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Police Remove Occupy Wall Street Protesters; Interview With Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey; Interview With Saxby Chambliss, Heath Shuler

Aired November 15, 2011 - 18:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

Tonight, live pictures here show a tense situation in New York City, where a judge a short time ago told Occupy Wall Street protesters they can return to the park where they have been camped out for nearly two months, but only to demonstrate, not to live. We will go there for a live report in just a few moments.

But up first tonight, outrage at the former Penn State football coach at center of the blossoming child sex abuse scandal. Families of alleged victims are appalled at what Jerry Sandusky said in a nationally broadcast interview and Congress is being urged to adopt tough new laws, national laws, to protect children from similar abuses. Sandusky denies charges he raped at least eight boys over a 15-year period, but in a shocking interview with NBC's Bob Costas, the former coach admitted he -- quote -- "horsed around with boys in the shower" oft university's athletic complex.

But Sandusky insists he's innocent of the 40 sex crimes detailed in the indictment against him.


BOB COSTAS, NBC SPORTS: How would you define the part you played? What are you willing to concede that you've done that was wrong and you wish you had not done it?

JERRY SANDUSKY, CHARGED WITH SEXUALLY ABUSING CHILDREN: Well, in retrospect, I -- you know, I shouldn't have showered with those kids. So...

COSTAS: That's it?

SANDUSKY: Yes, well, that's what hits me the most.

COSTAS: Are you a pedophile?


COSTAS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?

SANDUSKY: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?


SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted? No. No, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. I love to be around them. I -- I -- but, no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys.


KING: "The New York Times" today reports perhaps as many as 10 more victims have approached authorities since Sandusky's arrest. There's a brewing campus scandal over who knew what when and what they didn't do about it.

The legendary former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is at the center of that controversy. The grand jury report says Paterno and other top school officials were told Sandusky raped a boy in the shower right there at athletic complex back in 2002, yet none of them called police.

Pennsylvania state lawmakers are now debating new laws to toughen reporting requirements. And tonight, Congress is being urged to consider new federal penalties for failing to report suspected child abuse.

Pennsylvania's U.S. Senator Robert Casey says only 18 states require such reporting.

His state is not among them.

Senator Casey is live with us from Capitol Hill tonight.

Senator, I just want to start by asking you, as a veteran of this, your state's politics, as someone who knows this culture and knows this campus, we just played a snippet of Coach Sandusky's interview.

What went through your mind when you listened to him?

SEN. BOB CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, my reaction, John, I have got to be honest with you, was that what I -- what I heard last night when I first heard parts of that interview, it seems as if you have got a predator and his lawyer compounding the -- the evil that went on with further evil by misleading people. So that's my reaction. Maybe that's unfair to them, but that's the reaction that I had.

People are outraged by this because adults didn't stand up for children. That's why we've got to change the laws and do it as quickly as possible.

KING: And so you say you want to change the law. Let's address that. And I want to address it in this context.

I want to read you a bit from the grand jury report.

Joe Paterno, the former coach, is an iconic figure in your state. He's an iconic figure in college sports nationally. He is a legend, even a demigod, on that campus.

Here's what the grand jury report says about Joe Paterno: "Joseph B. Paterno testified to receiving the graduate assistant's report at his home on a Saturday morning. Paterno testified that the graduate assistant was very upset. Paterno called Tim Curley, Penn State athletic director and Paterno's immediate supervisor, to his home the very next day, a Sunday, and reported to him that the graduate assistant had seen Jerry Sandusky in the Lash Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."

Number one, if you believe this report, Senator, Coach Paterno found out on one day, had a meeting with his boss the next day, told his boss, but never told the police that there was an alleged child rape in the showers of his athletic complex.

What would your proposed changes to the law do to Coach Paterno?

CASEY: Well, very simply, John, if the -- if the allegations in the grand jury report are true, if we changed the law and made every state pass laws that -- that provide that every adult have to report these kinds of instances, both -- both individuals mentioned in the report, both of those adults would be duty-bound to report that.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has a childhood -- obviously has child abuse laws and mandated reporters, but if you're not on that list, you don't have a legal duty.

What we would do is broaden that list of mandated reporters to all adults. Eighteen states have done this. I think every state should do it. And one of the ways to -- to bring that about, to effectuate that, is to have federal legislation that ties it to your federal funding under the child abuse laws.

KING: What did he know and what did he do about it is a profound and important question about Coach Paterno.

I want you to listen to last night to Bob Costas talking to Jerry Sandusky.


COSTAS: Did Joe Paterno have any information regarding objectionable activities on your part prior to that report in 2002?

SANDUSKY: My -- I -- I can't totally answer that question. My answer would be no.

COSTAS: Did Joe Paterno, at any time, ever speak to you directly about your behavior?


COSTAS: Never?


COSTAS: He never asked you about what you might have done?


COSTAS: He never asked you if you needed help, if you needed counseling...


COSTAS: He never expressed disapproval of any kind?



KING: Senator, help me here. As a parent, I can't speak the words that went through my mind. If Jerry Sandusky is telling the truth, a graduate assistant comes to Joe Paterno, says I saw Coach Sandusky raping a child in the showers, and Joe Paterno never says anything to the guy who was his heir apparent, the guy who was his top deputy, the guy who worked for him for 32 years?

CASEY: It's a failure to act, John. It's -- it's as fundamental as that. Any parent -- you wouldn't have to be a parent to reach that conclusion. But any parent would say that he had a duty to act, a moral duty, a -- a duty that -- that comes with being a human being and being able to -- to see that situation for what it was, that a child was threatened and a child was abused in that case...

KING: So under...

CASEY: -- if all of...

KING: -- under what...

CASEY: -- allegations are true.

KING: -- under what you propose, sir, and want the Congress to move quickly on, what would the penalty be for failing to report it?

CASEY: Well, it -- it -- it's really that -- the legislation that we have would not be a -- a criminal statute. What it would say is if you want -- you're a state and you want funding under the -- the child abuse laws, federally, that you would have to have in place a state law that made every adult a mandated reporter. That's basically what it would -- what it would provide.

Now, states can enact law -- criminal laws that would -- that would provide other protections. But I think it's one step the federal government can do to close that loophole so that we don't only have 18 states, that require all states, that all -- every state in the country requires all adults to report child abuse or suspected child abuse or neglect.

KING: Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania.

Sir, appreciate your time tonight. And my job is usually to stay objective, but best of luck with what you're doing. Somebody needs to do something.

Appreciate it, sir.

CASEY: Thanks, John.

KING: In breaking his silence, Sandusky raised more questions than he answered. And he angered families of his alleged victims as well.

We're joined by Harrisburg "Patriot-News" reporter Sara Ganim from the Penn State campus and attorney Wendy Murphy, who used to prosecute child and sex abuse -- child abuse and sex crimes -- excuse me.

Sara, I want to start with you. You have been in touch throughout this emerging scandal with families of the alleged victims. When Jerry Sandusky told Bob Costas last night he's innocent, that he's not guilty of any sex crimes, that if he's guilty of anything, it's enjoying being around young people and horsing around in the shower with them, what do the families of the victims tell you about what they heard last night?

SARA GANIM, "THE PATRIOT-NEWS": Well, you know, it's been the same theme since the beginning.

What they really want, they feel like they have been through enough. Some of them have been keeping this bottled up for 10 years, 15 years, three years. They want this guy to plead guilty to prevent their sons from having to take the stand and testify. They don't want to look backwards anymore. They want to look forward.

They want some hope. They don't want to go through this anymore. They don't want the scandal, the circus surrounding it. What they want is for him to admit that he did something wrong and to plead guilty, and it doesn't look like they're going to get that.

KING: Wendy Murphy, I want you to listen to a little bit more. In some ways it's important to play this, so people can hear coach Sandusky. In other ways it turns my stomach every time we do. But let's listen to coach Sandusky here insisting, insisting, he's done nothing wrong.


SANDUSKY: I say that I'm innocent of those charges.

COSTAS: Innocent, completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?

SANDUSKY: Well, I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them. And I have touched their leg without intent of sexual contact. But, so if you look at it that way, there are things that wouldn't -- would be accurate. COSTAS: Are you denying that you had an inappropriate sexual contact with any of these underage boys?

SANDUSKY: Yes, I am.

COSTAS: Never touched their genitals, never engaged in oral sex?



KING: Wendy Murphy, when you listen to that, he says he didn't have sex with those children, but he does say he did a lot. What went through your mind?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, what a piece of work he is, and arrogant as all get-out that he thinks he's going to take the stand and call at this point at least eight and up to maybe 19 children all liars and the eyewitnesses, the adults who watched him literally rape a child, they're all liars, too? Everyone's a liar except him, right?

Silliness. But here's what I think he did that really hurts his case and clearly he's trying to influence the court of public opinion, the potential jurors to feel like maybe he's a little weird, but he's not a rapist. Good luck with that. I don't think it worked at all.

But he made his case worse because here he says, I touched their thighs, I'm naked in the shower with them, I'm hugging little boys who are also naked in the shower, but it wasn't sexual. What did he say back in 1998? He's recorded by police talking to one of the victim's mothers back in 1998 about a shower incident, two different boys involved in a shower incident where he's doing the same thing, he's naked, he's hugging them, he's touching them, right?

He said, I was wrong. I feel terrible. I wish you would forgive me. I want to kill myself.

So which is it? Which is it? Should you kill yourself for showering naked because you feel terrible that you are doing something sexual, or was it horseplay? He's just created an inconsistent statement of great magnitude that will be used against him in this case and hurt his case.

KING: And if he's guilty, then I'm not really terribly concerned what kind of legal advice he's getting, but as someone who has covered a lot of trials, I was banging my head off the wall. I could not figure out why in the world his attorney let him do that, let him say those things. Nuts?

MURPHY: Well, you, know, John, you know, John, sometimes defense attorneys think it's really cool to take the Fifth, right, assert your right to remain silent with the cops and don't testify in front of the grand jury, but find a friendly reporter, and get your story out that way because you can infect the jury pool in a way that's favorable to you. First of all, that rubs people the wrong way. They figure if you want to manipulate us and tell us your story, you should also be telling your story to the cops, so it doesn't really work. But more importantly, what kind of defense attorney lets a guy who is facing 40 counts say anything? There is nothing he can say to make this case better.

It is only going to be worse. I think his lawyer made a very grand mistake here. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up getting fired because it was a very bad move.

KING: Sara, one of the things Sandusky's lawyer also said was that they have found victim number two, who was allegedly raped by Sandusky there in the showers. What is your reporting? And what are they saying on campus about that?

GANIM: I think that was the biggest news of the interview, to be honest with you.

John, I thought the fact that the prosecutors say they haven't found victim number two, but that Sandusky and his attorney have, and then that his attorney said that not only have they found victim number two, but it's going to be a defense, that that boy is a defense witness, that he says that nothing bad or sexual or wrong ever happened in that shower.

So I think that prosecutors will probably come back and say, some experts I talked to said, they will have to really go to great lengths to verify that this person that they say was victim number two really is victim number two. And that remains to be seen. I think we will have to be patient about that. but I thought that was the biggest news of the interview.

KING: Sara Ganim, Wendy Murphy, appreciate your help on this dramatic and disgusting story. We will stay on top of it. Thank you both for coming in.

Penn State's football team still has a shot at the Big 10 championship and a major bowl game. That is if you care about the history of the program. Should they go? How badly has college football been tarnished by the Penn State scandal?

And as we go to break, want to remind you, we're also keeping our eye on New York City. Occupy Wall Street protesters kicked out of this park in the overnight hours, allowed back in now to demonstrate, but not to camp out. We will keep our eye on this to see if there are any tensions with police in New York City.

We will be right back.


KING: The schedule would note that Saturday Penn State plays at Ohio State University. That's another school with a football program that's been rocked by scandal and the forced departure of a high- profile head coach. But this afternoon, Penn State's interim coach told reporters he thinks college football is still a great game, a great sport and isn't tarnished. Here's more.


TOM BRADLEY, PENN STATE HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: One of the things I want to emphasize right now, this is all about the players, this is about our team, it's about their team. It's still football. Great atmosphere, college football, playing at the Horseshoe. Doesn't get any better than that. It's going to be an exciting game. We're both fighting for the title so there's a lot on the line. And it will be a very spirited match, regardless of what's going on outside.


KING: Here with us, "Washington Post" sports columnist Mike Wise, "USA Today" sports columnist Christine Brennan.

I'm not sure that coach Bradley, interim coach Bradley, I'm not sure what he is supposed to say, so I have some empathy for him, who is in a tough spot. I will get to the program and maybe the game in a minute.

But I want to come back. I want your thoughts, and I want to play this again. And I'm sorry for some of you at home. This probably angers you. But I just asked Senator Casey about this. As two people who know sports incredibly well and who understand the legacy of Joe Paterno, I want you to listen.

Bob Costas is talking to Jerry Sandusky. And we know that Mike McQueary, the graduate assistant, came to coach Paterno and said, I saw a kid being raped in the showers by coach Sandusky. So what did coach Paterno do?


COSTAS: Did Joe Paterno have any information regarding objectionable activities on your part prior to that report in 2002?

SANDUSKY: My -- I -- I can't totally answer that question. My answer would be no.

COSTAS: Did Joe Paterno, at any time, ever speak to you directly about your behavior?


COSTAS: Never?


COSTAS: He never asked you about what you might have done?


COSTAS: He never asked you if you needed help, if you needed counseling...


COSTAS: He never expressed disapproval of any kind?



KING: Now, Jerry Sandusky's a criminal defendant, so maybe he's not to be believed.

But if a crumb of that is to be believed, this -- he was Joe Paterno's right-hand guy for 32 years. Joe Paterno was told by a graduate assistant, I saw a young child being raped in our showers, coach. Never talked to him about it, never confronted him, whether as a friend saying you need help or whether as an outraged coach and a demigod on campus?

MIKE WISE, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I have a problem with that as well.

And I understand that a lot of people, John, are saying this is -- you're in a Twitterverse media society now and people are going to rush to judgment on things before anybody's found guilty.

Well, I thought that Jerry Sandusky might be guilty when his employer of 32 years never issued a word of support after the grand jury report came out. And Joe Paterno, in his own statement, said, this is one of the great sorrows in his life and if he could have done more, he would have -- or he wished he would have. So I think Joe Paterno's already copped to he knew something already.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, "USA TODAY": Well, and for Paterno, of course, he has modeled himself as you well know, John, as an educator. He's always talked about it's more than just football.

So obviously it's bad no matter who he is, but you throw in the library's named after Paterno, so he's put himself up on such a high pedestal that I think it's even worse if in fact he did nothing.

KING: And help me. We have talked about this internally in our staff meetings all week, and Bob Costas and Brian Williams got at it a bit last night. Jerry Sandusky retires at 55. He's a legend in the game. He's one of the great defensive coordinators in football.

And he never gets another job, never gets another job, which tells me, somebody knew, that either he cut a deal with Penn State that he wouldn't work again or that every time some other school called and said, hey, we're going to hire Sandusky, somebody at Penn State told them, get away.

WISE: And if somebody at Penn State actually did that diligence, if somebody at Penn State, why couldn't they have done that with the police? That's what I think everybody's thinking. Why couldn't they have done that with the police? If you were magnanimous enough and a citizen of a this planet enough to actually call a school and say, stay away from this guy, he's bad news, why can't you make sure that any children that were hurt after the kid in 2002 were safe, and report him to the police?

KING: Listen to Jerry Sandusky's lawyer. We just had a legal expert on who says search thinks coach Sandusky is digging his hole a little deeper. Listen to his lawyer. You guys spend a lot of time around the culture of sports. I think, if you listen to this, it's a parallel universe.


JOE AMENDOLA, ATTORNEY FOR JERRY SANDUSKY: Jerry Sandusky is a big overgrown kid. He's a jock. For anybody who's ever played sports, you get showers after you work out.

I mean, when people hear he got showers with kids, oh, my goodness, you know? Like he got showers with kids. That makes him guilty, right? I mean, obviously, anybody that gets a shower with a kid who's an adult has to -- has to be guilty of something.

But the bottom line is jocks do that. I mean, they kid around, they horse around.


KING: No, jocks don't do that.

BRENNAN: Well, maybe the quarterback and the wide receiver are slapping each other with towels in the shower.

What we're talking about here, as you know, John, the allegations are 10-year-old boys. These 10-year-old boys are not playing football for Penn State, of course. They have no reason to be at Penn State, other than the fact that Jerry Sandusky's invited them. So what a reprehensible argument to be making.

And I think it takes another slap at the victims all over again. The culture of football is something to discuss. The culture of football has nothing to do with what that lawyer was talking about.

WISE: I'm in agreement.

KING: But as someone who spends a lot of time around the culture, most of these are athletes who, yes, locker rooms can be different, they can be crass, but they're not places where little kids get raped.

WISE: I think anybody that -- being a new father, anybody that showers with their son over probably 3 or 4 years old or if you're only in a shower with anybody but your son, and he's 10, that's strange behavior. That's not regular behavior.

KING: And so what now? This is not a sports story. This is much bigger than that. You feel for the athletes at Penn State who went to what they thought was a great program.

But we talked about this, Mike, the other night. You know, Joe Nocera in "The New York Times" writing today Penn State should just cancel 2012. Yes, that would mean the self-imposed death penalty, which hasn't been seen, but they're essentially saying, look, just cancel the season, stop, turn the page by going dark.

WISE: That would be the only thing that I would say. Until everything comes out, it would be -- I think it would be shortsighted to just say Penn State should throw away football for a year.

And the NCAA might not be doing it. The Department of Education might. But there are a lot of people are investigating this. But I will say this. I think you don't accept the bowl bid. You don't accept the bowl bid if you're Penn State. And if you do, you put all of that money that you earn from that bowl bid into an escrow account for those kids if in fact Sandusky is found guilty.

BRENNAN: Think about the bowl. It's a celebration. You have the band. You have parades. You have the Chamber of Commerce having the dinners. It's the exact wrong image.

So let them play the rest of the -- the two games. They might make the Big 10 championship game. That would be three. The players were never thinking they would necessarily go to a bowl game. That's an extra. It's a privilege. At that point I would say end the season before the bowl game.

KING: Christine Brennan, Mike Wise, appreciate your help tonight.

WISE: Thank you.

KING: Next, plenty of action on the presidential campaign trail today as both Herman Cain and Rick Perry, well, they're in Iowa doing damage control.


KING: On the trail today, a provocative call by Texas Governor Rick Perry to scale back the federal government's power. Speaking in Iowa, Perry called for a part-time Congress at half the pay it now gets and an 18-year term limit for federal judges. Plausible? Probably not. But it's part of a Tea Party-focused Perry comeback strategy.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't believe that Washington just needs a new coat of paint. I think the whole place needs to be overhauled.


PERRY: I'm a true believer that we need to uproot, tear down, and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney campaigned in South Carolina, complaining President Obama's overregulating the economy and worse.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sometimes, I just don't think that President Obama understands America.

Now, I say that because, this week, or was it last week, he said that Americans are lazy. I don't think that describes America.


KING: And another day, another "what the candidate meant to say" explanation from the Herman Cain campaign. Last night, it was Libya. Today, Cain responded and tried to clarify a Monday statement that he believed federal employees deserve collective bargaining rights.

After a campaign stop in Dubuque, Iowa, he offered this thought to CNN.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's clarify what I said. I am against collective hijacking.


KING: Clear enough there.

Let's clarify the state of play in the GOP race with a collection of conservative voices. CNN contributors David Frum and Erick Erickson are here with me in Washington, and from Chicago, Cain's top Iowa adviser, Steve Grubbs.

Steve, I want to start with you.

When I was out in Iowa last week, you said you had not noticed any fallout and in fact you were gaining ground. That's when the sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Cain were in play.

In recent days -- and we will play some of the sound in a minute -- he couldn't come up with quite an answer on Libya. He's had a clarification on collective bargaining. I'm just wondering. A lot of people are saying that the -- he's beginning to lose ground. Do you see that on the ground in Iowa?

STEVE GRUBBS, HERMAN CAIN IOWA CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: So, first of all, if you look at the two polls that came out, two just this week, the Bloomberg poll and -- and another poll, both of them still have Herman Cain up in Iowa.

And, you know, really, after 14 days of mostly negative stories from the national press, and he's still leading in Iowa, to me that's a headline in and of itself.

KING: That is a headline, in and of itself. Let's show the Bloomberg numbers. This is a Bloomberg poll conducted November 10 through 12, likely Iowa GOP caucus goers. It's difficult to poll in a caucus environment, but you see right there: Herman Cain at 20, Ron Paul at 19, Mitt Romney at 18, Newt Gingrich at 17, and Governor Perry at 7. And on and on down in there.

David Frum, when you look at this, Steve has a point, the sustainability after all, this is one thing. However, the trend line is going down.

DAVID FRUM, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Steve has a very good point. The headline is, why do Republicans put up with this? It's not news. These tapes make it more vivid, but it's not news that Herman Cain doesn't know what he's talking about, doesn't have the qualifications to be president, isn't interested in learning what he's talking about, and isn't interested in requiring the qualifications to be president.

Under those circumstances, why do Republicans accept this? And that -- that is a question. Republicans, I think, and this is -- I say this with great pain -- are looking for an Obama critic in chief. And this is a time this president is vulnerable. He could well lose. They should be shopping for a president. Presidents need to know things, and they need to have certain kinds of experiences.

KING: Steve Grubbs, you're a serious guy. You've had other candidates over the year who have gone on to be nominees. You want to rebut that or does David Frum -- he says your candidate's not a serious candidate.

GRUBBS: Look, America elected a community organizer as president, and now we're paying the price. Herman Cain has 40 years of creating jobs and fixing broken companies, and he can do the same thing for the United States. And that's why Iowans are behind him. That's why the United States will ultimately be behind him.

If you look, Republicans are frustrated with the status quo. Why do we think that they're going to choose a status quo candidate? They're not. And when you look at the candidates, Herman Cain is the one who's not status quo but actually has done something in his life, which is a lot more than we can say for a lot of politicians.

ERICKSON: John, I would take issue with what the way David characterized it, in that they're not looking for a guy to -- the anti-Obama messenger. They're looking for the alternative to Mitt Romney.

I think Steve is right, that they're looking for someone outside the establishment. The Republican base feels as burned by the Republican establishment as they do by the Democrats.

KING: So the Republican base, but I think clearly, though, the trend line for Cain is down, at least in the national polls. We'll see. And Steve's a damn good organizer in Iowa. We'll see how he can do the job out there. I want you to listen to part of Governor Perry's speech today, because the Perry campaign, a lot of people have written him off. People are now saying Herman Cain is done. A lot of people have written Governor Perry off. Their calculation is, if Cain's going down, someone's got to come up. Maybe it's Newt Gingrich or maybe it's this anti-Washington message from Governor Perry.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Congress is out of touch, because congressmen are overpaid, they're overstaffed, and they're away from home way too much. America has had enough of that. I have to believe it is time to create a part-time Congress where their pay is cut in half, their office budgets are cut in half, and their time in Washington is cut in half.


KING: Is that a productive ingredient, a good ingredient for a Perry comeback strategy, or is it too late?

FRUM: Well, that's certainly giving him credit where it's due. His idea about the judges, I think, is bang-on. The 18-year term. This is not an idea original to Rick Perry. Judges got life tenure at a time when people lived much less long than they do. You could stagger those terms so every president got a certain same number of appointments for a four-year term, and that would make appointment battles less contentious. That's a really good idea.

The congressional idea, not so good. Congress does malfunction, but the reason it malfunctions is because the old committee structure has broken down. If you want to do a serious understanding of what's wrong with Congress and how do you fix it, there's a lot to be discussed. But this cut that pay in half at a time when we are -- have them work part time, does that mean they can work outside Congress? How does that respond -- another good point that Perry made, which is the problem of congressional insider trading. We want them to be doing less outside work.

ERICKSON: This is a guy who is governor of a state where the general assembly's part time and meets every other year, not even every year.

So you know, I don't know that I'm necessarily completely a fan of the ideas, but it's definitely going to get people talking. It is consistent with his book. People can say it's damage control. It's been incoming for a while. I think they're probably smart to time it now as people start to look back and say if Herman can't get it, where do they go?

KING: Seven weeks to the Iowa's caucuses. We'll keep watching it all. Steve Grubbs in Chicago. David and Erick, thanks for coming in here.

Still ahead here, bold advice for the congressional super committee, charged with taking a big slice out of the deficit. And next, the Occupy movement gets another eviction notice, and tempers flare.


KING: Tonight a tense situation at the New York City park where Occupy Wall Street protesters were evicted early this morning. Police allowed them back in a short time ago following a judge's ruling the protesters can demonstrate but cannot camp out.

Just moments ago, the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, declared victory, the court vindicated his position, but First Amendment rights do not include the right to endanger the public or take over a public space with tents and tarps.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is at the park tonight.

And Poppy, so they're allowed back in to protest. The question is, do we have a resolution here, or do you think we have a little temporary situation?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think temporary situation, temporary solution is the best way to put it, John.

Around 5:30 today, the protesters were allowed back in the park. This ruling basically means that they can demonstrate in the park, but they can't set up those tents they had or those generators. The judge saying that that is not included in their First Amendment rights.

But as one protester put it to us, he said this movement is so much bigger than this park. That is sentiment that I have heard echoed throughout the day today. It is not just a movement here in New York. It is a movement not only across this country. It is around the world. As one of the heads of Occupy Wall Street told me just now, he said if anything, this has galvanized the movement. So certainly not a long-term solution here, at least in the eyes of the city of New York.

KING: And in terms of the leader who says it has galvanized them, what's the situation? Tonight what conditions await them in that park? And where do they take it next if they're not allowed to camp out there? Or do you suspect and hear word of possible civil disobedience?

HARLOW: Well, we have seen some of that civil disobedience. We saw it play out in the wee hours of the morning when protesters locked arms and refused to leave the park. They were forced out by New York City police officers.

What's happening now is that bags are being checked by every protester that goes in the park behind me. They're not allowed to bring tents. They can't bring generators. They can't bring big duffel bags. They can't ostensibly create a camp that they had before. That is how this situation has changed.

However, John, I would really expect to see some of these protesters try to spend the night here tonight. It's not cold in New York. They can sleep on the ground. And I expect we'll see that.

KING: Poppy Harlow on the scene for us. We'll keep watching it throughout this hour and throughout the evening. Poppy, thanks so much.

And one week from tomorrow House and Senate deficit cutters are supposed to -- emphasis on supposed to -- have a plan to trim more than $1 trillion from the federal budget. Next, two lawmakers offer some last-minute advice, and it's not to be timid.


KING: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" coming up at the top of the hour. Erin's here with a preview.

And Erin, you're going to take a close look at the super committee tonight.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. We've got lots of developing news, left, right and center, as you know, John, with so many stories.

The super committee, though, one of the co-chairs saying just hours to go before a deal. Now that would mean, of course, if everyone agrees, then in hours you're done. But we are eight days away from a crucial decision for America and the world. So we're going to be talking to a super committee member tonight.

Also, the very latest developments, of course, on Occupy Wall Street, as you know, developing every minute. That story today. And the latest on Penn State. We're going to talk about that and also some First Amendment issues.

Back to you, John.

KING: Erin, we'll see you in just a few minutes.


KING: Tonight's number, well, it has a little bit to do with the super committee. Eighty-three percent. Eighty-three percent of Americans disapprove of the job their members of Congress are doing. Eighty-three percent disapprove. Eleven percent approve. I'll go out in the country and try to find them. Five percent say they're not so sure.

As you look at all this play out now, what comes next is the super committee. A chance for Congress to redeem itself, maybe get that 83 down into the 70s, maybe in the 60s.

What's the super committee? Six Democrats and six Republicans. Three members of each from the House and the Senate, three Democrats, three Republicans from each body.

Now, what is it supposed to do? Here's what it's supposed to do. It's supposed to identify at least $1.2 trillion in savings in the federal budget. The deadline u-- that would be next week, November 23. And if they don't reach that deadline, if they don't come up with a plan of their own, the bill that creates the committee would call for across-the-board spending cuts. That is the plan.

Can they get it done? Do you think they'll get it done? Seventy percent in the new Politico/G.W. University battleground poll say no. Seventy percent -- 69 percent of Americans say no, they won't get it done.

Well, here to offer some advice to the super committee, two key members of Congress who say don't go timid, go bold. Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler.

You guys say don't be timid, be bold. If you look at that same poll I just showed you, if you ask the American people, will you accept increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations, 66 percent, Senator, say, yes, to get this deficit down. Sixty-six percent means a lot of Republicans say yes. So why do we have most Republicans in Congress saying no, not any revenues, no?

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: Well, obviously, raising taxes is something that Republicans have always been against, and are still against, but there's a way to increase revenues, John, without necessarily raising taxes. You can lower tax rates. You can reform the tax code in a major way, particularly on the corporate side.

And when you do that, you make us more competitive in the international marketplace, and you allow corporations to invest their money here in America that's now sitting on the sidelines here in America. And you can broaden the tax base because what they'll do is they'll put people back to work and expand the business to hire new people. When you broaden that tax base, and you increase tax revenues coming into Washington, that's the key to the jobs issue, and it's also the key to getting to a major number like $4 trillion to apply against the deficit.

KING: So you've got a Republican of Georgia, a moderate to conservative Democrat, nodding your head, nodding your head. If you guys can agree on this, is this a great charade going on? If you listen publicly, the super committee's pretty far apart, and they're having your typical Washington daycare center partisan squabble.

REP. HEATH SHULER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: We're optimistic. I mean, we have to support the super committee, let them know that there's members such as Saxby and I are warning them to go big, put everything on the table.

KING: Big means what?

SHULER: Big means 4 trillion plus; 1.5, if they can get to 1.5, they can get to 4 trillion just as well. It's using the same numbers but just go a little deeper. And the way that they can do that is actually compromise. Work together.

The world is watching. America's watching. That's why our approval ratings are so low. They don't have the confidence. And so if we can instill confidence back into the markets and the workplace then will explode because they will then have a sense of, yes, members of Congress can work together. They'll put their political differences aside to do what's right for the American people.

KING: And you're confident that your leadership in the House, which is a tad more liberal than you are, Congressman Shuler, that Leader Pelosi and her team, to go bold, to get to the 4 trillion, then you're talking about Medicare, and Social Security. They're willing to do that?

SHULER: Everything has to be on the table. You know, even Pelosi has said, you know, go big, go bold. She realized -- she's looked at those numbers, like a lot of the other members have, and realized you cannot make a huge difference without looking at Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid.

It's not that you are cutting them, it's you're reform them just the way we're going to do the taxes. We can reform tax reform in the same way we can -- in order to keep them and hold on to the entitlement programs, we have to fix them.

KING: Do you share his confidence? If you look at the clock, you know where we're going in the campaign environment. His party, most of your party, wants the Medicare issue. They want to run those ads all next year in trying to get the House back.

A lot of conservatives in your party say you know what? Even if we do this tax reform, if it raises revenue, you know, maybe Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reforms will be after us. Or someone's going to run an "You raised taxes" ad on me.

CHAMBLISS: Well, John, here's what we know. Every economist in the country that we have talked to -- and in our gang of six we talked to dozens of them -- every expert from the community bank world to the Wall Street world, and everybody in between, has said that if you don't get to $4 trillion, that you're not sending the right message to the marketplace. And if you don't send the right message, then the markets are simply going to react in a negative way.

And we know that you can't get to $4 trillion without reducing spending. We're spending way too much money in this town. But that's not a silver bullet in and of itself. You've got to have entitlement reform and you've got to have tax reform. It's going to take all three of those. Not just to get to 4 trillion, but we're going to have to come back in another two years and do another 4 trillion.

Remember, this is over ten years. And we now owe $14.5 trillion. Pretty soon it's going to be $17 trillion. So this is just the first installment. It's going to be painful, but it's just absolutely necessary that we do it.

KING: You say painful and absolutely necessary on the eve of a campaign. That means everybody has got to get in the boat together.

The president of the United States has called members of the super committee. When the committee was first formed, he was of the opinion, go bold. He tried to negotiate with the speaker, the Republican speaker. That didn't work. I want you to listen to the president on his trip. He was in Hawaii. He's in Australia now, but he was in Hawaii. And he had this message for the work of the super committee.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My hope is that over the next several days, the congressional leadership on the super committee will go ahead and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done. Because the math won't change. There's no magic formula.


KING: I think you both agree with everything the president just said there. To the Democrat in the room. He said that at a public event. If everybody has to get in the boat, if everybody has to give, if both parties are going to have to give up something that they would prefer not to give up, is the president of the United States leading this conversation? Is he a major part of this conversation? Is he irrelevant to this conversation?

SHULER: Certainly, at the end of the day, he has to be part of the conversation.

KING: Doesn't he have to be part of the conversation every day if you're going to get to the finish line?

SHULER: I don't think so. I think the more he is engaged in it, it may push more Republicans away. The more he's engaged in what he would like to do, and it pushes Republicans away. What I think is necessary that you get members of Congress.

We now have over 150 members, bipartisan and bicameral, to sign it to the super committee that says go big. And that sends a message within itself to the super committee and along with what the president has had to say, that we need this now. We cannot wait. We can't keep kicking the can down the road.

KING: How many Republicans say, "You know, Saxby, I'd love to be with you if it were two years from now or a year from now. But if we give the president of the United States this deal, we want to run against him as a big-spending, tax-and-spend liberal. If we give him a big deficit reduction, what have we got?"

CHAMBLISS: And I say in response to that, look, how much do you care about your country? How much do you care about the America you're going to leave for your children and grandchildren?

If you're really serious about doing the job you were sent here to do, on this particular issue, which is the issue of our time. There's not been a more important issue that's come up in my 17 years in Congress. And this is the time we have to check our political hats. We have to do the right thing. And the right thing is going big and coming up with $4 trillion. It's going to be painful, and people are going to have to really stand up and be willing to go back home and look folks in the eye and say, "You know, I could have either got myself reelected by voting no, or I could have stepped out and I could do the right thing so that your children and your grandchildren will inherit the same great America that we inherited." We're at that point in time.

KING: It is a big deal, and we're going to track it.

I want to close with a question for the former college football star, NFL quarterback in the room. When you watch what's happening at Penn State and you hear the allegations of what went on there, you hear a defense lawyer say, you know, this stuff happens in showers in football programs all the time. What goes through your mind?

SHULER: It certainly never happened at the University of Tennessee. And it's just -- it's heartbreaking that the victims here, not only that the victims are young children but, you know, throughout all of Penn State, the alumni. It's an impact about that. And especially those college athletes who are there now. Those student athletes who are participating and who have done good and are -- continue to do well. That's who your heart goes out to. Everyone -- everyone is a victim across college football.

KING: Congressman Shuler, Senator Saxby Chambliss, good luck in the week ahead.

CHAMBLISS: Thank you, John.

KING: There are a lot of skeptics in town. You saw that poll number on the way in. A lot of people out there in the real world...


CHAMBLISS: ... 11 percent.

KING: You find the 11 percent, give them my phone number, will you?

Next, a refresher course about a "Truth" Newt Gingrich should have learned the hard way.


KING: Tonight's "Truth" is a lesson Newt Gingrich knows all too well. Serious candidates for president face tougher questions and, like it or not, have a responsibility to answer them. In the most recent debate, for example, the former speaker was asked about a $300,000 consulting contract with the mortgage giant, Freddie Mac.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have never done any lobbying. Every contractor was written during the period when I was out of the office. Specifically said I would do no lobbying. And I offered advice. And my advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, "We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything. But that's what the government wants us to do," is I said to them at the time, "This is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible."


KING: A Bloomberg News article today says top Freddie Mac officials at the time have no recollection of Speaker Gingrich warning them about the bubble. In fact, the article suggests Gingrich was given the lucrative contract to help Freddie Mac look for friends among Republican in Congress.

Now, there's nothing wrong with that, except that some conservatives won't be happy Gingrich took money from an organization they view as corrupt or poorly managed. And a six-figure contract with an iconic Washington institution doesn't fit well with Gingrich's characterization as himself as an insider turned outsider. Now eager to change Washington.

Again though, there's nothing, zero, zip, nada to suggest Gingrich did anything wrong. And it is easy to understand politically why this ultimate insider's gig is the last thing the self-styled outsider Newt wants to talk about.

But it's a fair question to ask, exactly what he did for that money, and just as fair to ask about the issues raised in the Bloomberg report. CNN's Jim Acosta tried today to do just that.


GINGRICH: What I tried to do over and over again with folks was offer strategic advice to whatever they were dealing with. And we did that very successfully at the center of our health transformation. A lot of it was aimed at health care. How do you lower the cost of health care for your employees, et cetera. They're a very big employee.

Now, some of it was aimed at how do you explain what you're doing and how you're doing it, but I did no lobbying of any kind. That's all I've got to say about it.



KING: All he's got to say today. The Speaker knows this, though: questions you don't answer today tend to carry over to tomorrow.

That's all for us tonight. We'll see you tomorrow. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.