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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Interview with Representative Xavier Becerra; Clock Ticking; Political Polls; Interview With Sen. Robert Menendez
Aired November 15, 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" at Penn State tonight. A day after Jerry Sandusky broke his silence the assistant coach who allegedly witnessed a rape is talking tonight.
The super committee charged with cutting more than $1 trillion from America's deficit has just eight days left to get that job done. Is it enough time to save the world from a deep recession?
And the "Bottom Line" on Occupy Wall Street, a New York court has ruled the protesters cannot camp in the park.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
I'm Erin Burnett. And we have breaking news tonight. In a major turn of events, Occupy Wall Street protesters told they cannot camp in New York's Zuccotti Park anymore. The protesters were evicted in the early hours of this morning and the verdict came down as dark descended this evening. The tents were removed and protesters allowed to go back in to get their personal belongings. The New York State Supreme Court overturning an earlier ruling on this and we're going to have the latest on this breaking story and the implications from the park tonight.
But first we have developing news in Washington. The co-chair of the super committee charged with cutting America's deficit said just moments ago, quote, "we are in the hours to go". And the countdown is on. This is important and we are watching. The panel of 12 has got eight days, four hours and as you can see, 58 minutes and 11 seconds and counting to make a deal that cuts America's deficit.
If there is no deal when this clock hits zero, our economy will be hurt. Your interest rates may go up and companies won't hire. We reached out to our sources. We know that today the six Republican members met for breakfast and the six Democrats met at the Capitol in the afternoon. We need all 12 to be super heroes. They really can change the world, these 12 people, and one of them came OUTFRONT tonight, Congressman Xavier Becerra. He's the man who said this week could be magical and I asked him what he meant by that.
REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA: Well if we're going to have the stars aligned, it has to really be this week. And so in the next few days, we'll know if we're able to put aside those special interest pledges and come together and come out with a good compromise for the American people. It's time to get them back to work.
BURNETT: And do you think that, you've been a proponent of going big as in shooting for $4 trillion of cuts to the deficit as opposed to the $1.2 trillion minimum that the committee must come up with. Do you think there's any chance of going above 1.2?
BECERRA: Oh I think there is a great chance that we could go above the 1.2. It does require us to be bipartisan and to come out with balance because the bigger you get, the more the hurt. And so if we want to do something where there's shared sacrifice where everyone participates and you go big, you send a very strong signal but it is tough. I think the public and the markets will appreciate if we do something big that shows that America can get itself back on track and put Americans back to work.
BURNETT: They sure will. Because that means we don't have to come back and do this again in another year or so. A $1.2, of course would -- we might end up in that position. There was a great analysis, Congressman, in "The New York Times" magazine this weekend noting that taxing millionaires at 100 percent wouldn't have as much of an effect as actually having an increase in taxes of the middle class of eight percent. And the point was not to say you should not tax millionaires. That wasn't the point at all. The point was though to say that no one group could solve all of our problems if we were to raise taxes. Is that something that the super committee as a group, Democrats and Republicans agrees with?
BECERRA: I would say that this should never be a process about targeting people or programs. It should be a process to come out with the best way to come out with the plan that shows balance in how we go about extracting savings. And so every time you hear about increasing revenues by asking the wealthy to contribute a little bit more, it is more because we understand over the last decade, it is the wealthy that benefited so much by the policies in place through the Bush tax breaks and so forth. So it's not a matter of just telling wealthy because you're wealthy, we want to target you. It's recognizing that they're the ones that benefited at a time that the American middle class was being hollowed out. And there are 14 million Americans who are still looking for a job. Most of them were part of that middle class up until a few years ago.
BURNETT: Right, absolutely the case. It is interesting when we looked at it from a numerical perspective though. I know this oversimplifies the debate that you're having, but you know if you were to get rid of the Bush tax cuts on people making over $250,000 you could raise about 600 -- around --
BECERRA: About 800 billion.
BECERRA: Eight hundred billion.
BURNETT: Sorry, billion, yes. But if you got rid of them on everybody, it is 2.8 trillion, according to the CBO, so it does make a big difference to this point though. There's not any one group. Whether it's cutting Medicare over here or raising taxes only on the wealthy over here that will do it for you.
BECERRA: Yes, you have to come out with a balanced approach. It makes no sense, for example, to tell seniors that their Social Security benefits are going to be cut to pay for deficits when Social Security didn't contribute a cent to these deficits. But if you're going to come out with a big package that's farsighted, that really goes into the future, then certainly you could ask everyone to participate in that. But it's simply a matter of making decisions about your priorities. And in this case, if you want to really get the country back on track, you really do want to go big. Be bold. But certainly, tell the American people that it will be fair. It will be balanced.
BURNETT: And what about defense? You know one of the big issues Secretary of Defense Panetta has been very, very loud about this saying that if you don't do your job, he has got to cut $1.2 trillion in total from the defense budget. That would hurt America's defense, but when you look at the numbers, and I'd asked him this question recently, Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush and Nixon all cut defense by a lot more than that. So are massive and extra defense cuts on the table?
BECERRA: Well, they certainly are on the table because of the sequestration, the automatic cuts that would come if we don't come out with a deal. But I will say this. The Department of Defense has to acknowledge that in the last 10 years the increased spending that occurred in those 10 years, two-thirds of it went to the Department of Defense. And so if the problem here is excessive spending, 65 percent of the excess spending was done by one department and one department only, the Department of Defense.
That doesn't mean we should do anything to harm the training and equipping of our troops and making sure that they have exactly what they need if we ever send them into battle, but it does mean that the Department of Defense has no excuse to not be able to undergo an audit. It is the only department along with the Department of Homeland Security that today in the federal government could not undergo an audit because they don't have their books in order. That doesn't make sense. Everyone has to be more responsible.
BURNETT: All right, Congressman Becerra thanks again.
BECERRA: Thank you.
BURNETT: So let's bring in John Avlon now, senior columnist for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast" -- John, good to see you tonight. So going big that's what Becerra wants. That's what everyone says they want, but you're hearing probably not.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, we're hearing a lot of cynicism in Washington but then cynicism is what passes for wisdom in Washington. And we do need them to go big, so I think there are still some folks who are holding out hope. I liked hearing Congressman Becerra said he thought they could make a deal, maybe go bigger than $1.2 --
AVLON: -- although that $4 trillion target that you keep referring to rightly seems to be still too far.
BURNETT: It does and it does seem that you know we have Patty Murray out tonight saying there are just hours to go. But she was saying it is sort of in light of hey there's just hours to go. We'd better get a deal. Not in the sense of there are just hours to go until we get a deal and we're making progress.
AVLON: That's right. Look, we all know the path here. I mean Congressman Becerra was talking about cutting defense, raising taxes. Those are base pleasing measures for Democrats. The trick is to get Democrats to agree on entitlement reforms, not simply dismissing Social Security reform because it's part of bending that long term cost curve. Both sides are going to have to be willing to gore the ox that their base is most likely to protect. That's what it's going to take to get a constructive compromise to go big. They have the ability to do this. We know what needs to be done. Bowles and Simpson and all those folks laid it out. They need to follow through now on the super committee.
BURNETT: All right, well let's hope they do and our countdown clock every second of every day we're going to be playing it everyone. All right, John will be with us after the break. And we have a new CNN poll that says more and more Americans disapprove of how the president is doing his job. But what does this really mean for re- election?
And then Africa's most active volcano explodes. We've got the pictures, lava, 650 feet into the air. And we've crunched the numbers. It all adds up to one thing. Brad Pitt.
BURNETT: And now to politics. We have a poll breaking today with some startling numbers for the president. A year before the election, the number of people who disapprove of how President Obama is handling his job is up to 52 percent. That would mean a 46 percent, as you can see, approve, 52 percent disapprove. On the handling of the economy, that's where you really see the stark difference by most accounts.
The number one issue into 2012, 63 percent disapprove, 35 percent approve of his handling. John Avlon is back as promised. David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and Tim Punke a Democratic strategist all with us.
John Avlon, what's your take on this? Especially when you look at history where a lot of people like to say OK, with an approval rating of the magical what number you can get elected?
AVLON: Well, what folks say is that you need to be -- if your approval rating is over 50 percent you've got a good chance of being reelected. But let's view it with a sense of history. I mean first of all that 46 is a slight uptick on recent polls --
AVLON: -- as crazy as that may sound. Gerald Ford had 44 percent, lost re-election. Jimmy Carter had 32 percent a year out from the election, he was soundly defeated. But George H.W. Bush had 62 percent and he was defeated. The issue is, is the key, is the trend and the only bright spot for the president, Independents, he is underwater 42 percent, but Centrists he's got 52 percent, and Midwestern voters, 54 percent. So there's some good news to find there but he is a very vulnerable incumbent. Those are just the facts by any historic in comparison.
BURNETT: Tim, what do you think? Do you feel good when you see this? That the trend has been a slight improvement or are you terrified especially on the economic front?
TIM PUNKE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well the other good news for the president is the president is actually beating his opponents when you look at one to one races. You look at Romney and you look at the aggregate of the polls over the last couple of weeks he's beating Romney by one or two point. He's beating the rest of the field by almost double digits.
So and on the economy, look I think everybody is frustrated on the economy. The president is frustrated on the economy. But I think you also have to go back and remember where we came from. The last month of Bush's presidency, this economy shed 800,000 jobs. You fast forward to today. Consumer spending is up. Last month we gained 80,000 jobs.
Now everybody wants those numbers to be better, but the president put forward a plan that economists say will create two million jobs. So he's got some good points to make and I think again when you go back to those one-on-one numbers, the president's numbers today are very good.
BURNETT: David Frum, what do you look at? The one-on-ones like Tim is saying where the president does pretty well or the approval rating where he doesn't?
DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I actually look at French interest rates --
BURNETT: Well now here's a new little curveball. OK.
FRUM: The real puff of winter for the president in these economic numbers is they are responding to the drum beat of fear and bad news from across the Atlantic from the risk of the crack-up of the euro. If that happens, and if it is bad news and it may just mean -- crack-up of the euro means cheap vacations in Italy and Greece for Americans which no one on this side of the Atlantic will mine too much, but if it portends, what it likely portends a sharp recession in Europe with its effect not only American exports but on the American financial system. 2012 could be another bad economic year. And the president really can't control that very much. And that will be, I think, one of the major determinants in his fate -- of his fate. Does Europe go into a slide? If so, presidents lose when there are recessions. They get blamed for everything. There's a famous study of the 1916 election where Woodrow Wilson up for reelection got penalized by voters in New Jersey for a series of deadly shark attacks off their coastline. If they'll punish you for shark attacks, they sure will punish you for a recession in Europe.
BURNETT: So we're relying on Sarkozy. I'll leave it at that. OK, but let me ask you this, David Frum. When we talk about the polls in Iowa, these polls are just out today. Herman Cain, still number one, Ron Paul, number two. Mitt Romney, number three, Gingrich, number four. Now these are all within the margin of error, but you can see the gainers, Paul and Gingrich. The guy that Tim is saying potentially could beat the president, Mitt Romney, is, well he's not the guy that seems to be running away with even now.
FRUM: I have to say this. This kind of makes my blood boil. It is so insulting. I can only imagine how Mitt Romney feels about it. Here's the person on that stage, due respect to Governor Huntsman and Rick Santorum who said some smart things, he's the guy who obviously looks the president and the Republican voters keep moving from one joker to another.
Newt Gingrich rather less of a joker than Herman Cain, but Newt Gingrich, not going to be president, Newt Gingrich tremendous laden with all of these negatives, Newt Gingrich who reopens all of the debates of the 1990s (INAUDIBLE) election becomes a referendum on the past not the future. I think the choice for Republicans is obvious and yet Republicans seem to be wanting to nominate an Obama-critic in chief rather than a commander-in-chief.
BURNETT: Tim, the -- Obama is coming out now. Mitt Romney is going to come out and fight against Obama. Now the Obama camp has already been making it clear they think they're running against Romney. But he's going to come out against Obama, hey look your unemployment is nine percent. You're done. Coming out with a bunch of ads, can you get traction there as a businessman or are they going to crush him for well, no, when we look at your private equity record.
PUNKE: Well right now, look --
PUNKE: Mitt Romney has got a bit of a free ride right now. He can be out there and he can sort of be the critic in chief without having to put forward any kind of concrete plan. But at the end of the day it's going to come down to one person versus one person and one plan versus one plan. And I think at that point I think you're going to have Americans looking at Mitt Romney as a businessman, Mitt Romney as a venture capitalist. Mitt Romney who wants to lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans and there's going to be a very clear choice between Mitt Romney and President Obama and I think at that point Obama is going to feel very good about his chances and his numbers are going to look very good.
BURNETT: Final word John.
AVLON: Look, Mitt Romney is the only guy in politics with a glass ceiling. But what matters in Iowa and Iowa could erase all of Herman Cain's troubles, what matters is not just the horse race. It is the ground game. That's the key to winning the caucus. And Romney is debating whether to play and Paul has very devoted supporters, Gingrich and Cain, big question mark when it comes to their Iowan ground game.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all three. We appreciate it. Got to say the race makes for good TV, David Frum at least. OK.
Tonight's look beyond the video, take a look at these pictures out of Africa's most active volcano. This is lava that you're seeing going up 650 plus feet into the air. Now the volcano is located in a remote area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the midst of what could be the biggest eruption this century. Surprisingly, there is no immediate threat to the local population. They're keeping a close eye on that.
This eruption could last anywhere from a few days to weeks even months. They honestly don't know. It is that remote. Officials at the park, and it is in a park where there are a lot of rare gorillas, are making the most of the situation, saying it's safe for tourists to come visit the site. OK, sure. Well volcano fanatics have to pay $300 to be escorted to the viewing site.
Now note the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been racked by conflict. The worst genocide since World War II is still ongoing. It is ranked the world's least developed country by the United Nations. It is tragedy because it is one of the richest countries in the world. We've been to the southern part of Congo. Really it is called the copper belt, richest reserves of copper, cobalt and coltan in the world. It is safe to say almost every car, every iPhone may have something in it from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
OK, still OUTFRONT the latest from the Penn State child rape scandal, assistant coach Mike McQueary breaking his silence. Disturbing details about the black market rhino trade in tonight's "Outer Circle". And Brad Pitt's days as an actor are numbered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much longer would you like to do your business?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then what happens?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hell if I know. I'm really enjoying the producorial (ph) side and development of stories and putting those pieces together and getting stories to the plate that may not -- that might have had a tougher time otherwise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, that was Brad Pitt speaking to an Australian television channel and he says he is going to quit acting in three years. That's when he turns 50. So our number tonight is 35. That's the number of films that Brad Pitt has starred or voiced characters in since 1991, when he got the big time. Brad has still got it. He has two films set for release next year.
He also co-owns a production company called Plan B Entertainment, which produces movies like "The Departed" and "Eat, Pray, Love". Lately though he is best known for being a family man -- is that really what he's known for? I mean yes he is that, but you know he's also still sort of a sex pot, right. Well he and partner Angelina Jolie are raising six kids, speaking of sex pots, and when asked if there would be more, he says he is open to that. We'll see how big their brood will become.
All right, still OUTFRONT, the latest from Occupy Wall Street, a court tells the protesters they're no longer allowed to camp in the park and a look at South Africa's black market rhino trade. We go there tonight in the "Outer Circle" and new developments in the Penn State child rape scandal. Assistant Coach Mike McQueary breaks his silence. We'll be back.
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our reporting, do the work and find the "OutFront 5" and tonight it's a busy show. And we have more breaking news.
An earthquake hitting Indonesia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey the 5.8 magnitude quake, which we just heard of moments ago, was centered in Papua, Indonesia. We're making calls. So far we have learned that a tsunami warning was not issued, obviously important.
Number two, a clash on Capitol Hill over withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq today. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Republican Senator John McCain accused the Obama administration of putting politics before the security of Iraq and America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: And the truth is that this administration was committed to the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and they made it happen. LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Senator McCain, that's just simply just not true. Well I guess you can believe that and I respect your beliefs --
MCCAIN: And I respect your opinion.
PANETTA: But that's not true --
MCCAIN: And the outcome --
PANETTA: That's not --
MCCAIN: And the outcome has been exactly as predicted.
PANETTA: But that's not -- that's not how it happened --
MCCAIN: It is how it happened.
PANETTA: This is --
PANETTA: This is about negotiating --
PANETTA: This is about negotiating with a sovereign country, an independent country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: There were sparks there. Now President Obama announced the complete withdrawal of troops after Iraq refused to grant immunity to U.S. troops past December 31st.
Number three, the U.S. Postal Service lost more than $5 billion in its 2011 fiscal year. Now OUTFRONT crunched the numbers, here's what we found. The amount of first class mail in this country has dropped more than 20 percent in the past five years. And with half of its revenue coming from first class mail, the Postal Service is getting crushed by e-mail. Meanwhile the competition Fed-Ex and UPS, a lot more flexibility post quarterly profits.
Number four, the clock is ticking for the super committee. Co- chair Senator Patty Murray just now telling reporters there are just hours left to go. It's true. And Congressman Xavier Becerra, a member of the committee came OUTFRONT and told me he thinks the committee is on track to do a deal and go a lot bigger than the $1.2 trillion they're mandated to cut. More cuts to the deficit mean more confidence in American and more jobs.
It has been 102 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Hopefully, more than Belgium. The country has the same credit rating we do. They haven't had a government in place for 520 days. And new data shows their economy didn't grow at all in the third quarter. Ours did. The lawyer for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky said the alleged victim of a shower rape, that incident never took place. This contradicts Mike McQueary's testimony in which he says he witnessed the attack.
McQueary has reportedly been e-mailing friends and telling them he stopped the rape but not physically. I'm not sure exactly what that means.
Jerry Sandusky broke his silence last night about the allegations that he sexually abused eight boys over 15 years in an interview with Bob Costas on NBC.
Now, Paul Callan is a former New York City prosecutor and CNN legal contributor.
And, Paul, I want to begin -- for people who haven't heard it, because it truly, it's just going to make your jaw drop even if you heard this before. Let's listen to Jerry Sandusky speak to Bob Costas last night and let me get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB COSTAS, NBC NEWS: Are you a pedophile?
JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER PENN STATE COACH: No.
COSTAS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?
SANDUSKY: I am a sexually attracted to underage boys?
SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted? No. I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. I -- but no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Did he help or hurt his case?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, this is the most disastrous thing I've ever seen in a criminal defense case. It's the Jonestown defense. Remember? The leader, the religious leader and all of his followers committed suicide.
At this, he's admitted that he may in fact be a pedophile. Did you hear how long the delay was before he answered the question?
CALLAN: I mean, you just got a thumping in your stomach as you were listening to it. He also, of course, admitted that he showered with these little boys. He's admitted things that the prosecutor might have trouble proving and he's already put that up on the board. The prosecutor is 60 percent of the way to proving this case already just on his statement alone.
BURNETT: So what does the fact that he chose to do this interview with the press on television, with his lawyer sitting there -- I mean, does that change anyway what's going to be admissible, what isn't going to be admissible? I mean --
CALLAN: Oh, it changes something in a major way. And, frankly, I haven't seen this happen in a high profile criminal case ever. I think the attorney now could be called as a witness against him, because he's waived the attorney-client privilege. When you allow your attorney to go on television and reveal conversations that he has had with you about how the alleged crime took place, that's a waiver of the attorney-client privilege.
BURNETT: That's the guy you see sitting there next to Bob Costas.
CALLAN: Yes, that's the attorney sitting next to Costas approving of the interview and apparently endorsing this theory that if you just say you were taking showers with little boys, that means you're not a pedophile. I don't know who concocted that defense. But it's not going to play in a Pennsylvania jury room or any other jury room.
BURNETT: That was the most -- I don't know what was the most shocking thing about that interview, frankly. When we were listening last night, my jaw was dropping. I was truly shocked.
But to even think that in in way, that being naked with a boy, by Jerry Sandusky, with a 10-year-old boy, it would be --
CALLAN: That it is acceptable?
BURNETT: Acceptable in any way. Right. It appears to be what he's saying.
CALLAN: It's athletes horsing around. I mean, he's just -- they have a view of the world that is so at odds with the real world. I don't know what is going on in the Happy Valley of Penn State, but they're very distanced from reality there.
Fifty-five-year-old men don't shower with little boys. And when they do, it's an indication that something's radically wrong.
BURNETT: Something is terribly wrong.
All right. Well, thank you very much, Paul Callan. Paul is going to be with us later on in the show as well.
Well, the former head football coach legend Joe Paterno, as you are likely aware by now, was fired last week after the grand jury testimony revealed that Paterno was told that Sandusky raped a boy in the locker room in 2002. Now, at that time, Paterno told his boss, he said, hey, Sandusky, you can't come in the locker room anymore and the matter was dropped. Nothing happened.
Despite the scandal, many are still believers in Paterno and one of them is Hall of Famer Franco Harris. He played under Paterno, served as an honorary of the board of Second Mile, Sandusky's charity for young boys. We've seen him on our program covering this story with us.
And he met with Paterno on Sunday and he is OUTFRONT tonight.
FRANCO HARRIS, PENN STATE ALUM: He was pretty distraught about all the sexual, alleged sexual abuses of the kids. And, you know, he is hurt also. And just, you know, also talked football a little bit. And, you know, we definitely talked a little about what's going on.
BURNETT: What did he say about Jerry Sandusky specifically? Or did he give you any sense as to -- well, gosh, I wish I had done this differently or that or I feel this is unfair right now or any kind of clarity on that?
HARRIS: Well, he didn't have any clue about Jerry Sandusky, you know, of all these allegations that were going to happen. And I really didn't ask him about the situation with reporting stuff, because when I read the grand jury report, and when Joe reported to his superior, then I saw the part about what the superior, the vice president of Penn State and the A.D. met with Mike McQueary, and I said, wow! OK. Well, here's a guy who actually saw it talking to the higher-ups.
BURNETT: You've been adamant that it was not right that he lost his job as head football coach. Given that he did report what he was told to his higher-ups. Do you still feel that way?
HARRIS: You know what, Erin? He wasn't charged. And if you look at it, there has been no trial yet.
And you're absolutely right. I think there is a rush to judgment. And I think he should not have been fired and I believe that they should rehire Joe as soon as possible.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. Franco, appreciate your being with us again.
HARRIS: Thanks, Erin. Always nice to talk with you.
BURNETT: So, the thing is, is that Joe Paterno was not alone in knowing about the child sex abuse and going to authorities. After all, he learned about it from the defensive coordinator, Mike McQueary, who just spoke to CBS news and we have this breaking sound for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you have any idea when you think you might be ready to talk?
MIKE MCQUEARY, PENN STATE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: This process has to play out. I don't have anything else to say.
And then just one last thing. Describe your emotions right now.
MCQUEARY: All over the place. Just kind of shaken.
REPORTER: You said what? Like a
MCQUEARY: Snow globe.
REPORTER: Like a snow globe.
MCQUEARY: Yes, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Like a snow globe.
Of course, Mike McQueary was the man who heard what he described as rhythmic slapping that night in the locker room at Penn State, said that he walked in on Jerry Sandusky raping about a 10-year-old boy in the shower and then went the next morning to tell his boss Joe Paterno.
All right. Well, what they did was tell their boss. And what happened was Jerry Sandusky wasn't allowed in the locker room anymore. But no one told law enforcement authorities.
And laws on reporting abuse vary from state to state in this country. In 39 states, it's a misdemeanor for failing to report abuse with no jail time. It is a felony in only three states.
Senator Bob Menendez wants that to change now. He's OUTFRONT tonight to unveil action that he is taking.
And, Senator, this is action that you are going to be taking tomorrow, a bill you're putting forward. What would it do?
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: Well, our bill billed a Child Abuse Responsibility and Enforcement Act would do three things. Number one, it makes it the law of the land that, in fact, you have to report. You have an obligation under the law to report acts of child abuse. Two, that you have to report that to a police department and the social service agency. And number three, that failure to do so would mean a year, potentially a year in prison.
And we seek to have the states make that the law of the land in every state by saying if you don't pass a law or if you don't have a law that has those three conditions, then you won't get access to $1.7 billion in social service block grants. And we think that that is ultimately the way in which we protect our children.
You know, you think there'd be a moral obligation to do this. But this will make a very clear legal obligation that if you see something, you have to say something, and that has to be the police and social service organizations.
BURNETT: And one thing that I -- as I was looking at this. I Googled today, Senator. I typed in what is child abuse. On Google, I got 44,100,000 results, all kinds of conversations.
One example came from the Santa Clara County, California, county Web site talking about exactly what would constitute forcing you to make -- go and tell authorities. And I'm just curious, is part of the reason here that we haven't had these laws in place because there's a lack of clarity about what abuse really is.
MENENDEZ: Well, we'll let the definition of abuse go by state law.
MENENDEZ: But what is not clear in many states is what is your obligation, your legal obligation to report and what are the consequences. In some state, there are already been consequences for not reporting.
We want to make sure that there is a clear legal obligation to report to police and social service agencies and we want you to understand that your failure to do that -- you should be worried about your job, you should be worried about the other consequences, because the failure to do that could land you in jail up to a year. And we think this is the best way to protect our children.
BURNETT: All right. Up to a year or minimum a year?
MENENDEZ: Minimum of a year.
BURNETT: Minimum of a year. OK.
So, in the case of Joe Paterno who told his boss but no one at Penn State told authorities, in this case, then, Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno, all of those people could go to jail?
MENENDEZ: Well, first of all, the law is prospective. So, what we would say anyone who found themselves in those conditions in the future, they would have an obligation to go directly to the police department, tell them what they saw and what they know, as well as the social service entity of that state. And, therefore, they would meet their obligation under the law.
Failure to have gone to the police and the social service agency could land them in jail for a year.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Senator, thank you very much and good luck with this. I think every one would say it's about time. Shocking we didn't have this in place.
Senator Menendez has been fighting for this for a long time, so let's hope it goes through, and without much of a problem.
Let's get check in with Anderson Cooper now.
Anderson, what's coming up on "A.C. 360" tonight?
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": We're going to have more on the Penn State scandal starting with breaking news. Mike McQueary, one of the men central to the time line of who know what and when speaking out for the first time tonight. We'll also show you portions of an e-mail from McQueary to ex-teammates alleging that the grand jury didn't quite get it right when characterizing what happened the night he caught Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State locker room showering with the 10-year-old.
Also, tonight, a 360 exclusive: How Penn State manipulated the system to build a wall of silence to keep private what went on at the public university.
Also, tonight, raw politics. GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain back-pedaling on controversial comments about Muslims and extremism in the United States. CNN's Shannon Travis tonight has that.
Those stories and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the amazing recovery of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Also up, of course, "The Ridiculist" at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Anderson.
OUTFRONT next: the court rules the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters no longer allowed to camp in the park.
And disturbing details about the South African rhino trade that's our "Outer Circle."
And the CEO of Vringo. We'll tell you what that is. Jon Medved is going to come OUTFRONT to talk about what it will take to get our mojo back.
BURNETT: We do this at the same time every night, our "Outer Circle." We reach out to sources around the world.
And tonight, we begin in Syria, where nearly eight months of protests have claimed more than 3,500 lives. Today alone, 15 people died.
Ivan Watson is in Istanbul, Turkey.
Ivan, why is the Syrian government suddenly facing more international pressure now? IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the Syrian government seems to have lost credibility in the eyes of many of its former allies. After eight months of violence, the Arab League has suspended Syria's membership after it dragged its feet on attempts at a negotiated settlement to this crisis. The Turks, they threatened to cut off electricity to their neighbor after three Turkish diplomatic missions were attacked on the same day by pro-government mobs on Saturday.
And now, the Europeans -- they have slapped sanctions against 18 more senior regime officials in Syria -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Ivan.
And now to Afghanistan where a vital meeting of tribal elders begins tomorrow under tight security and threats from the Taliban.
Nick Paton Walsh is in Kabul.
And, Nick, what's the focus of tomorrow's meeting? Why is it so important?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it's been called by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the U.S. long term military presence here but we've learned it may also hear important news for the transition away for security away from NATO forces to the Afghans. Two of the country's most volatile areas, that's Nad-e Ali and Arghandab may be among the next to be handed from NATO forces to the Afghan army to secure.
Now, some say the Afghans may not be ready to face this test. Others say it's good that they try and see if they can while NATO is still here in sufficient number to help out -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you. And now, to South Africa where one rhino is killed every 21 hours. And the black market rhino horn trade is threatening the animal's extinction.
Robyn Curnow is in Johannesburg tonight.
Robyn, why the surge in rhino poaching?
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it is falsely believed in places like Vietnam that rhino horn can cure all sorts of illnesses. And, of course, this is fueling the black market which is run by organized criminal syndicates. So, coming here to South Africa with very sophisticated weaponry, night vision, helicopters and hunting down and murdering rhinos.
People here are feeling helpless. Because of the current rate, many people feel that rhinos will be extinct within just a matter of years -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thank you.
And now to "Occupy Wall Street." The New York Supreme Court overturning the ruling -- meaning that while protesters will be allowed to demonstrate in the privately-owned park during the day, they are barred from setting up camp again. In addition to today's eviction in New York, the officials have cracked down on protests in at least six cities over the past week, Berkeley, California, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oakland, California, St. Louis, Missouri, Portland, Oregon, and Denver, Colorado.
And late today, the Texas judge cleared the way for the eviction of protesters in Dallas.
Joining us with the latest from "Occupy Wall Street" is CNN Money's Poppy Harlow.
And, Poppy, you've been there throughout the day. What's it like tonight? Are they going ahead and getting -- removing their belongings or no?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN MONEY: No, they are actually gathering in a general assembly behind me, Erin. I'm told by one of the protesters, this is the biggest general assembly he's ever seen by his estimates about, 1,000 or more protesters in the park, in one protester's words, this has just galvanized the movement.
Of course, what we had happen around 5:00 Eastern today is in New York state Supreme Court judge reversing the earlier ruling saying that the eviction was illegal and upholding the stance of the city and the company that owns this park saying that basically the First Amendment rights do not apply to these protesters in terms of camping terms of camping out overnight. They have the First Amendment right to protest. They cannot set up camp here and live here, Erin.
And there's a lot of anger here at "Occupy Wall Street" about exactly that.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Poppy, thank you very much. Poppy has been covering this since the very early hours this morning when she went and saw the police begin to remove the protesters.
Let's talk about the First Amendment issues here. Paul Callan is with me again.
All right. Paul, this is an interesting issue. So, they're being allowed to come in during the day and protest, but you can't camp out and it's a private park. Is that OK? Or what?
CALLAN: You know, Judge Stallman, the New York judge who just said it's OK to throw them out at least temporarily so the city could clean it up comes from a liberal Democrat background himself. He's a supporter of the First Amendment.
CALLAN: And there's a long line of cases that says you can restrict time, manner and place of peaceable protests, OK?
CALLAN: It's allowed, and the city here has said this was a public health hazard. There was garbage and human waste accumulating. And, by the way, this Zuccotti Park is kind of private and kind of public. It was given a public easement because Zuccotti -- they were allowed, the developer was allowed to build if he created a public accessible park.
BURNETT: Oh, OK. So, it's quasi.
CALLAN: So, nobody really knows if the First Amendment totally applies to Zuccotti Park. But the judge said I will assume it does. And even if it does, you don't have a right to camp out there permanently. You can't close down a subway station, a train station, a public highway to protest.
You can reasonably protest at reasonable times, at reasonable places. That's protected. But you can't move in and deprive the city of New York from one of its parks.
BURNETT: And this is where I'm curious, First Amendment has been tested before.
You have a community of people who say their lives have been disturbed. They live there. They have shops there. They work there. And then you have people coming in protesting.
So, at some point, from a First Amendment perspective, if you have to choose between those people and the protesters, what's the precedent?
CALLAN: Well, it's been tested repeatedly. And the precedent says that as long as the regulation is what we call content neutral, in other words, you're not adopting a resolution because of certain kinds of speech.
CALLAN: It's a public health regulation. But protesters are going to come in here and say that regulation saying you can't camp out in Zuccotti Park, it was passed after we started camping out in Zuccotti Park, which is true. It did come about after the protests because nobody ever thought that anybody --
BURNETT: Tents, right, there are new things that help get established, you try a new thing and you test it.
CALLAN: Which is why the judge really didn't depend on that regulation. He said, you know, the city has garbage regulations and public health regulations that are also being violated. So, take them out, clean it up and protest during the day.
BURNETT: OK. Paul Callan, thank you very much.
BURNETT: OK. What does your ring tone have to do with the future of innovation? Venture capitalist and Vringo CEO Jon Medved OUTFRONT with the mojo story.
BURNETT: That's a ringtone. And it's big business.
The ringtone market is a $2.1 billion industry. And according to "The New York Times," the next big thing in ringtones is a company called Vringo.
And ringtones are just the latest thing for Vringo's founder Jon Medved. He's invested in 60 companies including Shopping.com and Answers.com.
High tech venture capitalist Jonathan Medved comes OUTFROINT tonight.
Jon, great to see you.
So, you're coming OUTFRONT to talk about what America can do to get it back, "it" being that excitement, we're number one, this is the best place in the world to create a business.
JONATHAN MEDVED, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, VRINGO: Mojo is state of mind. The real challenge for America is how do you go from Silicon Valley to silicon nation? There are many companies that are growing and getting public here. You just don't feel it in Cleveland, you don't feel it in rural parts of the country.
Entrepreneurship is driven by culture. And the culture that basically accepts risk taking, that says risk is a good thing, I don't want government to take risk out of my life. Risk is something that you just have to live with, OK?
MEDVED: And if you build a company, you start a company and it fails -- big deal, get over it. That kind of cultural driver for entrepreneurship is absolutely critical.
BURNETT: How do we get it back in Cleveland? I mean, especially where we're in an environment in this country where we seem to feel depressed about ourselves as opposed to feeling empowered that because things have been rough for a while, you now can surge.
MEDVED: But you basically start with the kids. And kids today don't know what they don't know. In other words, they're ready to dare, they're ready to do it, but they're being told by their parents, you can't could that.
So, for example, my company Vringo -- when I wanted to go public on the stock exchange, I didn't have revenue. Everyone said, "You can't do that. OK, you're never going to get it done. It's not going to happen."
I said, watch me. And I went out and we came very close to not making it. You know, failure was at my door, but we succeeded, because without that kind of daring, it's not going to happen.
So, there's got to be a culture that accepts failure. That says failure isn't the end of the world.
BURNETT: And doesn't try to have someone coming out and taking that out of the equation, i.e., government.
MEDVED: Government can't be the thing which is going to essentially cushion your failure.
BURNETT: All right. What can the government do?
MEDVED: First of all, the government has to realize that they're playing in a flat world, and everybody wants these entrepreneurs. And if the American government or any other government doesn't make it hospitable for entrepreneurship, somebody else is going to grab them.
But the most important thing is stay out of the way. OK? Let the private sector do what it needs to do. But in a certain case, for example, in Israel, there is a law that gives basically a tax break for early stage venture investors, people who are called angels.
BURNETT: You put money into an unproven company.
MEDVED: Absolutely. Brand new company, you put an investment in. And all of a sudden, the government says, OK, you can write that off. And your basis goes to zero. If you make party, get part of it back or make a lot of money, you pay taxes. But it encourages people to take that risk both as an entrepreneur and as an investor.
BURNETT: And we can do that here in the U.S.?
MEDVED: I think you could.
BURNETT: And immigrants are a big part of it?
MEDVED: Look, in Silicon Valley, with all due respect, the people who are building these companies are not named Wilson, Jones and Smith. They're coming from somewhere else by and large, whether you look at companies like Yahoo! or Google. There's something about the immigrant culture that says I've taken a risk, I've moved to a foreign country, I've set myself up. I was essentially the CEO of mylife.com.
And those kinds of people are the kinds of people who will change the world and make companies that will employ a lot of people, create wealth, taxes and better the whole society.
BURNETT: All right. Just like people like you. All right. Thanks so much, Jon Medved. MEDVED: A pleasure.
BURNETT: Anderson Cooper starts now.