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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Markets Rally; Interview with Gene Sperling; Political Play; Mindy McCready Custody Case

Aired November 30, 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. Well Newton Leroy Gingrich, the man known as Newt is surging in the polls. Will it stick?

The strange case of a missing mom in Florida; she disappeared the same day she appeared on the TV show the "People's Court". Her sister comes OUTFRONT.

And the "Bottom Line" on today's real surge, nearly 500 points. Let's go OUTFRONT.

I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, markets surging big time around the world wherever you look; the Dow posting its best day in more than 2.5 years with a rocking 490-point gain. That puts the Dow back in positive territory for the year, above 12,000, which is a psychologically very important level for the 401(ks) in this country.

The S&P and Nasdaq both up more than four percent as well. Why? Well, it began with America's top economic man, Ben Bernanke, bailing out Europe which is on the verge of bringing down the world economy. Peter Kenny is managing director at Knight Capital, former New York Stock Exchange floor trader. Obviously, it was Ben Bernanke working together with other central bank chiefs around the world, but this is Europe-related?

PETER KENNY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, KNIGHT CAPITAL: This is definitely Europe-related. There's more to today's movement than just that. But the driver was clearly futures were roaring this morning very, very early as a direct result of Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve's move with five other central banks around the world to effectively lower the cost of gaining access to U.S. dollars. Why, because U.S. dollars, that's the world's reserve currency and that's what the euro zone needs for their banks and financial institutions to provide a liquidity to tighten sovereign debt spreads.

BURNETT: Now I remember back in 2008, everyone was saying look this was a really crucial moment.

KENNY: Yes.

BURNETT: We look at Europe, the whole world was put in a position right where we were when Lehman Brothers collapsed and we all remember what a terrible fall that was.

KENNY: Right. BURNETT: But one thing I remember about that was we had up days of 600 points and that we had down days of 600 points.

KENNY: Yes.

BURNETT: And I'm wondering how much you can read into today.

KENNY: Well this is definitely a period of historic uncertainty. There's no question that this volatility drives confidence out of the market, drives participants out of the market. It's generally not good for market psychology. But an up day is clearly better than a down day and today was a 2.5 year high in terms of a swing to the upside. So it was (INAUDIBLE) positive. The question is can we build on it?

BURNETT: And what do you think? What's your bottom line? You've been pretty optimistic, Peter.

KENNY: I have been pretty optimistic and I do think we can build on it for several reasons. You know the shopping season is off to a great start. Employment has largely stabilized. In fact we got some data today which speaks to the fact that it not only has it stabilized, but it's modestly improving. The Challenger (ph) report that came out this morning, firings are down, ADP report, 50 percent better than expected. Friday's Labor Department numbers should be a little bit better than expected based on the ADP numbers that we saw this morning, so the tone is improving.

BURNETT: Yes.

KENNY: And if it continues to improve, can we move higher, yes.

BURNETT: All right. Well Peter Kenny, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

KENNY: Thanks for having me --

BURNETT: Peter, of course, referring with Challenger (ph) an ADP, to different measures of jobs in America and the fact that we are creating jobs. The European news is crucial. But it comes and goes. So don't get too excited about any one thing there. But at home three really important things happen that should make Americans happier. One, Peter referred to it. U.S. added more than 200,000 jobs.

Two, home sales jumped the most in over a year. And three, business confidence. And America's manufacturing zone, the heart of where we make things in this country popped. Earlier I talked to the director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling and I asked him his reaction to the good news today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GENE SPERLING, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: It's always nice to see the market going up and seeing confidence strengthen. But our fundamental focus is on making sure we have the type of growth over the next 12 or 18 months to make sure that we are seeing job creation that will start bringing the unemployment rate down and the concern obviously, Erin, is that with growth projected only to be a little over two percent right now, if we don't get something like the payroll tax cut that the president's proposing now, it could be a real hit for our economy.

So that's why our number one focus is focusing on what we can do, which is to cut payroll taxes in half for every worker, every small business, private sector experts have estimated that could mean an additional 600,000 to a million jobs next year. That's absolutely critical in helping us dig out of this great recession that we're still recovering from.

BURNETT: It's a popular tax. Both sides of the aisle, everybody likes it. Paying for it another issue, but let me just ask you two questions on that. One, the costs I've seen are somewhere between 110, $115 billion to provide that payroll tax relief. That's money that isn't going to go into funding Social Security, which is what that tax is intended to do. Are you willing to write into legislation we're going to find that money because you know now it's two years and it's such a popular tax cut, you know hey, it could be years before we start putting money back in that Social Security fund.

SPERLING: So let's be very clear. The way that this tax cut happened in this year and we're proposing next year would be that you would absolutely, by law, strict policy, every penny would be replaced with Social Security Trust Fund, would not hurt Social Security one penny.

BURNETT: Where would it come from?

SPERLING: You transfer from general revenues to make sure that you are not doing anything to hurt Social Security. The way the president's proposed this right now is that we would raise enough money to pay for this so that it would not affect general revenues or affect the Social Security Trust Fund, and we do that by asking the 300,000 Americans who make over $1 million to pay just a little bit more you know in the future and that money is then used to give a tax cut to every small business in this coming year and every worker.

BURNETT: Are you going to keep putting forth, though, surcharges of a percent here or there to pay for your agenda on those same people?

SPERLING: Well we've put forward our budget and we've -- this is the only thing that we have in our budget that is on high income people that pay for this initiative. But we do call for not extending the most high tax cuts for the most high income Americans preserving those for 98 percent --

BURNETT: Bush tax cuts, yes --

SPERLING: -- of Americans -- yes -- who make under 90 -- under $250,000. But the key, Erin, is just the balance. That we need -- you need in fiscal discipline a grand compromise. And we know what that means. It means that we are going to have to cut spending significantly. It is going to mean sacrifice for many Americans. BURNETT: One final thing, Gene. Looking at the Bush tax cuts, I'm really curious how you see this because if you let them go away for those who make over $250,000 and have them revert to the higher rates you raise about 670, $680 billion. If you let them go away for everyone including middle class Americans, you raise 2.8 trillion. That's a lot of money and I'm wondering -- I'm wondering how you intellectually get around the fact that raising it on the high end might help you a little bit but it doesn't get you anywhere near as much money.

SPERLING: That's why you need a balanced package and that's why the package the president has put forward really called for about $2 in spending cuts for every dollar that you have in revenues. It needs to be a balanced package. We don't think putting that whole burden on the middle class makes sense through spending cuts or Medicare cuts or education cuts. And if we're doing revenue, we think it makes more sense to ask those who have done the best in the economy over the last 10 years to pay a little more as opposed to taking away the tax relief from working families that are working hard but struggling still in this economy.

BURNETT: Gene Sperling, thank you so much, as always.

SPERLING: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: OK, OUTFRONT next, Newt Gingrich or Newton Leroy Gingrich. I love that that's his full name. All right, he's getting ready to hold a slice the deficit pizza party in Iowa. Will he stay number one in the polls? We have a special report next.

And a developing story involving country singer Mindy McCready (ph). Reports are that she violated custody and kidnapped her son. A judge demanding she produce him or face consequences -- the story up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Time now for the "Political Play" with none other than our own John Avlon -- John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: How are you Erin? That's right. The "Political Play" of the day today is the inevitability fail. This idea that Mitt Romney's campaign has been the inevitable nominee took a major ding this week as Newt Gingrich is surging in the polls and Romney has gotten a lot of bad news. The horses are spooked and you can see that in an interview he did last night with Bret Baier. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Brett, I don't know how many hundred times I've said this too. This is an unusual interview. All right, let's do it again. Absolutely, what we did in Massachusetts was right for Massachusetts. You're wrong, Brett. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Brett, Brett, no, the tape out there. Continue to read the tape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: The normally unflappable Mitt Romney was rattled last night and there's good reason for it. Let take a look at some of the polls in key states. First of all Iowa, Newt Gingrich up 27 to Mitt Romney's 20, he said he played there two weeks ago, might be regretting that decision. Now New Hampshire, this has been Mitt Romney's stronghold.

Now after the "Union Leader" endorsement Newt Gingrich is within striking distance, 27 to Newt's -- to Mitt's 31, now South Carolina, social conservative stronghold, no surprise here, Newt Gingrich 33, Mitt Romney 21. Now to the big one, Florida, this is where it all comes together in the Republican primary and a new poll out shows Newt Gingrich 41 percent to Mitt Romney's 17 percent.

No amount of congressional endorsements can take away this sting. The Romney campaign has a real problem. And let's take a look at some of the trends behind these numbers. This is the presidential and positive intensity index that Gallup does, tells the whole story. Midsummer, Newt Gingrich's campaign was as good as dead, Mitt Romney riding high, this fall Newt Gingrich like Lazarus, the highest positive intensity index of any supporter while Mitt Romney had his lowest mark on record at precisely the wrong time.

Look, this does kind of bring to mind the Hillary campaign in 2008. Remember, she was the inevitable nominee. She had -- all the smart money was on her. She had the endorsements, but it didn't come together at the end of the day because she didn't see Barack Obama rising until it was too late. Look in politics as in sports the best defense is a good offense. And if there's one thing we've learned in presidential politics is that nothing is inevitable -- Erin.

BURNETT: I mean it's pretty amazing when you look at that. And by the way, Newt Gingrich has sliced the deficit pizza party in Council Bluffs, Iowa has now begun. All right, let's bring in Republican strategist Rich Galen into the conversation, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. Maria, I want to start with you because of what John was just saying this whole -- Hillary Clinton was hit by this inevitability. Everyone thought she was the inevitable candidate. She didn't see Barack Obama until it was too late. What can Newt Gingrich learn from Hillary?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well I think he actually has been taking some great lessons and some great notes, which is never assume anything and I think John is right that Mitt Romney could be in trouble here because he has been running from the very beginning as if he is owed this, as if this is his for the taking. And that is exactly the wrong position to take. Believe me, I know. And what you need to do is to be running as an underdog from the very first day you jump into the campaign. No matter where you think you are, no matter what the polls say. That is the only way that you're going to run successfully if that's where you're going to go ultimately. Because that means that you're not going to take anything for granted. And again, to John's point. That's exactly right. You can never take anything for granted. A day is a lifetime in politics. Anything can happen and you need to be prepared.

BURNETT: Rich, you served as Newt Gingrich's press secretary when he was the House Republican Whip. You also were his communications director when he became speaker of the House. So do you think that Newt can hold this because so many people talk about his propensity to cut himself off at the knees?

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well there is that, but we don't know and let me also make the point --

BURNETT: There is that.

GALEN: Well I mean it's true.

BURNETT: Sorry. Yes.

GALEN: We've seen it three or four times. But let me also -- let me make a couple of points about what everybody else has said. One, that if you would have had the same conversation at about the same point in the rise of not so much Bachmann but certainly Perry and then again Cain, it looked like the same thing that suddenly Romney was in second place and what was going to happen was going to happen. That's number one.

Number two is the Hillary comparison doesn't work unless a John Edwards type also joins this -- the top three. So far, there's always been a top two, Romney and somebody. But in -- four years ago it was John Edwards that really kind of zapped Hillary's strength. In Iowa, as an example in the caucuses, Barack Obama only won with about 38 percent of the vote. So 62 percent of Democrats wanted somebody else. Hillary and Edwards split that 30/30. If either one had jumped out ahead of the other --

BURNETT: They would have done it (INAUDIBLE).

GALEN: It would have been completely different. So that -- the Hillary comparison doesn't work as well as we like to think it because somebody thought of it --

AVLON: Here's why I think it matters. This high stakes game of musical chairs, Newt Gingrich is in the right seat at the right time. At this point --

BURNETT: Right, even if he comes down, right --

AVLON: Exactly right --

BURNETT: -- you're at a point now where you're a month away -- AVLON: He's going to be riding this out with five weeks out from Iowa. And here's the other thing. At this point in the game, these polls are not simply snapshots of a horse race. They indicate real trends and the gravity is starting to take a toll on the Romney campaign while Newt Gingrich is getting wind in his sails at precisely the right time --

(CROSSTALK)

GALEN: I have no idea why you're saying that.

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: The closer -- the polls closer to the actual polling date and primary date are the ones that matter. In the summer, it's all academic --

(CROSSTALK)

GALEN: Florida is not -- Florida -- but let's take your point --

(CROSSTALK)

GALEN: Florida is not until January 31st. We've got two months to go.

AVLON: Do you think Mitt Romney is happy with these numbers right now?

GALEN: No. Of course, everybody wants to be first, but to flatly state that Romney is done for is just --

AVLON: He's not done for, of course not, Rich.

BURNETT: But Rich, what about -- what about what John was saying about New Hampshire where Mitt really was the presumptive nominee, he had such a lead and now it's almost, not quite, but almost within the margin of error.

GALEN: Yes, well if we're going to talk about polling here's what you have to do. With political polls, we have to treat it -- first of all, you can't take one poll and try to draw a graph because you don't know where the line is going to go. But what you need to do is take a couple of polls. You throw out the high one and you throw out the low one. You have to treat it like we used to treat figure skating scores in the Olympics. You knew the East Germans and French were cheating so you threw them out and what's in the middle is left. Is this race tightening in New Hampshire? Sure. Do I think that Gingrich is going to beat Romney in New Hampshire? I don't think so.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I didn't know the French were cheaters.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: East Germans I had heard about. All right, anyway, I learn something new every day. Go ahead, Maria.

CARDONA: Here's the point and here is what I think we're all saying. No one I think has said that Romney is out of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

CARDONA: But he is in trouble because of two things. First, he has not been able to go above the 25 percent ceiling and secondly, we still know the reason is because conservatives do not trust him. He has been a major flip-flopper on not just one, not just two, but every single major issue that is facing this country today. And what has been so flabbergastingly (ph) surprising to me is that no contender as of now and I actually think Newt Gingrich is going to go after this, has been able to take advantage of those flip-flops. There are things on the record that Mitt Romney has said that is complete polar opposite of the Mitt Romney four years ago. And if you're a voter, you do not want the person who is representing you without a core value.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: It is interesting though, when you look at personal lives and who is the most conservative. Clearly, you look at Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney -- it would be Mitt Romney.

AVLON: Mitt Romney has had an impeccable personal life --

BURNETT: Complicated ways of evaluating these things.

AVLON: That's right. And the only poll that matters is Election Day.

BURNETT: Yes.

AVLON: But the trend is not Mitt Romney's friend and the aura of inevitably is off so he needs to start playing offense.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And timing is everything.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree with that and he has started doing it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

GALEN: No, I absolutely agree. They obviously have some data that agrees with you --

BURNETT: OK.

GALEN: -- that they need to get out in front of this.

BURNETT: All right. All right. Well thanks to all three of you and the bottom line, people like an underdog, so maybe Mitt Romney, the trend going down will help him. Who knows?

All right, but tonight is Newt's night. He's at the pizza pie deficit slice the deficit party, eating pizza and not ripping off the cheese like Mitt Romney.

All right, country singer Mindy McCready could be facing legal trouble. A Florida judge has ordered her to produce her son Zander by tomorrow evening or face consequences. The problem is that McCready says her 5-year-old son isn't missing. Her publicist says the boy has been with her for the past month. Now the other problem is that McCready doesn't have legal custody. That's the sole issue of what defines missing. Her parents have custody.

After a surprise visit to their home yesterday by Florida's Department of Children and Families, the boy was nowhere to be found. Now we invited Ms. McCready to come OUTFRONT, but her publicist tells us she's pregnant with twins and is resting. But we want to bring in CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on this and Jeff thanks for weighing in. So McCready says she's in a legal battle to get her son back. Even her publicist says quote, "since at least January 2011, Ms. McCready has been desperately advising the court that Zander is in danger, both physically and emotionally and as a direct result of being a mother, Ms. McCready took action to ensure her son's safety." What do you make of this case?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well obviously it's a family mess but, you know, McCready cannot do this.

BURNETT: Yes.

TOOBIN: If a court says her parents have custody, her parents have custody. Now she can go to court and try to get that changed. But the law does not allow you to have self help. To have you decide that your child belongs somewhere differently than what the court said, so she legally, if she's defying this court is clearly in the wrong.

BURNETT: Now what king of consequences should she be facing or could she be facing? And I will note that by the way there has been no Amber alert.

TOOBIN: Right. I mean they apparently know where the child is.

BURNETT: Right.

TOOBIN: But it's not -- the child is not with the person -- the people he's supposed to be with. The legal custody -- the legal ramifications can range. I mean worst case, she could be charged with kidnapping. I think that's very unlikely. But a judge will ultimately get this case again about custody and the judge will say, look, if you defied the court I'm going to take that into consideration in deciding whether to give custody to you. Plus it's important to remember McCready was just on "Celebrity Rehab".

She's had a lot of drug problems. She's had issues involving addiction. So it's not surprising or it's less surprising that the court took custody away from her in the first place. I mean it's a sad story. It's a mess but you can't leave it up to a parent when the parents had a court take custody away.

BURNETT: All right, well Jeff Toobin thank you very much.

TOOBIN: OK.

BURNETT: Protesters storming the British Embassy in Tehran, we showed you the pictures, but today, a big story, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands all recalling their ambassadors from Iran. Is war coming?

And then a mom goes missing the same day she appeared on the "People's Court". Her sister OUTFRONT with new information and it's "Hump Day" and you know what that means. It's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: So for today's story we go to Aberdeenshire, Scotland where the economy is in dire straits. It's so bad that they've had to cut $77 million from their social services budget. That's meant closing some rural primary schools, cutting back on classroom assistants, even shutting down some library hours. So it's been a big problem, but there's one thing that they're not cutting and that is the camels.

The Community Council has voted 11-1 to spend about $1,500 on three camels for the town's nativity parade. As you can imagine, a few people weren't so happy about this decision including the one town council member who voted against it, Debra Storr who said quote, "Of the 11 councilors, I was the only one to express disquiet. As everyone else was clearly in favor, there was no point in pushing it to a vote. I'm not terribly happy about spending that kind of money on the hire of camels."

Not helping the camels public relations cause, the $1,500 is the exact same amount of money that was going to go to a quiet space for autistic children in one of Aberdeenshire's schools. In defense of the camel, the promise of live camels at the parade could really increase attendance. Think of all those kids that get to see a live camel. More attendance means more money and that means a stronger economy for Aberdeenshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: So you're probably wondering why I went to the Bronx Zoo for a story about a nativity in Scotland. Here's why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So his name is Joshua.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joshua.

BURNETT: Not a coincidence. It's a biblical pick, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right, before he came to the Bronx Zoo Josh worked a few nativity scenes himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And they said he'd love to go to Scotland. It shouldn't have to be the camels or social services. Help offset the camel cost by making a donation to this charity on behalf of our friend Josh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT the "OutFront 5": Anarchy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dozens of protesters from the Occupy London movement stormed an office building.

BURNETT: Political secrets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw with your own eyes that he wasn't prepared for the debate. Now we know why.

BURNETT: All this OUTFRONT in our second half.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about. We focus on our reporting, do the work, and find the OUTFRONT 5.

And, first, markets. What a day! Nearly 500 points higher. Best gain for the Dow in more than two and a half years. It all began with America's top economic man, Ben Bernanke, teaming up with other central banks to bail out Europe, which is still on the verge of bringing down the world economy.

It wasn't all Europe. It was good news at home today, too. More than 200,000 jobs added in America, home sales jumping by the most in over a year. And business confidence in our manufacturing heartland rising.

Former floor trader Peter Kenny came OUTFRONT and says he thinks this is something we can build on this because people have been spending money this holiday season.

Number two, evangelist Billy Graham admitted to a North Carolina hospital today. We're told the 93-year-old is under evaluation and treatment of his lungs. The Mission Hospital added Graham was treated in May for pneumonia.

They issued a statement saying, "While no date has been set for discharge, Mr. Graham is looking forward to returning home to spend the upcoming Christmas holidays with his family." Number three, in something that matters to a lot of Americans. Cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor lost its patent today. That means generic versions can now be sold. Seventeen million people are prescribed Lipitor. And the drug brought in $5 billion in U.S. revenue alone last year.

Pfizer analysts told OUTFRONT sales will decline by 50 percent at the end of the year. As much as 80 percent next year and that the generic Lipitor is going to cost you a lot, lot, lot less money.

Number four, 110,000 jobs will be added in November. That's what 21 economists predicted to us ahead of Friday's jobs report. Based on their estimates, the unemployment rate would stand change at 9 percent.

Well, it's been 117 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. When are we going to get it back?

Well, today's 490-point rise in the Dow might not get us an upgrade. But the positive economic news can. By the way, an economy that's growing will take away nearly 40 percent of our deficit according to some estimates. That will help.

Well, is Iran heading to war? France, Britain, Germany, and The Netherlands all recalling their ambassadors from Iran today. This in reaction to hundreds of Iranian protesters attacking the British embassy compound in Tehran on Tuesday. Now, that attack came on the heels of the U.K. slapping tough economic sanctions on Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I've often said in the past, while the possession of nuclear weapons would be a calamity for the world, it's quite possible that military action against Iran would be calamitous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Robin Wright is OUTFRONT tonight. She's the author of "Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World."

Robin, calamity, calamitous, you get a nuclear to have conflict. But is that the direction that the world is heading?

ROBIN WRIGHT, AUTHOR, "ROCK THE CASBAH: RAGE AND REBELLION ACROSS THE ISLAMIC WORLD": No. I don't think we're anywhere close to a military conflict. I would be surprised if we see military action before the election next year. I think the world is really still trying to figure out a diplomatic solution.

But in light of what's happened. Diplomacy is going to be much more complicated. The fact that the Europeans are pretty standing together against Iran and probably imposing tougher sanctions in the next few weeks was likely to exacerbate those tensions.

I think this is only the opening chapter in this confrontation. BURNETT: And what do you think about Israel, and obviously the rhetoric that's come out of Israel regarding potential military intervention and bombing nuclear sites? Will they do it or is that really all talk?

WRIGHT: Israel feels an existential threat from Iran because of its suspected nuclear program. But I think that the United States is likely to use as much restraint as it can, as much pressure as it can to try to prevent Israel from taking any military action.

After all, we haven't reached the point where there is abundant and provable evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. Much less that it achieved the threshold required to test or use a nuclear weapons. That's still according to almost every intelligence estimate still, you know, a year or three years, whatever, away.

BURNETT: A year I guess it doesn't sound that far. But obviously a year has an election and a lot of other things as well. Robin, thanks so much for coming on.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

BURNETT: Well, there are more legal troubles tonight for Jerry Sandusky.

The former Penn State football coach was hit with his first civil suit by a man who claims Sandusky sexually abused him more than 100 times, between 1992 and 1996. Now, the unidentified alleged victim is not, not one of the original eight boys that we have been talking about.

Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing in the criminal case. Like the others, this boy met the coach through his charity, Second Mile. He's 10 years old.

Sandusky continues to deny all allegations.

Marci Hamilton is one of the lawyers representing the alleged victim in this civil case. She's OUTFRONT with us tonight.

Marci, can you tell us a little bit more about your client and what happened to him?

MARCI HAMILTON, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED SEX ABUSE VICTIM: Well, John Doe A, which is his name in this particular case, had never told a soul about the abuse until he heard about the grand jury report. And as soon as he learned that there were other victims, he was horrified. He felt terrible that he might have been responsible for other children being abused.

And so, he resolved to come forward and he's really mostly interested in revealing what was really going on at Penn State and Second Mile, and why were all these kids in such dangerous positions.

BURNETT: Now, Marci, obviously, the allegations of your client saying what happened with Jerry Sandusky, it was more than a decade ago. Why did he wait so long to come forward?

HAMILTON: Well, it's very typical for child sex abuse victims to not tell anybody or not until middle age. With respect to our client, he was threatened by Sandusky in '96 when he tried to repel Sandusky's advances and was told by Sandusky that he would be in trouble and his family would be threatened if he didn't give in to Sandusky.

And so, he took that to heart and he kept the secret all these years.

BURNETT: Now, does he have any evidence or all -- as you said, at least as we've reported your suit says, that there are at least a hundred times where he was abused by Jerry Sandusky. Does he have anything or anyone to corroborate that?

HAMILTON: Well, he has all the witnesses at all the events that Sandusky took him to. He was taken to Penn State, to the wrestling room, to the showers. He was taken to -- on trips. He was brought to Philadelphia, which is why we brought the lawsuit in Philadelphia. And he was taken to a bowl game.

So, all the things that Sandusky is known to have been doing with other children in that grand jury report are described in this report and for this survivor, it was four very intense years that started out with grooming presents, with attention, with promises of football success, and a kid who really needed this kind of, you know, a leader and a loving man in his life. That's what he got.

But at the same time, he got a predator. And he suffered for it ever since and he's finally coming forward.

BURNETT: And what has happened to his life? I mean, obviously, these kinds of things are horrible and can completely ruin someone's life. But how would you say it's affected his life as an adult, things he has not been able to deal, whether that, be getting married, or move ahead in a career, or how much has this damaged him?

HAMILTON: Well, we're still, we're protecting him and his anonymity because he is just coming out after all these years. It's very difficult to do. But like any other survivor, he has had his challenges, he's had problems with depression and the sorts of things that happen naturally when someone goes through this and hold a secret for so long.

BURNETT: Right.

HAMILTON: He's now feeling better, feels like a weight is off his shoulders. And so, he's moving in the right direction.

BURNETT: Well, Marci, thanks so much for coming OUTFRONT and sharing the story.

HAMILTON: Thank you.

BURNETT: Now, let's check in with Anderson. He's got a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360." Hi, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "A.C. 360": Hey, Erin.

Yes, we're keeping them honest tonight on the program. He's denying it happened. She says it did. Someone, either Herman Cain or the woman who said she had a 13-year affair with him is lying. We'll lay out the facts and let you decide.

Also, President Obama in New York tonight for a fundraiser. The president has been on the road, selling his plan for turning around the economy, or as his critics point out, spending an awful lot of time selling his plan to the economy in states that are critical to his reelection. We'll ask White House spokesman Jay Carney about that.

Also, the latest on the sex abuse scandals in both Penn State and Syracuse.

Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" -- I'm going to make you smile at the end of the night, at the top of the hour, Erin.

BURNETT: Everyone loves it when you make them smile, Anderson. They do.

All right. Up next in the "Outer Circle": Thousands of public sector workers go on strike in Britain over proposed pension reforms. And the sister of Florida's missing mom comes OUTFRONT with the latest developments in that case.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We do this at the same time every night, our "Outer Circle," where we reach out to sources around the world.

And we begin tonight in Britain where thousands of public sector workers are striking over pension reforms.

Erin McLaughlin is in London.

And, Erin, what happened today?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, well, the public sector strike actions that took place throughout London today appeared to have gone off relatively peacefully. Around dozens of protesters from the occupy London movement stormed an office building belonging to one of the major companies within the FTSE 100. They said the action was in solidarity with the public sector workers. It's just one more sign of growing discontent here in London, Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. Erin, thank you.

And next to Myanmar, where Hillary Clinton arrived today. A U.S. secretary of state has not visited that country in over 50 years.

Jill Dougherty is on the phone from Naypyitaw.

And, Jill, why is she there?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Erin, there's a new president here and new surprising steps toward economic and political reform. And Secretary Clinton says that she is here to test the seriousness of the government.

One major sign of that reform is that the government has been talking with a Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. She was held in detention for almost two decades. Secretary Clinton has spoken with her by phone and now, they're going to have a face-to-face meeting -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Jill, thank you. That's going to be amazing.

Well, now to Iraq, where Vice President Biden is meeting Iraqi national officials and departing members of the military. American troops gone by the end of the year.

Martin Savidge is in Baghdad tonight.

Martin, what's Biden's message been so far?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Vice President Biden is here in this country, one, to talk to the Iraqi leadership, and also to speak to those critics back in the United States. The message in both cases, the same: U.S. forces may be pulling out but the support of the U.S. government remains very strong. In fact, he would say it is a new chapter in that relationship -- Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Thank you, Martin.

Well, it's been almost two weeks since 33-year-old Michelle Parker disappeared in Florida. And as investigators continued searching today, a judge ruled her three-year-old twins must be returned to their father. Just two days after police named Dale Smith a suspect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF PAUL ROONEY, ORLANDO POLICE DEPT.: After numerous tips and investigative leads, we are officially naming Dale Smith, the ex- fiance, as the primary suspect in the disappearance of Michelle Parker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: You saw him refer to Smith as the ex-fiance. He had been engaged to Parker. They had an on/off relationship that began back in 2006.

Now, it ended with a humiliating exchange over a $5,000 engagement ring on the TV show, "The People's Court."

Now, the ruling was that they had to split the cost in half, $2,500 each. And coincidentally, Parker disappeared the very same day the show aired. While police did not name Smith a suspect at first, that changed on Monday as you saw.

Lauren Erickson is Michelle Parker's sister. Matt Morgan is a lawyer for the family. And they're both OUTFRONT with us tonight.

Thanks to both of you for coming out tonight.

And, Lauren, were you surprised the judge awarded custody of the kids to Dale Smith, just days after we just heard police call him a suspect in this case?

LAUREN ERICKSON, MICHELLE PARKER'S SISTER: I was -- it was an emotional experience all throughout the entire thing. I mean, I was somewhat surprised just because the twins have for the past year and a half lived, you know, at my mother's house where Michelle was living also. So, yes, I was.

BURNETT: And what would you say to Michelle if she's watching tonight or if she can see you now?

ERICKSON: Just that I love her and we're fighting for her and where her boys right now. I won't let her down.

BURNETT: Matt, what are you going to do to help the family find her?

MATT MORGAN, ATTORNEY FOR MICHELLE PARKER'S LAWYER: Erin, at this point in time, we're working closely with defense counsel, Mark NeJame, and we're trying to come to an agreement for visitation for the children and Lauren's mother and the family.

And so, we are -- we are, you know, hopeful that an agreement will be done soon.

BURNETT: Lauren, let me just try to understand a little bit about how your family sees Dale, your sister ex-fiance. Your mother was seen hugging him in court today, by my understanding. How is -- how is his relationship with your family?

ERICKSON: It's been very up and down. You know, just like his relationship with Michelle was. I mean, obviously, she's my sister.

So, you know, we're sisters. We talk. Of course, I'm going to kind of not like the person who has hurt her in the past, you know, in whatever way it may be. And I think, with the whole hug thing that happened, you know, those grandchildren, that's still their father. If God forbid this come out and everybody points the finger one way and then it turns out it wasn't him and we lose those kids, you know forever. We still need to have a good relationship and everything like that.

And she just wanted him to know in her heart of heart, you know, she's praying for the best outcome for all of us for this.

BURNETT: And, Lauren, you mentioned abuse. What can you tell us about abuse in this case and physical abuse? I know there had been a domestic violence injunction that she -- your sister filed against Dale back two years ago.

ERICKSON: As far as that goes, I mean, I myself -- I mean, there's things that have happened before. I mean, it's been talked about already, you know, as well in his record and everything like that and things that she talked about with me. I always saw her the day after, or talked to her a couple of hours after, you know, when she would call me crying or something like that about what happened. But -- I mean, as far as that goes, I never actually saw it, like, with my own two eyes or anything physical at least.

BURNETT: I want to just note for viewers, we did invite Dale Smith on the show tonight. And he did not -- obviously, did not come on.

Matt, what are you going to do from here? I mean, is there anyone else that you or from talking to Lauren or others in the family, that you think could be a suspect? Or is your view that Dale is the person who is responsible for her absence?

MORGAN: Well, at this point in time, we're letting the police take care of the investigation. We're staying out of that area. So, our focus really on the rescue efforts for Michelle.

And so, we'll be coming forward soon with a way for the public to donate to a trust which will be set up for the rescue effort for Michelle, as well as a trust for the children. And that should be completed by Friday.

But other than that, just trying to get visitation for the grandparents and for Lauren and her family.

BURNETT: And, Lauren, before we go, have you seen the children? How are they doing?

ERICKSON: Yes. I got to see them last night. I can honestly say in the past couple days, seeing them for the first tears that I've had really fall from my eyes and they were tears of joy. I love those two more than anything, as well as my older nephew. I mean, I was there the day that each one of them were born. And I've been with them, you know, for the twins the past 3 1/2 years and also the past 11 years.

And we took them to McDonald's. And they got the chocky milk and they were excited and we played with blocks and stuff like that. So, I was very happy for that, you know? Even though it was a short amount of time that I got to see them but that I got to.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. MORGAN: Thank you, Erin.

ERICKSON: Thank you.

BURNETT: Well, political White House correspondent Mike Allen has written a new book about what really goes on behind the scenes of political campaign. He is OUTFRONT next with all the juicy, salacious, exciting details, including Mitt Romney and chicken.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: So, have you ever wondered what goes on the campaign trail, what kinds of weird perks the candidates have, what they eat, what they talk about on the plane?

Mike Allen has all the secrets. You may know him as the man behind the must-read "Politico" email. Here's the printout. The one that hits the inboxes of Washington power brokers and news junkies like the OUTFRONT staff, extremely early every morning, including Saturday and Sunday.

Well, Mike Allen is the chief White House correspondent for Politico.com. That's why he gets all this good stuff. And he's the co-author of the new e-book, "The Right Fights Back."

I spoke with Mike earlier and I asked him first to divulge a good secret about Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE ALLEN, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO.COM: Mitt Romney who is know as being so stiff, it turns out that he's even stiff when he eats.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNETT: So, it's true. It's not like oh, guess what? He's actually a joker.

ALLEN: Right. They said that he likes to eat pizza. But he pulls the cheese off. A very ascetic approach to eating your pizza.

And he has a secret fast food vice, secret craving, KFC.

BURNETT: KFC.

ALLEN: But if you were Mitt Romney and you were --

BURNETT: I'm glad to hear he has vices.

ALLEN: But wait -- so if you're Mitt Romney, you got juicy KFC in front of you, he takes off the skin.

BURNETT: No. You just ruined it.

And you talk about turkey breast, rice, broccoli, chased by water, or maybe a diet coke.

ALLEN: Yes. They say that he's so intense about his workouts that even when he's on the road, if he can't get into a gym he's in a Marriott, that he'll sometimes run around in the halls.

BURNETT: Rick Perry, a totally different story in some ways. You talk to fundraisers, people who've been on the planes with Rick Perry. And what's he like?

ALLEN: You saw with your own eyes that he wasn't prepared for the debate. Now we know why. One of his former aides who used to travel with him told us that when he was on the plane, rather than doing debate prep, rather than digging into the briefing book, he'd tell jokes, sometimes fraternity-type jokes, sometimes involving animals. They said he'd pore on in his iPad, look at family pictures.

So he's having fun on the road but also has a little homework left to do.

BURNETT: You said he -- fund-raiser, you said you never saw him read a paper, or newspaper clips. But he did do Angelina or Jennifer Aniston. I'm curious, which he picked?

ALLEN: Yes. He went with Jennifer Aniston as his pick.

BURNETT: All right. One other thing about Mitt Romney. A lot of people may not -- this actually -- he is going to like this is in your book. Notorious cheapskate --

ALLEN: It's true.

BURNETT: -- for a very rich man.

ALLEN: One of his relatives told us if he gets a glove, something torn, he'll take duct tape and fix it. This is a multimillionaire. Whereas his family members said he would just get a new one.

BURNETT: But what about you? See, the thing I'm curious about you is Mike Allen. I wake up every morning to you.

ALLEN: Oh, very kind.

BURNETT: Which is like everybody that I know.

ALLEN: Very kind of you.

BURNETT: And you have really -- you have created a market for inside information and what's breaking that day. Here's what I want to know. What's Mike Allen like? Do you sleep?

ALLEN: I eat my pizza with cheese. I eat the chicken skin on. I throw away my gloves.

But we're a very appreciative for you and others who read "Politico." But, you know, it started with an e-mail I sent to my bosses. It just said to Jim and John. Here's what's in the papers today. Here's what we missed. Here's what we should cover today.

And John Harris has a big mouth. He told Howard Wolfson who was then at the Clinton campaign, now with the mayor here.

BURNETT: Yes.

ALLEN: He told him about it. He wanted a copy.

And then the McCain campaign wanted a copy, and then the White House and then CNN. And I got around and now, we are grateful to have playbook community that we all wake up together. The idea is if you could read 1,000 stories, which five would you want to read? We try to find them for you.

BURNETT: Well, it is amazing. But answer my question. How many hours do you sleep?

ALLEN: Not enough. I need to get six is about what you need. We get up at, as -- you know, it doesn't always come out the same time. I get up at 2:00 or 3:00, something like that. So, I try to go to bed right after your show.

BURNETT: A hugely successful don't need a lot of sleep. So, I guess that's you.

All right. Mike Allen, great to see you.

ALLEN: This was fun. Happy Holidays.

BURNETT: Right.

ALLEN: Thanks, Erin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: All right. Tomorrow, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin flying through the skies, flying to outer space. He comes OUTFRONT.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts, though, right now.