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Herman Cain Addresses Sexual Harassment Allegations; Nuclear Iran

Aired November 8, 2011 - 18:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

It's a dramatic night of breaking news. A new report says Iran is making progress towards developing a nuclear warhead. And one question tonight is whether Israel will now respond with a preemptive strike.

And there are reports a college sports icon, the legendary Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, is planning to step down or is being forced out now in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal involving his longtime top deputy.

But up first tonight, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says it's all a bunch of lies.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The charges and the accusations I absolutely reject. They simply didn't happen. They simply did not happen.

The fact is, these anonymous allegations are false, and now the Democrat machine in America has brought forth a troubled woman to make false accusations.

Was it tough last week? Yes. Has it been tough the last couple of days? Yes.

But you see, that's one thing about Herman Cain that I think that a lot of the American people know, and that is, just because it's tough, there's no reason for me not to do what I feel like I have to do. And because of what the American people have said to me during these turbulent times, we will get through this. We will get through this.


KING: At a sometimes feisty news conference that ended just moments ago, Mr. Cain said he cannot recall ever meeting the Chicago woman who says Cain upgraded her Washington hotel room to a suite, took her to a nice dinner, and then made an aggressive and unwanted sexual advance.


CAIN: With respect to the most recent accusation, I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period.

I saw Ms. Allred and her client yesterday in that news conference for the very first time. As I sat in my hotel room with a couple of my staff members, as they got to the microphone, my first response in my mind and reaction was, I don't even know who this woman is.


KING: Cain's news conference was it itself a dramatic about- face. For days, his campaign said the candidate had no plans to address the mounting allegations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate sexual behavior.

In fact just last night a Cain campaign statement blamed it all on a liberal media conspiracy and vowed not to play by what it called Washington scandal rules. But it wasn't just the media demanding answers. More and more conservatives urged Cain to answer the allegations in detail and there was also mounting evidence in the polls that the Cain campaign was suffering.

Gloria Allred is the attorney for Sharon Bialek. She made the allegations yesterday against Mr. Cain. And she with us now on the telephone.

Ms. Allred, first, just flat out, let's just start with Mr. Cain says he can't even remember your client and when he was watching her yesterday he said he thought and thought and thought again and he has no recollection of ever meeting her. What do you make of that?

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Well, of course no recollection is not the same as he didn't meet her.

So, you know, I don't recall is not the same as I never met her. Interesting that he didn't say, did he, I never met her. Also, is he suggesting that I'm the Democratic machine or I'm manipulated by the Democratic machine if there is one?

I'm an attorney. If he's calling and saying that the Democratic machine had something to do with my representing my client, that is an absolute bold-faced lie and he needs to retract it. Here what I think he needs to do.

I think it's time for the United States Senate to subpoena both Herman Cain and all of the women who have made allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain. Let them come forward, let everybody come forward, let's have everybody testify under oath. My client is willing to do so. Is Herman Cain willing to testify under oath, testify under penalty of perjury, testify truthfully? That, I think, is a challenge I present to him.


KING: You present the challenge that he should go before the United States Senate. I would say this. I understand you're looking for a public forum where you could have both of them under oath. But what jurisdiction does the United States Senate have? Forgive me. Your client's allegations are quite serious. The statute of limitations if she wanted to file a complaint have long passed, I assume. But what jurisdiction would the United States Senate have over this?

ALLRED: Well, the same jurisdiction the United States Senate has when they for -- when legislation is needed, need to improve current legislation or needed because there is no legislation that exists that, you know, is needed.

And perhaps what we need is, you know, maybe we need changes in sexual harassment laws. Maybe we need to extend the statute of limitations in sexual harassment law, as has been done, by the way, in states, for example, that have extended the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases.


KING: Let's bring the conversation back to what Mr. Cain said today, because you raise an important point. You said when he says he doesn't recollect doesn't mean it didn't happen. He was pressed on that point.

He was pressed on could it possibly, possibly be true you met Sharon Bialek? Let's listen to his answer here.


CAIN: I'm not an expert on how the brain works, but I do know that I sat there and went over and over and over and over in my mind, do I know this lady? The answer kept coming up, no.

I watched her again today when she appeared on FOX News with her attorney during this interview, sitting there, trying to remember, do I know her? I didn't recognize the face. I didn't recognize the name, nor the voice.

And so you're right. Is that a possibility? Yes. But I happen to think that's a remote possibility. And here's why. One of the things that people who have worked with me for years will tell you is that I'm pretty good at remembering people.


KING: Ms. Allred, some of this is hard because it's 12, 14 years ago. But I want to ask you a question that I sure wish one of the reporters had asked Mr. Cain at that news conference. Is there anything, any credit card record, any hotel record, any restaurant record, any documentation at all that your client might have or be able to get access to? Obviously, wouldn't still probably be holding a paper receipt, but could go back to her credit card company that might be able to advance the he said/she said here?

ALLRED: Well, again, what's interesting here, John, is when you played that excerpt just now that I was right. It wasn't a flat-out denial. He didn't recall. You know, he's trying to remember, he didn't recall.

And yet it's been reported that someone saw Sharon speaking last month to him at the Tea Party convention or conference. So -- and obviously, we have a declaration from her boyfriend who was with her when they were both with Herman Cain some years ago, as she described yesterday at the conference and that even he met her boyfriend.

You know, what he wants to say he remembers now, that is to me really not the issue. The issue is, are the American people going to believe four women, two of whom have filed sexual harassment complaints against him, when they were employed by the National Restaurant Association, and received financial settlements, another anonymous woman, my client who has come out, given her name and face, or are they going to believe Herman Cain, a man who has a motive to deny everything?

And so that is the question for the American people. I, by the way, resent the hit pieces. You know, now this is what rich, powerful, famous, politically connected men do. They attack vulnerable women, such as my client. They put out massive hit pieces on her today. So I guess they're really desperate. They're in major damage control. I understand they're trying to protect their guy, but they're doing it by attacking a single mom and I think it's really revolting.

KING: Gloria Allred, important insights tonight. We appreciate your quick response to Mr. Cain. And we will stay in touch as this story develops in the days ahead.

And there's another important new development in this drama tonight. Another woman who accuses Cain of sexual harassment when she worked at National Restaurant Association is now confirming her identity.

Karen Kraushaar, you're seeing her in pictures, she works for the government. She filed a sexual harassment complaint against Cain during his tenure at the Restaurant Association back when he was its top lobbyist. She accepted a cash settlement and left the association. These pictures from a subsequent job she had in the federal government, where she handled media relations.

She took that government job back during the Clinton administration and was hired by Maria Cardona, at the time a Clinton political appointee, now a Democratic consultant and a CNN contributor.

Maria is with us now tonight.

Maria, you heard Herman Cain at his news event saying he did remember, he did remember your friend, he remembered her and said that her claim, she reached an agreement to leave, he did not consider it a settlement because he did not admit any wrongdoing. And he said that she was unable to prove her allegations against him and unable to get any corroboration. Is that what she tells you?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, to be -- in all honesty, John, she did not go into details of the allegations with me because I didn't want her to have to relive it yet again.

But what was so interesting about Mr. Cain's press conference is that he called both her allegations as well as the other accuser who also had a settlement with the National Restaurant Association baseless.

When do baseless allegations come to settlements in the tens of thousands of dollars? That just really stretches the limits of credibility here when you have not one, not two, but three and up to four, and maybe even more, according to Herman Cain himself, that might come out of the woodwork on this.

BLITZER: Maria, how does Karen Kraushaar describe Herman Cain to you?

CARDONA: Well, what I can tell you is what she told me in the recent days ever since it has come to light that she is one of the women who has accused him of sexual harassment. When I found out it was her, we talked about this obviously, and she has always been incredibly grateful to me, having hired her at the INS.

And what she said to me is, Maria, "Now you know why I was so grateful that you hired me when you did at the INS, because you saved me" -- and this is a quote from her -- "from this monster, from what she was going through at the National Restaurant Association." Obviously, she was referring to what she went through with Mr. Cain.

KING: And, Maria, I'm going to give you a chance briefly. There are those who will be watching who says, aha, Maria Cardona, veteran Democrat, Clinton appointee, getting involved in this, that there is proof the Democrats are pushing this.

CARDONA: Well, I will say two things to you, John. And thank you for bringing that up, because this is incredibly important.

First of all, the same as the woman who came out last night, Karen is a registered Republican. So I don't know where they get the fact that this is something that the Democrats are stirring up. The second thing I would say to you is that, and this is also incredibly important and was very important to Karen, to make very clear she is a civil servant.

And as you know, John, civil servants have nothing to do with political or partisan work. And when I was working at INS I was a political appointee but everybody who was working in my office was a civil servant, meaning they had absolutely nothing to do with Democratic Party strategy, with Democratic Party politics, with partisanship in any way, shape or form.

KING: Maria Cardona, appreciate your help tonight with this.

CARDONA: Thanks, John.

KING: Joining us into this conversation to assess the political fallout, Penny Nance is president and CEO of the conservative group Concerned Women for America. CNN contributor Erick Erickson is editor of the conservative, and Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher also with us, a pollster for the Obama 2012 campaign.

Penny, I want to start with you.

You are the head of a conservative women's group. Conservative women voters are incredibly important in the campaign, specifically in the state of Iowa. You issued a statement this morning talking about Sharon Bialek saying, "This woman is now the face of an issue that continues to grow and be a distraction for Mr. Cain's campaign. Mr. Cain needs to address these new allegations head on. Unlike anonymous allegations, Ms. Bialek appeared credible and I was very disturbed by her characterization of what happened."

Did Mr. Cain make his case tonight?

PENNY NANCE, CEO AND PRESIDENT, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Well, first, let me say that Concerned Women for America said back in 1996, during the whole Clinton scandal, that character counts.

And we believe that it still counts. And so it's important for us to weigh in on the issue as much as we can. I don't think all the facts are out yet. I don't -- he was emphatic, but yet you saw he left the door open for other women to come forward. Now we have seen several women, up to four, perhaps five that have come forward, and so until this is all hashed out, I think that we have all got to continue to wait and see. But it's very disturbing, and very troubling and it's gotten us off track of the issues that are so important to this country.

KING: You just used the word troubling about the allegations. He used the word troubled to describe one of his accusers, a troubled woman. I have gotten a number of e-mails since then. She has a history of personal financial issues, she has a history of maybe losing her job, but he's trying to connect that to her making these allegations. Is that a smart way for Mr. Cain to be conducting himself?

NANCE: I don't know. I think he has to fight back obviously to defend himself.

However, if even a part of what she said is true, even if he didn't per se sexually harass her, but everything else in the story is true, he was out drinking with a woman that is about 30 years -- or -- excuse me -- is about 30 years old, about 10 years his junior, late at night, getting her a hotel suite, there's a lot more that is disturbing than just whether or not he sexually harassed the woman. I want to know it all.

KING: Erick Erickson, you have to the same point said Mr. Cain has some explaining to do. How did he do today?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I love Herman, he's a great guy. I know him and think the world of him. But I think he opened the door to more question today. He's doing a very bad job.

His campaign is doing a very bad job of trying to get this story beyond them. He's now opening the door to more questions. For example, he said today that he did not know Sharon Bialek. There are now -- there is a picture surfaced from the past year where they were together. Now, he may have no recollection of that. I don't remember half of the picture I have had a picture of in the last year.

But it seems like his campaign should have sat down and been a little more thorough with a prepared statement that he was reading from in judging these and having some of these facts in there. I just -- I feel sorry for the guy in the sense that he's being accused of sexual harassment, and how do you prove a negative that happened 12 to 15 years ago? How does a guy do that? So I'm sympathetic for that. But the press conference I think did more harm than good.

KING: but one of the points, the most important thing here are the allegations. There are women, now two women whose names we know, two others anonymously, that's the most important issue, did that kind of conduct happen? Another thing that happens though in the political fallout of this is Mr. Cain has to explain himself. And part of the question, is he consistent in his answers?

I want you to listen here to one of the ways he answered when he was essentially being asked, do you know who is doing this? Do you believe somebody is leaking this with a political purpose? Listen.


CAIN: I cannot -- I cannot say that it is a conspiracy.

We do not have definitive factual proof. We can only look at some coincidences to suggest it, that maybe someone is deliberately behind this. So we have not been able to make any determination, to point any fingers, or place any blame on anybody at this point.

When we step back and look at the fact that there's no facts, no factual evidence to back these up, we can only infer that someone is trying to basically wreck my character and, like the other gentleman alluded to, plant doubt in the minds of a lot of the people who are going to go to the polls and vote.


KING: Cornell Belcher, he says he's not sure but somebody's doing this. Earlier in the news conference, he said the Democratic machine, with Gloria Allred, had brought her forward, she has contributed, and he said just last week that he could connect the dots to bread crumbs, he called them, definitively back to the Perry campaign. That's a Republican campaign.


There are no high-powered Democrats and Democratic organizations sitting around going, oh, my God, how do we figure out how to stop Herman Cain? Let's figure out how to make this story up to stop Herman Cain. If anything, we're sitting around trying to figure out how we can help Herman Cain. It's a ridiculous story. But at some point it becomes a leap of faith for voters and I think Herman Cain's done, I really do, because it becomes a leap of faith for voters and he's now asking voters to put their hands over their eyes, cover their nose, and take that leap. It's too much.

KING: Cornell Belcher, Penny Nance, Erick Erickson, thank you for being here tonight.

A lot more ahead on this story.

Still ahead, though, word tonight that the legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno on his way out because of a child abuse scandal involving coach Paterno's longtime top assistant.

And next, more on the Herman Cain denials. Is his surprise candidacy now past the tipping point?


KING: Tonight, Herman Cain say his won't withdraw from the Republican presidential race because of sexual harassment allegations. In his words, it ain't going to happen.

At a news conference last hour, Cain denied ever harassing any women, and says he won't be deterred by what he calls -- quote -- "false, anonymous, incorrect accusation."

With us now to assess the political fallout from New Orleans, Democratic strategist James Carville and Republican strategist Mary Matalin. They're both CNN contributors. Here with me in Washington, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

Mary, I want to go to you first, as the Republican woman in the group. That is to me the number one audience Herman Cain needed to speak to today. Did he succeed?

MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I know I'm in the minority here, but I thought it was very powerful.

And it -- let me start here. We think like we think, and it doesn't matter what we think. It matters what Iowa women and voters think. If I were he, I would go pronto into camp to Iowa. But here's what they know in general, and they don't think like we think -- that politics is scummy, the media sensationalizes and particularly conservative women believe there's a feminist grievance industry and it is represented, epitomized by Gloria Allred.

And either he's the biggest bare-faced liar or a guy who said I he will take a lie-detector. It was powerful to me. It spoke to me, and I -- maybe it's because I have lived through the transition from an overtly sexist workplace to an over-neutered sex workplace, that I have seen settlements being made for the purpose of just like we don't want to deal with this.

And I think that -- I think there's an audience for that. I think it was very, very powerful. And it doesn't matter what we say. It matters what they think in Iowa.

KING: James, to that point, it does matter where the people vote. You're a Democrat, obviously, and I know you think he's toast tonight.


KING: What can he do? Assume for the sake of argument that this didn't happen or that maybe there were a couple of misunderstandings, but he didn't grossly, in his mind anyway -- what does he do?

CARVILLE: Well, one thing that everybody can do, if we really want to know it, is he and the women involved can have the Restaurant Association release the file. And maybe we'd see what the settlement or what the agreement was. He says they're baseless. What is the investigation, what is the back and forth here? There's a simple solution to that.

They can do that, and there's no reason they can't waive that. but I don't really think that that's going to happen here, and I think today a sunk boat just sunk again. I don't know how you can sink twice, but I don't think it's relevant and matters. He was never going to be president. And it turned out I don't think he helped himself today.

KING: He was not asked, Gloria, at the press conference, and I wish he had been, will you call on the Restaurant Association, will you personally -- those credit card records exist. I know it's 14 years ago, but they exist somewhere. Did he take her to a restaurant? There's a documentation somewhere. Did he call the hotel and have her room upgraded? There's a documentation somewhere.


KING: She say there were at two dinners together, seated together. Guess what? You have a big event dinner, there's a seating plan that is in a file somewhere.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And just as these women have employment records and have records of their settlements as they left, I would assume that Mr. Cain also has an employment record from when he was running the National Restaurant Association.

And if there's nothing to hide, then he really ought to release that and say, release my expense accounts, do all of that, I have nothing to hide here, I'm telling the truth, I do not remember Ms. Bialek. And the question is whether he will remember these other women as they start to come forward, because I believe that they will.

KING: Mary, where does this head next? He has to go into a debate. There's one tonight, and there's another one coming up pretty soon. We assume more people might come forward. Does Mr. Cain get a reset button here or is he in scandal mode?

MATALIN: I'm going to say again we have to take ourselves out of our minds and put them in the minds of conservative voters who don't trust the media, don't trust the feminist grievance industry, do respect references to integrity and honesty. And he said he'd take a lie-detector test. James of course would like this to go on forever, to release files, and keep distracting from the issues, and conservative voters do want to get back to the issues.

I don't know how many times he will have to answer it in the debate, but at some point these voters who are going to make the difference, not all of our blabbering, are going to get fed up with this. And I just thought the guy was powerful. Either that, or it's the most theatrically perfect presentation in response to his integrity being attacked that I have seen in 35 years.

It was practically Ferraro-esque. He stood up, he answered all of the questions, he wasn't defensive. He was articulate. He jujitsued Romney's attack on him and said that Romney had integrity. He jujitsued this bias towards women on whatever the harassment charge is and says, oh, by the way, I'm in the business and women do harass men.

I just thought it had a lot of masterful strokes in there that may not work to our ear, to the establishment ear, but they might work to voters' ears.

KING: I need to end the conversation here for now.


KING: We will come back to this in a little bit, James.

Mary, Gloria, thank you. Sorry we're short on time for this segment. We will get back to this in a little bit.

Need to end it here because we need to talk about what's coming up next, a major developing story, it's not just a sports story. Our number tonight is 46. That's how many years Joe Paterno has been the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Over that time he's won 409 games, 24 bowl victories. Coach Paterno tonight, though, there are reports saying he's on the way out. Why? We will explain that on the other side, an emerging child sex abuse scandal in his program.


KING: Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno could step down in a matter of days. That's according to a report in "The New York Times" tonight. His weekly news conference was canceled abruptly today in the wake of a scandal that is rocking one of the country's most prestigious football programs.

The team's longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested this weekend and charged with raping eight boys between 1994 and 2009. Authorities say Paterno learned of one alleged incident in 2002 and passed on the information to university higher-ups. The question tonight, did he do enough?

With us on the phone is LaVar Arrington, who played linebacker for Paterno and Sandusky and like a number of Penn State players moved on to a career in the NFL. Here in studio with me, Mike Wise, a sports columnist for "The Washington Post."

LaVar Arrington, I just want to start with you first.

When you think tonight that we could be on the verge of the end of the Joe Paterno era at Penn State, number one, what goes through your mind? And number two, is this necessary, given the cloud, the taint over the program right now?

LAVAR ARRINGTON, FORMER PENN STATE LINEBACKER: You know what? It's a very, very complicated situation, as you know, John.

When you think about everything that is surfacing that is surrounding the entire situation, I think the complexity of all the information is -- is something that, to me, it makes it very difficult to -- to declare definitively one way or the other.

You know, part of you says, the most important aspect of all of this that I hope doesn't get lost, and as I've echoed in every interview that I've done, the most important aspect of all of this are these children that were affected and impacted by what took place.

So when I -- when I wonder or I've asked the question, should Joe Paterno step down, based off of what I know right now, it's -- it's very difficult for me to answer that question one way or the other. I almost feel as though I'm in limbo as to how to feel or to interpret what -- what information Joe Paterno had, how much of it he had, and if he had more information or what information he possessed, why did he not do more? And so it's -- it's difficult to make that assessment at this moment, as someone who has a lot invested in this program.

KING: I am going to make a leap, that you're a bit further along in this, based on the column you wrote on Sunday. And I want to read a little bit here.

"You can't read the 23-page grand jury report and come to any other conclusion. Penn State football and its pristine reputation apparently superseded the alleged sexual assault of a young boy, perhaps as many as eight young boys over 15 years by Sandusky. Joe P- A [SIC] knew, if the charges are true. They all knew, and they never told police."

It's sad and it's damning, but in your sense, Lavar makes an important point. What exactly did he know? When did he know it? Did he tell the right people? Did he stomp his feet hard enough to get attention to it? He's the head of the program, though.

MIKE WISE, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, and that's where Lavar and I are a little different. Lavar's part of the Penn State football family, and a lot of these people, these programs are families, John.

The difference is, is you don't want to think the worst about what you hear about a family member in all of these cases. Now, outside of that, looking in, I can say, I can't consider someone a leader of men who failed to protect children. And if the time line is correct, 2002 he was told about a boy estimated to be about 10 in the shower with his former defensive coordinator, and in the Penn State football showers, where his players practice. I've got to -- I've got to say that if that's true, and Joe Paterno did not go to police, you can't use protocol and right channels as an excuse. You've got to serve your humanity before the university.

KING: And Lavar, I want you to listen to Matt Millen. Here's his response to this, and in a word, he's disgusted.


MATT MILLEN: I get mad. And it's -- it's pretty disturbing. This is more than just a program. This is more than a football legacy. This is about people, and if we can't protect our kids, we, as a society, are pathetic.


KING: Lavar, Mike mentioned you're a valuable member of the Penn State family and the football community. You're also a parent. I'm guessing that's the tug-of-war that goes through your mind.

ARRINGTON: You know, there -- there really is no tug-of-war for me. And I've listened to -- to what everyone has to say and listening to someone that I look up to, and Matt Millen, who came before me, one of the people who was in the lineage of linebackers that played at Penn State. I listened to what even what Wise has to say.

Again, I'm in total agreement with -- with both in their sentiments that protecting these children is what's most important. But with that being said, I still have to make sure that it's clear that, within reason -- I don't think that it's a forgone conclusion, as Mike stated.

I think that where I fall on a different angle with this, is I don't know exactly what was stated to Joe Paterno. And saying that he knew that a kid was in the shower with Coach Sandusky, and he should have called the police immediately, I don't -- I've got say, just looking at it from my perspective, a lot of people take showers at football facilities. And, to me, that does not necessarily mean that the writing on the wall is that that person was inappropriate in that shower.

So the lines of communication have to be very clear on these things when certain things transpire that go as deep as sexual assault and sexual abuse. And that is why I'm saying, make no mistake about it. I am not defending this. I am not condoning this.

What I'm merely saying is, as it pertains to Joseph V. Paterno, if that man was not communicated to clearly as to what was going on and something was just said to him that it's inappropriate, and he passed it along to the people ahead of him, higher than him on the totem pole to address the situation, then I don't know. Again, morally speaking, he probably should have done more. Morally speaking, Mike McQueary should have done more. Morally speaking, if anyone knew as to what was taking place in the care of these kids with Jerry Sandusky, more should have been done.

But what isn't clear to me is what Coach Paterno knows or what he does not know. And people make it a forgone conclusion that he knows, and I'm not so sure that he's clear on everything that transpired.

WISE: Lavar -- Lavar and I host radio shows opposite each other, and we both respect each other's opinion. With all due respect, this is a guy -- if a 10-year-old boy was even showering with him, and he was told that this was his grandson, I can guarantee you, Joe Paterno would not have waited ten days to talk to school officials.

And as far as him being the authority in this program, John and Lavar, there is only one authority at Penn State: Joe Pa. He is bigger than anybody in Happy Valley. He doesn't report to anybody.

KING: Mike Wise, Lavar Arrington, appreciate both on this very difficult story. We'll stay on top of it, watch what happens.

Next, allegations of serious misconduct at the mortuary that handles the remains of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.


KING: Welcome back. Here's the latest news you need no know right now.

An explosive new report. Air Force investigators reveal gross mismanagement in the handling of human remains at the Dover Air Force base mortuary, the arrival point for the bodies of U.S. troops.

Looks like Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is the latest tragedy in the euro crisis. He says he'll resign once Italy's parliament passes budget cuts and austerity measures to deal with his country's huge debts.

That news pushed U.S. stocks higher. The Dow Industrials climbed almost 102 points. The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 up more than 1 percent.

This is election day in many states. We'll ask Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour about a ballot measure in his state that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception and therefore ban all abortions.


KING: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" coming up at top of the hour. Erin is here with a preview. And I understand you have a former Navy SEAL On the program tonight?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Former Navy SEAL Team 6, which obviously was the SEAL Team that was responsible for killing Osama bin Laden in the compound in Pakistan. He's written a book that's really controversial, disagrees with the government version of what happened. He's going to be on our show tonight.

We also have an adviser to Herman Cain and a man who co-authored a book with the man at Penn State, Larry [SIC] Sandusky, who is the accused pedophile. So the man who co-authored a book with him going to tell us what he really thought of this man, what he knew, and when he knew it.

All of that coming up top of the hour. Back to you.

KING: That's a horrible story at Penn State. Look forward to that report. Erin, thanks so much. See you in a few minutes.

BURNETT: All right.

KING: It's a busy and a very significant day in politics. As we've been reporting, Herman Cain once again emphatically denying the latest sexual harassment allegations against him.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have never acted inappropriately with anyone. Period.


KING: Also, elections across the country today. What might 2011 tell us about the 2012 climate?

We're joined now live by the governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour.

And Governor, I want to start with Herman Cain, and then I want to get to a key initiative on the ballot in your state. But when you watch Herman Cain today, you're among the Republicans who have said he needed to come out and explain this and answer it, and get it -- try to get it over with. Did he do that?

GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R), MISSISSIPPI: I didn't see it. You said when I watched it. I didn't watch it, but it doesn't sound like to me like he did. But if this is what he says is the facts, then we'll have to let that play out, see how that's accepted, see what else happens.

But I hope for Republicans' sake that we can get back to talking about the economy, about jobs, deficit, debt, taxes, the things that Obama doesn't want talked about, because the Obama people have to be tickled at the last week. It's been good for his campaign, because it hasn't been about Obama's record.

KING: It hasn't been. And you're not just the governor of Mississippi. You're a former national chairman of the Republican Party. I've known you for quite a long time. But when you talk to your friends around the country, in terms of the potential damage this has done to Mr. Cain's campaign, be straight up with me. What do they tell you?

BARBOUR: It's really a very mixed bag. I mean, Mary Matalin made a point, there are a lot of people that think this is the liberal media elite who hate black conservatives doing another Clarence Thomas.

There are others who just say, this -- we've got to know more about what the truth of the facts are here about what happened.

Somebody said the other day that didn't seem like Republicans were taking this seriously. Well, I think some Republicans do not seriously believe the charges are true.

But I can tell you, everybody knows that sexual harassment, particularly if it goes to the point of putting hands on people and groping and that sort of stuff, and doing it in the name of "Do you want a job," there is nobody that will put up with that. But there are a lot of people who don't believe it's true, because they think that this is another Clarence Thomas deal.

KING: In one of the instances, Mr. Cain says he can't even remember whether he met this woman who came forward yesterday, Sharon Bialek. He has no recollection of her. It's possible. It was a dozen or so years ago. She actually may have posed for the picture but more recently. But set that aside.

Do you believe, could he call -- should he call the Restaurant Association and say, "Release my expense records. Release any seating plans for any dinners I went to, anything you might still have in the files, just throw it on out there to help me make my case?"

BARBOUR: Well, you can tell from the last several days, until all of the information that may be available is either produced or satisfactorily demonstrated to not be available, then this is going to be a running sore.

So sure, he ought to. And from what he said today, got nothing to lose by doing that.

Now, have people settled lawsuits to avoid having to defend them? That happens all the time in the business world. But still, let's see what the accusation was, what proof there was of it.

But he needs to get it behind him. All of the Republicans need to get it behind them. And tonight I hope it doesn't come up in the debate. If we're going to elect a new president like this country needs, and most Americans know that we need a change in direction, it doesn't help to be talking about anything other than Obama's policies and the results they have produced, or failed to produce.

KING: Governor, one of the things people will be talking about tomorrow, the results of the referendum, the personhood amendment in your state of Mississippi, that essentially redefines life in a way that would make all abortions in your state illegal. And a number of states around the country are already looking to copy it. Will that pass? And what impact will it have on the national debate about life? BARBOUR: Well, first of all, I think it's uncertain whether it will pass or not. If it, in fact, said life begins at conception, I think it would pass pretty heavily. Most Mississippians, like me, think life does begin at conception.

But it doesn't just say that. It says life begins at fertilization, cloning or the equivalent thereof. What does that mean? Cloning's illegal in Mississippi already. What is the equivalent thereof? There are a lot of people that are afraid that means in vitro fertilization, and they're very scared of that.

Now, I do want to correct you. I don't mean that the wrong way. Abortions to save the life of the mother would not be made illegal. Very clearly, two lives involved there. And so even if you believe life begins at conception, if you have to take one of the lives to save the other life, that would not be -- I don't think there's anybody here who thinks that ectopic pregnancies could not be terminated to save the life of the mother. But rape, incest, no exception in those regards.

And I think the real question in a lot of people's mind -- gave me pause, and I voted for it at the end of the day, because I do believe life begins at conception, but what does this have to be with in vitro fertilization, some types of birth control?

That bothers people, and that's why I think it's uncertain that one of the most pro-life states in the United States, Mississippi, may or may not pass this. I will tell you, John, this is a Colorado-based group that started this.

If they had come to the Mississippi legislature and said, look, we want to change the constitution to say life begins at conception, our legislature would have passed that. But you would have had hearings. People would have understood it. You would have gone through the conference committee and you'd ironed out a lot of these wrinkles.

But they chose to go around that for whatever their reasons. We'd all be better off if this had gone through the legislative process instead of trying to change the Bill of Rights to the Mississippi constitution by an initiative.

KING: Well, we'll count the votes tonight and keep in touch with the governor of Mississippi on this issue going forward. Haley Barbour, appreciate your time tonight. See you soon, sir.

A new report cites credible evidence Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons. Next, the House Intelligence Committee tells us what he believes the Obama administration and Israel should do about it.


KING: Is the intelligence in this new report solid and if so, what should the United States and Israel do now? Michigan Republican Congressman Mike Rogers is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He's with us from Capitol Hill.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for your time today. Do you believe -- let's start with a yes or no question. Do you trust this report? Do you believe the intelligence is solid?

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: I do. Our intelligence community has been reporting on much of this over many months now. So I do believe it is a new revelation in the sense that this is a very public revelation about, I think, Iranian intentions and where they're at when it comes to enriching uranium, being noncompliant with the IAEA. I mean, there's a lot of -- a lot of troubling things in this report.

KING: So I'm going to read a bit from the findings. "The agency has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program. After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the agency finds the information to be overall credible.

"The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." It goes on to say it's trying to develop a payload it can deliver on a missile.

The big question tonight, Mr. Chairman, is how far away? How long would it take Iran to have a nuclear weapon it could launch on a missile?

ROGERS: I still think that's the million-dollar question. There still is some debate in the community, is that six months, 12 months, 24 months. They're clearly on the path.

Now I think what we've got to do, John, is say, listen, we're either serious about this or we're not. And we're either going to make this a bilateral -- or raise it at least on the bilateral relationships we have with Russia or China. We are going to step out on this and talk to our European allies a way we haven't talked before.

And really importantly, the president needs to lead on this. And I know he's off on his campaign start. This is incredibly important, and this is the time for the president to step in the Rose Garden, show this report, say, "We, the United States, are serious about this." Letting Israel move forward on a military action is not a good option for the United States. We need to get the world united around very tough sanctions.

You're not only privy to the intelligence on Iran. You're privy to any intelligence Israel the United States is picking up about Israel's intentions and about Iran's intentions that I want you to listen to. The Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, he says Israel does not want a confrontation, but if it happens, the state of Israel will not be destroyed and there will not be 10,000 dead and not even 500 dead.

In other words, if Israel strikes, it's going to strike hard. And the Iranian defense minister responds, Mr. Chairman, by saying Iranian armed forces are in full combat readiness and will give a crushing response to those daring to attack the country.

If we are in such a volatile, tense situation, how long does anyone have to stop the Israelis from doing something?

ROGERS: If the Israelis get to the point, John, where they see -- or they believe there's an imminent threat where they're going nuclear, if you will, they're going to take action. There is no doubt in my mind they'll do that.

Now the trick is how far will the United States go in rallying international pressure so that we can back Israel down...

KING: Back to the House, sir, when you said the president needs to rally international pressure, does he need to put a military option on the table today? Does he need to go how far in escalating sanctions? Sanctions, as you know, over the years haven't done much to sway Tehran to change its course.

ROGERS: Well, that's because we haven't really aggressively gone after it. There are two 800-pound gorillas in the room. One is if we really aggressively went after their ability to not import refined petroleum. Huge.

What they have been able to sell their products and then refine it somewhere else and bring it back in. If we were really serious about putting the hurt on them, that's how they survived the tough...

KING: So blockade Russia. The United States blockade Iran?

ROGERS: No, no, not blockade it. We can put sanctions on so it would be very difficult for help to get their oil out and then refine back in. We don't have to blockade. I don't know if I'd want a naval blockade. Real sanctions.

Now you have to get China and Russia to go along with this if we want to be effective, No. 1.

No. 2, we ought to really take a look at the central bank. We know that the central bank is involved -- of Iran is involved in the process of facilitating, if you will, through financial movements them increasing their pace when it comes to enriching uranium.

So those are two great options. If we talk about it for a long time, if we're not really leading on it, I will tell you we leave this option to the Israelis, and the Israelis don't want to do this, John. Don't get me wrong. They're not champing at the bit to do this.

But they believe that their national security is at risk, and they're going to take action that will protect them. Now it's up to us. And this is why I think it's so important that the president lead on this. This is really important that the president notch this up, get out there with this report and start challenging the Chinese and the Russians to come along and really put tough -- and for the first time, really tough sanctions that hurt Iran economically. That's how we're going to change this equation.

KING: Mr. Chairman, appreciate your time tonight.

ROGERS: Thanks, John.

KING: Take care.

That's all for us tonight. See you right back here at this time tomorrow night. Noon tomorrow, question at John King CNN. I'll answer it:

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.