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CNN NEWSROOM

Israel-Gaza Attacks Intensify; Panetta Orders Ethics Training Review; Death of Woman Denied Abortion Sparks Outrage; Unrest in Jordan; Aasif Mandvi On Stage and on Screen; Warren Buffett Talks to CNN

Aired November 15, 2012 - 12:00   ET

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


EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (via telephone): Launching of a rocket and (INAUDIBLE).

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Can I also ask you, what kind of concern is it that the Egyptians have now pulled their ambassador from Israel? Are you concerned about your other neighbors who themselves are suffering through some extraordinarily tough times right now -- Syria, Lebanon, Jordan?

BARAK: We, unfortunately, we don't have a feel (ph) (INAUDIBLE) ambassador here. And, of course, I appreciate the presence of an Egyptian (INAUDIBLE), as well as a Jordanian one. But we cannot (INAUDIBLE) argue if he (INAUDIBLE) wants to call (INAUDIBLE). We cannot create a relationship between the need to (INAUDIBLE) contract of the government with (INAUDIBLE) to (INAUDIBLE) them against English (ph) (INAUDIBLE) rocket (ph). And these unfortunately doing a Egyptian ambassador. Well some they (INAUDIBLE) Egypt. So we did so. We see probably (INAUDIBLE) come, but that cannot be a reason to stop any kind of a -- the operational (ph) necessities that we have to face.

BANFIELD: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak joining us live from Tel Aviv.

Do stay safe, and we wish the best for not only the people of Israel, but the Palestinians. And we hope that you can somehow come to some kind of a consensus to stop this violence between your two parties. Thank you for being with us and for answering -- and our apologies for the difficult connection, but we have been struggling throughout the hour to make that connection with the defense minister, and now we know why, with the air raids going on in Israel, and particularly in Tel Aviv.

Thank you so much for watching us in this hour. And please stay tuned now for my colleague, Suzanne Malveaux, who takes over with NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. We're taking you around the world in 60 minutes.

Here's what's going on right now. Former CIA director David Petraeus is breaking his silence with the media, speaking for the first time to our sister network HLN's Kyra Phillips about the sexual affair that ended his career. Kyra has known Petraeus for years, interviewing him for many stories on the troops, including a 30-minute live interview on the anniversary of the Iraq War. She's had several conversations with him since the scandal broke.

Petraeus told Kyra he stepped down solely because of his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, not because he was scheduled to testify about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Kyra also says Petraeus emphasized he wants to make things right with his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYRA PHILLIPS, HLN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In our first conversation, he had told me had he engaged in something dishonorable, and he sought to do the honorable thing in response, and that was to come forward. He was very clear that he screwed up terribly, that it was all his fault, and even that it -- that he felt fortunate to have a wife who was far better than he deserves.

Obviously he's taking it really hard. He knows he made a big mistake and he does want to move forward making things work with his family. He doesn't want to throw 37 years out the window with his wife.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Petraeus also adamantly denies he gave any classified information to Broadwell. That issue could come up, of course, when Petraeus testifies to Congress about the Benghazi attack. He is scheduled to hold a closed-door meeting, the briefings, with both the House and the Senate Intelligence meetings -- those committees tomorrow.

Joining us from Washington, a retired general and CNN contributor, our James "Spider" Marks.

First of all, I want to ask a little bit, because we are seeing what is taking place in Israel. We'll get to Petraeus and the scandal. But we saw my colleague Ashleigh Banfield actually interviewing the defense minister, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. They talked about the possibility of air raids taking place in Tel Aviv at this moment. When you see what is taking place between Gaza and the Israelis and the level of tension and now escalation, how concerned are you?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, terribly concerned. This could be a full-fledged war. We've seen tanks up at Golan Heights, overlooking Syria. A very commanding view, as you know, if you've walked that terrain and have any appreciation for the folds in that terrain, the vulnerability of Israel, and how they were able to survive as a nation over the course of those two wars back in 1967 and then 1973.

It's quite amazing that they're back there, but they're still armed. I mean Israel certainly is a nation under arms. All citizens are committed to service of some sort. But the relationship with Hamas certainly is extremely difficult. It's an incredibly jammed piece of terrain. Millions of folks living in there. Obviously there is a view of inadequacies in terms of support that exists in Gaza. And the built-up tensions that exist.

We've seen this before. The key is, how do you keep it under control. And the only way you do it, is like the Israelis are doing right now, they're doing, you know, very precise targeting against very pinpoint targets. And you want to limit -- certainly limit the collateral damage that could take place.

MALVEAUX: We know that U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made that point to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, saying it was very important that there are surgical strikes, that you don't see these mass civilian casualties. General, do you think that that's even possible here? Do you think that they are heeding those warnings and that that perhaps would limit the amount of firepower, the amount of civilian casualties and the escalation that could happen in the next hours and days to come?

MARKS: Well, I know the Israeli defense force, and I've served with some of their leaders, some of their now senior leaders, they will make every effort to employ precision-guided munitions against known targets. The collateral damage, that is casualties that might be -- might -- that the civilian population might incur as a result of these strikes certainly goes into the calculation of the strikes. But it's necessary to go after those that are shooting rockets and, in fact, the networks where the insurgent activities are taking place, being planned, and then being launched. And Israel has to go after those.

Will there be collateral damage? The answer is yes. And it needs to be minimized. And Israel understands that. And they will do it. But they also have a right to defend themselves.

MALVEAUX: And last question regarding the breaking news here before we go on to the scandal. One of the things that U.S. officials have expressed some concern is about the role of Egypt now with its new leadership. A relationship that is much closer now to Hamas. Is that something that the White House should be concerned about? I mean that really does seem like a -- really a wild card in all of this.

MARKS: Well, Suzanne, I don't think it's a wild card. You're exactly spot on. They do need to be concerned about it. More importantly, they need to do something about it to insure that Israel is able to prosecute what it needs against Hamas and that Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood stay out of any type of direct engagement or support to what is taking place in Gaza right now. That would truly inflame and kind of put into greater chaos what's taking place in the Mideast.

So Israel needs to breathe -- I mean, apologies. Egypt needs to breathe through their nose, just kind of stay where they are. Hamas and Israel are going to have to work this out. And they don't need to have other folks meddling, other than to try to get them to calm down, you know, settle the situation a little bit.

MALVEAUX: All right, to the other story that we're following. Obviously the scandal involving the former CIA director, General Petraeus, and General Allen, John Allen. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has jumped into all of this, ordering an ethics training for generals to be reviewed here. Do you think, first of all, that that is the right way to go? Do you think that that's an adequate response at this time? You've been a general 30 years in the military. Is this kind of review helpful?

MARKS: It is, Suzanne. Every time the military has a challenge that demonstrates a weakness in one of those elements that would -- that we would call foundational to the success of the military, you have to take what's called a stand-down or a review. You spend time focusing very narrowly and deeply on one particular vertical. And in this case it's values.

We not only have this issue with Dave Petraeus and potentially with John Allen, but we've just -- the Department of Defense just demoted General Kip Ward to three stars from his four stars. We've got a one star down at Fort Bragg that acted with incredible indiscretion apparently for some time. We have a three star that -- I mean there are multiple examples that are in the pages of the media today, and in our forefront, to demonstrate that in many cases we've lost sight of these values that we learned and we embraced. I mean this is like breathing air, and all of a sudden we're now wandering aimlessly with a few very, very visible figures.

So, yes, the short answer is, it makes sense to go after this and take some time to kind of pull at it and get folks to agree that it needs to be done.

MALVEAUX: And, General, clearly there are a lot of questions still that remain about Benghazi, the attack there in Benghazi. We have learned now that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to be testifying before those committees that are -- want some answers to those questions. What does that signify to you?

MARKS: Well, it's important that the Secretary of State be visible inside those -- hopefully these are closed and classified sessions, both with the House and the Senate. It's her ambassador that was killed. It was that team in Libya that was killed. She'll be able to demonstrate what she knew and when she knew it. And it really is all about, what did we know (INAUDIBLE) the attacks? What was our assessment? Our -- the United States' assessment of the environment and the conditions on the ground and had we, in advance, positioned the right resources to mitigate risk and to make sure that we could handle those known possibilities?

MALVEAUX: All right, General Spider Marks, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

MARKS: Thanks, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: I want to go back to the attacks in Israel and Gaza. The U.N. Security Council now holding an emergency closed door session about the crisis. Member nations called for this, "maximum restraint so the situation does not deteriorate any further." The big fear is that the escalating violence could echo the 2008 war that led to Israel's land invasion of Gaza. The year-long war killed some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israeli.

Fred Pleitgen, he's joining us from Jerusalem. Fred, first of all, we saw the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking earlier about the escalating violence, the tension here. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation. This is why my government has instructed the Israeli defense forces to conduct surgical strikes against a terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: And here's how Hamas responded in their press conference today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GHAZI HAMAD, HAMAS DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: Some think that it is easy to kill people in Gaza, it is easy to enter Gaza, it is easy to do everything, what you want in Gaza here. But we send (INAUDIBLE) them that Gaza is not easy bond (ph). It's not easy -- you can't eat Gaza in one minute. If you do something, we will react.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So, Fred, tell us what the -- this is two versions of the truth. Tell us what is taking place on the ground from where you are. What are you seeing? What do you make of what's happening?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Israeli air raids are still going on in Gaza, Suzanne. And it seems that, if anything, both sides are sort of upping the ante as they go along, rather than things de-escalating here.

The other thing that's going on is that there's now been air raid sirens going off in the town of Tel Aviv, which is, of course, the biggest city in Israel. And you saw pictures on Israeli TV of people there hitting the deck, going to the ground, going into a brace position, obviously in anticipation of possibly rockets falling on Tel Aviv.

Now, we have gotten now a message from the spokesperson for the Israeli defense forces who says he's not aware that any rockets actually landed in Tel Aviv. However, several projectiles did land on the outskirts of sort of the southern fringe of the greater metropolitan Tel Aviv area. And if a rocket did hit Tel Aviv, certainly that would be a massive escalation of what is going on here right now.

And, of course, we've just heard General Marks talking about how the Israeli defense forces were trying to take out rocket positions inside Gaza. That is certainly something that the Israeli military says is a top priority. They said that they've launched no less than 100 strikes at missile launching sights and they say so far they believe that their operation is going very well. Of course, on the other hand, you still have a lot of rockets that are being launched out of Gaza. More than 200 being launched alone today. And the Palestinians, of course, will tell you that these air raids that are going on by the Israeli are anything but surgical. They say that so far 15 people have been killed, two of them children.

Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Fred, keep us posted. Obviously, a very tense situation taking place in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Thank you.

A woman, she is denied an abortion that could have saved her life. Her death in Ireland has now sparked protests and prompted new questions about the country's strict anti-abortion laws.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: A pregnant woman dies after being refused an abortion, that has sparked outrage in Ireland. The predominantly Catholic country has some of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world.

Now, this case has many people demanding that the laws be rewritten to save women's lives. Nic Robertson has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Happier days, (INAUDIBLE) dentist Savita Halappanavar dancing with a friend, her family now mourning her loss.

The 31-year-old died in an Irish hospital, refused an abortion that could have saved her life.

PRAVEEN HALAPPANAVAR, SAVITA'S HUSBAND (voice-over): They knew that they can't help the baby. Why did they not, you know, look at the bigger life?

ROBERTSON: This, an interview recorded with "Irish Times" journalist Kitty Holland that has ignited a firestorm across Ireland and beyond.

KITTY HOLLAND, "IRISH TIMES" JOURNALIST: The abortion issue is the most divisive issue in Irish society. There's a huge pro-life lobby and an equally vocal pro-choice lobby. It's an extremely emotional issue.

ROBERTSON: Now triggering fierce debate in the Irish parliament.

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN LEADER: It is reported that she died of blood poisoning after, according to her husband, being refused a termination by miscarrying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deputy Adams, there are two investigations taking place at the moment. I think it's only right and appropriate that the facts be determined by both of those investigations.

ROBERTSON: As reported by the "Irish Times," Savita was admitted to Ireland's Galway University Hospital Sunday, 21st October, suffering back pain. She was 17-weeks pregnant, was miscarrying and told she would likely lose her baby. Seven days later, she was dead.

She had pleaded her doctor for a termination, but for two and a half days while her fetus had a heart beat, they refused.

P. HALAPPANAVAR (voice-over): On Tuesday morning, she came back and said that, I'm sorry. We can't help you because it's a Catholic country, that, you know, we can't help it. It's a Catholic thing and so we just can't. But it's that she's not Catholic; she's a Hindu, so why impose the law on her?

ROBERTSON: The hospital at the center of the case has already begun an investigation, but they will not comment on the details of the case.

In a written statement they say, "In the case of a sudden maternal death, these procedures are followed -- notification of the death to the coroner, notification of the death to the HSE's national incident management team, the completion of a maternal death notification form. These national procedures are being followed by Galway University Hospital."

None of this enough to prevent passions far beyond Ireland from being lit. This demo outside the Irish embassy in London, gathering not just to remember Savita, but stop a repeat of her tragic death.

Savita's husband, Praveen, is back with her family in India, all coming to terms with their loss of a wife, of a daughter, of a first grandchild, a death everyone here hopes won't be in vein, that it will lead to a change in the Irish abortion law.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: This is an unusual sight for Jordan. Check it out.

We're talking about hundreds taking to the streets, shouting slogans against their king. We're going to have a live report from Amman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: You've got unrest in the streets of Jordan over high gas prices. Protesters are speaking out against King Abdullah. Jordan has traditionally been one of those stable nations in the Middle East, but protesters are now out in force. They want their government now to listen. At least one person was killed during an attack on a police station in Irbid. That is Jordan's second-largest city.

Our Arwa Damon is live in the capital of Amman and, Arwa, you know, you have covered Jordan many, many years, have been there a couple of times. It is always a place where you feel comfortable, whether it's a sense of stability here. How is this unraveling?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is mostly centering around the economy and it is important to note that Jordan, in fact, experienced its first demonstrations back in December of 2010. People demonstrating wanting to see economic reforms, wanting to see an end to corruption.

Prices, really, over the last two years have been rising astronomically and the government recently increased the cost of fuel, of cooking gas and of kerosene, diesel, as well. That is what is really enraging people.

Cooking gas, for example, went up more than 50 percent. And the government is saying that it had to take such drastic measures because of the massive deficit that it is experiencing in excess of $7 billion.

But people really feel right now that that deficit is because of government corruption, because of mismanagement of funds. They want to see this decision reversed and they want to see the government actually address the real problem rather than making people pay the price for its own mistakes.

MALVEAUX: So, the government is the king, King Abdullah. Do they want to see him out? Is that the solution here? Is that what they're calling for?

DAMON: Well, Suzanne, it's also important to point out that we are hearing something that would have been unheard of two years ago and that is small groups of demonstrators -- and we must emphasize that they are small groups of demonstrators -- asking for the regime to fall, directing their anger at the king himself, asking for him to actually be brought down. But that is not a widespread sentiment.

What is concerning, however, is that we are hearing a growing number of voices making that drastic demand. Many Jordanians we've been talking to are saying that, in recent times, this is the most worried that they've ever been about the stability of their country.

MALVEAUX: All right, Arwa Damon, we're going to be keeping a close eye on this.

He is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century, so when Warren Buffett talks, people, they listen, like other own Poppy Harlow. Her exclusive interview just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Fears of an all-out war between Israelis and Palestinians is growing today.

Let's zoom into the map here. This is where hundreds of missiles are being launched between the two sides right now.

Now, the tipping point came yesterday with the targeted killing you see on the screen there. This is incredible Israeli military video showing a car carrying the leader of Hamas's military. This is in Gaza City and an Israeli rocket hits it, obliterating everyone in the car, including this popular and influential Hamas military chief, Ahmed al-Jabari.

Now, the Israeli government spokesman says that al-Jabari was killed because he heads a, quote, "terror military machine" and that he is a known and wanted terrorist. Israeli warplanes dropped leaflets in Gaza warning residents to keep their distance from militants and Hamas facilities.

Now, at al-Jabari's funeral today, supporters took the corpse through the streets wrapped in a bloodied white sheet. They also fired guns in the air celebrating news of Israelis' deaths. Then there was retaliation and counter-retaliation, as well. Hamas forces fired rockets into Israel that struck an apartment complex killing three people there.

Israeli forces continued a blistering assault, sending a barrage of rockets to what it calls a hundred rocket launch and infrastructure site.

Now, a Palestinian aid group says 13 people were killed, six Hamas fighters, the rest civilians, including two children and a pregnant woman.

Now, we're going to go in-depth and greater on the conflict in the region. I want to bring in Michael Holmes who's reported extensively on this throughout the Middle East and in this region.

Michael, you've been to the Gaza Strip as well as many different places, Jerusalem and inside Israel. When you see these attack from both sides, make sense of this. Put this in context for us here.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, this sort of tactic, what happened to al-Jabari, this is an attack that's been used for years.

Back in 2003 I was 500 meters away when Apache helicopters appeared over Gaza fired into Hellfire missiles into the car of, Abu Shanab, who was a leader of Hamas at the time. This has been going for a long time.

Why this guy? Well, he was the head of a Hamas military wing. He was also very senior within the political wing, as well. He was the man who is said to have masterminded the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was held for five years, and then organized his release, as well.

On the other side and what makes this curious, I was talking to an Israeli, Gershon Baskin, earlier today. He's an unofficial negotiator who helped negotiate Gilad Shalit's release.

Now, he told me that al-Jabari was actually involved in trying to get a lasting truce under way that had been negotiated with the Egyptians. A draft had been drawn up. He had gotten that draft in his hand hours before he was killed.

So, this was a man who was also trying in some ways to keep a lid on the rocket going into Israel by Hamas, anyway. On the other hand, he was blamed for Israel for being behind it.

MALVEAUX: People are describing this in very different ways. This is very controversial. Some say a surgical strike. Others say an assassination, a political assassination. When you look at what is taking place on the ground and the level of tension and now violence in the area, does this look like this is only going to get worse in the hours and the days to come.

HOLMES: You know, the answer to that is that it depends. I've never liked the term "surgical strike." Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world. You know, even the most surgical of strikes generally has consequences, collaterally.

But will it get worse? It depends. If one of these missiles fired from Gaza, lands in a residential area of Tel Aviv, which hasn't been hit by anything since the first Gulf War, then you could imagine a ground incursion happening, and we saw what happened back in 2008 when more than 1,200 Palestinians that were killed, half of them civilians. It could go that way.

Now, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinians, they don't want a ground incursion. That's not going work for anyone. The problem is these things can get out of hand and it spirals out of control and then there is one.

MALVEAUX: And we've already heard that the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, has reached out to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack, essentially, warning against the consequences of these kinds of strikes.

Michael, what do you think that means? The fact that the U.S. has already stepped in, is trying to get involved at this stage of the game?

HOLMES: It has to get involved. It has to get involved in a verbal sense. They have to make these phone calls. But you know what? Let's look back. You know, every time that the President -- President Obama has been involved in anything substantial with Israel lately, Israel's basically ignored him.

So, you know, the U.S. can try to get involved. They can say the right things. We need to calm down. We need to have talks. We need to sort this out. That's fine. I don't think Israel will listen. I really honestly don't. They haven't been in the last few years, and I don't think they will now. They make their own decisions on the ground. They didn't tell the U.S. they were going to do this and they never will, so I'm a little bit more, I don't know -- a little bit more less than optimistic when it comes to that.

MALVEAUX: OK. We're going to have to see what happens. Obviously, there's a lot that is taking place on the ground, very worrisome on all sides.

Thank you, Michael. Appreciate it.

Well, this guy, he made us laugh. In his new play, he also makes you think. Aasif Mandvi, he is joining us to talk about his latest work.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: It's been more than three years since a bomb blast in Afghanistan took the life of Army Captain Brian "Bubba" Bunting.

As part of our special series, "Veterans in Focus," we take a look now at how his wife, Nicki, continues to keep his memory alive in the eyes of two young sons that he left behind.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go.

NICKI BUNTING, WIDOW AND MOTHER: Scoop it up. Scoop it up.

Lacrosse is something that Bubba and I just always dreamed of watching our kids play. He really analyzes the game and he plays it well, which is just like his dad.

Bubba always dreamed of being a dad. That's kind of all he ever wanted to be.

He was gone for about 10 months and was training the Afghani national police. He came home for about two and a half weeks. That was his R&R period.

It was awesome. Connor had changed so much, so it was really cool to see Bubba's reaction to al the new things that Connor could do.

He really, really, really loved his friends and family. He would do anything for them, even if that meant, you know, paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Once he was back and he was there for about four days, that's when he was killed by an IED.

Here, Cooper.

COOPER BUNTING, BUBBA BUNTING'S SON: Inside

N. BUNTING: Oh, yeah. Kitty cat doesn't want to come inside.

Cooper, my little one, he is just my little miracle baby. We wanted so badly to have another baby.

Are you going to wear daddy's hat. Yeah?

Four days after I found out he was killed is when I found out I was pregnant.

Oh, let's see. Does it fit? A little big.

I try to keep his memory alive with everything I do, really.

Look how big you guys are smiling. I talk about him all the time.

This is his belt.

We have a room that's kind of dedicated to him.

You see that thing hanging up on the wall? That's his saber.

He told me before he deployed, if anything ever happened to him, that he would be OK because he had everything that he ever wanted in life because he had Connor.

ARMY CAPTAIN BUBBA BUNTING, DECEASED VETERAN: My daddy shows me how to make a line.

N. BUNTING: I'm going to raise his kids the way I promised him I would.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": Aasif, you're with the Romney campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire.

AASIF MANDVI, ACTOR: That's right, Jon. Different feeling here. Romney is talking mostly about the consequences of re-electing Obama -- high unemployment, slow growth, the dread lord of Cthulhu will rise from the sea and destroy the cities. Standard stump-speech stuff.

STEWART: Is that Carmina Burana playing in the back?

MANDVI: Oh, thank God. You hear that too?

STEWART: Yes.

MANDVI: Because nobody is playing it. There is no d.j., nothing. There is no sound system. It's really kind of eerie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: All right, Aasif Mandvi, covering the Romney campaign for Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

He has been on the show since 2006. He has been stealing the spotlight since his first school play when he was just 7-years old. He joins us now.

Told you we'd get you back on. What are you doing? After the -- I mean, election fatigue, I mean, (INAUDIBLE) ...

MANDVI: Election fatigue. I feel like -- what's that?

MALVEAUX: What are you going to do? MANDVI: Well, I went right from the sort of election stuff on "The Daily Show" right into this play, so I have been ...

MALVEAUX: Tell me about this play.

MANDVI: ... I've been working straight up.

The play's great. It's at the Lincoln Center. It's called "Disgrace." It's not a comedy.

For people who have seen "The Daily Show" and know me from "The Daily Show" it's a very different sort of experience. It's a dramatic role. It's -- deals with a lot of identity politics.

MALVEAUX: Tell me about the identity politics because that's one of the things -- I mean, we saw President Obama win a coalition, a lot of groups of people here.

You're playing a Pakistani-American ...

MANDVI: I am.

MALVEAUX: Who is struggling with identity issues.

MANDVI: Yes. Absolutely. Well, you know, I think race is a big thing in America right now, especially Muslim-American identity. What it means to be Muslim-American. A lot of people think Obama is Muslim. And they use that --

MALVEAUX: Strangely enough, a significant percent. I mean, strangely enough.

MANDVI: Well, it's scary.

MALVEAUX: Yes, absolutely.

MANDVI: And not only is he Muslim, but they use that as a way to sort of undermine him somehow or, you know, de-legitimatize him in some way, which is always a weird thing. You know, as a Muslim, to have my religion used as a way to de-legitimatize the President, you know? But, yes, this play sort of deals with a lot of that stuff. It's a very brave, provocative piece of theater. And I was very excited about it.

MALVEAUX: Why did you take on this role, because it is so different than what you normally do?

MANDVI: Well, you know, I'm an actor. So I've been doing dramatic stuff and comedic stuff my whole career. Ever since I played that pixie in the school play.

MALVEAUX: At seven years old, yes.

MANDVI: Thankfully you mentioned. Thank God people know about that now.

MALVEAUX: Roll the tape. Where is that?

MANDVI: But I -- there probably is somewhere. But I've been doing both my whole career. So, know, the last six or seven years, I've been on "The Daily Show" and people know me as that guy, that comedian guy.

MALVEAUX: Right.

MANDVI: But for me to go do dramatic stuff is not that much of a stretch. I've been doing it a lot. I just haven't done it in the last --

MALVEAUX: Are you much of a political guy? I mean when you saw how the election turned out and we -- you know, we heard from Mitt Romney very recently saying that, look, he thought the reason Obama won was because there were what he called gifts that he was giving out to African-Americans, to Latino, to young people. What do you make of that?

MANDVI: What, like cars and things? Like --

MALVEAUX: No. He's talking about health care benefits and things like that.

MANDVI: Anybody who votes for me gets a free car.

MALVEAUX: I mean very offensive to some Republicans who have actually called him out on it and said, you know, that doesn't really sound how that's -- how it played out here.

MANDVI: I think ethnic people like gifts. So I think it's a good strategy (INAUDIBLE).

MALVEAUX: What are you talking about?

MANDVI: I think everybody loves gifts. No, I don't know. I mean, really? It just seems like it's --

MALVEAUX: How do they (INAUDIBLE)?

MANDVI: I mean, can you take that seriously really? That kind of comment? I mean, you know, it --

MALVEAUX: How do we (INAUDIBLE) --

MANDVI: It sounds like -- it sounds like he's just trying to figure out a reason why he lost. I mean it's sort of sour grapes kind of thing.

MALVEAUX: How do we change it? How do you think? I mean do you think comedy? I mean what you do, do you think that that kind of makes people wake up a little bit and look at themselves a little bit in the mirror and say, OK, you know, maybe I'm being unreasonable or this is stupid what I'm saying?

MANDVI: I mean I think -- I think what we do on "The Daily Show" satirically is very cathartic for people. Sometimes maybe we change things a little bit. But mostly I think it's a way for people to sort of say the thing that they're -- you know, we get to -- we get to sort of call BS on a lot of stuff that people I think at home are sitting around going, like I can't believe that they're actually talking about this seriously. Like, for example, that Mitt Romney thinks that Obama won because he gave gifts to ethnic people.

MALVEAUX: Do you have another goal that we should be looking out for?

MANDVI: I have a movie coming out next year with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn called "The Internship."

MALVEAUX: OK. All right.

MANDVI: Where they play two 40-year-old guys who intern at Google.

MALVEAUX: OK.

MANDVI: And I play the head of the Google intern program. And it's a very, very funny movie. So I'm excited about that.

MALVEAUX: Good. So you've got a serious side and a funny side. We're going to see it all. We've got to let you go. All right, we'll bring you back.

MANDVI: Yes, yes, all right, thanks. Well, hey, it was nice to meet you again.

MALVEAUX: Nice to see you again, as always. Thank you.

MANDVI: All right.

MALVEAUX: Many Americans now looking for financial advice. So this is an interview, of course, you're going to want to hear this. This is Warren Buffett talking about China, Europe, and the fiscal cliff to our own CNN.

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MALVEAUX: Oil giant BP announced today it's going to pay a record fine of $4.5 billion, that is right, for its role in the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. An explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the water. The fine settles all federal criminal charges and SEC claims. BP also agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts under the proposed settlement.

China's communist party has a new leadership. The party today named seven men to its powerful governing body. Now, these transitions, they happen only once a decade. The appointments were made in a ceremony that emphasized party unity. The new party boss is Xi Jinping. He is a chemical engineer who is set to take over the presidency in March. Several dark horse candidates who favored speedy economic reforms, they were left off the leadership committee.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett talking about China's impact on the world economy. He sat down for an exclusive interview with my colleague Poppy Harlow. It was his first public comment to CNN since President Obama won re-election. Buffett is a key Obama supporter, and he says that China and the U.S. must iron out their differences.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: We and the Chinese are going to be huge factors in the world economy in the next century and there will be certain tensions between us. And there always are. There have been tensions between us and our, you know, people like even the U.K. or something. But we have to get along with the Chinese, and the Chinese have to get along with us over time.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN MONEY: And so what stance should the President take on China now in this -- in his second term?

BUFFETT: Well, I -- it depends on the exact circumstances that develop. But I -- we want a prosperous world outside of the United States. And the world is getting more prosperous outside the United States in general over the last 20 or 30 years. And that's a good thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: I want to bring in Poppy.

Poppy, I love how you get these exclusives with Warren Buffett all the time.

HARLOW: Thank you. You (INAUDIBLE) yourself as well. Thank you.

MALVEAUX: I mean it's fantastic. I love it.

Talk a little bit about what he said about the Eurozone and the fact that it might be going back into recession.

HARLOW: Yes.

MALVEAUX: What does that mean for us?

HARLOW: Well, the numbers told us today that Europe did fall technically back into a recession. And, you know, all the talk's been about the fiscal cliff, which is very important. But when you talk about the global economy, Europe is critical, right? It's the biggest consumer of U.S. goods. So he weighed in on that. And his answer surprised me. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Do you think that the Eurozone is going to survive this, Warren?

BUFFETT: I don't know. They have to -- they have to work out something where they coordinate -- they either get closer together or they get further apart. The President's system is unstable and they've seen -- they've seen that instability manifested. But Europe isn't going to go away. I mean they will be a huge market. They'll be producing lots of things and the --

HARLOW: But the Eurozone may not make it through this?

BUFFETT: It's hard to tell exactly where -- how it comes out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Wow.

HARLOW: I think to hear him say it's hard to tell whether the Eurozone makes it through is pretty telling. So there are a lot of questions about Europe, absolutely, right now.

MALVEAUX: Yes. It sounds a little alarming, but, you know, I mean I guess there are nuances to it as well.

HARLOW: Right.

MALVEAUX: He talked about the fiscal cliff.

HARLOW: He did.

MALVEAUX: This is somebody who has been very, very important to President Obama, even before he became president. What does he think? Does he think the President should allow it to happen or --

HARLOW: He -- you know, he does. And I'll let you listen to him in a minute.

MALVEAUX: Really?

HARLOW: He thinks the President has to take an incredibly hard line here in these negotiations, which start at the White House tomorrow with Republicans, saying, you know, if we have to pass December 31st without an agreement, then so be it. We need the right agreement.

He doesn't want us to fall over the fiscal cliff. He told me that he wants lawmakers to choose country over party and do everything they can to reach an agreement. But he doesn't just want my agreement. Here's how he explained it to me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: What is the likelihood of the United States falling into a recession if we go over the cliff?

BUFFETT: I don't think -- I don't think that's going to happen. I think that if we go past January 1st, I don't know whether it will be January 10th or February 1st, but, look, we are not going to permanently cripple ourselves because 535 people can't get along.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: And he said -- and this is a quote here -- you know he said, "you have to make every attempt not to do it, not to go over the cliff." MALVEAUX: Sure.

HARLOW: "But you -- but that doesn't mean you roll over and give away the store." So he wants the President to push really hard here, especially on taxes and increase tax rates for the wealthy. Not just closing the loopholes, but increasing those rates. And that's where you're going to have all this fighting.

MALVEAUX: And he believe the President has a mandate. Does he have any idea, 2016, who he's going to go for?

HARLOW: Didn't we just get through an election? Aren't we exhausted.

MALVEAUX: Come on.

HARLOW: It did surprise me. We were talking about women and the importance that he believes women play in the economy.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Right.

HARLOW: He had a lot to say about that. And so I asked him, what about a woman president in 2016. He said, it should be. He said it should be Hillary Clinton.

MALVEAUX: OK.

HARLOW: He's told me he doesn't think there's any more qualified candidate. Now, I don't know if she wants the job or not, but he is -- and, remember, in 2008, he gave money to both Obama and Clinton. So he's a staunch supporter.

MALVEAUX: Right. All right, we'll see if he picks up the phone and asks her to run.

HARLOW: I know.

MALVEAUX: We'll see whether that happens. Thank you, Poppy. Good to see you, as always.

HARLOW: You're welcome.

MALVEAUX: Coming up, it is not a clown car. It's actually a Guinness World Record attempt. We're going to show you just how many people can squeeze their way into a Mini Cooper.

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