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THE SITUATION ROOM

Trump Fortune Revealed; Fifty-Five Jobs with $111 Million in Stimulus?

Aired September 22, 2010 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: He explains why he believes the U.S. is no longer respected around the world, why he doubts President Obama can be re-elected, and why he says, and I'm quoting him now, "China is getting away with murder."

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

He is a keen political observer, one of the world's best known businessmen, and one of the wealthiest people in the United States, Donald Trump. On "Forbes" newest list just out this hour of the 400 richest people in the United States, it puts his fortune at $2.4 billion. That's up from $2 billion last year. $400 million increase for Donald Trump in a year according to "Forbes."

As a successful entrepreneur, he has strong opinions about the U.S. economy and how to turn it around. We talked about that and much more in a wide ranging interview today at his offices in New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: As you know, the president has been hammered lately. He's been asked some very tough questions by people who supported him in the campaign back in 2008. Here's the question to you, how much of the blame does he deserve for the current economy as opposed to how much of the blame goes to those who gave him this current economy?

DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESS TYCOON: 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've 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: 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 re-election?

TRUMP: I do assume.

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

TRUMP: I don't know if he can win re-election. 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, losing the Senate. He came back in 1996 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 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.

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.

BLITZER: I can remember some pretty really tense times and you can -- we're almost the same age in the late 1960s during the Vietnam war. It was very intense. As you remember, Jimmy Carter, the final year of his presidency when he lost his bid for re-election was very tense. The interest rates were really high. The 444 days of Americans held hostage in Iran, are you saying what you feel and see right now is as bad in the country as then?

TRUMP: I think it was really bad, and I think it's really bad now, but I see the head of Iran making also some very strong statements. If you remember with Jimmy Carter, they had the hostages, and Ronald Reagan said they won't be in there for one minute, and before Ronald Reagan took office, they released everybody. We need somebody that knows how to speak to other countries, and we need somebody that knows how to speak to our enemies.

BLITZER: And you don't think President Obama can?

TRUMP: Well, something's wrong. We're not respected throughout the world. We used to be respected. If you look at the Reagan years, we really were respected. We're not respected anymore as a country.

BLITZER: Those are tough words, you're saying.

TRUMP: I don't know if they're tough words. I think they were accurate words.

BLITZER: Because if you listen to the Obama and his supporters, there is greater respect now for the United States as opposed to during the Bush administration. TRUMP: Absolutely -- well, I'm not a fan of Bush and you know that better than anybody. I thought Bush was a horrible president. I told he was absolutely atrocious and certainly this whole mess started toward the end of his reign, and I guess you could say, during his reign, but Obama has not taken us to that level that we have to be. I watched yesterday as a woman very eloquently stated that, you know, she is middle income, middle this, middle that.

She was looking for the American dream. I mean, she stated it so beautifully, and this was a supporter of his. I don't think he's going to have great support from his people. But if you look at this from the people that he had support from, a lot of them are dropping out, and they're dropping out very quickly. Now, I'm the worst hawk in the world, OK? I am a total hawk.

BLITZER: On national security?

TRUMP: Absolutely. And yet, we shouldn't have gone into Iraq. And the minute we leave, you know, they say we're out. We have 50,000, 60,000 soldiers there right now. We're out? I don't think 60,000 soldiers -- the other thing is, if you look at what countries like China are doing to this country, they are eating our lunch. We're building China. We are really building China because everything we make is made in China or other countries.

It's not made here. We don't make things anymore. As an example, I ordered thousands of windows the other week, a couple of weeks ago, they're made in China. I said, does anybody make windows like in this country and North Carolina, in Alabama, in Oregon, in places that used to make windows. They don't make them anymore. We're building China by ordering all of their products.

BLITZER: What is the single most important thing that President Obama can do right now to fix the economy?

TRUMP: Well, there are so many things, but number one is you have to provide money for people who want to build. You know, the biggest industry is the real estate industry in the true sense. Thousands of people building houses, et cetera, et cetera. Right now, if people want to borrow money to buy a house, they can't. They can't borrow money to buy a house, and it's an anomaly because if I want to borrow money and I have a good asset, you can borrow at 2 percent. So, you would think if you can't borrow money, you'll be paying 17 or 18.

BLITZER: So, what can President Obama do?

TRUMP: The first thing I think that you have to do is make this country competitive with other countries because right now it's not. We have to be a manufacturing country again. You know, health care is all wonderful, but health care doesn't make money. We have to bring money in. We used to make things. We don't make things, relatively speaking.

BLITZER: Because it's cheaper to make it in China or India. TRUMP: Well, if you look at their phony currency, it's very hard to compete with china. We make a better product than china. And I can tell you because I buy a lot of Chinese product, only because I have to. We make a better product, but in my opinion, you tax China. China is taking advantage of this country unbelievably. Now, I say you put a 25 percent tax on everything that's made in China.

BLITZER: That's a tariff. And that creates a trade war.

TRUMP: That's right.

BLITZER: They all retaliate.

TRUMP: How would they're going to retaliate?

BLITZER: Do you know how much loans, you know, how much money we owe China right now?

TRUMP: One year of this tax, and we don't owe them anything. One year of this tax, and we don't owe them anything, Wolf.

BLITZER: Because they have a lot of --

TRUMP: 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 and negotiating with these people. They have the smartest and their best negotiating. We don't. We have some diplomat who doesn't know the first thing about business.

BLITZER: What about the treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner?

TRUMP: I think he's torn. I think he's torn between politics and business. I think he knows what to do, but I think he's afraid to do it. And he got his own problems. And now you see, summers is out. He's gone. It will be interesting to see who gets appointed. But you're asking what to do. We have a huge trade imbalance with many countries, but if you use China as an example, they're eating our lunch.

When people talk about free trade like you just said, oh, that's tariff. Well, I don't mind a tariff on a country that got billions and billions of dollars of surplus. We are rebuilding China. We're rebuilding china, because we order so much. We're so big, we're ordering so much product from them. Another thing, OPEC. You have 11 people sitting around a table, setting an artificial price for oil. We're a big oil importer.

BLITZER: We're dependent on that Middle Eastern oil.

TRUMP: That's right. That's right.

BLITZER: How do you change that?

TRUMP: They wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for us. We've protected them for years. They wouldn't even be there. Let me give you an example and I gave it yesterday. Kuwait. Kuwait got taken over by Iran, by, Iraq. So, they got taken over by Iraq. The sheikhs moved to London and New York in the best suites you can imagine. I was in those suites. They wouldn't take a suite. They take like four floors. We then go and fight, take it back over as a country and handed back to the sheikhs.

They didn't do anything. We lose lives. We lose money. We lose so much. We hand it back to them on a silver platter. Now, if you go to the Iraqi fund right now, they're not investing in the United States, because they're not believers in the United States, OK? This is years later. Now, if that's the fact, if we hand the sheikhs back their country. It's almost like a private company. If we hand it back to them, why aren't they paying us? Why aren't they doing something?

BLITZER: On Kuwait, so what you're saying is after the U.S. liberated Kuwait back in 1991, we should have done what?

TRUMP: We should have told them that we want them to at least reimburse us for the cost of this liberation. What did we do? We liberated it for some a few very wealthy people. And those wealthy people aren't investing in the United States right now. You know, they don't even like the United States. We handed them, if you go to the Kuwaiti fund, they're not investing big money in the United States.

They find better opportunity elsewhere, OK? I'm not saying they're wrong about that. I'm saying we're stupid people. You mentioned Jimmy Carter before. Jimmy Carter, I saw him the other day talking about what a great president he was. He handed over the Panama Canal. Now, I'm building a building in Panama. Panama is amazing. It's thriving. You know why? The canal is doing so well, and they're now expanding to Panama Canal.

So, Panama is doing great. We gave it to Panama. We didn't say, here, take us, pay us $100 billion over a 10-year period or 50-year period. Who are these people that are making these decisions? So, we have very bad decision-makers in this country. And this country didn't get great by having decisions like that made.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: I also spoke to Donald Trump about jobs in the United States, and why companies simply are not hiring even, even if they have the money. His answer plus more on this dire warning right after the break. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have to tell you it's a little bit hard to watch in a sense. It's not easy. It's not easy. It's a much different than the original version.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: More of my interview with Donald Trump coming up, but let's get to Jack Cafferty for the "Cafferty File".

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: As we all contemplate the Bush tax cuts expiring and our tax bills going up in January, think about this, another glaring example of government inefficiency. Two Los Angeles departments got $111 million in federal stimulus money. So far, they've created a grand total of 55 jobs. 55. That ain't much stimulation. Reports by the city comptroller in L.A. showed the Departments of Public Works and Transportation moved too slowly and spending the stimulus money really, partly due to all of the red tape.

These agencies say they plan to create or retain 264 jobs once they spend all of the money. The department of Public Works got $71 million in stimulus funds. They have plans for projects like resurfacing streets, freeways, bridges, re-building sidewalks, storm drains, et cetera. Sounds pretty good, right? But the reports, the audits show that it took eight months to put together bids and review them and then award the contracts.

As for the Department of transportation, they got $41 million to buy new buses, upgrade rail road crossings, and put in new traffic signals. The comptroller's audit report shows it took a year to get approval to buy some of the buses, almost a year.

Meanwhile, unemployment in Los Angeles stands above 12 percent. According to the "Los Angeles Times," city officials wouldn't comment on the audit, but pointed to newer figures that they say showed the stimulus dollars hard at work. Imagine what the private sector can do with a $111 million. You hire people and pay them a $50,000 salary or you could hire more than 2,000 people, not 55.

Here's the question, should two Los Angeles departments have been able to create more than 55 jobs with $111 million in stimulus money. You can figure this out and go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. I know. You shake your head, right?

BLITZER: What can you say?

CAFFERTY: $111 million and 55 jobs. Ah!

BLITZER: Thanks, Jack. "Forbes" magazine has released its list of the 400 richest Americans, and with the fortune of $2.4 billion, Donald Trump is coming in this year at number 153. As our interview with Donald Trump continues, he says he believes he knows the reason behind the lack of jobs in the United States. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Businesses, they have a lot of money. They're sitting on the sidelines right now. They're not hiring, why?

TRUMP: Because they're afraid of stupidity. Because they're afraid of uncertainty. They're afraid that people are giving away our country. They're very, very concerned. They don't know what their taxes are going to be. They don't know what their health care is going to be. I have friends that weren't involved in the health care battle that are now calling me, and in one case, he said his health care bill, runs a big company, is going to be over $100 million higher than last year.

And he's not exactly sure what to do, and this was a totally unexpected thing that happened to health care to him. Now, he said, we take good care of our people, and we've always taken good care, but now, we're spending over $100 million, and it's going to make us a non-competitive company, but I have other friends --

BLITZER: So what you're saying these companies want a certainty. They want to know what the future is before they go spend their money.

TRUMP: They want certainty. They want to know that we're being led properly. They want to know what their taxes are going to be. They don't know what their taxes are going to be. All they hear about is tax increases. They see spending like drunken sailors. The way that country is spending, like drunken sailors.

BLITZER: For rich people, does it really make any difference? To somebody who's very wealthy? If here, she is paying 35 percent federal income tax or 39.6 percent which is what it was during the Clinton administration?

TRUMP: Wolf, I know rich people that are going to leave the country. I know right people --

BLITZER: 4.5 percent?

TRUMP: No. 4 to 35 percent to start of with, because you can move to Switzerland, you can move to other -- these are international people. These are international traders and international business people. They do a lot of business out of the United States. They do more business out of the United States. They don't have to pay these huge taxes. They can move to another country. I'm not moving. I'm not leaving, OK.

But you have people that are anonymous people that are very rich, that are very great businessmen that put lots of people - they're going to leave the country. The taxes are too high. They got to leave the country. And you're going to see it. It's no different than people leaving New York for Florida. Or people except they're leaving the United States for a different country, and you're going to have people leaving this country in droves.

BLITZER: These jobs that have been lost, the millions of jobs over the past few years, are they permanently lost, do you think?

TRUMP: Well, until we get smart with how we handle OPEC, how we handle China, how we handle to a lesser extent India, I mean, you have some of these credit card companies. You call, you get India. There are people sitting in India working out your credit card situation in the United States. Why? Why is that? But the greatest is OPEC. You have 11 men sitting around a table, setting an artificially high price for oil, so it $75.

It went up to $150 a barrel. They had it up to $150, but they pulled that back, because, you know, the whole world was going to go into a major depression and then they wouldn't get anything. You have ships all over the seas, and all over the seas, Wolf, loaded up with oil. They don't know what to do with it. I know, because I'm very friendly with like everybody, OK. And these are friends of mine that laugh about what they're getting away with.

You know, they tell me, Donny, we don't believe we're getting away with it. People are so stupid. I don't blame them, you know, I'm a serious kind of guy. I don't blame them. I understand. I guess, I'd be doing the same thing if I could get away with it. But interestingly, if you have a store and I have a store and another friend of ours has a store and we set prices, we go to jail. We go to jail.

Here you have 11 guys setting the price of oil artificially high, 75, and I have very, very smart person that once told me recently, if we pay more than $50 a barrel for oil, the country can never make it economically. And I believe that, by the way. It's the blood -- Wolf, it's the blood of the country. Did you ever notice stock market goes up, oil goes up.

Stock market goes up, oil goes up. Indicators are good, oil goes up. Every time something good happens, oil goes up, and it drains the blood. So, ultimately, unless you do something about OPEC, in my opinion, this country can never be really great again as an economic power.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Donald Trump also has plenty to say about the banking industry and whether President Obama really did save the country from a depression. My exclusive interview with Trump continues.

And later, the president's right-hand man might be out of the west wing sooner than we thought. Stay with us. New information about Rahm Emanuel coming into the SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: More now of my interview with Donald Trump. I spoke with him here in New York today, and I asked him about the crisis in the housing market. He says he sees some good news for some people, but bad news for many, many others.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: You know real estate in the United States. Is the dream of owning a home for millions of Americans lost?

TRUMP: Well, it's different. And in one way, if you'd let the market take care of it, it would be better, because people who never thought they could own a home would actually be able to get a chance of doing it because housing prices have dropped so sharply. So, in one sense, that's a good thing. It's not good for the poor people who owned the house and have a mortgage of $1 million on a house now worth $500,000.

Those people are just in trouble. I suggest you go back and negotiate with your bank, but the fact is you have at lot of people in a lot of trouble, but it does give certain groups of people the right to go out to buy a house that never thought they could, but that's the good news. The bad news is the banks aren't loaning the money. So, all of this money was given to the banks, and the banks aren't loaning the money.

BLITZER: But they're making money.

TRUMP: They're making a lot of money by just sitting there and doing nothing. I have a great company, and you know the banks don't even want my cash. They have so much money. They don't even want my cash. They want my accounts. They like accounts, checking accounts, because they pay no interest on checking accounts, right?

BLITZER: Is that the safest investment right now just to keep your money in cash?

TRUMP: Well, who knows? I mean, then you see the stock market goes up. You know, it's sort of funny. I'm not a big stock market player. I don't believe in it too much, because I see this too much shenanigans going on, right?

BLITZER: Right.

TRUMP: But every time I see it goes up, I sort of like, oh, gee, I should be in the market, but then a very smart friend of mine said, did you feel so stupid when the stock market dropped 50 or 60 percent and you didn't have stock? So, you feel pretty good about that. But the fact is that the country is falling so far behind, and in ten years or 12 years, China, if it keeps going like this, with our money, meaning our products, and all of the money we're pouring into China, is going to surpass the United States. And that's going to be a very sad day for the United States.

BLITZER: Obama and the Democrats want to keep the tax rates the same for families making under $250,000 a year, expiring at the end of the year, the Bush tax cuts.

TRUMP: Right.

BLITZER: The republicans want all, everyone, including millionaires and billionaires and people making more than $250,000 a year to have the same tax rates. Where do you come in on this? TRUMP: Well, I think you're going to take a lot of incentive away from people if you start raising their taxes.

BLITZER: For rich people, you mean?

TRUMP: For rich people. Absolutely.

BLITZER: Because the argument is the $700 billion that can be saved over the next ten years by not allowing the tax cuts to continue for people making more than $250,000 a year is money that can cut down the national debt.

TRUMP: You know, it's relatively not that big of a number, number one. Number two, when you're talking about the rich people, relatively speaking, it's not that big of number. Number two, it takes incentive away and number three, get out of Iraq. We spent much more than a trillion two in Iraq.

BLITZER: Well, they're getting out of Iraq, it's Afghanistan.

TRUMP: We have 50,000 or 60,000 still there.

BLITZER: Until the end of next year.

TRUMP: Who knows? And by the way, when we get out, it's going to blow up. And I told you that four years ago. The minute we're out, it's going to blow up, and you know who's going to take over Iraq? Probably Iran. You know, for years, they were like this, hundreds and hundreds of year. They were like this. Going back and forth and back and forth, but we just ruined the balance of power.

Because we've crippled one country, so as soon as we are, in my opinion, as soon as we're out, Iran will take over Iraq. You know why? Because they want the oil.

BLITZER: President Obama says his

TRUMP: We weren't smart enough to take the oil.

BLITZER: His economic policies, President Obama says, have saved us from another depression, is he right?

TRUMP: Well, I do agree, and this did start prior to him getting there, but he also kept it going. You had to do something to sure up the banks, because the psychology of the banks and you would have had a run on every banks, the strongest and the weakest. So, you have to do something. And I hated the ultraconservative view on that. And ultraconservative is nothing should ever happen. If they go out of business, everybody said, that's fine.

You did have to do something to sure up the banks. They probably should have done something for Lehman Brothers, because Lehman was a disaster that caused lots of other disasters. Lehman was a real disaster, but they did have to do something to sure up the banks. And it starred a little bit sooner than him, but also, it really started with Paulson. But also Obama carried it forward, and you did have to do it. Whether you had to go beyond the banks, that's another thing. Whether all of this TARP money was spent wisely, that's another thing.

BLITZER: What do you think of this tea party movement?

TRUMP: It's extremely powerful. And I love it. I love it. I think it's great. Because they are telling people we're watching you. I really love it. They're saying that we don't Want china to take over the United States. They're saying that we don't want to see oil prices at $75 if they're supposed to be at $20 a barrel, and we don't want to be paying all of this money.

There are a lot of great things happening in the so-called tea party movement. And I'll tell you, it got people thinking. It got people on the Democratic side and the Republican side thinking.

BLITZER: And these candidates like Christine O'Donnell and Rand Paul and Sharron Angle, what do you think about them?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not saying -- I'm not particularly talking about any candidate. I'm just saying that the Tea Party has the Democrats and the Republicans starting to think for the first time in a long time.

This country is going to go down if they don't change their policies, and they better change them fast. We have deficits like we've never had before, ever before. I mean, I never heard the world "trillion" until about a year ago. I never heard of it. I heard billions and billion, but now all of a sudden trillion is like a routine. And they're always using it with respect to the deficit. You look at our deficits with China, you look at our deficits with other countries, we're not running the country right.

So, the Tea Party is getting people that don't focus. All they want to do is to raise the taxes and give money away, to getting people to focus on what has to happen. If you look at what Chris Christie is doing, who I think is a great guy.

BLITZER: In New Jersey, the governor.

TRUMP: And if you look at what he is doing in New Jersey, it's a fantastic thing. It's revelation. He's cutting the budget by $11 billion, and you know what? The people are going to be better off for it.

But he doesn't just cut. He explains why he's cutting and how he's cutting and how in ten years, they're going to be better off. He's doing a great job, Chris Christie.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Even Donald Trump's TV show, though, is reflecting the harsh economic times we all live in. He gives us a little taste of what to expect on the new season of "The Apprentice." That's coming up later. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have to tell you, it's a little bit hard to watch in a sense. It's not easy. It's not easy. It's much different than the original version.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There's more of my interview with Donald Trump coming up, but first more on his support for the Tea Party movement here in the United States. He says it is powerful, and he loves it.

Let's talk about that and more with CNN's John King. He's the host of "JOHN KING USA," which begins right at the top of the hour, and our chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. She hosts "STATE OF THE UNION" Sunday mornings, 9 a.m. Eastern.

Will these high-profile endorsements, John, like Donald Trump's, for example, help the Tea Party candidates win on November 2?

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: I think they'd rather maybe he sent a contribution, Wolf. Look, Donald Trump is interesting. It is interesting to see what you would consider to be a corporate establishment guy. The Tea Party runs against the political establishment. Here's a guy in the corporate establishment saying what a wonderful thing it is.

Certainly, it generates more talk about the Tea Party. Are there Tea Party people out there in the state of Delaware or Nevada or Kentucky who are looking for Donald Trump's guidance. I think they already have their energy in this election, but it is proof that he is so captivated by it, that it is the biggest and most intriguing force in our politics today.

BLITZER: He says it reflects the deep anger, Candy, anger we haven't seen in this country in a long time. How angry are the voters right now?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, from what we can tell, listen, I think the most damaging thing is that there's a lot of anxiety out there. I mean, the anger fuels the Tea Party, but what gets people like Donald Trump looking at them is the anxiety.

And you saw it running all through his interview. When you look at the Tea Party and what they say they stand for, which is doing something about the trade that's coming in from China that's wrecking our trade surplus -- trade deficit.

If you look at the spending that's going on in Washington, these are all things that Trump brought up in his interview and all things that the Tea Party says it stands for. I didn't take it as an overall endorsement of the Tea Party so much as an "I love the energy." They're fundamentally changing the country, and he clearly is a man who thinks there need to be fundamental changes. You heard, John, Donald Trump say he's not sure the president can recover, can win in 2012. I think it's still early to make any such predictions, but it does underscore how much trouble he thinks the president is in right now.

KING: You are dead right, it's way too early to make such predictions, because how the Republicans do in the midterm elections will do a lot about the political dynamic that President Obama will face down the road.

But this narrative that Obama is weak, that Obama may be a one- term president, has caught on. You hear it in political circles, hear it from Donald Trump. You're hearing it in business and corporate circles. And you hear it when you just travel the country and just talk to people who are involved somewhat -- sometimes intensely in politics, sometimes just tangentially.

I was up in Massachusetts last night to moderate the governor's debate, and that's what everyone wanted to talk about. Is Obama really that weak? Is Obama going to be OK? But this will be a very different conversation the day after the elections in November, and then a year after that, when we see how the new Washington works itself out.

BLITZER: And Candy, a lot of us remember the '94 midterm elections. The Democrats lost the House and the Senate, and a lot of folks think that made President Clinton a better president, having to work with a Republican majority in both houses. Is it possible Obama could be a better president if the Republicans are in the majority?

CROWLEY: Well, sure, it's possible. I mean, the reason that worked for President Clinton was it pushed him back to the middle, where most of the country still is, and it made -- it gave him an enemy if he needed it. And boy, if you could give me back a Democratic Senate back or Democratic House back, I could do more. So it gave him both things. It put him in a better political position, and it gave him someone to bounce off of.

So could happen to President Obama? Absolutely, it could, but you know, this has been a really interesting time. We wouldn't have been talking about this, you know, eight months ago, so a lot can change between now and then.

BLITZER: Certainly true indeed. Candy, thanks very much.

John, we'll see you right at the top of the hour.

We'll get back to my interview with Donald Trump. That's coming up. He reveals a major change in the new season of "The Apprentice," and what makes it so different from the original? Here's hint: the economy.

And up next, a check of our other top stories, including President Obama's secret for staying calm in one of the most stressful jobs imaginable.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Kate Bolduan is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Kate, what do you have?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, listen to this one. About 5 million cans of powdered Similac baby formula are being recalled because they contain beetle parts. Included in the voluntary recall, certain Similac product lines offered in plastic containers and other powdered formula in various-sized cans.

The makers of Similac say the FDA has determined the potentially tainted products do not pose a health risk, though, but the beetle parts could cause intestinal irritation.

Around Capitol Hill, lawmakers are investigating the recent salmonella outbreak that led to a massive recall of eggs. How can we forget? But they didn't learn much today from the owner of one farm at the center of the recall. Orland Bethel of Hillandale Farms took the Fifth at a House committee hearing. The owner of Wright County Egg which also was involved in the recall, did talk. He apologized to anyone who was sickened by the tainted eggs.

And Florida Governor Charlie Crist says his state will immediately stop enforcing a law barring gay -- gay men and lesbians from adopting children. He made the announcement today shortly after a Florida appeals court upheld a lower court ruling striking down the ban. The court cited equal protection under the law and said there was, quote, "no rational basis" to prevent gay parents from adopting.

Two sources close to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel tell CNN he may step down as early as October to focus on running for mayor of Chicago. The sources tell us Emanuel hasn't made a definite decision on whether or not to run, but they say if he does take the plunge, he realized he'll have to move quickly to get the campaign off the ground.

And President Obama held a back-yard discussion on health-care reform at a home in Falls Church, Virginia, today but he strayed off topic for a bit to tell the crowd about a question he often faces about how he manages stress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People ask me, sort of how do I stay calm in my job? The reason I stay calm in my job is that every night at 6:30, no matter how busy I am, I go upstairs. I've got a very short commute. And I go upstairs, and I have dinner with my wife and my daughters.

And as long as they're doing good, as long as they're healthy and happy and running around and telling me stories about the crazy things that happened at school today, then there's a certain baseline that just gives you that sense, well, I can take anything, right?

Now, the flipside is when Malia or Sasha get a sniffle or an ear infection or a scrape or a bruise, I'm over there just miserable. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Dinner with the family helps anyone out, I would say, with stress.

And speaking of dinner, Wolf, any dinner plans with Mr. Trump this evening for you?

BLITZER: No. No dinner plans. I am getting on a plane flying back on the shuttle.

BOLDUAN: Good. We miss you..

BLITZER: I'll be back. I'll be back.

Yes, and I think the president has a great way of expressing his feelings about his family, his two daughters, and very, very nice that is surely a way to ease some of the stress that comes with the job. Good for him. I'm glad he's having dinner every night with the wife and the kids. Wonderful family.

See you tomorrow, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: He made the fortune in real estate, but it was reality TV that certainly made Donald Trump a bona fide celebrity. And he says there's something different, though, in store for the upcoming season of his hit show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: One final question, "The Apprentice," a new season. It's a whole new concept this year?

TRUMP: Well, this year it's a whole new concept, and it's a little bit nasty, I must tell you, because it's people that are taken from this horrible economy that we have, and they don't have jobs. They had great jobs when "The Apprentice" started, because when "The Apprentice" started six years ago, everybody was go-go.

Now these people are wiped out. I mean, they're down and out. And it's a whole new thing. We do the "Celebrity Apprentice," start shooting that in two weeks, because everyone wants to be a "Celebrity Apprentice."

But we wanted to do a regular "Apprentice" showing people -- we have one person, top of their class at Stanford Law School, selling cupcakes. We have engineers with no jobs. We had one man had a great job. Now he's got no job. He's got five children and a wife. Has zero income coming in, no nothing. And we're showing that.

And I have to tell you, it's a little bit hard to watch in a sense. It's not easy. It's not easy. It's much different than the original version, but I think it's interesting, and it in some cases, inspirational. In other cases, it's very sad, because some of these people are never going to make it.

BLITZER: Never?

TRUMP: The world, the economy, the country, it's just absolutely knocked them out of the box. It's tough. It's going to be very tough for them.

BLITZER: Donald Trump, thanks as usual.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Good luck.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And should two Los Angeles departments have been able to create more than 55 jobs with $111 million in government stimulus money? Jack Cafferty next with the e-mail.

And the one kiss that has countless tween girls crying. Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Jack's here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is just unbelievable. Should two Los Angeles departments been able to create more than 55 jobs with $111 million in stimulus money? The hint on this question is yes.

Bobby in L.A. writes: "Since I live in Los Angeles and am forced to drive on poorly renovated freeways and streets every time I leave my house, I think the city could and should have accomplished a lot more than it has with this money. It's poor management, I'm sorry to say. Too many people taking too long to agree on decisions and then actually implement what the city has needed for years."

Craig in Arizona writes: "This is about what I expect from government. That's why it's so alarming to see my fellow citizens calling for the confiscation of wealth from the people who produce in this country. It will all go to waste and line the pockets of bureaucrats and government officials. The new rich may likely be your local government officials."

R. writes from Santa Rosa, California: "The private sector would hire 50 people in China, and the CEO and his or her friends would pocket the rest."

Lynn writes: "My husband is a general contractor trying to pick up any little job he can in many Florida counties with funds from the federal government. The money has been sitting there and sitting there and sitting there, and no one is letting any contracts for anything. No contracts are being awarded. What the hell is going on?"

Lameck writes: "This shows where our problem is. The good intentions and efforts of the federal government getting curtailed by the few who are charged with the duty to implement."

Bob in Long Island writes: "Where are the watchdogs? Hello, Joe Biden, are you home?"

He was supposed to be the watchdog over all this, remember?

Jim in Colorado: "Some years ago, the French came up with the perfect solution to this sort of thing. They simply removed the heads of the people running the country."

And Tom in Texas writes: "Name the 55 Democrats who got those jobs. You know the Republicans wouldn't work for just $2 million a year."

If you want to read more on this, find it on my blog: CNN.com/CaffertyFile. Giggling our way through the e-mails. It's not funny. It's not funny.

BLITZER: Shocking.

CAFFERTY: It's terrible.

BLITZER: Makes my blood boil.

CAFFERTY: Well, you can't -- now, don't get upset. We need you to be calm.

BLITZER: But it's terrible.

CAFFERTY: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. We can't have you going off. A hundred and eleven million dollars, 55 jobs.

BLITZER: It's not good.

CAFFERTY: I could do better than that.

BLITZER: Obviously. Thanks.

Bob Woodward's new book on the Obama administration comes out next week, but a sneak preview in "The Washington Post" is already causing a stir in Washington. We'll have more on the fallout. That's coming up at the top of the hour on "JOHN KING USA."

But first, Justin Bieber fans are up in arms over this TMZ picture showing the singer kissing a girl. This most unusual story with Jeanne Moos right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Justin Bieber fans call themselves True Beliebers, but now doubt has crept into their hearts. They're distraught over a photo showing the pop star kissing a girl. Here with their most unusual reaction, CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Usually they scream for him, but now they're shedding bitter tears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I love Justin Bieber.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What, mommy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have to cry because we love Justin Bieber.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we do. Sometimes.

MOOS: And this is one of those times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so depressed right now.

MOOS: Teenaged girls worldwide are depressed because Justin Bieber was photographed apparently kissing the girl featured in his song "Baby."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that little...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Making out.

MOOS: Every time the 16-year-old heartthrob kisses someone, fans weep.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it going to be all right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MOOS: Take the time Bieber was kissed by a blonde backstage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's too old for him to be kissing on the lips.

MOOS: As one girl posted after this latest apparent kiss, "My life is now officially pointless."

The heartbreaking photographs obtained by TMZ were...

MINA PARKER, TMZ PRODUCER: Actually shot by a Canadian tourist who pulled up alongside Justin Bieber while he was in the back seat of this Honda.

MOOS (on camera): TMZ reports a source close to Bieber says he was more upset about being caught in a Honda than being caught kissing.

(voice-over) The girl in question...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jasmine -- however you say her name.

MOOS: Villegas. Jasmine Villegas has in the past denied any romance.

JASMINE VILLEGAS, ACTRESS: No, don't worry about it. We're definitely just friends.

MOOS: As if that's going to console anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to go listen to some of his songs? Will that make you feel better?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, that makes me cry again.

MOOS: And now some of his fans, fans who used to kiss his picture...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love Justin Bieber.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing.

MOOS: ... are debating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if I should tear down my Justin Bieber posters.

MOOS: The truth is harsh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The chances of Justin Bieber falling in love with you is slim to none.

MOOS: But some interrupt their tears with eternal optimism.

(PHONE RINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love -- I bet that's Justin Bieber.

MOOS: Some are taking it out on the girl Bieber seems to be smooching.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's so dead.

MOOS (on camera): Yikes. Beware of the wrath coming from the mouths of babes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't kiss him ever again, lady.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't love Justin Bieber.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't love Justin Bieber.

MOOS: ... New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: You 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.

You can also follow THE SITUATION ROOM on Facebook. Go to Facebook.com/CNNSituationRoom to become a fan.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. "JOHN KING USA" starts right now.