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Trump Considers Presidential Run; Allegations Heat Up California Governor's Race; Lions in Ukraine Attack Trainer; FOX Falls for Fake Jet Pack Story

Aired October 5, 2010 - 18:00   ET



Happening now: chilling words as the man who tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square is sentenced. Details of his defiant message to Americans.

Unusual words from a Republican Senate candidate trying to reassure voters she's not a witch.

Plus, the fake story that fooled FOX News.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

He's revered by many conservatives and reviled by many liberals, but as the architect of two successful presidential campaigns, Karl Rove is undeniably a political force to be reckoned with. Now his efforts to influence this election are coming under fire with a demand for an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.

CNN's Brian Todd has got the details for us.

Brian, what is going on?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Karl Rove is certainly back as a major political player.

A group created under his direction says it is hoping to raise $50 million this year, and is already spending many millions on ad buys in several Senate campaigns. One question, is all that money tilting the playing field toward the Republicans? Another question raised by an organization challenging Rove, is it legal?


TODD (voice-over): Karl Rove, Republican campaign mastermind, under fire. A group started under his direction now accused of breaking U.S. tax laws for producing ads like this, a fake movie-style promo targeting Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan of Missouri.

NARRATOR: Robin Carnahan, co-starring in an Obama-Pelosi production winner best fiction for saying her opponent received the most from lobbyists. TODD: Rove's group Crossroads GPS is spending tens of millions of dollars on ads just like this. Now two organizations led by Fred Wertheimer's Democracy 21 have written a letter to the IRS asking for an investigation into whether Crossroads GPS is abusing its tax-exempt status by voicing criticism of candidates, while letting its donors remain anonymous.

(on camera): Do you think this organization was created specifically to fly under the radar of these campaign finance rules?

FRED WERTHEIMER, PRESIDENT, DEMOCRACY 21: That certainly is every indication. The organization was created by some of the leading Republican operatives in the country. It is headed by former Republican operatives, self-defined by their chairman as an organization that is going to plow millions of dollars into Senate races and set up in order to avoid disclosing their donors.

TODD (voice-over): Jonathan Collegio is a spokesman for Crossroads GPS.

(on camera): What do you make of the allegations and the letter to the IRS?

JONATHAN COLLEGIO, CROSSROADS GPS: Well, this is a baseless complaint by a partisan organization that files complaints like this for its very living. We know what the laws are regarding 501(c)(4) organizations. They're the same laws that apply to center-left groups like the Center for American Progress, League of Conservation Voters,, Political Action Fund.

We all operate under the same framework of laws. We follow those laws very, very carefully.


TODD: Wertheimer denies Collegio's allegation that Democracy 21 is partisan. We contacted the IRS to see if the agency is going to investigate Rove's groups An IRS spokeswoman said under their disclosure laws, they can't comment on any specific taxpayer case or allegation -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Are the IRS rules clear-cut when it comes to organizations like Rove's and how they can spend money?

TODD: Not really. The IRS rules say that groups like Crossroads GPS can intervene in campaigns -- and here is the wording -- as long as the primary purpose is the promotion of social welfare.

But the line between promoting social welfare and attacking candidates is not very clear and the IRS has not quite articulated it yet, but cases like this may force it to.

BLITZER: We will see what the IRS does. Thanks very much.

TODD: Right. BLITZER: An ominous and defiant warning from the man who tried to blow up a massive car bomb in Times Square. Even as he was being sentenced to life in prison, he said, and I'm quoting him now: "Brace yourself. The war with Muslims has just begun."

CNN's Deborah Feyerick is in New York. She's got the details.

Did Faisal Shahzad show any remorse at all, Deb?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, none, Wolf. And that is what so interesting.

He remained completely defiant. He justified his attempt to kill dozens of people with a car bomb in Times Square saying that Muslims have a right to defend themselves and their lands. Now, as the judge sentenced him to spend the rest of his life in prison, Shahzad pointed to the ceiling and quietly exclaimed in Arabic, God is great, Allahu Akbar.

He called himself a soldier. The U.S. attorney overseeing the case called him a remorseless terrorist.


PREET BHARARA, U.S. ATTORNEY: He is no longer a threat. The ongoing and important challenge for all of us is to make sure we get the next Shahzad before he does us real harm.


FEYERICK: Now, Federal Judge Miriam Cedarbaum said Shahzad showed no remorse, rather, given the chance, would likely do this again and that contrary to the oath he took when he became a U.S. citizen last year -- quote -- "His desire is not to defend Americans, but to kill them."

Shahzad came prepared with really what amounts to a political statement warning -- quote -- "Brace yourself. The war with Muslims has just begun."

He also urged the court to embrace Islam and become Muslim, saying the defeat of the U.S. is imminent. Now, Shahzad was handcuffed led away. The judge telling him -- quote -- "I hope you will spend time in prison thinking of whether the Koran wants you to kill people."

Rather than shy away, he replied -- quote -- "The Koran gives us the right to defend ourselves."

Shahzad very defiant, Wolf, and unfazed as he prepares to spend the rest of his life in a tiny cell in a high security prison -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You were in the courtroom, Deb. Describe the atmosphere. Describe what you saw.

FEYERICK: What I was so sort of intrigued by was his absolute conviction that what he had done had a justifiable reason. He never wavered from his political statement. He never said he was sorry. In fact, he really seemed for lack of a better word, brainwashed into believing this and nothing else.

Even when the judge tried to challenge him on a couple of key points, he simply stuck to what it is he wanted to say and continued on, so very focused, very almost single-minded.

BLITZER: He is going to have the rest of his life to think about it in a U.S. prison.

All right, thanks very much, Deb, for that.

Nine children have been killed in back-to-back explosions that rocked a residential area of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. The first blast was a roadside bomb that struck a police vehicle. The second explosion went off as crowds gathered at the scene.

A major change tonight in the way the government rates car safety and it's making it a lot harder for cars to get the top seal of approval.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is joining us now to explain how these new tests actually work -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you are in the market for a new vehicle and safety is a factor for you, the government is touting a new and improved safety rating system.


MESERVE (voice-over): New slam-bam crash tests are being incorporated with the old to give consumers for the first time an overall vehicle safety score.

RAY LAHOOD, U.S. SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: I am pleased to announce that we are raising the bar on safety.

MESERVE: The new testing incorporates data on side pole crashes as well as front impact crashes and rollover resistance. For the first time female as well as male crash test dummies are being used to learn how people of different sizes are hurt in a crash and new data is being collected about head, chest, neck and leg injuries.

JACK GILLIS, AUTHOR, "THE CAR BOOK": This is a giant step forward for car buyers. They are going to be able to easily assess a broad array of safety performance features in cars with just one rating and it puts a lot of pressure on the manufacturers to improve their performance.

MESERVE: Of the 33 cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks tested so far, only two earned the highest five-star rating, the 20111 BMW 5 Series and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

The lowest rating thus far, the Nissan Versa with two stars. Nissan says the car has performed well in real-world crashes, but it will study the test results and take appropriate action.

More than 30 years of vehicle testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has had an impact on car design and crash outcomes. According to the Department of Transportation, the auto fatality rate hit an all-time low in 2008 and it is projected to drop even further when data for 2009 is available.


MESERVE: The new crash safety ratings can be found on the DOT Web site, but beginning in 2012, it will be on the sticker of every new car -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Jeanne, thanks very much.

One of the world's richest men, one of the top two or three in the United States is speaking to CNN's Poppy Harlow about tax cuts. It is a huge debate.

Poppy of is here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Warren Buffett, the oracle of Omaha, you had a chance to sit down with him, and he says, raise my taxes, in terms of his taxes, right?


It was an interesting, wide-ranging conversation about the economy, where we are in recovery. According to Warren Buffett, this recession is nowhere near over, but he did say something he's never said before, Wolf. He's also said raise taxes on wealthy people like me. What he has not said until today is lower taxes even more for the middle class, those not making as much in this country, a controversial statement at this time politically.

Take a listen to Warren Buffett.


WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: I think we should raise taxes on the very rich, and I think maybe we should cut taxes for the middle class, upper middle class, lower middle class.

HARLOW: Cut them more than the Bush tax cuts?

BUFFETT: It could well be. I believe that in terms of the -- we're taking in about 15 and a fraction percent of GDP in income in the United States. That isn't enough.

We're going to have to get more money from somebody. Now, the question is, do we get more money from the person that's going to serve me lunch today, or do we get it from me? I think we should get it from me.


HARLOW: Very interesting, of course, a very outspoken supporter of President Barack Obama, Wolf.

And what we talked about after that, I said, yes, but is it politically viable for the president to cut taxes even more for the middle class, the upper middle class? He said, you know, that is a political issue, something Warren Buffett does not have to worry about, but interesting that weighed in on this.

BLITZER: And more of the interview on

HARLOW: Absolutely.

BLITZER: We will go there.

Poppy, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is also taking a look at economic signs.

Jack is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: How about this for an idea? Why doesn't the government stop spending so much money? Then maybe they would not need to take in as much money. Just a thought.

Another sign of how the troubled economy is forcing Americans to make tough choices.

This is a little scary. There's a new study that shows almost one-fourth of parents plan to raid their own retirement accounts in order to pay for their kids' college education.

It's a Sallie Mae survey done by Gallup. It shows 24 percent of parents say they plan to save for college by dipping into accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs and pension plans, 24 percent. This is the money that people supposedly have set aside for their golden years.

Experts call the trend disturbing and a desperation move. And it can be risky. That's because there are tax penalties and other fees if you withdraw money from these accounts early. And there also are restrictions on how quickly you have the pay back money that you borrow from a retirement plan.

Financial experts point out that there are other options, like 529 college savings plans, that can be used tax-free to pay for the youngster's education when he turns college age.

Nevertheless, a survey finds that despite the shaky economy, education is still a top priority for Americans. Sixty percent of parents say they're saving for their kid's college education. And by the time their children are ready for college, most parents say they will have saved close to $50,000.

The most common way parents say they're saving for college, C.D.s or saving accounts, which earn precious little interest these days. Those are followed by investments like stocks, mutual funds and money market accounts.

Here's the question then: What does it mean if one-fourth of parents plan to use their retirement money to pay for their kids' college tuition?

Go to Post a comment on my blog.

BLITZER: It means we are all in trouble, Jack, because that is not a good statistic by any account.

CAFFERTY: Frightening.

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty will be back.

Thank you.

A celebrity billionaire is eying the Oval Office -- details of what Donald Trump is saying right now.

Also, a controversial Tea Party-backed releases an unusual ad telling voters -- and I'm quoting her now -- "I am not a witch. I'm you."

And lions turn on their trainer, attacking him in front of a horrified audience. We have the video captured by a CNN iReporter.


BLITZER: It certainly helped stoke the flames of anger that led to rise of the Tea Party movement, but it is not just conservatives who consider TARP a four-letter word.

The massive financial bailout is hugely unpopular across the political spectrum, but now a new government report says, despite the loathing, TARP has been -- get this -- highly, highly successful for American taxpayers.

CNN's Mary Snow is in New York with a TARP reality check.

What are you finding out, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this program expired two days ago and now the Treasury Department is out with its assessment report.

Bottom line, Treasury says the cost to taxpayers will be a fraction of what was originally expected, but it warns the economy still has a long way to go before returning to normal.


SNOW (voice-over): Touted as the potential savior for the U.S. financial system, bailouts were soon to become the villain. Two years ago Congress authorized $700 billion for TARP, shorthand for the Troubled Asset Relief Program for banks and financial institutions. It is a program so hated some politicians paid a price for supporting it. It cost Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett his party's nomination in his reelection bid -- 61 percent of Americans disapproved of bailouts, according to a Gallup/"USA Today" poll.

But despite its unpopularity, the Treasury Department is claiming success for TARP, which expired this week. Treasury says the price tag will be far less than $700 billion, actually closer to $50 billion, even $30 billion after selling off a stake in AIG.

Herbert Allison, who recently stepped down as the Treasury Department assistant secretary for financial stability, oversaw TARP.

HERBERT ALLISON, FORMER ASSISTANT TREASURY SECRETARY FOR FINANCIAL STABILITY: I think that the taxpayers can get comfort from the fact that a program that was literally hated and is still very much disliked by most people among the public, for understandable reasons, is going to turn out to be a lot less costly than was feared.

SNOW: Allison credits a combination of factors, including the stabilization of markets and stimulus money, and he says making money from AIG is not out of the question.

ALLISON: We expect to possibly make a profit on AIG.

SNOW (on camera): A profit?

ALLISON: A profit. It is quite possible. And, you know, as we see it today, this is a different company with much better prospects than it had. And it has shed the huge risks for instance in its financial products department that it had a year-and-a-half ago or so.

SNOW (voice-over): While many economists believe TARP was necessary to keep the financial system from collapsing, not all believe the money was used properly.

Economist Peter Morici, for one, is not claiming victory.

PETER MORICI, ECONOMIST, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Ten percent of the 8,000 regional banks are on the FDIC watch list -- 270 or so have failed. Many of the regional banks upon which small businesses rely can't make loans. The TARP aided Wall Street a lot. Main Street didn't get much.


SNOW: Now, Wolf, there's another thing that critics worry about that doesn't have a price tag, and that is the belief among large banks that they can get bailed out again in the future.

One other thing we should note. In this Treasury Department report, it says outside of TARP, it does expect substantial losses from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary Snow, good reality check for us. Thanks very much -- Mary Snow reporting. Donald Trump speaks out on whether -- get this -- he aims to run for president of the United States in 2012. And that is not saying all -- and that is not all he is saying. You are going to find out why he thinks President Obama is in big danger of not getting reelected.

Plus, don't kick Bolivia's president or you just might face some very painful retaliation. We have the details right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Hillary Clinton as vice president? There's new buzz about what some are calling the Democratic Party's dream ticket in 2008. Now insiders are hearing it could happen in 2012.

Also, a circus turns into a horror show, as lions attack their trainer. We have exclusive video from a CNN iReporter who was there.

And a very unusual campaign ad. When was the last time you heard a United States Senate candidate say this?


CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you have heard. I'm you.



BLITZER: Donald Trump for president of the United States in 2012? The real estate mogul and reality television star, he is now talking precisely about that.


DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: For the first time in my life, I'm -- I have had so many people over the years ask me to do that.

And for the first time in my life, I am absolutely thinking about it. I don't know that I will do it. It is probable that I won't do it, but I can tell you I'm thinking about it. Somebody has to do something. We are losing this country.


BLITZER: He says, if he runs, he would run as a Republican.

I recently sat down with Donald Trump and I asked him who is to blame for President Obama and the Democrats' declining political fortunes with the American public. Listen to this.


TRUMP: Well, I think everybody gets blame, Wolf.

I think he's having a hard time. I don't know if he's ever going to recover. I mean, I look at him as a president that really is in trouble. I see what's happening in the country. There's a movement that I have never seen before, whether it's tea party or whatever. And I just don't know if anybody that's an incumbent is going to be able to recover, unless, they're really good and doing a really good job.

BLITZER: When you say not recovering, what does that mean?

TRUMP: Well, that means recover and be elected. That's what I mean by recovering.

BLITZER: You assume he's going to run in 2012...

TRUMP: I do assume.

BLITZER: ... for reelection?

TRUMP: I do assume.

BLITZER: And you're not convinced he can win reelection?

TRUMP: I don't know if he can win reelection.

I mean, I just see such hatred out there, such animosity out there, such -- you know, when we see the taxes just going out, we see wars that we shouldn't be in, we see roadways going in to Manhattan that are falling apart, and yet we're rebuilding Afghanistan. I don't know that it's going to work out for him.

BLITZER: Because you and I are old enough to remember 1994 when then-President Clinton suffered a huge setback, losing the House and losing the Senate. He came back in '96 and beat Bob Dole.

TRUMP: He did, and lots of things can happen, but right now the level of animosity, the level of almost hatred for our government is -- by our people is unbelievable, and I'm sure you've never seen anything like it and I've never seen anything like it.

So will he win? Will he run? Yes. Will he win? I Don't know. It's getting -- if you would have asked me that question a year and a half ago, I would have said absolutely he's going to run; he's going to win. But now it's just looking very bad, I think, for President Obama.

We're not respected throughout the world. We used to be respected. When you look at the Reagan years, we really were respected. We're not respected any more as a country.

BLITZER: Those are tough words you're saying.

TRUMP: Well, I Don't know if they're tough words. I think they're accurate words. I have a lot of so-called friends in China, and they call me. And we talk. They can't believe how stupid our representatives are that they're getting away with it. I Don't blame them. I'm just saying they're getting away with murder. They are selling us product at -- with a very low currency, and they are getting away with murder, and they can't believe they're getting away with this murder.

BLITZER: Who is stupid? Who in this -- name names.

TRUMP: Well, you have to start by saying the person that appoints the people. Now, who appoints the people? The president. The president appoints the people. When I negotiate with China, I want our business leaders, our best business leaders to negotiate with China. I Don't want a diplomat that wants to keep everybody happy negotiating with these people.

They have their smartest and their best negotiating. We Don't. We have some diplomat that doesn't know the first thing about business.

BLITZER: What about the trade...


BLITZER: Donald Trump saying today he is seriously thinking about the possibility of running for president of the United States as a Republican. We'll see how serious that consideration turns out to be.

An illegal trip to Cuba guided by an American turncoat. Those are the explosive new allegations rocking the California race for governor right now. This time, it's the Democrat, the attorney general, Jerry Brown, who's under fire.

CNN's Casey Wian is in Los Angeles with more on this story.

Casey, what is going on here?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a crazy story, Wolf. The race to be California's next governor sure seems to be getting nastier by the minute.

On the heels of allegations that Republican candidate Meg Whitman employed an illegal immigrant in her house for years, now comes word that her opponent, Democrat Jerry Brown, used a disgraced CIA agent as a tour guide during a trip to Cuba ten years ago.

The Web site the Daily Beast reports that Brown, who was then mayor of Oakland, took a trip to help set up a sister city relationship with Santiago, Cuba, in 2000. He tour guide was a man named Philip Agee, a CIA turncoat who infuriated U.S. officials by revealing the identities of several other CIA agents in a book. He was also accused of working with Cuban intelligence and the Soviet KGB against the CIA.

Ann Louise Bardach, who was in Cuba and met with Brown at the time of his visit, wrote the story for The Daily Beast.


ANN LOUISE BARDACH, JOURNALIST: It just strikes me as bad -- bad judgment for a public official. Maybe not for a citizen who might not know something about this, but Jerry Brown is a lawyer. He goes on to be attorney general. The question is should he be held to a higher bar.


WIAN: Now, a spokesman for the Brown campaign said, "I think you will find it's the rare sitting mayor makes his own travel arrangements, and 10 years ago, the mayor of Oakland went to Cuba on a mission to work on a sister city relationship, and came home. End of story."

The Brown campaign says it does not know how the former mayor came in contact with Agee, who died two years ago. And there is no evidence Brown knew who he was before the trip.

Now the Daily Beast story also alleged Brown may have violated U.S. laws regarding travel to Cuba during his visit there. A U.S. government official tells CNN, however, that in fact, Brown did not violate any laws. Still, the Whitman campaign e-mailed the story to reporters today and provided a statement to us criticizing Brown for ignoring the law. We're still awaiting further clarification, Wolf.

BLITZER: Another little wrinkle in that California race. Thanks very much for that, Casey.

Supporters love her, because she's not your typical Senate candidate and her new ad is definitely not your typical campaign commercial.


O'DONNELL: I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you.



BLITZER: Not every day you hear a campaign commercial that starts out like the new one from the Republican Delaware Senate candidate, Christine O'Donnell.


O'DONNELL: I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you. None of us are perfect, but none of us can be happy with what we see all around us. Politicians who think spending, trading favors and backroom deals are the ways to stay in office. I'll go to Washington and do what you'd do. I'm Christine O'Donnell, and I approve this message. I'm you.


BLITZER: All right. Let's talk about this with CNN's John King who is the host of "JOHN KING USA," which begins right at the top of the hour. Her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons issued this statement, John: "In her new television ad, Christine O'Donnell says she is you, but unless you think the retirement age for Social Security should be raised, want to further deregulate Wall Street, are against the woman's right to choose, think public schools should teach creationism, and think homosexuality is an identity disorder, she is not you."

Pretty tough reaction from Chris Coons.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Pretty tough reaction and a pretty hard- knuckles "Raw Politics" pivot to this new ad. We've all had this question: when would she go up on television? What would she do if she's raised more than $2 million since her surprise primary upset win?

I've been covering politics for 25 years. That's the first ad that comes anywhere close to that: "I am not a witch." It is controversial. A lot of Republicans think bad idea. You're only restructuring the controversy. Other Republicans think, look, everyone's talking about this, so deal with it head on. The interesting thing is how do you follow up on that?

The "I'm you," Sarah Palin talks like that. That's the -- sort of the mom, the hockey mom, Sarah Palin, would say, the elitists want you to do this. Let's have normal people make these decisions. We'll see if it works. That is a very tough and smart politically response from Chris Coons.

You know, we wouldn't know she dabbled in witchcraft, Wolf, if it weren't for the archives of "Politically Incorrect," Bill Maher's old show. And on "Real Time" now, his current show, he's been using these excerpts from when Christine O'Donnell was on his show so much. So we had him on "JOHN KING USA" last night just as this new ad came out, and we got Bill Maher's reaction.


BILL MAHER, HOST, HBO'S "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": I think when you have to start your campaign ad with "I'm not a witch," the battle has been lost. I think she would have been much smarter to ignore that, but, you know, being much smarter is not her strong suit.


KING: Ouch. Harsh words there from Bill Maher, but you know, Bill Maher is a liberal, obviously, and he's getting some mileage out of the Christine O'Donnell story. But it is a fascinating debate. She's behind in that race by double digits. Delaware tends to be a more moderate state. Most people thinks she cannot win. If she's going to win, she's going to have to be unorthodox, like she wasn't a primary campaign. I Don't know what the second half is going to be. I can't wait. BLITZER: Well, most people didn't think she could win that Republican primary either, so we'll see how strong a candidate she is. Now you remember Linda Tripp.

KING: Wow. That's...

BLITZER: We covered the White House in those days, during the Monica Lewinsky story, and I want to play a little...

KING: Yes, I remember Linda Tripp.

BLITZER: Linda Tripp, who was the confidant for Monica Lewinsky, she said this at the time. And we go back.


LINDA TRIPP, CONFIDANT OF MONICA LEWINSKY: I understand that there has been a great deal of speculation about just who I am and how I got here. Well, the answer is simple: I'm you. I'm just like you.


BLITZER: Listen, Linda Tripp is like you, and Christine O'Donnell is like you, as well.

KING: Monica Lewinsky didn't appreciate that at the time. We'll see how that one plays out. I had a lot less gray hair back in those days.

BLITZER: Yes. Both of us did. That was back in 1998, as you recall.

KING: I was your junior White House correspondent, and you were the senior.

BLITZER: John is going to have more on this coming up at the top of the hour, including more with Bill Maher. Is he on the show again?

KING: You bet. He'll be back tonight. We're going to talk about the Democrats tonight. We got little shots at the Republicans last night.

BLITZER: We'll be watching. Thanks very much.

A reminder, you can see the Delaware Senate debate between Christine O'Donnell and Chris Coons right here on CNN. I will moderate the 90-minute debate, University of Delaware, on October 13. That's going to be a good debate.

A family outing ends in fear and panic as a circus lion -- not just one, but several circus lions attract (ph) their trainer. A CNN iReporter sent us the very disturbing video. We'll share it with you.

Plus, the fake story about jet packs that fooled FOX News. CNN's Jeanne Moos will take a "Most Unusual" look.


BLITZER: Seconds of terror all captured on tape and happening -- and happening, believe it or not, at a circus. Stunning video here from CNN and CNN iReporter Doug Shepherd, showing a lion mauling his trainer, and this is far from the only incident like this one.

CNN's Brian Todd has been looking into these attacks for us -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're going to show you a classic predator. Take a look at this guy, a 5-year-old fully mature male lion from South Africa sitting here in his yard at the National Zoo. We're looking at these animals' behavior not only under normal circumstances but also what happens when they get very irritated.


TODD (voice-over): In an instant, a massive lion turns on his trainer. This ferocious attack captured on video by an American family at a circus in Ukraine last weekend.

As one lion strikes, another joins in, biting the trainer's left arm. As people in the crowd scream, workers try to hose down the lions to keep them at bay, but seconds later, another strike.

A similar incident occurred recently at the MGM resort in Las Vegas and was posted on YouTube.

At Washington National Zoo, we got insight into the dangerous dynamic between predator cats in captivity and the people who interact with them up close.

(on camera) We are here to talk about what to do in these situations with Don Moore. He is the head of animal care sciences here at the National Zoo. We've got a 400-pound male lion named Luke right back here, same size as the one involved in the MGM incident.

First of all, Don, I guess when you're in there, in that yard with the lion as a trainer or a handler...


TODD: ... and the lion either attack or wants to play too rough, what is the first thing you're trained to do?

MOORE: Well, the first thing that we do is we don't go in with large dangerous animals, so we always have a protective barrier between lions, tigers, bears and our keepers.

TODD: Is that a mobile barrier? Do they carry it?

MOORE: No, it's a -- it's a solid wall that has, you know, spaces in it, so we can interact with the animals in a safe way.

TODD (voice-over): In this incident in Ukraine, these trainers survived, but one reportedly had to have emergency surgery. (on camera) What triggers that kind of behavior in a lion? Are they territorial? Anything encroaching in there, does that spur that kind of behavior?

MOORE: Well, there's -- in carnivores, there's a very hard-wired predator-prey response. So people with cats at home may have seen their cat in the living room chasing a dust ball. You know, if you get down on all fours, or if you're lower than a lion or a bear, they may -- they may just snap.

TODD (voice-over): Interlopers beware. Last fall a deer jumped into this lion's yard in Washington, the video taken by a visitor, posted on YouTube.

(on camera) Now, in that incident, a deer jumped in the water, the moat down here. The lions didn't go after it after that. Would you advise people in this situation, if they're near water, to jump in the water?

MOORE: I guess so, but we were very surprised that they didn't go into the water, because they were very obviously motivated to hunt that deer that got in with them.

TODD (voice-over): Female lions, Moore says, are no less dangerous.

(voice-over) A fellow female inside just gave birth to four cubs. Don Moore says when female lions are in that state just before and after giving birth, much more irritable, much more prone to attack -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much.

What does it mean if a quarter of the parents out there plan to use their retirement money to pay for the kids' college tuition? Jack Cafferty is standing by with your e-mail.

Then, from the people who brought you bat boy, aliens for Bush, another fake news story, but this one passed the smell test at one news network. Jeanne Moos will take a "Most Unusual" look.


BLITZER: Let's check back with Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: What does it mean if one- fourth of parents plan to use their retirement money to pay for their kids' college tuition?

Curt writes from Eammon (ph), Indiana: "I don't know what that means, Jack. I worked full time. I went to college part time and earned my bachelor's degree in six years. I think that adult children need to take care of themselves and should not be such a burden on their parents. Blowing your retirement money on your kids is stupid."

Peg in New York writes: "It means the kids will need to make vast amounts of money in order to pay for their parents' retirement."

Abel writes: "Parents will now have to work more years to make up for the money lost. Thus the graduating students will have fewer jobs available. A vicious cycle indeed."

Barbara writes: "We have no choice. Even by using money that should be in retirement, our son will be strapped with over $50,000 in debt after four years of college, not including the loan we, his parents, took out. At a price tag of $40,000 a year, where else is the money supposed to come from?"

Pat in Michigan says: "There are a lot of cheaper colleges in this country. We have become so label driven that it's seeped into our culture even in the field of education. An 'A' is an 'A'."

Tom writes: "This is moronic to say the least. You can borrow money for college. You cannot borrow money for your retirement."

Shawn in Florida: "Not a good idea. In spite of what most seem to think, it's not a parent's duty to put their kids through college. My parents didn't. I got financial aid and loans that took me ten years to pay off. I'm flat broke in this economy. If my kids want to go to college, they'll have to pay for it themselves."

And Joanne writes: "We have tougher times ahead over the next three to five years. We haven't hit the bottom yet."

If you want to read more on this rather depressing subject, go to my blog:

BLITZER: And when you think about the elite schools and some that aren't even elite, Jack, the tuition keeps going up and up and up.

CAFFERTY: Despite the fact some of these colleges are sitting on huge endowments. I mean, in the billions of dollars.


CAFFERTY: And they're raising tuitions and expenses far beyond the pace of inflation.

BLITZER: And there are state universities -- not everyone has to go to some of those great, great -- they're great schools if you can afford it or if you can get a scholarship, but there are pretty good schools that are a lot less expensive, too.

CAFFERTY: Well, not everybody can get into those other schools either. I mean, you've got to be about half sharp to make the cut and even get admitted to some of those places.

BLITZER: You do.

CAFFERTY: You probably went to one of those.

BLITZER: I went to the state university of New York at Buffalo for my B.A., and then I went to one of those elite schools for graduate school. But undergraduate, four years, it didn't cost my parents a whole lot of money to go to SUNY-Buffalo.

CAFFERTY: They have a university in Buffalo?

BLITZER: They've got a great university in Buffalo. It's a great school. Fabulous. Very proud of it.

Thanks, Jack.


BLITZER: It was the dream ticket of 2008 that never happened: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But will it become a reality in 2012? Bob Woodward is talking to John King on "JOHN KING USA." That's coming up at the top of the hour.

And fooling FOX. A billion-dollar news story takes off. Only get this: it's not true. Jeanne Moos will have the story.


BLITZER: Jet packs for sale, and they could be yours for a mere billion dollars. Only this tall tale had one major news network fooled. CNN's Jeanne Moos has the "Most Unusual" flight of fancy.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the story of a news story that took off. A story that got off the ground. Even though it was made up out of thin air. The joke's on FOX News, reporting on the Martin jet pack, which does exist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The city of -- are you kidding me? The city of Los Angeles already ordering 10,000 jet packs for its police, paramedics and fire departments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you kidding?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we afford that?

MOOS: Does this mean L.A. will be buzzing with jet-pack police like the guys chasing Tom Cruise up a fire escape in "Minority Report?" Like James Bond, escaping the bad guys in "Thunderball."

Like Tom Cruise, FOX News fell for it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but get this, the cost, $100,000. States -- I mean, I'm all for, you know, buying stuff up and help the capitalism and all that but states, do they have 100,000?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They already ordered 10,000 of them.

MOOS (on camera): Let's see: 10,000 jet packs at 100,000 a piece comes out to an expenditure of $1 billion. (voice-over) An expenditure the L.A. Police Department never heard of. As for the New Zealand-based makers of the Martin jet pack...

RICHARD LAUDER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MARTIN AIRCRAFT COMPANY: Certainly we haven't sold 10,000 to the Los Angeles police, though we would love a call from them if they're interested.

MOOS: FOX News didn't return our calls, but this is where the story originated.

(on camera) Remember the old saying, consider the source? Well, "The Weekly World News" is known for imaginary scoops like "Bat Boy Found in Cave."

(voice-over) These are the folks who brought us headlines like "10 New Commandments Found," "Death Cured," and "First Photos of Heaven." The CEO of "The Weekly World News" never takes his tongue out of his cheek.

NEIL MCGINNESS, CEO, "WEEKLY WORLD NEWS": Think about law enforcement jet pack officer being able to descend down on Sunset Boulevard and stop a celebrity that's loaded driving a convertible into a tree. I mean, that's something that could save a lot of lives.

MOOS: The last time a "Weekly World News" story got picked up in the real press was when it was reported a chaos cloud was headed for earth.

Just to be clear, the Martin jet pack is real. It goes 63 miles an hour. There are two of them in existence, as the company looks for somebody to invest $15 million.

As for the 10,000 ordered by the LAPD.

BRIAN KILMEADE, CO-HOST, FNC'S "FOX & FRIENDS": You could have jet packs flying into choppers.

MOOS: Or even jet packs flying into bat boys.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Remember, you can always follow what's going on in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm on Twitter. You can get my tweets, @WolfBlitzerCNN, all one word.

Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.