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Southern Israel on Edge; Israel-Gaza Operation May Expand; Petraeus and the Benghazi Hearings; Romney Won Landslides; Obama's Admiration of Lincoln; Texas Float Accident; Spain Stops Homeowner Evictions; Catholic Bishops Coming to Terms with Election Results; Real Spies vs. James Bond; UFO Over Colorado

Aired November 18, 2012 - 16:00   ET


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. Thank you very much for joining us. I'm Gary Tuchman in for Fredricka Whitfield. It's the top of the hour and these are the stories we are watching in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Ending four days of bloodshed between Israel and Hamas, that is the goal of a new peace initiative underway right now in Egypt. An Egyptian military official says an Israeli special envoy has just arrived there for talks aimed at brokering a cease-fire. But the violence does go on right now and today Israel targeted Hamas government buildings, homes and a media center. Six journalists were injured when that media building was hit twice.

Let's go now to Ashkelon and southern Israeli near the Gaza border. Our Fred Pleitgen has been there all day.

Fred, what's the latest?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's actually an air alarm in a town just a couple of miles away from here apparently right now. We heard some thumping impacts there, just a couple of minutes ago before we went live on the air with this report.

And I can tell you, Gary, that tonight we ourselves have had to take cover twice when there were rockets being fired towards the town of Ashkelon themselves. It really has been quite a busy day, quite an intense day for the people here as well. They have been having to take cover quite a number of times. We've seen, I would say, at least a dozen air alarms. We ourselves had to take cover in hardened shelters at least four times.

Also we were out in an open field and we had to take shelter there several times as well. So it seems as though the rocket barrages are going on probably more intensely even than they were before. Now what the Israelis of course do have is they have this missile interceptor system called the Iron Dome which has been in action throughout the entire day and has been shooting down a lot of rockets.

But what this thing does, the way it works is that it only shoots down rockets that are actually in danger of hitting populated areas. So if you're in a more rural area or in your car somewhere, you don't have a protection. And you could see that the people here know that because once there is an air alarm, people stopped their cars, they get out of their cars, and they just hit the deck, they just hit the grown to make sure they don't catch shrapnel if a rocket hits the ground close to them -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Fred, how are people coping? You've been there a while now. They've had lots of rockets over the past 10 months but obviously the intensity has changed considerably.

How are the people in southern Israel coping with those rocket attack?

PLEITGEN: Well, it's very difficult for them. I mean it is something that really does a lot to curb public life here. If you look at the night life here, if you will, in Ashkelon, which is usually quite intense. I mean it's quite an intense place here usually, the night life. Nothing going on here right now. People are staying inside. People are not going to bars, people are not going outside. People staying indoors as much as possible simply because they know that the threat is so bad.

It usually is worse during the daytime hours than it is at night, and really, if you drive around towns like this, when yes, there is traffic, yes, there are some people out but it's a lot less than it would normally be. And of course, all of this is magnified, it's even worse for young people, for children that live here in Ashkelon. Their parents keep them inside for the better part of the day, the schools are closed here in this area.

And people really -- when they do have to bring their kids out, or move their kids somewhere, go to great pains to make sure that that trip is very quick and that it's planned very carefully. So it is taking a big toll on people.

And of course there is always that psychological moment where you're outside and even when there's no air strike or air raid going on, you're waiting for those sirens to go off again. It is something that is in the back of people's minds all the time. All the more so, of course, in the situation right now where you have this ongoing conflict and there really are rocket barrages that are fired at these places constantly throughout the day.

If you look at the early morning hours, we ourselves woke up this morning to three rockets hitting in Ashkelon and causing substantial damage here -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Fred, thank you very much. That's Fred Pleitgen reporting where it's not just after 11:00 at night in southern Israel.

Now it's time to check in with Ben Wedeman. He's not far away but he's in a much different place in Gaza Strip and Gaza City -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Gary. Yes. Just a few moments ago we heard a really intense and loud roar. That was not incoming, that was an outgoing missile from central Gaza City. Now I've heard a lot of the old homemade rockets being fired from Gaza, seeing them roaring into the sky in the direction of Israel, but this was much louder, much stronger, so clearly it's not one of those homemade variety of weapons.

So -- but in addition to that, we have been hearing a lot of incoming, in fact there was some incoming just after that rocket was fired. But we understand that what we've seen this evening is actually compared to what happens every night fairly normal. It's after midnight, around 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning when the shelling, the bombing, the air raids really intensify -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Ben, there's lots of confusing and complicated facts that come out, or sometimes they're not facts during warfare. One of them is this, Israel is claiming to have killed one of Hamas's chief rocket experts. But Hamas is not confirming his death. What's the confusion there?

WEDEMAN: Well, I may only add to your confusion, Gary, because this man, Yihia Abayah, is somebody that the people in the neighborhood say they've never heard of. It's not a name that's familiar to our sources within Hamas so it's not quite clear, who this man, the Israelis initially had claimed that they had killed in this air strike on the (INAUDIBLE) area north of Gaza City, which also killed 11 other people including women and children.

And we just received a notification from the Israeli army spokesman's office, saying that in fact they're not sure they killed him either. So the situation regarding this individual, whoever he may be is unfortunately no clearer now than it was a few hours ago -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Ben Wedeman, reporting from the Gaza Strip. Ben, thank you very much.

Anderson Cooper is in Gaza City also, Wolf Blitzer is in Jerusalem covering all the breaking developments on this crisis. They'll both join me live with the latest details about an hour from now just after 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

President Obama is monitoring the conflict in the Middle East as he travels through Asia. Today he met with Thailand's king and prime minister. Trade and economy are the main issues of his meetings. But today the president did address the fighting between Israel and Hamas, saying he has talked to leaders in the region.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My message to all of them was that Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory. If that can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that's preferable.


TUCHMAN: Thailand is just the first stop of the president's three- nation tower of Asia. And later today he visits Myanmar. Something no president of the United States has ever done in history. Mr. Obama wraps his tour in Cambodia where he'll attend the East Asia summit.

What did David Petraeus say at the closed door Benghazi hearing and why are Republicans calling the former CIA director's testimony part of a cover-up. We'll have all the details.

And believe it or not, Mitt Romney had several landslides in the final vote count especially in some rural counties. But the anti-Obama sentiment just wasn't enough to seal the deal.


TUCHMAN: Who knew what and when. That's been the focus of the closed door Benghazi hearings in Washington. Everyone was waiting to hear from former CIA director David Petraeus will say, whether he knew of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a terror assault. But Republicans are suggesting his testimony raised more questions than an answer.

Eric Schmidt is a season writer at "The New York Times." He joins me now from New York.

Eric, thanks for joining us.


TUCHMAN: General Petraeus says he made it clear all along that it was an organized terror strike. But Republican Representative Peter King says Petraeus had called it a spontaneous attack earlier. Do we know which version is correct at this point?

SCHMITT: I think actually both versions could be correct. The initial intelligence was it was a spontaneous attack of some kind and General Petraeus has told intelligence committee members that it was carried out by specific groups including fighters from perhaps an al Qaeda affiliate. So I think this morning Senator Dianne Feinstein, who's the head of the intelligence committee in the Senate, said she recalls getting the same briefing about the same time from Petraeus and that she remembers him saying it was a terrorist attack. So I think lawmakers are focusing on different parts of the same briefing.

TUCHMAN: Now Republicans, Eric, are saying they don't buy the suggestion, the protest explanation was to make sure al Qaeda would be unaware of the U.S. intelligence community's suspicions. Are they right about that?

SCHMITT: Well, I think you have to remember the context here. We're talking about just a few days after this attack. There's still a lot of confusion about this and there may have been perhaps an element of undue caution on the part of the intelligence community in not wanting to have the names of the specific group that they suspected were responsible for this.

There are a number of reasons for that. They wouldn't want necessarily to know that they were intercepting their electronic communications. The Justice Department wouldn't want them to know -- it wouldn't want it to be known for reasons that could harm their criminal inquiry. And another reason could be they don't want the information out there because it would create a circular information loop, if you will, and the intelligence community wouldn't know what was the real information that they needed and what was the stuff they'd already put out there.

TUCHMAN: There's a lot of backlash, of course, heard from GOP about Susan Rice's statements, the U.N. ambassador, contradicting that there was any terrorism involved in the attack, and we know President Obama was very angry, feeling she was made a scapegoat. But it seems like her statement has certainly made the situation more volatile and worse whether she was given bad information or not, right?

SCHMITT: Well, certainly, I think what it exposed was the difference between a much more detailed and specific explanation that members of the intelligence committees received as Mr. King and Miss Feinstein received, and what they determined later would be subject for public consumption, this kind of watered down version where they changed the names of these various extremist groups including the al Qaeda affiliate North Africa and change it to a more generic determine of extremists.

Again this was the reason they didn't want to perhaps tip-off the insurgents that they were on to them and so they came up an explanation that the public that could be fed by the lawmakers could be presented to the public and Susan Rice has said this is what she used. This is what she felt she was cleared to use when she spoke on those five television shows just a few days after the initial attack.

TUCHMAN: Now there are some Republicans who are calling this a Watergate-like cover-up, accusing White House aides of hiding the terrorism link in the run-up to the presidential election. Eric, it seems like someone removed the terror link from the talking points that were initially handed out. Do we know, A, if that happen, and if it did happen, who did it and why?

SCHMITT: Well, again, this is one of the questions that's still remain, Gary, is how in this process of removing the specific names of these extremist groups including al Qaeda affiliate, a local Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia, what -- was there any one individual or one agency that did this? This went through an interagency process in Washington. It had to be signed off by members of the intelligence community, as well as the White House, members of the NSC.

I talked to people at the White House on Friday. They said the only words they changed along with the State Department was changing the words to diplomatic facility in the -- from the mission. And so they had nothing to do with the intelligence assessment at all. So it still is somewhat of a question of exactly where in this process the names of these specific groups were changed into more generic reference of extremists.

TUCHMAN: Eric, we do want to make it clear. We want to be transparent that you're a senior writer at the "New York Times," but not in New York City, that skyline behind you is California Mountain View, California.

Eric Schmitt, thanks for joining us. It sounds like you were in that closed door meeting, we know you weren't, but you're full of good information. Thank you for joining us.

SCHMITT: Thank you, Gary.

TUCHMAN: Well, there was a story that went unreported on election night. Mitt Romney's landslide. He actually had many of them across the country in his loss to Barack Obama. We went to King County, Texas, where Barack Obama suffered his biggest shellacking. You might be surprised to hear what voters there had to say.


TUCHMAN (on camera): What do you think of Barack Obama's first term?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ain't worth a damn. I 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. It's 2012 it's even lower, just 3.4 percent, 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 give him 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 to five, made this the president's worst showing in the U.S.

We went to the girl's basketball game at Guthrie High School in the county's seat. I asked 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: Any time anything goes wrong, he just blames it on Bush, you know, it's the last administration, it wasn't his fault, well now it is his fault.

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

CHARLOTTE MCCAULEY, KING COUNTY, TEXAS RESIDENT: I just ask God that he would -- 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 (voice-over): And then there was something we've heard before.

(On camera): What bothers you the most about what he did during his first term? What are some of the things that bother you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not being honest with us about where he was born and just this different things like that. To me he just seems dishonest.

TUCHMAN: But he says he was born in Hawaii and he's kind of said that for a long time. And I'm wondering if you've heard that and if you have, why don't you believe that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't believe anything he says.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There are certainly people in King County who still don't believe the president about the country of his birth and they also question his faith. President Obama is a practicing Christian but here doubts persist.

(On camera): What do you think Barack Obama is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think he's a Muslim. But you know -- and of course that reflects in my decision on whether to vote for him or not.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Back at the basketball game, it was notable that there were more people working in the concession stand than people in the county who voted for Obama. We tried to find at least one of those five Obama voters in the game and we did. But all we can tell you is that the Obama voter is indeed somewhere in this wide shot of the crowd. He did not feel comfortable going public with his decision to vote for the man who at least here is the most unpopular president.


TUCHMAN: King County, Texas, is not alone. To be sure there were scores of other counties that gave the president only single-digit support. And on the flipside, President Obama had his share of counties where he overwhelmingly defeated Mitt Romney. But of all the counties in this great land, King County, Texas, did have the largest deferential.

Now speaking of President Obama, some have compared him to President Abraham Lincoln. Both Illinois politicians and leading a divided country at a critical time. But is the comparison real? Or just a lot of hype with the new film "Lincoln" in theaters?


TUCHMAN: Polarization and bitter fighting among America's political leaders. You think we're talking about present day Washington, but it's the same story back when Abraham Lincoln was president of this nation. And now the comparison seems even more timely because the new Steven Spielberg movie, "Lincoln," just to theaters.

Allan Lichtman is a distinguished professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C.

Professor Lichtman, thanks for joining us.


TUCHMAN: There's a lot of talk these days about gridlock in the political system. So how much does Obama's America mirror Lincoln's and how much worse was it for Lincoln?

LICHTMAN: It was so much worst for Abraham Lincoln. The country was falling apart, and fell apart under Abraham Lincoln. First in the 1850s, the issue of slavery shattered his own party, which was the Whig Party. And out of those ashes there arose the Republican Party. Then in the election of 1860, the Democratic Party divided over slavery, and that elected Abraham Lincoln with just 40 percent of the popular vote.

Then even before Lincoln was even inaugurated, southern states began to remove themselves from the union. Things were so tense, he had to be snuck into Washington under the cover of darkness.

TUCHMAN: Professor Lichtman makes it sounds like 2012 Washington, D.C. is a piece of cake after you just said what you said. Now we know that when he took the oath of office, President Obama used the Lincoln bible. What does President Obama admire about fellow Illinois President Abraham Lincoln?

LICHTMAN: Well, I think there's a lot that Barack Obama could learn from Abraham Lincoln and so could every politician today. Let me start with my favorite lesson, and that is, take the pollsters, the hucksters, the handlers, and the ad men and fire every one of them.

If we had those guys around when Abraham Lincoln was president, and I know this is hyperbole, we'd still have slavery today because Abraham Lincoln had to act on principle in a way that no pollster or no advisor would ever have suggested because they're always bringing you down to the lowest common denominator and telling you, don't be bold, don't take risks.

Yet that is exactly the greatness of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln also grew and developed on the job. He didn't come in as an abolitionist. He in fact wanted to save the union, slavery was secondary. But he came to understand how the two were intimately tied together. And there could be no future for the country without paying the price for the sin of slavery. And that was the great message of his second inaugural address.

Abraham Lincoln also had great empathy for people. You know, he went out front time and again and met with the troops. He had an open White House. Ordinary people could come see Lincoln, he wasn't in the bubble. And of course he had an open inquiring mind and a great depth of knowledge.

Those are things that tend to be lost in today's politics. And I think if we look back to Lincoln in those ways we could be enriched.

TUCHMAN: You know, Professor, you bring up such an important point that we tend to forget, that Abraham Lincoln changed so much from when he ran for president, became president, and by the end of his term, on his last day in Ford's Theater, he transitioned, he metamorphisized. And a question I want to ask you about Barack Obama regarding Abe Lincoln, as his second term starts in January, what do you think Barack Obama can do to be more, quote-unquote, Lincolnesque?

LICHTMAN: I think there was a lot that you can do. You know, he was Lincolnesque in a sense in his first term with his health care. Nobody thought that was going into effect and he defied everyone. He's got to pick a couple of truly big historic issues and bring the American people along with him and act boldly. One of them could be climate change.

You know, at the very end with Hurricane Sandy, all of a sudden that became an issue. It could be the greatest challenge facing humanity and we so to speak had our heads in the muck for the past 12 years about that.

Another great issue of course could be the enormous lack of equality of income in America where the very rich control such an enormous part of our income and wealth. You can't have a thriving democracy with that kind of inequality. Imagine addressing issues of that magnitude in the second term.

TUCHMAN: Final question for you, Professor. What do you think Abe Lincoln would have thought of Barack Obama?

LICHTMAN: I think Abe Lincoln would have been so proud of Barack Obama. Who would have imagined back then that America would have an African-American president? Who would have imagined 10 years ago that Americans would have an African-American president?

I think Lincoln would look at Barack Obama as a result of the events that he put into motion with freeing of the slaves. And at least the beginnings, it took a very long time, of a society where you were judged, to quote Martin Luther King, by the content of your character, not by the color of your skin.

And I think he would urge Barack Obama in his second term not to listening to the small voices, but to think big and bold and to be enriched by the great lessons of history.

TUCHMAN: Professor Allan Lichtman from American University, you brought Abraham Lincoln to life today. Thank you very much for joining us.

LICHTMAN: Thank you, Gary. My great pleasure.

TUCHMAN: It's a big day in the Lone Star state today, we'll tell you why there are a lot of Formula One cars lined up on an Austin, Texas, track.

And take a look at this. Do you believe in UFOs? You might after this.


TUCHMAN: Now an update on that awful crash that killed four veterans in Texas. Federal officials say video footage shows the truck carrying the veterans tried to cross the rail tracks when the warning lights were indeed on. A vigil was held last night where those killed when the train slammed into the truck. Investigators are trying to determine who is responsible for the crash.

Rescue crews have found a man's body in the Gulf of Mexico they believe he is one of the two crewmembers missing after an explosion on an oil platform. At least 11 other people were injured in the blast. The body has not been identified.

Brand new images, information and tweets are coming in virtually nonstop on both sides of the Gaza conflict. And our Josh Levs of the CNN International desk is following up on all the latest.

Josh what do you see?

JOSH LEVS, CNN INTERNATIONAL DESK: Hey Gary. Through out the day the team here and really through out the CNN newsroom that I'm in right now has been looking at all sorts of video images, facts, absolutely to get you caught up to speed on everything that is going on in both sides of this conflict. I want to get right to this first video, this is one video, some of our latest video from Gaza that shows a media center, and this is an area that was struck by Israel. And what we're seeing now is some of the video inside that facility, bringing you details about this facility throughout the day, Israel says it was struck because of the target was militants used that building. This is what it looks like now. Now here is a new video from tonight from Israel. Take a look at this next video here.

(Speaking in native language)

LEVS: This is from Israel's channel 2 as we watch I want to tell you what we are seeing here. This is the iron dome interceptor system having shot down two incoming rockets from Gaza on Sunday evening, this evening, there's no casualties or damage reported from this one. A policeman says Hamas has claimed responsibility for firing at the city. This was the second strike on that area, the commercial capital on Sunday.

The earlier attack, one person was actually hurt by falling debris from a rocket that was intercepted. That's what we're seeing from the iron dome. I want to take you over here to my computer. Take a look at what I got going here, I pulled up I want to start with some of our photos here. Because this tells a story, we're seeing pretty powerful images of young people. This right here is from the Gaza side, we see kids going through an area that was hit. Look at this from the Israeli side now some kids taking cover near an area in Tel Aviv, when the rockets sounded the alarm. These pictures are really striking, because if you look at them they are reminders that even in conflict, children are children, sometimes you see a smile. Kids by nature sneak out too. We have some other photos as well, they're all at Coming up later we'll be talking to you about the twitter war between the two sides of the latest photos and videos.

TUCHMAN: Josh Levs, thank you very much.

LEVS: You got it.

TUCHMAN: Let's take a look now at some stories. In Spain the government puts a two-year suspension on evictions of foreclosed home owners. This came less than a week after a Spanish woman facing eviction took her life. In Spain some people could end up paying for their homes even if they're foreclosed on.

And have a look at this, a huge eruption of plasma on the subsurface, those images captured by NASA. The effects of the eruption aren't expected to be felt here on earth through out the day.

An appearance last night on "Saturday Night Live" by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is all over the internet today and here's why.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I also would not like to thank the following, I do not thank any of the stupid mayors who ignored my evacuation orders, they're idiots, and when you ignore me, it makes you look like a real Seth Meyers. I would also like to thank the reporters who put themselves in danger by walking into the middle of the hurricane with their cameras. We don't need you to tell us there's a hurricane we have windows. And finally I don't want to thank the people who are getting into screaming matches at gas stations over the long lines, look I get it, screaming at people at gas stations is a New Jersey tradition, but don't do it during a crisis.


TUCHMAN: Well is it time for U.S. Catholic bishops to change their message? Election Day losses and same sex marriage have some questioning the future of influence of church leaders.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TUCHMAN: Catholic bishops here in the U.S. are trying to come to terms with the election results. Same sex marriage in three states, a reelected president to support re conception and reproductive choice. After those big losses in the voting booth, church leaders are trying to figure out how they can use their influence moving forward.

CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen joins us from Denver. He is a prominent scholar and author, I've read two of his books and I have learned so much about the church from his work. John thank you very much for joining us.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Hey Gary. Glad to be with you.

TUCHMAN: Bishops from across the United States met in Baltimore this week. As to a reaction to the election results here in the United States.

ALLEN: Well first of all Gary they did have one thing to celebrate. They defeated a physician assisted suicide referendum in Massachusetts. And I think there were a couple of things about that struck them as very interesting. One is that even though Cardinal Shaun O'Malley in Boston the other Massachusetts bishops ringleaders to the opposition, they made this strategic choice to stay in the background and let others carry the public argument.

The other is that they hired a P.R. firm stuffed with Joe Biden people to do the messaging and that apparently did have some impact in reaching out to the undecideds. So I think a lot bishops felt there was some lessons to learn from them. But in general, of course you are right; they did take it on the chin, particularly in the same-sex marriage issue. And there I think there is a division among the bishops. There is some who think if they just hunker down and fight harder, they can win. Others think that doing the same things over again and expecting a different result the very definition of madness then therefore are open to a sort of new way to make these arguments. I think it's just too early to know how that's going to play out.

TUCHMAN: You just said a PR firm that worked with Joe Biden, how influential and how important is that?

ALLEN: Well I think most people that watched that race say it was critical. I mean they produced a series and very slick TV spots that all the polling would suggest and had a great deal of impact in terms of swaying and it was a very close race, but swayed it the bishop's way. And I think a lot of bishops think that might tell them something about being willing to work with people who aren't necessarily with them on everything, but nevertheless can help them on specific issues.

TUCHMAN: How active do you think church leaders in the United States will be for the next four years in the second term of the Obama presidency?

ALLEN: Well look Gary, I mean in the message of congratulations, the Cardinal Tim Dolan of New York, who is the president of the Bishops Conference sent to President Obama, of course he wished Obama well. But he also indicated and just to make sure that he didn't miss the point, he put this in a tel aches. That the bishops are going to not act down on fighting with the immersive to serious threats to religious liberty in the United States. That the most prominent example of course being the contraception mandates from the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the health care package. I think all signals are from the bishops that they don't feel that they're prepared to roll over on any of those church-state battles.

TUCHMAN: What do church leaders need to do John to reconnect with Catholics who disagree with them on this issue?

ALLEN: Well look Gary I think if you can kind of sift through the exit polls from 2012 the thing about the Catholic vote that just jumps up and smacks you in the face is the stark difference between white Catholics and Latino Catholics. White Catholics broke 59-40 for Romney. Obama actually lost 7 points among white Catholics this compared to 2008 which suggests that the concerns the bishops have raised made some difference with that group.

But Latino Catholics, now are almost a third of the 65 million Catholics in America, there could be half by mid century. Neighbor of 75-25 for Obama, Obama actually picked up three points with that group. So if the bishops can't persuade more Latino Catholics to bring some of their concerns into the voting booth. Gary they are going to be perpetually be facing fourth and long in terms of trying to move the ball on things they care about.

TUCHMAN: A football metaphor. John Allen, a Vatican expert analyst. John thanks very much for joining us.

ALLEN: You are welcome.

TUCHMAN: You can see more about the Catholic churches response to its recent set backs on out "Belief Blog" at

Actor Daniel Craig makes Venus spy look like a pretty cool job. So we wanted to know how much of 007's work is real and what's a myth.

And fast cars are whizzing around a racetrack in Texas, we'll tell you why that's got Formula One fans so excited.


TUCHMAN: The stunts, the cool gadgets, the intrigue. Never a dull moment if you're a James Bond. But how do the lives of real spies compare to 007's. CNN intelligence correspondence Suzanne Kelley gets the intel.


SUZANNE KELLEY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sky fall delivers the heart dumping scenes you would expect from Bond. But how many men Bond's age can follow a car chase with a fistfight, on top of a moving train, ducking though tunnels, only to be shot and fall to what appears to be a certain death. Marty Martin and Robert Grenier are both former CIA spies, both served in dangerous posts, places where it would have been certain death if they had been discovered. CNN got both men to talk and help us bust some of the myths of Bond.

Bond myth number one, spies have superhuman abilities.

MARTY MARTIN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: False, I wish we did but often times all it takes is a jump off a 8 foot wall and the next thing you know you are limping and seeing a doctor for a operation.

KELLEY: Bond myth number two, style is a spy's best weapon.

ROBERT GRENIER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: It can be and it may not necessarily conform to other people's sense of style. You have to know how to wear a sell orphanage (ph) if you are going to be meeting with Afghan elders in Kondahart. The clothes tribal leaders. You are dressing a little bit different way, you would have a different sense of style in you were in Port a King Abraco (ph).

KELLEY: Bond myth number three, it's easier to work alone.

GRENIER: To the extent that you can limit the point of failure, the better off you are. But in the last ten years or so, when you're working disproportionately in war zones casual items we have had to work as teams.

KELLEY: Bond myth number four, breaking the rules makes you bad.

MARTIN: Sometimes down the range you have to break the rules.

GRENIER: And there were times in order to accomplish the mission in the right way, you've got to be willing to break the rules and that gets dodgy in a world that is more and more controlled by lawyers.

KELLEY: I have never seen James Bond stop in the middle of a mission to call a lawyer.

MARTIN: He doesn't have to worry about that. Often times when you're down range, you do what you think is best and then after the fact you know you're going to have to answer for that you second guessed all the way through after the fact.

KELLEY: Bond myth number five, technology always makes the job easier.

MARTIN: With the whole google biometrics, tracking, it's going to be real tough to be a different person all the time and not get called out on it.

KELLEY: Bond myth number six, sophisticated drinks and theme songs make you cooler. OK this on is tough to argue with.

GRENIER: It's either going to be the Rolling Stones or its going to be Frank Sinatra lounge music.

KELLEY: Not Justin Bieber?

GRENIER: Probably not Justin Bieber.

MARTIN: I'll ask you, drink four martinis and tell me how coherent you'll be.

KELLEY: And that's the real intel into the life of a real spy. Suzanne Kelly, CNN, Washington.

TUCHMAN: Thank you Suzanne.

The beloved Twinkie after 82 years could become a foreign import. As you may have already heard, Hostess plans of shutting down the company and won't be making many more of the products. The Twinkie may survive from a Mexican company has its way. A company called Norfo (ph) Bimbo that is the real name. It is the world's largest bread baking firm which owns parts of Sara Lee is possibly vying to make a bid to buyout Hostess.

For the Formula 1 fans, they are focusing their sights on the United States. McClain's Lewis Hamilton is Formula 1's first winner at the brand-new Circuit of the Emeritus. The state capital of Texas. For those who have a need for speed our Rob Marciano found out what it is like to drive one of those cars.


ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the brand new $400 million circuit of the Americas, Formula 1, and its back in the states. This is the approach to turn one, it's a 133-foot climb up that hill followed by 20 sweeping high speed turns, and this track promises to be like no other. And I'm about to get the feel of what it's like.

As someone who's never been in one of these cars, what is going to feel like?

JEROME D'AMBROSIO, LOFTUS RESERVE DRIVER: Obviously if you can manage that in the corner you want to try to keep feeling the car, you don't want to let your body go and everything. So you probably have to hold your neck.

MARCIANO: Whoa, that's a tight fit.


D'AMBROSIO: I'm here to tell you, I'm pretty nervous, but in a good way. It would be very late breaking. They call it the direction high speed. For me it looks like a bit of corners that I wouldn't enjoy to guys in a Formula 1 car. In this type of formula where you get the most out of an F-1 car. We're going along straight and hairpins and that's definitely a great opportunity for banking. It's definitely very special.

MARCIANO: Oh, that was amazing. That was so much more than I expected. You're whipping around these turns and at times the car sliding out from under us. But a skilled driver, he corrects and moves on. It's unlike anything I have experienced.


TUCHMAN: Let's put it this way, Rob was not kicking and screaming when he got that assignment.

Something strange has been spotted over the skies in Denver. No one seems to know what it is. But has everyone in the mile high city talking three letters.


TUCHMAN: It's a mile high mystery in the skies over Denver, Colorado. Take a look at this, a strange object; these are true pictures, flying over the city. Nobody can explain exactly what it is. A local resident shot this video from a hill top north of Denver. He says the fascinating object appears around noon a few days a week. So not just one time. So what do the experts say?

STEVE COWELL, AVIATION EXPERT: This is not air plane that is not a helicopter, those are not birds. I can't identify it. Perhaps there's some sort of debris that's being raised up by some of the atmospheric winds. As it fits the definition, it's an unidentified flying object.

TUCHMAN: OK so if they're aliens the offer still stands, come down to earth and have a press conference so we can interview you.

We have a lot more coming up next with Wolf Blitzer live and Anderson Cooper live Gaza. The latest developments in the Middle East.

And this year the black Friday shopping frenzy comes with a hitch. We have got the details.