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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Interview With Michael Moore; President Obama Breaking Campaign Promise?
Aired October 28, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. Good everything, everyone.
We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with how President Obama reportedly manages to have it both ways on a key promise he made to voters. Back when he was running, you will remember, for president, he said he wouldn't take a dime in campaign money from lobbyists.
Yet he's now reportedly taking millions from people who walk, talk, and act like lobbyists, but call themselves something else. Here's the campaign promise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's only one candidate whose campaign is being run by seven of Washington's most powerful corporate lobbyists. And, folks, it isn't me.
OBAMA: I don't take a dime from Washington lobbyists and special interests. They do not run my campaign. They will not run my White House. And they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I'm president of the United States of America.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Here he is 10 days later, doubling down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I will take power away from the corporate lobbyists who think they can stand in the way of these reforms. I have done it in Illinois. I have done it in Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: But by his first full day in office, Mr. Obama had already started backing off, partly because it's really hard to get things done without Washington Beltway insiders on board. So he unveiled what you might call a lobbyist-on-leashes plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on or in the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years. When you leave government, you will not be able to lobby my administration for as long as I am president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And, by and large, he has stuck to those rules and also to his promise not to take a dime from lobbyists. But "Keeping Them Honest," it appears that he's only been true to the letter of that pledge, not the spirit of it.
In fact, according to "The New York Times," the Obama campaign has raised more than $5 million from influence peddlers who are lobbyists in everything but name. They're fund-raisers active in lobbying business who call themselves consultants or government affairs specialists and boast, as "The Times" is reporting, of their ability to -- quote -- "win results for our clients" and their connections with -- quote -- "key decision-makers." None is a registered lobbyist.
The campaign responded by pointing fingers. Spokesman Ben LaBolt blogging, the only policy that Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and the Republican candidates running for president have when it comes to D.C. lobbyists is that they want to raise as much money from them as they can.
LaBolt goes on to say -- quote -- "It's noteworthy that on the same day the 'Times' story ran 'The Washington Post' ran a story with the headline 'lobbyists Pour Money Into Romney Campaign.'"
And Ben LaBolt is correct. The other campaigns do take money from registered lobbyists, lots of money. It's perfectly legal. And so is what the Obama campaign does. The question is, and that you can judge for yourself, is, is the president being true to his word?
With us now is chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin. Also on the phone is Eric Lichtblau, who wrote the "Times" article.
Eric, you say yourself President Obama isn't doing anything illegal here, but his attempt at a transparent administration, I guess, some would say it's backfired a little bit on him.
ERIC LICHTBLAU, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Right. There's definitely a disconnect between the public rhetoric, which, as you played, has been very, very harsh from the president in condemning lobbyists, and what we're now seeing is happening out in the field, where you have people who are in the lobbying business and are raising huge amounts of money for President Obama.
COOPER: Jessica, how's the campaign responding to all this? We saw the thing from LaBolt.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, in addition to digging at the Republicans who are taking gobs of lobbyist cash, Anderson, they make the claim, which should sound familiar by now, that the president, they say, led the way in this disclosure, that this has been a cause for him since his days in the Illinois state legislature.
And Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, says this is the most transparent administration in history. Now, that claim is a "Keeping Them Honest" for another night. But here's another question. The truth is the president says he won't accept money from lobbyists at a company. So then he accepts money from their vice president for operations at that company. Does that really lessen the influence of that company?
COOPER: Do you see the White House adjusting -- does the president then change his rhetoric when it comes to lobbyists? Probably not.
YELLIN: Oh, gosh, no. That's an essential part of his brand.
And they have fought this charge in the past. And they maintain that they are so much cleaner than the Republican opposition that they will stay with this rhetoric and with this position straight through 2012. It's a great contrast, in their view, to the much more money that the Republicans do take from registered lobbyists. So, no.
COOPER: Eric, not all lobbying is bad. It's got a bad -- you know, a bad reputation outside Washington. But, I mean, there's a lot of lobbyists who are necessary.
LICHTBLAU: Sure. And that's the gripe you hear from a lot of lobbyists for human rights groups, for non-profit groups, for universities, that the president has sort of painted them all with this evil corporate lobbyist tag when perhaps they don't all deserve it.
COOPER: Has the -- has the -- do you think it's backfired on the president in terms of being able to get things done in Washington, Eric?
Well, I think there are certainly people who will tell you that he has -- he has limited himself by not allowing lobbyists to work in his administration. You're draining the pool of a lot of experienced people. You're taking a lot of people out of the mix right away who would probably be valuable assets.
I have talked to any number of people who wish they could serve in this administration, but cannot. You know, it's a plus and minus. He, as Jessica said, has held up his -- the transparency and high ethical standards of the administration. He's probably made it a little more bit difficult to operate at the same time.
Eric, Eric Lichtblau, it was a fascinating article today. Thank you, Jessica Yellin as well.
LICHTBLAU: Oh, thanks for having me. COOPER: Digging deeper now on the political dimension Democratic strategist James Carville and Republican consultant Alex Castellanos.
James you say that you're not shocked by this news at all. Why?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, because the intersection of money and politics is always there.
But the one is the Republicans are not going to attack him on it. The only people that are going to bring this up are people in the media. And as you pointed out, he's sort of complied with the letter of what he said he was going to do. And some of the things he's done have been actually sort of significant.
But I'm not shocked. There's no way to that this is going to happen. What we used to do, back in '92, we took -- campaigns were publicly funded. We got like $70 million or $72 million the night you were nominated. And then that was broken in 2000. I won't go black to blame Bush. But I think he was the first one that did that. Now no one takes the public money. I don't understand why you can't run for president on $72 million 1992 dollars. You would do pretty good.
COOPER: Alex, do you agree with James this is not something the Republicans are going to be able to raise?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, I don't know about that. I think they will raise it, because I do think it matters.
Generally, James is right, though. People care more about the trillions that their president spends on things than the billion he might raise for his own campaign, even if it's from special interests and all of that.
But this is -- goes to the core of Obama's brand, I think, as Jessica astutely pointed out. He ran as a -- I'm going to be a different kind of candidate. I'm going to reject the old politics. I'm going to change Washington.
And the question now is, has he become part of what he was sent here to change? It goes to, who is this guy? Because you have now seen him taking money, a lot of money from Wall Street, a lot of money from K Street lobbyists. The Solyndra problem, where there are questions of special favors and special interest there. So, who is Barack Obama? Is he the same president who says he's going to spend more while we're going to reduce the deficit?
There's a lot of ambivalence to this man.
COOPER: James, do you think that's fair?
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, I have no recollection of saying in this conversation that people cared more about the trillions he spent than the millions that he raised. But maybe somebody heard something I didn't.
CASTELLANOS: I took a slight liberty with that, James.
CARVILLE: Well, OK. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Secondly, I think people do care about the intersection of money and politics. I think this is becoming an increasingly big issue, and I think it's -- I don't know where it ranks on the scale, but I think it's ranking increasingly up there.
But, again, is this a fair kind of observation to make? Is it fair for Eric to write the story in "The New York Times"? Is it fair for us to bring it up? Sure, it is. And, you know, it also goes -- I think that, you know, probably during the campaign, what is a lobbyist? You have got to define it.
Well, is it somebody -- if you're registered, are you a lobbyist? If you work in a firm that does lobbying, are you a lobbyist? It's a kind of elusive definition that we're dealing with here. And probably it's the kind of thing when people do this, we should seek some kind of clarification of what their definition is.
COOPER: Alex, obviously...
Obviously, Mitt Romney isn't shying away from taking money from lobbyists. Is there a place for lobbyists in presidential campaigns, Alex?
CASTELLANOS: Well, I think one of the symptoms, when you have a government that reaches into every part of your life, whether it's a health care company or whether it's a foundation that wants to help kids, everybody wants a voice in their future and the Washington policies that shape them.
And so that's why you're seeing more people lobby in Washington, because government's gotten so huge, it's intruding in every part of life. If you really want to diminish lobbying, special interest lobbying, reduce the magnet, which is the size and power of government. But, right now, how can you attack any American for trying to make their voice heard in Washington any way they can?
COOPER: Alex Castellanos, James Carville, appreciate it.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.
Up next, the Occupy Wall Street protests -- late word on the Iraq vet who was hurt in Oakland. Michael Moore joins us to talk about the movement and why he thinks capitalism no longer works for working Americans.
And, later, the Michael Jackson death trial -- a crucial doctor for the defense, hear what he said on the stand today about why Dr. Conrad Murray is not responsible for giving Jackson the dose of drugs that killed him.
COOPER: The Occupy Wall Street movement in Lower Manhattan went north today, an offshoot called Occupy the Boardroom marching on five major banks in Midtown Manhattan, delivering thousands of angry letters, inviting Morgan Stanley's CEO to lunch.
A spokesman politely declined and the head protester politely shook his hand. Back in Lower Manhattan, the fire department removed a number of generators and fuel containers this morning. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow. The protesters say they will stick it out.
Meantime, a new development in the case of Scott Olsen, an Iraq war vet who was badly injured, allegedly by a police tear gas canister on Tuesday at the Occupy Oakland protest. A veterans group today called for an official investigation. Filmmaker Michael Moore is with protesters in Oakland. He joins us shortly.
We always find a lot to talk about when he's on the program. Tonight, I want to get his reaction to a guest we had on last night, Wall Street CEO Peter Schiff, who's been confronting and debating protesters on camera. He blames the government for the financial meltdown and says the answer's more free market capitalism and drastically less regulation. We had him on last night with Princeton University Professor Cornel West, who took, obviously, the opposing view.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I think it's very clear that the Occupy movement is very much not about hating any individuals, but rather we hate injustice, that we hate obscene inequality, and I think Peter would agree that there are human values that are not reducible to market price.
There's precious human life that's not reducible to market calculation. And the real question is, how do we deal with social justice and market price? There's always a tension there and that's where the tire hits the road.
COOPER: Peter -- Peter Schiff, do you think these protesters should be angry at Washington, not Wall Street. But Washington didn't force financial institutions to invest in credit default swaps or offshore U.S. jobs...
PETER SCHIFF, CEO, EURO PACIFIC CAPITAL: Oh, yes.
COOPER: ... or give themselves million-dollar bonuses. Do you think that any of the anger at banks and corporations is justified?
SCHIFF: No. COOPER: None?
SCHIFF: Washington did create that environment. It was the Federal Reserve that kept interest rates down at 1 percent. If we didn't have a central bank keeping rates so low, we never would have had all the speculation, we never would have had the mortgage bubble, and in fact it was Freddie and Fannie, government-created entities, that were insuring all the mortgages. That was responsible for the bad behavior.
You know, the people down there at Occupy Wall Street, they seem to think...
COOPER: But wait. Aren't people responsible for their own bad behavior? Aren't companies and individuals supposed to be responsible, rather than just blaming government for bad behavior?
SCHIFF: Yes. Well, as I -- look, look, if the government liquors you up and now you're drunk and you do stupid things, I mean, you've got to understand why Wall Street made all these mistakes.
Remember, I was there for years warning about these problems. I saw this crisis coming from a mile away because I saw how government was distorting the market.
COOPER: Professor West?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, pretty good chance Michael Moore also disagrees with that. He's a social activist, filmmaker, recent author of "Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life."
We spoke shortly before airtime for the "Big 360 Interview."
COOPER: So, Michael, first of all, how are things right now in Oakland? We all saw the crackdown there, we saw the veteran who was injured. How are things now?
MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: There is, first of all, no sign of police presence. They have completely backed down, which is an amazing thing to see. Just two days later, the people are in control of their city hall and the grounds around it and they're not being abused for peacefully assembling, which is their constitutional right.
So I was very happy to see the situation here today.
COOPER: Where do you see this movement going? I mean, there are some who say, well, look, the cold weather's coming, it's going to start to snow, it's going to snow in Philly tomorrow, maybe in New York. Where do you see this Occupy movement going?
MOORE: The snow and the winter is not going to stop the collective anger of tens of millions of Americans who have suffered as a result of the economic policies of corporate America.
If you think a little bit of snow or cold weather -- I mean, I think it will only harden people's resolve, frankly. I think everyone is prepared for the long haul, if it is a long haul. I'm hoping for actually a short haul, because when tens of millions of people speak up and they get up off the sofa and leave the house and participate in their democracy, you know, the top 1 percent, they only get 1 percent of the votes.
They try to buy the rest of the votes. And they have been pretty successful at doing that. But, you know, when the curtain closes, they can't put their hand on my hand to pull the lever. Those top 400 richest Americans who have more combined wealth than 150 million Americans combined -- 400 have more than 150 million combined -- they can have all the money they want, but as long as our Constitution is still in effect, they only have one vote. And that is the good news to this movement.
COOPER: But where does it go in terms of -- we saw early on the Tea Party eventually fielding candidates, eventually having a big impact on the Republican Party and continuing to.
Does -- I mean, do you expect to see candidates from this movement, you know, rising up? Do you expect to see an impact on the Democratic Party because of this?
This movement is so beyond just, hey, let's get behind this candidate, get them elected to office. Those days are over. You know, we have all worked for candidates. We have all voted. We have all participated. And what have we gotten out of it? We have all written to our congress men and women, please pass House bill number 3428.
Where did we get? Where are we? We're in the worst shape we have been, this country, that I have seen in my lifetime. And so this movement is not concerned right now with candidates or specific bills in Congress. We're -- our first job right now is to build this mass movement, which is building -- this is what's so great about it -- on its own.
You know, we don't have to go and spread the seeds of this. The seeds are everywhere. They have been spread by Bank of America and Citibank and Chase and Goldman Sachs. They have created this movement, really. And they -- I hope -- if any of them are watching right now, if they're sitting there in New York or wherever, Connecticut, I hope they're thinking about how they overplayed their hand.
If they had just been just a little bit greedy, like they always were, as long as people, you know, had a job and they could have a roof over their heads and send the kids to college, nobody really put up much, you know, fuss about it. But being a little greedy wasn't enough. They had to go the Full Monty. They had to try and get everything. And I think that's what did it. That's what organized this.
COOPER: Last night on the program, we had a really interesting debate between Cornel West, professor Cornel West, and a businessman named Peter Schiff, who actually had gone down to the protests in New York.
I just want to play you a little sound bite from something Peter Schiff said and just have you respond to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Peter, one thing we haven't seen a lot at Occupy Wall Street protests is Wall Street businessmen like yourself going down there. What are you trying to accomplish in doing that?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, I sympathize with the situation that they have, but I'm trying to help encourage them to direct their anger towards Washington.
You know, it's big government that has wrecked the U.S. economy, not capitalism. They need to understand that. And if they really want a bright future to this -- for the country, it's capitalism that's going to provide it, not government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What do you think he does not get?
MOORE: Oh, my God.
MOORE: Wow. Wow. That's -- that's such a huge disconnect. I'm afraid anything I would say would be just too mean. And I...
MOORE: I will tell you, Professor Cornel West said that he needed both to sit down with him over coffee and Cognac, because it would require that to kind of come to some sort of understanding.
MOORE: Yes. Yes. Yes. I think so.
I think what he doesn't, Mr. Schiff doesn't understand is that the reason we're not occupying Congress or D.C. right now is because the congressmen and the senators are the employees of Wall Street. They work for Wall Street. They're funded by Wall Street. And they do the bidding of Wall Street and K Street, which is the lobbying arm of Wall Street. So we're kind of tired of going and dealing with the middleman or the servant. We'd rather go to the big house and take it there, because that's really where the problem is. It is with capitalism. It is with corporate America. Capitalism right now -- and it's important to define a word in its present form.
Just like you wouldn't define the word marriage as a woman has to get permission from her father in order to marry, but that was the definition 100 or 200 years ago. So let's not use the old definition. When we say capitalism, we're talking about 2011 -- 2011 capitalism is an evil system set up to benefit the few at the expense of the many.
That's what's happened. And that's what people are so tired of, which is too bad for the capitalists, because I think a lot of people, perhaps in this crowd, probably used to support the old style of capitalism.
COOPER: So what system do you want?
MOORE: They have completely lost them.
Well, no. Well, there's no system right now that exists. We're going to create that system. This movement -- this movement in the next year or two or few years is going to create a democratic economic system. That's the most important thing. Whatever we come up with, it has to have at its core the American people are going to be the ones controlling this economy.
We're going to have a say, a big say, the say, in how this economy is run. That say cannot happen by the people in the penthouse offices on Wall Street. That is over. That is over. We have declared it over. Now it's just a matter of time until we actually make this happen, when we bring democracy, true democracy to this country.
We're no longer settling for, you know, oh, we live in a democracy because I can vote for a politician. Uh-uh. No. No. True democracy means I also have a say in my future and I have a say in how this economy is run. And you're not going to use me and abuse me like this.
I mean, how many people -- we talk about the people who've lost their jobs. How about the people who still have jobs? You know what their job is now? If you're working on an assembly line in Flint or Detroit, you're now doing the job of one or two or three -- I'm sorry -- one person is doing the job of two or three people.
They have killed the other ones off. And now everyone's got to work harder, harder, longer hours, for less pay, less benefits. The damage that this has done to people, to their physical lives, to their mental lives, to their families, I just think there's so much carnage as a result of capitalism, 2011 capitalism, that they overplayed their hand and now the people are going to come up with a better system that's going to be run by the people.
COOPER: Michael Moore, appreciate your time. Michael, thank you.
MOORE: Thank you, Anderson, for being here and giving voice. And, remember, I'm only one voice here. Everybody here has a story. Everybody in this movement is a spokesperson and a leader.
COOPER: Michael, thank you.
MOORE: Thank you.
COOPER: Still ahead tonight, deadly flooding in Thailand now threatening its capital. The pictures out of Bangkok are just stunning. We're going to show them to you. Runoff the equivalent of 480,000 Olympic-size swimming pools flows through the city, Bangkok, as high tide pushes it back. Now they're bracing for the next high tide that's expected to be 13 feet. We will have a live report.
Also ahead, "Crime & Punishment," big day in the Michael Jackson death trial. Did Michael Jackson give himself a fatal injection of propofol? An anesthesiologist testifying for Dr. Conrad Murray today said yes. We will talk to our Randi Kaye, who was inside the courtroom, and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos coming up.
COOPER: Parts of Bangkok are already under floodwaters as the city's bracing for the next high tide, predicted to be 13 feet on Saturday.
For months now, Thailand's been plagued with its worst flooding since 1942 -- 373 people have already died. The capital is barely above sea level. It does have an elaborate system of flood defenses. But it could hardly -- it could be severely tested by what is on the way.
Sara Sidner joins us now live from Bangkok.
Sara, what are things like right now?
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're standing in Chinatown, which is right along the Chao Phraya river.
And what we're watching is water climbing into, flowing into the streets of Chinatown. In the past half-an-hour, Anderson, we have been standing here watching it go from an inch. Now it's about three inches. And it's kind of slowly flowing into this part of the city.
The Chao Phraya river, yes, is supposed to crest in the next few minutes, actually. And that is why you're seeing kind of this wash of water start coming in. We were also in the east last night, where the water has just basically held at waist level in some parts of those neighborhoods there.
So the situation not very good in the east and the north. When it comes to central Bangkok, which is where everyone is concerned this water will go, and that will really hit the economy, that is where much of the business is done, it has been dry. We drove around the city this morning. Completely dry. No water there yet.
But the real fear is that there will be some sort of failure, whether it's a flood wall failing or all of the water that's completely ripping through the -- excuse me -- sorry -- there's a truck coming here -- ripping through the city because something fails.
But, so far, that is not the case. What we're seeing is inches of water on the city streets now, not feet.
COOPER: I mean, have people evacuated or are people just kind of trying to deal with it the best they can?
SIDNER: Yes, you have got that double situation. Some of the people have evacuated. We watched people getting into army trucks yesterday, a lot of the elderly people, especially in the east and the north.
There's just nowhere to sleep. The water is just getting too high.
However, here in the city, lots of people still around. I mean, there are people selling food on the streets as per normal. But again, a lot of those shops have closed down. We're noticing the traffic is very thin where it's normally very, very busy. So people have evacuated, Anderson.
More than a million people are out of the city, but we're talking about one of Asia's most developed, one of Asia's most populated cities, 12 million people. And the government itself said, look, we know there's no way that we're going to see 12 million people leaving this city.
I do want to stress this. They are telling people who normally come to visit Thailand, a very popular place with tourists, not to come, that right now, they've got enough to deal with, and they don't want tourists to get mixed up in what could be some dangerous floods here in Bangkok. But a lot of the tourist areas, for example, like Phuket, they're perfectly fine. And they are going along as business as usual.
So it's a situation where some of the country has been flooded, but much of the country is still dry, Anderson.
COOPER: Interesting. Sara Sidner, appreciate it. Thanks, Sara.
We're following several other stories tonight. Susan Hendricks is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a human rights group says government forces in Syria have killed 35 civilians during protests across the country today. There are also reports of hundreds of injuries and arrests. Protesters are now supporting calls for an internationally enforced no-fly zone. An Army staff sergeant is facing a court-martial in the brutal murder of three Afghan civilians. Calvin Gibbs is his name. He is charged with targeting Afghan civilians and making their deaths look like the Taliban's work. Prosecutors also say he removed body parts from his alleged victims to keep them as souvenirs.
A big change possible in who gets the throne in the United Kingdom. If approved, it would apply to any kids that Will and Kate may have. Sons and daughters of British monarchs will have equal rights to the throne. As it stands, a younger brother takes precedence over a first-born girl.
And in "The Connection," Mexican architects have come up with a huge building that goes very deep, not high. Sixty-five stories down, not up. It is designed to address two problems: a shortage of space and laws limiting building height.
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is ahead at 11 p.m. Eastern. Erin, what's next?
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Well, Anderson, we're going to talk about half of the Republican Party, the half that really matters. That's the Tea Party. We've got two key members of the Tea Party on the show. By the way, there are 5,000 groups that identify themselves as, quote unquote, Tea Partiers. We're going to talk to them, and we're going to find out from the man himself, from the group that said Michele Bachmann should quit, why he said that.
We're also going to talk to the head of the Republican National Committee.
Plus, Anderson, I did something behind your back today, and maybe you'll see it on my show. Yes.
BURNETT: In honor of Halloween.
COOPER: Appreciate that. Very nice. That's why there was toilet paper all over the place. Erin, thanks very much. I'll see you.
BURNETT: See you, Anderson.
COOPER: Next on the program, powerful testimony in the Michael Jackson death trial. This is really the testimony that court observers have been waiting for all this trial about the final moments of the singer's life. An expert on Propofol says he believes Jackson actually gave himself a fatal injection of the drug. The question is, is his testimony a game changer? Will the jury buy it?
Also ahead, lawyers for the man suspected in the disappearance of this American woman, Robyn Gardner, in Aruba, they're asking a judge for him to be released from prison. We're going to have the judge's decision, plus what we've learned about a report that Gardner was buried alive. A tabloid report. We'll see if we can knock it down or verify it. We'll be right back.
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, at the Michael Jackson death trial today, powerful testimony from the defense's star witness, Dr. Paul White, an anesthesiologist and expert on Propofol.
Dr. Conrad Murray's defense team is relying on him to cast enough doubt on the prosecution's case to acquit their client. What he said today about how the fatal dose of the drug got into Michael Jackson's body could be a game changer in the case.
Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Conrad Murray escapes conviction, he may have this man to thank: Dr. Paul White, an expert on Propofol, the powerful anesthetic believed to have stopped Michael Jackson's heart.
On the stand Dr. White, testifying for the defense, told the jury he believes Michael Jackson injected himself with the fatal dose of Propofol, not realizing it would kill him. He disputes the state's theory that Murray gave Jackson a slow IV drip or infusion of Propofol over three hours.
DR. PAUL WHITE, DEFENSE WITNESS: I cannot understand how it's possible that he got a three-hour infusion when the evidence didn't show the infusion set up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think it was a self-injection of Propofol near the hour of between 11:30 and 12 p.m. that did it?
WHITE: In my opinion, yes.
KAYE: If that's true, the timeline fits. It was around noon, June 25, 2009, that Conrad Murray says he first noticed Jackson had stopped breathing.
Here's what Dr. White is basing his conclusion on. First, he says the Propofol bottle found in Jackson's bedroom appeared as though it was never hung up at the scene, so it could not have been part of an IV drip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is there about that Propofol bottle that would indicate to you that it had not been suspended?
WHITE: Well, it's, I think, fairly obvious. There's a little tab that you can see above...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you got a laser?
WHITE: Yes, yes, I do. Sorry. I love my laser. Right at this point, it says "Lift here."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's obvious that the lift has not been deployed, isn't it?
KAYE: The prosecution claims the Propofol bottle was used inside the IV bag and not hung separately.
WHITE: It's befuddling to me, because anyone picking up the bottle, as Mr. Walgren demonstrated, would naturally gravitate toward just pulling the little hanger, if that was your intent. Why would you go to all the hassle?
KAYE: Another reason Dr. White says Jackson was not on an IV drip of Propofol? Because, he says, there was no evidence of the milky white substance in the IV bag or the IV line found at the scene. He demonstrated in court.
WHITE: So that's -- you know, you would see Propofol because it kind of sticks to plastic.
KAYE: Dr. White told the jury Jackson used a syringe to push 25 milligrams of Propofol through a catheter in his leg more quickly than a doctor would have. That, Dr. White says, combined with Lorazepam Jackson is believed to have taken earlier, could have had potentially lethal consequences.
WHITE: I understood that there was Propofol found in the distal part of the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that would be consistent with the Propofol being delivered by use of a syringe?
KAYE (on camera): But the prosecution says the bottom line is this. Even if Michael Jackson did give himself the fatal dose of Propofol, it was Conrad Murray who agreed to use the surgical anesthetic in Jackson's home, outside a hospital setting, without the necessary precautions. The state argues that makes Conrad Murray criminally reckless.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Los Angeles.
COOPER: So how much doubt did the defense's anesthesiologist cast on the prosecution's case? Criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos joins me now.
Mark, for weeks now, you have been saying wait till the testimony of Dr. White. The testimony of Dr. White is going to be critical. How important do you think it was today?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It was devastating to the prosecution today. But you have to remember, there wasn't any cross-examination. So Walgren's got the entire weekend to kind of bone up, get ready, and come loaded for bear on Monday.
At the same time, the defense has got all weekend to prepare him, the doctor, for this. But I'm telling you -- and I've said it before, Anderson, as we've discussed -- this is the most critical witness for this case, No. 1. And No. 2, they've abandoned, the defense has, this idea of gross negligence. They know that they're not going to win on that.
What they are fixated on right now is causation. Did Dr. Murray cause the death, or did Michael Jackson cause the death by self- administering?
If you listen to Dr. White, that's what raises reasonable doubt as to Dr. Murray. And that's -- I don't think there's an acquittal in the offing, but if they're going to get a hung jury, it's going to be based on this witness.
COOPER: But even if Michael Jackson self-administered, couldn't -- I mean, wouldn't the state basically argue then that the doctor was still criminally negligent, because he wasn't monitoring Jackson appropriately. He wasn't in the room enough. He wasn't watching over Jackson. Or he even had given Jackson Propofol, which is such an off- label use as to be negligent?
GERAGOS: Yes. They're clearly going to argue that. The fight is going to be over. There's going to be a jury instruction that Judge Pastor's going to give. The jury instruction is going to say, did that negligence cause the death, or was there what's called an intervening cause? An intervening cause, the defense is going to say, was Michael Jackson self-administering. That wasn't something that was foreseeable. Those are the legal terms. That's what's going to be argued about in the jury room. And that's what this case is going to turn on.
As I said before, I -- if I were a betting man, I don't think this is an acquittal. I think this is whether or not it's strong enough testimony so that four or five of those jurors are going to just say, "No, we've got a reasonable doubt. We're not going to vote to convict."
COOPER: But even if he is -- you know, it's not an acquittal but he's convicted of something, it seems like pretty much the worst that would happen is he loses his license, given a number of reasons. It doesn't seem like he would be doing jail time.
GERAGOS: Well, no, I know this judge. My bet is, if he's convicted, this judge will give him four years in state prison, which is the maximum. He would only do half of that, two years. But arguably, because as of October 1 in California, we have a thing called re-alignment, out of that two years, he could conceivably go home on a monitor, and he'd be a convicted felon. So that is kind of worst-case scenario.
I think Monday is going to be make or break on this case. I truly do. Monday and the cross-examination of Dr. White is going to be what this case boils down to.
COOPER: We'll certainly be watching. Mark Geragos, appreciate it. Have a good weekend.
GERAGOS: You too. Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Up next, the man suspected in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner in Aruba asks a judge to let him out of prison. The decision on that coming up. She, of course, still missing. Insight on reports, tabloid reports that she was buried alive. We'll see if we can actually knock those down or verify some aspect of them.
Also, something completely different tonight. The big muffin mistake. Remember all that talk of the Justice Department spending more than $16 apiece for muffins? Well, the story has changed. We'll explain.
Plus, Regis Philbin. How come he could be landing on the "RidicuList" after his encounter with Snooki of "Jersey Shore"? We'll be right back.
COOPER: More "Crime & Punishment" tonight. New developments in the case of the missing American woman, Robyn Gardner, who vanished while vacationing in Aruba. Presumed dead. She was last seen on August 2 with her travel companion, an American guy named Gary Giordano. She met him online.
He reported her missing and told police Gardner didn't return to shore after the couple went snorkeling. He's the only suspect in the case.
Today, a judge ordered him to remain in jail for another 30 days while prosecutors continue to investigate. They can do that in Aruba.
Meantime, a report in the "National Enquirer" is refocusing attention on the case. The tabloid's reporting that police in Aruba received an anonymous tip that Gardner was buried alive in a pet cemetery near the beach where Giordano said they went snorkeling.
Martin Savidge has a fact check on that tabloid report and more. He joins us now.
So Gary Giordano is suspected of killing his girlfriend. Ordered today to remain in custody. What's the significance of that?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it means that the case has gotten that much more serious for Gary Giordano. Thirty more days he's going to be held in prison down there in Aruba.
It also means that, apparently, in the minds of the judge that heard the evidence today, that the prosecution is moving forward with the investigation. Prosecutors say they're now looking into four different countries. That's Aruba, Curacao, the United States, the Netherlands. They also say they're still trying to eke information out of the electronic devices. That's two smartphones and a laptop. And they also say they need more time to check on these hits that cadaver dogs apparently had on a couple of places on the island when they were there several weeks ago.
So, more and more, it looks like we could be, may be headed towards a trial.
His defense attorney says, "Hey, look, at the end of 30 days, the end of November. It's put up or shut up time for the government." They're either going to have to charge Gary Giordano or let him go, and he has not been charged so far.
COOPER: And there had been some questions about whether or not Robyn Gardner's blood was on a -- was found on a towel. Is that right?
COOPER: What did they find?
SAVIDGE: Well, blood's been very interesting in this case, because it's been in, and it's been out. It was in in the beginning. They said there was a bloody palm print. There was also reports of blood found on a rock. Well, authorities said no, there was no blood.
Well, in fact today at that hearing we found out what do you know? There was blood. It was blood that was found on a towel on the beach, and DNA testing shows it was Robyn Gardner's blood.
Why is it interesting? Well, if it was a drowning, like Gary says, you shouldn't have blood. The defense attorney says, "Hey, this only fits with his story." He says that Robyn stubbed her toe on a rock on the beach. That's where the blood came from.
COOPER: We don't often cite the "National Enquirer" as a source in anything. But there's a story that they wrote that's gotten a lot of traction. A lot of other news organizations have already picked it up. They ran a story yesterday, saying Aruban authorities got a tip that Gardner was buried alive in a pet cemetery on that island. You checked it out, of course. What did you find out?
SAVIDGE: Well, it's a marvelous tale. And that's what authorities say it only is. It's total fiction, they maintain. There has been no witness that came forward and says that he saw Robyn Gardner being buried at a pet cemetery.
The pet cemetery, though, was early, very early on, looked at as part of the investigation. They went there. They looked for disturbed earth or any signs of a fresh grave. They found none. They went back with the cadaver dogs. The dogs did have a couple of hits. They dug it up. What did they find? Dog bones. It was a pet cemetery. So authorities say no, she is not in that pet cemetery.
COOPER: And there's been no sign of any remains or anything like that? SAVIDGE: No. No sign of anything like that. And in fact, this is a case so far that the defense attorney says is only based on circumstantial evidence. Gary Giordano has maintained his innocence throughout and has always told police the same story, according to his new defense attorney. And we should point out he has a criminal defense attorney now, which is an indication of how serious it may become.
COOPER: And can they just keep on extending his stay in prison?
SAVIDGE: No, they can't. We are told that the next 30-day period is about it. There are some who claim that there's some more fudge room, maybe, of a couple more weeks. But otherwise, it's going to have to be charges.
And remember, he's been held now, or will be, for over 100 days without a single charge against him. And his defense attorney says it's destroying his life; he is an innocent man. And he claims that authorities are keeping him for no reason other than that island has a bad reputation, referred to as Natalee Holloway and that case.
COOPER: It's fascinating stuff. Martin Savidge, appreciate it. Have a good weekend, Martin.
Let's get caught one some of the other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks again with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Susan.
HENDRICKS: Anderson, Kansas City police say the family of missing Missouri baby Lisa Irwin today canceled a police interview with the child's half-brothers. Hours later, the family also cut ties with one of its lawyers. Baby Lisa, seen here, has been missing since October 4.
A lawsuit claiming systematic abuse and exploitation of elephants by the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus is tossed out by a federal appeals court. The three-judge panel says the two animal protection groups and a former employee tied to the circus did not have authority to bring the lawsuit in the first place.
Oops. The Justice Department inspector general admits it made a mistake when it said the agency spent more than $16 on each muffin at the legal conference. The price tag was met with outrage. People were furious. A revised report does not show the actual cost of those notorious muffins.
And Kim Kardashian is under fire for this tweet to her 10-million plus followers. It turns out that toll-free number is not a direct line to Justin Bieber, as she stated. It was to vote for her brother Rob, who's a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars." Whether her tweet helped her brother is unclear. But Rob is still there, and Chaz Bono was voted off.
COOPER: Interesting. Susan, appreciate it. Thanks.
Coming up, Regis Philbin, stripping down on national television? Why? Because Snooki told him to. Who would do such a thing? The "RidicuList" is next.
COOPER: Time now for the "RidicuList," and tonight, we're adding the man, the legend, someone I greatly admire, the one and only Regis Philbin.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love Regis. I love Kelly. I love "Live with Regis and Kelly." But I have to tell you, I could not believe my eyes when I saw what happened when one Ms. Nicole Polizzi stopped by Regis and Kelly's show.
Nicole -- you know her as Snooki -- the tiny tornado from "Jersey Shore." Snooki is out promoting her latest book, called "Confessions of a Guidette." Yes, I did say her latest book. It is not her first. It's true. Snooki has officially had more books published than Harper Lee. Do with that information what you will. Just a little factoid for you. You're welcome.
While Snooki was making the talk show rounds for her new book, she got Regis to do something on national television that, frankly, you just have to see for yourself. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REGIS PHILBIN, CO-HOST, ABC'S "LIVE WITH REGIS & KELLY": I'm going to get Snookerized here.
KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, ABC'S "LIVE WITH REGIS & KELLY": You're going to get Snookerized?
PHILBIN: I think so I hope so.
NICOLE "SNOOKI" POLIZZI, REALITY TV STAR: It's called Snookified, Rege.
POLIZZI: Guidos usually don't wear ties. You should, like take off your shirt and then -- yes, you should take off your shirt and have no shirt and a tie.
RIPA: Let this happen.
PHILBIN: You think I'm afraid of you?
RIPA: I want to see where this goes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I love when Kelly said, "Let this happen."
Rege, Rege, Rege, what happened? Are you so powerless in the face of Snooki's charms, you'll do anything she asks you to do, no questions asked? Just like that, you'll take off your shirt, simply because Snooki said it was a good idea? And on TV, no less. Who would do such a thing?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Snooki's here. Very excited.
POLIZZI: Hi. Oh, my God, you're pale.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you take off your shirt? So first we're going to start with a little body contouring. All right?
POLIZZI: I had no idea that Mr. Anderstand [SIC] had muscles.
I love the smell of spray tan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a look at the tan line.
COOPER: Wow. I've never had a tan line like that. Thank you so much.
POLIZZI: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I swear, she's like the David Blaine of making people's clothes disappear. That clip was from my daytime show "Anderson." And OK, OK, granted, just like Regis, I also took off my shirt on TV because Snooki thought it would be a good idea.
In my defense, I just can't resist it when she calls me "Anderstand."
his is just the world we live in now, people. When Snooki says jump, you say how high? When Snooki says tan, you say how tan?
She actually also made me wait at that tanning place for about 20 minutes while she got her teeth whitened. True story. And frankly, I'd do it again. I'd do it again, damn it, if Snooki told me to. I'll bet you anything Regis Philbin feels the same way.
OK, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now. Gave a great weekend.