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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Herman Cain Allegations; New Attack Ad; Brutal Belt Whipping
Aired November 3, 2011 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, HOST: Thanks, John. We're on the "Front Line" in Texas with the victim of a brutal belt whipping. What new details does she have tonight? We'll tell you about it.
Then you think Greece has issues? Well Rome beats Athens, how is Silvio Berlusconi dealing with Italy's economic troubles, answer seriously surprising.
And the "Bottom Line" on Herman Cain. What happened? A man who has known him for 27 years comes OUTFRONT, so let's go OUTFRONT.
I'm Erin Burnett, and OUTFRONT tonight, Caingate. Herman Cain denying publicly, loudly, clearly any allegations of sexual harassment and not only that, he's pointing the finger. Here he is on Sean Hannity's radio show just a couple of hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We knew we were going to be attacked. We just never thought that we were going to be attacked, based upon a planted story coming from another one of the campaigns. Never imagined that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: As for that, Rick Perry fought back just a couple of moments ago on "JOHN KING, USA".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We found out about this the same time that I suppose the rest of America found out about it, both on the Internet or next day in the news, so, you know, I don't know how to tell any other way except knew nothing about it, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, a person who has known Herman Cain for 27 years. Spencer Wiggins was recruited by Cain to work as VP of Human Resources at Burger King and Godfather's Pizza. Cain is also the godfather to his children.
Mr. Wiggins thanks so much for coming OUTFRONT tonight. We really appreciate it. So much of this does come down to character. There are so many fingers pointing. Is he still a friend of yours, Herman Cain?
SPENCER WIGGINS, FRIEND OF HERMAN CAIN FOR 27 YEARS: Yes, he is, very much so.
BURNETT: And have you talked to him at all during this situation that's going on right now, or when's the most recent time you've about had a chance to talk?
WIGGINS: I talked to him about three weeks ago. I have not had a chance to talk to him since this has taken place. I've texted him a couple of times, and I told him at that time to be strong and to hang in there.
BURNETT: All right. So -- and we've laid out you're his friend, you've known him for a long time. He's godfather to your children. You've got a strong point of view here, so let me ask you this. You've run his HR Departments. Did you ever get a complaint of sexual harassment against Herman Cain?
WIGGINS: No, ma'am, nothing whatsoever. I've never had anyone come to me and say that Herman did anything inappropriate. I never observed or saw anything of any type of misbehavior of his part. He's always been the epitome of what you would call a gentleman.
BURNETT: And you would have known, am I right, in your roles both at Burger King when he brought you there and at Godfather's Pizza, there's no way that any kind of a complaint would have come in that you wouldn't have known about?
WIGGINS: I would say if something would have come in, especially being that he was the chief executive officer at Godfather's Pizza as well as regional vice president of Burger King Corporation, if anything would have come up, it would have come through my office, so I would have been told about it and of course we would have had to follow up and investigate.
BURNETT: So are you surprised by what's happening right now?
WIGGINS: Yes, I am. Yes, I am. When I heard about this on Monday, I was very surprised knowing Herman as I do. I've worked for him for 10 years. I've known him for 27 years, and this came as a complete surprise to me.
BURNETT: So what can you tell us as someone who is a friend of Herman Cain, what would you describe as the man's character since that really is what is being discussed right now?
WIGGINS: One of the things I always found about Herman from the first time I met him, he's always come across very straightforward, very outgoing, can be very humbling when he wanted to be. Also but he made everybody feel comfortable. He made you feel like he had known you all your life. The first time I had met Herman I had reluctantly become a recruit for him at Burger King Corporation, and when I walked into his office he came from behind his desk and he greeted me like he had known me all my life. He comes across as someone very genuine and one of the things that surprised me by all of this is the fact that someone would say he did something like this, because I've never seen him betray himself in this way, shape, manner, or form.
BURNETT: All right, well Spencer Wiggins, thank you very much. We appreciate your taking the time to come on -- to come OUTFRONT tonight and tell that side of the story.
Let's bring in David Gergen now, our senior political analyst, along with Gloria Borger, chief political analyst here at CNN. David, let me start with you. This is a question of character and then there's -- we keep hearing about new revelations, what's going to come out, what isn't going to come out. I want to ask you about that in a moment, but first, what's your take on what Spencer Wiggins had to say?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I think it's an important piece of the story, because there are people out there who really believe that he's innocent of all this.
GERGEN: And I talked to someone today who's been with him on many, many public occasions. He's a very -- he has a reputation as a great motivational speaker. He's been out on the election circuit for a long time. He's a large figure, very gregarious, and he could easily have said things that he thought were -- you know like -- sweetheart -- it's the first time he ever met you that you would take offense at, but he would see, you know he's just being friendly and put his arm around you, whatever.
So I do think there is that element of the story. You have to -- and you have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Having said that, I think he's been terribly hand-fisted in dealing with these allegations. And you know I think he's got a deeper hole today than he had yesterday and it was deeper today than three days ago. He's got to stop digging a hole and get the facts out.
BURNETT: And Gloria, I wanted to ask you about that because you have people like Spencer Wiggins coming out, saying I've known the man for 27 years. I vouch for his character. I ran his HR. I never got a complaint, and yet as David points out, Herman Cain has been reluctant to give more detail which you would think he should especially because it appears that the woman may be coming out, one of the women, with her side of the story.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I think it's not that he's been so reluctant to talk about details. It's that he's had different recollections actually about the details of these events. And so we've been talking to Joel Bennett (ph) who is the attorney for one of Herman Cain's accusers and he's been in touch with the Restaurant Association.
What he and his client want to do tomorrow is release a statement under his name, not her name that generally says she stands by her charges of sexual harassment and I don't know how much detail it would go into, presumably not too much. But I think she's clearly been angered by what she's heard from Mr. Cain. But they have to get clearance from the Restaurant Association because they clearly signed a confidentiality pledge, and so they have to be released from that in order to do it. So we'll hear more on that the attorney tells us by tomorrow.
BURNETT: David, let me ask you. It's interesting the National Restaurant Association -- I hesitate to say NRA because every time I do there's a little bit of confusion.
BURNETT: But that they're having -- they're trying to make a decision as to whether she can comment.
GERGEN: Right -- right.
BURNETT: That she may want to comment through her lawyer anonymously. Is that fair?
GERGEN: Right. Not really. On the other hand, has she been treated fairly in all of this? I don't think so. I mean you know they had -- there was an expectation of confidentiality on everybody's part, and so I think there's a reason for this, but, look I think that he, Herman Cain, ought to ask the National Restaurant Association to release her and get all the facts out and get this behind him. He has -- Richard Land, a major evangelical figure in this country, Southern Baptist said today he's got to have complete transparency, when Richard Land starts saying that, that's your base for Herman Cain. He needs to listen to that. He needs to listen to the voices that say Herman, this is going into its fifth day.
GERGEN: This is going to destroy your campaign unless you get --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Step up.
GERGEN: -- step up and get -- and deal with it and get it behind you.
BURNETT: Gloria, before we go, Herman Cain's campaign had to know this would come out. Whatever he thought, right --
BURNETT: This is kind of one of those things where if it's in your past, whether the allegations are in your view are fair, substantiated or whatever, you know it's going to come out.
BURNETT: Why weren't they prepared?
BORGER: You got -- you know what? I've asked them that. They say the charges are -- excuse me -- are baseless. Excuse me. They say -- I'm losing my voice -- the charges are baseless and there was no reason to be prepared. But we've seen this changing story -- sorry.
GERGEN: Gloria, we can't lose you.
GERGEN: Your voice is too important in television.
BURNETT: Gloria --
BORGER: (INAUDIBLE) too much TV.
BURNETT: She's been working too hard today. Bless your heart.
All right. We'll release you on that note, but Gloria Borger obviously talking to all the people in the campaigns, the lawyers, everybody today, so thanks again to Gloria for all of that.
BURNETT: Get some water.
BORGER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And David, thanks so much to you as well.
GERGEN: Thank you. Good to see you again, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. We've just learned some breaking news. Closing arguments have just concluded in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray. Now we are told the jury is going to start deliberating but that the deliberations formally won't begin until tomorrow morning. We're going to have much more on this coming up later this hour.
And OUTFRONT next what if you were told your college costs would quintuple just because of who your parents are and the latest details of the case of a Texas judge whipping his daughter. We hear from the victim.
And a daring smuggling bust by Brazilian police. This is just phenomenal video. AK47s, cars driving into planes, we'll deliver.
BURNETT: The number tonight, 37.7. That's how many billions of dollars are wasted each year waiting for in-home services such as the cable guy or furniture delivery. But this averages out to $243 a person a year. Most of that comes from lost wages because you know they give you that long window and you're sitting waiting and then the guy comes in the last 15 minutes. The new study from TOA (ph) Technology finds the average American waits 4.5 hours for an in-home appointment, 2.5 hours longer than they were supposed to. This is why Americans still hate the cable guy. OK, a new attack ad has been launched against Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. The Web video blast the former Massachusetts governor for what Democrats say is his support of a very controversial abortion amendment. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLITICAL AD: Tea Party extremists are pushing a constitutional amendment that would establish a definition of life at conception. It would ban abortion under any circumstances, including rape, incest, and cases when the life of a woman is at stake, and outlaw forms of contraception like birth control pills. Mitt Romney's position?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you have supported a constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voters from across the "magnolia state" will not only vote for candidates --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Joining us to do their take on the ad and the latest on the Herman Cain campaign, Democratic strategist Bob Zimmerman, CNN contributor John Avlon here in New York and former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts from Washington. OK, thanks to all of you.
John Avlon, let me start with you of what you make of this video and I want to say that this personhood amendment in Mississippi would define life at the beginning of conception. Rape, incest, grave threat to the mother not enough to allow for abortion. Even right to life organizations have come out against this. That ad says Mitt Romney is for it.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That ad also is a general election ad. That is about the general election. They're counting this position is so extreme that it will alienate centrist voters, swing voters, Walmart moms, et cetera. And it's not just rape and incest. It also raises questions about contraception like birth control, if you believe it really is -- begins at conception, so this is a far- ranging ad. This is the first ad in the general election --
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: But this is also an ad that motivates the Democratic base and it puts a reality check because (INAUDIBLE) compared to Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann and the others his rhetoric is certainly much more moderate in these debates and of course his record as Massachusetts governor. The bottom line is Mitt Romney makes hypocrites look sincere and that's going to be a factor that's going to motivate Democrats in this election.
BURNETT: Or perhaps you know as a politician, you've got to listen and learn. I know. You could call it flip flopping. You could call it that, right? Let me ask you J.C. Watts -- (CROSSTALK)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bridge in Brooklyn for you too, Erin.
BURNETT: J.C. Watts, let me ask you about this, though, because the way this ad is put together, I want to make sure for the record to our knowledge Mitt Romney has not commented on the Mississippi amendment at all directly.
J.C. WATTS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN (R), OKLAHOMA: Well, I agree with John, Erin. This is a general election ad, and Mitt Romney should take some comfort because they didn't run it against Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or anybody else on the Republican side. They ran it against him. And so they evidently think that he's going to be the nominee, and he should take some comfort in that.
I think most -- I have not seen the language in -- I didn't -- without my glasses, I couldn't even read what you had on the screen, but I hadn't read the language, the legislation, but I think most pro- life folks do believe that life begins at conception. Now, if you say that pro-life groups are against this, I would want to take a look at the language and see exactly why are they opposing this, the Catholic Church, the National Right to Life, et cetera.
ZIMMERMAN: But do you see -- just to put it in perspective, don't take too much comfort in that ad because knowing Mitt Romney's record, he'll flip in a week.
BURNETT: Oh, OK.
WATTS: Well and you know to be quite frank with you, Erin, I've said this before; I was on the show 10 days ago and I said that I think that's one of the reasons that Mitt Romney has not gotten beyond 23, 25 percent, considering the fact that he's run two presidential campaigns. They've been well funded and well organized. So I do think it presents some challenges, but be that as it may, I think the pro-life community and looking at that ad, you know, that's not going to hurt Mitt Romney with his base.
BURNETT: Well, I guess the more vicious and nasty people are to you, I guess it's a form of flattery. (INAUDIBLE) you guys are saying. All right, I want to talk about Herman Cain and J.C., I wanted to ask this question to you. Herman Cain today came out with his fund-raising efforts. He says they haven't been hurt; in fact it's been the opposite extreme. He says he's been very successful at raising money over the past few days. And he says the American people are sick of what he calls, quote, "gutter politics". He's also said that perhaps this is racially motivated. You're a conservative African-American politician. What do you think about the role race is playing in Herman Cain's situation right now? Is it playing a role or is that unfair?
WATTS: Well you know, Erin, I can't -- I can't judge what I can't see, and people doing this, you know, it's tough to judge their motives. But I can tell you, you know, the -- where Rick Perry hunt (ph) said, you know, his hunting lodge didn't get this kind of attention and, you know, didn't rally the kind of questions at its rally. I think the bottom line is this. You know, when you're on defense in politics, you're losing.
And over the last four or five days, Herman has been on defense, and I -- as someone that loves the guy, he's a friend, I think he's a good man. I think we would like to see him you know, figure out how you deal with this, deal with it once and for all and get over it. He didn't handle it right in the early stages --
WATTS: -- and it's put him on defense over the last four or five days.
BURNETT: All right one more topic I wanted to squeeze in because this is getting some coverage and I found it pretty fascinating. And this is about the state of Florida, immigration. A group of students that were born to illegal immigrants, the parents were not born in the United States, came here illegally. Children are born in the United States and are citizens but they're being denied in-state tuition. All right, what do you think, John Avlon?
BURNETT: We're talking about $1,000, up to $6,000 a term --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BURNETT: -- and I think Miami gave community --
AVLON: This is unbelievable. I mean this is a simple issue of equal justice under law. If they're born in the United States, they're citizens, then they deserve the same in-state tuition as any other citizen. And this is -- people play (INAUDIBLE) you know this is dynamite politics. Talking Florida, 29 electoral votes with the third largest immigration population of any state, so this can be a real general election issue as well, but it's sadly unfair.
ZIMMERMAN: This is part of a national trend. It's the politics of demagoguery and scapegoating. You see student -- you see citizens, young people who are legal American citizens trying to be denied this in-state tuition. You see of course the law in Alabama which is targeting children of illegal immigrants and ultimately where this is going is to try to reverse the Supreme Court decision Plier vs. Doe (ph).
By 5-4 in a very close vote in 1982, the Supreme Court upheld the right for illegal immigrants to go to public schools. The goal here ultimately is to reverse that decision with this very right-winged court. That is a possibility. So if they can deny legal citizens the right to tuition breaks they can go after illegal students, too.
BURNETT: J.C., is there anyone who could make a case on the right for a law like this, where someone born in the United States with citizenship in the state of Florida can't get in-state tuition because their parents are illegal?
WATTS: Well, Erin, I -- it might shock and amaze you, but to my panelists, you're going to see a lot of demagoging (ph) and a lot of manipulation over the next 12 months from both sides of the aisle. But be that as it may, I'm for securing the borders. I'm for having some comprehensive legal or immigration reform in the country.
But to say that you should take legal immigrants and until we change the law, if you're born here in the United States, it makes you an American citizen. So, you know, regardless of what side of the aisle you're on, I would say let's defend the law until the law is changed.
BURNETT: All right. Well hey, we all agree. Let's leave it there.
BURNETT: We didn't agree on everything, so, all right thanks to all three. We appreciate it, Robert, John, and J.C., great to see you.
Well, we brought you this disturbing story last night on OUTFRONT, it was a graphic video of a disabled 16-year-old girl being beaten with a belt by her father. Now the video was taken in 2004 by Hillary Adams and posted on the Internet just a few days ago. Her father, William Adams (ph), is a family judge in Arandous (ph) County, Texas and has been suspended for two weeks while police investigate if he will be charged. He says there's more to the story. Anderson Cooper sat down with Hillary Adams and her mother earlier today. OUTFRONT with the latest and Anderson, what did they tell you?
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": Well Hillary is very clear on why she says she released the tape. Her father has now come forward today, saying that he basically cut her off financial support for her, that she had dropped out of school, and that he had told her not only was he going to cut off financial support, that he was going to take her car away from her that he had given her. Hillary says that is categorically not the reason she released the tape. She says she wants her father to get help. I want to play just a little bit from the actual tape, just for you to get a sense of how severe this beating was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bend over that bed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bend over that bed. Bend over the bed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bend over the bed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bend over the bed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) I'm (EXPLETIVE DELETED) your face. Roll over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's just a few seconds. It goes on for some seven minutes. She recorded it herself seven years ago. I asked her about how bad that beating ended up being.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Did you have bruises after that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes. The bruises were the worst I'd ever had. I had had other lashings like that, but this one produced the most bruising. And the next day it was all up and down my legs and he'd also hit my arms when he couldn't get to my legs.
COOPER: Because he was saying it's not as bad as it looked in the tape.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's -- I don't -- I think he's in serious denial because I told him it hurt to walk the next day and his response was one word. He said "good".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Hillary also joined me with her mom who is now divorced from her father. Her mom also took part in this beating and has apologized to Hillary for it. I asked Hillary about some of the things her dad was now saying in a statement that he just released. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Hillary warned her father if he reduced her financial support and took away her Mercedes automobile which her father had provided he would live to regret it. The post was then uploaded. Is that accurate?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. I think that's a perfect example of the way he always would twist stories to our community to make him come out as the good guy. It's stunning the way that his behavior continues in the exact same pattern. And even as we have this cold hard proof in front of him of how bad he really was, he still continues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Hillary's mom in the background laughing a little bit. It's not clear where this goes. As you know, Erin, statute of limitations probably rules out any legal action or criminal action against the father in this, though certainly he may be suffering some consequences at work.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Anderson, we're going to look forward to seeing a lot more of that tonight on "AC 360". Thanks again, Anderson.
COOPER: Thanks, Erin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT, the "OutFront 5".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that means to tell AARP take a hike and APR (ph) take a hike. We're going to do what's best for the country.
BURNETT: A Robin Hood tax?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're in an incredibly powerful position. What was your message?
BURNETT: Extreme measures.
BURNETT: All this OUTFRONT in our second half.
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about. We focus on our own reporting, do the work, and find the "OutFront 5".
Up first tonight, OUTFRONT has obtained a new mug shot of the man charged with an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. OUTFRONT got this mug shot of Manssor Arbabsiar from the U.S. Marshals. The 56-year-old living in Texas was arrested after the FBI says Arbabsiar told an undercover informant he planned to use explosives to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al Jubeir. You see him there. The second suspect is still wanted by the United States. Number two, a good day for the stock market, the Dow up 208 points, 12,044 back above that psychologically important 12,000 level, investors surprised when the European Central Bank actually cut interest rates and when the Greek prime minister -- talk about a flip- flop -- backed away from his proposed vote on the country's bailout package.
Also helping stocks, number three, initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to 397,000. That is important, because 400,000 is the level, below it good, above it bad. Economists we spoke to note the claims data has started to go lower over the past few weeks but it all depends on tomorrow's big employment report. Expectations we have tonight, 95,000 jobs likely created in the month of October.
Number four, there is a new number one place for millionaires, Los Alamos, New Mexico. Wow, about 11.7 percent of that city's households are homes to millionaires, according to Kiplinger (ph).
The reason? The Los Alamos National Laboratory which hires physicists, scientists and engineers. They earn a lot of money there.
We did some math -- 4,528 of the facilities' employees and students live in Los Alamos, which would account for a quarter of the city's population. That doesn't include the contractors and security staff that work at the lab.
Well, it has been 90 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, tonight, 33 Republicans have signed a letter to the super committee, calling on the group of 12 to balance the budget, reform entitlements, and -- well, they're saying they don't want net tax increases. That leaves some increases open, it's just got to balance out.
Well, one of the 33 who signed it was "gang of six" member, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. He has a few trillion ideas on how to get our credit rating back.
He's OUTFRONT tonight. I spoke to him before the show about his plan to cut $9 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. He wants to cut out the fat, including $500 million that he says the Department of Energy spends on conferences on yachts with cigars.
SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: Well, I can document at least $350 billion a year of waste, fraud, or duplication. And yet we can't get the Senate to do anything about it. And we put forward $9 trillion worth of savings which is really the number we have to do to get our country healthy again, and we haven't seen a lot of embracement of what is necessary.
BURNETT: Well, your gang of six has met with the super committee and a couple of your cohorts told Joe Scarborough on "Morning Joe" this week that the super committee should go big to that $4 trillion number. That's exactly the number 100 members of Congress put forward yesterday when they came on this show.
Is this all talk, or are you all talking and on board with spending cuts, tax increases, and entitlement cuts -- all three?
COBURN: I think -- look, our country -- I think, first of all, you have to set the predicate. What is the problem? The problem is we're going to pay a very large price in a very short period of time if we don't start acting responsibly based on the numbers in front of us. And the minimum requirement for that is $4 billion to $5 billion just to buy five years. So --
BURNETT: Trillion, you mean, right?
COBURN: Trillion, yes.
COBURN: It's hard to keep the numbers straight, even for us up here. So, I think the significant thing is it's OK if the committee does $1.2 trillion and that's their minimum mandate and we need to pass that, and then we need to move onto the next step.
BURNETT: If tax increases are required to get a deal done, are you willing to do it on somebody somewhere?
COBURN: I've already stated that. I am. But I -- but we certainly don't want to do that without reforming the tax code.
COBURN: Because one of the biggest inhibitors to capital formation and job creation right now is the tax code.
BURNETT: All right. Let me ask you about your plan. You spent a year on it. It is the biggest I've seen so far with its $9 trillion price tag and you say as part of that you're going to cut from Medicare. And this is where it comes to having an adult conversation with American people.
I want to play an ad for you that really shocked me from the AARP.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FROM AARP.ORG)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Washington, before you even think about cutting my Medicare and Social Security benefits, here's a number you should remember: 50 million. We are 50 million seniors who earned our benefits, and you will be hearing from us today and on election day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's a threat, and does it offend you?
COBURN: Well, it offends me because they're thinking about the AARP, not the country. The average couple at retirement have put in $110,000 into Medicare and will take out $350,000. I think every grandparent in this country would reject that.
For us to get out of our problems, we have to reform Medicare. We don't have to cut Medicare. All we have to do is reform it. But one thing I can guarantee is Medicare won't be the same five years from now as it is today regardless of what AARP says, because we can't borrow the money to pay for it.
We can't get out of the problems we're in, Erin, unless we have the courage and the statesmen to do that. And that means to tell AARP to take a hike and ATR to take a hike. We're going to do what's best for the country.
BURNETT: Certainly, on this show, we couldn't agree more on that.
Btu let me ask you about your cuts on Medicare. Your plan calls for a 20 percent cut in Medicare and Medicaid somehow. I want to ask you --
COBURN: Well, actually that's not accurate. No, no, that's not accurate at all. We put an earnings test on Medicare. So, that means the people who would be receiving the cut would be those that are wealthiest in this country.
BURNETT: So you're saying a cut in overall spending but not necessarily in benefits.
COBURN: Yes, you're not going to see a cut in benefits. As a matter of fact, if we truly reform Medicare the way it needs to be reformed, we'll get better health care than we have today for less money.
BURNETT: That sounds like you is can have your cake and eat it too. That's the problem.
COBURN: You can, because there's $100 billion a year in fraud in Medicare.
BURNETT: And that's enough to solve the problem?
COBURN: Well, that's enough to start and if you put an earnings test on it and you actually bring it back to where it was supposed to be, which means on Medicare Part A, you actually pay an adequate amount into the trust fund, and Part B you participate in the level of what it was designed to participate and we get rid of the fraud and you change it where there's more consumerism in it and more consumer direct purchasing, we'll see a significant amount of savings.
BURNETT: All right. Well, sir, thank you very much.
COBURN: You're welcome.
BURNETT: We appreciate it. We look forward to having you on again and we'll talk about that prescription drug benefit as well. Thank you, sir.
COBURN: You bet.
BURNETT: Police officers in Brazil today went on, well, an amazing run. Take a look at this -- with guns hanging out their windows. I mean, this is like a movie, right?
They chased down and rammed -- watch this -- yes, yes, this is -- this is heading where you think it might be. Whoa!
They rammed the wing of a small plane because they wanted to. They wanted to stop it from taking off. They then seized the plane.
As you can see them jumping out there with a -- is that an AK-47? It was filled with contraband electronics worst an estimated $50,000. They arrested the five people on board.
Matt Potter spent sometime with smugglers. He's the author of "Outlaws Inc."
And, Matt, thanks very much. You know a whole lot about this. I mean, it's pretty amazing video. What do we know about the smugglers here?
MATT POTTER, AUTHOR, OUTLAWS, INC.: Well, one of the thing we know is that to -- quote Donald Rumsfeld -- there are a lot of unknown unknowns. So, the fact is these are not -- if you like, these are not mafia men. They're not tight kind of controlled families of organized criminals.
These are pretty much chances. They're loose aggregations of people who are really the financial incentives are there for them to try to get away with what they can when they can. They work on cash. They don't have receipts. They'll do, if you like, impromptu bathroom conversions to their planes so that customs guys who's inspecting them doesn't know, doesn't realize.
But actually there are space under the seats for two or three extra tons, or 100 kilograms or whatever of anything you like really. And the fact is that so long as its worth it for them to try taking off from some Godforsaken air strip somewhere, and the fact is most of the airstrips in the world, people don't realize it, a whole lot of the world, has no radar and has no kind of customs or no controls at all.
BURNETT: It's true.
POTTER: So, if it's worth it for them to try it, they'll try it.
BURNETT: And as you point out, a lot of air strips in the world are God-forsaken. You know it. We know it.
Let me ask you this though. This is apparently the 12th plane like this that has been confiscated by police in Brazil. I know you've been doing a lot of digging into this. You've also, you know, spend a lot of time with people who are trying to pull off these sorts of acts.
What are the top things that people are trying to smuggle right now? I mean, I would imagine weapons and drugs are still near the top.
POTTER: Yes. I mean -- well, actually the funny thing is the weapons and drugs are only near the top because they're so easy. Weapons are easy because there are so many of them. I mean, the number of Chinese and Russian-made guns and ammo, it's pretty much all profit. You can pick them up for peanuts. So, that's the reason weapons are popular.
And also, let's face it. There are a lot of independent warlords running around at the moment.
Drugs will always be popular because there's a huge mark-up. I mean, I've personally seen sort of, if you like, fertilized sack of 12 kilos of cocaine being thrown around as if they were fish slingers in the supermarket.
But the really -- the really high paying jobs especially with these things, is not -- I mean, these guys, if I understand correctly, they were carrying electrical goods.
POTTER: And that's really -- it's exactly like if you'd imagine some burglar running off with your VCR or your DVD player. I mean, electrical goods are pretty much the lowest on the run.
The highest are going to be things like people. That's where you make your real profit. And that means people smuggling as we're all familiar with, but also the kind of people who want to get in and out of countries on the sly.
That also, I'm afraid, include some of our people in the government want to get in and out of countries on the sly.
BURNETT: Well, I guess that's unfortunate, the double-edged sword. There's hypocrisy to go around.
Tell me the craziest thing you've ever seen, though, in terms of what was smuggled and how it was done.
POTTER: Well, I mean, there are plenty. But think the best thing I've ever seen is probably I've seen household objects, TVs, tables, sofas, et cetera, that were pretty much parcels of cocaine sculpted to look like household objects.
I mean, that's a really, really popular thing, because the fact is the customs guys in most of the third world, actually in most of the first and second world, they're not paid as much as somebody who's smuggling the things. There's no incentive to do beyond kind of open the door, look in and go, yes, hey you guys, that's fine. Give us a bottle of whiskey. I'm on my way.
The fact is if they see something that they're told looks like, let's say, a duvet and it turns out to be 200 packets of coke, or stuffed together with a sheet over it, nobody is going to complain. That's why I'm saying that's bizarre but that's not unusual. It's bizarre but it's very, very common.
BURNETT: Wow, cocaine coffee tables. All right. Matt, thanks again. We appreciate it.
POTTER: Everyone should have one.
BURNETT: Thank you.
POTTER: All right. Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. Still OUTFRONT. closing arguments just concluded the Conrad Murray-Michael Jackson case. Gone to jury.
And love songs. Love songs sung by Silvio. Seriously.
BURNETT: Same time every night, we do this, our "Outer Circle." We reach out to our sources around the world.
Tonight to Greece where financial chaos is looming, the embattled prime minister is fighting for his political light.
CNN's Jim Boulden is in Athens.
And, Jim, will Prime Minister Papandreou survive this?
JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it's been a very long and confusing day here in Athens. The prime minister is refusing to resign. The opposition leader is refusing to come together in some sort of national unity. It seems that this idea of referendum could be off but it's not absolutely sure.
What's at the balance here? Greece's very future within the euro and the E.U. And that's why markets and analysts are so concerned that Greece could actually destabilize the entire European Union, just at a time that Europe could be heading back into a recession -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Jim. And something that's going to affect America, too.
Well, we've just learned some breaking news. Closing arguments have just concluded in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray. The judge giving the case to the jury to start deliberating sometime tomorrow morning.
Ted Rowlands was in the courtroom, here with us OUTFRONT.
Ted, any idea how long deliberations will last?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's impossible to tell, Erin. One thing, the facts are there were six weeks of testimony. So, if they go through it on any level, it should take them some time. However, we've seen it all. Sometimes they go in and out, like O.J., sometimes they could take days and days and days.
BURNETT: And what were the main points made today? You know, did you hear any kind of humdinger or zinger at the end?
ROWLANDS: Well, the prosecution basically said this isn't a doctor-patient scenario. This is a guy that said, yes, for 150 grand a month, I'll give this guy a Propofol. The defense on the other hand said, listen, this is all about Michael Jackson. He's the one that caused it. In fact, if it wasn't Michael Jackson, if it was any other patient, we wouldn't be here.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much, Ted. Appreciate it.
The medical testimony in the case is obviously going to be the key to whether the jury finds Conrad Murray guilty or not.
So, let's bring in the host of "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." and our chief medical correspondent -- yes, his name is Sanjay Gupta.
Hey, Sanjay. Good to see you.
OK, I just want to ask you a couple of things because it seems the biggest battle during the entire trial has been the theory of how Jackson died. The defense says, well, maybe he injected himself with that fatal dose of Propofol.
And I want to ask you, given everything you know and how careful you follow this, is that scenario possible?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is possible, but I'll preface by saying, Erin, that this whole thing is just strange because you're starting at some points even before the idea that he may have injected himself, that I've never heard before. You know, this idea that he was getting Propofol in his home, that he was getting it without monitoring equipment, that he wasn't -- he didn't have resuscitation equipment standing by.
So, all of that is a preface. But having said that, it is possible that he injected himself.
Keep in mind a couple of things, Erin, 25 milligrams is a number that was tossed around a lot. That's a relatively small dose. Someone got that dose. They feel a little sleepy for some time. But it wears off pretty quickly. Could he have gotten that dose, it wore off, he got up, and he gave himself more, perhaps.
The thing that's been difficult, I think, from a medical standpoint is these doses are all so small and unlikely to have killed him and they don't seem to match up with the levels that were found in his blood when he finally got to the hospital and had his autopsy. So, there is the rub, and that's what the prosecution and defense were trying to explain away today.
BURNETT: And what about the other issue where the defense has tried to say, well, you know, the Propofol may have been whatever it was, but Michael Jackson went and took a Lorazepam -- I'm sorry if I'm saying it wrong -- but another medication and that vanishes from your blood quickly. So, that could have been the toxic combo that killed him instead of Dr. Murray's Propofol.
GUPTA: Yes, that's exactly right. And I think there is something to do that, you know, this idea -- imagine the picture that you sort of imagine in the room. He's in the bed. He has an I.V. that's actually in his leg somewhere, an intravenous catheter.
They say the Propofol he was given wore off. They say he may have gotten up out of bed, taken some of these other injections, injected more Propofol into his blood and went back to sleep at which point, he, according to the defense, he immediately died upon doing that. That led to his immediate death. That's sort of the picture they're portraying.
But you're absolutely right. These other medications, the anti- anxiety medications, Lorazepam, Valium, these types of medications, in conjunction with Propofol, they'd would be more of an additive. I mean, they have a more significant effect.
BURNETT: All right. Sanjay, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
GUPTA: Thank you.
BURNETT: We will see what happens.
Well, still OUTFRONT, a rare interview with billionaire Bill Gates.
And Silvio as in Berlusconi sings amore to bunga bunga, seriously.
BURNETT: So, we cover a lot of serious stories on this show but this one is -- seriously?
The latest victim of the political and economic crisis engulfing Europe is not a bank or a country. It's an album of pop music. Seriously.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had been expected to release an album of 11 love songs titled "True Love." But as reportedly put it on hold because of the economic debacle in Europe, particularly in Italy, and because, apparently, one of the songs was inspired by the Greek style "sirtaki" dance. I guess when your own country's economy is failing, you don't want to remind people about what's going on in Greece. But Berlusconi is a serious musical artist. This will be his fifth album. And in 2009, the Italian "Rolling Stone" named him their rock star of the year. Yes, they did -- though that probably have more to do with his bunga bunga parties than his actually music.
All we can say is, seriously, Silvio Berlusconi? Focusing on your music career, country falling -- well, maybe apart. Well, because if you don't get what's going on we're more than happy to show you.
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Coming up: Becky Anderson had a rare interview with billionaire Bill Gates. She comes OUTFRONT with the exclusive.
BURNETT: Bill Gates is the richest man in America, worth $59 billion. He's also the most generous person on the planet, pledging to give away $28 billion.
CNN's Becky Anderson caught up with him in Cannes, France, not around film festival, at the G-20 meeting of world leaders.
And, Becky, what is the richest man doing there?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he has a seat at the top table, Erin, today. He was here trying to convince world leaders that despite this economic crisis, this world economic crisis, they should not stop giving. And when I say that, what he's trying to do is convince them they got to pony up on the commitments that they have made to the developing world.
Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL GATES: Past view of aid was simply buying friendship from some dictators as part of the Cold War. That image is very out of date.
Today, you should think of the U.S. of being a biggest supporter of buying AIDS drugs to keep somebody alive, so a mother can raise her children. Buying bed net which cut malaria deaths already by 20 percent, will cut it a lot more. Financing agriculture development so that the women who have these small farms are able to grow enough food to have nutrition for their kids and raise a little money to send their kids to school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And he also talked today about new revenue streams. And I know this is something you've been interested in. This Robin Hood tax or tax on financial transactions. The deal is: could you ever do that on a global basis? That's the question out there, isn't it? Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thanks so much to Becky reporting where Bill Gates was. Well, tomorrow, we're very excited.
Kathi Lynn Austin will be our guest. Angelina Jolie will play her in a movie. Why? She spent 20 years catching the merchant of death, the Russian arms dealer who sold weapons to the Taliban and al Qaeda to kill Americans. He was convicted yesterday. She's our special guest tomorrow.
Come back. We'll see you then.
Anderson Cooper starts now.