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Unrest in Syria; President Obama Speaks Out on Jobs; Ungodly Discipline

Aired August 16, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

It's 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.

Tonight: horrifying new video out of Syria: unarmed people raising nothing more than their voices in anger being met not just with police batons and small-arms fire, but with explosions and heavy gunfire.

The video claims to be from the Syrian city of Homs. We also have the most disturbing video yet out of Syria, a 2-year-old child shot to death by government forces say human rights activists. We are going to show you the video coming up because it cuts through all the Syrian government lies. It shows what you brutality and repression looks like up close.

We begin though tonight, "Keeping Them Honest," with tough questions for President Obama about how well he has been delivering on the promise to put Americans back to work. He's on a three-day, three state bus tour talking jobs at every stop. Promising a major new jobs initiative next month. In fact, he and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are talking about jobs for a long time now.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The American people's top priority is the creation of jobs.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Creating jobs for the American people.




SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Job creation. Focus on jobs.


PELOSI: Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.

HOYER: Talking about jobs.

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: Talking about jobs.

PELOSI: And now it's time to talk about jobs.


COOPER: Well, they're all talking about jobs, Mister President included. The question is what are they actually doing about it? This afternoon CNN's Wolf Blitzer spoke one-on-one with Mr. Obama much he said why waits until September for a new big push on jobs? Mr. Obama pointed to initiatives already pending before congress.

Then Wolf asked about the bus that the White House maybe planning something much bigger.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": You got something much more ambitious in mind for the September. There are been reports you want to create new department of jobs, something along those lines. Is that true?

OBAMA: You know that is not true. But what is true is that I think we missed an opportunity a month ago when we could have dealt with our debt and deficit in a serious, balanced way that would have avoided these huge gyrations in the financial markets. Given business is a lot of confidence that Washington had its fiscal house in order. And included in that because of the savings that we would be getting over the next 10 20 years, more efforts on the front end to spur job creation.


COOPER: But dealing with the debt at least short term does not really creates jobs. Economists in the left and the right both agree on that. Another White House initiative such as the extending jobless benefits and a payroll tax federal being block, especially on GOP controlled house.

Now, as for what House Republicans are doing, well, here a print out of all the legislation they have passed so far this year. 214 items which seems like a lot. But in fact, it's the least productive house session on record. There are bills putting the budget, abolishing health care reform, defunding the EPA and gutting the new consumer credit watchdog agency. House Republicans say such cuts and deregulation will create jobs. But none of the major legislation has made it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Meantime, Congress is on vacation and President Obama is on the road.

Digging deeper now, with Democratic Strategist Paul Begala and Ari Fleischer, former Press secretary during the last Bush administration. They are both also on Twitter @PaulBegala and @AriFleisher. Paul, welcome to the world of twitter, first of all.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you. It's only a matter of time bring use it to end my career.

COOPER: No doubt about it. Just don't send pictures.


COOPER: First off, the White House says that president's bus trip to discuss jobs and key states no less is not a campaign trip. Now, we all know that presidents do this. But still, I mean it's campaigning, isn't it?

BEGALA: Well, it's both. You can't separate the two. The whole notion we should separate politics from governing, it would be like trying to separate mathematics from psychics. Politics is language through which a democracy operates. So I celebrate both. I'm glad the president is out of Washington. I'm glad he's out there talking to real folks. And I'm praying that what he told Wolf today is hinting at major new jobs package is what he's going to come with. It's what the country needs.

COOPER: Ari, realistically, when it comes to creating jobs, can the president really do a lot? I mean can the president only do so much especially with the divided congress? Congress is not likely to prove any additional stimulus money.

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Anderson, I think you know even with a unified congress, the role of the Washington government is creating an environment which the private sector can grow and create jobs. I frankly don't think is a whole lot of presidents in either party can do directly to create jobs other than get a national climate in which the private sector does the employing.

I suspect for Barack Obama the numbers are baked into his cake. And it really doesn't matter what he does at this point. We are going to be a nation that has accessibly high unemployment for first four years and maybe the only four years of Obama. If the business cycle happens to turn, it's going to benefit whoever comes in place, whether it's Obama getting reelected or the Republican taking his seat. I think that it is what we're really looking at because nothing is going to change the job picture substantially between now and Election Day in 2012. And that's a real big headache for Barack Obama.

COOPER: Paul, when you hear the president talking about some sort of big jobs initiative, what do you expect? What can he really do?

BEGALA: Well, an awful lot. I strongly disagree with Mr. Fleischer. There are a lot of things that a president can do. The president he served did a lot to kill off a lot of jobs. The president I served help set in policies that created 23 million jobs.

Let me give you case in point under Obama. His first year, he passed his recovery act, the so-called stimulus. Republicans like to say it didn't work. So I went and looked. The congressional budget office non-partisan score keeper say it created up to 4. 8 million jobs. Now, that's good, 4. 8 million, maybe 1. 7 million, somewhere in that vast range. That's good. But we need at least 15 million. So it was good and it was a good start. But it was not enough.

Now flash forward to this year. Basically, the president cooperated with the Republican agenda, cutting taxes. He signed one of the biggest tax cuts in American history in December, $858 billion, extending those God awful Bush tax cuts and then so cut taxes and Republican agenda and then cut spending, a Republican agenda. The economic policy institute says that the debt reduction alone will cost us 1. 8 million jobs because the contraction fiscal effect.

So we're losing jobs as we follow an attempt to follow Republican economic policies. I hope that president gets to democratic economic policies.

COOPER: Ari, you are shaking your head.

FLEISCHER: Yes. Here's the fundamental problem. When Barack Obama came into office, there were 11. 9 million Americans were unemployment. Today there are 13. 9 million Americans are unemployed. We have trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see and significant occur because of all the Obama spending.

And then many people in the private sector tell you that they're frozen. They're frozen because of the regulations in place and the fear of Obamacare as that kicks in has people sitting on what they have because they're so uncertain about the economic climate.

Presidents can make things a lot worse. I think that's what happened here during the Obama presidency. And it's why you have an unemployment rate that is refusing to go down. And as a result it's a significant part of this uncertainty in the private sector.

But the stimulus was a failure. The president promised us if it was inactive and we spent a trillion dollars of taxpayer money on it, create mostly government jobs, the unemployment rate would not exceed eight percent. It went above 10 percent and now it's of course at 9. 1 percent. This is the longest period since the depression where you have this many Americans be out of work for such a long period of time.

Something about the president's policies is not working. And that is nothing he is doing is going to change that unless he decides to go for another stimulus and put more people on the government payroll. Sure, that can create temporary jobs and an astronomical price.

COOPER: Paul, I want to play at clip from Wolf's interview with the president today.


BLITZER: When you took office, you said this -- and I'm sure you remember -- you said, "If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition," meaning you're going to be a one-term president.

You remember that?

OBAMA: Well, here's what I remember, is that, when I came into office, I knew I was going to have a big mess to clean up. And, frankly, the mess has been bigger than I think a lot of people anticipated at the time.

We have made steady progress on these fronts, but we're not making progress fast enough. And what I continue to believe is that ultimately the buck stops with me. I'm going to be accountable. I think people understand that a lot of these problems were decades in the making. People understand that this financial crisis was the worst since the Great Depression. But, ultimately, they say, look, he's the president, we think he has good intentions, but we're impatient and we want to see things move faster.


COOPER: It is amazing, Paul, first of all how it younger he looks just even two years ago. But if unemployment is still at this level next November, can Obama win?

BEGALA: He can. But no one ever has, not since FDR, Franklin Roosevelt won with considerably high, but you got to go back to even before I was born to find that.

He's going to have a terrible problem if you can't move the needle on jobs. And I think he was essentially saying that to Wolf. I thought there was a very definite answer. He said it is my responsibility. I did inherit a big mess. So he didn't look just he was finger pointing but he didn't accept the blame for policies he didn't create.

What he needs is that third step. I think he's putting it together. He hinted that at Wolf which is and now I want the Congress to pass my jobs package. Why won't the Congress pass my jobs package?

If he can spend the next year and a half either signing into law new job creating measures like he is proposing and I'm told from Wolf's interview he will propose, or just campaigning against the do nothing Republican Congress who doesn't want to fight for jobs for the middle class, then I think he's got a good chance to be reelected.

COOPER: Paul, all right, we got to leave it there. Let us know what you think. Thank you both gentlemen.

We're on Facebook, you can you follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.

Up next, more of Wolf's exclusive interview. We'll talk with Wolf and Jessica Yellin and David Gergen on what president could do or maybe isn't doing on jobs, congress as well. Also tonight, more on that scene on the streets in Syria and an apparent peaceful protest torn apart by explosion machine gunfire. We got the latest on that and we'll show you the regime's youngest victims, including one just two years old. I got to tell you, I have seen a Lot of terrible things in Syria over the last four or five months. The video you're going to see coming up is the worst that I have seen.

First, let's check in with Isha Sesay. Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, just ahead, tonight parts two of our Special Report on godly discipline. An investigation of a controversial book on child discipline found at the home of a 7- year-old who was beaten to death. 360's Gary Tuchman talked to the authors.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubbing the spaghetti all over your head. You shouldn't have done that at 7 years of age. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That hurts. I'm 50. OK. I mean -- but are there any marks on you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. You would hit it -- a 5-year-old like that? Yes, sure.



COOPER: Breaking news tonight, President Obama sitting down with CNN's Wolf Blitzer talking jobs, saying the buck stops with him, admitting he'll be held accountable if he doesn't deliver, but also blaming the gridlock in Washington on the other side. Here is another portion of Wolf's exclusive interview.


BLITZER: Because you keep saying that there are some in Congress -- and you don't say who -- some in Congress who are more interested in political gain than really helping the country.


BLITZER: Who do you mean by that?

OBAMA: Well, look, I think there is no doubt that the deal that I put forward to Speaker Boehner, which a lot of people in my party attacked me for, because they thought that we were going too far, we were being too generous in terms of trying to compromise, the fact that they couldn't accept a deal in which you had significantly more cuts than revenue, that would have done substantially more to close our deficit than the deal that ultimately we arrived at, the fact that Speaker Boehner and folks in his caucus couldn't say yes to that tells me that they're more interested in the politics of it than they are in solving the problem.

And I think -- to his credit, I think Speaker Boehner tried. I think he wanted to, but I think he had problems with members of his caucus that thought that somehow cooperation with this White House would help us politically, as opposed to thinking, what's going -- what's it going to take to help the country as a whole?


COOPER: Wolf Blitzer joins us now, along with chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin and senior political analyst David Gergen.

Wolf, I'm curious for your perspective. I have been recently in the last couple days just talking to a couple folks who have donated a lot of money to the president and been big supporters of him and recently have been surprised at how, what they said is how depressed he seems or how down he seems. How did he seem to you?

BLITZER: He didn't seem depressed or down with me. He seemed to be finding his groove a little bit. He's obviously got a long way to go. And he's not in the midst of a campaign right now. He's being hit hard by Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, all the other Republican candidates. He's being hit hard by all the Tea Party supporters, a lot of Republicans in congress.

And from the left he's being hit hard by some Democrats and liberals who are disappointed in his job performance. But he seemed OK much he seemed pretty lively. The only time I saw him get emotional at all is when I asked him the worst part his job and he got emotional speaking about when he comforts family members who have lost loved ones fighting for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I didn't get any sense that he was depressed or anything like that.

COOPER: David, here's President Obama said when asked by Wolf about why it is taking so long on some of these initiatives.


OBAMA: What's happened is that, number one, you have seen a lot of layoffs at state and local government. And that has been an impediment to the kind of robust job growth that we'd like to -- we'd like to see; and there have been some headwinds over the last six months, you know, Japan's tsunami, the European debt crisis, what happened in terms of the Arab Spring that raised gas prices for consumers.


COOPER: Do you think those -- David, do you think those are legitimate explanations?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they're legitimate explanations. But as with other presidents I think it's only part of the story. And you know he's going to tell his part of the story that helps his case. Others will say but look, you should have done a lot more and what you did didn't work very well such as stimulus program that Ari Fleischer was just arguing.

But on the delay, Anderson this is I think the critical point. I give credit to the president tonight for saying I am going to put forward a plan on the deficit. We've been waiting for that. Good for him. He's going to put it forward. But on jobs, to put forward a plan in September and then go out and hit the people to push for it means we're not going to get a bill any time this year.

I could easily pass next year. And I think most Americans would like to see the president sit down tomorrow, bring the Republican and democratic leaders in from the Congress and sit down and see what they did work out and get something done in September 1, instead of waiting for some grand plan that's going to you know go through the wringer over the next several months.

COOPER: Jessica, to that point I mean he's on a tour talking about jobs. Why isn't he unveiling his major job proposal right now?

JESSICA YELLIN, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, it's not done. But, you know, I talked to his advisers, Anderson. And they see no advantage in unveiling a jobs package in the debt of August when Congress is out of session.

They believe it will get lost. And the thinking is waiting until Congress is back. Release it in September when he'll come out with both a jobs package and this proposal for that congressional super committee that's going to work on spending and maybe taxes.

And as David says, it will hit it selling it to the American people. It is media they'd argue that are sort of hyper ventilating for action given that Congress is unlikely to pass it anyway. Why does it have to come right at this moment?

I point out the president's job approval numbers are down right now. His advisers believe from experience that his numbers fall when he is locked in negotiations and combat with congress. So when he goes out he hits the hustings, it is a perfect way to give him distance. It's their hope they will rise and you are going to hear him fight and attack Congress which is now code for him for Republicans who are blocking his agenda and accuse him of not doing more.

COOPER: David, I see you shaking your head.

GERGEN: Well, everything she said I think is absolutely right. It's just I don't know how that really fits with Americans are saying. That is we need help now. You know, we're really hurting. We're really frustrated. This economy could be floating into a second recession. We do not know that. But there's a lot of fear and anxiety out there just because people can campaign on the hustings.

It may be liberating, it may be fun. But it doesn't solve the problem. I think people are looking for action now, not four, five, six months from now. COOPER: Wolf, how much of the president say was President Obama and how much was candidate Obama out there?

BLITZER: They were both out here. Yesterday I watched him all day yesterday, today as well. This campaign has started. It is full speed. Look, there is always a campaign whenever you're president. It is almost every single day you're thing about it's a first term, you're thinking about getting reelected. But this week I think marks a turning point.

Sometimes, you know, it starts after Labor Day or whatever. Certainly for the Republicans they're at full bore right now. They're going ahead with their chance for the Republican presidential nominee. But I think with this president, he was out there and while he was talking substantive policy issues, he was certainly campaigning.

He needs these states here in the Midwest. He needs Minnesota. He needs Iowa. Certainly he needs his home state of Illinois where he's heading tomorrow. He doesn't carry these states. He's going to be in big trouble in his reelection bid. He's campaigning. Let be there no doubt about that.

COOPER: And, Jessica, when Wolf was kind of asking him about Romney and Perry, he didn't go there. How important do -- I mean at this point does the White House simply want to stay above the fray?

YELLIN: Absolutely. There's no advantage for them to elevate either of the candidates, any of them. And why start a campaign in full force until there's an actual nominee?

Instead, what you're hearing the president do increasingly is take his attack to Republicans broadly. As I said a moment ago, he doesn't even say generally Republicans he'll say Congress which is again shorthanded for the Republicans in Congress who are blocking the agenda, his agenda. But he -- they have a clear strategy over in campaign land for how they'll go after Romney if he's the candidate. They're working on one for Perry if he's the candidate. He needs to, in their view, stay above it all and stay presidential and stay focused on the jobs and the economy which is what the American people want.

COOPER: David, when do you think that changes? When does he start to enter the fray?

GERGEN: I think it's going to be when a Republican candidate emerges. I think Jessica is right. He is going to go more hammer and tongue at that person. But here's what's ironic. And what Wolf just said I think is exactly right. And that is usually you see this start up in full campaign mode after Labor Day, absolutely right.

But Wolf knows and Jessica knows that is usually Labor Day of election year. And now we have a full campaign mode on Labor Day of the year before. And I think when the country is hurting I think a lot of Americans would like to see less campaigning and more action in Washington. COOPER: Yes. No doubt about that. Wolf, great interview. Thanks for being us with. Jessica, as well and David Gergen, thank you.

Up next on 360, no end to Syria's brutal crackdown on protesters who are demanding their rights. We are going to talk to human rights activist who says the Syrian people are no longer afraid of Bashar al- Assad's violent government.

We're also going to show you a video which is just stunning. And that is hard to say after four and five months of brutality that we have witnessed. This is a little girl shot to death by security forces. We'll show you the video because people have risked their lives to get this video out.

Also, our 360 special investigation: a little girl beaten to death by her parents who believe the Bible told them to punish her with belts and rods. Where did they get that idea? Well, a book was found in their home.

Our Gary Tuchman tracked down the author.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't use the word hitting.



TUCHMAN: And is there a difference?




COOPER: There appears no end to the brutality of the Syrian government's crackdown on its own citizen.

At the top of the program, we showed you a piece of video, protesters, fearless protesters really who appear unarmed in the street last night demanding that President Bashar al-Assad grant them freedom and rights. This is how the security forces responded.





(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: No information on whether protesters were killed or wounded. We're not allowed into Syria. But we do know that this bloody conflict now five months old has claimed another young life, a very young life this time. Once again, the victim, the video of the victim has gotten out of Syria. People have risked their lives for you to see this video. And I do want to warn you that this is extremely disturbing, extremely disturbing to say the least.

Protesters have reported over the last few days' security forces targeted the sea side city of Latakia firing from both tanks on the ground and gunships off the coast, from gunships and that they focus on one neighborhood that has been hotbed of anti-government activity. Now government forces warned residents to leave the area. That's when one family desperately trying to flee to safety was apparently caught in the crossfire.

Human rights activists say the family's car was fired upon by government forces and that a 2 1/2-year-old girl was shot and killed. We can't independently confirm that claim or the video we're about to show you. Our reporters are not allowed inside Syria as I said. So we don't know whose bullet took this poor child's life.

We believe it's important for us to show you the deadly violence in that country. Remember a toddler did not fire a gun at anybody but now she is another victim. This is very graphic. But we think it's important for you to see the reality of what is happening in Syria and people who risked their lives just to show you this video.

Activist say the little girl was shot in her right eye, her lifeless little body lying on a sidewalk in Latakia. One person on the tape can be heard calling Bashar al-Assad an evil man, a dog and a pig which are two major insults in Arabic.

A bit later, activist show the child wrapped in a white shroud, blood washed off her face and a large piece of cotton over her wounded eye. The Syrian government, as it has all along, blamed all casualties on armed gangs, terrorist, they keep saying.

Before we talk more about the death of this child, we want to show another video to you, a man lying in the middle of the street. The man who shot the video says they can't get to him because of sniper fire. So they use a wire to pull him in. It is unclear if the man was unconscious or dead.

And, again, we can't independently confirm the details of this story. But we have seen videos like this so many times before, dead, wounded protesters lying in the streets and people risking their lives to reclaim their bodies so they can be buried by their families, something the regime often tries to stop.

Now to the death of that child in Latakia. A short time ago, I spoke with Wissam Tarif, a human rights activist.


COOPER: Wissam, in the four or five months that this uprising has taken place and of all the brutality and all the murders and all the killings that we have witnessed and that we have seen video of, I think this video of this little girl, 2 years old, shot dead in the streets of Latakia is perhaps the most disturbing of all the videos we've seen, for its sheer simplicity and its sheer brutality.

Do you have any information as to exactly what happened to this little girl?

WISSAM TARIF, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, AVAEZ: She is 2 1/2 years old. She was with her family and the Syrian army started shelling their neighborhood in Latakia. Their father took the family and tried to flee the area and take his family to a safe location.

Crossing on a checkpoint for the security forces and the death squads, they shot the girl in the eye. When the father stepped out of the car trying to help his daughter, he was shot in his right shoulder and he was kidnapped by the security forces.

COOPER: And I know I'm going to get e-mails and tweets from people who say we shouldn't show the video and people who are no doubt going to turn the channel. I understand that because it's incredibly disturbing.

But I think it's important to show these pictures because people are being murdered in silence. This has been going on for months and months and months. And, yet, every night I'm just stunned by the bravery of people still willing to risk their lives.

Risk their family's lives to come out on the street and stand with their heads high and stand and demand dignity, demand the freedom that we here all take for granted.

TARIF: From my end, Anderson, I and lots of people here appreciate the fact that you are showing these videos. You are showing this video in particular. This little girl is not the only one. So far we're talking about 148 children that have been killed by the death squads and by the security forces.

Syria's worst nightmare, Anderson, is not what you're showing. It's what we don't know about. It's what we haven't documented. It's what no one has assumed or was able to film. So whenever we have video like this, I think people are taking risk of their lives to show what's going on to their community, to their families. And they deserve to be shown to the world.

COOPER: And it reminds me of what we saw happen to 13-year-old Hamza several months ago who, you know, after being held in custody for weeks and weeks and his family had no word of him, his body was returned to his family riddled, clearly tortured according to all the people who examined the body, his penis had been cut off.

His kneecaps shattered. It is stunning to me how this regime not only arrests children and tortures children and shoots them dead in the street, but what will return the bodies to families as a warning to those families and to others. They want people to see these mutilated corpses.

TARIF: I remember that in March when the uprising started and the first time I think we talked together, we talked about the wall of fear, the high wall of fear that was in Syria. That has collapsed. And the regime is using every tool, every way possible, no matter how brutal it is.

No matter how inhumane it is to try to build that wall of fear again in people. They do not spare children. They do not spare women. They do not spare old men or woman. They do not spare anyone. They have a simple target.

They want people to feel afraid again and they want them to stop protesting. And they will -- they have used children. They will continue to use children. And they will do it until they feel that people are scared again. And this technique is not working and people are not scared.

COOPER: And people are risking their lives to take these images and put them on the internet. I feel like the least we can do is show them.

Wissam Tarif, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

TARIF: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Still ahead tonight, a man who has written a book that claims the bible demands that parents discipline their kids with force. It's part two of our 360 investigation, "Ungodly Discipline."

First, Isha Sesay has a 360 Bulletin -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, authorities in England are getting tough about the rioting last week as violence erupted in London other cities. Police say two young men in northwest England posted Facebook messages calling for riots in their towns. The court has sentenced them to four years in jail.

Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of Taylor Armstrong, one of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," has parentally committed suicide. That word from Los Angeles police. Russell Armstrong lawyer says his client suffered from depression. The couple were divorcing.

Here's a strange story -- authorities in Kentucky say this man, Paul Douglas Peters, is wanted in his native Australia for allegedly tying a fake bomb around the neck of a young woman as a way to extort money from her family. He then flew to the U.S. where he was tracked down and arrested.

And sorry to all you friendly and good hearted guys in the office. You earn less money than your crankier colleagues. Oh, yes. A new study shows that men who are stubborn and disagreeable around the water cooler earn bigger bucks.

COOPER: Wait, does that mean that Piers Morgan is making a lot of money?

SESAY: That means he's probably rolling in it.

COOPER: He's not disagreeable around the water cooler.

SESAY: No. No.

COOPER: He doesn't go to the water cooler.

SESAY: He has water brought to him. But also add that just in case that people out there who decided tomorrow they want to go in and be a schmuck, there's no guarantee it's going to work for you. So, if you get fired, you're not coming to live with me. I'm just saying. All right?

COOPER: I'm glad you put that disclaimer up there.

SESAY: There you go.

COOPER: All right, time for the shot tonight. It's -- it actually reminds me a little bit of -- well, family reunions I've been to. Who doesn't like a fierce monster truck rally?

We found this on YouTube. Take a look. The guy in the right needs a new truck, definitely. Yes. That's just a typical day on the Moore family farm there.

SESAY: I'm going with it needs a new life, not just a new truck.

COOPER: Yes. I think that is turtle man right there, actually.

SESAY: You know this how?

COOPER: I don't know. I'll show you a turtle man video some time. If you haven't seen turtle man, go on to YouTube. You're going to know the turtle man. You'll see it.


COOPER: Coming up next, serious stuff. The second part of our 360 investigation, "Ungodly Discipline." And family kids now in foster care after their little sister was beaten to death by their parents. Now, they said they were following the Bible in how they punished here. We'll introduce you to the couple behind a controversial book that says God wants parents to spank their kids intentionally cause physical pain.


MICHAEL PEARL, AUTHOR, "TO TRAIN UP A CHILD": I've never met any well trained, emotionally secure, happy creative children that weren't spanked.


COOPER: I wasn't spanked.

Also ahead, the search for answers in the horrific stage collapse of the Indiana State Fair that left five people dead and dozens hurt. The fair spokesman says it was a freakish accident. Engineers have also been called in to investigate. We'll have the latest coming up.


COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" tonight, part two of the 360 investigation of a parenting book that's controversial to say the least. A book that says God wants parents to spank their children and that the spanking should be hard enough to cause physical pain.

The book was found in the home of parents who in California who were convicted of beating their 7-year-old daughter to death. The couple who wrote the book say they're no way to blame.

Gary Tuchman investigates.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Pearl is a competitive knife and Tomahawk thrower. He never misses the target, but it's just a hobby. His life's work is preaching. He targets what some might call extreme discipline of children.

MICHAEL PEARL, AUTHOR, "TO TRAIN UP A CHILD": I've never met any well trained, emotionally secure, happy creative children that weren't spanked.

TUCHMAN: Pearl is a minister of the gospel, a devout Christian. He and his wife are best-selling authors who have written many religiously themed books.

But their most popular and most controversial, a book called "To Train Up a Child" in which they write about the need to inflict physical pain.

PEARL: I don't use the term hitting.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What's the word?

PEARL: Spanking.

TUCHMAN: Is there a difference?

PEARL: Absolutely. A hand is hitting. A little switch is spanking. A wooden spoon or a spatula, that's spanking.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): In the book, the Pearls who live in rural Tennessee, declare: "The rod is a gift from God; use it as the hand of God to train your children." They say, "Any spanking, to effectively reinforce instruction, must cause pain."

This couple believed in the Pearl's. Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, parents of nine children, read their book. As a matter of fact, the book was found in their house and put in an evidence bag after the California couple pummeled one of their daughters for hours.

The 7-year-old Lidia Schatz who had been adopted from Liberia died after suffering horrific injuries all over her body.

Mike Ramsey is the district attorney in Butte County, California.

MIKE RAMSEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, BUTTE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: We're talking about was and as we charged torture, torture over hours.

TUCHMAN: This past spring, the Schatz has pleaded guilty to the killing of their daughter Lidia and seriously injuring her older sister Zariah. These are photos of some of the sister's wounds.

The marks left by the rods. Many of the images too gruesome to show. The Schatz say they also regularly beat their other children. We're covering the faces of the survivors to protect their privacy.

RAMSEY: The book was there. It was underlined, underscored --

TUCHMAN (on camera): There's no question in your mind that this book by the Pearls influenced the Schatzes to beat, brutalize and terrorize the children?

RAMSEY: None at all.

TUCHMAN: No question?

RAMSEY: No question.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But the Pearls feel differently saying their book rejects parents losing control and acting out of anger.

(on camera): So you're not accepting any blame?

PEARL: Absolutely not.

TUCHMAN: How scared were that you there would be blame pointed at you?

PEARL: I don't think we were scared at all. There has never been a suggestion to anyone that someone's lost control because of what they read in our book.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The district attorney clearly disagrees and puts blame on the Pearl's for the tragedy. But he acknowledges that's about as far as he can go.

(on camera): Was there ever any consideration at exploring legal charges against the Pearls?

RAMSEY: Not really because they have a First Amendment right to say awful things.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The Pearls say they feel badly for the girl who died, but are unapologetic. They're not shy about using props and humor. I'm going to spank the CNN man. To show how they believe God wants parents to spank.

PEARL: Rubbing the spaghetti all over your head, you shouldn't have done that at 7 years of age.

TUCHMAN: OK. That hurts. I'm 50.


TUCHMAN: I mean, I --

PEARL: Are there any marks on you?

TUCHMAN: No, but you would hit a 5-year-old like that?

PEARL: Yes, sure.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The Pearls say you can never be too young for some physical pain. For example, when a baby bites during breastfeeding.

DEBI PEARL, CO-AUTHOR, "TO TRAIN UP A CHILD": I would gently pull their hair, very gently. It's enough to make them let go.

TUCHMAN: The spankings with various objects say the Pearls, are actually done out of love.

(on camera): The Pearls appear to be staying prolific with writings and preaching. They say they're now simultaneously writing four new books. There is no indication that any controversy slows them down.

(voice-over): And why should it say the Pearls? They say it worked for their children and most importantly this is what God wants.

PEARL: We don't punish our children. But we sometimes need to get their attention.

TUCHMAN: The eight surviving Schatz children are now all in foster homes. They and their sister Lidia certainly got our attention.


COOPER: Gary, how popular is the Pearls book?

TUCHMAN: The Pearls are very influential in fundamentalist circles over the last 17 years since the book's been out. It sold more than 650,000 copies around the world. So you know they have a lot of influence.

What's really important to note though, Anderson, is neither of the Pearls have any educational background in child development. They say this is just biblical common sense.

COOPER: Do they have children of their own? I mean, were those kids raised using what they call the spanking to cause pain method?

TUCHMAN: They have five children, 19 grandchildren. They say all five of their children raised this way. They say they're all good kids. As a matter of fact, the five children work for the parents.

But I can tell you, every day in the United States you have children entering emergency rooms because they've been pummeled by their parents. It's impossible to know how many are pummeled in the name of religion, but we do know that's what happened to Lidia.

COOPER: It is such a shocking and disturbing story. Gary, appreciate you bringing it to light. Thanks.

Well, coming up in the program, an engineering company has been hired to look into the cause of that deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. Five people killed. Forty hurt. Details on the investigation ahead.

And something to make you smile, "The Ridiculist." Believe it or not, there are people out there who are slamming a rap video made by a group of sorority girls in Alabama. We're going to show you the video and why people are so wrong to criticize it.


SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay. Anderson will be back in a moment. But, first, a 360 news and business bulletin.

In Libya, rebel forces appear to be closing in on Moammar Gadhafi's seat of power, Tripoli. Rebels now have control of several towns in the west, putting them in position to cut off supplies to the regime.

Just 30 miles from Tripoli, a bloody battle is raging in Zawiya. Now these photographs show fighting there today. Rebels say they seized most of that key city and hope to start advancing on Tripoli by the end of August.

A New York engineering firm has been hired to investigate the deadly stage collapse that killed five people and injured 40 others at the Indiana State Fair. State fair officials say they'll make the findings public.

In Los Angeles, a quarter million dollar Rembrandt stolen from a luxury hotel has been found. It was parentally too hot for thieves to handle. They left in a church and someone tipped off authorities.

Abercrombie & Fitch says they will offer a substantial amount of money to the cast members of "Jersey Shore" to stop wearing its merchandise. The clothing retailer says it's worried any association between the brand the cast members could damage its image.

In a statement, the company mentions Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino specifically.

And this Massachusetts pizza parlor recently filled an order for 150 pies, pretty impressive. But another number is even more impressive -- 1,400.

That's how many miles David Schuler, the man who placed the order, drove to bring the pies home. He lives in Mississippi, but he carries a torch for his hometown pizza joint outside of Boston.

Now, back to Anderson.

COOPER: So we mentioned turtle man earlier. I didn't know -- you said you didn't see turtle man. Let's just show a little bit of it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me hear it. You have to do that and you get higher and you can catch another one.


COOPER: This is a man who he catches turtles.


COOPER: Yes. You can't understand him.

SESAY: I can't understand anything he's saying. I'm sure you can understand.

COOPER: I understand every single thing he said.

SESAY: I think he say he was part Indian?

COOPER: He said a lot. You got to watch it on YouTube. Yes.

Coming up, "The Ridiculist," a bunch of sorority ladies, a rap video. Need we say more?


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist."

And tonight, we're adding a group of people we're calling Alabama Slammers. They're people slamming what I think is a fantastic video featuring sorority girls from the University of Alabama rapping.

Like a wicked case of mono sweeping through the steakhouse after the semi-formal. The video has gone viral and fast. Now I maintained for years that nothing says rap music like white sorority girls. People have always argued with me for some reason about this,

But now at last, I'm vindicated.


COOPER: What it be, indeed. What it be. Yo, they got mad street cred. Yo!

Let's hear a bit more from the rough and tumble young ladies who put the hell in the Panhellenic Association.


COOPER: Scoff if you like, Delta Zeta Hetas (ph), I'll tell you one thing I don't want to be around when the East Coast/West Coast sorority rap war starts. Sure, it will start with the philanthropic barn dance or something.

But I'll tell you right now, it is going to end in blood, sweat and tears. Mostly tears, tears which will be compromised mostly of Boones farm.


COOPER: Oh, snap! I have a feeling it's about to get deep, yo!


COOPER: All right. Wait a minute. How did a brunette sneak in there?

All right. So remix is a take on Rebecca Black's Friday -- bold choice, ladies. These rappers are not afraid to show their edgier side. By now you notice this is all about rush week.

So, you may be asking, hey, Panhellenic Association, what exactly is going to happen during this process?

For example, do the pledges really got to get down? Fear not. It's all about to be explained. In other words, delta, delta ,delta is going to help you, help you, help you.


COOPER: People are making all kinds of snarky comments online about this video, I bet sororities in general. It's all stick to your keg parties this and eat a baked potato that. There's just one thing I have to say to all the skeptics.

Actually, I just Chris Cracker say it.


COOPER: Yes, I know he was talking about Britney Spears. But I think it's totally appropriate because according to the latest Gallup poll, 84 percent of sorority girls are in fact named Britney. That is science, yo!

So, leave them alone. Those University of Alabama sorority rappers are the fiercest, the toughest, the -- wait. Hang on. This just in from the Kappa Kappa Gamma House University of Central Florida.


COOPER: Yo, don't let the woes fool you. Did you see them throwing down the gang signs at the end there?

Sorry, University of Alabama Panhellenic Association, you may not be the baddest on the block after all. But thanks for giving us such a rush.

And all you Alabama Slammers, welcome to the first ever pledge class at "Ridiculist" U.

Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer starts now.