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Politicians Behaving Badly; Romney Leading in Key States; Perry's Birther Backtrack

Aired October 26, 2011 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks very much. Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest." And the political war of words is now being waged from top to bottom by Republicans and Democrats alike. And before we get started, let's be clear, it's not our job to say who's right or wrong here, which side to support on election day. That's your job. Ours is simply to show you who's waging the war so you can, if you like, hold them accountable.

President Obama, as you know, has been on the road quite a bit lately pushing his jobs bill but also using a lot of campaign-style language. Today talking to Heritage Foundation Republican Congressman Paul Ryan accused the president of -- in his words -- sowing social unrest and class resentment in pushing for a plan that's financed by raising taxes on the wealthy.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: To my great disappointment, it appears that the politics of division are making a great comeback. Instead of working together where we agree, the president has opted for divisive rhetoric and that broken politics of the past.

He's going from town to town impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up strawmen and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators.


COOPER: He went on to say that, quote, "Many Americans share my disappointment."

Here's some of the language Ryan and other Republicans are objecting to.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their plan which is let's have dirtier air, dirtier water.

CROWD: Boo. OBAMA: Less people with health insurance.


OBAMA: All right. So, so far at least I feel better about my plan.


COOPER: President Obama in North Carolina last week suggesting the Republicans favor pollution and letting people go without health insurance.

And here's Vice President Joe Biden when asked by a reporter about the stakes involved in the president's plan to pay to keep local police officers on their job.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And if the Republicans don't pass this bill then rape will continue to rise?

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: Murder will continue to rise. Rape will continue to rise. All crimes will continue to rise.


COOPER: Tough talk. For sure, the language and tone from this White House has indeed changed as it gears up for the upcoming election. Something we reported on in the last couple of weeks.

But "Keeping Them Honest," for Congressman Ryan to suggest that it's only the Democrats and the Obama White House who are being, quote, "divisive," is to be generous to Mr. Ryan not telling the full story.

But bottom line both parties are guilt of inflammatory rhetoric. Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. He recently called President Obama to park the campaign bus and get to work on bipartisan legislation on jobs that, in his words, are designed to pass, not designed to fail, unquote.

He's the same senator who said that flat out his goal and his party's goal is to make sure that President Obama fails.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You said, quote, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one- term president."

So how do you respond to those Democratic lines of attack?

MCCONNELL: Well, that is true. That's my single most important political goal along with every active Republican.


COOPER: And on most of the important votes nearly every active Republican has in fact taken Senator McConnell's advice. And in reality a lot of their language has been -- well, to borrow words from Mr. Ryan -- divisive. Listen.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), LOUISIANA: You wonder why the price of gas has more than doubled at the pump since Barack Obama has been president. It's because of his failed policies.

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: These are scare tactics. They have been meant to intimidate congressional Republicans and to voting for the package that the administration wants.

REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Got to tell you, this administration hasn't sought to transcend the politics of Washington, D.C. This has been the my way or the highway administration.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Everything good that he said it was going to do, we got the inverse of the president's promise.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: The president has set back and tweeted but you've got to do more and you've got to lead.


COOPER: Sample of the GOP rhetoric directed at President Obama. And again, there are examples of Democrats doing likewise against Republicans mainly on the jobs bill, but the question is how much tolerance do voters have for any of it with 9.1 percent unemployment?

It's pretty clear that precious -- they got precious little faith in Washington to begin with. A new CBS News/"New York Times" poll shows 89 percent of Americans say they distrust government to do the right thing and 84 percent disapprove of Congress.

You should know we invited Congressman Ryan to come on the program, he declined. But here to talk about it, former George W. Bush White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer. You can follow him on Twitter @AriFleischer.

Also Democratic strategist Bill Burton, former deputy press secretary in the Obama White House.

Ari, you've worked for a president who was really criticized by the opposition side, at some point, though, Democrats will say, look, at some point it's understandable that President Obama would use the same rhetoric or the same tactics that Republicans have been using.

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY FOR PRES. BUSH: Well, you know, when I was there, of course, Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, called George W. Bush a loser and a liar, Al Gore and John Kerry called him un-American, unpatriotic. So I don't think you're seeing the same degree of vitriol against Barack Obama.


FLEISCHER: When you go through those quotes -- well, remember 1800. I mean this is nothing. The election between Jefferson and Adams was far, far worse. It's part of the noise of American democracy. People don't like it. I think you have to keep it within bounds. But a lot of those things are substantive disagreements. There's nothing wrong with that.

COOPER: Is it -- I mean there is no denying Republicans have blocked votes for the president and appointments at pretty high levels. Probably unprecedented levels. Isn't it?

FLEISCHER: I don't know about the unprecedented or precedented but it's always the habit of whoever is there to prevent the other party from getting its appointments through and especially as it gets closer to the election they do that.

I don't like that. I regret that. I think presidents should have a free hand in their appointments because they won the election. They should be able to appoint their people and get them in place if that's what you're referring to.

COOPER: Bill, your boss or former boss came to Washington promising to change, change in tone, change the rhetoric. It's understandable that there's disappointment among some that they are now using those kind of tactics, you know, to pass bits of a jobs bill, to get Republicans to vote on it even though they know it's not going to -- is it going to pass, but just to get Republicans on the record.

BILL BURTON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, for starters, let me say, I agree with Ari actually that some of this is just politics. And politics is OK. You've got two sides which are making an argument trying to advance their side or their cause. But secondly --


COOPER: Mitch McConnell's politics OK? I mean especially with the unemployment the way it is, I think a lot of people just seem fed up with this kind of politics.

BURTON: Well, I do think that people would prefer that Republicans in Congress work with the president to actually make some progress on the things that they agreed on and actually allowed things through.

The president has signaled that he's willing to work with Republicans, he supported the trade bills, he supports other ideas that Republicans have. Now it's time to go back to the jobs act and actually move some more of these things through. But when you've got Mitch McConnell, as you showed on the screen just now, saying that his number one job is to stop President Obama from getting re-elected, you're not going to make progress. All you're going to do is make politics and that's when politics becomes a problem is when it gets in the way of doing anything at all in the way of doing -- of making any progress for the American people.

COOPER: Ari, is what Mitch McConnell said accurate? Is it fair?

FLEISCHER: Well, I think what he's saying is he wants to stop those policies and limit them to four years so they don't do eight years worth of damage. And I understand that. I think he could have said it more artfully but that's the point he was making.

But it's not as bad as people make it out to be, Anderson. And here's why. Go back to the last big clash that resulted in something getting done, and that was the debt limit increase. The Boehner/Obama agreement where overwhelming majority of the Republican freshman voted for. They compromised, went against the Ryan budget which called for bigger cuts, compromised and got this done.

While actually the House Democrats split 50-50 on it, freshman Republicans voted for it by about 75-25. So there are things that get done. It's just a very noisy system along the way. And I do think that distresses people. But at the end of the day they have been able to work things out.

Another big test is coming up and that's on the bigger deficit debt reduction deal which is due in November. Have to see if that can get done. That's going to be another big clash. At the end of the day, will they get it done? Huge issue.

COOPER: Do you think they'll get it done?

BURTON: I think it's hard to say because even though there is a lot of politics that's broken out and that may be OK, the intransigence that you've seen for the most part from the House Republicans, especially the House Republican freshman, has prevented a lot of important things from being able to move forward.

In this one case that Ari mentions, on the debt limit, yes, a good chunk of the House Republican freshman voted for it but keep in mind the House Republicans control the House of Representatives and Boehner really had to do a lot to drag them along and get that done. The president wanted to do something bigger. Couldn't do it but because House Republicans stopped it --

FLEISCHER: Well, Republicans in that case were more willing to work with Barack Obama than Democrats were. That was the point I was making on that initiative.

COOPER: There's an interesting FOX News poll. They asked whether they thought the president's reelection strategy -- whether -- they asked voters whether they thought the election -- the president's reelection strategy was to bring people together. Fifty-six percent shows -- said that the president's message was going to be hopeful and unifying, 32 percent thought it was going to be partisan and divisive. I mean it seems at least this poll the majority of Americans don't agree with Paul Ryan's assessment. BURTON: Well, I think -- I think what you're going to see in this election is some pretty sharp contrasts. And this is a different kind of election because in 2008 no matter what there was going to be a new president of the United States.

In 2012, I think that you've got an incumbent president who is in a tough economic time, a tough political situation, and you're going to see him lay out his vision and he's going to lay it out against whatever the Republican vision for the country is. And I think as those contrasts come about, yes, it is going to be tough. There's going to be tough rhetoric that flies around.

But at the end of the day I don't think that this is going to be anymore vitriolic than we've seen in the past.

COOPER: You think -- not anymore than this been?

BURTON: Well, the past --


COOPER: It'll be about the same?

BURTON: Yes. In the past, sure.

FLEISCHER: And from a pure communications point of view, it's far simpler to be the chief executive, one central messenger to cut across and reach the public than it is a cacophony of sounds that come from Congress.

COOPER: Right.

FLEISCHER: That historically has been the case. That's the beauty of having a bully pulpit. Barack Obama knows how to use that bully pulpit from a rhetorical point of view. His problem is not going to be he won't get reelected on rhetoric, his problem is substance and the economy. Those are the two things that he's running at the headwinds on.

COOPER: All right. Ari Fleischer, Bill Burton, guys, thanks very much.

Let us know what you think. We're on Twitter. I'm on Facebook.

Up next, we're going to be talking about new developments on the GOP campaign trail. Everyone wants to know is Herman Cain for real. New polling numbers could provide the answers on that. John King is here to crunch them for us.

You can follow me on Twitter tonight, @AndersonCooper.

And later, Rick Perry's journey to birther land. He says he's back now and believes that President Obama was in fact born in Hawaii. But he's also saying something else that doesn't stand up to scrutiny which is we still, tonight, keeping him honest. Later, Michael Pearl joins us, co-author of the parenting guide called "To Train up a Child." We'll ask him if the brand of discipline his book is advocating is endangering kids.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why not just use your hand instead of all these materials?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, look -- let me show you something. Does that hurt?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It doesn't feel good.



COOPER: "Raw Politics" tonight in the Republican battle for the White House. There is new CNN/TIME magazine/ORC polling from the first four states that hold presidential contests this year -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida. In two of those states Republican voters have Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in a very close race.

John King has the poll results -- John.

JOHN KING, ANCHOR, JOHN KING, USA: New numbers, Anderson. In the first four states on the Republican nomination calendar, what do they tell us? Mitt Romney is clearly the frontrunner right now, Herman Cain, his principal conservative challenger.

Iowa votes 69 nights from tonight. Romney ahead, that's essentially a tie, though. Cain just behind him there. That's a warning for the Texas Governor Rick Perry down to 10 percent.

Why is Iowa breaking down this way? Evangelicals are critical in Iowa. Among born again Christian, Herman Cain has the lead, Governor Romney, though, holding his own. Among those who say they are not evangelical Christians, Romney leads the pack. That is important to his support in the state of Iowa.

New Hampshire comes up next. This one here is a runaway for Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor owns a vacation home in New Hampshire. Forty percent to 13 percent to 12 percent. Rick Perry way down in single digits here. That's a runaway lead. Why? Moderate liberal Republicans by far support Romney. Conservative Republicans, again, by far, support Romney. He's going to hard to catch in the state of New Hampshire.

South Carolina, often decisive in the Republican race, comes up third. This is a tie essentially. A slight advantage for Romney over Herman Cain. That's trouble for Rick Perry. He's in fourth place in South Carolina. If you're the Texas governor, you need this state to get back in the contention, to have any prayer for the nomination. Again, evangelicals support the surprising Herman Cain. Governor Romney, though, holding his own and way ahead among those who say they are not born again Christians.

Florida votes fourth. A big diverse state on the Republican calendar and a big lead for Romney there again. Cain the closest challenger at 18 percent. Another warning sign for Governor Perry kind of in single digits. Look at this one again. It looks a lot like New Hampshire.

Moderate liberal Republicans, they like Romney. Conservative Republicans, Romney leads. Cain the big challenger. Look at that. For Perry among conservatives, that's a trouble sign. So if Romney could keep the numbers as they are, 100 nights from tonight, Florida votes in 97 days, 100 nights from tonight, he could have a lock on the nomination.

That's a big if, though, Anderson. Set aside the inevitability talk. But these numbers show us clear advantage Romney. Cain, Herman Cain is principal challenger right now. And if you're Rick Perry you have to wonder why are you limping when not that long ago you were among the leaders -- Anderson.

COOPER: Fascinating stuff, John. Thanks.

Let's dig deeper. Back with us, political contributor Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. You can follow him on Twitter, @AriFleischer. Also chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

Ari, if my memory serves me correct, the headline last night was Herman Cain was leading in a national poll, now you have Mitt Romney ahead in these four crucial states. What does that tell you about the field right now on the Republican side?

FLEISCHER: Well, number one, state polls are more important than national polls. This is a statewide series of elections. But number two, an interesting piece of data from those polls, only 20 to 30 percent in most of those -- in all of those four states said they know who they definitely are supporting. So in other words, 80 -- 70 to 80 percent could change their mind.

COOPER: Right.

FLEISCHER: This Republican race for months and I'd say for months to come is still marked by fluid electorate. People are not locked in. The foundations are not secure. Anything could still happen, almost anything could happen.

COOPER: Do you think there are some people who could enter the race?

FLEISCHER: No, I don't think that. But I still think among Romney, Perry, Cain and I still -- something tells me, nobody agrees with this, Huntsman in New Hampshire, I still think you have to keep your eye on him. Things can change in politics and change fast. And nobody having a strong foundation underneath them means they can crumble relatively easily.

COOPER: Gloria, Mitt Romney leading in New Hampshire, certainly no surprise.


COOPER: But Iowa is a state he hasn't really campaigned much in at all compared to his opponents.

BORGER: Yes. He was there last week for a bit but you're right. He has spent a lot of time there. You know he had a near-death experience there last time. He came in second to Mike Huckabee, spent an awfully lot of money trying to get those caucus goers out to vote. And it was terrible for him.

And so this time they have a decision to make. Our poll looks very good for him but the closer you get to those Iowa caucuses you have to poll the likely caucus goers. So the Romney campaign has a decision. You know do they go all in and try to win Iowa or do they decide, OK, we're in, if we come in second we can spin it as a victory.

Important thing to look at in Iowa though was that he was making inroads with those evangelical voters which was really surprising to me and very good news for him.

COOPER: What about South Carolina, Ari? I mean, you know, Cain's strength I guess Perry's weakness.

FLEISCHER: It's impossible to look at South Carolina without first knowing the results of Iowa and New Hampshire. Because they create their own momentum for whoever is left in the race when you get down to a smaller field in South Carolina.

Let me go back to Iowa for a second. I spent some time up in Boston with the Romney people. And when you ask them about Iowa, they just smile.

BORGER: Right.

FLEISCHER: But what they're really saying to you is we're not going to go out there and overtly contest Iowa but boy, with all this divide and conquer going on, if these conservatives keep splitting themselves, this could be a Romney dream come true in Iowa.

BORGER: But -- Ari, it's kind of hard to secretly contest Iowa because you have to organize all these caucus goers and bus them in to the caucuses --

COOPER: Herman Cain seems to be doing a pretty good job with that.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: And secretly contesting. I mean he doesn't have any much of a staff. And yet he's high up there. FLEISCHER: But Gloria has made a very valid point. At this stage you're still in Iowa even if you don't physically show up there.

BORGER: Right.

FLEISCHER: They still have TV sets and radio stations.

COOPER: Right.

FLEISCHER: You know they get this stuff. But at a certain point you've got to organize and you have to get people out on a caucus night which is an organizational feat.

COOPER: Right.

FLEISCHER: So the time is coming. But the Romney people are very happy with their standing in Iowa without having done a lot of work in Iowa.

COOPER: It's fascinating stuff, Ari. Thanks very much. Gloria Borger, as well. Thanks so much.


COOPER: Hey, one other political note. Last night we have Cornell Belcher on. We identified him as a Democratic strategist and pollster for the Obama campaign 2008. We should have also made clear that he's currently working for the 2012 Obama reelection campaign.

Coming up, a 360 follow, Rick Perry changing his tune on the birther issue. What he's now saying about the president's birth certificate. We're keeping him honest.

Also ahead, "Crime & Punishment," Dr. Conrad Murray tears up at his trial. Some of his former patients testify in his defense. We'll have the latest from the courtroom today.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest," a follow-up report tonight. It seems GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry is changing his story about where President Obama was born. As we reported last night in the program, Mr. Perry spent a couple of days -- the past couple of day playing games with birtherism, the idea that President Obama wasn't actually born in America.

It first came up over the weekend in an interview that Governor Perry did with "Parade" magazine. And Perry stoked it further in this interview on CNBC when he talked about how it came up when he was in New York visiting Donald Trump.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I said, it's a good issue to keep alive. Just -- you know, Donald has got to have some fun so -- and the issue is -- JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: But it sounds like you really do have some doubt about it.

PERRY: Well, I -- look, I haven't seen his -- I haven't seen his -- I haven't seen his grades. My grades ended up on the front page of the newspapers. So let's -- you know, if we're going to show stuff, let's show stuff. So -- but look, that's all a distraction. I mean I get it.

I'm really not worried about the president's birth certificate. It's fun to poke at him a little bit and say, hey, how about let's see your grades and your birth certificate?

HARWOOD: Well, so --


COOPER: Now Governor Perry says it's all fun, but some Republican insiders like Karl Rove didn't think so. He warned Perry that the birther issue is bad political juju.


KARL ROVE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You associate yourself with a nutty dude like that and you damage yourself. And I know he went and he's trying to cultivate as all of them are Donald Trump in order to get his endorsement. But this is not the way to go about doing it because it starts to marginalize you in the minds of some of the people who you need in order to get the election.


COOPER: Influential Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour also spoke up and said in so many words drop the birther talk. It seems Governor Perry may be talking or taking that advice to heart. In an interview today with Florida's Bay News 9, he changed his tune on the whole birther issue.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Jeb Bush the other said Republican candidates for president should categorically reject the notion that Barack Obama was not born in America. This came after you expressed doubts about that.

What would you say to him?

PERRY: I don't think I was expressing doubt. I was having some fun with Donald Trump. So I mean --


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you comfortable that he's an American citizen?

PERRY: Yes. And look, it's fun to -- you know, lighten up a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So you have no doubt he's an American citizen?

PERRY: I mean -- I have no doubt about it. But here's the more interesting thing. You know let's lay out our income taxes. Let's lay out our college transcripts. Mine has been on the front page of the paper. So if we're going to lay out all these things, let's lay them all out.


COOPER: So there you have it. Rick Perry now convinced President Obama is an American citizen. Let's hope that's the end of the whole birther thing. Somehow -- somehow we think it won't be.

We're following several other stories tonight. Fredricka Whitfield joins us now with the "360 Bulletin."



A new bloodshed in Syria. Seventeen people including two children reported killed in clashes between government and opposition forces. This as opposition leaders call for a nationwide general strike.

And better news in eastern Turkey. Two more people pulled from the rubble there three days after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit. Rescuers have been working around the clock looking for survivors. At least 471 people have lost their lives so far.

And residents of Bangkok, Thailand, are being urged to leave town because of rising floodwaters. Flooding has already shut down the airport and the worst is expected to come this weekend.

And good news for Mexico. Hurricane Rina has weakened to a category 1 and is expected to keep losing strength before making landfall near Cancun.

And the first commercial Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed in Hong Kong today. The jet, not the flight, was more than three years behind schedule due to manufacturing holdups. 787s are the first airliners made primary of light weight carbon fiber instead of aluminum.

And changing planes. A cat that vanished in baggage claim at JFK airport in New York two months ago has been found. Jack the cat was taken to a vet and it's doing well, and is being flown to California to be reunited with his owner -- Anderson.

COOPER: Fredricka, thanks.

Still ahead, ungodly discipline. We reported on the death of two adopted kids whose parents followed Michael and Debbie Pearl, the authors of a Christian parenting guide called "To Train up a child." They say their book doesn't advocate abuse but it does say parents should spank their kids until it hurts. But they take no responsibility for the deaths of kids whose parents use their techniques.

We'll ask Michael Pearl about that when he joins us.

Also ahead, what killed Amy Winehouse? We now have the answer. The result of an inquiry into her death coming up.


COOPER: Last night, we reported on the death of a 13-year-old named Hanna Williams. Prosecutors say that her adoptive parents repeatedly starved and abused her, and then last May, left her outside in the cold to punish her. Hanna died of hypothermia.

Larry and Carrie Williams are charged with homicide. The case bears a striking resemblance to a story we first called "Ungodly Discipline." Seven-year-old Lydia Schatz was beaten to death by her adopted parents Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz. Both were convicted in the case and sent to prison.

Like Hanna Williams, Lydia was adopted from Africa by a Christian fundamentalist couple. The girls also had something else in common. Their parents own copies of a Christian parenting guide called "To Train Up A Child."

Authors Michael Pearl and his wife, Debbi says their writings are based on the bible. Michael Pearl told Gary Tuchman the book doesn't advocate abuse, but it does tell parents it is their religious duty to spank their children.


MICHAEL PEARL, AUTHOR, "TO TRAIN UP A CHILD": I don't use the term hitting.


PEARL: Spanking.

TUCHMAN: And is there a difference?

PEARL: Absolutely. A hand is hitting. A little switch is spanking. A wooden spoon or rubber spatula is spanking.


COOPER: In the book, the Pearls describe how to spank a child. They also talked about that with Gary.


TUCHMAN: Let's say a 7 year old slugs his sister.

PEARL: He would get 10 or 15 licks and it would be a formal thing. In other words, you maintain your patient air. You explain to him what he's done is violent and that that's not acceptable in society and not acceptable at home. And then I would take him like into his bedroom and I would tell him I'm going to give him 15 licks.

TUCHMAN: With what?

PEARL: Probably a belt on a kid that big, a boy. I would probably use a belt. It would be handy. I might use a wooden spoon or a piece of like plumbing supply line flexible enough to roll up.

TUCHMAN: Why not just use your hand instead of all these materials.

PEARL: Look here. Right here. Let me show you something. Does that hurt?

TUCHMAN: It doesn't feel good.

PEARL: Look what it is doing to your whole body. That's a karate chop.

TUCHMAN: When you say the material can't cause permanent pain.

PEARL: My children never had marks left on them.


COOPER: The point that Pearls make is that a spanking should hurt. Anything short of that they say is a failure in God's eyes.


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

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

PEARL: There aren't any marks on you?

TUCHMAN: But you would hit a 5 year old like that?

PEARL: Yes, sure.


COOPER: After Lydia Schatz died, the Pearls deny their book played any role in her death. They said what happened to her is not what their book teaches. They've released a similar statement about Hanna Williams.

Tonight, Michael Pearl agreed to come on the program to answer some of our questions. I spoke to him just a short time ago.


COOPER: Mr. Pearl, you're explicit that you are not in any way advocating child abuse or the extremes that cause these girls' deaths in the two cases, but people who think they are following your book end up killing kids, does that concern you? Does that worry you?

PEARL: Yes. What that does is causes us to renew our efforts to reach these people before they do something terrible. There's a lot of people out there probably in the millions that are abusive to their children.

There are men abusive to their wives and wives abusive to their husbands and children and these things have been going on and they will go on and it's where we can we need to do something about it.

COOPER: But you don't feel it has anything to do with what you're advocating?

PEARL: Of course, not. No more than Alcoholics Unanimous would feel like they are responsible for an alcoholic that they failed to reform who went out and had a drunk driving accident and killed someone.

COOPER: But your analogy doesn't really hold up with the Alcoholic Unanimous because Alcoholic Unanimous telling people not to drink. You are advocating people hitting kids or what you call spanking, beating, what have you. You are advocating a severe form of corporal punishment for parents.

PEARL: That's absolutely incorrect. We do not advocate hitting children. We do not advocate any severe corporal punishment. In fact, in my literature if you read it, I speak against corporate punishment.

What we teach is -- our book is called "To Train Up A Child." We talk to parents about how they can train up their children to be happy, creative, cheerful, emotionally stable and so we teach that in the process of training small children, we use corporal chastisement.

Corporal chastisement is not to retributive justice designed to punish the child for the misdeeds. Corporal chastisement is getting the child's attention so that you can admonish him, teach him, instruct him and guide him in the way he should go.

COOPER: I want to read something that you write about what parents should use to spank their child. You said any spanking to effectively reinforce instruction must cause pain. Select your instrument according to the child's size.

For under 1 year old child a small 10 to 12 inch branch stripped of knots that might break the skin about 1/8 inch in diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler or its equivalent in a paddle is a suitable substitute.

The larger child, a belt or 3-foot cutting off a shrub is effective. You're saying you don't advocate hitting or hurting or beating kids or leaving any marks on them, which under the law is considered child abuse. But in fact in your book you're saying spankings have to cause pain. You're talking about spanking a baby under 1 year old with a ruler. How does a baby not end up bruised and hurting when it is hit with a ruler?

PEARL: Well, you're changing the word spank to beat or hit is inflammatory rhetoric that obscures what I'm saying.

COOPER: Spanking is hitting. You can argue about semantics, but you use the specific example of a ruler on baby under 1 year old, how does that not cause pain and leave a mark?

PEARL: If it were insignificant semantics, you wouldn't be so bent on changing the word spank to beat or hit. Spanking is well understood traditionally. I represent 230 million parents who practice corporal chastisement on their children.

They called spanking or swatting. They do not call it beating or hitting because there's a clear distinction. The distinction is spanking is administered for the child's good and it's done with an instrument.

It's done not in order to create pain. It's not done in order to create significant pain. It's not done in order to create suffering. It's done to gain the child's attention so you can admonish them.

COOPER: What about talking to them about that? Does that not work?

PEARL: Well, did it work for you? Did it work for your family? Does talking make a 1 year old and 2 year old --

COOPER: I don't try to put what happened in my family to other people. But I'm just curious, in your opinion, what's wrong with talking to the child about why you don't grab food off somebody's plate?

PEARL: Well, if you read our book you would know that talking precedes that. There's a whole lot of conditioning that precedes --

COOPER: Talking alone is not enough?

PEARL: No, in many cases it's not. In most cases it is. But spanking is not something we do all the time. Sometimes you might not spank a kid over once a month or once a year.

COOPER: But you do advocate carrying around and having in various rooms of the house and in the car and in some cases, I want to make sure I have the wording right here.

You write many people are using a section of quarter inch plumber supply line as a spanking instrument. It will fit in your purse or hang around your neck and you can buy them for under $1 at Home Depot or any hardware store.

They come cheaper by the dozen and can be widely distributed in every room and vehicle. Just the high profile their accessibility keeps the kids in line.

So you are advocating parents carry around plumber supply lines with them so they can if they want to, in your words, spank their child any time throughout the day.

PEARL: That springs from a story that took place. I went into an Amish woman's house who had about 10 kids all under 12 years old. That's a pretty big brood. She had a little piece of supply line about a foot long maybe hanging around her neck.

So every time I asked her why it was there. She said when children are disobedient I have it at hand. I'll have to go looking for and she said just the presence of it hanging around my neck, lets them know they have to walk the line so they are obedient.

So I thought that was a humorous thing. So I have suggested to people that you make sure you keep your little swatters close at hand because we don't want to make a big deal out of spanking children.

We want to have something ready to where they sit. If you got a little boy that reaches over and pulls the hair of his brother, you want to first to him say don't do that. If he pulls again --

COOPER: You know in both cases of these girls who died and were killed, the parents kept these plumbing supply lines around the house.

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes these conditions actually create such a climate of fear and intimidation for a child that actually affects their development by changing the way nerve connections in the brain develop. Do you buy any of that?

PEARL: Well, there's lots of science, lots of research that's been done and lots of psychologists that disagree with that hardly. Research has been shown that spanking creates children that are more higher educationally, that they are less aggressive and that they are more entrepreneurial and that they in every way make better citizens when young children are spanked. That's just statistics and facts, 90 percent of all Americans practice spanking. All I'm doing is representing --

COOPER: Sorry, I don't want to interrupt you, sir.

PEARL: All I'm doing is representing what traditionally Americans have done. As to your question about the children, no, when you have - there have been about 1,600 children a year are killed by their parents through neglect or direct abuse.

That's an awful number. And the fact that in 15 years of writing books and reaching several million people with our literature, only three parents happen to have our book in their home, that's like saying that again an Alcoholics Unanimous book in the home is what caused them to have a drunk driving accident.

There's no correlation. These parents had the book because they were already molesting their children. One of the parents was making their child eat feces, locking them outdoor in the cold and starving them.

Those are not things they could get out of my book. Those are things that they had a predisposition to. The book there didn't cause those things to take place. I'm just sorry it didn't reach them soon enough to stop those negative habits.

COOPER: No doubt about that. The American Academy of Pediatrics told us that your teachings go way beyond most people's understanding of corporal punishment and spanking. That they said they're violent, unacceptable and that you can't train a child the same way you train a dog or horse because kids' brains develop differently at a young age and will respond differently.

PEARL: Well, they are a small minority voice in a great number of scientists and researchers who say differently.

COOPER: You say that you can train a child like an animal? Like you would train a horse?

PEARL: You know, I live on a farm. I have horses and cows and chickening and pigs and all that sort of thing. I read a lot. I notice that the zoologists, the people that work with animals study animals in terms of how it compares to human behavior.

When I was in college and took a course in psychology, there was quite a few articles in there that dealt with animal behavior and how it compares to human behavior. So all I have said is that if you can train a stubborn mule to go up a hill when he doesn't want to go, then you can train a 1 or 2 or 3-year-old child that gets stubborn.

The training principles are similar. Let me give you the first principle in training an animal. The first principle in training an animal is you establish a relationship of trust. The first principle in training a child is a established relationship of trust. The second principle is the animal must know that you are not going to hurt him and you must know that he's not going to hurt you.

And that's the second principle in training children. That's to be confident that neither one of us are going to hurt the other one. And then you have to communicate to the animal your will.

That's the third principle in training children. Communicate your will. So yes, there's a parallel between training dogs, training horses, training cows, training chickens, training a turtle or a lizard.

The principles are the same across the board. Any psychologist would tell you that that's the case if they're familiar with animals.

COOPER: Mr. Pearl, I really do appreciate your time. It's a controversial subject. You represent a lot of people's beliefs. I respect that. I appreciate you being on. Thank you.

PEARL: Well, thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: We asked Mr. Pearl's representatives after the interview about the study that he was referring to. He mentioned a study by Paul Brunson. We called Mr. Brunson who has been a guest on this program before and asked about that study. He told us the study does not at all condone spanking and that's a misuse of the science.

Still ahead, more drama as the Michael Jackson's death trial nears its end, what made Dr. Conrad Murray cry in court today. We'll show you that.

And after a month of speculation and answer to what killed singer, Amy Winehouse.


COOPER: "Crime and Punishment," the Michael Jackson death trial today, Dr. Conrad Murphy's lawyers called five character witnesses to the stand. Murray dabbed his eyes with a tissue during one former patient's testimony.

The defense is trying to paint an image of Jackson's former personal physician as a caring, competent and selfless doctor. In other words, exact opposite of how the prosecution has made him out to be.

Randi Kaye joins me now. Randi, what did Dr. Murray's former patients say about him?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the defense called five former patients of Dr. Murray's, character witnesses if you will, to show a different side of him.

Dr. Murray, as you know, has been taking a beating in court from the state so much that this was really needed. Today, Murray was visibly emotional during the testimony. He was actually crying in court and wiping his eyes.

These patients told the jury that he was the best doctor they ever had and that he saved their lives. This was a very good day for the defense because the patients testified that Murray took his time with them and never rushed them through his appointments.

Now here's some testimony from a patient who says he considers Dr. Murray his best friend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's because of Dr. Murray, the way he cared for you and the way he makes you feel. The concern and the love he has for you.


KAYE: The last character witness, Ruby Mosely, lives in a lower income housing unit for elderly patients in Houston where Dr. Murray happened to set up a clinic in honor of his father. The defense used this, Anderson, to show that Murray was not greedy nor was he money hungry even though he was being paid $150,000 a month by Michael Jackson.

Ruby Mosely testified that Murray was thorough and told her exactly what he was going to do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Dr. Murray is greedy?



MOSELY: No. He made a commitment to the community that he would open a clinic in honor of his dad, to come to the community and to continue to take care of the patients in that community where his dad had been a physician for a number of years.


KAYE: Even the Jackson family smiled during her testimony. Randy Jackson, Anderson, said at the end she's sweet, but the prosecution jumped on the fact that Dr. Murray treated these patients in a hospital and not at home like he was treating Michael Jackson.

COOPER: Yes, big difference. Randi, is the case coming close to an end?

KAYE: It seems that way at least. Tomorrow, the defense is expected to put their key expert on the stand. That's Dr. Paul White who they hope will help them prove their theory that Michael Jackson self-administered the Propofol, that powerful anesthetic along with eight pills of Lorazepam without Murray's knowledge.

Now if the jury buys Dr. White's story, they may buy the idea that Jackson overdosed accidentally in a desperate attempt to get himself some sleep.

COOPER: And is there any change in Conrad Murray's decision to take the stand or not?

KAYE: Well, today in court the judge advised Conrad Murray about his right to testify. He told him that it was his personal right and nobody else can make that decision for him.

After he said that, Murray appeared to be talking it over with his defense team, but we really have no indication as of yet that Murray plans to testify. He may be waiting to see how well this expert, Dr. White, does for him first.

COOPER: Interesting to watch that. Randi, appreciate it. Let's check in again with Fredricka Whitfield for a "360 News and Business Bulletin." FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, Anderson. The wife of jailed Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is speaking out. Ruth Madoff telling CBS News' "60 Minutes," she and her husband attempted suicide using pills.


RUTH MADOFF, WIFE OF CONVICTED FINANCIER: I don't know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening. We had terrible phone calls, hate mail. Just beyond anything and I said, I can't -- I just can't go on anymore.


WHITFIELD: She says she took the pills and woke up the next day. Her husband now wakes up in prison where he will stay for the rest of his life.

And singer Amy Winehouse died this past summer of alcohol poisoning that's according to a British coroner's inquest. The official verdict death by misadventure. A pathologist found the 27 year old's blood alcohol levels were more than five times the legal limit for driving.

And some eye popping numbers from the College Board. The cost of studying and living on campus at the average public university rose 5.4 percent this fall to nearly $22,000 for in-state students. The chief cause of the increase is a dramatic spike in tuition and fees.

Take a look at the giant Lego man that washed ashore in Sarasota. The fiberglass sculpture that stands eight feet tall and weighs 100 pounds is the work of a Dutch artist. Some suspect the stunt may be tied for the recent opening of Legoland Florida. Legoland officials deny any involvement -- Anderson.

COOPER: Fredricka, thanks very much. A dust up on "Dancing with the Stars." One of the dancers has had it with the judges and it's not Nancy Grace. "The Ridiculist" is next.


COOPER: Perpetrated against a group that's been silent for far too long in my opinion talking about the professional dancers. Night after night they work hard perfecting their craft. Do they perfect their craft?

Do you think it's easy to teach Rob Kardashian the difference between a foxtrot. They're doing (inaudible) work, those professional dancers are and then they're judged harshly by the judges who sit in the table and get all judgy on them.

Well, one professional dance whose name is Max, finally had enough. He took it upon himself to challenge the justice system. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your worst dance of the whole season in my opinion. Half of the fault is yours. The audience like the effect. I've been in this business for nearly 50 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it's time to get out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't be disrespectful like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judgmental comments. It's a little much. I'm just protecting my partner.


COOPER: I'm out of order? I'm out of order? You're out of order. This whole dance floor is out of order. This isn't a kangaroo court. This is "Dancing with the Stars," damn it, a little decorum please.

Frankly, when I heard someone went off on the judges, I was sure it had to be Nancy Grace, but I stand corrected. Max says he's tired of judging standards being different for different contestants on the show.

Here's what Judge Len, he's the one who Max suggested she retire had to say about all of this on "Access Hollywood."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they got to understand is they are on trial and we're the judges. You can't be a judge at your own trial.


COOPER: I'm no Jeff Toobin, but I think that's true. You can't be a judge at your own trial even if the trial consists of people evaluating your Linda Hop.

Do they do that? When courtroom drama meets ballroom dancing there will be heated confrontations. It's a pressure cooker. People will say things in the heat of the moment that they will regret.

Let's hear what Max had to say on "Good Morning America."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any second thoughts about what you had said to Lin or anything else, Maks?



COOPER: You want the truth, Robin Roberts? You can't handle the truth.


CHMERKOVSKIY: Everybody is waiting for me to take a knee and say I'm sorry and plea for forgiveness. I have nothing to apologize for.


COOPER: That's right. He took a stand and is sticking by it. Occupy "Dancing with the Stars." I don't know what the appellate court stance is when it comes to prime time shows. Maybe Maks can kick the case up to Piers Morgan. Take it to Judge Judy. I don't know.

What I do know is this, this is the most significant blow up that ever happened over rumba, a confrontation that in my opinion was long overdue on "The Ridiculist." That does it for us today. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" is next.