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New Hampshire Primary; Interview with Russ Schriefer; Interview with Rick Santorum; Interview with Jon Huntsman and wife Mary Kaye Huntsman

Aired January 9, 2012 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, HOST: We're in New Hampshire for tomorrow's primary. I spoke with two of the candidates today here in Manchester, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman, about their chances in tomorrow's vote.

Then, President Obama, his chief of staff is stepping down. Could turmoil inside the Democratic Party be partially responsible, one of his top advisers here tonight in person.

And Iran sentencing an American Marine to death. They say he's a spy. Let's go OUTFRONT.

I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight; live from a seasonably chilly New Hampshire. Polls open less than 12 hours in the state's GOP primary. The second contest in the race to the White House. It's Romney's race to lose here tonight. We went to some of the campaign headquarters today. We talked to volunteers.

We went into a cigar shop and I smell a little bit and we found a motivated electorate and some passion for a guy that a lot of people say doesn't spark passion. Now, we got some good shots of the candidates personally calling supporters and asking for their vote tomorrow. We also got to talk to Mitt Romney's only brother and he revealed something interesting about his brother that I had never heard before and I will virtually guarantee that you have never heard before.

I'm going to share that with you in just a couple of moments. But the Romney campaign has a reason to be confident tonight, so let's just run through a couple of the latest polls. They're coming fast and furious today. Romney up at 33 percent, Paul trailing 20 percent and Jon Huntsman, who has spent basically all of his time in this state right now in third with about 13 percent.

Now there is a second poll which gives Mitt Romney a bigger lead, 41 percent with Ron Paul second at 17, Jon Huntsman and Santorum tied at 11. Mitt is on top and his opponents have attacked him today. GOP contenders going after his time as CEO of Bain Capital, but Gingrich's super PAC set to blanket South Carolina with ads like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, POLITICAL AD: Mitt Romney became CEO of Bain Capital the day the company was formed, his mission, to reap massive rewards for himself and his investors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney and them guys, they don't care who I am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's for small businesses. No, he isn't. He's not.


BURNETT: Now, Romney defends his record, but today, he said something that caught the ears of his rivals.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means that if you don't like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.


BURNETT: All right, opponents already jumping all over that last line, as probably does not surprise you when you hear it, Rick Perry's selling it as a ring tone, the DNC made an attack ad in a matter of hours. Romney says his rivals are taking what he said out of context. He was simply talking about the virtue of competition.

Russ Schriefer is senior adviser to Mitt Romney. Russ, good to see you tonight.


BURNETT: All right, so what was he really trying to say? Was this just a bad joke and he's trying to say we all like to fire the cable guy or what?

SCHRIEFER: We'd all like to be able to fire our insurance company. I mean we've all had experiences with insurance company that gives us bad service. Choice in insurance companies is a good thing. Competition is a good thing and the ability to tell your insurance company you're not doing the job for me that we want a new insurance company is a good thing. The difference is, is that under Obamacare, you won't be able to fire your insurance company. It will be one insurance company and it'll be the government.

BURNETT: So, I understand what you're saying and that context is important.


BURNETT: Is it fair to say though that you wish he hadn't said it that way?

SCHRIEFER: Listen, I think as you're talking about wanting to fire your insurance company and you're talking about choice in insurance, that's a good argument to have. We'd like to have that argument about choice and insurance.

BURNETT: So, no kind of gees, I wish you hadn't made that joke, it really wasn't that funny, but --

SCHRIEFER: I think it's important just to talk about the differences that we would like choice in insurance companies and under the Obama administration, you won't have that choice.

BURNETT: All right, so let's talk about this in light of what happened with Bain today because obviously you've got that 20 some odd minute film that (INAUDIBLE) paid for and Mitt Romney -- Newt Gingrich is going to put ads in South Carolina.


BURNETT: He had stories in many newspapers today including "The Wall Street Journal" --


BURNETT: -- about Bain. I mean that is where this whole sensitivity on firing comes from.


BURNETT: In private equity, you fire people to make companies stronger, theoretically over the longer term to hire people, but firing is part of it.

SCHRIEFER: Listen, we always expected that the Obama administration would put free enterprise on trial in this campaign. We thought that that was from the get-go. Free enterprise is something that Governor Romney believes in strongly and believes in the free enterprise system. We never thought that the first witness in this trial on free enterprise would be Newt Gingrich and it seems that he has basically attacked from the left. And this is the third time now he's done this. First he attacked -- you know he sat down on the couch with Nancy Pelosi to talk about climate change. He called the Paul Ryan plan on Medicare reform and spending cuts right wing social engineering and now, he's attacking from the left in the exact same playbook as Barack Obama and the liberals. So you know listen, we're very comfortable in defending free enterprise and talking about free enterprise and Governor Romney's record and creating jobs.

BURNETT: And you're sure it's going to end with a creating? I mean is that an essential --


SCHRIEFER: If you take a look --


SCHRIEFER: If you take a look at the companies that Governor Romney has been involved in during his experiences in the private sector, there's clearly more jobs that have been created.

BURNETT: So, let's talk about tomorrow.


BURNETT: Looking back in 2008, was 32 percent, 32.2 or something was what he got. Now obviously a big part of the narrative has been that he's got to do better. He's got this threshold of 25 nationally. Can he do better? Does he need to do better than 32 percent tomorrow for you to go high-five or good to go?

SCHRIEFER: I think if 32 percent is going to win, I think we're fine with that. I think if we get 35 percent and we win, that's great. I think if we get 29 percent and we win. I think what we'd like our bar is we won by eight votes last Tuesday. We'd like to win by more votes this time.

BURNETT: OK, that's a low bar.

SCHRIEFER: Well you know we'll start there and then we'll work our way up.

BURNETT: Let me ask you a question about the campaign and stuff. I was at your headquarters today, people of all ages there, a lot of young people. And it looked like you guys had little kind of laptop computers, thing that were issued from the campaign.


BURNETT: Is that true? And can you tell me what it is that you're running this campaign here, so it's got this reputation --


BURNETT: -- of being really organized.

SCHRIEFER: They're call lists. They're call lists and we've identified people who we know are going to turn out or indicated support for Governor Romney and our goal over the next 24 hours is to make sure that we get as many people to -- who said -- indicated they're going to turn out for Governor Romney to show up tomorrow and vote and we think if we do that we'll win.

BURNETT: All right, well we're going to meet some of those people later. As I said, I got my -- it's in here.

SCHRIEFER: I know. You got your cigar.

BURNETT: I got a cigar.


BURNETT: All right, Russ, thank you very much.

SCHRIEFER: Great. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: Appreciate your taking the time.


BURNETT: Russ Schriefer, as we said, with Mitt Romney. Well I met a lot of Mitt Romney supporters today and one told me something about the candidate that I didn't know until today and as I said, I'm pretty sure that you may not have heard this either. You know we all keep hearing where's the human side of Mitt Romney? What's this guy really like? So when I ran into Mitt Romney's older brother who had just come into town, literally just for the day, he was knocking on doors. Here's what Scott Romney had to say about Mitt.


BURNETT: What makes you think he's the right guy?

SCOTT ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S BROTHER: Well he's a great leader. He's a true leader and he really has a vision for this country and he's the guy that can make, that can turn this economy around.

BURNETT: Do you have any kind of a good little story about something he did when he was a kid that he shouldn't have done when he was a kid?

S. ROMNEY: Well, he also loved cars and could always make the great sounds of cars when he was a little kid. Because I'm an older brother, so I heard him often making the sounds of squealing (ph) around corners. But he's just a fun guy and he's a terrific guy. Great brother to me and he'll be a great leader for this country.

BURNETT: And so what -- you're going out knocking on doors --

S. ROMNEY: Well I've made calls and I visit with people and I'll do whatever they ask me to do. Stay in the back of the bus if that's what they want.


BURNETT: All right, now we've got to hear Mitt Romney's car noises, see if he can make little formula one (ph) action. All right, John Avlon is a contributor at CNN. David Frum is also a contributor. Good to see both of you.


BURNETT: All right, I didn't know that. You probably didn't know that.


BURNETT: Good at car noises, we're looking for the human side --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's one of the qualifications for being president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) airplane noises actually -- (CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Might be more in line with how they've been spending their time. All right, so I want to put it both of you. This issue today, when Mitt Romney made the comment about firing your insurance company. How damaging is this going to be to him?

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Of course it's out of context, but it's going to be the last thing that a lot of people hear before they wake up to go to the polls. It is out of context, but it does confirm I think a lot of the negative stereotypes that his opponents will try to pump up unfairly or not, but he's Mr. one percent, so it doesn't help, but I don't think it's going to dominate the campaign. (INAUDIBLE)

DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It was completely (INAUDIBLE) and yes, it's utterly out of context and what he said in context was completely reasonable, (INAUDIBLE) description of why we like (INAUDIBLE) economy.


FRUM: It's also true that historically presidents have gotten into trouble because they do not like firing people. If President Obama fired Eric Holder after he messed up the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial that would be better. If George Bush had fired Donald Rumsfeld when Iraq was going south, President -- Franklin Roosevelt wouldn't fire an incompetent and obnoxious White House cook. They don't like to do it. And if you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Firing a virtue.

FRUM: If you have -- if you have a president who's a little bit more willing to say you're not measuring up. You get the chop. After all those people work for us, too. We want them to do a good job.

BURNETT: (INAUDIBLE) officially. All right, let me ask you, you and I saw this, this morning. John Avlon and I traveled up here together and we spent some time (INAUDIBLE) Todd Palin endorsing Newt Gingrich. Now OK you're laughing. What does that mean? Is that a Sarah Palin endorsement in disguise? What is this?

AVLON: First of all, it's more important than the Gary Busey endorsement that he got earlier. (INAUDIBLE) said. Look, I think the reason it's resonating is because it is seen as sort of a de facto wink and a nod from the Palin camp.


AVLON: And that's significant. Sarah -- the Palin family has a real influence still among conservative populous of this party and they're exactly the kind of people who Gingrich is going to need to rally around if he hopes to break out from the pact.

BURNETT: Right. Rick Santorum says he'll be him and Mitt Romney. Will it? FRUM: It doesn't look that way. And if Rick Santorum comes out of this state not in the top one or two or three, then he begins to look a lot like the kind of regional candidate, the Iowa (INAUDIBLE) off and if Newt Gingrich is in fourth place, it looks he may be or worse, this race pretty quickly comes down to the Ron Paul protest candidacy versus the Mitt Romney juggernaut.

BURNETT: And it was interesting, stay (ph) in New Hampshire. That is what you saw with the signs, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul. All right, well thanks to both of you. Appreciate it. We'll see them again in a few minutes.

Coming up though, we talked to some of these candidates today, had a chance to walk around with Rick Santorum and also surging in New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman, he and his wife come OUTFRONT. Mary Kaye (ph) will be with us in a couple of moments.

And a surprising departure, President Obama's chief of staff. Well how interesting is it that tonight one of the president's top advisers is here in Manchester. We'll be back.


BURNETT: All right, well I'm in Manchester, New Hampshire tonight just 12 hours before the polls open. Rick Santorum is among the candidates hoping to get a last minute pop, in his case, hoping to come in second or third and keep his momentum alive. Today, "The Wall Street Journal" wrote an op-ed called "Rick Santorum's Economy". We talked about that and sweater vests. Here he is.


BURNETT: Senator, thanks so much for taking a couple of seconds.


BURNETT: I know you're zipping around. "Wall Street Journal" today op-ed "Rick Santorum's Economy", the take away was we'd score Mr. Santorum's economic agenda is bolder as Romney's --


BURNETT: -- is not as ambitious as though of (INAUDIBLE) Huntsman and Gingrich. Overall what do you think of the verdict?

SANTORUM: I think it's fairly accurate. You know I'm not a -- a Wall Street kind of -- "Wall Street Journal" necessary kind of plan because we do focus on the manufacturing sector of the economy. They don't like that idea of looking at sectors or they sort of like things across the board, but I look at it this way.

We're losing a battle for our jobs that are dramatically affecting blue collar workers and dramatically affecting small town America where manufacturing is and that's going to continue to happen because government policy, tax policy, regulatory policy, is making our manufacturers uncompetitive with our biggest trade partners and so we've got to adjust government policy so they can compete and put them on a playing field. And that's what I try to do here and I knew it wouldn't be popular with the folks at "The Journal" (INAUDIBLE), but I don't really care. I mean I certainly --

BURNETT: I mean you're OK --

SANTORUM: -- respect your opinion --


SANTORUM: But I've -- you know I've got to do what I think is in the best interest of the people of the country and getting this economy going.

BURNETT: So you're not worried about charges of oh, you're picking winners. I mean some of the investors (INAUDIBLE) they like your idea about a zero percent tax (INAUDIBLE).

SANTORUM: Yes -- yes.

BURNETT: But then they say well, why just manufacturers. How do you pick them?


BURNETT: Are you picking winners --

SANTORUM: We're not picking -- I mean every manufacturer, every process in America gets treated the same. But you know, for example, we're not going to give a tax break to CNN. CNN's not moving to China. You know Wal-Mart's not moving to China. We're losing jobs in this country because of a competition to make things. Those are the jobs that move where you have global competitiveness. It really is that sector of the economy that also provides the opportunity for average blue-collar people in America to be able to rise and get that job instead of paying what's right now on average in America is $55,000. That's the average paying job in America --


SANTORUM: For manufacturers, it's $77,000. That's a substantive (ph) difference in the quality of lives of people. You can upgrade skills. You can move not just up to those manufacturing jobs, but you know as a lot of manufacturing blue-collar guys do, they move up into management. They move up into those positions of leadership. It's a ladder. And you know for a long time because of the decline of manufacturing that ladder, the lower rungs (ph) and middle rungs (ph) have (INAUDIBLE) broken. We need to repair those and that's what I think we're doing here.

BURNETT: All right, well I know you're in a rush and you're leaving. I see your sweater vest has Rick Santorum on it.

SANTORUM: We're selling them now --

BURNETT: So, you're selling them? SANTORUM: We're selling online -- you can get them I think $100. I think --

BURNETT: Hundred dollars, my god --

SANTORUM: Well it's a part you know campaign donation and part -- but you know be in with the vest. Should I give the line? No.

BURNETT: Hogan (ph) just gave you the look. Hogan (ph) --


SANTORUM: One of my supporters said this is my Second Amendment vest, the right to bear arms. You like it? Come on --

BURNETT: I like it. It's so bad it's good.

SANTORUM: It's so bad it's -- it's not my line. I get it -- I found -- one of our supporters sent that in to us --

BURNETT: We've got people from CNN rolling their eyes at you.

SANTORUM: It's all right --

BURNETT: But I heard you have these in like nine colors. You got them at Joseph A. Banks (ph). I called Joseph A. Banks (ph) --


BURNETT: -- didn't call back in time --


BURNETT: -- sales is surging.

SANTORUM: I -- that's what I've heard. There's a report on that. We're actually and for the record, we're out there and we're finding vests made in America to embroider and sell on our Web site.

BURNETT: All right, 100 bucks.

SANTORUM: Well, come on --

BURNETT: You got to raise money somehow --

SANTORUM: Help me out a little bit. I mean you know you want to participate in it, you've got to help us.

BURNETT: All right, thanks so much, Senator Santorum.

SANTORUM: All right. You bet.

BURNETT: Good to see you.

SANTORUM: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: All right.

SANTORUM: Pleasure.

BURNETT: Thank you.


BURNETT: All right. And I'm here now to talk about the president's side of all of this with Bill Burton, right to bear arms. I mean you're not bearing arms, but you don't have a coat on.

BILL BURTON, FMR. DEPUTY PRESS SEC'Y TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well you know I'm from Buffalo. This is like an unseasonably warm summer --

BURNETT: Oh, OK. I was joking to Bill that I had on little hot hands and everything just stay warm --

BURTON: You've got to be careful with those things.

BURNETT: OK. So first of all, what brings you to Manchester tonight?

BURTON: Well I just thought I'd come and see how the political process was unfolding.

BURNETT: Because you are running obviously -- for those who don't know, one of the president's super PACs, so in charge of a lot of what's going on for President Obama. So what have you seen, anything to make you worry?

BURTON: Well the thing I've seen is that Mitt Romney is not really ready for prime time. As a result of the fact that this field has been so weak and hasn't really challenged him, he goes out on a day which is pretty important for the Romney campaign, he makes one of the biggest gaffes possible and jokes or makes light of how much he enjoys firing people. It's something that just demonstrates he's not really ready for a general election and this field has not really prepared him for what's coming if he's the nominee.

BURNETT: All right, so you come out on the attack, as I expected you to do, but what about what happened in your hood today, Bill Daley resigning. There's been talk, not a long reign as chief of staff, a lot of talk that there had been tension. Now he's resigning to go run the president's re-election campaign, so it's hardly a big falling out, but tough time to make a switch, isn't it?

BURTON: Well I think a lot of people are transitioning from jobs in the government to jobs on political campaigns. Keep in mind that Bill Daley was a great chief of staff for the president. He was there on his very first day. Congresswoman Giffords was shot. There was the tragedy in Arizona, and throughout his tenure, there were a lot of tough things the he had to deal with. Big issues, Osama was killed, the debt ceiling debate, the payroll tax cut debate. So he has had a pretty good tenure at the White House and now he goes on to help with what is one of the biggest jobs for the president, which is his re- election.

BURNETT: All right, so your job is to sell the president's re- election to the American people, so let me ask you this. What's easier to sell, Obama-Biden or Obama-Hillary Clinton?

BURTON: I think there's been a lot of chatter about this notion that Secretary Clinton might join the ticket, but I tell you what, even privately, President Obama would tell you that one of the best decisions he's ever made in politics was putting Vice President Biden on his ticket during the campaign last time around. Joe Biden is a strong and important and close adviser to the president. He was, he remains that and he's not leaving the ticket. He's a great adviser for the president, but also he's a great guy to have around and the president's not going to stop that for anything.

BURNETT: All right. And if you're not right, you'll hear this sound bite many times, Bill Burton thank you very much. Good to see you, we appreciate it.

BURTON: Good to see you too.

BURNETT: As you can see, Manchester important for both parties and Bill Burton being here shows that it matters for the current president as well.

Well a former U.S. Marine is sentenced today to die in Iran. They say he's a spy. The American government's condemned the decision and demanded his release, more on that.

And Newt Gingrich spending millions upon millions in South Carolina, it's big casino money. We're going to tell you just how much in tonight's number.


BURNETT: Running a campaign is a costly endeavor and one of the biggest expenses is advertising. So today, Mitt Romney's super PAC "Restore Our Future" announced it would spend $2.3 million on ads that will start airing in South Carolina on Tuesday. But he's not the only one with supporters making a big ad buy (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people --


BURNETT: The super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich will be spending $3.4 million on ads that start airing in South Carolina Wednesday. Now, this leads us to our number tonight, 309,000. That's how much winning our future the Gingrich super PAC will spend a day on ads in South Carolina. Now according to the latest U.S. Census data the median household income in the state of South Carolina is $42,580, which means Gingrich supporters will spend seven times as much on campaign ads each day as the average South Carolinian will make each year.

Want another way to put this into prospective? Traditionally, spending 300 to $500,000 would buy you a week's worth of advertising throughout the state and that's how much they're spending per day this time around. Wow, talk about something different. Well coming up next, we went to a man cave here in Manchester. We got some cigars and we talked to some of the smokers. That's why I smell right now. And my interview with Jon Huntsman and his wife, Mary Kay (ph), listen carefully.


BURNETT: Is that the campaign's fault?





BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about where we focus on our own reporting, do the work and find the "OutFront 5".

Number one tonight, we are live from New Hampshire ahead of tomorrow's GOP primary and Mitt Romney seems to be the man to beat. Rivals have been going after the front runner today after he said he'd quote, "Likes to be able to fire people" while talking about health insurance companies. Romney's senior adviser Russ Schriefer came OUTFRONT tonight, he says he doesn't regret that Romney said that because it was an important point about health insurance. Schriefer said he'd like Romney to win in New Hampshire by more than he won in Iowa, by just eight votes. They're trying to set the bar low to make sure they can clear it.

Number two, a former Army soldier has been charged with attempting to support the Islamic terror group al-Shabaab. A law enforcement source told OUTFRONT it's not believed Craig Benedict backed some compromised military information. The 24 year old was trained in cryptology. He was stopped in Kenya. The FBI says he was trying to get into Somalia to join the terror group.

Number three, Joe and Sue Paterno donated $100,000 to Penn State University just weeks after the longtime coach was fired. Our Sara Ganim told us the gift was evenly split between the Paterno Library and the Paterno Fellow's Program, which helps fund research and internships.

Penn State's board of trustees fired the 85-year-old Paterno in November following sex abuse allegations against the former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Number four: consumer borrowing surged by $20 billion in November, one of the biggest numbers in the Federal Reserve report was the jump in revolving credit, $5.6 billion. That is the biggest jump since March 2008. Revolving credit in English everyone, that's credit card debt, probably for holiday gifts. One analyst told OUTFRONT the willingness to spend and take on debt will likely stay subdued. For the next few months especially after that splurge.

Well, it has been 157 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. Thanks to borrowing too much. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, Europe is going to drive on sentiment here. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met today and pushed European leaders to reach an agreement on new rules for the E.U. by the beginning of March.

Like we said, we believe it when we finally see it.

Well, he's calling himself the underdog. Jon Huntsman, though, has been moving up very quickly in the polls here in New Hampshire. The former Republican governor of Utah who also severed as President Obama's ambassador to China is now in third place in the Granite State according to the latest Suffolk University/7 News poll.

Now, he's also making a move on Intrade. This is a really neat thing if you don't know about it. Basically, you can go online and make bets on, well, everything from hurricanes to wheat crops, but also on what candidate will win the GOP nomination. He's now taken second place behind Mitt Romney in that race.

The primary is tomorrow. So, can he do in New Hampshire what Rick Santorum did in Iowa?

Jon Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye stopped by our set a short time ago and I asked them what would define victory for them tomorrow.


JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever you set as expectations, Erin, we've got to exceed that. And I can't tell you from a quantitative standpoint what that means in terms of one, two, three or four. You set the expectation, you set the bar. We've got to find tomorrow that we exceed that.

BURNETT: And somebody had said you'd have to kind of, you know, a hit in the park sort of a headline to really get the momentum that you need going forward. Is that true? Or when you just said one, two, three or four, any of the above are OK for the Huntsman campaign to keep going?

J. HUNTSMAN: Well, to keep going, we've got to exceed expectations. I'd love an out of the ballpark moment. That would be great.

You know, New Hampshire has had a lot of out of the ball park moments. I don't know what tomorrow night is going to bring. But everybody hopes for that. And to that end, we've invested a lot of time and effort into this state, 170 public events. Our messaging has been right on in terms of talking about the economic deficit and trust deficit. It really is connecting with the people in the state. But more than that, they feel your heart and soul and that's what's important to the people in New Hampshire.

BURNETT: Let me ask you about something going on today between you and Mitt Romney. First of all, here's what Mitt Romney had to say about jobs and liking to fire people. Here he is.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means that if you don't like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.


BURNETT: All right. I don't know if he was joking or not, but here's what you said earlier today on the campaign trial in response.


J. HUNTSMAN: I will always put my country first. It seems that Governor Romney believes in putting politics first. Governor Romney enjoys firing people. I enjoy creating jobs.


BURNETT: Now, do you think that was entirely fair or -- I mean, it seems like he was trying to make a joke like about liking to fire the cable or the insurance guy?

J. HUNTSMAN: Well, he said he enjoys firing people. I think at a point in time where we are hit by joblessness in this country, it's very painful for a lot of families -- moms and dads, kids, homes and communities. We ought to be talking about job creation, and about opportunities.

BURNETT: So even if he was joking, you don't think it was funny.

J. HUNTSMAN: Well, the context in which it was delivered, you know, people are going to take out of that, that comment about liking to fire people. And I'm not sure that's the kind of tone that this country's looking for right now in our next leader.

BURNETT: Mary Kaye, let me ask you. When you thought a lot about this campaign. And, obviously, you've done incredibly well, you've got the momentum on your side right now in New Hampshire. But obviously, when you look ahead at the polls in South Carolina and Florida, it's 1 percent, 2 percent.

What do you think is the reason for that? Is that the fault of the Republican Party that the Republican Party won't look closely enough at your husband or is that the campaign's fault?

J. HUNTSMAN: Careful.

MARY KAYE HUNTSMAN, WIFE OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JON J. HUNTSMAN: I think it's beginning to come full circle. I think when he first got into this race, he was immediately dismissed because he had crossed party lines. And I think he addressed that beautifully yesterday by saying he will always put his country first. And I don't think that's an issue anymore.

BURNETT: Let's listen to that change in the debate with David Gregory, between yourself and Governor Romney. Here it is.


ROMNEY: The person who should represent our party running against President Obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader and went to be his ambassador in China.

J. HUNTSMAN: This nation is divided, David, because of attitudes like that.



BURNETT: Let me ask you. When you took the job with President Obama, why did you do it? Did you like a lot of independents in this country, believe in him at that time?

J. HUNTSMAN: I believed in my country and he was the president of my country. I've always felt that way. I mean, people were to say, well, that was a great plan to set yourself up to run for president of the United States.

I'd say nonsense. Why would anybody leave a job as governor, I'd just been reelected with 80 percent of the vote, to work with somebody of the competing political party all the way in China? It's because I believe in my country first, sincerely. That's at my core and that's the philosophy I'll take to my grave. If there's an opportunity to do something good for your country, I'm going to be there. That's the policy that I was raised with.

BURNETT: Your adopted Chinese daughter, Gracie, we've talked about this before, on a postage stamp, which we're going to show our viewers, one of the 10 most well-known people in Guangzhou.

Let me ask you this question though because I think a lot of people, there have been some, you know, inappropriate ads as Ron Paul called them himself, about your family. But a lot of people probably are curious.

What made you make the decision to adopt two more children and to adopt from China and from India, Mary Kaye?

M.K. HUNTSMAN: As Jon likes to say, we had a little more love to give. Actually, the first time that we thought about it, I was pregnant with our third child, Lee, and we were living in Taiwan, and went up to the steps of the Catholic orphanage and wanted to go in. I didn't speak their language, but I motioned I wanted to come in and see these babies.

And I went home that day and I said, some day, we've got to do this. And I remember him saying to me, some day, maybe not right now as I was pregnant with number three. So, we went on and we had more children.

And the interesting thing about our story that I think anyone that's adopted has had some amazing story that they can't quite explain. But on May 19th, 1999, he said to me, I'm finally warming up to the idea of this Chinese baby.

And we went through the whole process and finally got a call from China. We said -- when was she born? May 19th, 1999. I'll never forget that. I thought, they've found our little girl. It was such an extraordinary experience with Gracie May that we said, you know what? Let's do it one more time and let's go to India and take another little child.

So they've been the greatest gifts to our family and all my children now say they want to go adopt. And my adopted children say, I want to do the same thing.

BURNETT: And what about them in school? I know it's got to be hard because you're here. How has that worked out? I know this is a personal question. But I'm just curious personally.

M.K. HUNTSMAN: With the campaign?

BURNETT: Right, with the campaign.

M.K. HUNTSMAN: It works great. We have a big family and with our girls that people are beginning to see out on the trail, we have juggled quite a bit. So, they're there watching sometimes and we do -- we go back and forth. They have been so supportive.

Gracie is so excited and Jon calls her his senior foreign policy adviser, 12 years old. And the 6-year-old, all she says is daddy's running for a surprise. So, they're very excited.

BURNETT: That's what she says?

M.K HUNTSMAN: They're excited.

J. HUNTSMAN: She doesn't quite understand what's going on. But she knows it's a big surprise.

BURNETT: She has caught the most important concepts.


BURNETT: Before we go, South Carolina -- assuming that this is not a state for you, what about Florida? I know that's where you're from, Mary Kaye, and originally, your campaign headquarters were in Florida.

J. HUNTSMAN: That's right.

BURNETT: Florida is, you're going to be in Florida no matter what, is that true?

J. HUNTSMAN: We've got to move this market in New Hampshire. We've got to win -- exceeding market expectations tomorrow night. That will keep us ahead of steam moving into South Carolina and then on to Florida.

That's just the way it works. You've got to prove to people that you can nail that intangible called electability. That will cause more finances to come in. It strengthens your volunteer base, that people come out and they want to help.

BURNETT: And you just had your best fundraising day ever.

J. HUNTSMAN: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Yes, right?

J. HUNTSMAN: And with each passing hour of the day, we're probably going to have another one. Yes.

BURNETT: How much?

J. HUNTSMAN: Don't know. I don't know what the numbers are, but I suspect today and tomorrow and depending upon how tomorrow night goes, it could be a bonanza.

BURNETT: Bonanza.

M.K. HUNTSMAN: But there's excitement on the ground, that's what you know, what we feel and we see. And you know that energy when you feel it.

BURNETT: All right. Governor Huntsman and Mary Kaye Huntsman, thanks so much to both of you. Good to see you.

HUNTSMAN: Thanks for having us.

BURNETT: Good luck. I hope that you get just a little bit of rest.


BURNETT: Good to see you.


BURNETT: All right, pretty clear telegraph there that New Hampshire was a must win to get any further for Huntsman.

And we'll check with Anderson Cooper.

Anderson, what's on "A.C. 360" tonight?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Erin, keeping them honest tonight.

With just hours remaining until the first votes cast in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney obviously in the lead, his opponents -- he's in his opponents' crosshairs. The target: jobs. Tonight, in their own words, the candidate's claims and we're keeping them honest with the facts.

In crime and punishment, 21-year-old month Ayla Reynolds has been missing from her Maine home for more than three weeks now. Police suspect foul play. Tonight, only on "360," bombshell from her grandmother. That interview ahead tonight, and those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" at the top of the hour, Erin.

BURNETT: Anderson, any hint on the bomb? So, I've been following that case, too. Just amazing.

COOPER: Well, the grandmother tells CNN she didn't hear anything that night. She didn't hear anything that night because she wasn't home that night, but she gave a different impression days earlier. It's a story full of, as you know, full of twists and turns with all the latest tonight.

BURNETT: Yes. All right, well, looking forward to that, Anderson. See you in a couple of moments.

In the meantime, New Hampshire is ground zero for one of the most amazing trends in this country politically and that is the I's. Forty percent of Americans consider themselves independent voters. So, which candidate has the most to gain from them tomorrow and come November?

And then, oh, no, where did it go? My cigar. We smoke out the truth about the New Hampshire vote at a cigar bar named Castro's.


BURNETT: We do this at the same time every night, our "Outer Circle," where we reach out to sources around the world.

And tonight, we begin in Iran, the country boasting to the world that it's enriching uranium at another nuclear facility. Now, this comes on the same day that Iran sentenced a former U.S. Marine to death. The 28-year-old was convicted of being a spy for the CIA. The White House condemned the verdict and demands his release, the death penalty for an American.

Can the United States negotiate for his freedom? I asked retired Army General James "Spider" Marks.


GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET): Absolutely. This is a young man who was a Marine who served honorably from 2001 to 2005. And I must assume that a portion of that was in combat. So, what's difficult here is a former Marine in Tehran, although his family is from Iran, getting him back now becomes a more difficult task for the United States.


BURNETT: And now, to England and an update of the murder mystery of royal proportions that we've been covering for you here. The body of a young woman found on Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham Estate has been identified as a 17-year-old Alisa Dmitrijeva. The victim was Latvian immigrant who was first reported missing in August.

Max Foster is our royal correspondent and we asked him about what happens now.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, police want to hear from anyone who had organized functions or events in the Sandringham area at the end of August, beginning of September. They've spoken to royal staff, including the game keeper and estate manager in the hope of finding some leads. And the queen who's staying on the estate hasn't been questioned, but is being kept informed.


BURNETT: All right. A 25-year-old Florida man charged with plotting a terrorist attack says he did it to avenge Muslims. Now, Sami Osmakac, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Kosovo allegedly planned to bomb nightclubs, a sheriff's office and heavily populated areas of Tampa, as part of his campaign for vengeance.

Osmakac, who had been banned from two mosques for his extremist views was arrested by FBI agent on Saturday and charged with the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Our legal contributor Paul Callan joins us now.

Paul, appreciate you taking the time.

What happened today with this charge in court?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he was arrested on Saturday and he was finally produced before a federal judge in Florida today for basically a bond hearing, to determine how much bail should be set on the case. They appointed a federal public defender and waved the bond hearing. So, he's been sent back to prison.

I guess his lawyer probably decided it was pointless that he was going to make amicable bail. So, he's been sent back into prison.

BURNETT: All right. And from the U.S. attorney's press conference today, it was pretty interesting watching that. What was your takeaway?

CALLAN: Well, this is part of the U.S. Justice Department's program. You know, they've done these sting operations across the country where when they get wind of somebody who they think is a terrorist, or has terrorist aspirations, they get undercovers on them right way and instead of the person buying a bomb from a legitimate supplier, they end up dealing with FBI agents and find themselves under arrest. And justice has said this is a necessary way to stop terrorism in the United States.

BURNETT: All right. Well, frightening story.

Paul Callan, thank you very much. Interesting and important to note, of course, that he had been kicked out of the mosques for his extremism by the Muslim community.

Well, with one day to go, the key to winning New Hampshire is going to be the independent vote. It's one of the most amazing things about this state. More than 40 percent of primary voters in the state are registered as independents, which is also likely to be a very big factor in the general election.

A new Gallup poll shows a new record high. That's the 40 percent of Americans call themselves independents in 2011. The question is: who will actually get their votes?

Senator Rand Paul predicted it would be his dad while on the campaign trial this morning.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think there's a remote chance we could pull an upset here if there was a large independent turnout. If all of a sudden in these last two days, independents said, we want to send a message and we want to get out and vote, and that's one of the great things about New Hampshire is independents can vote in this primary.


BURNETT: All right. Ron Paul currently in second place, trailing Mitt Romney by 13 points. I can tell you, though, there's a lot of avid Paulites out there carrying signs around Manchester today.

Twelve percent of voters, though, say they're undecided for their vote tomorrow. And John McCain won in New Hampshire in 2008. He got 40 percent of the independent vote, compared to Mitt Romney who got only 27 percent. That's something Mitt Romney needs and wants to turn around.

John Avlon is senior political columnist for "Newsweek" and "Daily Beast." I promising to be back, and he was sad about it now because it's cold.

Peter Canellos is editor of the editorial page of the "Boston Globe," which, of course, as you saw on this show, had endorsed Jon Huntsman.

All right. John Avlon, so independents -- I know you're passionate about this. But you feel that here. It's independent streak of people saying it's my duty and my responsibility to make up my mind. I vet these guys for the rest of the country. I take it seriously. I do it.


BURNETT: How are they going to go tomorrow?

AVLON: Look, and that is the great X factor in this election, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman competing heavily for them. Understand that Mitt Romney is pretty far ahead in the polls. But if they can eat away at those independent voters, remember, who are frustrated with the polarization, the hyper partisanship, disgusted with Washington, D.C., they can draw on those voters. They can make a really competitive showing.

That's what's so unique about New Hampshire, an open primary where independent voters can vote and that's why it makes it a swing state in the general election as well. That's why this is so exciting. It's all about independents.

BURNETT: Which is what is neat when we walk in that the cigar bar, everybody is voting. Whatever their party, they all voted. They all had a point of view. They all want to share.

AVLON: Country first.

BURNETT: And why do you think independents should go for Jon Huntsman, Paul?

Peter, sorry.

PETER CANELLOS, BOSTON GLOBE: Yes, sorry. OK. Why do we think --

BURNETT: That's OK, I'm sorry.

I was saying Ron Paul and, anyway, go ahead.


CANELLOS: I think Jon Huntsman will appeal to the moderate independents. There are two types of independents up in New Hampshire. One of them are -- one type is people who are genuinely moderate and another type who are kind of anti-establishment. Those will go for Ron Paul. The ones moderate will go for Jon Huntsman.

BURNETT: And you really think that's going to be the case, that he's going to get the passion, or you think the surge may have come too late, your endorsement may have come too late?

CANELLOS: I think that a lot of people decide at the last minute. We have seen huge swings in New Hampshire at the last minute. I do think that as Huntsman was saying on your program a few minutes ago, you know, he needs a surprise and second place would be a surprise. So, that's kind of what he's aiming for and that's what he needs

BURNETT: And, John Avlon, of course, then the big question is which way do the I's go in the general?

AVLON: That's right. And you know --

BURNETT: They're for Obama last night.

AVLON: They did. Nine points over John McCain, who they love before but once he nominated Sarah Palin, some of that love started falling part. That's where this election will be decided, independent voters, swing voters and swing state. That's what the whole jump is.

The president has been focused on independents but he's been losing their support precipitously in some head to head matchups. Mitt Romney beats him with independents. It's a long way from the election. These folks are independent minded. They'll make up their own mind and they'll decide who the next president of the United States.

BURNETT: All right. John Avlon, thanks very much.

Peter, thanks very much. Sorry to confuse you with all the Paulites there. Appreciate it, sir.

All right. A CNN reporter walks into a cigar bar. I have to admit by the way, John Avlon bought this cigar, not me, you know? Maybe I will try it out. I don't know.

Which candidate will get the last laugh from those men in tomorrow's primary?


BURNETT: So we've heard a lot about how voters don't seem to be that motivated for this campaign. Take Iowa. Last week, just 4 percent of young voters showed up to the caucuses down from 13 percent in 2008.

But that's not what we've seen in New Hampshire -- at least in terms of campaigning. Today, we saw young people out holding signs for Ron Paul and young people manning the phones for Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Even kids who won't be able to vote were out at Mitt Romney's headquarters this afternoon.

Jonas is 17. Aydie is 16. And they each called more than 100 people today on Romney's behalf.


AYDIE, 16: It's hard to believe the candidate for the president of the United States could be roaming my streets, of my town. So, I'm actually surprised more people don't come out and campaign.

JONAS, 17: I'm from Pennsylvania, and went to volunteer for Mitt Romney in Boston. And we came up here today to help out the last day before the primaries.

BURNETT: You literally got on a train with your dad and came up?


BURNETT: Missing school?

JONAS: No. Actually, we have a week of to explore an interest of ours. This is what I'm doing.

AYDIE: I definitely believe in the American system. I've really gotten a lot more appreciative of democracy since I've been on this campaign. It's so much fun.

JONAS: I would definitely love to volunteer for more political campaigns. This has given me a more personal look on how they work and it's been fascinating.


BURNETT: And on the other side of the age spectrum, I visited a cigar bar called Castro's. I stumbled on it. I was the only woman in a wave of smoke. And these patrons, all regulars, had decide who'd they're voting for tomorrow and firmly so.


BURNETT: Who will get your vote tomorrow, have you decided?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I don't mind telling you, Mitt.



BURNETT: How come?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody but Obama. But Mitt has a business background and that's what we certainly need in this country, somebody that understands business and will keep government out of business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just changed parties, actually, to Republican. And I'll be voting for Jon Huntsman.

I've watched some of the debates, and he seems to be interested to work with both sides, both parties, and he seems fair and mature about the way he approaches government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am voting, I'm a registered Republican. I'm voting for Mitt Romney.

I've been a fan of Mitt Romney's since he saved the Olympics. I backed him in 2008 and I think he's the best manned in the field today.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: It's motivating as an American to see how seriously New Hampshire takes its roll in our elections. Jonas and Aydie, the two teenagers working at Mitt Romney's office says they get hung up on and fatigued by making phone calls. But yes, they keep on calling.

And the cigar bar crowd was something we keep hearing no one is, pretty passionate who they're voting for. In a couple cases, they're for Mitt Romney.

Who knows who it will go tomorrow? Or come November. But today, I felt inspired by voting Americans doing their job to keep a great democracy great.

Thanks so much as always for watching.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.