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Missing in Aruba; Latest on Planned School Massacre in Tampa
Aired August 18, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DIANE DIMOND, HOST: Good evening, everyone. I`m Diane Dimond, sitting in tonight for Dr. Drew.
We`ve got the latest on that planned school massacre in Tampa, Florida, allegedly plotted by a teenager.
And later, Dr. Drew will ask why so many people love and love to hate Michele Bachmann.
But first, breaking news about Robyn Gardner, who vanished in Aruba two weeks ago.
Take a look at this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a frightening new development in the case of a missing American woman in Aruba.
NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": A condom, unused, straight out of the package, along with a bloody handprint, a palm print, has just been discovered behind that same restaurant where Gardner and Giordano had the seaside lunch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "People" magazine reports that his digital camera was confiscated, and there are graphic borderline pornographic pictures of Robyn Gardner on this camera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can admit the camera has been confiscated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is Robyn Gardner with this guy in the first place?
DIMOND: Well, the main suspect is that man you saw there, Gary Giordano. He`s still being held by Aruban authorities. They say that he took out a $1.5 million insurance policy on Robyn Gardner. So who was the beneficiary?
And apparently authorities have his digital camera now. It`s reported to have disturbing pornographic images of Robyn on it. So was Robyn into this sort of stuff, or was she seen in distress in those pictures?
Joining me tonight by phone is Reece Armstrong, Robyn`s very good friend. She joins us from Maryland. Also, here in studio with me is John Sharp. He`s a psychiatrist. And in Aruba, CNN correspondent Martin Savidge, who`s been covering this case since the story broke.
Martin, bring us up to date on the court transcripts that were released today. Did we learn anything new from them?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Diane, these are documents that we actually obtained. And what they are, are statements that Gary Giordano made to authorities roughly -- well, three days after Robyn Gardner disappeared on the very spot where we`re standing now, this particular beach.
And what we learned from the way that the questions are asked of Gary Giordano is that authorities quickly focus in on the possibility that money was the motive, because in the line of questioning, they start to ask him about, what are his personal finances? What does he do for a living? What does he owe? What`s his mortgage? What is his income every month?
Then they quickly turn it to the insurance policies that he took out just before the trip, one on himself, one on Robyn Gardner. He does say that the beneficiary on the policy of himself, it`s is his mother. But he doesn`t mention who would benefit if something happened to Robyn Gardner.
And then he gets into the details of the day she disappeared. And the one dramatic point that really stands out is he begins describing them in the water, the snorkeling. It gets deep, maybe 20 feet of water.
He decides, I need to come back. He turns around. He says that he taps on the foot of Robyn Gardner and then the struggle begins to get back.
And the police say, well, did you look at Robyn as your trying to swim back to shore? Basically, no. He says, "I only looked back when I hit a rock. Before that, I did not look back. I was only busy saving my life."
This is the first time we heard him dramatically, apparently, say that he too thought he might drown. And of course we know Robyn was never seen again.
DIMOND: Right. And all of this taking place, of course, Martin, on this area called Baby Beach that`s supposed to be so calm and serene.
I remember during the Natalee Holloway case that that -- I`ve been to Aruba. It`s not a very big place.
And off one edge of it is a sheer cliff where, for years and years and decades, the local butchers have thrown their scraps. And down below, yes, you got it, you`re with me, it`s a big group of sharks that live there. It`s a shark pool. And many police officers on the island thought that`s where Natalee wound up.
Any indication that this Gary Giordano was on that edge of the island?
SAVIDGE: Interesting you mention that, Diane. We asked local authorities -- actually, local islanders -- about that very spot. And they say that practice has since been stopped, that they don`t throw their garbage or their meat into that ocean to what were shark-infested waters.
But not far away from where we`re standing, in fact within sight, there is an area that`s known as Ceru Colorado. And it`s very rugged, very difficult terrain, and very steep, high cliffs overlooking crashing waves of the ocean. And it`s one of the areas authorities say they are planning to search as they continue to look for Robyn Gardner.
DIMOND: Yes. Well, maybe they`ve stopped that practice there, Martin, but I think that the sharks remember.
You know, authorities have Gary Giordano`s laptop, the cell phone, and as we mentioned, his digital camera. Now, this camera apparently has some very disturbing pornographic images of Robyn on it.
Listen to what the solicitor general of Aruba had to say about all of this today on "The Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TACO STEIN, SOLICITOR GENERAL OF ARUBA: I can admit the camera has been confiscated, and it`s looked at presently by the police to see what`s on it, and whether or not it has bearing on our investigation. While you`ll understand that I`m not in a position to comment upon what`s on the camera, what kinds of pictures those are, what I`ve heard about it is there`s no indication that there`s talk of duress in the pictures. But I can`t dwell upon what`s in the camera, what kind of pictures they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIMOND: Well, this indicates to me that she might have been a willing participant.
Martin Savidge, back to you. What more can you tell us about these images? What have you learned?
SAVIDGE: Well, I will point out that Taco Stein has not personally seen the photographs, because I asked him that very thing. So he has not. He is getting the account from other people who have looked at them, investigators here. And, in fact, his term to me was he would only say they were explicit, and he left out any sexual description or character.
That said, of course you want to look at these and try to determine, is she being forced? But even still, it is demeaning of women.
And it would seem to fit a profile that many seem to apply to Gary Giordano here. And of course none of that dismisses the fact that if she`s missing and has died as a result of foul play, that he or whomever is responsible needs to be brought to account.
DIMOND: Right. And, you know, I also remember from the Natalee Holloway case and dealing with the officials in Aruba, what they say in the beginning doesn`t always turn out to be what is really so.
"People" magazine reports that Solicitor General Taco Stein describes Gary Giordano -- this is a quote, folks -- "as a mean bastard."
Here`s more of what he had to say on "The Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, "THE TODAY SHOW": According to "People" magazine, Mr. Stein, you describe Mr. Giordano in this way -- and they have you quoted here -- "He is a mean bastard." And then the next quote, "The way he treats women, it`s all geared toward himself."
Do you think that that quote coming from you in some ways might be problematic at this stage of the case?
STEIN: Well, I don`t know. I can have an opinion myself about a person. I`m not dealing with the case myself. So my colleagues who will take the case to court will not be biased.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIMOND: Well, let`s find out more about the woman at the center of this, Robyn Gardner. Her friend Reece Armstrong is with us on the telephone now.
Reece, thanks for being with us.
You know, we have heard so much about this relationship with these people. Robyn apparently knew him for more than a year. She knew he had problems.
He has mentioned that they drink alcohol. He said she took sleeping pills that day. And now we`re hearing about pornography.
Was she into these things, Reece?
REECE ARMSTRONG, ROBYN GARDNER`S FRIEND: You know what? Like I said before, she`s a loyal person. I don`t believe that with intention she would ever do something like that. She`s loyal to Richard and everything like that.
My main problem with this whole situation is that Gary admitted that she had either been given or had taken sleeping pills in the middle of the day, and had drank on top of it. So, if you were a friend of Robyn`s, and she trusted you to take her on this trip to Aruba to clear her head, then why would you take her something as dangerous as snorkeling?
DIMOND: Right, after she`s had both vodka and sleeping pills, and then you take her in the water. I know, Reece. It doesn`t make any sense to me at all.
ARMSTRONG: Right. That`s not a good mixture to begin with.
I said last night in the interview, that`s like knowing that someone took a few Benadryl and giving them the keys to your car and saying, hey, go take a road trip.
ARMSTRONG: Why would you take them underwater on a snorkeling trip? Something does not add up here. That`s why I do not believe a word this guy says.
DIMOND: Yes. Well, apparently, the police are suspicious of him as well.
Let`s turn now to Dr. John Sharp.
Dr. Sharp, these new developments that we hear now with Gary Giordano -- and remember, in the past, other women have complained about him. He`s had restraining orders, many wives, several children.
What does this tell you about the man we`re dealing with?
DR. JOHN SHARP, PSYCHIATRIST, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, I`ll tell you what, it really shows you that you`ve got to be careful who you run with. You know, running with the wrong crowd is going to get you in big trouble.
For all that we can see, Robyn was a lovely woman. You know, hopefully she`s still alive. But it doesn`t look like Gary had anything really good going for him.
He seemed to me like a very frightening, dangerous man. And we have a lot of evidence about that.
DIMOND: And, you know, she knew him for more than a year, knew that he had these criminal problems in his past. But this is a woman who just lost her job, very vulnerable, and didn`t have any -- well, a trip to Aruba? Boy, that sounds good. Let`s go. I need the vacation.
SHARP: And maybe take a walk on the wild side. Maybe for her, it seemed like it was enticing.
But, you know, when you see what he was all about, when you see about his potential for violence, his history of violence, his history of bad judgment -- you know, there`s primary gain and secondary gain in psychiatry. Primary is an inner emotional motivation. So, was it to dominate, to control, to subdue, to deceive?
DIMOND: Or to make money.
SHARP: Or a secondary gain, which would be something material. Was it to get away from trouble, or to make money, or to avoid arrest, or to -- you know, there`s got to be some kind of combination of motives, and none of them to me look good at all.
DIMOND: Hey, Martin Savidge, let me ask you before we take a break here, what do you think so far is the strongest piece of evidence against this man? They`re still holding him for at least two more weeks.
SAVIDGE: It`s quite clear that it`s the insurance policies at this particular point, that they discovered those early on, that he took them just days before they came on this trip. And that seems to be the real thing that may have pushed the judge to say yes, I`ll give you 16 more days. But the truth is, if they don`t come up with something stronger than that, after 16 days it`s very possible that Gary Giordano will leave this island free.
DIMOND: Yes. He could come on home to Maryland.
And if so, watch out ladies.
Thanks a lot to Martin, everyone.
Next up, the school massacre that did not happen thanks to a tip. Did a teenager really want to kill his classmates?
And later, Dr. Drew is back to answer these questions: Why is Michele Bachmann so polarizing? And what does that say about us?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW PINKSY, HOST, DR. DREW: She and her husband caught a good deal of grief for using what`s sometimes called this pray the gay away approach at their mental health clinics.
Dana, does this impress her base and infuriate her detractors?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the things that Michele Bachmann had said and I understand that she had said, "I`m not running to be the judge of gay people. I`m running to be president of the United States."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIMOND: Columbine High School massacre, 13 dead. Virginia Tech shooting spree, 32 dead. Remember those?
Sadly, blood continues to spill in the classrooms and hallways of America`s educational institutions. And it almost happened again this week at a high school in Tampa, Florida.
CHIEF JANE CASTOR, TAMPA POLICE DEPT.: The material that they found included fuel sources, shrapnel, plastic tubing, timing and diffusing devices.
DIMOND (voice-over): Tampa police say 17-year-old Jared Cano had the tools to kill dozens of students at the same school he was kicked out of last year. Along with explosive materials, investigators found a manifesto outlining his disturbing plot to kill more students than Columbine.
Cano even had detailed drawings about where his bombs would be planted.
CASTOR: It goes minute by minute, what he intended to do, starting at 5:00 a.m. in the morning.
DIMOND: Police thwarted Cano`s plan thanks to a tip. Authorities were already keeping a close eye on the teen. Cano had a history. He had a criminal past.
His juvenile records date back years. His rap sheet includes drug possession, grand theft auto, and possession of a firearm.
So how could he have gotten this far, so close to killing fellow students and faculty? Who`s to blame -- authorities, the school, his parents?
CASTOR: We were probably able to thwart a potentially catastrophic event the likes of which the city of Tampa has not seen.
DIMOND: Boy, that just makes you shudder.
Joining us now is Jane Castor, who you just saw there, Tampa`s chief of police, and MaryEllen Elia. She is the superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools. Also, Dr. John Sharp, the psychiatrist, has stayed with us.
Chief Castor, let me start with you. What was the tip, if you can tell us, that helped you stop this apparent horror from happening?
CASTOR: Well, we received an anonymous call into our communications centers that gave us some pretty explicit information. And we were able to trace that back to Jared Cano.
And we acted on it immediately. We get a lot of this kind of information, threats, for different facilities. And we investigate all of those. Nine out of 10 times it`s a dead end, but this one, fortunately the officers did an outstanding job and were able to take Mr. Cano into custody.
DIMOND: Now, MaryEllen, if I can ask you to reveal what you can about this young man. We know he was expelled from school last year. But what kind of grades did he make? Was he a smart fellow? I read that he left a manifesto with a detailed, schematic drawings of the school. Sounds like a pretty sharp kid.
MARYELLEN ELIA, SUPERINTENDENT, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Well, I think as he pointed out in one of the statements that he had made, he didn`t get very good grades in school. But I think he just was more involved with things outside of school.
We`re very concerned about behavior in our schools, and the activities that he had been involved in caused him to have a change of placement which would take him out of that high school. And at that point in time, he went into home schooling and not involved in the school for over a year.
DIMOND: Yes. He is, we should tell our viewers, from a divorced family. His father has surfaced and said that he hadn`t seen his son for five or six years. His mother is a math teacher.
Our CNN affiliate in Tampa spoke to the suspect`s father. His name is Alexander Cano. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER CANO, JARED CANO`S FATHER: I had seen these pictures on TV. It bothered me. You know?
I mean, where`s his mother at? You know? What`s going on? He should not be flashed in the news because -- until he is deemed an adult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIMOND: Well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, Dr. Sharp. We don`t know this man. We don`t know his relationship with his son. But he sounds like he has no idea about what his son has been up to lately.
SHARP: Yes. I don`t know anything about this gentleman except what we just saw, but he seems a little out of it. And probably, that contributed in some way to how all this developed.
You know, you asked about intelligence. Intelligence doesn`t correlate with violence. What correlates with violence is psychosis, impulse control problems, drug abuse. And the best thing that correlates is history of violence.
So this young man had trouble containing his rage. Freud said that we all have deep rage inside, but he may have been wrong about that, but most of us keep it inside. This kid was willing to let it out.
DIMOND: Yes. And only 17 years old.
You know, I was reading that he had a gun possession arrest. The police came to his house. They ask him to put down the baseball bat six times. He finally did, and he admitted that he had stolen a gun.
Chief, let me go back to you. This young man apparently was on the police department`s radar. So how in the world does he get the components to make bombs into his home? He was growing marijuana in his house.
How much on his radar was he with you?
CASTOR: Well, unfortunately, he was on our radar based on some of the crimes that he had committed in the past to include property crimes, and some of the things that you outlined before. But all of the components that he had that could be used in the construction of these explosive devices were things that anyone can get, anyone can obtain legally. And according to our bomb squad, he had the sophistication to actually construct and detonate those devices.
DIMOND: Oh, that`s frightening.
Well, next up, could your child`s classmate be a killer? The signs and symptoms of potentially dangerous students when we come back. Don`t miss this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s unfortunate that we have a situation like this, but it`s more fortunate that we stopped it. And we have to continue to work together to stop these events from happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS FARKAS, PRINCIPAL, FREEDOM HIGH SCHOOL: We worked together with the police department, as we have for years. And it came out with a positive result, which was that, within minutes of them finding out about the incident, they were here. And we were working with the Tampa Police Department to help them. And they got to the bottom of it, which is the thing that makes us happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIMOND: Yes. Chris Farkas is a very grateful principal. He and administrators at Freedom High, which, by the way, was named to honor those who died on 9/11, worked with the Tampa Police Department to thwart what could have been a tragedy.
Tonight, we`ve been talking about that near tragedy here.
Dr. Sharp, if Dr. Drew were here, he would say, how come nobody looked at this kid`s Facebook page? Right there he said, "I go to the University of Marijuana and I`m studying how to grow weed."
SHARP: Right. Dr. Drew would say something like, come on, talk to your kids about what`s going on. Look through their stuff if you have to.
You`re the parent. It`s your responsibility to know what`s happening in their minds. You can`t let things slide. You can`t look the other way. You can`t hope that it`s going to be OK.
DIMOND: And you can`t figure that everything is OK, especially after your son has been expelled from high school.
SHARP: Right. I mean, this particular kid has a history of violence, and he`s only 17, like you said before.
DIMOND: Yes. Big red flags here with this child.
SHARP: Big red flags.
DIMOND: And I wonder why nobody stepped in to help him.
Maybe that`s a good question for the superintendent, MaryEllen Elia.
What about that? I guess he was being home schooled, you said. Were there any other programs available to this young man?
ELIA: Yes, there would have been other programs available, but of course there`s options for parents when they`re making decisions like that. But I`d like to respond to the whole issue of parents and people watching a student`s Facebook page.
DIMOND: Please. Yes, please.
ELIA: I think that that is one -- we go out of the way with both the Tampa Police Department and the Sheriff`s Department here in Hillsborough County to provide programming at our schools for parents who are there for parent nights or PTA meetings to let them know how important that is. I think we all are aware of predators that are part of an environment that, really, we just need to make sure that our children are not there when these kinds of things start to develop.
So I cannot underscore enough the importance of making sure that parents are aware of exactly what is happening when students are interacting on Facebook, or putting their own profiles on there, because I think you`re right, it does certainly give you an indication that there`s some issues.
DIMOND: Exactly. You know, I`m the mother of a daughter, and I`m all over that Facebook page.
Chief Castor, I want to give you the last word here. I know that police departments nationwide, they go to these Facebook pages. They`re very important investigative tools, right?
CASTOR: Yes. We use all of the social media to monitor criminal activity, you know, individuals that we suspect of committing crimes. And we`ve solved a number of crimes through the social media.
So if the police departments are looking at it, parents out there, listen up. You look at it, too -- Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, all of them.
All right. Enough said.
Dr. Drew will be here after the break. He`ll be talking about presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann and why the Tea Party darling generates so much love and so much hate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Do we not sort of reserve a special -- should we call it aggression or enmity for women in politics, and particularly attractive women in politics? And if we do, does it ever benefit them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president of the United States, that`s what I bring. It`s leadership. A core set of principles. That`s what Ronald Reagan brought when he was president of the United States. It wasn`t just being governor of California. It was his core set of principles that guided him.
And I think that`s what I`m going to bring as well. For me, we need to have a decision maker, because the president isn`t just manager and chief. They`re the leader. They set the direction, and that`s what I can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Tea Party darling, and Republican presidential candidate. Now, she`s been a strong voice in politics the last few years, speaking out on taxes, gay marriage, and President Obama, and crystallizing Tea Party power in D.C. Media seems to eat it up. Loyalists gush praise. Pundits heap criticism. And, of course, late night comics, this brings them to joyous tears. Take a look at this.
CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, CONAN: Today, Michele Bachmann, wished Elvis Presley a happy birthday even though today is the anniversary of his death.
O`BRIEN: When told about the mistake, Bachmann said my apologies to not only Elvis but the entire Costello family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michele Bachmann took first place in the Iowa`s straw poll. She hasn`t been this excited since she won last year`s Who`s Crazier than Sarah Palin Contest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re also going to a petting zoo for the kids.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. A petting zoo. Of course. At a Bachmann petting zoo, you are only allowed to pet animals of the opposite sex.
PINSKY: It`s very funny, but you can`t boil a person down to slipups and bloopers. And politics aside, Bachmann`s way is powerful. It`s undeniable. Her message resonates with many, and she angers many as well. Tonight, we`re looking at the person behind the politics and what our reaction to her says about us.
So, joining me now is Alex Burns from Politico. He is on the phone. I`ve got CNN contributor and editor of bigjournalism.com, Dana Loesch, also a political fundraiser and strategist, Mary Smith joins me. Alex, to you first. That clip we just saw, late night comics singling out Bachmann. Are they doing so unfairly?
VOICE OF ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: You know, Drew, I think that the question is sort of what`s important for Bachmann whether it`s fair or unfair, but it`s certainly politically beneficial to her to be perceived as being under attacked like this. Her core supporters see her as a political outsider who`s willing to speak truth to power.
And when you see these prominent figures in the mainstream media, the comics that you played and the cover of "Newsweek" with unflattering pictures of her last, this sort of reinforces her core appeal.
PINSKY: Does it bring anybody over though who sort of have issues with her or does it just reinforce the sense that people have of her as kind of a cartoon character?
BURNS: Well, I think that`s a very fair point. For someone like Michele Bachmann who really does appeal to a niche part of the electorate, she`s not necessarily going to command a majority support in any sort of general election outside of her Congressional district. You know, for her to make an impact on the national stage, what she needs is that passionate, you know, 15, 20 percent that`s available to her and it`s ginned up by this kind of stuff.
PINSKY: Now, Bachmann took hit from the left for her views on homosexuality. This is how she put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: It`s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It`s anything but gay. If you`re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it`s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And as recently as Sunday, she reiterated her stance on gay marriage. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: When it comes to marriage and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think that`s been my view.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: She also says she`d bring back "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell." And, she and her husband caught a good deal of grief for using what, sometimes, call this pray the gay away approach at their mental health clinics. Dana, does this impress her base and infuriate her detractors?
DANA LOESCH, EDITOR, BIGJOURNALISM.COM: Well, I think so if it`s presented in the manner in which it usually represented. Michele Bachmann`s views on gay marriage and "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell" and so on and so forth, I mean, really, when you look at it, it`s in line with the tradition of most other faiths. And what she said in 2004, a lot of people focus on that, but at the same time, it`s not really a fair break, because no one questions the president on things that he said or the churches that he`s been to or sat in for 20 years.
But, the bottom line is that, one of the things that Michele Bachmann had said, and I understand that. She had said, I`m not running to be the judge of gay people. I`m running to be president of the United States. And I think the question comes down to whether or not she can govern in an impartial and fair way. And I believe that she can, and I have not seen any reason from her to say, otherwise.
PINSKY: Dana, I`m going to ask you a follow-up, and that is, I find her very appealing as a person, but, you know, we`ve just been through a thing in California here where a referendum overturned the concerted opinion of the Supreme Court of the state, and a minority was expunged of their rights as a result of just the tyranny of this majority. Some of the things she says scares me.
LOESCH: Well, I mean, one of the things that I notice with -- if you`re referring to Prop 8. I mean, that was passed by a majority of individuals who ruled in a certain way. And I think that if you want to get into a discussion on gay marriage and civil unions, you know, that`s one thing, but that`s not what she`s running on.
And honestly, I think if you look at where the country is right now as someone who`s an independent conservative, I`m not so much focused on gay marriage or "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell" right now as I am the economy. And, she`s been asked before, would you or would you not appoint an openly homosexual person into your administration, and she had said, look, if they can go by the constitution, I don`t this why this would even be a viable question, because that`s what it comes down to.
And ultimately, I think this issue -- and I say this constantly. I see this issue as something that has been hijacked by honestly progressives and to use as kind of a wedge issue when, really, limited government, fiscal responsibility, constitutional aspects that govern us, that is something -- it`s not patented by one group or another. That`s something that`s open to everybody regardless of your sexual orientation, regardless of your ethnicity, et cetera.
PINSKY: Well, it seems like limited government is what resonates with a lot of people, and we`re hearing the same thing from the governor of Texas. Alex, back to you, how do we distinguish these two candidates?
BURNS: You know, Drew, I think that for supporters of Governor Perry, these are people who are genuinely in line with Michele Bachmann ideological views. They`re also very conservative, very (INAUDIBLE) to federal government, want to get government out of business. This term constitutional conservative gets used by both of them.
But what Governor Perry has that Congresswoman Bachmann doesn`t have is the ten years running the second largest state in America. So, you know, he has proven himself to be the kind of person who can handle the pressure of a very big campaign with a, you know, more diverse voter base than a Bachmann has in her Congressional district, and frankly, to just raise the kind of money that you need to compete.
PINSKY: Now, I want to read you something from a speech Michele Bachmann gave in 2006. She said, quote, -- this is interesting -- quote, "My husband said, now you need to go and get a post-doctorate degree in tax law. Tax law? I hate taxes. Why should I go into something like that? But the lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands."
Mary, I`ve been reporting this story about Warren Jeffs and that`s the kind of nonsense I heard from them. I hope that was just some sort of an out of context quote. But, these kinds of controversial statements, do those cause her trouble?
MARY SMITH, FORMER CHAIR, DENVER REPUBLICAN PARTY: They absolutely cause her trouble. And, with respect to other people on the panel, I think until these people can wrap their minds around issues like civil rights for all people, the Republican Party will be climbing an uphill battle before they can actually send somebody to the White House again. Michele Bachmann is out there talking about a lot of issues, and she`s not running on anything but fiscal conservatism.
The truth of the matter is it`s a four-year term. She needs to be open to having people of many faiths, of many beliefs, and of many life practices that make sense to them and allow them to continue as part of the American fabric. Same goes for Rick Perry. Same goes for everybody running.
PINSKY: Well, I just heard -- I think Dana saying that that`s actually what she intends to do, but don`t you think she needs to calm down her rhetoric a little bit if that`s really her belief system?
SMITH: I think that if it were really her belief system, she wouldn`t be using that kind of rhetoric to begin with. And I think it makes it very clear as she continues her path across America, that it`s important to ask her these hard questions. Yes, an unflattering picture in "Newsweek" is a tough day. But the truth of the matter is, she has to be out there and on about all of these other issues. It`s not about the gaps. It`s about being taken seriously as a candidate.
PINSKY: Dana, last word to you.
LOESCH: Yes. I`d like to add something about the submissive part. I would really hope that if people are going to quote the bible, that they actually get the full verse in. The other half of that scripture is that husbands should adore their wives and hold them up to the level that they do the church. That is an order that has not given to women.
That means that while women should be respectful to their husbands, men has to treat their wives as good as they would the church, and that`s something that`s repeated over and over again in the New Testament. That is incredibly tally (ph). And I think that`s very empowering to women, as well. So, I wanted to note that.
SMITH: Reach out to independents and people of all faiths. They really need to be able to expand beyond this kind of very specific --
LOESCH: And they absolutely have.
PINSKY: Wait, one second. One second. Host here, guys. Hang on. I got to interpret, because we have to go to break. We have more to come.
And up next, I have a question which is, do we treat Michele Bachmann differently because she`s a woman, and she`s an attractive woman? Another female power player thinks so. I`ll tell you who straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: Before we get started, I have to apologize to everyone in this room, because I did forget something, and I have to confess. I forgot my teleprompters today. And I know you`ve never seen a president without their teleprompters, at least, not the current (ph) one, but in the Bachmann White House, there will be no teleprompters.
BACHMANN: Because I Believe South Carolinians can take the raw, unvarnished truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Just because there may happen to be two women in the race that they would, you know, as Michelle had put it once, get in the mud and engage in cat fighting, that`s ridiculous. It`s kind of even a sexist notion to consider that the two women would be kind of duking it out. No. If I want to duke it out, I`m going to duke it out with the guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That, of course, Sarah Palin, undeclared but potential Republican presidential candidate, addressing friction between she and candidate Michele Bachmann. Back with me are Dana Loesch, CNN contributor and editor of bigjournalism.com and political fundraiser and strategist, Mary Smith.
Mary, I want to go to you first, and Dana, I`ll give you quite a chance to ring in here in a second here, but is it -- do we not sort of reserve a special should we call it aggression or enmity for women in politics, and particularly, attractive women in politics? And if we do, does it ever benefit them?
SMITH: Sure, it benefits them. The additional attention benefits them. People are drawn to attractive people. That is well proven across lots of different spectra. The issue with women in politics is special one because there are so few of them. So, the occasional gaffe by Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann seems (INAUDIBLE) to everybody watching, and the truth of the matter is it just doesn`t have very often.
So, it`s a shiny new toy that people are watching, and they get a little bit of additional scrutiny. But, there`s a lot to be said for the - - all press is good press. They`re getting the attention. And it`s allowing them to get their ideas out there too and to be heard on a huge stage and on a huge scale. So, I wouldn`t -- I don`t feel sorry for these women. If you can`t take the heat, get out of the political kitchen, and neither of them are.
PINSKY: Well, Dana, I`m going to go to you. I`m wondering if it just says something about us that these female Republican candidates are often, when they`re attractive, often portrayed as dumb or silly.
LOESCH: Yes. That`s something that seems to be consistent. And quite honestly, having followed politics for and been involved for quite a while, I`ve seen this on both sides of the aisle. I definitely saw it with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I`ve seen it with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. And yes -- being good looking is definitely an asset. And I think any female candidate, if she`s good looking, use it to your advantage, because why not?
I think if you`re full well and able, then do it. But I definitely do think that something that Mary had said is that because there are so few women still involved in politics, anything that they do makes a much bigger statement than anything a male candidate does. And quite honestly, a lot of the sexism that I have seen against women hasn`t been from men. It`s been from other women. And I`ve seen a lot of women especially during the last presidential election.
They didn`t know whether or not Hillary Clinton would be able to do as well as Barack Obama, and they wondered how Sarah Palin would be able to deal with the White House when she had young children. And these were things that are never asked of male candidates. But, I heard them and I kid you not, more often from women than I did for men. So, what does that say about women?
PINSKY: It says you guys beat the crap out of each other, and you`ve been --
PINSKY: Hang on. And you`ve been doing so since you were 12. You`ve been doing it since you were 12 years old, and that`s my question to women is why are you so rough on each other? What`s that?
LOESCH: Women are catty. Women, I think, are catty. And I had this conversation the other day with a friend of mine. Have you noticed that so many reality shows are centered around women? Because women bring the drama. They`re manipulative. And I`m not saying it`s a bad thing. I`m just saying that that`s something I see more in women than I do in men.
We watch it because we like the drama for the same reasons that I think a lot of people get involved in politics and watch what`s going on in the political arena. It`s the new gladiator arena with women as gladiators.
PINSKY: What I do think -- I do think and Mary maybe you`ll agree with me on this, that we need to check ourselves and think about it when we mindlessly do this, particularly, women against other women, and merely -- and stop doing that. And us that are men if we find them attractive, they`re going to get our vote. Let`s listen to what they said.
And interestingly, Dana you sort of completed that scripture reference in that last segment from Michele Bachmann about submitting to your husband. I found that bordering on reprehensible in its incomplete form. You know what I mean?
LOESCH: Right. It sounds awful. It sounds horrible.
PINSKY: It sounds awful.
PINSKY: That`s right. So, in a way, I mean, maybe it`s time for some of these Republican candidates to stay away from some of that material and really focus on the governing. Mary, do you agree with me on that?
SMITH: Take almost any sentence out of the bible out of context and you`ll find something that`s reprehensible if it stands on its own. In context with the rest of it, a lot of it makes a lot of sense. A lot of it is across the board a good way to live your life. But -- and it`s not about women targeting other women. It`s a great stage. And now, we have serious candidates.
Michele Bachmann wouldn`t be on the cover of "Newsweek" if they weren`t taking her seriously. They are. You didn`t see Donald Trump actually making it, talk about a caricature. He`s gone. It`s gone. What we have are some serious people bringing up serious issues. I find it fairly disappointing that we`re spending so much time on John Wayne versus John Wayne Gacy or somebody`s birthday or somebody`s, you know, the day of their funeral.
That`s disappointing, because the substance is lost when we, as Americans, maybe there`s just too much news because we`re concentrating too much on this little stuff and not actually listening to what`s going wrong in the country and the solutions that people are offering to fix it. We need to look more towards the fixes and really hold their feet to the fire. If somebody`s making chitchat about the corn dogs or the fair or whatever, change the dynamic. Change the conversation.
Talk to them about what their ideas, what they are actually going to do. Not their track record, not what they have done in the past. How are you going to bring that to the fore so that you can solve the problems that are right here right now?
PINSKY: More after this. Stick around.
BACHMANN: I`ve been at the tip of the spear.
I`ve been at the tip of the spear.
I`ve been at the tip of the spear, and I`ve been a champion for people.
I was the leading voice in Washington against raising the debt ceiling.
I`ve been leading on this issue of not raising the debt ceiling.
I was leading on not increasing the debt ceiling.
We took the biggest punch to the gut this week.
This last week, we got a punch to the gut in the United States.
We saw a punch to the gut in the United States this last week.
We really had a punch in the gut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: Better late than never is no way to conduct United States foreign policy. Finally, after weeks of violence by President Assad against his own people, President Obama has called for President Assad to step aside in Syria. This is yet one more instance of President Obama leading from behind on foreign policy.
The president should have acted weeks ago to call on President Assad to step down when his regime started slaughtering and oppressing his own Syrian people. By this count now, it`s thousands of Syrians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Where are those people who decided to vote for Barack Obama? I know a lot of them who wish they had voted for Hillary Clinton in that primary race and believe that she, as a woman, but more as the candidates and as the leader, would have done a better job if she was in that position today than he is. I agree with them.
PINSKY: Mary, you bring up the point, and this is something, Dana, you do the final word on this, which is I hear -- I`m clearer about what Rick Perry`s position is on his stance towards how he plans to govern, although, it`s a little unclear. I`m clearer about it than I am, say, with Michele Bachmann where so much noise gets in the way. How do we get passel the noise and the jokes to hear what it is she would do as a candidate?
LOESCH: Are you asking me this?
PINSKY: I`m asking you that.
LOESCH: Well, something Mary said that I thought was incredibly interesting when she was saying that -- when she said that there`s -- maybe there`s too much news. I don`t know if there`s too much news rather, I think sometimes the news focuses on the wrong thing, because when you go to the ballot box, you`re not going to be thinking about what Michele Bachmann said about Elvis` death day.
You`re going to be wondering, well, why did she vote the way that she did on cut, cap, and balance? Why did she vote the way that she did on TARP. What has her record then? And I think -- and Dr. Drew, you made a very interesting point in terms of you know more how Rick Perry would govern as oppose to Michele Bachmann.
And this says, we could -- I could go off on a tangent on this that`s because, you know, the gubernatorial poll obviously very different than coming from House of Representatives, and presidential candidates don`t normally come from the house. One in the past 100 years, in fact, has. But, I think, it`s very important.
The media is there to sort of enhance and give platform to what is going on news wise. And instead, it seems that a lot of regular supposedly objective news organizations seem to try to adopt the tabloid style of reporting and focusing on things that, in the end, don`t really matter.
PINSKY: Well, it enhances our ratings. That`s why we do it. But guys, I`ve got to stop the conversation there. It`s very sad. Yes, it`s very sad. That`s why I`m trying not to do that tonight. I would like to cut through that and really find a candidate who`s going to change things for the better for all of us. So, thank you, ladies, for joining me.
Now, whatever else you might say about Michele Bachmann, she is a force to be reckoned with this election season. Underestimating someone because of gender is unfair. There is a wrong (ph). It`s also unfair to take shots at a person`s strong sense of values. But it`s important question to ask, do we worry about values that might translate into laws that are unfair?
That`s what I was asking about here a little bit. These are the questions we have to ask ourselves and the ones who come to light when a magnetic and polarizing figure like Michele Bachmann emerges on the landscape. These are the things that we start thinking about. So, it`s going to be an interesting election season. I want to thank you all for watching. We`ll see you next time.