a crane next to the broken one, to take down the damaged pieces. No word yet on who will be held liable if anyone for all those out of their homes, hotels that are empty and stores that haven't been able to do business now for this entire week due to that crane.
We're still monitoring the ongoing rate-rigging scandal that involves manipulating LIBOR, which is the interest rate that is linked to how much you pay on your mortgage. Today, the Royal Bank of Scotland says it expects it will soon begin discussing a settlement over its role in the scandal. The CEO told reporters, we're up for settling for all and everyone as soon as they're ready.
Note that Barclays is another British bank paid a $450 million fine to settle manipulation charges on that rate earlier this year. Well, Hyundai and Kia are going to lower fuel economy estimates for a lot of their models of this year and next year, after the EPA determined they had overstated their ratings. The automakers blamed procedural errors at their joint testing facilities. The average fuel rating on their vehicles is going to drop by 3 percent. So, that's really not much. It goes from 27 to 26 miles a gallon. They'll reimburse customers to cover the additional fuel costs associated with that ratings change.
It's been 456 days since this country lost its top create rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, despite a better than expected jobs report, stocks closed in the red with the Dow down 139 points.
And now, our fourth story OUTFRONT: how much was the CIA to blame for the deadly attack on the American consulate in Libya?
"The Wall Street Journal" today reporting that the mission in Benghazi was a CIA operation. In fact, they report that only seven of the more than 30 Americans evacuated after the September 11th attack were working for the State Department. The rest were with the CIA, operating under diplomatic cover. Two of the four who died, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were publicly identified as State Department security officers, but were actually working for the CIA.
Adam Entous is "The Wall Street Journal" reporter with the story.
Bob Baer is a former CIA operative.
And I really appreciate both of you taking the time.
Adam, let me start with you because you report that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, the two of the men that died that night, were CIA. Have you learned why the CIA was operating Benghazi? And why the CIA seemed to dominate the American presence in the country?
ADAM ENTOUS, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Right. Well, after the fall of Gadhafi in Libya, it became clear to the CIA and other intelligence officials that militants could get hold of some of the weapons that Gadhafi had and these include weapons like MANPADS, which are shoulder fire rockets that can be shot at aircraft. There were thousands of them that had to be tracked, so it was important for the CIA to surge officers into Benghazi in particular to search for those weapons and also, you had a lot of jihadists moving into eastern Libya and that also was a top priority for the CIA.
BURNETT: And I know your report covers how the fact that the CIA was so prevalent, created perhaps serious confusion between the CIA and the State Department on who was responsible for security.
Bob, let me ask you, because you work for the CIA. This was a covert CIA operation, and a lot of these people, as Adam said, they were in Libya trying to secure and account for these weapons that have now gone to places like Mali. From your perspective, is it realistic to do that job, to be a covert CIA operative and also being -- you know, you're doing, quote-unquote, "real job", providing security to the consulate?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, Erin, the problem is it's hard to hide that many Westerners in a city like Benghazi, where there are very few, and then attach them -- almost attach the American consulate makes it even more difficult.
And, thirdly, the CIA does not do physical security. Whether in Afghanistan or Iraq and that left it up to a very small State Department contingents, seven officers, and that's not enough to do it.
So, I think what we see in Benghazi, it fell between the cracks. Normally, it would be State Department building barriers, hiring security companies, getting local forces and the rest of the CIA just doesn't do that. It keeps its own security, arms itself.
You know, they did a heroic job trying to recover the ambassador. I think the real mistake in Libya, it was a mis-assessment of just how dangerous it was. Clearly, the ambassador knew, but that message didn't get up to the seven floor of the State Department and some just missed the analysis.
BURNETT: And, Bob, was the ambassador do you think relying on the CIA for security? I mean, surely, he knew who these people were and what they were doing and knew then that there would be even perhaps a much bigger problem than the raw numbers on some sort of a head count sheet would suggest, right?
BAER: Oh, clearly, this is a good article in "The Wall Street Journal." I mean, this was a CIA base, using State Department cover. The ambassador would have assumed the CIA was going to take care of it. They were in touch with the local situation.
But keep in mind, these guys there to buy up weapons, especially the surface-to-air-missiles, that's what really scares people. So, these things get out across North Africa, the Middle East, they're going to shoot down airliners. So, they were doing exactly the right job.
The problem is as I said, it's Libya. It's a very unstable place. It turned very quickly because, frankly, everything I've seen, the local forces there, some of them, parts of them, turn against the consulate and participated in the attack. And that's the worst nightmare, because ultimately it's the local country that should be defending us.
BURNETT: Adam, how does this work out, though? Because this arrangement between the CIA and the State Department, that the CIA would use the State Department as cover, when we try to ascertain who is responsible for this falling through the cracks, who is it then in this case from your reporting?
ENTOUS: Well, I mean, we're eight weeks, nearly eight weeks after this September 11th attack and we remain, we get different stories from different agencies. The State Department believed that it had a binding agreement with the CIA that the team there, their muscle, would be the cavalry and that it would come when called.
That was part of the rationale for keeping security at the level it was at in Benghazi, but when you talk to officials close to the CIA and congressional investigators, they say the CIA thought it was more an informal arrangement and it wasn't their responsibility and they did not have staffing levels at the annex as it's called, where the -- at the CIA base. They did not have staffing levels there that they thought were meant to address the security at the consulate, should it be attacked.
BURNETT: All right. Adam, Bob, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
So much more to come on this story as we still try to understand exactly what happened.
And still to come, where some of those lessons went. A growing crisis in Mali, a story we first told you about OUTFRONT.
And up next, a new poll in Ohio showing the race within statistical margin of error. So, what are the president's men think will push him to election? We're going to ask one next. Plus, we're going to ask about this very, very bizarre thing that was said by one of the president's (INAUDIBLE) today.
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT, the all important jobs report. We got it this morning. It's the last one before the election. It was solid, 171,000 jobs added in October. More than economists were looking for.
Now, the unemployment rate did tick up to 7.9 percent, but that's crucial because as we told you a lot about on this show, no president since World War II has been re-elected with employment above 8 percent. So, it is below that, and on the trail, the president certainly seemed enthusiastic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, our businesses have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs. And this morning, we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But this report had some warning signs. The average workweek was still stagnant, unchanged for fourth straight month. You don't get a lot more hiring until workweeks get longer. That means you need more workers. The average hourly pay for employees was actually down slightly on a year on year basis. It didn't keep up with inflation.
So, is this report enough to make people feel good?
You see him there. Ben LaBolt is OUTFRONT. President Obama's campaign press secretary.
Ben, good to see you.
The president said we've made progress --
BEN LABOLT, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Thanks for having me, Erin.
BURNETT: -- we have. But obviously average workweek not moving, and wages not even growing as fast as inflation, which, of course, as Ben Bernanke would tell us is not a problem. Although certainly with things like food and fuel, a different story.
So, do you think it's fair to call this the kind of progress you want?
LABOLT: I do. Look, we're overcoming the worst recession since the Great Depression. You've seen the trends here. We're losing 800,000 jobs a month when the president came into office. Manufacturing was in decline.
We're in a midst of foreclosure crisis and we've made a lot of progress. Businesses have now created more than 5.4 million jobs. Manufacturing is resurgent. The auto industry is back.
But we can't stop there. We've made investments in areas like education, research and development and infrastructure. We've got to continue to do that to create these good paying jobs for the middle class.
BURNETT: Right. As we've talked about, everyone wants good- paying jobs. I know that's your goal. That's everybody's goal. But, of course, about 60 percent of the jobs we have gotten during this recession pay less than the jobs people had before. So we're still not getting that wage growth.
Economist Paul Hickey said, for a healthy or strong recovery, with those adjectives in front of the word recovery, we'd have to have $250,000 jobs a month. That's a kind of job growth we need.
So, when you look at it that way, we have a long way to go, don't we?
LABOLT: Well, we absolutely do. That's why the president's goal is to restore economic security for the middle class. You've seen that median income grow. The question is where we're going to invest.
He's invested in research and development that have created 250,000 clean energy jobs across the country. And Mitt Romney would cut funding for research and development. While the president has invested in education to make sure our workers have the skills that they need to compete in the 21st century, doubled funding for Pell Grants, Mitt Romney would cut funding in that area by 20 percent.
So, the question now is who has the better plan to restore economic security for the middle class? BURNETT: So, let me ask you another question here. Actually, this is sort of related, but today, the president in his speech, was very passionate. David Axelrod, you heard about this, Ben?
LABOLT: I saw the post on it not too long ago.
BURNETT: I think you might have. All right. Unfortunately, I am the one as the host here, who has to read you the quote of what David Axelrod said, when he was talking about the president and he said -- I'll quote him -- "You can see in the speech he's delivering that this is coming from his loins." I had the wrong screen up there.
There it is, yes. You can see, "coming from his loins," and then in case you thought it was a mistake, Ben, he followed up by saying, I just wanted to say loins. I wanted to see if I could get loins in the story. I mean, it's funny, but it's really crass too. Isn't it?
LABOLT: Well, I don't think anybody was intending to be tossing euphemisms around today. It's been a long campaign. Many of us have been working for it for almost 600 days now. And it was a long day on the trail.
But I think you could feel the energy on the stump today. Thousands in small cities across the state of Ohio turned out. And I think there's a palpable sense that we're coming back from where we were in 2008.
This is the president's last campaign. He was making a forceful case on the stump for the need to build the economy from the middle class out, and not return to the same policies that crashed the economy and devastated the middle class in the first place.
BURNETT: I want to ask you another question about this, though, because as I was saying, this whole middle class issue and good-paying jobs, obviously, as I said, the jobs we've created don't pay as much per hour as the ones we've lost. Manufacturing, which I know is a big area of focus for you all, there has been some improvement. But employment there was a little change in October. On net, we haven't seen really any kind of a change since April, according to the BLS, and the manufacturing workweek is down.
I know we get numbers from Ford, it looks like things are getting better, but those three statistics are not good.
LABOLT: Well, we were losing, we were hemorrhaging really, manufacturing jobs since 1997. The auto industry was on the brink. The president granted rescue loans to the industry when many pundits ran for cover and Mitt Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt.
Well, the president has invested in manufacturing, community colleges and worker training, Mitt Romney cut back on all those areas in Massachusetts. It led manufacturing jobs to decline by twice the national average.
So, it's clear we're overcoming the worst recession since the Great Depression. But more tax cuts for the wealthy is not going to unleash job creation. They led to the slowest pace of job creation since World War II and we passed them in 2001 and 2003.
Mitt Romney is surrounded tonight by the same officials who put those policies in place during the prior administration. We can't go back to those policies and expect a different result.
BURNETT: I have to say, you all do your jobs on both sides well, I will not be tired or not be sad when I don't have to hear the same few lines. All right. Ben, good to see you, though.
LABOLT: We might all need a break, Erin. All right. Thanks.
I think we all need a break but I always like seeing you. Thanks.
And still OUTFRONT: we have some news just in about the gas situation in the tri-state area. We're going to bring that to you, next.
And later, they lost their home and yet today was the best day of their life. The story, ahead.
BURNETT: Just in, the Defense Department announcing it's sending extra fuel to the New York area. The Defense Logistics Agency buying up to 12 million gallons of unleaded fuel and 10 million gallons of diesel fuel for distribution in storm-affected areas. As we have been telling you, the panic buys for gas have created miles-long lines at gas stations, and many, many hours and panic.
According to AAA, only 40 percent to 50 percent of the gas stations in New York City and New Jersey are even operating tonight. Many of them are just out of service because they have no power, something that perhaps could have been anticipated before the storm.
Now to tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to sources around the world.
We go to Mali tonight where the U.N. Refugee Agency said today there are as many as 85,000 more refugees in the country than previously thought. The agency says hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing a deteriorating situation in the north of the country where Islamist militants have taken route.
David McKenzie is following the story and I asked him how bad he's hearing it's getting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it could be the next front line in the global fight against al Qaeda-linked terrorists. That's the landlocked country of Mali in West Africa. Earlier this year, two Islamic groups took over large parts of the country. Now, the U.N. Security Council has given a specific deadline for regional states to come up with a detailed military plan to get rid of them. It's caused a humanitarian disaster, more than a quarter of a million people, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency, have fled northern Mali into regional states. This is an important story for the U.S. It came up several times in the U.S. presidential election, that's because these groups, including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are holding sway, not just in northern Mali, but in regional states -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Thank you very much to David McKenzie.
And coming up, after all the awful things we have seen this week, we saw this in the middle of the storm. All you need is love. The story is next.
BURNETT: Since Monday night, we've seen so much destruction and loss following hurricane Sandy as we've traveled around the broader New York area. But today, we stumbled on this. This is a wedding program. We stumbled on something beautiful.
BURNETT (voice-over): This is Matt and Christine. And today was their wedding.
While we were out covering the storm's wreckage, we glimpsed something unexpected. We had come to see a hotel that was full of refugees from hurricane Sandy and while the Coast Guard and Red Cross were going to sleep in cots on this side of the wall, on the other, a wedding planned for 316 people was being set up.
The bride is Christine Hassett. Her parents lost their home this week in Breezy Point, Queens. Her church, gone, too. We called her and she said we could come to her wedding.
Her fiance, Matt Bobe, is a firefighter and was an early responder in the storm.
MATT BOBE, BRIDE'S PARENTS LOST HOME IN SANDY: I went in the morning after and, you know, just recovery effort. Everyone lending a helping hand.
BURNETT: Every guest lost something. The groom's parents said they had friends who couldn't come because they had no gas.
(on camera): Is there anyone at this wedding who was not affected?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody.
BURNETT (voice-over): Tim Cochrane is the groom's uncle. Roberta Ludovico is a close family friend. Both lost their homes but not their spirit. ROBERTA LUDOVICO, GROOM'S FAMILY FRIEND: Everyone has been so wonderful. I can't get over it. I can't get over it.
TIM COCHRANE, GROOM'S UNCLE: The thing about New York. We saw it on September 11th.
LUDOVICO: They said that, the truck coming out of Breezy said this is nothing. We will rebuild. We've already done it with 9/11.
BURNETT: That sentiment isn't lost on anyone here.
EILEEN BOBE, GROOM'S PARENT: Very hard week. Very, very hard week. But everybody worked together. People are the main thing.
BURNETT: Christine and her mom planned the wedding for a year and a half.
PATRICIA HASSETT, BRIDE'S MOTHER; LOST HOME IN SANDY: We need this happiness today. We really need this happiness. Tomorrow, we'll go back and we'll deal with what we have to deal with, but today is my daughter's day. I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.
BURNETT: And it was a moment of joy, making the horrific loss for a moment seem small.
M. BOBE: It's nice to have a reason to put the stuff behind us for a day and can't wait to see my wife open the door and hopefully we can have a good day in the midst of all this.
CHRISTINE HASSETT, BRIDE: I'm happy. Very happy.
BURNETT: Wonderful story.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.