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Mitt Romney Delivered his Foreign Policy Speech in Israel; Ebola Virus is Spreading in Uganda; Michael Phelps Failed to Win Gold Medal in Olympics
Aired July 29, 2012 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN HOST: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rob Marciano, in today for Fredricka Whitfield.
Top of the news, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning overseas today. In Israel, he delivered a get talk on ran speech a few hours ago. We'll bring you that speech in its entirety in just a few moments. But first here are other stories making news this hour.
The suspected gunman from the Colorado shootings will be in court tomorrow. Prosecutors will file formal charges against James Holmes. He's expected to face 12 counts of first-degree murder. Holmes is accused of opening fire at an Aurora movie theater, killing more than 12 people a week ago.
And in Syria where rebels and government forces are still fighting to gain control of Aleppo, the country's main commercial center.
Syria's state TV says, rebels suffered big losses after clashes in three neighborhoods in Aleppo.
Our Ivan Watson is witnessing some of the fighting firsthand from northern Syria. Earlier, he told me about an army base that's surrounded by rebels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the last hour I've been watching rebels attack on a Syrian army base located just outside the northern limits of that city of Aleppo. It started around sunset with great deal of rocket fire and mortar fire and machine gunfire. And we've basically been watching constant tracer fire at night, focused on this Syrian army base and emerging from this Syrian army base.
The rebels seem to be attacking this base, which has an estimated 14 tanks and about more than 200 soldiers from many different directions. And I've travelled in the villages around this army base. They're almost surrounded by sympathizers and supporters of the rebels. The army base appears to have called an outside artillery support. It sounds like it has come all the way from the city of Aleppo just a few miles away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: Civilians have been fleeing the town; some of them are even trying to cross the border into Turkey.
To Africa now where at least 14 people are dead after an outbreak of Ebola in western Uganda. The country's health industry said at least 20 cases if the virus have been reported. Officials from the World Health Organization and he Centers for Disease Control are investigating the outbreak. People are being told to avoid public gatherings and areas affect and do not eat dead animals. There's no cure or vaccine for Ebola.
And now to Mitt Romney's speech in Israel today. The Republican candidate for president talked tough on Iran and called Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state, some controversial comments to be sure. Here's his full remark unedited.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a pleasure and a privilege to be in Israel again and to see so many dear friends. To step foot into Israel is to step foot in a nation that began with an ancient promise made in this land. The Jewish people persisted to one of the most monstrous crimes in human history, and now this nation has come to take its place among the most impressive democracies on earth.
Israel's achievements are a wonder of the modern world. These achievements are a tribute to the resilience of the Israeli people. You've managed against all odds time and again throughout your history to persevere, to rise up, and to emerge stronger.
The historian Paul Johnson writing on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Jewish state said that over the course of Israel's life, 100 completely new independent states had come into existence. Quote, "Israel is the only one whose creation can fairly be called a miracle," he wrote. It's a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: Our two nations are separated by more than 5,000 miles, but for an American abroad, you can't get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel. We're part of the great fellowship of democracies. We speak the same language of freedom and justice and the right of every person to live in peace. We serve the same cause, and we provoke the same hatreds in the same enemies of civilization. It is my firm conviction that the security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States.
ROMNEY: Ours is not an alliance based only on shared interests but also on enduring shared values. In those shared values, one of the strongest voices is that of your prime minister, my friend Benjamin Netanyahu. I met with him earlier this morning, and I look forward to my family joining with his this evening as they close the fast of this Tisha B'av day. It's remarkable to consider how much adversity over so great a span of time is recalled by just one day on the calendar. This is a day of remembrance and mourning. But like other such occasions, it also calls for clarity and resolve.
At this time we also remember the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were massacred at the Munich Olympics four years ago.
ROMNEY: And ten years ago this week, nine Israeli and American students were murdered in a terrorist attack at Hebrew University. Tragedies like these are not reserved to the past. They're a constant reminder of the reality of hate and the will with which that hate is executed upon the innocent because I'm not going to beg them. It was who said this about the ninth of the month of Av. We remember, he said, and now have the responsibility to make sure that never again will our independence be destroyed and never again will the Jew become defensive or homeless. This, he added, is the crux of the problem facing us in the future.
So it's today as Israel faces enemies who deny past crimes against the Jewish people and seek to commit new ones, but Iran's leaders deny the holocausts or speak of wiping the nation off the map only the naive or worse would dismiss it as excessive rhetoric.
Make no mistake. The Ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object or who will look the other way. My message of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one in the same. We will not look away, nor will our country ever look away to our passion and commitment to Israel.
ROMNEY: As Prime Minister Baggen put it in vivid and haunting words, if the enemy of the Jewish people says he seeks to destroy us, believe him. We've seen the horrors of history. We will not stand by. We will not watch them play out again. It would be foolish not to take Iran's leaders at their word. They are, after all, the product of a radical theocracy.
Over the years Iran has amassed a brutal and bloody record. It has seized embassies and killed its own people. It supports the ruthless Assad regime in Syria. The provide weapons that have killed American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has plotted to assassinate diplomats on American soil. It is Iran that is the leading state sponsor of terrorism and the most destabilizing nation in the world. We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran leaders that means to follow through on their level intentions.
ROMNEY: We should stand with all who would join our effort to prevent a nuclear armed Iran, and that includes Iranian dissidents. Don't erase from your memory the scenes from three years ago when that regime brought to death its own people as they rose up. The threat we face does not come from the Iranian people but from the regime that oppresses them.
Five years ago at the Herz Leah (ph) conference, I stated my view that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons capability presents an intolerable threat to Israel, to America, and to the world. That threat has only become worse. Now is then the regime's claim that it seeks to enrich nuclear for peaceable purposes are belied by years of malign deception. Now is then the conduct of Iran's leaders gives us no reason to trust them with nuclear material.
But today the regime in Iran is five years closer to developing nuclear weapons capability. Preventing that outcome must be our highest national security priority. I want to pause on that point. It's sometimes said that those most can committed to stopping the regime are reckless and provocative and inviting war. The opposite is true.
We're the true peacemakers. History teaches with force and clarity that when the world's most despotic regimes secure the world's most destructive weapons peace often gives way to weapons, to violence, or to devastating war. We must not delude ourselves into thinking containment is an option. We must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from his nuclear course. And it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so.
In the finally analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. We recognize Israel's right to defend itself and that it is right for America to stand with you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ROMNEY: These are some of the principles I outlined five years ago at the Herz Leah (ph) conference. What was timely then has become urgent today.
MARCIANO: You're listening to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's speech made in Jerusalem earlier today. In the rest of his speech he turns his attention to Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. We'll bring you the rest of the speech in just a few minutes.
We'll also hear reactions from Israelis and President Obama's foreign policy adviser to his campaign.
MARCIANO: And now let's get back to the rest of Mitt Romney's speech in Israel. In this part of his speech, the Republican candidate for president turns his attention to Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.
ROMNEY: Let me turn from Iran to other nations in the Middle East where we see rising tumult and chaos. To the north, Syria is on the brink of a civil war. The dictator in Damascus, no friend to Israel, no friend to America, slaughters his own people as he desperately clings to power.
Your other neighbor to the north, Lebanon, is under the growing and dangerous influence of Hezbollah after a year of upheaval and unrest. Egypt now has an Islamist president, chosen in a democratic election. Hopefully this new government understands that one true measure of democracy is how those elected by the majority respect the rights of those in the minority. The international community must use its considerable influence to ensure that the new government honors the peace agreement with Israel that was signed by the government under Anwar Sadat.
ROMNEY: As you know only too well, since Hamas took control the Gaza strip in 2007, thousands of rockets have rained on Israeli's homes and cities. I've walked on the streets of Sharratt and honored the results of its people and now new attacks have been launched from the Sinai Peninsula.
With Hezbollah rockets aimed from the north and Hamas rockets aimed from the south, with much of the Middle East in tumult. With Iran bent on nuclear arms, America's vocal and demonstrative commitment to the defense of Israel is even more critical. Whenever the security of Israel is most in doubt America's commitment to Israel must be most secure.
ROMNEY: When the decision was before him in 1948, President Harry Truman decided without hesitation that the United States would be the first country to recognize the state of Israel. From that moment to this, we've been the most natural of allies, but our alliance runs deeper than the designs of strategy or the weighing of interests.
The story of how America, a nation still so new to the world by the standards of this ancient region, rose up to become a dear friend of the people of Israel is among the finest and most hopeful in our nation's history. Different as our paths have been, we see the same qualities in one another. Israel and America are in many respects reflections of one another. We both believe in democracy, in the right of every people to select their leaders and choose their nation's course. We both believe in the rule of law, knowing that in its absence, willful men may incline to oppress the weak. We both believe that our rights are universal granted not by government but by our creator. We both believe in free enterprise because it is the only economic system that has lifted people from poverty, created a large and enduring middle class, and that has inaugurated incomparable achievements and human flourishing.
Someone who has spent most of the his life in business, I'm particularly impressed with Israel's cutting-edge technologies and thriving economy. We recognize yours as the start-up nation and the evidence is all around us. You have embraced economic liberty. You export technology, not Tierney or terrorism. And today you're innovators and entrepreneurs have made the desert bloom and have made for a better world.
The citizens of our country are fortunate to share in the economic rewards of our freedom and in the creativity of our respective entrepreneurs. What you have built here with your hands is a tribute to your people and a model for other people throughout the world.
ROMNEY: Finally we both believe in the freedom of expression because we are confident in our ideas and in the ability of our men and women to think for themselves. We don't fear open debate. If you want to hear some very sharp criticisms of Israel and its policies you don't have cross any borders. All you have to do is walk down the street and step into the cafe. There you'll hear people reasoning, arguing, or speaking their mind or just pick up an Israeli newspaper. You'll find some of the toughest criticism of Israel you'll read anywhere.
Your nation like ours is stronger for this energetic exchange of ideas and opinions. That's the way it is in a free society. There are many millions of people in the Middle East who would cherish the opportunity to do the same thing. These decent men and women desire nothing more than to live in peace and freedom and to have the opportunity to not only choose their government but to criticize it openly without fear of repression or repercussion.
I believe that those who oppose these fundamental rights are on the wrong side of history, but history's march can be ponderously and painfully slow. We have a duty to speed and shape history by being unapologetic ambassadors for the values we share.
The United States and Israel have shown that we can build strong economies and strong militaries, but we must also build strong arguments that advance our values and promote peace. We must work together to change hearts and awaken minds through the power of freedom, free enterprise, and human rights.
I believe that the enduring alliance between the state of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance. It's a force for good in the world. America's support of Israel should make every American proud. We should not allow the inevitable complexities of modern geopolitics to obscure fundamental touchdowns. No country or organization or individual should ever doubt this basic truth of free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel.
ROMNEY: And standing by Israel does not mean with military and intelligence cooperation alone. We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel voice their criticisms, and we certainly should not join in that criticism. Diplomatic distance in our public between our nations emboldens Israel's adversaries.
ROMNEY: By history and by conviction, our two countries are bound together. No individual, no nation, no world organization will pry us apart. As long as we stay together and stand together, there is no threat with cannot overcome and very little that we cannot achieve.
I love this country. I love America. I love the friendship and passion we have for the values which we share. Thank you for your support today. May God bless my country of America and may he bless and protect the nation of Israel. Thank you so much.
(CHEERS AND PLACE)
MARCIANO: We're going to head back to Israel in just a moment to get reaction to Romney's speech from Israelis to the foreign policy adviser to President Obama's policy campaign.
MARCIANO: Let's talk more about Mitt Romney's visit to Israel. It is part of a three-country trip designed to showcase his foreign policy credentials. Before Romney delivered that foreign policy speech that we just played before for you, he sat down with our Wolf Blitzer. Here's some of that discussion.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL HOST: Do you consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel?
ROMNEY: Yes, of course. A nation has the capacity to choose its own capital. And Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
BLITZER: If you become president of the United States would you move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
ROMNEY: I think it's long been the policy of our country to ultimately have our embassy in the nation's capital of Jerusalem. The decision to actually make the move is one if I were president I would want to take in consultation with the leadership of the government which exists at that time. So I would follow the same policy we have in the past. Our embassy would be in the capital, but that's -- the timing of that is something I'd want to work out with the government.
BLITZER: With the government of Israel?
ROMNEY: With the government of Israel.
BLITZER: But every Israeli government has always asked every U.S. government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
ROMNEY: Well, that would make the decision easy, but I would still want to have that communication --
BLITZER: Just to be precise, if you are president, you would consult with Israeli government and if they said please move the embassy, you would do that. ROMNEY: I'm not going to make foreign policy for my nation, particularly when I'm on foreign soil. My understanding is the policy for our nation has been a desire to move our embassy ultimately to the capital. That's something which I would agree with, but I would only want to do so and select the timing in accordance with the government of Israel.
MARCIANO: You could see Wolf's full interview with Romney tomorrow during "the SITUATION ROOM."
Now for reaction to Romney's speech today in Israel let's bring in CNN's Sara Sidner. She's live from Jerusalem.
Sara, how were Romney's remarks received?
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Depends on who you talk to. You heard there Mitt Romney talking to our Wolf Blitzer and talking about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, which Israel has long said, but, of course, the Palestinians really angered by his comments.
The Palestinians believe that east Jerusalem should be their capital in a two-state solution. Israel claimed Jerusalem as theirs in the 1967 war and it's been a bone of contention between the two ever since.
And so there's one group that is quite happy with what Mitt Romney said. The Israelis, you could hear them clapping there. The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actually made a statement after Mitt Romney's speech thanking him for his stance on Iran, for backing Israel, and for calling Jerusalem Israel's capital.
So you can see that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu very happy with his old friend Mitt Romney. You know they have a long relationship. They've known each other since the '70s when they worked at a consulting firm together.
But let's get back to one of the main points of Mitt Romney's speech, which was aimed at Iran, basically saying the U.S. must lead the charge to make sure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Make no mistake. The ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one in the same. We will not look away. Nor will my country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SIDNER: So, you heard there that he would back Israel, and he said time and again on this visit that he would back Israel even if Israel decided that it need to defend itself or it need perhaps to attack Iran. So, some strong statements there. As you know President Obama and the Obama administration has been trying to tamp down a talk of a strike and try to let go of diplomatic relations and Iran getting a nuclear weapon.
Iran has long said it's not trying to obtain nuclear weaponry. That it's simply using its nuclear program for things such as electricity - Rob.
MARCIANO: Sara, you know, in the UK, he had a few miscues. How is the trip going in general other than the speech where he had strong words? He went to the western wall. Any miscues in Israel?
SIDNER: Well, the Israeli leadership certainly seems to be very pleased with what's happened so far, although there were a couple of members of the opposition who -- members, leaders of the labor party who were pretty upset with Mitt Romney because he at the very last minute canceled his meetings with them. They said they suspected that Benjamin Netanyahu was behind that cancellation, so they made a statement saying they were not pleased at all that Mitt Romney canceled the meeting.
Then there was a bit of a controversy over this planned dinner that Romney was going to have just before he got there. He with us going to have a big dinner that was for fund-raising but it actually was going to be on a day when Jews were fasting, a very important Jewish holiday known as Tisha B'av.
So, these things though have sort of been overshadowed with the extreme happiness that the Israeli leadership had had so far on what Mitt Romney has said, talking very strongly about a relationship he believe has a relationship that has to be strong between Israel and the United States as well as slamming Iran in saying that he backs whatever decision Israel might make to defend itself - Rob.
MARCIANO: As we know, Sara, it's not easy trying to make everybody side happy.
Sara Sidner, live for us from Jerusalem. Thank you, Sara.
A reaction to Romney's remarks came swiftly from the Obama campaign. Tim Roemer, the foreign policy adviser to the president's campaign spoke with CNN's Candy Crowley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM ROEMER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: The threshold for Governor Romney quite frankly, Candy, is this. Is he's equipped? Is he prepared to be a commander in chief? And when he gets off on the first leg of his trip and he goes to great Britain and he insults the British people and David Cameron, the prime minister, and the mayor of London both rebuke him, the question becomes this is, if he can't engage our allies on a simple topic like the international Olympics, how is he going to be tough enough to stand up to our gravest enemies like Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: Obama adviser speaking earlier today with CNN's Candy Crowley.
Back to Romney's comments today about the capital of Israel and his remarks about moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Earlier today, I talked with CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein about the impact of what Romney said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There is law dating back in 1995 that says it's the policy of the U.S. that Jerusalem is the capital of the three consecutive presidents have used their authority to waive the provisions of the law for the exact reasons that were cited, the potential impact so -- on the Arab world. So, we don't know in the long run if Romney wins, what will happen.
I mean, the U.S. relationship to moving its embassy to Jerusalem is a little like are passed it to China and Taiwan. It is one of these places where there is a calculated ambiguity at the heart of American foreign policy. And I think it would be premature to assume from Romney's comments today that in fact, he would depart from that tradition as president, all of the same pressure that have moved the last three presidents would be his if he wins as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein on Romney's comments in Israel.
Also overseas but out of politics, there's a new deadly outbreak of Ebola virus has seen from the centers for disease controls on its way to help. We are tracking that story.
MARCIANO: To a developing story in Africa. And outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Uganda has killed at least 14 people. Health officials are now scrambling to contain it. And our Nick Valencia has been following the story.
You spoke a month or so reporting other things as you know the country. I spoke with the CDC earlier. They have a team there. And I guess they're probably sending more people. What's the plan to try to contain them?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is really scary. You know, Rob, there's vaccine for this right now and 14 people have died already with the course of last month, 20 cases reported. The CDC has seen things like this before. There have been outbreaks in the country. So, they say there is precedence set.
We spoke to a spokesman earlier, Mr. Skinner from the CDC. He says that they are optimistic about dealing with this outbreak, but they still just don't know entirely what strain it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM SKINNER, CDC SPOKESMAN: In the past when we've seen these outbreaks and were able to do really good contract tracing as well as perform, you know, good infection control and healthcare facilities, these outbreaks have a tendency to, you know, sort of stamp themselves out, if you will. If we can get in and sort of stop the chain of transmission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: So this ultimately is about disease control for the CDC. As you mentioned, Rob, they have a permanent team there by the epidemiologists but they're sending more in just to deal with the health officials there. The ministry of health is trying to figure out what they are dealing with and if this can spread.
MARCIANO: That means it's much more complicated than throwing a tarp on in the situation.
MARCIANO: I mean, they have to investigate where it came from and I suppose much like the movie back 15 years ago which was scary enough as it is.
Now, some of the larger populated cities, the capital and some of the bigger cities, what's going on there? Are people concerned about that spreading?
VALENCIA: Well, we did call residents in Kampala earlier just a couple of hours ago, just to get at mood and sort of sentiment of what the residents there are of fearing. And there is concern -- we are hearing local news reports that residents are pulling from that Kibaale district. You're looking at the map, a few hundred kilometers from Kampala.
So, it is a ways away from the more densely populated areas. Having said that, you know, they're always concerned because their inoculation, incubation period I should say, of the Ebola virus between two to 21 days, you can carry around the disease. And in theory, just not know that you have it. So there is concern now that people are leaving that region going to other areas that they could be transmitting it to other residents.
MARCIANO: So, that alone has the CDC, you know, on the way to get there. All right, some intense stuff. We'll be getting updates every day.
Nick Valencia, thanks so much brother.
All right, well, survivor of the Colorado Movie Theater shooting was hit three times makes a very emotional journey today. We're going to bridge you that story next.
MARCIANO: The suspected gunman in the Colorado shootings will be in court tomorrow. Prosecutors will file formal charges against James Holmes. He's expected to face 12 counts of first-degree murder. Holmes is accused of opening fire at the Aurora movie theater killing 12 people, more than week ago.
As for the survivors, some are turning to faith to help them heal. Here's a look at one person who went to church today for the first time since the shooting more than a week ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's put our hands together and welcome Piers O'Farrell today.
Could you walk us back to the night of the shooting?
PIERCE O'FARRELL, COLORADO SHOOTING VICTIM: We walked into that theater, and the whole place was completely packed, and here were two seats like they were just waiting for us.
I do believe the lord wanted me in that theater and I believe he protected me for a reason. Maybe this is, you know, the reason is to show what I've been praying for the last year every day is, Lord, help me, help me, give me a way to shoulder the world who you are, and, you know, if this is that reason, then halleluiah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got a long ways go. He's got a lot of healing to take place and obviously this has been extremely difficult. But, I think he's very optimistic, very positive, very upbeat for the future.
O'FARRELL: The bullet went straight into my arm. I was lying on my side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn't dwell. He's not one to complain on how he's feeling, what's going on, what's going on, this is happening to me. He's not the victim at all. He's very strong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's always been so positive, and he's just been filled with joy and love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saturday he came out and said he had for given the gunman. I think Pierce knows who he is and what he's about. Forgiveness is very important. It can damage relationships. It can even cause health issues, un-forgiveness. It can make for miserable people.
O'FARRELL: After the trial, everything's done, I want to meet him and the very first thing I want to say is, James, I forgive you.
ROMNEY: Well, the opening ceremonies are done with, and the first Olympic medals have already been handed out, so let's go to NPR sports correspondent, Mike Pesca. He's in London for this week's smart sports segment.
Mike, you spoke about how the British are kind of taking this approach about the controversy swirling around the games. What do you mean by that?
MIKE PESCA, NPR SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, look. England's a great country. I put them on my podium. But the press here does have a tendency to blow some things up.
MARCIANO: No. Come on.
PESCA: Yes. No, it's true. They have a kind of tabloid tendency at times. And so, if the South Korean flag is displayed while the North Koreans are playing soccer, it's seen as this huge controversy. But isn't that really North Korea being a little touchy. And if some welsh members of the Great Britain's soccer team which is a new thing, all the Great Britain have one football team. If they choose not to sing "God Save the Queen," isn't that really their right, but it's treated as a huge scandal and huge controversy.
You know, in general I think they've been doing a pretty good job with the games. And as more and more sport is played, more and more attention will be given to that.
MARCIANO: Well, they come up with some creative headlines. That is for sure. Only the "New York Post" really can compete here stateside.
You know what, maybe controversial or not, I know as a viewer it's a little bit frustrating. I'm sure as a spectator as well. I've seen a lot of empty seats in a lot of these bigger events. What's the word out there?
PESCA: No, I think that's a legitimate complaint. The thing is that it happen every Olympics. And it is because how the Olympics allocate its ticket. The Olympics family, which is the nice way of saying, the Olympics couple gives it to their member organizations and they are allowed to distribute them and tickets fall through the cracks.
And it's inevitable because it's not a system that is really based on, let's sell the most tickets. It is let's satisfy the most clients, i.e., individual Olympic committees.
It is got to be frustrating, you're a Londoner. You're here. You have to deal with the frustration of the game. You can't get tickets to the events and you watch them on the tele and there are all these empty seats. So, yes, that's a frustration, but it always been a frustration.
MARCIANO: Not a controversial, but certainly a big new, Michael Phelps not medaling in his first race. What is going on there?
PESCA: Well you know, Michael Phelps was - he did well at trials but it was seemed that he was maybe a little uninterested during training, certainly not the intense competitor he had been in Beijing. But people just said, he is Phelps, he will be able to kick it into an extra gear. Well, we saw that he didn't have that gear, at least on the first night.
But here's the funny things that happened. You know, in the four by 100, in the relay race that just took place, Phelps did wave his legs and it was Ryan Lochte who won the gold, who to be blunt, he kind lost it for the Americans. Or we could say that the French beat him. So, maybe Lochte didn't lose it. That's I think more in their keeping of the spirit of Olympics.
MARCIANO: That's right.
PESCA: Swimming is hard. You can't just tensile anyone in for wrap of gold medals. It's hard. It makes Phelps' achievement last Olympics all that more amazing.
MARCIANO: No, you're right. I mean, we weren't meant to be swimming under water very much at least. It's a difficult sport.
Let's talk about shooting. Kim Rhode has now won an individual medal in five straight games. That's just ridiculous, isn't it?
PESCA: It's unprecedented. Carl Lewis didn't do it. Al Oerter didn't do it. First American athlete to do that in five straight games. And let's face it, shooting as a sport, as spectator's sport, you know, it is not up there with basketball. But the spirit of the Olympics is you have to nod to talent and greatness wherever it lays. And I think what Kim Rhode did, starting at 17, winning a medal every Olympics since then. It's really quite amazing.
MARCIANO: He, listen. I love to have her on my side at least. If I were to get into a rough neighborhood, that would be a great asset.
Mike Pesca, thanks man. NPR Sports, we appreciate you.
PESCA: You're welcome.
We are going back to our top story, more reaction to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's speech today in Israel. Stay right there.
MARCIANO: Revisiting our top story, Mitt Romney's overseas campaign lands him in Israel. The Republican candidate for president visited the western wall before delivering a get tough speech on Iran. He also declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Reaction to Romney's remarks came swiftly from the Obama campaign. Tim Roemer, the foreign policy adviser to the President's campaign spoke with CNN's Candy Crowley.
ROEMER: First of all, Candy, as you and I were talking off air. President has been to Jerusalem and to Israel twice. He spent onto some of the cities --
CROWLEY: Not as president I should say, but go ahead.
ROEMER: When you go to Jerusalem and Israel, it's so powerful, so compelling, your heart comes out of your chest. You understand the shared values, common interest. The president has been there, felt it. He's been in the southern cities where terrorists have rained rockets upon the people of Israel. That's why he signed on Friday even more money to help the Israelis put together the iron dome to protect them.
So is Governor Romney, when he says, I would take the on sit view on Obama on issues as they relate to Israel, would he not fund to that particular dome? The president has also been there with Michelle. He has visited the holocaust museum in Jerusalem. He's been to the western wall, the healing wall. He has seen these common values and that's why security is in the record high in terms of our support. And that's why he has worked so closely with other nations in the world to build the tightest coalition to try to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power. He's been very effective and he's had diplomacy, economic sanctions, and the credible threat of a military strike.
MARCIANO: Well, that will do it for me. The CNN NEWSROOM continues at the top of the hour with Deborah Feyerick in for Don Lemon. I will be back with the weather low tomorrow on "EARLY START." Have a great week.