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Republicans Debate; Alleged Terror Plot Foiled

Aired October 11, 2011 - 22:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: It is 10:00 p.m. here in Washington.

Breaking news from a place north of here. They are just about as fervent about their politics up in New Hampshire. The Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire wrapping up just moments ago.

The setting, a town hall. The eight candidates sat around a table with moderator Charlie Rose. They made their points, traded jabs, as you can see, elbow to elbow literally. The sole focus of tonight's face-off, the economy, but politics not far from center stage either.

With Herman Cain's poll numbers surging, he and his 999 plan were obvious targets. Take a listen.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nine-nine-nine will pass, and it is not the price of a pizza, because it has been well- studied and well-developed. It starts with, unlike your proposals, throwing out the current tax code. Continuing to pivot off the current tax code is not going to boost this economy. This is why we developed 9-9-9, 9 percent corporate business flat tax, 9 percent personal income flat tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax. And it will pass, Senator, because the American people want it to pass.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And one thing I would say is, when you take the 999 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil is in the details.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unlike Herman's plan, which could not pass, because no -- how many people here are for a sales tax in New Hampshire? Raise your hand.

There you go, Herman. That's how many votes you'll get in New Hampshire.


KING: A big night for Cain, also a critical event for Rick Perry. His stock is falling after two shaky debate showings and the Texas governor needed a strong showing tonight.

And of course Mitt Romney is still the front-runner, which made him a punching bag tonight as well. Just hours before this debate, Romney won the endorsement of New Jersey Chris Christie, who said Romney's experience in the private and public sectors make him the right candidate to lead the Republican ticket.

Joining me now to talk about all of this, CNN political contributor Republican consultant Alex Castellanos, also CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and CNN contributor Dana Loesch. She's editor of and a radio host for KFTK. That's 97.1 FM.

Gloria, let's start. Making the top tier means you catch some harpoons, Herman Cain in the crosshairs tonight defending 999. How did he do?


He didn't get specific, other than saying that he really wanted to get rid of the tax code. But it was clear that from a bunch of Republicans on the stage, they believe that you would never be able to keep the personal tax rate at just 9 percent and that also a national sales tax is regressive and something they don't like.

And, Rick Santorum, as you just showed, made a very good point. How many people in the state of New Hampshire are going to vote for a 9 percent national sales tax? The Republican Party doesn't like to talk about that, no matter how much Herman Cain does.

KING: And, Alex, it is not just the sales tax that is tough to sell. Even conservative analysis of this plan says the federal government would lose 18 to 20 percent of its revenue from the current tax system. How does Mr. Cain sell that? That would make the choices, the spending cut choices even tougher, and we see Washington can't get that done as it is.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Unless you accept Herman Cain's argument of course that a different tax code, a more dynamic tax code would produce dynamic growth in the economy, which is not a bad argument to make.

But one thing Cain I think needed to learn tonight -- and he didn't -- is that these debates are like parking your car on a hill. Either you keep moving forward or you slide back. And tonight we may have learned Herman Cain's PIN code for his bank card, but we sure didn't learn anything new about Herman Cain.

Romney had a great debate tonight. Newt Gingrich...


KING: Hang on, Alex.

Dana, one thing we need...


CASTELLANOS: I was just going to say Romney had a...


KING: Hang on.

Dana, we needed to learn tonight whether Rick Perry was ready to play, after two shaky debate performances, a lot of criticisms, how can he handle himself on this debate stage.

The central issue here was the economy. Here's Rick Perry on his jobs plan.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Romneycare has driven the cost of small-business insurance premiums up by 14 percent over the national average in Massachusetts. So my question for you would be: How would you respond to his criticism of your signature legislative achievement?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have the lowest number of kids as a percentage uninsured of any state in America. You have the highest. You...


ROMNEY: I'm still -- I'm still speaking.


PERRY: ... criticism.

ROMNEY: I'm still speaking. We -- we have -- we have less than 1 percent of our kids that are uninsured. You have a million kids uninsured in Texas. A million kids. Under President Bush, the percentage uninsured went down. Under your leadership, it's gone up.


I care about people. Now, our plan isn't perfect. Glenn Hubbard is a fine fellow. Take a look at his quote. Some people say that. Just because some people say something doesn't mean it's true.

The truth is, our plan is different, and the people of Massachusetts, if they don't like it, they can get rid of it. Right now, they favor it 3 to 1.


KING: All right, we will get to the jobs plan bite in just a minute. We rolled them in reverse order.

But, Dana Loesch, right there, you see Perry and Romney going at it. Did Governor Perry turn in a strong and forceful performance enough tonight to quiet the doubters?

DANA LOESCH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, he did not. And I was waiting for this question about Romneycare to be asked sooner. I thought it would appear earlier in the debate. And then Perry finally asked him. And I thought finally someone is going to ask about Mitt Romney about Romneycare and its effect on business in Massachusetts.

But then he took a nap and he fizzled out. I don't exactly know what happened. He didn't follow up. He wasn't aggressive with it. And the question itself wasn't even framed in an aggressive manner. He allowed Romney to skate by on a number of just outright fallacies. One of them was that, well, we didn't raise taxes in Massachusetts and we were able to implement this health care system.

That's not entirely true. It was because of the runoff costs of Romneycare that taxes did have to go up after it was implemented. But that is something that Perry didn't follow up on. And I was waiting for Perry to show everyone that he had the fire in his belly and that he really wants to run for president and I didn't see that from him tonight.

And now I'm beginning to wonder whether or not he is really serious about this.

KING: Well, that is an important criticism and critique, Alex.

So you have Dana raising questions there of whether he can go back and forth with Mitt Romney on at least among conservatives what should be a perceived Romney weakness. That is one critique Dana puts on the table. Let's listen now when Governor Perry was asked to describe his jobs plan.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A president, particularly with the plan that I'm going to be laying out over the next three days -- and I'm not going to lay it out all for you tonight -- Mitt has had six years to be working on a plan. I have been in this for about eight weeks.


KING: Is that good enough, Alex? You know this debate will be focused on the economy. Maybe he has more details to give us in the weeks ahead. But given his slip in the polls, given the questions about whether he can handle himself in a debate, is that good enough?

CASTELLANOS: No, it didn't seem like it here tonight.

John, I think obviously his campaign decided we are going to simplify things for our candidate. We're going to give him one idea, energy equals jobs, and we're going to let him be quiet the rest of the time and get through the debate that way.

The last debate, the excuse was made, well, he was standing up all debate long and he got tired. So this should have been his debate. He was sitting down. I think next time he will have to get a mattress because there was no energy, no fire and it was way too simple.

BORGER: Instead of seeming like an aggressor, Perry sort of almost seemed like a bystander here. And he really couldn't afford to do that.

He just put out a brutal Web ad against Mitt Romney, which attacked him on being a flip-flopper and on his Massachusetts health care. And then tonight, instead of building on that aggressively, he just kind of seemed to be a little more passive or a lot more passive than I thought he needed to be.

KING: So, Dana, if that's the case...




LOESCH: I wanted to raise a quick point.


BORGER: We are all on delay.

CASTELLANOS: I was just to say that, to Gloria's point, that that is exactly how -- sorry about that.

But to Gloria's point, that's how Rick Perry's won campaigns. He's never won campaigns because he's the most articulate candidate or because he's the brightest intellect. He always wins campaigns because he sticks a fork in his opponent's eyeball. And he has got enough money in the bank and there are enough super PACs out there.

And as Gloria said, there is the negative super ad out there. I would expect to see some very tough ads from Rick Perry pretty soon in the Boston and Iowa media markets.

KING: Well, Dana, if Herman Cain didn't defend his plan plainly enough and if Rick Perry was a no-show, does that mean by default Mitt Romney won tonight or did someone else steal this debate?

LOESCH: Well, not necessarily.

And one of the things I was going to say, too, was that, during this debate, Perry's camp was sending out e-mails of things that he should have been saying in this debate, for instance, on TARP. I thought that was so odd. And they do that pretty consistently. That's something that they should be talking about in the debate.

He had a great opportunity to distinguish himself from these other candidates. You had Herman Cain and Mitt Romney both defending -- both defending TARP, rather, just kind of shocking. But I don't think that Romney wins by default. While he's a good debater and he has great rhetorical skills, his answers, if you judge them by conservatism alone, don't pass the smell test. They don't. But because of semantics, because he's an artful debater...

CASTELLANOS: I disagree.

LOESCH: ... he comes out on top.

But Newt Gingrich I thought always does well, because Newt Gingrich just chews everybody up and spits everybody out and is able to reframe any debate that he's in. But I think Romney comes out on top and I think Gingrich comes out on top. I think Cain did well. Perry did not.

KING: Newt has been strong in every debate. He just hasn't been able to move the poll numbers.

Gloria, let me close with this. CNN has a debate one week from tonight. If Rick Perry is zero for the past three, I assume that one is do or die.

BORGER: Yes, it is important. People need to believe. Republicans need to believe that if they are going to nominate somebody, this person can stand next to Barack Obama on the stage and go at him and do well at it.

And if he cannot do that in a debate with his Republican contenders, with the other Republicans, he's going to have a hard time against Barack Obama. That's what people are looking for. And he hasn't shown it yet.

KING: Gloria, Dana, Alex, appreciate your insights.

Right after this Republican debate, again, our CNN debate one week from tonight.

And let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @JohnKingCNN. I will be tweeting tonight.

Just ahead, more breaking news: new details just obtained by 360 on that alleged terror plot uncovered right here on U.S. soil with ties, get this, to Iran. The attorney general, Eric Holder, says the FBI and the DEA have uncovered a murder-for-hire scheme to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir.

Also, for the first time, jurors hear Dr. Conrad Murray's full story -- what he says happens the day Michael Jackson died.


KING: Breaking news: new details just obtained by 360 on that alleged terror plot uncovered right here on U.S. soil with ties to Iran.

Attorney General Eric Holder says the FBI and the DEA have uncovered a murder-for-hire scheme to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir is his name, and according to court documents the suspects talked about killing him with explosives, possibly at a crowded restaurant in Washington.

One suspect behind bars tonight. He was arrested last month. He's a naturalized U.S. citizen who appeared in New York court today. In a moment new details on just how they caught him, how long he's been held, and who was tracking him.

The other suspect is a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. He's still at large.

Iran is blasting the United States saying it has no ties to this suspected plot. The spokesman for the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, quote, "I think the U.S. government is busy fabricating a new scenario and history has shown both the U.S. government and the CIA have a lot of experience in fabricating these scenarios. And this is just the latest one.

"I think their goal is to reach the American public. They want to take the public's mind off the serious domestic problems they're facing these days and scare them with fabricated problems outside the country."

But in Washington, the FBI director Robert Mueller said this was no fabrication, no joke. He says elements of the Iranian government were ready to spend $1. 5 million to hire what they believe was a drug cartel hit squad from Mexico.


ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: This case illustrates that we live in a world where borders and boundaries are increasingly irrelevant. A world where individuals from one country sought to conspire with a drug trafficking cartel in another country to assassinate a foreign official on United States soil.

And though it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script, the impact would have been very real and many lives would have been lost.


KING: And there's new fallout. Just this hour, Congressman Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, claims Iran was planning an act of war on U.S. soil. And when it comes now to a U.S. response, Chairman King says everything should be left on the table. Everything.

As for the Saudi response, they released this statement: "The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia would like to express its appreciation to the responsible agencies of the United States government for preventing a criminal act from taking place. The attempted plot is a despicable violation of international norms, standards and conventions, and is not in accord with the principles of humanity."

Joining me now with new insight on the alleged plot, CNN national security contributor, former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, Fran Townsend. Plus, Ali Soufan, a former FBI Supervisory Federal Agent, he's also the author of the book, "The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda." Also with us tonight, CNN contributor, former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes, and former CIA officer Bob Baer.

Fran, you have some important new detail about the whole operation. What are your sources telling you that's new?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: You know, John, Bob Mueller of the FBI said it was like a Hollywood plot. And as we've gotten additional details, it's really not only that, but it's an incredible example of the sophistication and success of the FBI and the law enforcement agencies here.

We know that Arbabsiar, the defendant here, flew into Mexico and was denied entry. Well, it turns out we've learned tonight from senior counterterrorism officials he was denied entry into Mexico by design with the cooperation of the Mexican government. You would then think -- he then flew to New York. Now you might ask yourself why didn't he fly to Texas? That's where he and his family were living.

He didn't go to Texas because federal officials here in the United States understood that under Texas law he may not have been able to have been held to do an intelligence interview, and so he was flown to New York. Unbeknownst to the defendant on that flight were federal agents. He -- when that flight landed in New York, federal agents quietly took him into custody, and then took him to a U.S. government facility.

We don't know where it is. It's a secret facility where he was held from September 29 until today, that's 12 days, John. Each of those days he was interviewed by federal agents. Each of those days before those interviews began he was given his Miranda warnings and told that he was entitled to be presented on charges before a federal magistrate. And each of those days he in writing signed a waiver. The reason he was presented today, the defendant was tired of talking to federal agents. And so during those 12 days they not only got a confession from him and we see that in the complaint, but they also got dozens of intelligence reports and leads. Those dozens of reports are now being gone through across the federal family of agencies trying to find additional links.

The interesting thing here, John, we know that there are direct links to the Al Quds Force of the IRGC, the Revolutionary Guard. A senior counterterrorism official tells me they have not yet found a direct link to the supreme leader or to President Ahmadinejad, but that's exactly what they're going through these reports looking for now.

KING: Let's go through this process. Ali Soufan, I want to come to you first because you're familiar with the interrogation tactics. What does it tell you based on Fran's new information, 12 days of talking, then I'm done? So then the feds decide it's time to go to court but what does that tell you about the suspect and the process?

ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI INTERROGATOR: It tells me that the individual has been cooperating. It tells me that the government was probably taking advantage of his cooperation, getting as many intelligence as they can get.

This is a very sensitive case. It has regional implications. It has international implications. And the government needed to dot every I and cross every T. I believe that the FBI agents who were debriefing him, you know, did everything that they can get from him. And eventually after his cooperation ended or at least maybe it's ended by -- from our side, he was presented and appeared into court.

Because the subject, the defendant, has a right to ask for an attorney and has a right to appear into court any time he wants. Just the fact that he stayed more than 12 days being interrogated by the FBI, that indicates to me that he -- there was a level of cooperation going on.

KING: And so, Tom Fuentes, if you read this complaint and now we understand what happened in prison, it would -- it does read like a Hollywood novel. If you presented this in Hollywood to a publisher, they'd probably throw you out. But if this all true, a symbolic attack, assassinating the Saudi ambassador, the key adviser to King Abdullah, what's the strategic goal? Why would Iran want to do this and why would they want to do it here?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think one thing that Iran has an advantage is when they make the rest of the world mad at them and either create a situation where the United Nations starts hearing evidence against them or other statements are made, then that unifies them politically internally.

So someone like Ahmadinejad can gain national power internally if it's Iran against the world. And that could be one reason to have an attack like this. KING: Iran against the world, Bob Baer. How unusual is it for a foreign government essentially -- this is if we believe this -- the Republican Guard of Iran outsourcing an assassination to a criminal drug enterprise, the drug cartel?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: (AUDIO GAP) uses proxies to make attacks. The Quds force has attacked American troops in Saudi Arabia. It blew up the Marines in Beirut. I could go on and on. But they have always used reliable proxies. I have never seen them go to drug cartels, sit down in a meeting like this, send money through New York. It's just -- it's sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

This is not characteristic of the Quds force at all. It makes me wonder if there isn't -- somebody is losing it in Tehran. This is just a terribly risky operation. And it's been said by the Department of Justice, it's an act of war. I mean, how could we not respond to this? What I can't figure out is why they left so many clues, fell into this trap. It's just not their modus operandi.

KING: Fran Townsend, Ali Soufan, Tom Fuentes, Robert Baer, thanks for your help tonight.

And let us know what you think. We're on Facebook or you can follow me on Twitter @JohnKingCNN.

Up next, "Raw Politics." Herman Cain's controversial comments on race and racism in America. Could his remarks help or hurt his Republican presidential campaign?

And just one week after Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he won't run for president, he announces which GOP candidate he thinks should get the job.

We'll have that. First, let's check in, though, with Isha Sesay.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: John, for the first time we hear Dr. Conrad Murray's full story, what he says happened the day Michael Jackson died. More audio tapes of his police interview were played in court today.

You'll also hear Murray talk about how the singer's children reacted to the news their father was dead -- that and more when 360 continues.


KING: "Raw Politics" tonight.

GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain under fire for his comments on racism in America. Cain said today that many liberal Democrats in the black community are, quote, "racist," for questioning his political ambitions as a black conservative Republican.

His remarks came in an interview on the Neal Boortz radio show. And there's -- and there's more. Over the weekend, the former executive of Godfather's Pizza, Pillsbury and Burger King caused a stir in an interview with our Candy Crowley on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" saying African-Americans who remain economically disadvantaged have only themselves to blame. Watch.


CAIN: They weren't held back because of racism, no. People sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.


KING: That comment, along with some others he's made recently, outraged a number of African-American leaders who argue Cain is out of touch with reality. Among Cain's critics, radio talk show host, Princeton University professor Cornell Wells, who said the Republican candidate needs to get off his, quote, "symbolic crackpot," and actor and activist Harry Belafonte, who called Cain a -- quote -- "bad apple" who didn't represent the African-American community.

Last night Cain fired back at his critics on FOX News's "Hannity."


CAIN: People like Harry Belafonte and Professor West and others who attack me, they don't want black people to think for themselves. And this is why they're so upset with Herman Cain who is now moving up into the top tier for the Republican presidential nomination and that people are listening to me. They don't want me to wake people up and get them to read the fine print and think for themselves.


KING: Cain also had this message on FOX News for those speaking out against him.


CAIN: I left the Democrat plantation a long time ago. And all that they try to do when someone like me -- and I'm not the only black person out there that shares these conservative views. The only tactic that they have to try and intimidate me and shut me up is to call me names and this sort of thing. It just simply won't work.


KING: Will comments like that help or hurt his presidential campaign?

Joining me now, Boyce Watkins, a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Web site,, and Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.

Boyce Watkins, to you first, Herman Cain says some of his critics are racist. You now believe he's a racist. That's a pretty heavy indictment. Stick by it?

BOYCE WATKINS, PROFESSOR OF FINANCE, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Yes, I think that Herman Cain, to some extent, is the perfect racist because racism is most effective when it has a black face. A lot of people think that being black means you can't be racist, but we have black people who have problems with dark skinned black people, black people who have problems with poor black people, et cetera.

You even have women that will sit on a jury during a rape trial and say, oh her skirt was too short or she should have women that hate women and black people that can effectively promote an agenda that was not created by them but is accelerated by the color of their skin because, remember, no other Republican candidate could really get away with talking about race as much as Herman Cain has.

And to some extent he's at risk of really turning his entire campaign into a big political gimmick because you see Hannity and guys like him really using him to say those things that maybe they're afraid to say themselves.

KING: Ken Blackwell, is Herman Cain a racist?

KEN BLACKWELL, SENIOR FELLOW, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: No, I don't think Herman Cain is a racist. I don't think that Harry Belafonte is a racist because he says Herman Cain is a bad apple.

I think race is being used in this instance all around the table to repress differences in opinion. And when race issues to repress dissent, it is wrong on all sides of the table.

Look, Herman Cain is a Republican, he's a conservative. He believes that he has the prescription for growing the economy, creating jobs and providing opportunity for all Americans inclusive of black Americans.


BLACKWELL: I think the name -- John, John, I think name-calling has gone too far.

KING: Right. You say name-calling has gone too far. We've known each other a long time and you're involved in Ohio politics including being the secretary of state.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely.

KING: You were among the African-American Republicans trying to build support in the African-American community. Is the language Mr. Cain uses helpful to that effort to have more blacks join the Republican Party or hurtful?

BLACKWELL: I think Mr. Cain's prescription for growing the economy is helpful.

I think, when he says that folks who differ from him have been brainwashed, that is not constructive. But I don't think that calling him a bad apple or saying that he's on a symbolic crack pipe is helpful either.

Look, people want -- folks, it is as if the African-American community was drowning 50 feet off shore. They don't want somebody to throw them a 100-foot rope and then drop their end to find something better to do, or throw them a 25-foot rope and say, "A swim will do you good." They want somebody who will throw them a 50-foot rope and hold onto their end. That's what we have to get back to.

KING: Boyce Watkins, what about the larger argument Mr. Cain makes, about a lack of ideological political diversity in the African- American community, and the fact that many liberal African-Americans do criticize conservative African-Americans, saying they're somehow abandoning their community?

WATKINS: Well, you know, one of the best-kept secrets in America is that many black people are very conservative. I'm from the south, and there are a lot of people in my family who -- who really want to like Herman Cain. Some of his values are in perfect alignment with their own.

I think that what Mr. Cain might want to pick up on is this simple word called "dignity." You've got to run your campaign with dignity. You can't run around making these ridiculous statements one after the other and allowing people to use you as this racial fire ball.

Remember, Colin Powell was also a conservative. Many people loved and respected Colin Powell. To this day, we -- many people respect him. I know I do. And there's a big difference between the way a conservative like Colin Powell would run a presidential campaign versus Herman Cain.

You know, this idea of gimmicks and sort of turning yourself into a black male Sarah Palin or a black male Rush Limbaugh, that might be great for selling books or getting a radio show, but it's not what people are going to look for in a commander in chief. Actually, I would argue that he's acting a little bit more like a court jester, as it stands today.

KING: Is that fair, court jester, Ken?

BLACKWELL: That's -- that's outside of the pale of talking about human dignity. Here's a guy that grew up in a low-income family, went to school, did well, created jobs and actually hire -- hired black and white folks and Latinos. You know, he, in fact, has lived the American dream.

And basically to say that he is -- I've seen him depicted as Sambo by the left. Is that promoting human dignity? No.

I'm saying that both sides have to get back to what people are looking for. They're looking for leaders who inspire hope and create opportunity and pull us together to get something done. And I think that I've heard Herman Cain over the last 20 years. He can be that sort of leader. And I think he, in fact, needs to advance his program and say, "This is what I'm about."

KING: Boyce Watkins, Ken Blackwell, appreciate your insights tonight. Gentlemen, take care.

Still ahead here, the president demanded a vote on his jobs bill, and tonight, well, he's getting it, but it's not turning out the way he'd hoped. We'll have the latest from the United States Senate.

In his own words, jurors in the Michael Jackson death trial hear Dr. Conrad Murray's version of just what happened the day Jackson died.

And kids tell us what it's like to be bullied and the toll it takes long after the bullying stops.


BRIDGET, STUDENT, WHEATLEY SCHOOL: It starts to build up, and bad things start to happen. Whether you start cutting yourself, you kill yourself, you develop, like, a eating disorder. It's obsessive. It becomes obsessive.



KING: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, another emotional day in the Michael Jackson death trial. Prosecutors showed jurors a photograph of the singer's naked corpse on the autopsy table. We're not going to show it to you. Yes, it's that disturbing.

Also today, testimony from the doctor who performed the autopsy. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the cause of death, Dr. Rogers?

DR. CHRISTOPHER ROGERS, DEPUTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: The cause was acute Propofol intoxication.


KING: Propofol, of course, is that powerful surgical anesthetic that Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, has said Jackson was addicted to. The prosecutor also asked the medical examiner this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the manner of death?

ROGERS: The manner was homicide.


KING: Homicide. Homicide. Dr. Murray has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. His lawyers say that Jackson gave himself that final and fatal dose of Propofol. But today the medical examiner shot down that explanation.


ROGERS: The circumstances, from my point of view, do not support self administration of Propofol.


KING: Now, that's his professional opinion, as a medical examiner.

But the real drama today came when Dr. Murray himself described what happened in the final hours of Jackson's life. Prosecutors played a recording of an interview Murray gave police just two days after Jackson died. Here's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time jurors heard the story of what happened in the hours before Michael Jackson died, directly from the doctor blamed for his death. In a two-hour interview recorded by police, Dr. Murray recounted a sleepless night for Jackson, who was desperately looking for rest in order to prepare for his upcoming tour.

DR. CONRAD MURRAY, ON TRIAL FOR JACKSON'S DEATH: He was wide awake. And then he complained, "I've got to sleep, Dr. Conrad. I have these rehearsals to perform. I must be ready for the show in England. Tomorrow I'm going to have to cancel my performance. I will have to cancel my trip because, you know, I cannot function if I don't get the sleep."

ROWLANDS: Murray said he gave Jackson a series of sedatives, but nothing worked. Finally, at 10:40 a.m., he says he gave in to Jackson's pleas and administered 25 milligrams of Propofol, which Jackson referred to as his milk.

MURRAY: I then decided to go ahead and give him some of the milk, so he'd get a couple of hours' sleep, so that he could produce, because I cared about him. I don't want him to fail. I have no intentions of hurting him.

ROWLANDS: But Murray's time line of what happened next is under dispute by the prosecution.

MURRAY: I monitored. I sat and watched him for a long enough period that I felt he was comfortable. And then I needed to go to the bathroom. So I got up, went to the bathroom.

Then I came back to his bedside and was stunned in the sense that he wasn't breathing. I was gone probably about two minutes. His body was warm. There was no change in color. So I assumed that everything happened very quickly just about the time that I went there and came back.

ROWLANDS: Murray says he was away from Jackson for only two minutes, but phone records show Murray spent 45 minutes on his cell phone before he discovered that Jackson had stopped breathing.

Still, the audiotape may work in Murray's favor. The jury heard Murray say repeatedly that he loved Jackson and wanted to help him.

MURRAY: Michael Jackson was my friend. I loved him. Michael Jackson may have had a dependency to a substance. I was trying to wean him off.

ROWLANDS: He talked about consoling Jackson's daughter Paris at the hospital.

MURRAY: I said, "I tried my best."

And she said, "I know that, Dr. Murray." She said, "I know you tried your best. I know you tried your best, but I'm really sad. Because I will wake up in the morning and I won't be able to see my daddy." And she cried.

ROWLANDS (on camera): The audiotape maybe the only chance the jury has to hear Murray's story, as it's not expected that he'll take the stand in his own defense.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: A lot of powerful evidence there for the jurors. Joining me now to success it, criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos. He defended Michael Jackson successfully against child molestation charges.

Also, former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin from "In Session" on our sister network, TruTV.

Mark, let me go to you first. The rest of this Murray interview is playing in court, the police interview. Who does it help more, the prosecution or the defense?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it clearly helps the defense. And you don't have to think back too far to the Robert Blake case, where the prosecution played the Barbara Walters interview. He didn't have to take the stand. He wasn't cross- examined. He was able to get his story out.

Here you've got him clearly expressing -- he's professing his love for Michael Jackson and everything else. I'm a little mystified as to what the gain was for the prosecution at the risk of putting in all this evidence.

If I can tell you, kudos to your network, unlike some other networks, for not showing the autopsy photo. I just -- it's inexplicable to me why that thing is being played by those other networks.

KING: Well, let me ask you this question, since you bring it up. Why do you think -- we're not going to show it. We will have some standards here. Why do you think the prosecution decided to bring it into evidence?

GERAGOS: I think they wanted to -- I think the shock factor. I just can't imagine what the -- what the probative value was. This is not a case where there was a stabbing or a shooting and where entry or exit holes are going to matter, or where it's going to make one difference to how he died. How he died is going to be based on the toxicology reports and medical testimony.

Looking at his body on a gurney doesn't give the jury any kind of value whatsoever. I don't understand, No. 1, why they introduced it.

No. 2, I really don't understand why the lawyers didn't ask for it to be sealed. If they did, I don't understand why the judge allowed it to be out to the media. And lastly, I don't understand why certain networks have lowered their standards to actually show it.

KING: Sunny, A, do you agree, shock value is the only reason to introduce that photo? And B, do you agree with Mark that this tape is not as damaging as the prosecution had hoped?

SUNNY HOSTIN, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": Well, I completely disagree with Mark. He should know in every case that's based on a homicide you have to show the autopsy photo. You show the lifeless body. And they only show two pictures. And so I think that's completely probative. It's relevant, and it's appropriate.

As to the tape recording, I would agree with Mark on that. I mean, I think there's no question that it certainly helped Conrad Murray a lot. Because now, his story is in front of the jury. I think he sounded cautious, pretty reasonable. And he is not going to testify because he doesn't have to. He's not going to be cross- examined, but his story is out there. So Mark and I, I think, have a 50/50 split right now, but certainly, I don't think that people should be showing this autopsy photo.

GERAGOS: Look, I don't disagree with you that in almost every homicide case they show one, but in almost homicide case it isn't a situation where you're talking about toxicology. You're usually talking about 99 percent of the homicide cases I do, 99 percent of them time it's a bullet or a stab wound.

KING: Well, Mark, one thing it was, and also on this tape you hear Dr. Murray saying Michael Jackson never told him that he was seeing other doctors, never told him the medication those doctors were giving him. What's the potential impact of that? I assume the defense is hoping it says we're not culpable.

GERAGOS: Well, that's exactly what the defense is. Remember, they previewed in the opening statement that there was this lethal combination of drugs. Unbeknownst to Doctor Murray, Michael had been doctor shopping. That's what the defense's opening statement was.

Now I anticipate they will bring in a laundry list of prescription under a laundry list of names. That will be in evidence, and they're going to say, look, this lethal cocktail that killed Michael is not as a result of Dr. Murray administering it. He didn't cause the death, even if he was totally incompetent, even if he was not rising to the level or the standard of care of a doctor in this situation. He didn't cause the death. And that is what they're going to argue is going to cause a "not guilty."

KING: Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin, appreciate your insights tonight.

Still ahead here, a secret weapon in the battle to end bullying. How a few brave kids and maybe even yours can make a huge difference.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It definitely gets me angry when I see somebody being picked on.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What makes you angry about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just that the kid don't anything to deserve the bullying, so I just wanted to stop it. Because I don't want to see anything escalate.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: All this week on 360 we're taking an in-depth look at an epidemic we've been reporting on more than year now: bullying in schools. No kid deserves to be taunted and abused, but to stop it, we first have to understand it.

To find out more, 360 teamed up with two leading experts in the field and one very courageous school in a New York suburb to explore the roots of bullying.

The results are astonishing. First: forget the old stereotype of the schoolyard bully preying on the weak. Lots of students, even the most popular, are caught up in bullying today. Doctors call it Social Combat. A constant battle to be part of the in crowd.

Another surprise: victims are often bullies themselves. It's a vicious cycle, but researchers do say we can stop it. The solution might be easier than you think. Here's Anderson's report.


COOPER: The Wheatley School, one of the top ranked schools in the nation, has a bullying problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're calling me, like, gay, faggot, dumbass. Just all those names. They can be hurtful.

BRIDGET: It starts to build up and bad things start to happen. Whether you start cutting yourself, you kill yourself, you develop, like, an eating disorder, it's obsessive. It becomes obsessive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They physically abused me, mentally abused me, emotionally abused me. And I'll admit I had thoughts of suicide in ninth grade.

COOPER: 360 teamed up with sociologists Robert Faris and Diane Felmbly to investigate how severe the issue is at Wheatley. Why kids bully and how that knowledge could help end the problem. In this pilot study, more than 700 students took a scientifically designed survey four separate times over the semester. And what we discovered was shocking. Fifty-six percent of all students had engaged in aggressive behavior, been victimized by bullies or both. And out of all incidents, more than 80 percent were never reported to an adult.

Perhaps even more alarming to parents...

(on camera) In the survey 74 percent of students said they don't think that telling their parents about an incident would be helpful. Does that surprise you?


COOPER: It doesn't surprise you?

HUNTER: No, no.

COOPER: Why? HUNTER: Most people say that, you know, telling your parents -- parents will most likely say just ignore it. You can't ignore it. It will stick to you, and you will think about it at the end of the day.

BRIDGET: After you get bullied you start to internalize it. I just think about my day over and over again, and what everyone said to me and, like, you start to bully yourself.

COOPER (voice-over): This is in a school district that takes the issue seriously. They have anti-bullying programs from kindergarten through 12th grade. They have awareness assemblies throughout the year. Principal Sean Feeney.

SEAN FEENEY, PRINCIPAL: It breaks my heart when they keep that all inside, and we're not aware of it. So, you know, our goal, of course, is to try to reach all of our students. We're not always successful, but we certainly will continue to try.

COOPER: Our studies showed that the main reason kids bully is to climb the social ladder. But in a key finding, the study found that most of the time bullying doesn't work. Kids who bully usually don't actually gain social status.

ROBERT FARIS, RESEARCHER: We find that, by and large, on average, the more aggressive you are, it doesn't have an -- it doesn't have an effect on how likely you are to climb the social ladder later on.

COOPER: And that could be a breakthrough. Educate kids not only that bullying is destructive but why they bully is misguided and let that message spread.

FARIS: There's also the possibility that positive behaviors can also spread through social networks, in that kids may be more likely to intervene in bullying situations if they see their friends stepping in to stop things.

COOPER: Getting kids to intervene is crucial, and these are the students on the front lines of that fight. They were ranked not as bullies or victims but the ones who actually step in and try to stop it.

(on camera) Do you all feel bullying is a big problem?


COOPER (voice-over): For Andrew, it was his experience as a victim that makes him stand up to bullies.

(on camera) Do you think the fact that you've bullied when you were younger you know what it feels like and makes you more prone to intervene?

ANDREW; STUDENT, WHEATLEY SCHOOL: Yes, I mean, it definitely gets me angry when I see somebody getting picked on.

COOPER: What makes you angry about it?

ANDREW: Just he kid didn't do anything to deserve the bullying, so I just want to stop it. Because I don't want to see something escalate.

COOPER (voice-over): According to the research, students like these could be a key -- one of the keys to stop bullying.

FARIS: These bystanders, they are the heart of the school social life. They have the numbers. And they really hold the power to prevent this behavior. Because if it really is about jogging for status, then it won't work if those kids, those bystanders are actively disapproving of it or stepping in to prevent it.


KING: Valuable lessons there. This special study, part of 360s joint effort with Facebook and our corporate cousins, the Cartoon Network and "TIME" Inc. to help stop the bullying epidemic.

We'll have more reports about the study, each time each week, and be sure to join Anderson for an encore presentation at his town hall. Bullying, it stops here. That's this Friday, October 14 at 8 and 10 p.m. right here in CNN. And you can find bullying resources and go behind the scenes of the town hall on our blog,


KING: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is ahead at 11 p.m.

Erin, what's next?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Well, John, we're going to be talking to Peter King, what he thinks about this act of terror. Is it an act of war or not. We're also going to talk to Robert Menendez on the foreign relations committee. We're going to talk to Jeff Toobin and try to find out how locked up the U.S. case really is here. All that coming up on "OUTFRONT," next.

KING: Erin, thanks. Look forward to it. Now some other important stories we're following tonight. Isha Sesay joins us again with a "360 Bulletin."

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, as expected the Senate did not pass President Obama's jobs bill. Forty-nine senators voted against it tonight, leaving Democrats 10 votes short of moving the bill forward. Republican vote to add a 5.6 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million U.S.

Attorney General Eric Holder says he will comply with subpoenas when they're issued by the congressional committee investigating Operation Fast and Furious. The subpoenas will reportedly cover Justice Department personnel and communications about the failed gun- running operation.

Occupy Wall Street took its message uptown today with the backing of several union groups. Protestors traveled New York's financial districts to the Upper East Side. Past the homes of some of the city's wealthiest residents, including several well-known media and financial executives.

And here's one way to bolster tourism in Japan: free flights. According to a report, the Japan tourism agency is offering 10,000 free flights to people who will write about their experiences. Tourism has reportedly lost about 50 percent when the country was ravaged by a earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear crisis.

That does it for this edition of "360." Thank you for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.