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Health Care Battle Heats Up; Joe Jackson Speaks Out

Aired July 21, 2009 - 20:00   ET



JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, here are the questions we want answered.

The honeymoon, oh, yes, it's over all right.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Others will simply focus on scoring political points.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: There's no question, we are at a crossroads.

ROBERTS: The president taking punches as Republicans ramp up the fight. Is the health care battle just the start of a whole new political slugfest?

How did this noted Harvard professor end up in handcuffs?

KELLY DOWNES, LEGAL ADVISER, CAMBRIDGE POLICE DEPARTMENT: It was not professor Gates' best moment, and it certainly wasn't the Cambridge Police Department's best moment.

ROBERTS: Police call it an unfortunate incident. Did race make the difference?

Joe Jackson in his first major live interview since Michael's death.

JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Well, I'm thinking that it is foul play. Yes, that's what I'm thinking.

ROBERTS: And then there's this.

JACKSON: And Michael was never beat by me, never beaten at all.

ROBERTS: Tonight, we're putting those and other claims to a truth test.

Childhood obesity, the numbers are alarming, but is that any excuse to charge a parent with neglect? Authorities are getting tough on this mom. And it's happening nationwide. Should having fat kids be a crime?


ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. In for Campbell Brown, John Roberts.

ROBERTS: Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining us.

Those are our big questions tonight. But we start as always with the "Mash-Up," our look at the stories making an impact right now and the moments that you might have missed. We're watching it all so you don't have to.

The health care war is heating up tonight, the White House now battling the ultimate Washington reality. More often than not, delay equals death. And today the call for delay is coming from within the president's own party, conservative House Democrats putting the brakes on the fast-paced negotiations on Capitol Hill, worried that the plan is too big, too expensive, and will just explode the deficit.

Tonight, in an interview with CBS News, President Obama seemed to be speaking just to them. He was on message.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's got to be deficit-neutral. It can't add to our deficits. I won't sign a bill that I think does not reduce costs, does not keep deficit-neutral. It will not add to the deficit. I will not sign a bill that adds to the deficit.


ROBERTS: President Obama extending one hand to conservative Democrats, slapping down Republicans with the other, seeking to persuade an increasingly skeptical public that any opposition to his plan is pure politics.


OBAMA: The American people have suffered because people in Washington played the politics of the moment.

So, let's fight our way through the politics of the moment.

We can choose progress over the politics of the moment.


ROBERTS: The White House political operation firing on all cylinders to save health care reform. Take their opposition research. Check out how they seized on comments a certain Republican senator made on a conference call. Before long, his words were on everyone's lips.


OBAMA: Just the other day, one Republican senator said -- and I'm quoting him now -- "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo.



OBAMA: Waterloo.





JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Waterloo, the defeat that cost Napoleon his empire.


ROBERTS: Yes. It was the Napoleonic Waterloo, not the ABBA Waterloo.

The Waterloo senator, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and today in an interview with FOX News, he was not backing off one bit.


SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We have got to stop him. We have cannot let him roll over us in the next couple of weeks. I'm ready for a debate, but he doesn't want to debate it, and I think he's played right into my hands.

They know they're slipping. They're panicking a little bit. Any time a president of the United States goes after a freshman senator, he's losing his grip.


ROBERTS: My, my, Senator.

Members of Congress questions on health care on visits home, but that's not the only thing on constituents' minds. Check out this extraordinary video of Republican Congressman Mike Castle's recent town meeting in Delaware. The woman you're about to see is waving her own birth certificate and demanding proof that President Obama is himself an American citizen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go back to January 20, and I want to know why are you people ignoring his birth certificate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is not an American citizen. He is a citizen of Kenya. I am an American. My father fought in World War II with the greatest generation in the Pacific Theater for this country. And I don't want this flag to be changed. I want my country back.

REP. MIKE CASTLE (R), DELAWARE: If you're referring to the president there, he is a citizen of the United States.


CASTLE: He is a citizen of the United States.


ROBERTS: The crowd's reaction just unbelievable. That clip has been viewed more than 465,000 times on YouTube.

A troubling story out of Boston tonight. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, one of the nation's preeminent African-American scholars, arrested in his own home.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, HOST, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": He got home Thursday from China, where he was making a PBS documentary. He tried to get in his own home in Cambridge, Mass., but his front door was stuck, so he used his key in the back door. Later, the cops arrived, responding to a burglary call, and he wound up under arrest. The charges have been dropped, but the stakes have just been raised.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get to allegations now, very disturbing allegations, that one of the most prominent scholars in the United States is a victim of racial profiling.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: The officer and Gates both contend they were being mistreated by the other person involved. The officer arrested Gates for -- quote -- "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior directed at a uniformed police officer."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite his criticism of the police, Gates and the Cambridge P.D. issued a joint statement, calling the incident -- quote -- "regrettable," one that shouldn't demean the reputation of either side.


ROBERTS: Much more on the story tonight, including an interview with the lawyer representing professor Gates.

Marines delving deeper into Afghanistan tonight. Our Ivan Watson embedded with them as they hit back at heroin, a deadly harvest for the war-torn country.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Marines that I'm with right now from the 2nd Armored -- Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, rather, they took a step this week that they believe will try to limit the number of deadly roadside bombs that the Taliban has access to.

They have been moving through a nearby market and gathering tons, literally tons of poppy seeds for that cash crop, which grows opium and can be used to make heroin.

Those are 1,000-pound bombs dropped on more than 1,600 sacks of poppy seed. It's going to definitely put a dent into the poppy harvest here in southern Afghanistan, which can be described as the opium capital of the world.


ROBERTS: Brave reporting from CNN's Ivan Watson in Helmand Province.

Back on our shores, tonight, a few thousand voters could have a huge say in the battle to legalize pot. In Oakland, California, votes are now being counted in a referendum that would tax medical marijuana. If it's approved, it would be the first tax on the drug. Meantime, California residents looking to toke up can use their iPhone to find out where. Check out this from "The CBS Early Show."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take a look, cannabis clubs on your iPhone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there's an app for just about anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Indeed there is. This $3 download from Apple will literally pinpoint pot sellers near you. This Google search of just one section of L.A. revealed 24 Starbucks, 10 McDonald's, and more than 39 shops selling medical marijuana.


ROBERTS: Yes, we just don't make this stuff up.

And that brings us to the mini melee between Jon Stewart and NBC newsman Brian Williams. No punches thrown, but enough heat to be tonight's punchline.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Walter Cronkite was a giant in the industry. Is that a man you looked up to? Is that a man who...

WILLIAMS: Who I wanted to be when I was a kid.

STEWART: Really?


It was like Carrot Top to you.


STEWART: Now, how does it feel to fall so short?


WILLIAMS: I think that ended up about even.



ROBERTS: Jon Stewart, Brian Williams, everybody.

And that is the "Mash-Up."

Can the president use his bully pulpit to get health care done? What could a final deal look like? Those questions to our panel coming up after the break.

And the Harvard professor arrested in his own home, police say it wasn't racism, just an unfortunate incident -- new details on what happened coming up.


ROBERTS: President Obama is in P.R. overdrive fighting to get health care reform through Congress. The ongoing battle shows the president and the Republicans are done being nice and are, in fact, ready to rumble.


OBAMA: This is all about politics. That describes exactly an attitude that we have got to overcome, because what folks have in their minds is that somehow this is about me.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Now the president wants Americans to trust him again. But he can't back up the utopian promises he's making about a government takeover of health care.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's made calls to Democrats and Republicans in the past few days. The staff has met endlessly with members on Capitol Hill to try to work toward a solution.

MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It's hard to be bipartisan when you're not even invited in the room, when you're not even taking the suggestions and recommendations of Republicans in the House and Senate and making it a part of the bill.


ROBERTS: Let's bring in our CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist James Carville. He's in New Orleans for us tonight. In Washington is Susan Molinari, who was a Republican congresswoman from New York. And our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is live in Washington tonight.

Candy, let's start with you.

The administration certainly showing a lot of concern about its signature issue. Are they still confident that they can get this done?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're certainly acting confidently. That's for sure.

And they -- and we have heard the president say in recent days, well, if the August deadline for getting bills on to the floor slips like a couple of days, a couple of weeks, then that's no big deal. So, that shows you that they understand that the deadline self-imposed by the president probably will not be met at this point.

But what Democrats at this point are looking for is a little less of the political back and forth -- the president has been out there; he's been very strong about his critics -- and a few more specifics from the president about what he actually wants.

ROBERTS: James, you know, today's remarks part of a weeklong blitz by the president. It includes a prime-time press conference tomorrow night, a town hall meeting on Thursday. Can he use the bully pulpit here to get what he wants on health care?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he's going to have to use a lot of different tools. And this is a big battle. It's very important. It's critical. I think he understands that.

And they have a legislative strategy. They have a P.R. strategy. And this thing is going to get very, very interesting here before it's over. And it's going to be kind of fun to watch it.

But I agree with Candy. I think that -- I don't think they're just acting confident. I think they're confident that they're going to get something. But, if you listen to us in the media, you listen to Republicans, it's all over; he's already lost this thing. So, it will be a big win if he gets it.

ROBERTS: Well, on the Republican front -- Susan Molinari, let's go to you for this -- the president accusing Republicans of attacking him, trying to score political points, instead of helping to enact health care reform.

Do Republicans just want to kill any chance of reform and maintain the status quo?

SUSAN MOLINARI (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, first of all, John, I think Republicans want to make sure that the bill that comes out, something that is being rushed through this by this arbitrary August 7 deadline, is something that can work for American people, that doesn't kill some of the finer points of health care, the incredible hospitals and doctor services, but allows health care to become more affordable, accessible, and control health costs. Well, number one, we know that this bill does not control health costs. CBO said that it increases the deficit by over $200 billion. And, number two, he can blame the Republicans, but his real problem is not the Republicans, is it? There's a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate now and an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives. He can blame the Republicans for partisanship, but it's the Democrats, the Blue Dogs, that are stopping it right now.

ROBERTS: Yes, no question he does have some problem with Democrats. They are worried about the cost.

MOLINARI: That's right.


ROBERTS: When Doug Elmendorf from the CBO went before Congress last week, as former Congresswoman Molinari pointed out, and said this was going to balloon the deficit by $240 billion over 10 years, Candy Crowley, Democrats in the Senate said, whoa, wait a minute. Let's take another look at this.


ROBERTS: How does the president win those people over?

CROWLEY: Well, it freaked them out, frankly. It really did, because they looked at that and said, whoa, because they're going to have to kind of put themselves out there to vote for something to begin with. And then to find out it wasn't even going to do what the president set out as one of his goals really made them, you know, walk back.

And I want to point out that the Democratic leader on the House side, Steny Hoyer, said, listen, this is not just conservatives, not just the Blue Dogs, as we call them. This is progressive and everyone in between.

What does the president do? He's going to have to get down to specifics, I think. He's going to have -- I mean, Capitol Hill is about nothing but wheeling and dealing. What does he have to give up or what does he have to put in order to pull over enough people to pass his bill or some form of the bill that he wants? And that's what it all comes down to, is horse-trading.

ROBERTS: James, one of those Democrats who is urging some caution here, a go-slow approach, is Mary Landrieu, who you know well, Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska. Also, Ron Wyden is saying, wait a minute, we need to slow down and take a close look at this whole thing.

But if the bill is delayed, you start to lose momentum. Could that kill it?

CARVILLE: Well, look, anything can happen. I don't know if it's going to matter. We're killing it on this show pretty good. If I'm listening to Candy and I'm listening to Susan Molinari, it's dead right now. I'm not sure that that's the case.

And it may be that it will be October. Who's going to care if they pass a bill on August the 7th or October 7? The answer, if they get one through, nobody. Look, it's tough sledding. People say, gee, it's an arbitrary deadline. Harry Truman tried this in 1948. It's been, by my count, 61 years that we have been trying it.

And, you know, he's closer than anybody has gotten so far. And let's not bury the corpse until it's dead. But let's see. This thing has a long way to go between now and the end of it. And we will see.

ROBERTS: Didn't Teddy Roosevelt also try?

CARVILLE: I don't know if he tried.


ROBERTS: I think Teddy Roosevelt tried, too.

Susan, finish this off here.

So, you say that Republicans do want reform, but we haven't seen much in terms of concrete proposals yet. Are we going to see that tomorrow?

MOLINARI: Well, you know what? They have actually had the HealthCare Solutions Group that has been working on a series of -- of -- I wouldn't say legislative proposals themselves, but certainly a whole set of goals that they believe need to be incorporated in any health care reform bill.

ROBERTS: All right, Susan Molinari, James Carville, Candy Crowley, thanks so much for joining us tonight, folks.

NADLER: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: We really appreciate it.

Was a Harvard professor arrested for simply being black? A lot of people think so, but police see it differently.


DOWNES: Our position is very firmly that race did not play any factor at all in the arrest of professor Gates.


ROBERTS: A simple misunderstanding or did the color of the professor's skin make a difference?

And is the government going too far in the name of protecting our children? A mother arrested because her teenage son weighs 555 pounds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Well, as we saw tonight in the "Mash-Up," a prosecutor is dropping a disorderly conduct charge against one of the country's most prominent African-American scholars.

Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested last Thursday after he had trouble opening the door to his own home. A neighbor thought he was breaking in and called the police. A police spokeswoman says no one comes out of this looking good.


DOWNES: I think that what went wrong, personally, was that you had two human beings that were reacting to a set of circumstances and unfortunately at the time cooler heads did not prevail.

QUESTION: So, should the professor have been arrested?

DOWNES: Well, our position is that there was probable cause for the arrest.


ROBERTS: Was that probably cause the color of his skin?

CNN special correspondent Soledad O'Brien joins me this evening, and on the telephone is professor Gates' attorney and Harvard colleague, professor, Charles Ogletree.

Professor, you heard what the police spokeswoman said. The charges of disorderly conduct were dropped, but she maintains that there was probable cause at the time to arrest professor Gates. Do you agree with that?

CHARLES OGLETREE, ATTORNEY FOR PROFESSOR GATES: That's a silly idea, and it's a breathtaking suggestion to say that Gates is in his home with his I.D., and with his driver's license, with everyone knowing he lived there, to say that he was in some way violating the law.

It just didn't happen, and that's why this case was so completely resolved today and the charges were dismissed. The prosecutor, the city of Cambridge, and the police department signed on this agreement today to dismiss the charges, which means he's never been prosecuted for violating the law.

This was not some plea. This was not some no contest. This was a dismissal of an arrest, and because there was no basis for it.

ROBERTS: Soledad, we have a copy of the police report here, in which the sergeant, the arresting sergeant, says that professor Gates was observed exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior in a public place.

He was a professor of yours when you were at Harvard. Did he ever seem to be the sort of person who would demonstrate the type of behavior that would get him arrested on his front porch? SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: For people who do not know who professor Skip Gates is, he is the preeminent black scholar. He is -- Harvard is a campus full of stars, star professors. Professor Gates is a star among the stars.

He is a guy who has a burger named after him at our local burger restaurant right outside of Harvard Square. So, he is the star. The idea that someone of his stature could be arrested in his home -- I mean, to see pictures of him in a polo shirt and slacks in cuffs is absolutely shocking and breathtaking.

And I think all of this has led to this discussion about when people talk about post-racial America and where are we, that you can have on one hand the first African-American president and on the other hand, this -- he has 50 honorary degrees.

He -- I can go on and on for you who this man is, if you don't know. The idea that Skip Gates is in cuffs and the picture of his mug shot is being shown around the world is absolutely shocking.

ROBERTS: Well, Professor Ogletree, let me read a little more from the police report for you tonight. The arresting officer writes -- quote -- "The gentleman was shouting out to the sergeant that the sergeant was a racist and yelled that, 'This is what happens to black men in America.' As the sergeant was trying to calm the gentleman, the gentleman shouted, 'You don't know who you're messing with.'"

Professor Gates was obviously upset that he was being confronted in his own home. And I'm wondering how could this whole episode have transpired differently? After all, the police officer was there legitimately checking out a report of a potential break-in that was called into the police.

OGLETREE: Let me answer your question, how could it have been resolved amicably?

Very easy. The police officer said, we have a report of a break- in entering in this house. Show me some identification. Professor Gates went to his table, put out his wallet, put out his Harvard I.D. with a photograph, put out his driver's license, photograph and address.

And even in the police officer's report, it says it seems that the suspect is the person who lives here at 17 Ware Street. It's over. There's nothing more to do. And the only way he could arrest professor Gates was to take him outside and then say he committed a public crime and disorderly conduct.

You can't commit that in your house by talking to a police officer, even with strong language protesting about an arrest and asking for identification. So, the reality was, once he was outside, the officer said, as professor Gates said so clearly, thank you for accommodating my earlier request by coming outside now, and put the handcuffs on him.

ROBERTS: That's when he put the handcuffs on. OGLETREE: This is not a case of a valid arrest. This is not a case of probable cause.

It's a case of a police officer who was not happy that the person said, it's not me, I didn't do it, I'm not a criminal, this is my house. And all of those things turned out to be true.

ROBERTS: And, Soledad, you're going to be examining this and other issues in "Black in America 2," a special series that begins tomorrow night.

There has been this sort of innate mistrust between African- Americans and white police officers over the generations. Is that getting any better? In your research, have you noticed that things are changing? Or is there still that same mistrust?

O'BRIEN: I think there are many people who -- one of the reasons this story resonates so much is that many people have had a version of the story, that there's an expectation.

If professor Gates had been white and the same thing had transpired, many people will tell me it would have stopped at the I.D. They would have said, oh, sir, excuse me. I'm sorry. A man in a polo shirt and gray slacks with his spectacles on -- sir, I'm so sorry.

But because he's black, as many people have told me on the phone today, there's this sense that he's not -- maybe it's not his home. He doesn't get the benefit of the doubt that this could be his home. And my brother, who is black, my friends, who are black, and Harvard students in May of last year were I.D.ed on the campus -- students who go there and pay that enormous tuition were asked to show their I.D., because people didn't expect that that could be their campus, too.

It's demeaning. It's humiliating. It's offensive. And we're not at a place where it's stopping, frankly.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to your examination tomorrow night here on CNN and Thursday night as well. Soledad, it's great to see you.

And, professor Ogletree, thanks very much for being with us as well.

Seven p.m. Eastern, by the way, professor Gates is going to be joining Soledad for "Moment of Truth," the countdown to "Black in America 2." At 8:00, it's President Obama's news conference, and then at 9:00 Eastern, "Black in America 2," the most challenging issues facing African-Americans and some groundbreaking solutions.

Soledad is going to be back a little later on in this program with a preview. So, don't miss it.

More violent protests in Iran, more bombing deaths in Afghanistan, and the longest solar eclipse of the century, all of those stories will be in the "Download."

And, then, later on, we talk to Tom Watson, the 59-year-old guy who came oh so close to winning a major golf tournament.


ROBERTS: Time now for a look at the other must-see stories of the day.

Erica Hill has tonight's "Download."

Good evening, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Nice to see you.

Iranian security forces once again cracking down, breaking up anti-government crowds taking to the streets. This video which we're about to show you, we want to point out CNN has not been able to verify it. It was posted today on YouTube and appears to show police ordering marchers in Tehran to leave.

The protest comes 30 days after the death of Neda, of course the young woman who became a symbol for many protesters after video of her shooting death was broadcast around the globe. This is also the 50th anniversary of a major pro-democracy rally in Iran. Iran's police chief warns his forces will act firmly against demonstrators.

In Afghanistan, seven suicide bombers posing as women targeting police officers, three of them were able to blow themselves up and in turn killed three police officers. The other four attackers were shot and killed before detonating their bombs. That attack happened about 60 miles outside of Kabul. Authorities blame the Taliban.

The Pennsylvania children caught in the middle of a major controversy after being kicked out of a swim club are now headed to Disney World, courtesy of Tyler Perry. The writer and producer behind films like "Madea Goes to Jail" and "House of Payne" says he was angry after hearing the mostly black and Hispanic children had their swimming privileges revoked at the suburban Philadelphia club, sparking allegations of racism.

Club officials deny any wrongdoing. Perry is paying to send all 65 kids to the Magic Kingdom for three days. And we should point out Tyler Perry will be among those featured tomorrow night in our CNN special investigation "Black in America 2." Again, that's tomorrow right here at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Well, happening right now in Asia, it is the beginning of the longest total solar eclipse this century, visible from India to China, at least by those who want to see it. Now, these are some early pictures.

ROBERTS: Pretty impressive.

HILL: Pretty sure. This is actually from a Chinese-owned network. There we go. This is the Chinese-owned network. This is their coverage of the eclipse right now.

Interesting, though, John, in India, millions of pregnant women are staying inside. They're worried by this superstition that the rays could harm the fetuses.

ROBERTS: Pretty impressive there, though, when you see the moon completely blocking out the sun and you see the corona on the outside.

HILL: It really is wild. Again, this is the longest one in the century. So a lot of people really focused on it. Remember, don't look directly at it. It's very important.

ROBERTS: The century is young yet, though.

HILL: Indeed, it is.

ROBERTS: Plenty more opportunities to go. Erica, thanks very much. Great to see you as always.

The late Michael Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, telling CNN some remarkable things about his son's life and death. Tonight, we are putting his words to the test.


ROBERTS: Welcome back. If you missed Joe Jackson on "LARRY KING LIVE" last night, well, let's just say it was not to be missed. So here's a piece of it. New and revealing insight into the relationship between Michael and his father.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Where is Michael's body?

JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FATHER: I don't know. You have to ask somebody that knows. I don't know. All I know --

KING: You're the father.

JACKSON: I was at the memorial. And where they took it from there, I have to find out. I'll let you know later, Larry.

KING: Joe, did you talk to Michael about drug use?

JACKSON: No, I did not.

KING: Why not?

JACKSON: I never got a chance to.

KING: I'll go back to you. You're his father. If you pick up the phone and you call your son and you're worried about him and you know he's had some problems with this, why wouldn't you counsel him?

JACKSON: Larry, I'm going to cut through the chase on this. I could never get to him. I tried all I could.

KING: Didn't you get a private autopsy for the family?

JACKSON: Yes, but they haven't reported nothing to me yet. KING: Well, I don't understand. You're the father.

JACKSON: Yes, of course, I'm the father.

KING: And so, don't you have the right to say to the people we have a private autopsy? Will you show it to me?

JACKSON: Well, they have not showed it to me, Larry.


ROBERTS: Joining us now is Jim Moret. He is the chief correspondent for "Inside Edition," a former anchor here at CNN. CNN contributor Roland Martin is with us in New York, as well as Randi Kaye.

And, Jim, let's start with you. What do we know about the relationship between Michael and Joe? Was there anything of it left by the end?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, I mean, Joe found out by his own admission that Michael passed away from a fan. He didn't even get a call from his family.

Joe lives in Las Vegas and he and Katherine are still married, but they live separately. Michael Jackson has stated on at least two interviews, one with Oprah, and one with Bashir about 10 years later that he was beaten and abused by his father and there was clearly an estrangement there. And by Joe's own admission, he wasn't involved in the day to day or even the grander scheme of his son's life. He was in essence shut out.

ROBERTS: And, in fact, since you mention that right now, Jim, I was going to save that for a couple of minutes from now.

But let's play some of that right now -- first of all, what Joe Jackson told Larry King about the allegations of abuse and then we'll follow that immediately with what Michael Jackson told Oprah Winfrey about it.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": What do you say about all of these things that have been said over the years that you harmed Michael as a child?

JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FATHER: Oh, that's a bunch of bull S. That's a bunch of bull S.

KING: Straighten me out.

JACKSON: That's not true.

KING: You never physically harmed him?

JACKSON: Never. Never have. And I raised him just like you would raise your kids, you know. But harm Michael, for what? I have no reason. That's my son, I loved him.



MICHAEL JACKSON, POP STAR: There's a lot of sadness about my past life and, you know, adolescence and my father and all of those things. It just made me very, very, very sad.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: So he would tease you, make fun of you?


WINFREY: Would he -- did he ever beat you?

JACKSON: Yes, he did. Yes.

WINFREY: And that was difficult to take getting beaten and going on stage and performing?

JACKSON: Yes. Yes.

WINFREY: And why would he beat you?

JACKSON: Because he saw me -- he wanted me to, I guess, maybe I don't know if I was his golden child or whatever it was.


ROBERTS: So let's bring in Roland Martin here. Michael Jackson says my father beat me. The father says I never beat him. That's a bunch of bull S. Who's got the credibility here?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, it doesn't surprise me because you have someone like Joe Jackson who grew up in a different era, who would likely say this is how I'm going to discipline a child.

I think about Tyler Perry who talked about his abusive father and how there was an estrangement there as well. So the reality is a generation of parents, that's how they actually disciplined their children. So a father may say, no, I'm simply disciplining you. The son says, no, it's a matter of abuse.

Not only that, Joe Jackson also made a point when he said, look, my kids, they weren't in trouble. A lot of the kids where they grew up with, they went to prison. They went to jail. He said so, you know what? I kept them out of harm's way. It's all a matter of your perspective.

ROBERTS: So his perspective is that a beating, a whooping was just discipline.

MARTIN: But again, it all depends where you come from. It depends if you believe in discipline, you believe in spanking a child, but you can't cross a line from spanking to abuse.

ROBERTS: Now Joe Jackson basically said that Michael Jackson's death was because of the tour, because of the tour company AEG. You had an opportunity to talk to him, Randi Kaye, what did they tell you?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We talked with AEG, actually, several times over the last few weeks and they told us that -- actually Joe Jackson, first of all, just to be clear is saying that he believes that his good friend Leonard Rowe who was on the show with him last night, they both believe that AEG controlled Michael Jackson's finances. They also controlled his tour schedule. They were putting him on this very grueling tour schedule.

AEG tells us that Michael Jackson agreed to do 31 shows and only did the 50 shows because they sold out. But they also told us that he "needed the money." In fact, they said that Michael Jackson wanted to be sure that a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records was there for the 50th show so he could go into the Guinness Book of World Records book.

But AEG sent a statement last night and they said that whether Michael Jackson did one show or 50 shows, the rehearsal schedule would have been the same. He also had an opportunity to take days off if he needed, and they've always said that he was in tiptop shape. He had passed the physical and was ready to go.

ROBERTS: You know, Larry King also asked him about this idea that he signed a piece of paper saying that he wouldn't have anything to do with the kids to allow Katherine Jackson to have custody.

Jim Moret, what do we know about that? What do we know about some deal that might have been struck to allow Katherine to have the kids as long as Joe stayed out of his life?

MORET: Well, Joe refuted that statement on Larry King last night. And we know that Debbie Rowe is very vocal in wanting Joe to stay away from those children.

ROBERTS: And, Roland, very quickly. You know, when we see Joe Jackson talking about all of this stuff, again the issue of credibility, how much does he have?

MARTIN: Well, look, he is the father, and part of the problem here is that you have people with certainly all kinds of opinions.

He's the father. He has a perspective. We really don't know really what's the truth. It's all his point of view.

ROBERTS: All right. Folks, thanks for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

Comedian Chris Rock and his wife challenging the kids in his old Brooklyn neighborhood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MALAAK COMPTON-ROCK, FOUNDER, THE ANGELROCK PROJECT: These kids have always been on the receiving end of aid. They've never been on the giving end of service. I think that's going to open up their world. I mean, our dream, the goal is to come back and these kids are going to be our next leaders.


ROBERTS: Also, a 500-pound teenager, a mother arrested. Are the parents of obese children criminals? Stay with us.


ROBERTS: If your child is obese, morbidly obese in medical terms, are you responsible? Even more, are you criminally responsible?

Well, in the case of Jerri Gray, the state of South Carolina says yes. And take a look why.

Gray gave us this school photo of her 14-year-old son Alexander. He weighs 555 pounds. He is now in foster care and she has been charged with criminal neglect. She told "The Early Show" on CBS how he got this way.


JERRI GRAY, MOTHER OF 555-POUND BOY: A lot of times I had to work full-time second shift or full-time third shift. And I wasn't home a lot. There were times that I would have to purchase, you know, maybe some fast food when I came in if I was working third shift because I would have to lay down for second shift.


ROBERTS: It's a tough question to untangle to be sure. Joining us now to talk about the case in Greenville, South Carolina are Jerri Gray's father-son legal team, Kim and Grant Varner.

Grant, let's start with you. First of all, because her son was so overweight, your client has been charged with a crime. There does appear to be some case law on this. What have you found?

GRANT VARNER, JERRI GRAY'S ATTORNEY: To be honest with you, John, we haven't found much that is identical to this situation. We've been made aware of cases stemming from New York where it's similar, but again, it was misdemeanor charges not felony charges.

Jerri has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person, which is a felony that carries 10 years in the state of South Carolina. She's also been charged with taking the child to Baltimore, Maryland. And again, that's a felony that carries five years.

And the case we've been made aware of from New York, it was misdemeanor charges that were neglect. So nothing quite on par with what we're experiencing here.

ROBERTS: Now what I've read, Kim, about this case is that she was trying to control his eating habits, but because she was working so many jobs, he was out of her care or out of her sight for a good portion of the day. Where was he getting enough food? Because she didn't have a whole lot of money to buy it, where was he getting enough food to put on 555 pounds?

KIM VARNER, JERRI GRAY'S ATTORNEY: John, she does have a very limited income. She's indicated to us there were no colas at the house. There were no sweets. The child does not particularly like sweets.

But quite obviously as with most 14-year-olds and this was not a new situation that just arose, that he is at school all day. We have some information that indicates he was eating several lunches each day at the school, and there were also friends who were giving him snacks and giving him food of that nature.

And part of the fundamental question is, if you're trying to teach a child individual responsibility, how do we come about with the parent is now responsible for the child's acts? She cannot be a police officer. She does have to work and she does have limited income and, hence, that's part of the problem.

ROBERTS: OK. Well, here's what the state of South Carolina said and, Grant, let me put the question to you. The state of South Carolina says that he was at risk due to his mother's inattention to his medical needs. Other officials have said that she did not take advantage of opportunities to get him some treatment for his weight. What's your response to that?

G. VARNER: Well, I think that's a little bit biased. She did, in fact, try to take advantage of every opportunity that was given to her. And the state has heavily leaned on one instance where she was awarded approximately a $30,000 scholarship for a program.

She packed up. She put her son in the car. They went to North Carolina. They knocked on the door of this facility and they were very politely told, ma'am, we apologize, we were not aware that this child weighed 555 pounds. We're not equipped to handle this.

We don't have the facilities to handle it. We're sorry. We're going to have to turn you away.

And the state has very unfairly held that against my client. It's just not right. She tried to take advantage of the program, but because the programs were not equipped to handle this child, she's being punished.

ROBERTS: So you're suggesting access was a problem there. And, Grant, I know that you've also got some concerns. Maybe we could actually throw this to Kim about the precedent that this case sets that if you're the parent of an overweight child, you could be charged with a crime. And also conversely, the child may not have to be overweight. What if the child is anorexic or bulimic? What kind of exposure could parents face as a result of this case?

K. VARNER: John, this can potentially open a floodgate of the state's interference with a parent's right to raise their child. There are many, many children out there, particularly young girls who have a tendency to try to starve themselves. And if this precedent is set, we may see a situation in the future where parents are charged because their child doesn't weigh enough, they're not feeding their child. Also situations such as a young lady getting pregnant and a young man who participated in that could also be --


K. VARNER: ... the parents could be charged. And that's a situation in which she's guilty of loving her child. She maybe didn't say no often enough.

But loving a child and especially when you're in an economic status like her, food is about the only thing you get to escape. This child didn't go to drugs or drinking or crime. He did eat. There's no question.

ROBERTS: Well, gentlemen -- gentlemen, we've got to go but we'll keep watching this case very closely. (INAUDIBLE) Kim Garner as well. We appreciate you coming on.

You want a good definition of a real newsmaker? How about a 59- year-old guy who almost had a major triumph? We'll hear from Tom Watson, coming up next.


ROBERTS: Champion athletes have a lot of things in common. Their drive, their determination. Another thing that they have in common is that almost none of them are 59 years old. But the great golfer Tom Watson is. And Sunday he came this close -- well, that's more like this close to winning British Open. Tom Watson is our "Newsmaker" tonight.


ROBERTS: Tom, it's so good to talk to you after what happened last week. I mean, you've put so much enthusiasm into the hearts of everyone over the age of 40 to believe that maybe there is still some life left after that time. What was it like for you, I mean, first time in 26 years, leaving the British Open walking up 18 at Turnberry?

TOM WATSON, BRITISH OPEN RUNNER-UP: Well, it was -- it was almost championship. Walking up after my tee ball, I said, you know, if I just get this ball on to the green, I might have a good chance of doing something very special.

And when I hit the eight iron and the ball was in the air, I just -- I felt that that was the shot I wanted to hit. As I watched the ball go to the back of the green, I said I hope it stops and then when it disappeared I said "uh-oh" and the rest is history.

ROBERTS: But, you know, when you were walking up to the green, there was just the thunderous applause and the cheers for you. I mean, people were just so appreciative of what you had accomplished up until that point. It must have been a very, very special moment for you.

WATSON: Well, it was like that all day. I have to admit, going up to the different tees and different greens. The Scottish fans were so warm and generous with their applause. I was trying to stay focused, but also I wanted to say thank you to them.

And just -- I've been around Scottish golf for a long time in the open championship. And there were quite a few faces in the crowd that I recognized from quite a few years ago. And it was a great walk.

ROBERTS: So in the post playoff news conference, you said that a good headline would have been "the old fogie almost did it." Cink was more than 20 years younger than you. Did he have an advantage mentally and physically?

I mean, you've been around so many golf courses, so many major championships. Did you have an edge? I mean, how was it going into that playoff? How were you feeling?

WATSON: Well, I was feeling a little bit deflated after not winning it on the 18th hole after hitting a good shot from my second shot.

ROBERTS: So, did you think it was missing that putt just kind of took the air out of you a little bit?

WATSON: I think it did. I think it just deflated me just a little bit. But I said let's just carry on and see what we -- let's get the job done, the best we can.

ROBERTS: You know, next year, I guess, under the current rules, you hit the age limit for appearances at the British Open. It was 65 a couple of years ago. They reduced it back to 60.

There's talk because of what you did over the weekend of increasing it again. Would you like to come back year after year after year again with the British Open?

WATSON: Well, it's hard to predict at my age what you're going to feel like next year. So I'm not -- I'm not --

ROBERTS: Oh, come on, you're in great shape.

WATSON: I'm not going to predict too much about that. I'm in good shape right now. I have a brand new hip. I got my hip replaced here last October and it's doing well.

But, you know, there's a time and place for everything. And there's time to let the young players have their say and have their place in the open championship. And this is what I told Peter Dawson at the R&A (ph), when he called me last year to say that they had lowered the age limit to 60. I said that's a sensible decision. And I concur with it.

ROBERTS: Well, Tom, I know there's an awful lot of people who'd still love to see you come back year after year after year.

Listen, you didn't win, but congratulations. What an amazing showing and good luck at the senior open this week.

WATSON: Thank you, John.


ROBERTS: Well, a big poll planned to help some inner city teens. Chris Rock and his wife, Malaak, expanding horizons coming up next.


ROBERTS: Time for tonight's "Breakout," the most compelling of all the reports that we have seen today.

Chris Rock and his wife, Malaak, are challenging inner city teens to dream big, really big. Here's special correspondent Soledad O'Brien.


LA TOYA MASSIE: And we're walking. My name is La Toya. And this is my home. I have friends that live here. You know, we party and stuff. We're going to Bushwick.

JEREMY BAKER: Everyone, my name is Jeremy Baker, 15 years old. This is where I just hang out. Come over here, I'll take you to the basketball court.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): La Toya and Jeremy live around here, Bushwick, Brooklyn, just five subway stops from Manhattan. Bushwick weathered lootings in the '70s, then crack in the '80s. The neighborhood is improving, but wrong choices still litter the streets, a lure to many teens.

BAKER: Salvation Army in Bushwick -- right here, as you can see.

O'BRIEN: One right choice is the Bushwick Salvation Army. It's where activists, Malaak Compton-Rock, the wife of comedian Chris Rock, has come with a big, bold plan.

She's going to select 30 kids age 12 to 15 and take them to South Africa. She calls it journey for change.

(on camera): Why did you focus on Bushwick? I mean, it's kind of in a way a classic inner city neighborhood. It has crime, has drugs, entrenched poverty, 50 percent high school graduation rate. Is that why?

MALAAK COMPTON-ROCK, FOUNDER, THE ANGELROCK PROJECT: No. These kids come from the Bushwick Salvation Army community center, and it is a community center that my husband attended as a child. He really always talked about it being an amazing place and what if he didn't have it.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Malaak believes that the children on these streets limit their dreams and their futures. She wants to expand their horizons, not by exposing them to a better life, but exactly the opposite.

The plan -- two weeks of volunteer work in the South Africa's shantytowns where the poorest of the poor, the country's AIDS orphans survive.

COMPTON-ROCK: These kids have always been on the receiving end of aid. They've never been on the giving end of service. I think that's going to open up their world. I also feel that travel just gives you a sense of confidence, you know. I mean, some of our kids haven't left Bushwick.

O'BRIEN (on camera): What's your goal for them?

COMPTON-ROCK: I mean, our dream, the goal is to come back and these kids are going to be our next leaders, our next civic leaders.


ROBERTS: Soledad O'Brien reporting for us tonight. She's a major part of tomorrow's big night on CNN. It's 7:00 Eastern. Soledad hosts "Moment of Truth," the countdown to "Black in America 2."

At 8:00 Eastern, President Obama holds a primetime news conference. At 9:00 Eastern, Soledad reports "Black in America 2."

I'll be back for "AMERICAN MORNING" starting at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. Among our guests tomorrow, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Thanks for joining us. For Campbell Brown, I'm John Roberts. Right now, "LARRY KING LIVE."