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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

Petraeus' Shocking Revelation and Resulting Scandal; Connecticut Gains Power; The Role of Women in the 2012 Election

Aired November 10, 2012 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. 9:00 on the East Coast, 6:00 a.m. now on the West Coast. Thanks for starting your day with us.

We're starting with the shocking revelation from the now former CIA director, General David Petraeus. He resigned from his post, citing an extramarital affair.

The president reluctantly accepted his resignation Friday. Petraeus took over as CIA director in September of 2011. Before that he was leading operations in Afghanistan. His resignation has left questions about the agency's future.

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AMB. PAUL BREMER, FORMER U.S. ADMINISTRATOR IN IRAQ: Well, it could be quite serious, I agree. That's why I said it's a sad day for the men and women at the CIA to see the man who was leading them exercise such bad judgment, as he himself put it. One hopes that they can recover.

There is the ongoing investigation about what happened in Benghazi during the actual attack on our embassy there, on the consulate. And that may also have repercussions for the CIA or for someone in the CIA. That remains to be seen.

But I'm a very strong believer that we need a strong and effective covert action capability and intelligence capability. And it's a sad thing if it, in any way, diminishes those capabilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: General Petraeus' resignation comes just days before he was supposed to testify before Congress about the Benghazi attack.

CNN intelligence correspondent Suzanne Kelly joins me now.

Suzanne, good morning. So is there any apparent link that you've been able to find to the timing of the resignation and the upcoming Benghazi hearings he was supposed to testify next week before the Senate Intelligence Committee?

SUZANNE KELLY, SR. NATIONAL SECURITY PRODUCER: No, Randi, no link that we've found whatsoever.

I think if you look at the reasons that the general gave when he gave his letter to the employees of the CIA yesterday, disclosing such personal details that would be embarrassing, harmful to his family members, you have to wonder whether there would really be any other motivation that would cause someone to write a letter like that and sort of expose themselves on that level.

KAYE: Paul Bremer has said that he's actually worried about the CIA's covert abilities in the wake of this. Tell us about the man who's stepping in for Petraeus, at least for now, and what he brings to the job.

KELLY: Yes, well, you know, one thing to keep in mind when you're thinking about what's going to happen to the CIA as an agency in light of something like this is that General Petraeus was the fifth director in some eight years. The person at the top of the agency is a politically appointed position by the president, so that person kind of comes and goes and they leave their mark and they move on.

But there's this underlying level of stability that stays. And the president yesterday made clear that Michael Morell, who has been the assistant deputy director, is going to be taking over the acting director position. He's someone who's been at that agency for more than 30 years.

He's a career intelligence professional. He has been on top of the Benghazi investigation leading the agency's efforts on that from day one, from the very beginning. He is now going to be the one in the hot seat answering the questions from the congressional oversight committees on Thursday.

But I think in terms of worrying about whether General Petraeus' admission and his resignation are going to affect the actual work of the CIA, I wouldn't worry so much about that. But people will be very focused, of course, as you mentioned, on the answers he gives about what the CIA knew and what it told the White House about Benghazi.

KAYE: Yes, certainly. And this all happened with a tip, right? The FBI began investigating this after a tip. How has the FBI, would you say, been handling this?

KELLY: You know, they do what they do, which is try not to say too much officially about any possible investigations.

Now, I will tell you that CNN -- a source told CNN that the FBI was investigating a tip, as you mentioned, that David Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, who is his biographer.

Now CNN hasn't been able to get in touch with her. In the letter that David Petraeus put out yesterday, he doesn't name, of course, anyone who he was having the affair with; he just admits that it happened, that he did it, and that he's sorry and he's stepping down.

KAYE: All right, CNN Intelligence Correspondent Suzanne Kelly -- Suzanne, thank you very much.

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BLACKWELL: In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, getting the lights back on will not come soon enough. About 150,000 utility customers are still in the dark, sitting in the cold, and that's just on Long Island. Emotions are high; tempers are flaring at the slow pace of this recovery.

Our national correspondent, Susan Candiotti is in Hempstead.

Susan, how much progress are you seeing where you are?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean it's coming in dribs and drabs. Certainly not enough progress, Victor, for all the people who live in this area.

Here's where I am now. This operation has been going on a week now, put on by the town of Hempstead, New York, where they have got all kinds of help from volunteers, including if you look down my -- over my shoulder there, you see those people back there?

These are lifeguards and some people from the sanitation department who are trying to hand out supplies to people who don't have power and don't have so much. They have got all these trucks lined up. Look at the things they're handing out, pallets of water to people; down in this truck, a lot of meals ready to eat down over here in this truck.

And then down the way, they have got more supplies. Swinging over here, these are clothing. This is clothing that people have donated. And back here they have got donated pet food and baby supplies and some fresh fruit, this kind of thing.

And around the corner there's a table set up with FEMA. But the main thrust of all of this is how to help people as they drive in here for their supplies, how to help them out since they don't have power at home and haven't had it since the storm came up.

We tried to get some answers, have been trying to get answers from the main utility company out here -- theirs is called LIPA -- 150,000 customers still here without power. And part of the big problem here is that LIPA isn't telling us about what's going on, telling the customers what's going on.

But the management company that works with LIPA was -- for the first time held a news conference to try to say something about it, because the utility company isn't talking. And here's what one spokesman said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRUCKNER, PRES., NATIONAL GRID TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION: The storm was the most unprecedented storm we've had in the system; while it performed well, did not do well enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CANDIOTTI: And, of course, a main issue for a lot of the homes out here, the utilities aren't able to feed electricity in because a lot of the homes have been flooded. So first there have to be repairs; inspectors have to come in. In the meantime, people are freezing. We talked to one of those residents who has no power.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We go to bed at night shivering, wearing tons of clothes every single night. We have not seen one LIPA truck come down my block, not one. I have not seen any on any of these blocks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Now that's the name of the utility company, is called LIPA. Of course there are trucks, there are thousands of LIPA workers that are out here, trying to restore power, but they're not getting answers on how long it will take and what will get done and whether they need enough people. They have been quiet about it, Victor, and that's what's so frustrating to the people here.

BLACKWELL: Yes, more than frustrating, physically painful spending nights in the cold, night after night, and cold enough to have snow on the ground there.

Susan Candiotti in Hempstead, New York, we'll check back with you throughout the morning. Thank you.

If you want to help storm victims in the northeast, it's very easy to do. Log on to CNN.com/impact. You'll find all kinds of information on how to contribute to the relief effort.

KAYE: Women played a big role on Tuesday on election night, but the way they voted may have surprised some. It's one of the lessons that we learned this election.

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KAYE: Voters decided to give President Obama a second term, but it wasn't all voters. Very clearly he got a boost from a couple of key groups offsetting support for Mitt Romney. We are focusing on the lessons that we've learned from the vote and, in this case, the fact that women are breaking out of their binders.

Joining me now is CNN contributor Maria Cardona and editor of conservativeblackchick.com, Crystal Wright.

Good morning to both of you. Let's start with the numbers.

We have talked so much about this election. So here we are, post- election, President Obama got the majority of women voters, 55 percent to 44 percent, but he didn't get all women. White women picked Mitt Romney to the tune of 56 percent to 42 percent, but that was offset by minority women -- in this case 96 percent of African-Americans and 78 percent of Latinos.

So Maria, it seems like many people in both parties believed women would vote as a unified block, but we didn't see that happen here. Does that surprise you?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. And I don't think anybody has ever said that women are a monolithic group and, in fact, this election proves it. But it does prove that, across the board, there are a lot of issues that are important to the majority of women, and that's why you saw Obama get the majority of women.

And I think where Republicans really made a huge miscalculation is on the issue of women's health and women's issues.

Turns out that the majority of women actually do want to have control over what happens to their bodies. And it turns out that the majority of women don't like the way that men talk about women's bodies and those issues. And, frankly, a lot of them also saw women's health issues as a huge economic issue, as they should. And I think that helped President Obama.

KAYE: Crystal, what do you think?

CRYSTAL WRIGHT, EDITOR, CONSERVATIVEBLACKCHICK.COM: You know, for the first time, Randi, I'm going to agree with my colleague, Maria.

KAYE: That is a first.

WRIGHT: She and I are women and we're different women. But I think Maria outlined the challenges facing the Republican Party.

And you saw white women break for Mitt Romney, I believe, because white women -- and married white women, too -- but white women saw themselves reflected in the face of the party. And this is a challenge that the Republican Party is having.

The rhetoric with respect to reproductive -- women's reproductive rights and the fact that black women like me and Latino women like Maria and Hispanic women aren't necessarily seeing themselves reflected in the face of the party, I would say, on a regular basis.

Going back to what Maria said about reproductive rights. The Republican Party is losing that argument when we have a lot of old white males telling women what to do with our bodies. So it was unfortunate. I think we need to change the narrative and the way we're communicating with respect to women on reproductive rights and have women like me talk about owning our own bodies.

KAYE: Let's talk about Latino women and the majority of all Latinos voted for President Obama.

Maria, I'm going to give you some credit here. Certainly what you predicted, including a win in Florida. But Crystal, what do Republicans need to do to get back the Latino vote or at least a bigger piece of it?

WRIGHT: Well, we need to start talking to Latinos and Hispanics with a concerted effort more than throwing ads up every four years during an election cycle.

And we need to really change our -- the way we're talking about immigration. This is -- everybody has talked about this, but Romney made a misstep when he moved to the right of Governor Perry.

And it's really the way we talk about the message. It's saying, look, we're going to have to talk about immigration but some of us believe that those who came here illegally shouldn't just get a carte blanche citizenship, if you will.

So I think it's the way we talk about immigration. I think Republicans need to be much more caring. I've spoken to a lot of Hispanics and Latinos who say, look, Crystal, I did things the right way and I just -- I have a problem with granting a carte blanche amnesty to people who came over here and didn't do it the right way. I think there's a way of framing the message.

KAYE: I want to look ahead now, Maria, the Republican Party licking its collective wounds from the top job all the way down to the House races. What do you think? Do they need to make wholesale changes or can they just make some tweaks?

CARDONA: I think they need to make wholesale changes. And Crystal outlined it, I think, quite well in her last two answers. They need to understand that America isn't changing. It has already changed, and they are really in the back of the line in terms of understanding what those changes mean and understanding what that means in terms of the issues that they talk to with these new demographics.

And let's take Latinas, for example. You already have Republicans saying that they are ready to make a deal on comprehensive immigration reform.

It was stunning to me, Randi, that, right after the election, you saw Sean Hannity basically saying that he had evolved to a new position on immigration and wanting to push a path for citizenship. So they not only now believe in immigration, they obviously now believe in evolution, too, which is interesting.

(LAUGHTER)

KAYE: Good point.

Crystal, what do you think? Should the GOP be looking ahead as far as 2016 or maybe just to 2014 and the midterms?

WRIGHT: I think the GOP and the Republican -- well, the RNC more importantly as well, we need to be looking to tomorrow and not thinking so much about elections, about how we're going to grow our party with minorities. Even George Will, to Maria's point, we have established voices in the Republican Party. George Will came out and said, news flash, guys. Since 1992, white people have been declining, the number of white people declining in the United States of America.

So this was a huge wake-up call. I wrote that I think that we deserved the loss that we got because we've been in denial about the changing face of America.

And, you know, it's funny that Mitt Romney got the largest percentage of the white vote since 1988, but guess what, folks, it ain't enough to move us into the White House.

So I agree with Maria on that. The Democrats have done a better party -- a better job of acknowledging the changing face of America. I don't think that they have the best message, of course. I think we have a great message and we're ignoring a large segment of the population. We're just ignoring them.

KAYE: Yes. Well, lesson learned, but it seems like a lesson that should have learned some time ago, right?

CARDONA: That's exactly right, Randi. and I think one of the most stunning pieces of this election was, to Crystal's point, I think she and other Latinas in the party would continually warn the GOP about this.

Mitt Romney made a calculated -- made a calculation in this election that he would be able to grow the white vote for him to the extent that he could absolutely ignore the minority vote and that was a bad calculation.

WRIGHT: And I think, Maria, we're agreeing a lot today so this is progress. I think --

CARDONA: There you go.

KAYE: All right. Well, listen, it's nice to see the two of you agree, a little compromise. We can use some more of that in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's exactly right.

KAYE: All right. Crystal, Maria, nice to see you both. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Randi.

BLACKWELL: A company that was a huge financial donor to the Romney campaign makes good on a threat in response to President Obama's re- election. We'll tell you what just happened to more than 100 of its workers.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: American Airlines could be one step closer to ending a dispute with its pilots after reaching a tentative deal. The two sides have been in a contract dispute after American's parent company, AMR, filed for bankruptcy last year. The details have not been made public, but the agreement will now go to about 8,000 pilots for their approval.

KAYE: But it's a different story for workers at one coal company. Murray Energy, whose CEO was a prominent donor to Mitt Romney, says it has been, quote, "forced" to make the layoffs due to President Obama's re-election and what the company says is a poor outlook for the coal industry during his second term. More than 160 people are now without work.

BLACKWELL: One person who will be keeping his job, Tim Geithner. The White House says the Treasury secretary will be staying on at least through early next year. And Geithner is expected to be a key role player in the negotiations over the fiscal cliff.

KAYE: And the countdown to the fiscal cliff is certainly on. That is the $7 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases that could be triggered in January.

BLACKWELL: Christine Romans will explain exactly what it means for you and the politicians we just elected. She joins us now with a preview.

Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Randi and Victor. The fiscal cliff, jobs and ObamaCare, these will help define the president's legacy. We know what the president wants, but his political opponents still pushing back. Let's start with the most immediate challenge, the fiscal cliff.

Unless the president and Congress can come together, your taxes will rise and your government programs will be cut 8 percent to 10 percent beginning next year.

Also the economy has made up every job lost on the president's watch, but the jobs the economy's gaining back, they come with lower wages, fewer benefits.

Republicans and Democrats agree they need to do something but they can't agree on what. And ObamaCare remains unpopular with the American people but President Obama's re-election means it's here to stay. We're going to tell you how it will affect your money and your family. That's all coming up at 9:30 am Eastern.

Randi? Victor?

KAYE: Christine Romans, looking forward to it. Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: A shocking admission has turned the intelligence community on its head. The CIA is scrambling for answers now as they prepare to talk to Congress.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Catching you up on the latest headlines now, General David Petraeus is out as CIA director. He resigned after admitting that he had an extramarital affair. The timing of the resignation certainly raising some questions. It comes just after President Obama won re- election and just days before Petraeus was set to testify on the Benghazi attack.

BLACKWELL: Outrage is boiling over in Long Island where at least 150,000 people are still sitting in the dark, in the cold. They protested yesterday. They have been without power since Sandy hit almost two weeks ago and they're demanding the Long Island Power Authority be held accountable.

A better situation is in New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie says power should be back to almost 100 percent by tonight.

KAYE: Turning to the economy, with just 52 days to reach a deal, President Obama is set to meet with congressional leaders this week to discuss that so-called fiscal cliff. Both the president and House Speaker Boehner signaling they are open to compromise but tax hikes on the rich remain a sticking point.

BLACKWELL: In politics, the presidential election may be history for most of the nation, but not in Florida. The ballots are still being counted. Yes, they're still counting. CNN has not yet projected a winner but the latest tally shows President Obama with a 63,000 vote edge out of more than 8 million cast. Counties have until noon today to submit unofficial results to the secretary of state. Yes, Florida again.

KAYE: Still. But it doesn't matter this year. I mean, of course their votes matter, I'm not saying that. But we already know who won.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

KAYE: It's not like the hanging chads, thank goodness.

BLACKWELL: I feel like the other states are looking southeast like, come on, Florida.

KAYE: Get it together.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Come on, guys.

KAYE: Well, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: We have problems everywhere else except Florida it seems this year.

BLACKWELL: Well. Election Day may have gone smoothly at the polls for some, but there were a lot of problems for others and around the nation, as Randi just said. The examination of our voting system is ahead next hour. One author is proposing a new system run entirely by the Feds.

KAYE: This could be a really interesting conversation because a lot of frustrated voters want to know what they're going to do to fix this, including the president.

BLACKWELL: That's true.

KAYE: So anyway, we'll see that coming up in the next hour.

And constitutionally they can take control of the congressional races, so that gives them every two years, but the local elections still they may have to find a way to do that if they have to.

KAYE: Well, hopefully they'll fix it. We'll see.

BLACKWELL: Yes, hopefully.

KAYE: Thanks so much for watching today. I will see you back here at the top of the hour.

BLACKWELL: "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" starts right now.

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