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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Debt Deal Nearing?; Rupert Murdoch Appears Before British Parliament
Aired July 19, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay Gupta in tonight for Anderson Cooper.
We tonight begin with breaking news in Washington's trillion dollar showdown over the debt. With just two weeks to go until the Treasury says it will be out of money to pay all the bills, there were two major developments.
Now, one has been called a possible break through. The other is being attacked by some as a stunt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this vote, the yeas are 234 and the nays are 190. The bill has passed. Without objection, a motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: That's the House tonight passing HR-2560, better known as Cut, Cap and Balance.
Now, it's a Republican- and Tea Party- sponsored measure calling for massive spending cuts, a spending cap, and Congress passing a balanced budget amendment. Only then would the debt limit be allowed to go up, ending the current crisis.
Now, the measure was passed with just five Democratic votes. Senate Democrats say they will defeat it. If somehow they fail, President Obama says he will veto it. In other words, it's DOA, which is why a lot of Democrats are calling it a stunt and a waste of time.
But earlier today, a bipartisan group of senators called the gang of six came out with a proposal of their own that is being taken seriously, including at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And so, for us to see Democratic senators acknowledge that we've got to deal with our long-term debt problems that arise out of our various entitlement programs, and for Republican senators to acknowledge that revenues will have to be part of a balanced package that makes sure that nobody is disproportionately hurt from us making progress on the debt and deficits I think is a very significant step.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: The plan in brief cuts the national debt by about $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years. It does it with a mix of spending cuts and tax changes.
Now, there are several catches, though, uncertainty whether House Tea Party Republicans will get behind it and doubts from Senate leaders that they can get it all done within the next two weeks. Whatever the outcome, though, new polling tonight suggests that Americans are losing confidence in Washington.
In the latest ABC News/"Washington Post" survey, eight in 10 Americans are either dissatisfied or angry about the way the federal government is working. That's the highest percentage since the 1990s.
Additionally, 63 percent say they were inclined to look around next year for new representation in Washington.
And joining us now, Democratic strategist James Carville and Ari Fleischer, former George W. Bush press secretary. You can follow him, incidentally, at Twitter.com/AriFleischer.
Thanks to both of you for joining us.
Ari, let me start with you. That poll today is pretty striking, eight in 10 Americans upset with Washington right now, six in 10 inclined to look elsewhere when it comes election time. We're one day closer to a possible problem with the debt ceiling here. Was this really the moment to spend an entire day on what everyone thinks is a symbolic gesture?
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I don't think it was symbolic at all, Sanjay. In fact the only institution in Washington of the House, the Senate and White House that has actually done its job and done anything meaningful on spending or debt is the House of Representatives.
They passed a budget. The Senate has not. They passed cuts today. The Senate has not. And President Obama in his budget never proposed to do anything about the debt, except to let it grow. So only one institution is doing it.
Now, the president isn't for it, so therefore he wants to belittle it and act as if what the House did isn't meaningful. But it is. The other reason it's meaningful beyond legislatively is now because almost every Republican in the House has now voted to increase the debt limit. And that crosses an important threshold for House Republicans.
It's almost as if that old game of warm, warm, hot, hot. You have got to go through a few of these intermediate steps before you get to the final last-minute step of getting the agreement done. I'm still hopeful an agreement will be done. But you do have to go through this dance before you get there. And this is a part of it. But make no mistake, that was a real bullet, what they passed today. It's the only real cuts in town.
GUPTA: Well, and, James, I'm going to have you weigh in on this in a second.
But I guess, Ari, my point is that it's not going to get passed, HR-2560. So the American people watch this and say, OK, that's great, but it's not going to probably get through the Senate and certainly the president will veto it, so it does nothing for me. And according to these polls, Ari, it doesn't even seem like it provides political cover for these elected representatives, because the people just seem frustrated with what's happening in Washington right now.
GUPTA: Well, and, of course, what they did in the House is actually the closest representation to the election of 2010, where people were sent to Washington to make a difference and change the town's spending.
So in that sense, it's actually very consistent with the public. I think the frustration is that the public's divided as well, just as the politicians are. The public wants to get things done, they want people to work together but they also want Washington to change the way it's been spending money. And so until in the end of the day -- and this is the way Washington has always worked -- they get the work done at the last second. Until that last second agreement is reached, you're going to have this national churning in the public. Everybody's fed up with it.
It's totally understandable. It's a messy, messy, bad-looking process, but it's the way our system works.
GUPTA: James, you know how the system works as well. Do you think this vote was an important gesture to conservatives? I mean, does it provide some cover in terms of...
GUPTA: Go ahead.
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it provided conservatives -- I think it provided cover to conservatives.
Actually, when you look at the polls, they're not balanced at all who people are mad at. They are overwhelmingly mad at the congressional Republicans. There's 71 percent -- 73 percent disapproval for them, something like -- the numbers were like 20 to 73. The president was 43, 48. That's not parity.
The public has decided that they don't like their approach. Now, they may be wanting to double down with their base, they may be wanting to do this where they have this vote so they can do something else. That I don't know.
But I suspect that this thing, now that one side has a clear political advantage, that's generally the way these things wash out. And pretty soon they're going to get off of this and they will go to some version of an extension or something that will give them some kind of political -- they're going to try to get political cover with their base to move forward. But it's still got a little ways to go here.
GUPTA: Well, looking forward, James, there seems to be a lot of optimism I think you will agree in the Senate about this gang of six proposal. The president came out praising it as you heard, called it a good development. But you had Democratic leaders in the Senate saying they don't think now there's enough time to pass this bill. Is it possible that we have just gotten too late for this grand bargain?
CARVILLE: Well, they can do anything they want. They can extend it 30 -- they can extend the debt ceiling for 30 days pending the outcome.
They're Congress. There's 1,001 options they have before you get to this horrific thing called default. We may -- it may be -- get there. Look, a lot of Republicans are being told that it doesn't matter, it would actually be good for the country. It kind of flummoxes me, but that's what a lot of them think.
They're going to need a lot of Democratic votes to pass this in the House. Whether they can get them or not, I don't know. It's still not a done deal. But right now it's pretty easy to declare that there's a political winner in this. And it's the president. That's pretty clear at this point. And maybe they will be able to change it and turn it around but it's going to be pretty tough.
FLEISCHER: Here's why the president is not the political winner in this. If he was the political winner, then why is the generic Republican candidate beating him by eight points in the recent Gallup poll? And why is the president's job approval dropping now in several polls, including Gallup, into the low 40, low-mid 40s range?
The president's numbers have been coming down in this whole process as well. So has Congress'. This is the ultimate pox on both houses. There is no winner in this whole mess. And as far as the whole notion of is default good or bad for the country, you have a very small number of Republicans who think that we won't default and if we did it's not a big problem.
They're wrong. You also have a big number of Democrats, a much larger number who say it doesn't matter if we spend the nation into bankruptcy. We won't go bankrupt. They're wrong. And that's even worse because there are more of them who believe that than the small number of Republicans who are willing to countenance default.
GUPTA: Let me ask you...
CARVILLE: Let me be clear. These polls -- can I just be clear about something? This is Washington equivalency. The polls are not equivalent. The public blames the congressional Republicans much more than the president, Ari. That's a fact. That cannot be disputed. We should not get off of what the facts are. It's not a pox on both of your houses. It's overwhelmingly the public blames the congressional Republicans.
FLEISCHER: James, as somebody who's made his living with polls, you know as well as I do that there's not only one poll in town. There's a bunch of them.
CARVILLE: OK. There's three of them.
FLEISCHER: And you have to look at all of them. And that's the full context.
FLEISCHER: ... badly as his numbers have been dropping. The president is not faring -- nobody's faring well in this, James.
GUPTA: James, let me ask you something very specific. There's a question about the president releasing more details about what specifically he would cut. That seems to be a point of contention. Do you think the president should do that? People accuse him of being vague. Should he be more specific on this?
CARVILLE: Well, I think he's embraced the -- quote -- "gang of six." I guess now they're saying it's the gang of seven.
And a lot of these cuts are going to have to go. I was listening to Senator Conrad today. I was reading something. This would have to go obviously to -- some of the revenue things have to go to Finance Committee and they have to go to different places. But they're pretty specific in this, the amount that they're trying to do.
In one agreement, they said they had a half a billion dollars, a trillion dollars in cuts and it turned out to be $30 billion or something like that. Who knows? And nobody has an agreement to do anything yet. I suspect that they're going to get one. It may be -- it may have to get a 30-day extension and they may have to do something like that.
By the way, Senator DeMint says -- it's not just minor Republicans. Senator DeMint, one of the most powerful Republican senators, said that. Senator Toomey, who is an up-and-coming star of the Republican Party, says default would be fine, would be better for the country. All over talk radio, you're hearing that default would be good.
"The Wall Street Journal," their editorial page is printing op-ed pieces saying that default would be good for the party. It's a pretty substantial feeling in the Republican Party that this would be a good thing. GUPTA: Ari, real quick, what do you think happens between now and August 2? How does this play out?
FLEISCHER: Well, never forget, the administration, the Department of Treasury, does have the ability to juggle some more trust funds and push back the August 2 date.
I think that's ultimately going to happen if we're anywhere close to August 2. I think you will get some type of intermediate agreement made that will be some modest level of spending cuts, and probably spending cuts only. It's going to get us through the fall, maybe to the winter, and then they're going to have to come back to this in different politics and as the year goes along to figure out what to do down the road.
I do think it's too late for any kind of grand bargain. And don't overinterpret what the gang of six did. It actually is not the language of a grand bargain. It's kicking the can down the road so a grand bargain gets negotiated again later.
It's not to do all its work before August 2, short term, and then they're going to come back and we're going to be here again, I hate to tell you, in another six months or so.
GUPTA: And maybe we will have you guys back as well. Big day, though, on this particular topic.
Ari Fleischer, James Carville, thanks so much.
Let us know what you think at home as well. We're on Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter as well @SanjayGuptaCNN. I will be tweeting tonight.
Up next, though, Rupert Murdoch in the hot seat. But his testimony today on the phone hacking scandal is only part of the story. There was a three-ring circus that accompanied it, as well as the attack on CNN's Piers Morgan and his stinging counterpunch.
Later, new fallout from Japan's nuclear disaster. It's unbelievable, another credibility gap getting even wider. Just a week ago the government said beef from nearby areas was safe in small portions. Now it's saying don't even take a bite. We will have details shortly.
First, though, let's check in with Isha Sesay.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sanjay, a stunning revelation in the Casey Anthony story. The 84 Internet searches for chloroform she allegedly made, it turns out the real number might be just one. Says who? And what about the prosecution's duty to tell the defense? Answers coming up when 360 continues.
GUPTA: Take one media mogul, one pie in the face, a right hook and a stiff upper lip, and you have pretty much summed up the day in Britain's Parliament and Rupert Murdoch's phone hacking scandal. He and his son James and former News Corp. executive Rebekah Brooks were grilled by lawmakers today.
Now, the elder Murdoch again apologizing, but refusing to take the rap.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Murdoch, do you accept that ultimately you are responsible for this whole fiasco?
RUPERT MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, NEWS CORPORATION: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are not responsible? Who is responsible?
R. MURDOCH: The people that I trusted to run it, and then maybe the people they trusted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: No apology and no stepping down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: have you considered resigning?
R. MURDOCH: No.
WOMAN: Why not?
R. MURDOCH: Because I feel that people I trusted -- I'm not saying who -- I don't know what level -- but let me down, and I think they behaved disgracefully and betrayed the company and me. And it's for them to pay.
I think that, frankly, I'm the best person to clean this up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And speaking of cleaning up, the proceedings were interrupted briefly when a protester deliver a shaving cream pie. Take a look at this. Keep your eye on the lower left-hand corner of your screen. It happens pretty quickly. And here it is quickly again in slow motion.
Here comes the pie. Now, that pink blur that you see over there, that is Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi, who leaps across the table, taking a poke at the pie man. Then a body arrives and takes the man away. His name reportedly is Jonathan May-Bowles, in his Twitter handle, Jonnie Marbles.
I tell you that because just before the attack, he tweeted, "I'm actually in this committee and can confirm Murdoch is Mr. Burns" -- Mr. Burns being C. Montgomery Burns from FOX's "The Simpsons," Springfield's richest man. Unlike Mr. Burns, though, there's nothing funny about the allegations against Mr. Murdoch's British newspaper empire. You heard him deny any responsibility for the phone hacking. He's also spent a fair bit of time painting himself as simply out of touch. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. MURDOCH: I can't answer. I don't know.
I don't know. I was not aware at the time. But I don't have any memory. I don't know anything about that. I'm not sure what I said. I cannot swear to the accuracy of it. I just don't remember.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: Joining me now, CNN International's Richard Quest, also senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and "Vanity Fair" contributing editor Vicky Ward.
Welcome to all of you. You have all had very busy days, I know.
Richard, let me start with you.
How do you think the Murdochs did today? And I will preface by saying that if the stock price is any indication, the reaction seemed to be favorable. Should we be reading into that?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Murdochs did what they had to do in the sense of appeasing investors, but not a great deal more than that.
They still have not answered the fundamental question, why was the culture allowed to take place at that newspaper that allowed these events to happen, and why did they not know more about it? Did the chain of command clearly fell?
I want to show you though the morning newspapers. It's a quarter past 3:00 in the U.K. so bear with me. This is how "The Daily Telegraph" is reporting it this morning. "Murdoch Eats Humble Pie." The rival -- "News of the World" -- has "Foam Whacked."
But, interestingly, Sanjay, if I show you both of the Murdoch newspapers, they go for "The Most Humble Day of My Life" and Murdoch's defense, and that highly, highly embarrassing moment is not on the front page, although obviously both newspapers do feature it inside.
The newspapers are clearly all over this with every pun you can possibly imagine about foam, custard pies, humble pies.
GUPTA: Yes, Richard, I mean, I watched that and everyone just saw it again. You can't help feel a little bit sorry for the guy. He's 80 years old and he's getting essentially whacked with this foam pie or whatever it was. Does it make a big difference? Was there a little bit of sympathy, you think, that people felt as a result?
QUEST: Whatever sympathy there was -- listen to those answers again that you played, Sanjay. And you will see that, yes, that might have been his general demeanor, very long pauses before answers.
But when those answers came, they were clear, they were definitive. No, I don't take ultimate responsibility. I didn't do this. I was misled and betrayed.
And the feeling generally from what I have read in the comment and the analysis is that whatever he may have on the surface looked like, here was Rupert Murdoch doing what he had to do, doing it honestly and sincerely about the Milly Dowler hacking of the dead girl's phone, but obviously with a wider agenda.
GUPTA: So, Jeff, I mean, so he apologized. He said he was humbled. But he did not take responsibility. What do you make of that, Jeff Toobin?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think his problem is not really legal at this point. It's a business problem.
He has to figure out a way to keep control for his family of the News Corp. -- News Corp. I mean, I don't think there is any direct criminal responsibility, either -- certainly not in the United States, and probably not in Great Britain either.
But he has to persuade the so-called independent directors of News Corp., who are not very independent, who are very much in normal circumstances dependent on him, he has to persuade them that he and his son are still fit to run the company, that they are not liabilities.
And I think they barely did that. James Murdoch did his sort of Tony Robbins, a lot of business cliche's about how he was being proactive and there was a code of conduct. But -- and Rupert was grudgingly accepting of responsibility, although he apparently had no idea how his newspapers work. But I think he probably did enough to hold on.
GUPTA: Well, Vicky, you used to work for Rupert Murdoch.
VICKY WARD, "VANITY FAIR": Yes, both sides of the Atlantic.
GUPTA: Right. Right. And, as Jeff said, he seems to have held his ground today in some ways scoring points as we saw with investors. But there are other investigations still going on, I think four or five of them. Where do you see the scandal going from here?
WARD: Well, I think this is a watershed moment for the British press, and hopefully for the press around the world. I mean, it's very important that the press play the part that actually Rupert talked about at the end of the hearing today.
What he initially intended to do when his father gave him the legacy that he gave him and he came to Britain was create a culture of transparency, to make a democracy really free and make the establishment answerable to the press that was honest and clean, not sleazy and criminal, as the allegations and what clearly happened in the Milly Dowler case and the other cases that the "News of the World" have been involved with.
But I would disagree actually with one thing Jeff said. I think James Murdoch came out fantastically well today -- 24 hours ago, people were saying Rebekah Brooks is gone. Is James next? I think once the stock prices shot up 6 percent today as we have seen, people are buying News Corp. stock, I think James Murdoch actually shone in those proceedings.
He was extremely articulate. And he seemed to have a real grip for someone who only came into that seat in 2007, as he pointed out.
GUPTA: Yes, 38-year-old James Murdoch we're talking about.
Jeff, before we all go, let me give you a Text 360 question. We got this from Steve in Detroit. "How do you think the allegations and testimony in England are going to affect News Corp. and its subsidiaries in the United States?"
You talked about this from a legal standpoint already, but in general what you do you think the impact is going to be?
TOOBIN: I don't think that much in the United States. I don't think FOX News will really be affected by that. "The Wall Street Journal" lost its head of Dow Jones, but "The Wall Street Journal" is still a very successful, high-quality newspaper.
And a lot of people have talked about the possibility of criminal charges in the United States, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or something connected with hacking or 9/11 -- in 9/11 victims. There really is no credible evidence at all of any sort of American criminal violations by anyone in connection with News Corp.
So I really think the question is really a business one over here, as well as in England, is, can the Murdochs stay in control? And I think probably yes is the answer.
And they seem to have every intention of doing so based on the answers to some of those questions today.
Jeff Toobin, Vicky Ward, Richard Quest, thanks so much for joining us
Want to add another level of the bizarre really to today's hearing. A member of Parliament made some very strong accusations against CNN's own Piers Morgan, who used to be an editor at the Murdoch-owned "Daily Mirror."
Louise Mensch read a passage about phone hacking from Piers' book, which is called "The Insider," and accused of using it to get a scoop on a former soccer team manager. The passage is actually about Piers suspecting his own phone was hacked. We read the passage. And Piers says her allegations are completely nonsense.
They were both on "THE SITUATION ROOM" today. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Mrs. Mensch, you caused quite a stir when you asked this questions, when you made this statement about our colleague here at CNN, Piers Morgan. I'm going to play what you said in Parliament today.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOUISE MENSCH, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Piers Morgan, who is now a celebrity anchor at CNN, you do not appear to have asked him any questions at all about phone hacking. There's a former editor at "The Daily Mirror," he said in his book, "The Insider," recently, and I quote, that "that little trick of entering a standard four-digit code allows anyone to call the number and hear all your messages."
In that book, he boasted that using that little trick enabled him to win the scoop of the year on a story about Sven-Goran Eriksson. So that was a former editor of "The Daily Mirror" being very open about his personal use of phone hacking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, what evidence do you have to make that kind of accusation against Piers Morgan?
MENSCH: Well, I'm -- well, I said what I said in the committee, Wolf, and I'm afraid right now I'm going to say that I can't comment about it outside of the committee room because, as Mr. Morgan will know, inside Parliament, when I speak at a select committee of Parliament, I am protected by absolute Parliamentary privilege.
To repeat something outside of Parliament doesn't give me that cloak of privilege, and Mr. Morgan is a very rich man.
So I am sure that the ferocious investigative journalists at CNN and across the news media in the United States will take careful note of what was said in the committee and look into it.
That's the best, I'm afraid, I'm going to be able to do on legal grounds.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Well, I'm amused by her cowardice in refusing to repeat that allegation now she's not in Parliament and covered by privilege.
As she may be already aware, she came out with an absolute blatant lie during those proceedings. At no stage in my book or indeed outside of my book have I ever boasted of using phone hacking for any stories.
For the record, in my time at "The Mirror" and the "News of the World," I have never hacked a phone, told anybody to hack a phone or published any story based on the hacking of a phone.
And what she did today was a deliberate, in my view, and outrageous attempt to smear my name, CNN's name, "The Daily Mirror's" name. And I think her now to have the breathtaking gall to just sit here calmly and say, I can't possibly repeat that cause I haven't got privilege, is an outrage.
And I call on you, Mrs. Mensch, now to repeat it, show some balls, repeat what you said about me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: The second of two big confrontations in that story today.
And there's a lot more news coming up tonight. Japan battles cattle shipments from the area near its crippled nuclear plant after alarming levels of radiation are found in meat. Can't believe we're talking about this four months later. Just last week, Japanese health officials were telling a much different story. We will give you the latest.
Also, new deadly violence in Syria, the reported target, a funeral procession -- details coming up.
GUPTA: Tonight, four months after an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan and set off a nuclear crisis, Japan has announced it is banning all shipments of cattle raised in the Fukushima prefecture. That's the location of the damaged nuclear power plant that has been leaking radiation still. The cattle ban comes after contaminated meat from cows in the area ended up at Japan stores and restaurants.
The government investigated the farm that the meat came from, about 18 miles from the plant. They found radiation levels in hay that the cows ate were up to 57 times higher than the government's maximum allowance.
Just last week, Japanese health officials tried to downplay the dangers of radiation in the meat. A state minister in charge of food safety said he didn't think small portions would have any long-lasting effects on humans. But now with the ban, there are new questions about how much the government is doing to prevent contaminated food from ending up on dinner tables. And there are still lingering questions about how forthright the government is in announcing any progress to fixing the damaged power plant, as well.
So joining me to talk about this from Tokyo is Kyung Lah. In Hong Kong, Michael Friedlander, who has 13 years of experience as a senior operator at three power plants.
Kyung, it's hard to believe four months later we're still talking about this. Last week the Japanese government insisted that tainted beef was safe if consumed only in small portions. And today all the beef has been banned. This seems like a sudden change. What happened here exactly? KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a very sudden change, Sanjay. And we don't know if the government was purposely trying to downplay this. But it certainly gives the impression to the consumer that government doesn't have a handle of this problem.
Because now, talk about a huge 180. Early on, when the government did make those statements, what the government was talking about perhaps a handful of cows. Well, now this crisis is expanding. It has expanded every single day. We're now talking about 550 to 650 cows, meat that has been shipped across the country. And those numbers are ticking upwards every single day.
A question consumers should be asking now is what about the feed and the cows that have been contaminated outside of the Fukushima prefecture. That's already happened. What about that meat? What is the government going to do to contain that crisis.
So a lot of consumer concern out there, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Yes. And it's fair to say, Kyung, as you say it's tough to say what -- if there was any intention to deliberately mislead. But there have been concerns in the past about all sorts of things. When I was there, contaminated spinach, milk, tea leaves, fish. This just seems on appearances to be very mishandled. Is there faith in the Japanese government assurances about the food supply overall?
LAH: Well, when you talk to consumers, especially if you go to the grocery store, they say they don't really know. Because when they go to the grocery store, it's very similar. The meat aisle is very similar to anything you'd see in the United States. The meat that you buy is packed in cellophane. It's very tidy. But you don't know what that cow was fed. You don't know where it came from. So you have to trust the government.
And the question now is, if you do not trust the government to control what that cow has been fed, if that meat that you're about to set in front of your child is going to be safe, then yes, it's a huge concern. Because you don't know what to eat. You don't know beyond that, is chicken going to be OK? And as you mentioned, is fish going to be OK? An even bigger staple of the Japanese diet.
GUPTA: Let's talk about the plant for a second as well, Michael. The government and Tepco say they've completed the first step of their cleanup plan, and they are on track to begin the next phase. You don't buy that. Why not?
MICHAEL FRIEDLANDER, NUCLEAR EXPERT: Well, we've seen that they've installed a number of pieces of temporary equipment over the last several weeks. But we've also seen that's only operating at about a 70 percent capacity compared to what it need to be. They've had all kinds of operator problems in terms of venting the system. They've had equipment problems. Quite honestly, Sanjay, if you take a look at this equipment, remember now this equipment is going to have to be used for years to come. This is not a temporary piece of equipment. It's made with PVC pipe and plastic piping. Much of it is outdoors. So I just have my doubts about this equipment. Stopgap measure, of course, but in terms of a long-term stable condition I'm not sure. In terms of the reactors, quite honestly the reactors are almost in the same situation they were in, in the early days of the accident. They're still in feeding leak (ph) situation in terms of injecting water, water leaks out of the holes in the building. They take it off. They clean it up, and they inject it back in. They're far from a stable situation with the reactors.
GUPTA: Again, it's just remarkable to hear that from you this many months after this all happened. To add to that, Michael, as you know Typhoon Ma-on is headed for Japan. But I guess right now forecasts say that it could miss the crippled nuclear plant. It is typhoon season there. I mean, what sort of precautions, if any, are being taking place to protect Fukushima?
FRIEDLANDER: The only thing that I saw them do are as you say preparation for the putting the roof over the turbine building. But as you say, we still have 3 1/2 months of preseason (ph) in there. And -- and on the east side of Japan. So there's a good chance that over the course of the next weeks and months that this will be repeated again and again.
GUPTA: Well, fingers crossed for people living there. And well wishes to them. Kyung Lah, Michael Friedlander.
GUPTA: We're following several other stories tonight. Isha Sesay joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sanjay, there are reports of new deadly violence in Syria. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Activists say security forces opened fire on a funeral procession in the city of Homs today, killing at least seven people. Now, this video you're watching is from YouTube. CNN cannot independently confirm the reports
Twelve days after a fan died after falling over a railing trying to catch a baseball, the Texas Rangers are making changes at the stadium. They'll be raising the height of the rails and posting new signs to remind fans not to lean, sit or stand near them.
For same-sex couples wanting to get married this Sunday in New York City, they'll have to hit the lottery. Due to a high demand on the first day of the state's same-sex marriage law takes effect, city officials are capping the number of nuptials at 764. The winners will be announced Friday.
And Sanjay, a Michigan bride didn't get the wedding day she was hoping for. She was arrested this weekend on a felony warrant accusing her of identity theft. She posted bond. And get this. The bride is now on the run. Authorities say she didn't show up for a court hearing. And they could well be looking for her with another warrant if posted.
GUPTA: Identity theft on the day of your wedding. I hope the groom knew at least that this was...
SESAY: Yes, indeed.
GUPTA: Hopefully he knew what he was getting himself into.
SESAY: I hope so, too.
GUPTA: Identity theft sometimes occurs after the wedding, not before.
SESAY: Yes. With your husband's -- husband's credit card. I wouldn't know, but they tell me it happens.
GUPTA: Me, neither. In case my wife is watching.
Isha, stick around for this. Time for "The Shot." Check out this crime-fighting Chihuahua. A tiny pooch named Paco went on the attack when two armed men came into a California smoke shop and demanded money. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me honey, homey. Hurry up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: Paco apparently chased these armed men out of the store. The robbers got money, incidentally, but police say the thieves would have got a lot more if the dog didn't go on the attack. The gunmen are still on the run.
SESAY: Yes. Killer Chihuahua. Those did not appear to be hardened criminals the way they leapt out of Paco's way. They always say you should watch out for the small ones. Isn't that what they say, Sanjay?
GUPTA: That's right. Every time I see a Chihuahua I can't help but think "Yo quiero Taco Bell." Remember that commercial?
GUPTA: Yes, well...
SESAY: You're showing your age.
GUPTA: I am. I am, as usual. Thanks so much. Up next a different type of crime story. We kick off our new series on con men with a look at the man who claimed to be Clark Rockefeller, a member of an elite American family. But you know what? It was all lies. And police say the imposter did it before with other fake names over decades. Now he's accused of murder. The latest on the case against him coming up.
And remember the testimony during the Casey Anthony trial about 84 searches for chloroform on the family computer? Well, that story has changed big time. And the prosecution is under fire. That and more when 360 continues.
GUPTA: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, we kick off a new series called "Con Men." Tonight a look at the man who for years went by the name Clark Rockefeller. He pretended to be a member of the wealthy American family, a crime denied by the real Rockefellers.
His true identity came to light when he was charged with kidnapping his own daughter. That's when police say they uncovered a web of lies that goes back decades. He didn't just go by the name Rockefeller. They say he used fake names in almost every city he lived. Now he's also accused of killing a neighbor more than 25 years ago while using one of his many aliases.
With more, here's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They say pictures don't lie, but this one did. And this one. And maybe thousands more of the man called Clark Rockefeller. Because investigators believe he was almost never whom he claimed to be. And in his rocket rise to the top of society, they think he committed murder.
MARK SEAL, AUTHOR: Well, he's a man who built his life on fiction.
FOREMAN: Mark Seal wrote "The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter."
SEAL: He didn't just do this with one name or one persona. He did it repeatedly, time after time after time after time, in increasing grandiosity and increasingly intelligent, learned, successful circles. That's what makes him different.
FOREMAN: His story starts long ago in 1978 when under his real name, Christian Gerhartsreiter, a working class German teen, he came to America and found the life he wanted on TV.
ALAN HALE, ACTOR: Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. Howell. Beautiful day, isn't it?
JIM BACKUS, ACTOR: Ideal flying weather. SEAL: And if you remember the television show "Gilligan's Island". He started watching that. And apparently began to emulate the eccentric East Coast millionaire, Thurston Howell III, mimicking his speech and his accent and his way of life in a way.
FOREMAN: Police say that started a decades-long odyssey of moving and new identities. In Wisconsin he was film student Chris Gerhart, dreaming of fame and rooting for Ronald Reagan. In California he said he was Christopher Chichester, a member of the British royal family, hobnobbing with Hollywood insiders.
In Connecticut, he became Chris Crowe, former film producer, and he actually landed a job as a bond trader. Investigators say he was smart, quick-thinking, and all of his credentials, connections and histories were elaborate frauds.
(on camera) Still, authorities say, he rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful, joined their churches and clubs, and then lived off of the generosity of people who thought he was the one with all the money and contacts. When they grew suspicious, he simply slipped away.
(voice-over) Then, in New York in the early '90s he took on his biggest role, Clark Rockefeller. He assembled an impressive art collection, almost all fakes, and he met a woman who was attracted to this charming, secretive, quirky member of one of the country's most powerful families.
SEAL: Well, he was entertaining. He was educated, seemingly. He was fun to be around. He knew a little bit about everything.
FOREMAN: They married, had a daughter, and the child became the center of his life. So much so that when the couple divorced after 12 years and his wife got custody, he kidnapped the girl from a Boston street.
SEAL: This man had built a life on lies. And the only true thing in his life was his love for his daughter. And that's what blew the lid off of a 30-year con.
FOREMAN: He and the girl were picked up in Baltimore less than a week later where he was building yet another alias, this time as a ship captain. He was convicted of the kidnapping, but it was much worse than that.
As his trail of deception was revealed, authorities in California realized he was the man they had hunted in a missing person's case. A couple had been involved with a long-gone royal Christopher Chichester. He has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of murder, and he sits in jail today, one man with many pasts, awaiting trial.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
GUPTA: And tomorrow night we're going to have more of our "Con Men" series. We're going to take a look at another criminal who's made headlines around the world. Here's Ted Rowlands with the preview.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are the famous feet of the Barefoot Bandit in shackles. His incredible game of catch me if you can came to an end in the Bahamas after more than two years on the run.
JOHN HENRY BROWNE, COLTON'S ATTORNEY: He evaded homeland security. I mean, it's pretty embarrassing for the government in some ways, but he didn't know he was doing those things at all.
GUPTA: The teenager admits to a wild ride that included stealing and crashing five airplanes. He lived in the woods, swiping food from homes and businesses, and taunting police as thousands of online fans cheered him on.
JACKSON HOLTZ, AUTHOR, "FLY COTTON FLY": They were rooting for this guy. Here was a kid who was sticking it to the law, flying airplanes, breaking into rich people's vacation homes. Thousands of people became interested in Colton Harris-Moore.
GUPTA: And we're going to reveal the truth about the so-called Barefoot Bandit That's tomorrow night on 360, part of our "Con Men" series.
Up next, though, Anderson with a "RidicuList" classic.
Plus surprising information about the case against Casey Anthony. You remember the prosecution said she searched for chloroform on her family computer 84 times? It turns out that never happened. New details coming up.
GUPTA: Coming up, an effort to stop people from texting while walking. And the classic "RidicuList" it brought to mind. First, though, Isha is back with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Sanjay, new doubts about a cornerstone of the prosecution's case against Casey Anthony. Those alleged 84 Internet searches for chloroform may have actually been just one search. That's what a software designer who testified during the trial is telling the "New York Times."
John Bradley says he realized the error and told the prosecution about it in late June, but they never did anything about it.
NFL quarterback Michael Vick was on Capitol Hill today, supporting new legislation against dog fighting, something for which he spent 20 months in jail. The new legislation targets spectators at dog fights. Vick says he deeply regrets his involvement in dog fighting, and wants to be part of the solution.
The strongest one-day rally of the year on Wall Street. The Dow rose 202 points and the S&P gained 21. Stocks surged today after President Obama signaled there was progress in debt ceiling negotiations.
And shares of Apple closed at a record high on news that the company sold more than 20 million iPhones during the last three months, and 9 million iPads. And I don't own either.
GUPTA: You don't own either? Well then, Isha, you're going to have a hard time doing what I'm about to show you, which I think is really amazing. In fact, we're going to be able to watch you just about everywhere. Take a look at this if you can. This is my iPad. And this is live streaming CNN. You're actually seeing that right now.
SESAY: Oh, wow.
GUPTA: Just a few second delay. Talking about the stories that you just talked about. Watch. Watch on the iPad. You're going to see yourself pop up here in a second. But this is -- I mean, you can literally watch CNN anywhere. You just sign in. You've got to have a cable account, and once you do that you can watch -- there you are.
SESAY: And there I am! And there you are.
SESAY: Now you've shamed me. I hope you're happy.
GUPTA: Well, now you don't have to go out and get an iPad just for this. But a lot of people are going to have access to this that haven't had it before. So maybe that's a little incentive for you.
SESAY: Maybe. Maybe. We'll see.
GUPTA: Isha, look up that commercial, by the way, that I was talking about, about the Chihuahua if you get a chance. I'm a little hurt by that. Wait, look, Isha, there's the Chihuahua I was talking about. Listen.
SESAY: OK. How old is this commercial?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo quiero Taco Bell.
GUPTA: I don't know. There you go. There it is. Wait for it.
I don't know how old it is. I'm old. So yes, point made.
SESAY: Not that old. You're just kind of old.
GUPTA: Oh, thanks. I think. Isha, thanks so much. We'll check in with you in a moment You may have heard about an initiative in Philadelphia to stop people from texting while walking. Now there are reports that people would even be fined $120 if they were caught.
City officials released a statement today saying, yes, there is a campaign to make city streets and sidewalks safer, but they're not issuing citations for texting while walking. Just asking police officers to remind people to be careful. That's pretty good advice, because there's no doubt that text while walking can be dangerous. Just ask the Pennsylvania woman who Anderson put on the "RidicuList" back in January. Take a look. It's a "RidicuList" classic.
COOPER: Time for the "RidicuList" tonight. And tonight, we're adding a new name, Cathy Cruz Marrero, also affectionately known as Fountain Lady.
She's literally a walking PSA for the pitfalls of texting in motion. You've probably seen the video. It's all over the Internet. She's walking through a mall in Pennsylvania, texting and walking, texting, and OMG, falls right into the fountain.
But the splashing mishap isn't why we're putting Fountain Lady on "The RidicuList." Oh, no, it's because of what has happened now.
She's got a lawyer and she's thinking about suing. That's right, suing. This is what we've come to.
Now, let's be clear: she's not thinking of suing because she was hurt, because she wasn't hurt. She's thinking about suing because she thinks security guards should have done more to help her, and she wants to want to know how the security tape got on online.
Now Fountain Lady was on "Good Morning America" today, wringing out all the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CATHY CRUZ MARRERO, FELL IN FOUNTAIN WHILE TEXTING: I admit it was funny. But nobody took my feelings into consideration. Nobody. Nobody went to my aid. Not one single person went to my aid.
It could have been anybody's mother. It could have been a senior citizen falling. You know, and would they have gotten the same treatment as I did? The fountain could have been empty. I could have been in the hospital. I could have walked into a bus, you know, got hit by a car. It can happen anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Could have, could have, could have, could have, could have. The fountain could have been empty, yes, but it wasn't. "I could have been in a hospital." Yes, but you weren't. "I could have been walked into a bus?" You know what? If they let a bus drive into the mall, maybe you'd have a case. But they didn't let a bus drive into the mall.
Listen, Fountain Lady, I don't mean to get all Nancy Grace on you. I get that you were embarrassed, and yes, it wasn't very nice that somebody put that surveillance video online. But you know, the best way to make this whole thing go away? Come a little closer. Can you zoom in a little bit? Just a little advice. Stop going on TV to talk about it.
No one even knew what you looked like. You were just a grainy wet fountain lady. You needed a towel, not a lawyer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES POLYAK, ATTORNEY FOR MARRERO: We intend to hold all responsible parties accountable. Whether that means requesting or demanding an apology, certainly requesting an explanation for why this happened, how this happened. And certainly, we want to know the identity of all persons responsible with making the video public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, my God. Come on, lawyer! An explanation for why this happened, for how it happened? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, she was texting, so she didn't see the fountain, and she fell in. That's how it happened. Case closed. You're welcome.
And fine. You want an apology? Guess what? You don't need to file a lawsuit to get an apology. I'm going to give you an apology right now. I'm sorry you fell in that fountain, and I'm sorry it was so hilarious. I'm sorry that people laughed at you.
But I mean, let's be honest. It wasn't exactly like you got nominated prom queen and then soaked in pig's blood like that poor girl, Carrie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're all going to laugh at you. They're going to laugh at you. They're going to laugh at you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: See, now she could have used a good lawyer. Carrie would totally have a case. Public humiliation, pain and suffering, not to mention the dry cleaning bill for that prom dress.
But Fountain Lady? Not so much.
So chin up, pick yourself up, dry yourself off and try not to text while you're walking into "Tonight's" "RidicuList."
GUPTA: And it's closed. We'll be right back.