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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Rising China; Super Committee Deadline; Interview with Representative Kristi Noem; Newt Gingrich and Freddie Mac
Aired November 16, 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. Is the prosecution's case against Jerry Sandusky as open and shot as it seems?
Then the TSA says their body scanners don't cause cancer, but they're not going to test them. Are they right?
And the "Bottom Line" on America's place in the world, China trying to become the world superpower; what does the super committee and the president need to do?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
I'm Erin Burnett and OUTFRONT tonight breaking news; the market slid nearly 200 points today, the reason, fear and uncertainty. Fear of Europe and fear of the super committee. We are counting down to a huge moment for America on a day our commander in chief was warned China's military is building up with one main goal, taking on America. I'll get to that in a moment.
But first, the super committee is exactly one week away from its deadline to cut a minimum of $1.2 trillion from America's deficit. Today was a day called critical by some lawmakers. But the meetings have ended and there is no word on a possible deal. Now, nearly 80 percent of Americans don't expect the super committee to do its job but no deal isn't just a chance to roll our eyes and say hey we knew it all along.
No deal is bad for America. No deal means rising interest rates down the road and a halt in job creation now. We need a deal, and a deal is not hard to strike. We've shown one way repeatedly on this show. That's to roll back the Bush tax cuts for everyone, raising $2.8 trillion, and then cut $2.8 trillion in spending. Yes, that is pain for everyone, but nothing like the pain if we do nothing. And that size of a deal would make a big difference.
World markets would celebrate. The one-for-one Bush tax cuts for spending cuts is just one option. There are a lot of ways to get a deal done. But while Congress dithers and plays politics, our commander in chief is getting whack-a-moled by China. You are looking at a live picture right now of the president addressing the Australian parliament in Khanburough (ph). That's the capital.
He's talking a lot -- you can hear the G-20 there -- he's talking a lot about the role of China and the role in America. You can see they're listening very closely. Today he said he would station more U.S. Marines down under, the unspoken goal, to scare China. The problem is China calls the shots in Australia now. A congressional advisory committee today said the White House and Congress must focus on China's military buildup as Chinese defense spending has tripled. China is rising.
And China is actually now Australia's number one trading partner. China wants to take over America's role as ruler of the Pacific. And the Pacific is where the future is because it's where the people are. The president's trip through Asia is an effort to remind Asia that America is still the world's superpower. And the one way to help it stay that way is not by speeches to the Australian parliament. That might help.
It's for the super committee to do its job. Peter Navarro is the author of "Death by China" and a professor at UC Berkeley. Peter, we're looking at the president. He is speaking live at this moment in Khanburough (ph), tomorrow morning Australian time. You think the super committee's inaction could speed China's rise, right?
PETER NAVARRO, AUTHOR, "DEATH BY CHINA": Absolutely, Erin. We've got gridlock in Washington, D.C. We don't know how to deal with the economy. My view is that the super committee, if it said the best jobs program is trade reform with China, they'd get it right. But the fact of the matter is, Erin that right now China I think is already a stronger industrial power than we are in terms of just nuts and bolts and weapons systems.
And over time, within five to 10 years they're going to have the weapons system to push us right out of the Pacific. There's one missile that's really interesting called the bammer (ph). It has one sole purpose China has developed. It's a ballistic air missile. It's aimed at killing the American aircraft carriers in the Pacific. They want us back to Hawaii, Erin.
BURNETT: Just pretty amazing. And for those who say, OK, well who cares? Here is why we care. Ninety-plus percent of the trade around the world goes by sea. Whoever controls the seas controls the world economy. And that's still the United States at this moment. Do you think, Peter that their military is a real and present danger to the United States right now?
NAVARRO: Without question. And the reason why Obama is in Australia right now is there's a vacuum there in terms of American leadership. And it's not just Australia that wants him there, it's Japan. It's South Korea. It's Vietnam -- is totally freaked out about what China is doing. And it's all about what John King said in the previous hour about petroleum in the South China Seas.
China wants us out. They would like to also at some point take Taiwan. That's been a long-term goal. And you're absolutely right. The Strait of Malacca is where 70 percent to 80 percent of China's oil comes through.
BURNETT: Right. NAVARRO: And they fear that at some point if we get into problems with them that our aircraft carriers could shut that down. So they want us out. They're developing the weapons systems. And guess what Erin? You know where they get their weapon systems? They get them from stealing them from the Pentagon, whether it's their missiles, whether it's their airplanes, whether it's their aircraft carriers. That's what they do. They steal from us.
BURNETT: And apparently even when that helicopter went down the night Osama bin Laden died, apparently some say the Pakistanis let them come look at our technology there. All right --
NAVARRO: It's amazing what we put up with.
BURNETT: Thank you very much.
NAVARRO: It's amazing what we --
BURNETT: Yes. All right, well thank you very much and it is something that gives you a food for thought. And it makes you wonder if Congress is really going to step up to the plate and deal with this problem. Let's turn now to Representative Kristi Noem. She's a Republican congresswoman from South Dakota. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.
BURNETT: Obviously the president is speaking now in Australia at this very moment. Congress warned today about the rise of China's military power which can only get stronger so far as their economy is the one growing and lending and ours is the one not growing and borrowing. Is the super committee going to do its job?
REP. KRISTI NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Well I hope so. You know when you're talking about China the fact is, is that they hold a lot of our debt, too, so the more debt we continue to accumulate, you know that's who has been buying our bonds. So it is a very concerning situation. This super committee needs to come forward with a bill and present it. It's time we do our job here in Washington, D.C. and give us something that actually offers some solutions.
BURNETT: So you are a Tea Party member. You have been staunch in your belief that we don't need tax increases. Mr. Toomey came on this show, member of the super committee and said he had come around to the idea that the wealthiest Americans would when he got rid of loopholes and lowered their overall tax rate end up paying more after the super committee did its deal than they did before. Are you on board with that?
NOEM: Well I've always said I'm not in favor of raising tax rates, but I'm certainly in favor of a more fair system which means eliminating some of those loopholes and exemptions that have been around for decades. And so if we can do that, broaden the base, make sure that we're having a more fair system at the end of the day, absolutely, I would support that. The only thing I'm not in favor of is increasing tax rates that are going to drive more companies to look overseas to start jobs. You know we need jobs in this country and so we need to be competitive.
BURNETT: But it's interesting because it sounds like you're saying something that is significant and perhaps conciliatory which is, all right, you'd rather have a lower rate. But if you got rid of loopholes and that meant some people ended up paying more all in, that's OK, so you could get new revenue?
NOEM: Yes, I have said all along from the very beginning when I first started running for Congress and even when I served in the South Dakota State Legislature that I am coming here to reform taxes. Our tax system is complicated, convoluted. We need to make it more fair. We shouldn't be picking winners and losers with the government and that's what we're doing through our tax code.
BURNETT: But in direct answer to the question, you would be all right with some people paying more after than before.
NOEM: Yes. Well there are going to be some people that will. If you eliminate exemptions and close loopholes, absolutely, they'll be more people paying that will be paying more dollars in, in taxes.
BURNETT: So what are you doing to get the super committee to get a deal done? Because we're hearing every day, you know they say they're going to do a deal and then well we're getting really close to the deadline and there's a lot of finger-pointing going on. And there's got to be a deal. So what are you going to do to get them to get it done?
NOEM: Well we've got the pressure on. You know I'm the freshman liaison to the leadership team. And so the leadership team certainly knows how the freshman class feels. We want them to offer something that's a real solution, something that we really will fix our problems in this country. And so we've been very vocal about that. We're expecting them to bring forward results. If they don't, it'll be very disappointing for us and we'll have to deal with sequestration at that point.
BURNETT: I'm just curious before we go, there was a letter that was put out by about 100 congressmen and women signed, 60 Democrats, 40 Republicans, and it said put everything on the table, whether that be new revenue in the form of taxes and also spending cuts. But you didn't sign that, did you?
NOEM: No, I don't believe that I did. You know there are hundreds of letters that are circulated around here every day, but that one doesn't sound familiar to me.
BURNETT: OK. Well thank you very much. Appreciate your taking the time to join us tonight.
NOEM: Yes. Yes, thank you. I appreciate it, too.
BURNETT: All right, let's bring in John Avlon, CNN contributor now. John, what do you think? Are we going to get a deal done?
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, we better, but the reality is there's increased pessimism on Capitol Hill. And I can't believe given the stakes of this that Congresswoman Noem didn't recall whether or not she'd signed that letter. We've got -- (INAUDIBLE) 150 now, 150 congressmen and women saying go big, we've got your back. That's the kind of urgency we need to propel this super committee past the current deadlock they seem to be in because time is ticking, as you know, and that $4 trillion mark seems more and more like a distant probability, more like they'll just barely get through with 1.2 if we're lucky.
BURNETT: And 1.2 as you and I have talked about just doesn't do much for you at all. I mean you come right back to the table.
AVLON: No. No.
BURNETT: But, so, so, I'm just curious. That letter was an important letter, the one that she didn't recall signing.
BURNETT: And you had all those people sign it. I'm curious what you think about the significance of that because she did just say she was for some people paying more in taxes to do a deal.
AVLON: She did. And that is where -- that is where the give and take can occur. If we can agree on closing loopholes to raise revenue without raising taxes, that's a way for us to get some revenue on the table and to offset it with spending cuts and some entitlement reform as well. And look, you know Democrats on the far left don't like the entitlement reform. Republicans don't want to see any loopholes closed unless they're offset. But there -- as we know the path as you've discussed, you put out a plan, you can overlay Bowles-Simpson, (INAUDIBLE) and the "Gang of Six" --
AVLON: -- we know the path. What we need them to do is to go big now. And right now what's troubling is you're starting to hear voices from both parties say you know what, let's do the minimum and then kick the big deal until after the election. That would be a disaster and China would be laughing at us all the way because they'd recognize that we're self sabotaging when it comes to really dealing with difficult problems.
BURNETT: They would be laughing and it's really tragic if we just don't get it and get it done. John Avlon, thank you.
AVLON: Thank you.
BURNETT: And still OUTFRONT Newt Gingrich surging in the polls. But will new revelations about his dealings with Freddie Mac stop that momentum in its tracks? We've got a new number for how much money he was paid.
And bizarre details about a mother whose child is missing in Washington State, the Web site she might have signed up for just before he disappeared. And the man who allegedly fired two shots at the White House arrested in Pennsylvania today -- OUTFRONT next.
BURNETT: The number tonight is 80. That's the age 25 percent middle class Americans say they'll have to work to until they're able to retire. It's the headline from a new survey conducted by Wells Fargo. But the problem is the average life expectancy in the United States is just over 78 years and that basically means people are expecting to work until they die.
Now to politics, Newt Gingrich is the latest Republican to surge in the polls. And you know what happens when that happens. Well, the snipers come out. And they are out in full force. He's under intense scrutiny for his dealings in particular with the government-backed mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
Gingrich was paid at least $1.6 million according to a report today by Bloomberg News. That's way more than had previously reported which was about 300,000. So what did he do for that 1.6 million? That's what the scrutiny is all about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, Bloomberg is reporting today that you earned $1.6 million from Freddie Mac. What did you do actually?
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Offered strategic advice over a long period of time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much did you spend like on a monthly basis for doing that kind of work? It seems like a lot of money.
GINGRICH: We'd have to go back and look (ph). First of all, it wasn't paid to me. Gingrich Group was a consulting firm that had lots of people doing things and we offered strategic advice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you didn't --
GINGRICH: Sure, but I don't know the amounts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the 1.6 million figure correct?
GINGRICH: I don't know. We're going back to check.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It's a big number to not remember. It's a good number for strategic advice, isn't it? Well it's a sensitive subject is the bottom line for conservatives who blame much of the financial crisis on poor lending by Freddie and its little friend Fannie. And Gingrich has harshly criticized it.
Stephen McMahon is a Democratic strategist. He's joining us from our New Orleans bureau. Cheri Jacobus is a Republican strategist in D.C. And of course we have our own David Gergen with us as well. All right, Steve, so let's be clear.
No one is saying that anything about this is illegal. But is it routine to get that kind of money, $1.6 million for consulting, strategic advice, sort of a little bit of that and a little bit of this?
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well it's actually more routine than most Americans know. Members of Congress all the time go through the revolving door and on the other side they're greeted by contracts like this for strategic advice which really means using your access and your power to try to get somebody a better deal than a regular American can get. And I think that's the -- that's the challenge here for the former speaker, is to explain why it is he took all this money, what it is he did for it and then how it is that it fits with his notion of radical transformational change because frankly it looks just like business as usual.
BURNETT: Cheri how big of a problem are the Freddie Mac payments do you think?
CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it's a bit of a paper tiger to be honest. He's not accused of anything and when you stretch those payments over the course of all of the years that he has -- that he was on retainer with them, it is actually less than what a lot of firms here in town make quite frankly, even boutique firms, and it didn't go to him, as he said. And the reason he's unfamiliar with some of the details of it, Erin, is that he does have employees, and I know this.
And so this was just one of many of their clients. He's also said that the advice he gave them they didn't listen to. He said he warned them about the bubble and he warned them -- he basically said you have bad lending practices. Now we know a lot of people were warning them. Maybe they thought perhaps if they were paying him that he would give a different response, but he didn't. I don't see this as a problem at all. I see this as making something out of nothing.
BURNETT: All right. What do you think, David Gergen?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well a couple of things. First of all, what we're seeing is that when you're a candidate who is down fifth, sixth or seventh, people don't pay a lot of attention to you. But if you come up and you're suddenly a challenger as he is now, then you get this kind of scrutiny. And I think this is only the beginning, not the end, of the kind of scrutiny we're going to see of Newt Gingrich. There is going to be a lot about his personal life before it's over. But on the facts as we know them about this situation, I happen to agree that it does not seem to me that he's done anything that is improper, much less illegal.
BURNETT: Right. GERGEN: He was hired -- I think it's objectionable that these -- these semi government entities for so long were paying people so much. He was only one of many people and I think finally the Congress is going to try to put a stop to that. (INAUDIBLE) I think his only danger is if he mischaracterizes what he did or if he misleads people and then he's found out. As to taking that much money over a long period of time, you know it doesn't rise to the level of something that usually causes a bunch of political trouble.
BURNETT: It is amazing how we're the only country with a Fannie and a Freddie and our homeownership isn't even as high as other countries that don't have all these generous mortgage deductions and we can't seem to get rid of them. Maybe one day, but let me throw this poll up and get each of you to respond to it. Take a look at Newt Gingrich in a runoff against Barack Obama. This may surprise some viewers. McClatchy Marist poll came out today, dead heat statistically, Obama at 47 percent, Newt Gingrich at 45 -- Steve?
MCMAHON: Well listen I think it demonstrates what we all know that 2012 is going to be a lot different than 2008. You know in New Hampshire, President Obama won -- he won New Hampshire in 2008 by nine points over Senator McCain. John Kerry carried it by one point. George Bush carried it by one point four years before that. It's a classic swing state. And what you're seeing really in this poll is two things.
Number one, Mitt Romney has been campaigning in New Hampshire for quite a long time now, six years probably. And second, you know this is the Barack Obama versus another candidate and whether the other candidate is Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich even, it's going to be a very, very close race because it's a very, very close state and I think that's really all we're seeing here right now.
BURNETT: David Gergen, any chance for someone else to rise as we have seen? Some pointed out the other day it's not just been Rick Perry and Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann and now Newt Gingrich. But earlier before when she wasn't even running there was Sarah Palin and there was also Donald Trump. So is there anybody else to come to the top?
GERGEN: I don't -- you know I don't think so because I think we've run out of alternatives. Isn't this sort of the last one standing in terms of the alternatives? Maybe I missed somebody like Santorum, maybe Huntsman can suddenly catch fire in New Hampshire. We don't see that yet. But I have to tell you something.
I think Newt Gingrich overall has acquitted himself in these debates as well as anybody else and probably second only to Mitt Romney. He's been very strong in the debates.
GERGEN: He's been very steady. But he's going to come under this additional scrutiny and then we'll have to see what happens. I don't know. I can tell you there are a lot of reporters out there who are laying for him. And you know I think he's going to face some tough stories. We'll see where it goes.
BURNETT: All right thanks so much to all. And still OUTFRONT the latest developments in the Penn State child rape case. Is the case against Jerry Sandusky as open and shut as we first thought? We've looked into it and we have the bottom line answer for that.
And the TSA says those body scanners that you go into don't cause cancer, but they refuse to test them. How safe are they -- answers? And it's a weekly tradition on this show. That means the "Camel Report" is next.
BURNETT: So would it be hump day without the "Camel Report"? This week Corinth, Mississippi, held its annual Civil War reenactment. Now the festivities included the usual, artillery displays, music and camels. That's right. It turns out the 18th -- in the 1850s the Department of War brought a bunch of camels from the Middle East to the American Southwest. Now, the reason is unlike horses, camels can go days without water. And in the American desert that was helpful and they can carry a lot more than the supposedly 300-pound mule load. They were perfect.
So what happened? Why don't we have camels running around America? Well it turns out the camels were championed by the leader of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis. And at the end of the Civil War, you know, things with Davis's name attached to them sort of got shunned. So the remaining camels were auctioned off. Some just wandered off into the wild, where they spent the next century stumbling into towns scaring some people, including a very young Douglas MacArthur. That's what he says. But the camel influence on military and political history doesn't end there in this country.
The U.S. Department of War also brought a team of camel trainers, Syrian Christians and Muslims into the United States to work with those animals. And after the camel experiment ended, a lot of those people stayed including a man named Hajji Ali (ph) who inspired the popular song "Hi Jolly" (ph) and is remembered as one of Arizona's most famous citizens. And a Syrian named Alios (ph), whose son Plutarko Alios Collis (ph) went on to be a controversial Mexican president, who founded the National Revolutionary Party, which governed Mexico for 70 years.
And to think it all started with camels in America. And by the way, a bonus, in what country do more camels live than any other country in the world? Hey, that would be Australia where President Obama is speaking in front of Australian parliament tonight. Hey, you learn something new every day.
Still OUTFRONT a woman who was severely injured during a stunt gone wrong forgives the boy responsible and saves him from a life in prison. She comes OUTFRONT. And a man who allegedly fired shots at the White House is arrested in Pennsylvania. We also have the latest developments in the Penn State child rape case. Could Sandusky escape prosecution?
BURNETT: We start the second half our show with stories we care about, when we focus on our own reporting, do the work and find the OUTFRONT 5.
Number one: the supercommittee. The clock is ticking. We are one week away from the deadline. No deal is in sight. Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem is freshmen liaison to the elected leadership. She came out front and told us something significant. She said she's OK with some people paying higher taxes for the elimination of deductions and write-offs.
Now, this echoes what super committee member Senator Pat Toomey told OUTFRONT last week.
Congresswoman Noem, though, is a Tea Party member. So that's significant.
Number two: The TSA says a health risk study of full body scanners is no longer needed, saying a new report will validate studies which say the machines aren't harmful. The switch comes after TSA administrator John Pistole promised a study after an investigation by ProPublica that PBS found that TSA glossed over research showing the X-ray machines can cause cancer.
Senator Susan Collins pushed for the study and told OUTFRONT tonight, quote, "Such reports undermine public confidence the technology is safe. We need an independent review of the technology to ensure it does not adversely affect the health of passengers and TSA employees. The CNN medical team did some research for us also. Expert they spoke to did think the machines are safe, even for frequent fliers.
Number three, the price of oil is above $100 a barrel for the first since July. Triple digit marker. OUTFRONT spoke with oil analyst John Kilduff, who said that if the price sticks, we can see gas prices at the pump above $4.00 by Christmas.
Number four, some good news for consumers, we're paying less. The consumer price index, the key gauge of inflation, dropped for the first time since June following 0.1 percent. This doesn't sound like a lot. You add it up, you know, 0.2 percent drop, biggest drop came in gasoline, which obviously is reversing the cost of food had its smallest increase, though, in nearly a year. And analysts told OUTFRONT, they expect consumer prices to actually start going up again in the next few months.
It has been 103 days since America lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get back? Europe is not helping.
Today, ratings agency Fitch warned that American banks' exposure to the problems in Europe, is manageable. But if things there get worse, the outlook for U.S. banks will darken. The reason why the stock market fell sharp, the U.S. bank that I've seen reports show with the most exposure to Europe is Morgan Stanley. Survey after survey says it's still too big to fail. Well, the man wanted for shooting at the White House has been arrested at a hotel in western Pennsylvania. Oscar Romero Ortega- Hernandez had been on the Secret Service radar's since Friday night, when within minutes of the shooting, officers located a car not far from the White House. It had evidence that led police to seek a warrant for his arrest.
Officials believe the 21-year-old Idaho native may have fired two shots at the White House, one that was stopped by bulletproof glass, the other was actually found in the White House exterior. It's a strange and disturbing story. Athena Jones has been following it for us.
Athena, what more can you tell us about this man's arrest?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin. Well, you know, as you mentioned, the Secret Service had a national lookout for this suspect ever since Friday night. They alerted all offices nationwide. He had been known to have been hanging around this particular area of Indiana, Pennsylvania. And so, the Secret Service went around there, they passed out flyers with his picture on it to various hotels.
And today, they got a tip from staffers at a Hampton inn. So, they went to Hampton Inn, they found Ortega-Hernandez. They arrested him in the lobby without incident.
We're told that he had -- the police said he had stayed at that particular Hampton Inn before, in the days leading up to Friday's incident. And so, the staffers recognized him and alerted authorities.
Now, we're also told by law enforcement officials that the FBI and the Secret Service have questioned Ortega-Hernandez and we expect to see him make an appearance in federal court tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. And no idea as to a motive at this point?
JONES: Not yet. That's certainly what we'll be waiting to hear tomorrow. We haven't heard anything coming out of the questioning by these officials of this suspect. We also -- we do know he does have a criminal history. He's been arrested -- he has arrests in three states for violations like drug and alcohol violations and for resisting arrests.
BURNETT: All right. Athena, thank you very much. We're going to keep following that story. Very strange and bizarre and frankly disturbing the bullets could even get there.
Well, there are new develops tonight in the Penn State child rape case against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Let's lay them out for you.
Sandusky obviously accused of sexually abusing eight boys. He's out on bail. And now, the judge who set his release terms was replaced. It was determined she was a volunteer at his charity, the Second Mile. So, that happened late today. She was removed.
There are also new developments tonight surrounding assistant coach Mike McQueary. Apparently, he sent an e-mail to his friend saying "I told law enforcement authorities." Penn State now disputes that. That's going to be crucial in the case.
Sara Ganim is a reporter for the "Patriot-News" and CNN contributor. She's at Penn State tonight with more on the situation.
Let me ask you, Sara, about the new judge being assigned. What is your understanding about what this will do to how quickly the case proceeds?
SARA GANIM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't think it changes how quickly it proceeds. But over the last week, there's been a lot of concern about whether or not a local judge in a town where there are a lot of people with ties to the Second Mile and to Penn State could really proceed and hear this case on December 7th when it goes for a preliminary hearing.
So, what the state offices in charge of all state judges decided to do was bring in a judge from Westmoreland County with no ties to Penn State, no ties to Jerry Sandusky's charity. And he's going to hear that case on December 7th.
BURNETT: All right. December 7th. Now, have there been anymore developments regarding alleged victims? We have the eight. Reports there could be many more. Any others formally come forward? Are you hearing that they may?
GANIM: There's a tip line set up specifically and only for this case. And we are hearing that there are tips going into that tip line. However, state police are not confirming how many reports, how many victims they're interviewing.
Actually they've denied that the reports that have been made about a specific number of new victims, they've denied those reports. They say they're false.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much, covering the story for the "Patriot-News" and contributing for us.
Well, the investigation into the sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky continues to expand. Earlier today, the Fresh Air Fund, a charity in New York, confirmed the Sandusky family was a host to at least six children going back to the 1970s. There have been no allegations made by any of these families. But the investigation continues.
Sandusky, as we said, eight boys formally right now have come forward. If he's found guilty, he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
But proving someone guilty of child sex abuse is not as easy as it may seem. Many of alleged victims in this case go back as far as 10 years or more.
And to help break it down is Paul Callan, former prosecutor and a contributor for us. And Jeff Herman, an attorney who specializes in child sex abuse cases. He spent two decades doing it, just won a settlement, a judgment in Miami, $100 million, in a priest sex abuse case.
Thanks to both of you.
Paul Callan, let me start with you and start with this issue first.
So, you have Sandusky come forward, admit on national television to being in the shower with these young boys. But proving this criminally in court, why isn't it that easy?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's still hard. Although I must say Sandusky's ridiculous press conference where he admitted showering with the boys has made the prosecution's job a lot easier. But even so, the prosecution still has to prove a specific crime was committed at a specific place 10 years ago.
You're going to have -- these involve children, by the way, from this Second Mile program. They're children who had problems to begin with. They were in foster homes, a lot of them. A lot of them were in group homes. That's why they went into the Second Mile program.
Now, 10 years later, a prosecutor is going to have to rely on the recollection and memory of that witness to testify, and it's hard because of the passage of time.
BURNETT: And the thing that you're saying that would really make it easy, and open and shut, is really not that easy. You would need Mike McQueary, the assistant coach, who allegedly saw the incident. You need him to come forward. And the boy who was there that night come forward. Two people from the same incident.
CALLAN: Exactly. You'd like to see the victim and you like to see corroboration.
Now, you don't always have to have that. But, of course, maybe we'll get to this later. But the McQueary case is starting to blow up a little bit, too, because McQueary is saying I reported it to the police, I reported it to the administrators. And they're saying no, he didn't.
So, now, you got an issue at trial. They're going to say McQueary is a liar and the faculty or administration backs us up on that. So, you've got a problem with a corroborating witness already.
BURNETT: Jeff Herman, how difficult might this be? You have been through this many times, spending a career on it, going through it in priest situations where I would imagine corroboration was not frequent.
JEFF HERMAN, CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE ATTORNEY: Right, right. I mean, the typical child sex abuse prosecution is inherently difficult because typically there's no eyewitnesses and there's no physical evidence. It's classic he said/she said.
But in this case, I think Sandusky is not going to walk away here. This is a he said/he said/he said/he said situation. There's a lot of victims out there which I think will come into this case. There's going to be an accumulation of evidence that's going to be a mountain that's going to be too big for Sandusky's defense to climb over.
And also, I think Sandusky's press conference, if you want do call it that, created several problems for him. First of all, by issuing the denial that he did, he's going to encourage other victims to come forward who might have stayed in silence. And so, I think we'll see more victims.
Number two --
HERMAN: I'm sorry. Go ahead.
BURNETT: I was just going to ask you, Jeff. You were contacted by at least one of the victims in this case. I know -- I don't know whether you're going to be working with them formally or not. But maybe you could tell us that. But are they one of the eight or are you hearing about more boys coming forward?
HERMAN: Well, what I'm talking about is just typically when you have a predator who denies abusing children, the other victims that may be out there say, you know what? It's time for me to speak up.
And so, I think just because of his denials, we'll see other victims come forward.
And then, of course, we have him admitting he was taking showers with boys. That in and of itself makes the prosecution's job a lot easier here.
And then, also, I just think his entire scope of his statement fits the classic pedophile profile. And the commonwealth I think will bring in a behavioral psychologist to show that this is the kind of actions that a predator takes.
BURNETT: I think the most shocking thing when he asked whether he was sexually attracted to young boys, he had to repeat the question as if he didn't understand what it was.
Paul Callan, you looked in to the fact, though, that even without a criminal conviction, there could still be -- these boys could still receive compensation, punitive damages. How much in sex abuse cases?
Obviously, Jeff just did a case with $100 million.
CALLAN: Well, Jeff's case is a good example of how juries react in these cases. They award enormous amounts of money. You have the possibility, first of all, you get compensation for the injury that you sustained through the sexual abuse, if there are psychiatric problems that these kids had later in life, they get compensated for that. But then, if there's a case against Penn State, the specter of punitive damages, a jury can say we're going to punish the university to send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. And they can award a huge settlement.
BURNETT: Twenty million, $30 million.
CALLAN: Well, they can award that much. I don't know that it would be sustained by the courts. But, clearly, you're looking at the specter of multi-million dollar verdicts in this case if other victims come forward, indeed, even just these eight victims.
BURNETT: All right. Paul and Jeff, I hope you both come back as we try to make more sense of this and figure this story out in the coming days. Thanks to both.
BURNETT: Let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look of what's ahead on "A.C. 360."
Anderson, I know you're covering the story as well.
CALLAN: Yes, we're keeping them honest tonight on the program. We're going to speak with a mother of one of the first alleged sexual abuse victims to come forward. Victim number one, his mother -- Jerry Sandusky, allegedly multiple counts of having sex with this child, oral sex in his home. His mom says he's a brave child but he's still afraid that the former Penn State assistant coach might get away with it. We're going to hear the pressure she and her family say they are facing now, and the pressure they faced and ultimately face down to not come forward, to not tell the police what happened to her son.
We'll also speak with John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" and our panel, Jeffrey Toobin, Sonny Hostin and Mark Geragos.
Also tonight, raw politics, digging deeper on current presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's very lucrative consulting work for mortgage financing giant Freddie Mac, the same Freddie Mac that in 2008, he chastised former presidential candidate John McCain for taking money from. Our political panel of Ari Fleischer and Hilary Rosen join me for that.
Those stories and tonight's ridiculous at the top of the hour -- Erin.
BURNETT: Anderson, thank you so much. We're looking forward to that.
Next here, bizarre details emerge about the mother of a baby missing in Washington state and the Web site that she may have signed up for just before her child disappeared.
And a woman severely injured in a teenage stunt gone wrong. Her life almost ended. But this is a story of recovery. We'll be back.
BURNETT: We do this at the same time every night, our "Outer Circle." We reach out to our sources around the world.
And we begin tonight in Syria where a group of military deserts calling themselves the Free Syrian Army attacked an important government complex near the capital.
Ivan Watson is in Istanbul, Turkey.
Ivan, what is the message of the Free Syrian Army?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we talked to a member of this so-called Free Syrian Army, a lieutenant who deserted and is in exile in Istanbul. And he said that his colleagues attacked what he described as a branch of internal security in Damascus that he said was guilty of crimes against the Syrian people.
The message that these branches will be targeted in the future, a stark warnings to the Syrian government and to the international community that Syria seems headed towards an armed civil war between rival factions in that country -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Ivan.
And now to Afghanistan where President Karzai began the tribal elder meeting we told you about yesterday. He had a speech that set strict limits on the future presence of American troops.
Nick Paton Walsh is in Kabul covering it.
And, Nick, what were the terms?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the limitations that Hamid Karzai puts on American presence here are basically the formalization of complains about the NATO presence that we've heard before from Afghan officials. He wants an end tonight raids by U.S. Special Forces and ends to searching of Afghan homes and says that Americans here won't have the power of arrest over Afghans.
Karzai is trying to both sound like a nationalistic leader who will defend Afghan interests while at the end of the day accepting that he wants the U.S. and Afghanistan to have a long-term military alliance -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you very much. Well, bizarre details emerging about the mother of a missing 2- year-old boy from Washington state.
Sky Metalwala disappeared 11 days ago. That's when Bellevue police say his mother, Julia Biryukova, said she'd ran out of gas just east of Seattle.
Now, according to cops, she left her son in the car and took her 4-year-old daughter with her to get help. Police later test drove her 1998 Acura Integra. They say it was full of gas and nothing was wrong with it. After more than a week of searching and several hundred tips, police are now taking a closer look at the mother.
A profile using Biryukova's name has been spotted on the Web site seekingarrangements.com, a Web site where sugar babies go to meet sugar daddies.
Brandon Wade is that CEO of that site and he's joining us now from Las Vegas.
Brandon, obviously, no wrong doing vis-a-vis the Web site has been alleged here. I'm just curious, could you explain what a sugar baby is, and what the site is all about? Why a woman might be on it?
BRANDON WADE, CEO, SEEKINGARRANGEMENTS.COM: Yes. The sugar baby is defined as a younger woman who usually wants to meet a wealthy man to take care of them. In this case, they are sugar daddies. So, I suppose Julia joined this Web site looking for a person, a wealthier guy to take care of her.
BURNETT: Is it typical for single mothers to be using your site?
WADE: Yes, it is. Actually, the single mothers happen to be the second largest demographic of users. So, close to about 10 percents of our users are in fact single mothers.
BURNETT: What can you tell us about the activity on the account that uses Julia Biryukova's name, when she logged on, when was it open, was there -- you know, was she, you know, dating with anybody? Or involved with anybody?
WADE: Well, all we can say is that the account was created in July of this year, late July, and she logged in as late as yesterday night around 11:00 p.m.
BURNETT: She logged in as late as yesterday night. You can't tell anything else, though, in terms of how much money she was asking for or something, as some women do?
WADE: Well, her profile basically states she is expecting a guy who can afford a budget of $3,000 to $5,000 a month. That's pretty typical. Some girls do ask for upwards of $10,000 to $20,000. So, I would say she's actually very reasonable.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. We appreciate it. WADE: Thank you.
BURNETT: Let's try to get to the bottom of this very strange story.
Well, a woman severely injured in a stunt gone wrong recovers and saves the boy responsible from a life in prison. She's OUTFRONT, next.
BURNETT: It was a night like tonight in New York, cold, dark and wet. November 2004, Victoria Ruvolo was driving home from seeing her niece sing. Just a few moments before she got home, something impossible to imagine happened, a 20-pound frozen turkey thrown by a teen from a passing car came smashing through her window as she was driving. She almost died, was in a coma.
And then she did something that no one expected. Her book "No Room for Vengeance" is just out, and really a stunning read. She joins us now.
Thank you so much for coming OUTFRONT.
VICTORIA RUVOLO, AUTHOR, "NO ROOM FOR VENGEANCE": Oh, thank you for having me here.
BURNETT: So tell me, first, just what happened that night. I know you don't have any memory still, right, of the exact moment?
RUVOLO: Oh, no, I don't have no memory whatsoever. Like you said, I was going to see my niece sing and then I was going home because the rain became a rainy, wet snow and I wanted to leave and get home because I don't like to drive in the snow. And that's all I remember. I didn't wake up until a month later, and I was already in the rehab hospital. I don't even remember the wonderful hospital that took care of me.
BURNETT: Your recovery was miraculous. People thought it would take an incredible at of time.
RUVOLO: Oh, yes.
BURNETT: You were in great physical shape. There were physical reasons for it. But then there was one really significant mental reason.
Tell me why you decided to not hate the person who did it to you.
RUVOLO: Well, you know, it's funny because Dr. Robert Goldman who wrote the book and we're in there together, he actually never believe me when I said, when they told me about the incident when I was in the rehab hospital, that I actually said, do those kids realize how much they ruined their lives as much as they ruined mine?
He never believed that I ever said that until he went to interview everyone and was amazed that I actually said that. So, you know, I just truly believe that -- you know, to me it just seemed like such a stupid, ridiculous act. What -- you know, and finding out that they were kids, just knowing that it wasn't meant for me and it was just a stupid, ridiculous act.
BURNETT: These were kids who had stolen a credit card from a family car who was at the movies, they went to the grocery store, bought a turkey, they got scared. And then one of kids threw it out the window. That kid is Ryan. He was the one who was going to go to jail.
Here's what he said about you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN CUSHING: I told her I'm so happy she's doing well and I'm so sorry. I just wanted to go on with her life, and I love that woman. She's a wonderful person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You and he now do something sort of together, a program to help kids like Ryan.
RUVOLO: Well, we did that, you know. His -- Ryan's community service was to speak to other kids about his stupid, ridiculous act and actually try to help them not to do that. And that was a program created by Dr. Robert Goldman called the TASTE Program, stands for Thinking Errors, Anger Management, Social Skills and Talking Empathy.
And Ryan would speak at the first class, you know, Thinking Errors, and I would speak at the last class, which I still do. Ryan had to do that for his community service for one year, but then he continued and volunteered for an additional three years.
BURNETT: But he could have gone to jail for maybe the rest of his life, for 20-plus years.
BURNETT: And he didn't because you went to the judge and said, don't do it.
RUVOLO: Actually, I spoke with the D.A., and I actually -- which they all thought I was nuts and looked at me and said, what are you, crazy? You're too easy.
But they listened to me. I just couldn't see how taking a child who did a stupid, ridiculous act and putting him -- sending him away for 25 years, you know, what would that do? You know, make him more bitter, more angry and come out and do something worse?
BURNETT: Pretty incredible. Thank you, and certainly something that's inspiring for many of us, certainly for me, reading that book. Thanks again.
RUVOLO: Thank you very much.
BURNETT: All right. And thanks to all of you for watching. Have a good night.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.