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Hamas Says 24 Dead, 200 Wounded ; Explosion Rocks Oil Platform In Gulf Of Mexico; Benghazi Hearings; Petraeus Testifies on Benghazi Attack; The Help Desk; Behind The Scenes of Disaster; Americans Concerned About Fiscal Cliff; Leaders Meet on Fiscal Cliff; Obama, Congressional Leaders Meet on Fiscal cliff; Israel, Hama Conflict Intensifies; Obama Not Popular in King County, Texas; Gloria Reuben Talks about New Lincoln Movie; Late-Night Comedians Joke about Petraeus

Aired November 16, 2012 - 13:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. Just minutes ago, the Israeli military releases the statement saying it will operate until the mission has been completed. Rockets flying back and forth between Gaza and Israel and the death toll is now rising.

The Hamas' rockets are reaching farther into Israel than they have ever before. Two have fallen just south of Jerusalem despite Israel's sophisticated anti-aircraft capabilities. Palestinian officials say that rockets from Israel have killed 24 Palestinians and wounded 200 in the past two days. Israeli officials reported no new death today. Three died yesterday from rocket fire. Now, this all started when Israel sent a missile to destroy a car carrying the head of Hamas' military, killing him.

Jill Dougherty, she's joining us from the state department. Jill, first of all, we've heard the U.N. asking for restraint from both sides. But you've got both of them, and we just talked to a representative, a former legal advisor to the PLO saying, look, it's not their fault. It's the other person's fault, it's the other side's fault. I mean, how do you intervene? How do you get this to actually stop?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's the dilemma. I mean, I think the United States -- the only answer that really would be to try to get the countries that have the influence with Hamas to put pressure, so make them stop, to urge them to stop. But that's very difficult. You saw President Obama, two days ago, talking with, for example, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, but also with Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt.

Now, Egypt, of course, has a longstanding peace treaty with Israel. There was concern that something -- they, obviously, support the Palestinians in this, but, at the same time, a senior cabinet official said that the peace treaty is not in jeopardy. So, there are delicate relationships here, but they need to try to get some type of pressure on Hamas to stop. The U.S., at the same time, has -- you know, is urging Israel to be careful, -- MALVEAUX: Sure.

DOUGHERTY: -- minimize civilian deaths, if possible, but also says that the -- that Israel has a right to defend itself.

MALVEAUX: I want to read -- this is from the U.S. ambassador of the U.N., Susan Rice, what she said during a security council meeting two days ago. She said, President Obama told prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu that he understands and supports Israel's right to self- defense in light of countless rocket attacks on Israeli civilians being launched from Gaza. The president urged that prime minister Netanyahu make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. Do we think that the president -- that this administration has much leverage in actually making sure that happens?

DOUGHERTY: Well, I mean, the Israelis really feel that they have gone too far. They simply could not hold back from defending themselves because of these, you know, hundreds of attacks. Sol, trying to stop that, trying to tell Israel not to defend itself is really impossible. But that said, the danger of this, of escalation and all-out war, is really very high. And that's why this administration is trying to, you know, urge both sides to stop. It's, obviously, not being very successful.

MALVEAUX: You know, Tony Blair, he's put a lot of political capital in this as an envoy. He's trying to come up with a peace agreement for the Middle East. He spoke about this recently, what he sees is happening. I want to play a little bit for you.


TONY BLAIR, MIDDLE EAST QUARTET ENVOY: The single thing that's most important straight away is to try and calm the situation to de- escalate it, and that means that the rockets have got to stop coming out of Gaza and then the Israeli military action cease and then we can try and find our way forward.


MALVEAUX: So, Jill, I mean, how many players are involved now? How many people are stepping up and trying to make sure that this doesn't escalate? I mean, is there a sense of faith here that they can pull back a little bit?

DOUGHERTY: Well, on many different sides. Certainly, here at the State Department, at the White House, other countries are certainly doing what they can. There was a call from the United Nations from Ban Ki Moon for everyone to do what they can do. But probably the best thing is exactly what Tony Blair was saying there, which would be to have a cease-fire, to at least stop the killing, and then, hopefully, try to have some type of resolution.

It's very, very difficult right now but the cease fire could, at this point, be the only answer.

MALVEAUX: All right. Jill, thank you, appreciate it. The search and rescue mission is now underway right now in the Gulf of Mexico. An explosion ripped through an oil platform off the central -- south central Louisiana coast today, setting off a fire which is now, we understand, it's been put out. Coast Guard officials say there are two workers, however, who are missing, and this rig belongs to the Black Elk Energy in Houston, producing both oil and natural gas.

I want to bring in Chad Myers to talk about what is taking place. We did talk to a hospital official in the last hour or so. They said they had four patients that were brought in.


MALVEAUX: They were going to be transferred to a facility to treat burn patients. What does that say to you about the expense of what has taken place on that rig?

MYERS: That was the West Jefferson Hospital we talked to. We now know that there are 11 people that have been medivaced to four separate hospitals. We haven't talked to the other three. That's just coming off right now from a press conference that I just -- literally just left. The -- there were 11 people medivaced. Nine people were actually transported to other platforms and other places away that were not injured. The two missing -- there were reported two missing, two dead from the Coast Guard. That's the same. Those two people are the two missing, so officially not too two dead yet. Still the two missing would be the back and forth from those two reports.

We're going to see four area hospitals, now. We're going to talk to them. The burn unit was there. People all -- everybody is worried about how much oil is in the water. Literally, this is not an oil situation. This is a human situation. This is people being burned, people being injured by this platform. The Coast Guard saying that the most that this could have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico is 26 gallons of oil. That's all that was in the pipe. They were cutting a pipe. It was a construction, maintenance crew. They cut the wrong pipe or cut into a pipe with a welding torch or something that caused a spark. The spark lit the oil. The oil caused the -- caused the blast.

MALVEAUX: Do we have any idea, Chad, how big this explosion was?

MYERS: No, we don't. We could just see the --

MALVEAUX: Do we know if it was multiple explosions or just one -- just one?

MYERS: We believe that there was just one because they were cutting into one pipe.

MALVEAUX: And how close is this to the land, to the beach there?

MYERS: It's about 20 miles to Grand Isle, maybe a little bit less to Venice. But, you know, you're still basically in the Gulf of Mexico. You're a couple of miles away. They said that the Coast Guard took 45 minutes for the first Coast Guard facility to get -- the first helicopter to get there. But other people, the commercial helicopter units that were in the area, got to the rig originally. And the helipad was intact. And so, these commercial helicopters, they went in there, they got out of the helicopter, they got the people out, and they flew them to other places. So, it was pretty immediate. That search and rescue is still happening now, but the immediacy, because there is so much activity in that part of the Gulf of Mexico, there was just minutes from when it exploded to when there was help.

MALVEAUX: All right. Chad, thanks for the details. Obviously, we're going to be keeping track of this story as it develops. Thank you, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

MALVEAUX: Here's what we're working on for this hour.

(voice-over): President Obama promises the country will stand by New York as it rebuilds after Superstorm Sandy.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to be here until the rebuilding is complete.


MALVEAUX: But the recovery has just begun. An exclusive look at the flood damage that crippled one New York hospital.

And warning, we are heading toward a fiscal cliff. Should Congress and the president let the country fall off the cliff and agree to a tax hike or create a bridge and extend the current tax breaks? What you're saying.

Plus, a political divide. More than 100 years ago, the new movie "Lincolns" take on the battle over slavery. "Lincoln" actress, Gloria Ruben, joins us live.

This is CNN NEWSROOM, and it's happening now.


MALVEAUX: We are following two other major stories. One involving the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Libya, the other, the financial crisis that could mean higher taxes for all of us. President Obama getting ready for a second round of talks today on avoiding the fiscal cliff. He is going to be meeting with leaders of civic groups. Earlier, he sat down with Congressional leaders in a closed-door meeting they described as constructive.

We are following the Benghazi hearings on Capitol Hill as well. The testimony by former CIA director David Petraeus. Republican Congressman Peter King said Petraeus tried to explain how information about the deadly attack in Libya came together. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), CHAIRMAN, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: He said it was a long process involving many agencies, including the Department of Justice, included the State Department, and no one knows yet exactly who came up with the final version of the talking points, other than to say the original talking points prepared by the CIA were different from the ones that were finally put out.


MALVEAUX: King says Petraeus also told lawmakers the affair that led to his resignation from the CIA had no affect on his testimony.

Well, that affair pretty much the elephant in the room. Dana Bash, she is joining us now from capitol Hill. Dana, first of all, did that come up at all?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're told it did briefly in both the House and the Senate at briefings today. At the very beginning, at least on the House side, the chairman kind of got it out there, pointed to the elephant in the room, if you will, and said we just want to make sure that what happened in Benghazi had nothing to do with your resignation. And we're told that General Petraeus said, that's correct and that he expressed regret for what happened, and that was it. They moved on. But I've got to tell you, you see these pictures here? That's about as close as we think we came to seeing General Petraeus today. A picture of his car leaving today. I don't think I've ever seen -- I've covered the Hill for many years, I've never seen the kind of protection that lawmakers and the administrators here, law enforcement here, gave General Petraeus, the now former CIA director, a civilian, in order to come here and voluntarily testify.

MALVEAUX: Why do you suppose that happened, Dana?

BASH: You know, we asked that question and -- of the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, and she said, look, I know you're ankled about this, but she said she made a decision, along with others, to give him that protection because he was voluntarily coming and talking about what happened in Benghazi even though, clearly, this is a very tough personal time for him. And she said, if you're going to want to -- if you're wanting -- if you want to get upset, blame me, she said. But it was really extraordinary, Suzanne, have I to tell.

MALVEAUX: Yes, that is.

BASH: Yes. And so, that's sort of the circus, if you will, that was going on around here, but, of course, behind the scenes, there were real important issues talked about. And one of the key questions has been, and that hasn't really been politicized, whether or not Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador, had proper talking points before she went out or whether she kind of freelanced. And the answer came down to the Democratic chairwoman saying, she was -- she was OK. She's being -- she's being politicized and the Republicans saying, not so much. Listen.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CHAIRWOMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think mistakes get made, you don't (INAUDIBLE) the person. And to select Ambassador Rice because she used an unclassified talking point to say that she is unqualified to be secretary of state, I think, is a mistake. And the way it keeps going, it's almost as if the attempt is to assassinate her character.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), VICE CHMN., SELECT INTELLIGENCE CMTE.: The problem with what Susan Rice said was not that what she -- what she -- if she had stuck with the talking points, were they correct? They were. She went beyond that. And she even mentioned that under the leadership of Barack Obama, we had decimated al Qaeda. Well, she knew at that point in time that al Qaeda was very likely responsible, in part or in the whole, for the death of Ambassador Stevens.


DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Suzanne, at the end of the day, it seems to be a difference between what they knew on a classified level and what they knew unclassified. In fact, these are the unclassified taking points. We talked last hour about the fact that Dianne Feinstein read from them. That these are -- they -- and there are only three of them, and it's pretty generic, but it does explicitly say that there were demonstrations inspired by protests that led to the direct assault. And there's one line that says there are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations, but nothing on the other side that we now know that an extremist group was very much involved.

MALVEAUX: And we'll see if that satisfies the critics. Thank you, Dana. Appreciate it.

New York City and New Jersey, Jersey shore, crippled by Superstorm Sandy. Homes destroyed. Power outages. Hospitals evacuated.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So if we were standing here while this place was filling up, the water would come up to our necks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would -- it would almost cover your head and come up to my neck.


MALVEAUX: An exclusive look at one hospital evacuated during Superstorm Sandy.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Here on "The Help Desk" we're talking about commodities. With me this hour, Greg Olsen and Carmen Wong Ulrich.

Greg, here's your question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a question about commodities. And I was wondering if there would be good returns in the next six to 12 months.


KOSIK: Gold, you know, is all the rage. Let's start with gold.

GREG OLSEN, PARTNER, LENOX ADVISORS: Well, interesting, let's start with gold, because gold actually has an opportunity to increase over time if we see a lot more stimulus from the Fed trying to keep the economy afloat. The problem is, I see a lot of problems happening in Europe right now, which might slow the world economy overall, which has a negative effect on things such as raw materials and industrial metals. But also things like oil, could -- that -- the price of oil can flare up if we see deterioration of the situation in the Middle East hurting supply. So, it really depends on what commodity we're talking about based on where the price --

KOSIK: Yes, I mean, should investors really look to trade commodities or do something a little safer?

CARMEN WONG ULRICH, PRESIDENT & CO-FOUNDER, ALTA WEALTH MANAGEMENT: This is too short-term for me, six to 12 months in commodities. That's a real risk. We cannot see that near in the future. I would recommend commodities as an alternative in your investment. But long-term, if you're looking short-term, go with something a little less risky.

KOSIK: All right, good advice. Thanks.

And if you have an issue you want our experts to tackle, upload a 30- second video with your Help Desk question to

MALVEAUX: The evacuation of babies from NYU's Langone Medical Center during Superstorm Sandy captured the world's attention. More than two weeks later, NYU has now given CNN cameras a first look inside this ruined hospital. Elizabeth Cohen reports.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After the rain fell and the river overflowed into NYU Langone Medical Center, this is what was left. A hospital ruined by more than ten million gallons of floodwater. Now, two weeks later, Richard Cohen is my guide to see the damage.

E. COHEN (on camera): So we're in the cellar right now?

RICHARD COHEN, VP FACILITIES OPS, NYU LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER: We're in the cellar. We're at the lowest portion of the building.

E. COHEN (voice-over): Down here, the filthy river water went up to the ceiling. It's been pumped out, but it still smelling bad, so we have to wear masks.

R. COHEN: This was an MRI sweep. We had four MRI's down here. Unfortunately, they were all flooded.

E. COHEN (on camera): Oh, my God. How expensive is that machine?

R. COHEN: It's probably several million dollars.

E. COHEN: And kaput?

R. COHEN: This is kaput.

E. COHEN (voice-over): The water continued rising up to the first floor. This lecture hall became a swimming pool.

E. COHEN (on camera): So if we were standing here while this place was filling up, the water would come up to our necks?

R. COHEN: It would -- it would almost cover your head and come up to my neck.

E. COHEN: I'd be under water?

R. COHEN: Almost.

E. COHEN (voice-over): Ken Langone, the medical center's chairman of the board, was there that night as a patient.


E. COHEN (on camera): How did you get down?

LANGONE: I walked.

E. COHEN: And you were recovering from pneumonia?

LANGONE: They woke me up and said we were evacuating. And I said, fine. So I got up and I brushed my teeth, put my clothes on and I said, let's go.

E. COHEN (voice-over): Three hundred and twenty-two patients were evacuated. Now this once busy emergency room is empty.

LANGONE: This place took a hell of a hit.

E. COHEN: NYU Langone has brought in hundreds of clean-up workers, some with specialized skills from around the country. Hot air in these tubes is drying out the ceilings, floors, and walls. Clean-up is 24-7, expected to cost around $700 million.

E. COHEN (on camera): People's lives were saved in this room.


E. COHEN: And now it sits idle. How does that feel to you? LANGONE: Well, it feels like I can't wait for it to start saving lives again.


MALVEAUX: That was Elizabeth Cohen. The chairman of medical center says he hopes those rooms that you saw that are idle, are going to be up and running in about four weeks or so.

Tension along the Israeli-Gaza border intensifying now. There are talks this air assault could turn into a ground war. Will Israel's neighbors get dragged now into the conflict?


MALVEAUX: The reality of looming tax hikes from the so-called fiscal cliff may be hitting home for most Americans. A new poll shows an overwhelming majority thinks it's important to avoid the fiscal cliff. As you know, the combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes. In the "USA Today"/Gallup poll, 49 percent say it's extremely important to avoid the fiscal cliff. Another 33 percent say it is very important. Our Maggie Lake, she's been talking with folks and whether or not lawmakers can actually solve this problem.

Are most people confident, Maggie?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, they're not really, Suzanne. I think you can't blame them really. You know, we heard some encouraging words coming from congressional leaders today after they met with President Obama, but that is very far from inking a deal. And the people know that.

You know, it's appropriate that we're outside. It's cold. We're standing by a winter ice sculpture out here. And the mood, when it comes to Congress, when you talk to people, very frosty. In a Pew survey this week, just over half the people were skeptical that Congress and President Obama were going to be able to come to a deal. It doesn't mean they're not holding out some hope. But one thing we found when we were out talking to people is, they want action. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if people put the pressure behind them, they will. You know, I mean, their votes put them in, so votes can take them out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The election's over. Everyone has to work together now. You know, I think people were digging in their heels and just not compromising, but I have faith that they will this time around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress is supposed to do what the people want them to do, and apparently this is a Congress is running wild. And it's stupid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have huge faith in Mr. Obama. I think he can be persuasive, and I think Congress should listen.


LAKE: And talking about feeling the pressure, Suzanne. It could be that Republicans feel that a little bit more. That same survey found that 59 percent of people would blame Republicans if they're not able to reach a deal, compared to 29 percent, which would place the blame on President Obama.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you, Maggie. Appreciate it.

Now to White House Correspondent Briana Keilar. Briana is talking about the four congressional leaders who were called to the meeting, to the White House, calling it constructive.

So, Briana, that's a word that they use all the time. It doesn't really reveal very much.


MALVEAUX: Do we think there was any movement at all? Any willingness to work together?

KEILAR: I think so. And maybe they do use that word a lot or they say productive, but I saw something today at the White House that I'm not sure that I've ever seen before, and that is the four of them standing together at a microphone obviously trying to inspire some confidence that they're going to move forward with this and do so not in a way that really takes it to the edge.

You heard from Leader Reid. He said we're not going to wait until the last day in December. Leader Pelosi said before Christmas that she wants to inspire confidence in the markets and in consumers. So listen to what all four of them said. Some pretty positive notes they were sounding.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We had a very constructive meeting with the president to talk about America's fiscal problems.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: But we all know something has to be done.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: It was good. I feel confident that a solution may be in sight.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (D-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We're prepared to put revenue on the table, provided we fix the real problems.


KEILAR: And the real problem, as Mitch McConnell sees it, the Senate minority leader, sees it, Suzanne, is spending. He said, you know, but his folks still believe that this is a spending problem and overspending problem and not an under taxing problem. We heard from Speaker John Boehner. He said that revenue is on the table.

The issue here is that President Obama has said he wants to increase tax rates on wealthy Americans. The speaker and House Republicans are still not on board with increasing tax rates, although perhaps closing some loopholes to raise some revenue. And even though there's a lot of kind of Kumbaya going on here --


-- as you saw, Suzanne, there's still a lot of tough work that needs to be done. It seems like they're kind of punting on some of the very important issues like tax reform --

MALVEAUX: Right. Right.

KEILAR: -- and entitlement reform. But they're tying to instill confidence that they'll be dealing with the fiscal cliff here in the near term.

MALVEAUX: Brianna, it's probably difficult to tell, but we see these pictures, and it's very common, right? You get about 30 seconds to see them all in a room together. They're patting each other on the back, smiling, and shaking hands, that kind of thing. Do we have any sense of whether or not there were -- was any different kind of tone or language when they were meeting behind closed doors that gives us a sense that maybe this is real?

KEILAR: You know, I think, oh, to be a fly on the wall.


And obviously, it's a very tightly controlled situation, obviously, where they all put out their statements, which are very carefully choreographed. The White House doing that as well.

It seems like at least from that the tone was positive. Jay Carney put out a statement that said, in part, "Both sides agree that while there may be differences in our preferred approaches, we will continue a constructive process to find a solution and come to a conclusion as soon as possible."

I don't think there was acrimony here. I think the president wished Speaker Boehner happy birthday, which I believe is tomorrow. So there really falling all over themselves to have this really positive message.

But also there's an acknowledgment here that we have some really tough stuff to get through, and that they're going to have to work through that.

But I will tell you, we heard from them that they're going to be working through the Thanksgiving recesses. You know President Obama leaves for Asia tomorrow. And the White House says that, you know, even though he is gone, he is going to have his top aides in touch with members of Congress and their staff.

MALVEAUX: You know what that means, Brianna. We'll be all working through Thanksgiving.



MALVEAUX: All right. Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Thanks, Suzanne.


The tension along the Israeli/Gaza border is intensifying. Could this air assault lead to an all-out war?


MALVEAUX: Hundreds of rockets are flying in Gaza. The death toll from two days of fighting going up. Palestinian officials say 24 people were killed in Gaza.




MALVEAUX: Hamas said that the Israeli air force struck its interior ministry, leaving behind fiery rubble where a building once stood.




MALVEAUX: So you hear that. Sirens going off as Hamas reach close to two of Israel's most populated cities. We're talking about Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Nick Peyton-Walsh is joining us from Beirut.

First, Nick, Egypt's president, Mohammed al Morsi, gave a speech many support of the Palestinian people on state TV earlier today. Here's how he put it.


MOHAMMED AL MORSI, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translation): We support the people of Gaza. We are with them in their trenches. What hurts them, hurts us. And the blood that flows from their children is our blood, too.


MALVEAUX: So despite the rhetoric, Morsi says he also stands by the long-standing peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. He sent his prime minister to Gaza earlier today to show support for the Palestinian people.

Behind the scenes, what is going on? What is happening? Do they feel they have support, the kind of support they need? Are they scared? Are they frightened?

NICK PEYTON-WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think when he sent the prime minister to Gaza today is, in many ways, deeply symbolic of their bid to try and show great support. Remember, Hamas are born of the Muslim Brotherhood, the same party, the same group that is now in power in Egypt that President Mohammed Morsi belongs to. That was the first visit by an Egyptian official since Hamas took control of Gaza Strip and those brutal clashes that happened in 2007. So in many ways, that was a deeply symbolic gesture.

What else can they do is the question now. As you point out, there's been a 33-year-old peace pact with the Israelis and with Egypt. Perhaps Mr. Morsi will be loathe to push the Egyptian military any way to break that at all. And, of course, on top of that President Morsi has to bear in mind significant aid packages from the West and from the IMF, which he needs badly so his country's heavily damaged economy can begin to recover.

So many issues, he certainly faces there, but, of course, yes, he must tread that fine line between the international role Egypt must maintain and the stability and, of course, keeping popular opinion inside Egypt satisfied. Many expecting Egypt to perhaps come to a greater level of assistance for Hamas at this point -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Just minutes ago, we saw the authority, the president, Mahmoud Abbas, saying that Israel is denying Palestinians the right to establish an independent state, taking a really hard line there. You also say the Israeli military putting out this statement an hour ago saying that they're going to operate so the mission has been complete and that Hamas has now turned the Gaza Strip into a base for the Iranians to directly target Israeli civilians. You could not have a more different picture from these two sides.

PAYTON-WALSH: Certainly. Mahmoud Abbas is speaking from the West Bank, part of the group which, in many ways, has been left out of this conflict between Israel and Hamas. But as you say, the IDF is saying that they believe Hamas is an Iranian proxy. Now, there are many different schools of thought about that. Some say the links between Hamas and Iran increasingly fractured, particularly because of the Hamas's refusal to support the Syrian government during the civil war -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: All right. Nick, thank you very much.

President Obama won the popular vote on Election Day, but in King County, Texas, only 3 percent of the county voted for Obama.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you could tell Barack Obama to do one thing, what would you tell him?




MALVEAUX: What is up with King County, Texas?


MALVEAUX: 270 is the magic number for the number of electoral votes it takes to win the White House. Take a look at how the states voted to keep President Obama for a second term. The south, little help to the president.

Gary Tuchman went to visit the county that gave the lowest voter percentage to the president to see what they had to say after their votes were counted.


TUCHMAN: What do you think of Barack Obama's first term?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ain't worth a damn. No good at all. Don't agree with anything he done.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): It's a sentiment that was also common here during President Obama's first run for president. Here in rural King County, Texas, only 4.9 percent of voters chose Obama in 2008. In 2012, it's even lower, the lowest for any county in the country.

(on camera): If you could tell Barack Obama to do one thing, what would you tell him?



TUCHMAN: What advice would you give for a second term?


TUCHMAN: King County is not only the home to Barack Obama's lowest vote percentage, it's also the county where he received the lowest total number of votes. Nationwide the president tallied more than 62 million votes, but here in this county he received five votes. That's right. Just five votes.

(voice-over): King County's population is small, but Mitt Romney winning 139-5 made this the president's worst showing in the U.S.



TUCHMAN: We went to the girl's basketball game at Guthrie High School in the county seat to ask Mitt Romney voters why there was such distaste with Barack Obama's presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he sounded more like a dictator than a president.

TUCHMAN: We went to the local Baptist church, to a monthly women's club meeting and heard similar sentiments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just blames it on Bush. Well, it's the last administration. It's not his fault. Well, now it is his fault.

TUCHMAN: In 2009, just after President Obama was inaugurated, we also spent time in King County. And we met Charlotte McCauley who told us --

CHARLOTTE MCCAULEY, KING COUNTY, TEXAS RESIDENT: I just asked God that he would help him truly connect with him so that he would know what God's heart was for the United States of America.

TUCHMAN: And this is Charlotte today at the women's club meeting.

(on camera): You told us four years ago that you hoped the lord would help Barack Obama.


TUCHMAN: Do you think that happened?

MCCAULEY: It doesn't appear so.

TUCHMAN: And then there was something --


MALVEAUX: All right. That's very interesting, the whole aspect of that, Gary. Very fascinating story.

So have they ever given a Democrat a chance there in terms of voting in support, or is this something that is specific to President Obama?

TUCHMAN: Well, this is really interesting. In King County, even today, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans. But a Democrat in rural Texas is a lot different than a Democrat in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or even Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio. But back in 1968, back in 1968, Hubert Humphrey won the presidential vote in King County. Richard Nixon came in third place. George Wallace came in second place. And back in 1964, when Texas resident, Lyndon Baines Johnson ran for president, he got 85 percent of the voting against Barry Goldwater. They have voted for Democrats before. But certainly not this time, or four year ago. That's for sure.

MALVEAUX: So you talked to a lot of the people, and they don't really seem to be looking forward in terms of giving him another shot. Is that your sense of talking to these folks that they're simply resigned or resentful?

TUCHMAN: I guess the best thing I can tell you, these are nice hard- working people that live in King County, Texas. But they're not giving any ground when comes to Barack Obama. Four years ago they were saying, you know what, we don't like him, but we'll see how he does in his presidency. This time, there didn't seem to be any flexibility at all.

MALVEAUX: Talk a bit about some of the communities. I know Philadelphia and some other areas where it went overwhelmingly for Obama. It was a completely different story.

TUCHMAN: This is interesting. Even in King County, people say why are you here doing this story. Do a story in Philadelphia where Barack Obama and some precincts got 100 percent of the vote. It's true. In some inner city precincts, Philadelphia and in Cleveland, too, he got 100 percent of the vote. In these precincts, they were mostly African-American voters. And the fact is, nationally, Barack Obama got 93 percent of the African-American vote. So it's not statistically impossible, in some urban centers, African-American precincts, that he would get 100 percent of the vote. That's not statistically impossible.

MALVEAUX: All right. We have a coalition of women, young voters, and many other groups as well.

Gary, thank you. Fascinating story.

TUCHMAN: Thanks, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Appreciate it.

This nation that is divided by politics. It's not just today. We're talking about what it looked like 150 years ago. That's right. A look at a new movie, "Lincoln," with Actress Gloria Reuben.


MALVEAUX: A nation divided by politics. We're not talking about today. But it could apply. More than 150 years ago, the battle over slavery that ended in a bloody civil war. Steven Spielberg brings the story to the big screen this weekend with his new movie "Lincoln." The film is based on the book by historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and it stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, and Gloria Reuben as Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd's dressmaker and confidant.

Gloria Reuben is joining us from New York.

Great to see you. Can hardly wait to see the movie. It has gotten rave reviews already. Oscar buzz, I hear.

Tell us a little bit about your character, the woman that you play.

GLORIA REUBEN, ACTRESS: Well, first of all, thanks for having me. It is an extraordinary movie. I can't wait for you to see it.

Elizabeth Keckley was a woman born into slavery. Her biological father was her master. At the age of 14, she was given away as a wedding gift to the eldest legitimate son, and that's how they -- oftentimes, they would keep the slave families integrated with the legitimate family.

She, over the years, garnered the gift of -- and became very talented in the art of dressmaking and design. In her late 30s, she was in St. Louis at the time, and she had a very long list of clientele, politicians' wives and high society women. She bought her own freedom, her and her sons' own freedom. She was rapped for a number of years as a teenager and bore a son. So she buys here and her son's own freedom. Her son goes to University in Ohio. Elizabeth Keckley moves to Washington, D.C., opens up her business there. And shortly thereafter, meets Mary Todd Lincoln and becomes Mary Todd's personal dressmaker and confidante and best friend --

MALVEAUX: We are --

REUBEN: -- through the four years of the Lincoln administration and a few years afterwards.

MALVEAUX: We are looking at the photos there of you in the traditional dress and then the real-life pictures of her, and the resemblance is uncanny.

Explain to us -- it really is an amazing story, an amazing role you play. You wrote an essay about this for the book, written for the movie and you talk a little bit about your own personal experiences and things that you've overcome in your childhood that you can relate to this character. Can you share with us?

REUBEN: Yes. You know, there are some -- obviously I can't even begin to imagine the physical difficulties and the abuse and the beatings, et cetera, that Elizabeth went through. I have no idea what that's like.

But emotionally, I found some parallels with her immediately. A childhood ending very quickly. My father died when I was young. Being kind of a second family so to speak. My family was married prior to marrying my mother. And he had children with his first wife, before she passed, his first wife passed. And we were never, as far as I remember, never really embraced by the first family, so to speak.

I moved out on my own when I was not even 17. And, you know, Elizabeth -- Elizabeth and I -- if I may, she completely created her own life. She was highly independent and fiercely kind of committed to creating a life that she wanted to create for herself and for her son, of course. Really brave, and really just ready and willing to kind of break any boundaries that may have been in front of her.

And so, you know, I think there is a part of me that can definitely relate to those things.

MALVEAUX: Tell us a little bit about the parallels. People have been looking at the movie, the clips from the movie, and they look at today, they look at a divided country. They see a divided country back then and some people make parallels between President Obama and Lincoln. Do you think those are accurate? Did you see anything in the movie and actually being a part of this movie that rang true that is present and current today?

REUBEN: I think a couple of things about this. First of all, yes, President Obama and President Lincoln, both extraordinary leaders, first and foremost. The timing of the film I find really kind of more than serendipitous. Steven wanted to make this film, started about maybe eight or 10 years ago when he started talking about it. Obviously, nobody had any idea at that time that President Obama would become president in 2008.


REUBEN: But the parallels for me, the deeper kind of, again, serendipitous thing are the issues of a country, yes, being politically divided and a time like we hadn't really -- of course, it always divided, but not as intense as it has been or had been over the last four years, politically. Racially, no question. We can -- I think it is important for us to acknowledge certain things that have been repetitive and how we can hopefully move forward with that. And the timing of it being released just as President Obama was re- elected, I think, again, is really kind of -- and I don't use this term lightly -- really kind of divine timing. I think the lessons are here through this beautiful, magical mode of filmmaking for us to take the fundamental issues of this film, see how they relate to our country and today, and maybe we can move past. That's my hope.



That's all of our hope, certainly.


MALVEAUX: We will look for your film. We certainly will anticipate enjoying it.

Thank you very much. Congratulations on that role.

REUBEN: Thank you very much.


Former CIA director, David Petraeus, all tied up in scandal. Well, Stephen Colbert, calling it a soap opera. He'll have all the characters up next.


MALVEAUX: The sex scandal, several serious investigations, but late night TV hosts finding a funny side to the drama.

This is Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE COLBERT REPORT: It is like a steamy episode of "General's Hospital."


These days -- these days, folks, I spend my afternoons, you know, plopped on the couch, in the housecoat, watching CNN with a Virginia Slim in one hand and a box of After Eights in the other.


I don't care if the news goes straight to my hips. It is "me" time.


This story has got everything. A decorated war hero, who is now America's spy master, has an affair with his own sexy biographer, who thinks the spy master is stepping out on her with a second girlfriend, so she sends an e-mail from a secret account saying, step off or I will cut you (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


And the second hotty freaks out and contacts her friend, an FBI agent, who launches an investigation, but gets pulled off the case because he sexed her a shirtless photo.


Meanwhile, the spy master's protege, also a general, has sent thousands of e-mails to the second woman.

This isn't just a love triangle, folks, it's a love Pentagon.


MALVEAUX: Unbelievable.


Comedian Jimmy Kimmel also spoke about the scandal, saying it could inspire a new TV show called "CIA Smackdown," hosted by Jerry Springer and featuring sorted revelations and lots of other fights.

CNN NEWSROOM continues with Don Lemon.

You've just got to shake your head, Don.



MALVEAUX: You can't make it up.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Suzanne.