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THE SITUATION ROOM
Mystery Package From Alleged Colorado Shooter?; Wealthy Tax Havens; The Impact of Going Negative; Who Should Authorities Be Profiling?; Chase Ends With Jump Into Niagara Gorge; New Guardian For Michael Jackson's Children; Nine Olympians Caught Doping, One Racist Tweet; World's Smallest House; Details Of Olympic Spectacular Leaked; Senate Votes On Dueling Tax Plans; Report: World's Super Rich Hiding $21 Trillion
Aired July 25, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: A mysterious package apparently mailed by the theater massacre suspect turns up at the University of Colorado.
Also, the mother of a baseball legend, Cal Ripken Jr., abducted at gunpoint.
And we look inside the tax havens that let some of the world's wealthiest people hide trillions of dollars from tax collectors.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in Aspen, Colorado. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
But we begin with new developments here in Colorado involving the Colorado theater massacre. A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation tells CNN police and the FBI have discovered a package in the University of Colorado mailroom that appears to have been mailed by the suspected shooter, James Holmes.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Aurora for us.
Ed, what do we know about this package?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're still trying to gather information on what exactly is inside that package, Wolf.
But, as you mentioned, that law enforcement official telling CNN that on Monday police and FBI discovered a package that was apparently sent by James Holmes, the 24-year-old suspected gunman who killed 12 people at this theater here in Aurora in the early morning hours of Friday. Now, it's unclear -- obviously if this package was indeed sent by him, it was clearly sent before he was taken into custody.
It arrived at some point on Monday at the university mailroom. We have also been told by hospital officials over the last couple of days -- this is something that we have been monitoring for some time -- that there were two packages that were suspicious and were being looked into, one that was found in the mailroom and also one that was actually delivered to a university professor. So we have been trying to nail down more information on this. And we will continue to do so, Wolf. BLITZER: What's the University of Colorado saying about all of this, Ed?
LAVANDERA: Well, now that the details have come out that this package was probably sent by James Holmes, the university says they can no longer comment or make any kind of comments in regard to this investigation.
The judge in this case has issued a wide-ranging gag order. So, many officials starting to clamp down and not speak publicly about what's going on in this case now.
BLITZER: Ed Lavandera on the scene for us as he's been right from the beginning, thank you.
Elsewhere, in Maryland, police and the FBI are now investigating an abduction with ties to the baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. His mother was found safe this morning almost 24 hours after being taken from her home at gunpoint.
CNN's Lisa Sylvester's working the story for us.
What happened here, Lisa?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf.
What we know is this all started about 7:00, 8:00 yesterday morning when a man apparently approached and he went to Violet Ripken's house and abducted her at gunpoint. He then according to authorities spent most of the day driving around in her car throughout central Maryland.
And it was only until around 8:30 last night when there was a citizen in the neighboring county, in Baltimore County, who saw a suspicious vehicle. He called it in to county authorities. And at that point, it was that tip that eventually led to Violet Ripken being found this morning unharmed back near her house in Aberdeen.
She was, however, bound. Authorities at this point are not clear what the motive is in all of this. They do say though that her credit cards had been used, but there was no apparent ransom that was discussed. Or a ransom never came up at all.
We have more information now from the police chief here at Aberdeen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY TRABERT, ABERDEEN POLICE CHIEF: He was driving her vehicle, which was a silver Lincoln Continental. I believe it was a 1998. He was driving her vehicle. She was taken from her residence in her vehicle and she was located back at her residence in her vehicle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SYLVESTER: Now, about the suspect, here's the description that we have been given, a white male, late 30s to early 40s, tall thin build. At the time, he was wearing a light-colored shirt, camo pants and eyeglasses. Again, authorities are also looking for that 1998 silver Lincoln Town Car, Wolf.
BLITZER: What is the Ripken family saying about all this, Lisa?
SYLVESTER: I'm sure you can imagine that this has been fairly traumatic for all of them.
They did release -- the Ripken family did release a statement saying -- quote -- "As you now know, our mother was abducted at gunpoint from her home yesterday morning. This has been a trying time for our family, but we are grateful and relieved that mom is back with us safe and healthy. We want to thank everyone for their tremendous support, especially all of the law enforcement agencies that worked so hard and quickly."
And, again, this individual is still at large. They still do not know who this person is, but they do believe that he is still armed and dangerous, Wolf.
BLITZER: Lisa Sylvester, thanks very much.
Let's go overseas right now. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, he's in London tonight, his first stop on an overseas tour that was expected to bring a temporary cease-fire to battle for the White house.
But the verbal warfare has not let up at all.
Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is in London and he's traveling with the Republican presidential candidate. He's joining us now with details on some controversial remarks that sparked an uproar today.
Jim, tell our viewers what's going on.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
Mitt Romney's overseas trip has only begun and already both campaigns are fighting like Napoleon and the British over what has long been called the special relationship between the U.S. and Britain.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Mitt Romney has arrived in London for what his campaign calls a trip to listen and learn. But all of a sudden, the tour is over who said what, as the Obama campaign is seizing on a quote a British newspaper says came from an unnamed Romney adviser, which cannot be confirmed and the Romney campaign denies.
That so-called anonymous adviser is quoted in London's "Daily Telegraph" as saying, "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage and Romney feels that the relationship is special. The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."
In a statement, Vice President Joe Biden didn't hold back, calling the comments just another feeble attempt by the Romney campaign to score political points. "This assertion is beneath the presidential campaign."
Romney campaign officials say the quote didn't come from them, adding in a statement, "If anyone said that, they weren't reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign."
The Romney campaign insists the GOP contender will not criticize the president overseas, in keeping with political tradition. That explains Romney's tough talk just before he left the U.S.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In dealings with other nations, he has given trust where it is not earned, insult where it was not deserved, and apology where it is not due.
ACOSTA: But the trip does come with purpose. In London, where Romney will watch the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, he will be remembered for turning around the scandal-plagued games in Salt Lake City 10 years ago, even if the feat doesn't win over every American vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He certainly did rescue those Games. My opinion of him as a future president is not as high.
ACOSTA (on camera): Oh, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe that he is...
ACOSTA (voice-over): A pro-Obama super PAC couldn't resist portraying Romney as going for the gold with his foreign investments.
NARRATOR: We know the Swiss have a special place in Mitt Romney's wallet or heart. He kept millions in Swiss banks.
ACOSTA: Romney's next stop in Israel is also no accident. Republicans have hammered President Obama for his tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, something a Jewish GOP group plays up in a new ad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to place Israel in a position where they're in danger.
ACOSTA: The president's campaign argues Senator Obama covered more ground during his foreign trip exactly four years ago. His stop in Germany drew over 200,000 people. Romney likely won't run across the same crowds, but he can find one of his signs by heading over to London's Romney Street, where one of his bumper stickers is now on full display.
ACOSTA: Besides meeting with foreign leaders and going to the Olympics, Mitt Romney is also scheduled to attend some fund-raisers, seeking some of that campaign gold he will need for the long marathon to November -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And he's going to be delivering a few major speeches on this trip. I assume something is in the works for London, is that right?
ACOSTA: We're expecting him to meet with various British officials tomorrow. He will be meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
It's in Israel, Wolf, where we're expecting him to give a pretty major speech and then perhaps another one in Poland, where he will be emphasizing his belief in putting out a strong image of American freedom to the rest of the world, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jim Acosta, traveling with the Republican presidential candidate in London right now.
Attack after attack, is the negative tone of the presidential campaign impacting voters' views of the candidates?
Also, gun control, profiling, the threat of a lone wolf, these are hot-button issues in the wake of the theater massacre. We're going to talk about those in our "Strategy Session." Michael Chertoff and Jane Harman, they're both here in Aspen with me. They're standing by.
Plus, desperately needed tax revenues stashed in offshore tax havens. We're on the hunt for hidden fortunes.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, turns out a million dollars still is not enough money to make some people feel rich.
A new survey of millionaires finds more than one-quarter of them say they don't feel wealthy. But they would if they had an extra $5 million. The Fidelity Investments' Millionaire Outlook report finds the average millionaire is about 60 years old and has at least $3 million in assets.
The survey shows only 14 percent of today's millionaires say they grew up wealthy. A whopping 86 percent describe themselves as self-made. And according to this report, millionaires' outlook on the financial future is the highest it's been in the survey's history. Let's hope they're right.
Meanwhile, there are a million different definitions of what being wealthy means. It's probably safe to say that Mitt Romney's idea of wealthy is a far cry from yours or mine. Wealth is relative in many ways. If you're free from financial worry, have enough set aside to secure a retirement and can afford a few luxuries like vacations, maybe a second home, fancy car, you may well consider yourself wealthy.
But for the Donald Trumps of the world, too much money is never enough. They're continually driven to amass more wealth, buy another company, make another deal, sometimes not ever stopping to appreciate what they have. And the accumulation and managing of that kind of money involves tremendous stress and energy. The saying that money can't buy happiness is true. But it can buy peace of mind. So here's the question, how much money would it take for you to feel wealthy?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on my blog. Or go to our post on the THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page.
If I had your money, Wolf, I would feel wealthy.
BLITZER: Yes, wealthy indeed.
BLITZER: All right, Jack, thank you.
A negative turn in the race for the White House, with both the Obama and Romney campaigns unleashing a slew of accusations and attack ads.
Let's talk about this and more with our CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
Gloria, is the negative tone of these ads, the attacks, are they impacting voters' views of these two candidates?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You bet, Wolf.
And it's not pretty. In fact, it's impacting them really negatively. Take a look at this new result from the NBC/"The Wall Street Journal" poll. You look at the favorable and unfavorable ratings. I mean, Mitt Romney's unfavorables, Wolf, are now five points higher than his favorables. He's completely under water there. And President Obama is still more favorable than nonfavorable, but his rating has gone down.
And these negatives for these candidates are as high as they have ever been. And that's of course because as you point out, we've had two straight months of each campaign through their super PACs or their campaigns spending over $25 million in advertising about each other, most of which is negative. The public has clearly been watching it. And they've decided, you know what, we don't really think more of you folks for doing this, we actually think a lot less of you two as candidates.
BLITZER: So when you dig deeper, what are you seeing, Gloria, about each candidate's vulnerabilities?
BORGER: Well, what's interesting, Wolf, is that each candidate has a very different set of vulnerabilities. Let's take a look at President Obama first. It's the economy, of course, as you might suspect. And voters are clearly getting locked into kind of a pessimistic view of the economy.
In this "Wall Street Journal" poll the question was asked, what do you think will happen to the economy in the next 12 months? And if you see it's down eight points from just a month ago, Wolf, and only 27 percent now believe that the economy is going to get better, which is why the president wants to turn this into an election about Mitt Romney, he does not want this to be an election about the economy.
But let's talk about Mitt Romney for a moment because he has his own vulnerability. It's not about the economy, but it really is about his persona. His vulnerability is that voters don't like him as much as they like President Obama. That's a problem that's dogged him throughout this entire campaign.
This is a Gallup poll, which candidate is more likable? Look at the differences in that -- 60 percent for President Obama, 30 percent for Romney. That's not a gap, that's a chasm, Wolf. And that's very difficult to overcome.
But he's still the candidate people believe has the better ideas to manage the economy which is why you hear him continue to talk about that. He wants to make this election about President Obama's stewardship and the economy and the fact he believes he would do a better job. So, two different men, two different sets of vulnerability.
BLITZER: Good point, Gloria. Gloria Borger assessing for us, thank you.
BLITZER: There's some troubling new signs about the U.S. economy as well. It looks like record low mortgage rates aren't -- aren't helping boost home sales. Kate Bolduan is standing by. She'll have details in a minute.
And, later, what Olympic organizers didn't want you to know about Friday's opening ceremonies.
BLITZER: The new president's just been sworn in over in India.
Kate Bolduan is monitoring that story, some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
Kate, what's going on?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Wolf.
Well, Pranab Mukherjee is India's 13th president. It's mostly a ceremonial job in India. The prime minister actually holds the real power. However, India's presidents also take on the role of supreme commander of the country's armed forces. Mukherjee, who is 76 years old, also served as India's finance minister.
And another troubling sign for the U.S. economy, June saw the biggest drop in new home sales in more than a year. New homes are selling at a rate of 350,000 a year down 75 percent from the boom year of 2005. Despite record low mortgage rates, loan applications actually fell last week. And a new addition to the Pentagon's Web site will make it easy to check political candidates or really anyone else's claims that they have received military honors. The database is valor.defense.gov contains the names of all combat valor war recipient since September 11th, 2001. In addition to catching liars, the database is also meant to honor those who deserved their rewards. It's also a response to last month's Supreme Court ruling, throwing a law that made it a crime to lie about military honors.
And check out this amazing video of a volcanic eruption in southern Japan. They were taking these videos from different angles yesterday. And the closer view is in slow motion.
Mt. Sakurajima is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. Ash explosions like this are apparently common.
We were looking at it, Wolf, over 600 minor explosions from this volcano already reported this year. The people in that neighboring town are pretty used to it. But still, it's pretty amazing.
BLITZER: It is amazing. And very impressive pronunciation as well. Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Little bit of practice. Thank you.
BLITZER: Good work. Excellent work.
So here's a question, what if a man with an Arab name ordered thousands of rounds of ammunition on the internet? The Colorado theater massacre's raising new questions about whom authorities should be watching.
And also one expert calls it a black hole in the world economy. We're investigating trillions, yes, trillions of dollars allegedly hidden in offshore tax havens.
BLITZER: Today, the Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano praised the Aurora, Colorado Police Department response to the theater shootings. During testimony on Capitol Hill, Napolitano revealed they'd just been trained to deal with this kind of attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: One of the scenarios we have been training across the country for is something along the lines of a Mumbai-style attack where you have multiple shooters organized. And we had actually coincidentally just done that training --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have another question.
NAPOLITANO: -- and the Aurora police were there. And their response last week is to be commended.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Aurora police were on the scene of the theater shooting within minutes, only a few minutes, of when the gunman opened fire.
Let's talk a little bit about what's going on. We're here in Aspen, Colorado.
In our strategy session, joining us, the former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman. She's now president of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. Also joining us former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. He's chairman of the Chertoff Group. They're both here and I'm here as well for the Aspen Institute Security forum. We'll have more on that coming up today and tomorrow.
But let's talk a little bit about what happened. An interesting quote and Congresswoman Harman, I want to throw it out to you first. This is from Ibrahim Kazerooni. He's the imam of the Denver Muslim community.
Here's what he said. I'll put it up on the screen. He said, "If my name is Ibrahim or Mohammed and I order a gun or that much information on the Internet, I think within a few hours of the delivery, the FBI and the CIA is at my house."
Is there some sort of double standard going on here? You know what's going on at homeland security. What would you say to him?
JANE HARMAN (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I certainly hope there's not a double-standard. It's a few bad apples who are non- Muslim and Muslim that caused problems like this. But we don't have enough monitoring, since he raises this, of anybody's gun purchases, especially purchases of 6,000 rounds of ammunition. I think it's shocking that we don't have a way to trace this better.
BLITZER: Mr. Secretary, so if James Holmes' name had been Mohammed or Ibrahim and he had ordered 6,000 rounds of ammunition and assault weapons and all the other camouflage equipment gear like that, would there have been a different -- could this have been stopped in advance?
In other words, would law enforcement whether at the local, state or federal level has intervened before someone could go into a movie theatre?
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Wolf, I think you have to separate two different things. If someone's name was on a watch list already, whatever the ethnic background, obviously that would have called for a much more serious and intense scrutiny.
In terms of just the average person, whatever their name ordering quantities over the internet, I don't know that we have a monitoring program yet that looks at the amount of ammunition or whether you buy tactical gear and body protecting armor.
And it may be that we should have some kind of a system in place where we monitor certain kinds of lethal equipment in much the same way we do with explosive material.
It's a complicated issue. Civil libertarians would get all upset if you're doing too much monitoring. So you have to calibrate and set the threshold --
BLITZER: You say monitoring, what you're really saying is profiling, right?
HARMAN: No. We're able to know if you buy multiple prescriptions. I don't know why we shouldn't put munitions on that list. After all, the National Rifle Association, the R is for rifle, not military-style assault weapons and these packs of repeated munitions.
And Congress voted to ban 19 varieties of assault weapons in 1994. I made that vote. I was proud of that vote and we let that ban lapse. And I think this incident should teach us a lot about early detection of people who seem to be dropping out and are loners.
We learned this in the Gabby Giffords shooting too. I would just say we should now ban purchases of these multiple munitions --
BLITZER: Before I get to your lesson, would you agree that somebody goes out and buys within a few weeks or even a few months 6,000 rounds of ammunition that should be enough to stop what's going on?
CHERTOFF: It should certainly raise a question.
BLITZER: Should the federal government be monitoring that?
CHERTOFF: Well, again, and when you say monitoring you have to be careful about how you do it. If it becomes evident that someone's buying huge quantities of ammunition or they're buying body-protecting armor and no legitimate explanation, there may be many, sure, there ought to be some focus on that.
But one of the lessons here is much of the most lethal activity Holmes engaged in was building booby traps and explosives. And the raw material for that aren't armaments or guns, it's some of the material you can find in your own kitchen.
So you're kidding yourself if you believe that simply monitoring material is going to answer the problem. It's a lot about people and not things.
HARMAN: And I agree that it's a lot about people. And I think that we need to have better systems for -- and this, I think David Brooks had a good op-ed about this yesterday.
If someone's in your community and all of a sudden seems to detach and this guy was in a school setting and people might have noticed this, there should be some questions asked.
And it's snooping in one sense, but in another sense we've learned enough about these lone-shooters to know that many of them have this personality change at a point and then they snap. And this doesn't have to do with their being Muslim. We should learn from this shooter incident over the weekend yet another in Colorado, two of the worst ever have been in this state. And the state is very resilient. Have to commend it.
BLITZER: The Fort Hood massacre as well.
CHERTOFF: That's a very interesting point because a lot of the challenge is people who do see something and they don't follow the presip to say something. Not only do we have Fort Hood where based on a report that came out last week, it looks like there were some missed opportunities.
But in a totally different way but still somewhat similar look at the whole Penn State issue. Here's a guy molesting children, people see it and somehow they can't bring themselves to report it. So this is part of changing the culture. So we don't view it as a negative thing to report this kind of behavior.
BLITZER: Let me ask you a political question, Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security, former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, a man both of you know.
He was asked what grade he would give the president of the United States on national security. And he said he would grade the president with a C. What grade would you give the president?
CHERTOFF: Wolf, you know, I don't do grades. I finished with grades when I graduated from law school. I also don't do politics.
BLITZER: But you are supporting Mitt Romney.
CHERTOFF: I am. But when I look at Homeland Security, there's been a lot of continuity. And I think a lot of what you've seen in terms of the response that Secretary Napolitano talked about is the investment all of us have made over 10 years and want to continue to make.
To me the real lesson for everybody is the threats are out there. They continue to adapt and change. We have to adapt and change. And we have to remember we're all in it together.
When a gunman, whether it's Holmes or Hasan starts to shoot, he doesn't pick between Republicans or Democrats, it just kills Americans.
BLITZER: As far as the biggest Homeland Security threat right now, a lot of people think it's what we call the lone wolf, is that your opinion?
HARMAN: I think so. I think people like Holmes who have clean records, he didn't even have a parking --
BLITZER: He had a speeding ticket.
HARMAN: I didn't know about that, but a lot of these people have clean records. In the case of the Jihad types they become radicalized on the internet. Something we need to understand better.
Something I tried to do in my role as chairman of the Intelligence subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee in the Congress. But then the civil libertarians say, you can't ask those questions.
I think we should ask those questions about everybody. Not just about Muslims. We should understand that point where somebody with radical views, which are protected by our constitution, is prepared to engage in extreme behavior.
I think that would help us intercede earlier. I want to say something about the Obama administration, which is that its record here is very strong. And the foreign policy record of President Obama starting with the takedown of Osama Bin Laden and starting with a very vigorous pursuit of bad actors around the world is building on the Bush administration record.
And I think showing strong results. Where we need to move either president after this election is in developing a better narrative for what the United States stands for in the world. I think a lot of people misunderstand.
BLITZER: Spoken as a good supporter of President Obama. You're spoken as a good supporter of Mitt Romney. Thanks to both of you for coming in. You have a good conference over the next few days here in Aspen.
HARMAN: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Tomorrow, by the way, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, I'll have a rare interview with Admiral William McRaven, the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command in charge -- he was in charge of the Bin Laden raid, tomorrow 4:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN, my SITUATION ROOM interview with Admiral William McRaven.
Some Olympic athletes apparently didn't get the message that they're supposed to be on their best behavior. Nearly a dozen already have been suspended or expelled. You're going to find out what they did wrong. That's coming up next.
And a judge makes a big decision about Michael Jackson's three children and his mother.
BLITZER: A police chase near Niagara Falls takes a deadly turn. Kate Bolduan is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Kate, what's the latest?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Wolf. A police officer was running after a man when they both jumped over a low wall by the side of the road. What you don't see from this angle is what's on the other side.
It's a sheer drop into the deep rocky gorge that's just down river from Niagara Falls. The officer survived and was pulled to safety. The man he was chasing died at the scene.
A new twist today in the Jackson family saga. A Los Angeles judge suspended Katherine Jackson as the guardian of Michael Jackson's three children. TJ Jackson, the 34-year-old son of Tito Jackson, has been appointed as their temporary guardian. Katherine Jackson who's apparently in Arizona finally called her home last night after being out of communication for nine days.
And some athletes are finding out the hard way, I guess, that Olympians are expected to behave themselves. Nine athletes have already been suspended for doping offenses. And a Greek triple jumper was expelled from the games after she tweeted some pretty offensive comments about African immigrants.
And this I guess gives a whole new meaning to the idea of a mobile home. It's billed as the world's smallest house. It comes with a roof, wheels, lockable door, fold out desk and window tilted on its side, as you can see there, it's a bedroom.
You get what you pay for. It's $300. Wolf, they say it's one square meter, about ten square feet. If you need a room, there you go.
BLITZER: No, too little. All right, Kate, thank you.
We have a spoiler alert for all of our viewers. Olympic organizers didn't want you to hear about what's going to happen during Friday's opening ceremonies, but some of the participants are going public with the details.
And in our next hour, the increasingly violent protests after a series of police shootings in Anaheim, California.
BLITZER: We're just two days away from the opening ceremonies for the summer Olympic Games and details officials wanted to keep secret are leaking out anyway. Here's CNN's Alex Thomas.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're still a couple of days away from the start of the London Olympics, but already they're rehearsing the closing ceremony in the main stadium behind me, although it's the opening ceremony that we all look forward to.
It's happening on Friday, that's the one we all remember from games down the years. And it's got to set the tone for the events to come. This one is a $40 million production overseen by the movie director, Danny Boyle.
They've got a Twitter hash tag saying save the surprise to encourage people to not let the cat out of the bag, but organizers have spilled a few secrets.
And we've certainly been hearing things like the James Bond theme music coming out of the stadium so maybe 007 will make a surprise. The flame will always be a crucial part of any opening ceremony. And the torch carrying event has been involved in a relay around the U.K. for the last two months or so.
I even sort of put my journalist hat to one side and joined the crowds when it came past my home in West London. I even took some video footage of one torch bearer handing over to another.
There have been 8,000 torch bearers, some celebrities, many not although the swimmers probably won't get to see the Olympic flame in the stadium because their events are first up in the games.
They'll need better rest and recuperation. A lot of eyes on Michael Phelps, who I saw earlier on today at a Speedo event and he's got a great rivalry ahead with compatriot Ryan Lupti.
Although Phelps said to me actually they get along perfectly fine, they even play cards together although when it comes to facing each other in the pool, only one of them will be an ace -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Alex Thomas in London for us. Thanks. The excitement brewing over there.
Jack Cafferty is back with us. He's got the "Cafferty File." That Speedo event, Jack, you got your Speedos? Are you all set for whatever's going on?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm not going near that. Speedo? That would be a way to empty the pool, the stadium and the surrounding community is for me to put on a Speedo.
The question this hour is how much money would it take for you to feel wealthy?
Tim writes from Kansas, "I think it depends on how you're raised. I was raised by a father who managed a pizza parlor and a stepmother who didn't work. There were five of us and we lived on less than $18,000 a year.
Even though I know I have to pay back my student loans, I do have a $16,000 loan, a tuition waiver for being a graduate assistant and a $7,000 salary. So I already feel rich comparatively speaking."
Pat in Wyoming writes, "About $3 million would do it. Anyway, a lot more than it used to be. Millionaires aren't so rare." Georgia in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, "I think about $35,000 would do it for me.
All I would like to do is pay off every one I owe. And that would make me feel rich. I'm 60 years old. I worked since I was 15. I'm now disabled. I get a whopping $847 a month."
Jim writes from Reno, Nevada, "Seemed like a million dollars net worth was the magic number for a long time. But I don't think seven figures cuts it anymore. It seems like you need to be worth several million just to be comfortable, live in a nice house, take vacations, be assured of a nice nest egg to leave the kids, I think wealthy is now eight figures."
Bernadette on Facebook, "Not much, a full time job with health insurance would make me feel wealthy." Oliver writes, "Good health at the age of 70 makes me wealthy."
And Helen in Phoenix, "I never considered myself to be wealthy, but I don't buy anything I can't afford and I'm pretty content with my lifestyle. However, my relatives and children must think I'm rich because I'm the first person they come to when I need money."
If you want to read more on the subject, go to the blog cnn.com/caffertyfile or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you, Jack. No more talk of Speedos. Thank you.
Desperately needed tax dollars, they are hidden in offshore tax havens as much as $32 trillion in one account. We're following the money trail.
And coming up in our new 6:00 p.m. Eastern hour right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, a killer whale attacking its trainer. We have a horrifying scene all caught on tape.
BLITZER: Here's a look at this hour's "Hot Shots." In Somalia, an internally displaced woman escaping famine and civil war walks with her child inside a makeshift camp. In Virginia, wild ponies are herded into a channel for their annual swim to an island.
In London, sunbathers make the most of the scorching heat on one of the hottest days of the year. And in Germany, look at this, a newly born marmoset purchased on the hand of a zoo keeper. "Hot Shots," pictures coming in from around the world.
Let's go to CNN's congressional correspondent Dana Bash. She's up on Capitol Hill. There's been dueling votes on tax plans, Republican version, Democratic version, update our viewers on what's going on.
I should point out as you know, Dana, that neither of these is going to become the law of the land, but politically they're significant.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Politically these are defining votes. You're exactly right, Wolf. If you take a look at the Senate floor, the defining vote is happening right now. It is what the president has been talking about on and on in the campaign trail.
His plan to just extend the Bush era tax cuts for those making a $250,000 or less. The Republicans relented and we'll explain later in the next hour why they did that politically, but they relented and allowed an actual vote that would just allow a simple majority.
We do expect according to Democratic sources that they will get that simple majority. It could be close. And that is why they actually called the vice president to come here and take over his duties as the president of the Senate in case he is needed to cast a tie-breaking vote. Now, just before this, the Republicans got a chance for their plan. Their plan is to extend all of the Bush era tax cuts for just one year. It did not pass. There were a couple of crossovers -- a few I should say from Republicans to New England, Susan Collins and Scott Brown crossed over.
They voted against their party with the Democrats. And one lone Democrat voted with Republicans, Senator Pryor from Arkansas. He's not up for re-election this year, but he will be in a couple of years. And his fellow Democrat from Arkansas, Blanch Lincoln, lost big time a couple years ago. So he saw what happened there -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So basically what we're seeing in the senate today is both sides posturing thinking what they're doing is doing is going to help them politically come November and congressional and Senate races also in the presidential campaign.
BASH: There's no question about it. In fact, there's a delay in this vote because we had some go figure old-fashioned debate on that issue between the Democratic leader and the Republican leader just minutes ago on why they're taking this vote.
And the substance of whether or not it is a good idea to extend tax cuts or to -- some tax cuts or all tax cuts during times of economic problems. So we're going to get a lot more of that later in the hour.
Actually, at this point maybe next hour and the politics of what's all behind this -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Dana Bash up on Capitol Hill watching it. Thank you.
Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt is nearly $16 trillion, a staggering sum, but get this, an even larger amount is thought to be hiding in tax havens belongs to the world super rich.
CNN's Mary Snow has been looking into this story for us. Mary, amazing numbers, what are you learning?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Wolf, this report stands out not just for its eye-popping numbers, but because estimates of hidden fortunes are hard to come by. This one calculates the price tag of tax havens up to the end of 2010.
SNOW (voice-over): What some see as paradise, others see as Treasure Island with so-called pirate banks to hide money and avoid taxes. But their definition, tax havens are places with no or nominal taxes and little if any reporting requirements.
A report finds the world's super rich have a staggering $21 trillion stashed away in what it counts as 80 such havens across the globe. That amount is equal to the economies of the U.S. and Japan combined.
James Henry, a lawyer and economist wrote the report for the advocacy group "Tax Justice Network." It campaigns against tax havens. He says the actual number may be even as high as $32 trillion.
JAMES HENRY, TAX JUSTICE NETWORK: The number is just kind of a way of having a lightning rod that makes it clear exactly what's at stake and illustrates the problem of, you know, how big it is.
SNOW: The problem he says is hundreds of billions of dollars of lost tax revenue each year with major banks helping the world's wealthiest people hide their money.
The report looks at individual wealth estimating the global elite number fewer than 10 million people with money parked at popular havens like Switzerland and the Cayman and Channel Islands.
But skeptics like Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute, a libertarian leaning think tank question the $21 trillion figure saying it's way too high.
DAN MITCHELL, CATO INSTITUTE: There could be some double counting according to some experts. And clearly it's driven by an ideological agenda to try to have the highest possible number to convince governments that there's some magic pot of money out there to fund the welfare state.
SNOW: James Henry dismisses the criticism and stands by his numbers.
HENRY: The bad news is that we have this black hole in the world economy and we have to fix it. The good news is that it's wealth that we can put to use. We just have to figure out how to tax it and how to bring it home.
SNOW: And this report estimates that there's roughly $200 billion to $30 billion in lost tax revenue each year. Critics say the solution is to fix the problem of high taxes and unfriendly tax systems, not tax havens -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Amazing numbers indeed. Mary Snow, thank you.