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Obama and the Clinton Factor; Unemployment Drops; GOP Candidates

Aired December 2, 2011 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, HOST: Thanks, John. Newt Gingrich at the top of the GOP polls, but can he stay there? (INAUDIBLE) this new thing with John Avlon where he crunches the numbers, the "Power Rankings" tonight.

And then a Baptist church in Pikeville, Kentucky votes to ban interracial marriage. Stella Harville (ph), a woman denied permission to marry comes OUTFRONT with her story for the first time.

And the "Bottom Line" on the president, unemployment the lowest it's been in about three years, but there's -- there's a real big but -- does he need Bill Clinton to win?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight unemployment drops to 8.6 percent. That is the lowest level for unemployment in about three years. Now it's a big psychological headline, but a closer look, 120,000 jobs added last month really isn't great. Frankly that is barely enough to keep up with population growth, never mind put a dent in the nearly nine million jobs lost in the great recession.

Still, the president hopes that America will focus on the unemployment rate. And he's also hoping he can get some of what this guy has. Oh, that Bill. He has the love. He has the love of so many voters. Recently some Republicans have said Bill Clinton isn't sold on Barack Obama term two. But the two men appeared together at a Green Building (ph) event in Washington today.


BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am thrilled that President Clinton has been willing to take this on. As he pointed out, partly thanks to me he's home alone too often. And this has been a passion for him for quite some time, so I am very grateful for his involvement.


BURNETT: President Obama needs all the Bill he can get. Bill Clinton's book "Back to Work", example number one of the former president's popularity; it's the number one political book on Amazon. Number 10 on "The New York Times" bestseller list and Clinton's latest approval rating is at a sky high 63 percent. Can you just imagine if that were the margin in an election of the vote. Now that's a mandate.

All right, compare that to Obama's nearly 20 points lower at 44 percent. OK. Bill, he needs you. But are you going to be there for him? James Carville is former adviser to Bill Clinton. David Gergen is another former adviser to Clinton and our senior political analyst and John Avlon is with us as well.

All right, James Carville, what is going on here? You see Bill Clinton with Barack Obama. But you know this is at a Green Building (ph). It's a cause of the former president's. You're not seeing them together at a whole lot of things. You know, Bill Clinton has far from wholeheartedly embraced Barack Obama a bear hug.

JAMES CARVILLE, FORMER SR. ADVISER TO BILL CLINTON: Well he's endorsed him. He campaigned for him last time. I'll bet you anybody anything that President Obama spends more time with the last Democratic president than the Republican nominee spends with the last Republican president that I'm very comfortable in saying. You know it's a delicate --

BURNETT: Well it depends, nominee of the week, right? I mean you know --

CARVILLE: He'll spend, you know former presidents have a very difficult job. They are kind of to be seen, not heard. And you know and it's a delicate balancing act. But obviously the president supported President Obama in 2008. He's going to go you know for him as much as is appropriate in 2012.

BURNETT: What is all out, though John Avlon?

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, as much as he needs him. But here's the reality. You know elections are won by the candidate who connects to moderates and the middle class. And the master of that is Bill Clinton.


AVLON: No one has ever done it better and he was able to focus on the economy and make that forgotten American middle class feel like they have an advocate in the White House. And that's exactly what Barack Obama needs to do going into this election --

BURNETT: All right, so David Gergen, there is a way for Barack Obama to get more Clinton. And that actually might not be to get more Bill Clinton, but to get more Hillary Clinton. Look at her approval rating at 69 percent, trumps her husband's.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's absolutely right. And there may be a good chance that later on they will get together. I think everybody is asking as I go around the country what is the possibility of Hillary being on the ticket and swapping Joe Biden over to the State Department. I think it's way too early for the White House to make that call. But if come summer he's in a very, very tight race, President Obama is in a very tight race he may want to play that card. I'm not sure that Hillary Clinton wants to do it or that Joe Biden wants to do it, but the president may have some persuasive power.

But I want to go back to Bill Clinton just a minute. There's no question, as James Carville said, there's no question that Bill Clinton is going to be supportive of Barack Obama during the campaign. And they're going to -- the Obama people will want to showcase Bill Clinton, for example, at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte this next year. But I think the real way to draw upon Bill Clinton's strength is to ask him for more help on creating jobs. Bill Clinton has got this book out now. He had a central idea about a year ago to create far more green jobs, to retrofitting buildings and frankly he didn't get a very warm reception in this White House. And I do think it would be possible, I think it would be wise, just as this president has reached out to Hillary for help on foreign policy to reach out for Bill on help on jobs.

BURNETT: He doesn't, though, John Avlon, at least and I know there are nuances to this, but people have picked up on this that President Clinton in his books and he has publicly said he doesn't want to raise taxes during a recession.


BURNETT: All right. President Obama has some plans in there that would raise taxes on some people, the wealthiest Americans, which Bill Clinton is not against, but there is an important nuance there.

AVLON: There is and look, I mean you know Bill Clinton raised taxes as part of that first budget deal and we had the boom of the '90's not because of the tax rate but because a lot of that focus on reengineering the economy and building the middle class. Look, Barack Obama knows that Bill Clinton particularly in the swing states. If he wants to really put North Carolina in play again, Bill Clinton is invaluable. But what David Gergen says is important. It's also the economic prescriptions.


AVLON: It's putting some of those in action, which he has the power -- which they took for some of the jobs bill.

BURNETT: And in the I's, you've talked about President Obama's real problem with the I's as in Independents.


BURNETT: That's where you think Bill Clinton can really help.

AVLON: Absolutely. Independents (INAUDIBLE) in the middle class.

BURNETT: James Carville, let me ask you about something we started the show with and this has always interested me. The unemployment rate now 8.6 percent. That's a big drop and it's based upon a survey of Americans who pick up the telephone and say do I have a job or not? Different than the payroll number, right, which is companies actually reporting who they're hiring and firing. Payroll number is not good. But if people are self reporting and improving job market, is that unemployment rate really the number that's going to predict who wins the election?

CARVILLE: I don't know. You know the unemployment rate is high, and it will probably be high on Election Day, as people point out, 74 (ph) and 84 (ph) is the highest and President Reagan was reelected. It was the climate (ph). I mean as long as a president like it was 140,000 private sector jobs that were created, I mean, one of the problems is we've (INAUDIBLE) half a million public sector jobs (INAUDIBLE) drag on it, but I think if there's improvement it will probably (INAUDIBLE) to the president's benefit. And as of now, as of now, and you know, that very important caveat, it seems that the job market is improving out there, which can only be interpreted as you know at least pretty good news for the president.

BURNETT: And David Gergen, how does he play that, though? Because obviously with the whole of nine million jobs, and you're not even keeping up with population growth with new job creation, how does he sell the "it's improving, buy into my positive story" when things are still really bad out there for so many people.

GERGEN: In fact I think it's too early for him to play very hard on the things are improving a lot. Yes, there are some signs, but if things go bad in Europe as we've talked about before, you know this economy could -- it could stall or even go down again. So I think what he needs to be doing now is be seen as actively working to improve things. And I do believe that in the last few weeks he's been -- it's -- he's almost been rather passive in the sense of governing. He's been much more the campaigner.


GERGEN: And what I think is important for the next few months is for him to come back to the White House and govern, and be working hard on I have to get these payroll tax cuts extended and do the other kind of things that may help create more jobs.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all three. We appreciate it. And by the way, Mitt Romney talking about the unemployment numbers, by the way, Mitt Romney posing with his extended family. We're going to talk about the personal side of him in just a moment.

But also Florida missing mom Michelle Parker, she disappeared two weeks ago. We've been talking about her story. Her sister OUTFRONT tonight with the latest.

And Newt widening his lead on the GOP side of things, can anyone hope to catch him? John Avlon has the "Power Rankings" and then well inside the personal life of Mitt Romney, what you didn't know.

And then I'll be going to the front lines in Dubai, an exclusive preview in just a moment.


BURNETT: Jon Corzine, the former CEO of MF Global, has been subpoenaed by the House Agriculture Committee to testify next week. The committee is looking into the collapse of MF Global, which filed for bankruptcy on October 31st. It's the biggest financial failure in America since Lehman Brothers. Investigators are still trying to find up to $1.2 billion that's been missing from the brokerage's customer accounts; Jon Corzine, of course, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs.

It brings us to our number tonight, seven. That's how many members of MF Global's Board of Directors resigned after former FBI Director, Louie Freeh, was appointed as the trustee in charge of overseeing the company's liquidation. Freeh has been a busy man. If you recall, he's also heading the internal investigation into the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.

It's been a crazy week in politics. So John Avlon is here to tell us what happened and give his "Power Rankings" of the week. I don't know if it's like how big or bright someone looks on your screen there, but how does it fall?

AVLON: Here's what it is, Erin. You know it's getting cold outside, but politics is heating up. So tonight we're kicking off our "Political Power Rankings". It's our way of gauging who has got the big mo, using polls , analysis, (INAUDIBLE) and also getting out front, seeing what might happen next week. A couple of weeks ago this is how it might have looked.

Mitt Romney on top, the most professional candidate, the best campaign, Herman Cain getting over some of those early sexual harassment allegations, his supporters still staying with him, Ron Paul hanging in there, Newt Gingrich, middle of the pack, and at the very bottom poor lonely Jon Huntsman not getting any love. But what a difference a week can make.

Here are just a couple of the sound bite highlights that are feeding this poll. So here you got Herman Cain on Monday begins with a terrible week. You got Ginger White, 13-year affair. By the end of the week he's running ads using a dude with a lie detector test as a character witness. Let's take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, POLITICAL AD: Media (ph) won't tell you what one of the four most lie detector experts in America said about Herman Cain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My exam he is being truthful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the allegations of saying that she had been sexually assaulted by him did not occur.


AVLON: Just keeps getting weirder doesn't it. So then there's also Mitt Romney, he had a bad week, polls falling across the board and a very testy interview with Brett Baier. Let's take a listen.



ROMNEY: No, Brett, Brett --


ROMNEY: The tape out there -- continue to read the tape.


AVLON: I love that. The normally unflappable Mitt definitely getting rattled by some bad news, but best week, Newt Gingrich soaring high in all the polls and it just might be going to his head. Listen to what he told "ABC News".


NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee.


AVLON: Feeling pretty good about himself, isn't he? Well he's got reason to. Let's take a look at what the "Political Power Rankings" are. Newt Gingrich on top, he's got the big mo. He's soaring in every state. Mitt Romney hanging in there at number two, he's still got the most professional organization. He wants this. He's been up there all the time. It would be foolish to write him out.

Ron Paul in the winner's circle, his supporters are intense. Don't count him out. Jon Huntsman, the big surprise. Why is he number four? Because he's been inching ahead in New Hampshire (INAUDIBLE) conservative icon telling conservatives maybe they should give him another look. And he's going to be doing a Lincoln-Douglas style debate with Newt Gingrich in New Hampshire, so he's got some mo behind him.

The bottom of the pack, Herman Cain number six. Why only number six? Because he's still got all our attention. Tomorrow he's going to be making a major announcement. Tonight he's talking with his wife. That's pretty tough, but here's why he's got power. Even if he gets out of the race, who he tells his supporters to go to, that will shake up the race. Sum it all up. This is just our look. Who is the biggest mover of the week? No question, it's the Newtster. Biggest mover, biggest loser has got to be the Hermanator. No question. He's had a tough, rough week. That's our look at who's got the big mo at their back in today's "Political Power Rankings".

BURNETT: And I like how that Newtster and the Hermanator --

AVLON: You got to have some fun with it. BURNETT: All right, so well let's bring in David Gergen. And David is back with us because well you've got a special look at what's going on with Mr. Romney. Republican strategist Alex Castellanos is with us as well. But David, let me start with you. You interviewed Mitt Romney a few weeks ago. We got the "Parade" magazine here. I know we have a picture of it, but this is what's going to come out.

It hits stands on Sunday. There it is. And I want to ask you more about this. How do you think first of all Mitt Romney's week has been seeing Newt Gingrich fly like a phoenix to the top?

GERGEN: Oh I think it's been a very rough week for him. John Avlon had it exactly right. And when just about a week or 10 days ago Mitt Romney was running in trade. That's where the betting occurs on who's going to get the nomination. And he was seen as like a 70 percent chance of winning the nomination, maybe 69 percent. Today he's less than 50, whereas Newt Gingrich is surging. So is Mitt Romney still I think the man to beat? Yes, but for the first time he has a serious rival on his hands. And if Newt Gingrich can go through the vetting process that's coming, and he knows that, and emerge at the -- on January 1 and he's standing up there as a rival, Romney could be in trouble. And I think the real question now is what does he do for his campaign to give it momentum?

BURNETT: Alex Castellanos, I want to get David's view since he spent so much time "one-on-one" with Mitt and his family, but let me ask you about a quote that David has in his "Parade" story this weekend about Mitt Romney. Quoting Rocky Anderson, the former Salt Lake City mayor, saying quote, "Romney in a word human. He's much funnier than he comes across. That's for sure."

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: And when you meet him, as I did years ago, last campaign I worked for him, he's this wonderful, genuine guy. And then you see him on TV, and he looks so perfect, and we think perfection is false, most of us, because we know how hard it is. So he does have that kind of problem. But I'll tell you a story for example. And I recommend David's piece to everybody because it's not just where these guys stand on the issues. Who are they as people?


CASTELLANOS: How would they react? Because you never know the crises that are going to confront a president, but when Mitt Romney was running Bain Capital, one of the folks who worked with him came up and said Mitt, my daughter is lost in New York City, 14 years old. What do I do? Mitt Romney shut down the business, took nearly everybody to New York City, set up a command center to find the girl and fortunately they did, Robert Gay (ph). That's Mitt Romney. I think what he needs to do to win this election if he wants to is tell me who you are.

BURNETT: So David --

CASTELLANOS: Tell me what's important to you. And I think David got to that in the "Parade" -- BURNETT: Yes. So David, tell us what you found. In this piece you've got lots of pictures of Mitt with his family. And he talks about things he likes to do. He likes to sit on the couch and watch "Modern Family" among other things. What did you find out about Mitt Romney that surprised you, as someone who has worked with so many presidents and in so many campaigns?

GERGEN: Well, I think Alex is putting us exactly on the right trail and that is the Mitt Romney we see behind the podium is highly competent, but he often seems robotic, even scripted. And that -- but that's -- and he is a highly competent person, but that's only a piece of who he is. And what you see when you go into his home is a much more relaxed Mitt Romney and a much more human Mitt Romney. I was quite struck, Erin that when Ann Romney walked into the room, he literally lit up and his whole body language changed. And it became apparent in talking to him that his life rotates around her a lot more than you might ever think. Both -- he said and then I verified with her, that she actually was the one who talked him into running this time.


GERGEN: That he had some reluctance about running this time, but she talked him into it and she said the same thing. She was the one who talked him into going on a Mormon mission years ago when he was young, when he wanted to give it up and marry her right away. She said no. You've got to go. She was the one who talked him into running for the Senate against Teddy Kennedy back in the '90s. And he -- this is a man who is much more deeply anchored in family and in faith than I think we know and to go to Alex's point again, I think if he wants to be embraced by the American people, he's not only got to be respected, you've got to establish an emotional connection --


GERGEN: -- so important for the presidency. And that means he has to humanize himself. He has to open himself up to who he is personally --


GERGEN: Open himself up to what his family means to him especially Ann. She seems to be a great asset.

BURNETT: Yes and maybe part of it is that people -- they can't believe that it is really that good and he is that normal and that he was so lucky enough to meet the love of his life at 18. I mean people they don't believe it or maybe there's a weird jealousy that people have about someone who fate smiled upon like that. But Herman Cain, speaking of fate not smiling --


BURNETT: -- at least in the past week, how the media has gone for him, regardless of what really happened. He (INAUDIBLE) at a meeting with his wife right now, his wife did not know Ginger White, the woman who alleged a 13-year affair. A decision comes tomorrow. He's getting out or not, what's your --


AVLON: Look, he said he's making a major announcement, he's not showing his cards. At the end of the day there are only two people who can convince him to stop his campaign, himself and his wife. And this is clearly a highly personal conversation they're having right now. And at the end of the day all these people are just that, they're people. Herman Cain rose in the polls because he was authentic.

And it seemed very different than Mitt Romney, for example. But we understand now there's more complexity in his personal life. So everyone is going to be watching tomorrow. We won't know until he tells us. But there's probably some high drama going on behind the scenes at the Cain household tonight as well.

BURNETT: All right. Well thanks to all three, we appreciate it. And of course don't miss "Parade" magazine this weekend to learn a whole lot more about Mitt and Ann.

All right, a church in Kentucky votes to ban interracial marriage. A woman denied permission to marry her fiance comes OUTFRONT for an exclusive interview tonight.

And in tonight's "Seriously?!" BlackBerry makes a Smart phone, got to love it. But some of their employees aren't so smart or beloved. We'll be back.


BURNETT: So, we do a lot of serious stories on this show, but this one is a little more seriously. Research In Motion, the Canadian company that makes the BlackBerry has been struggling lately. There was the embarrassing worldwide outage, flat-lining sales of the new Smartphone, trouble with their iPad competitor, the Playbook, all of that's contributed to a stock that has dropped more than 70 percent since February. And just today they announced they're not going to make their guidance to Wall Street because of the Playbook problem.

But the company had a plan to try to turn things around. Send two of their top executives to China to drum up international business and help right the ship. Brilliant idea, right, China that's where it's all at, all the sales, all the people, but there was one big problem. On the flight from Toronto to Beijing, the two executives got drunk, seriously drunk. According to authorities the two men, George Campbell (ph) and Paul Alexander Wilson (ph), got so drunk that the flight crew had to actually ask the other first class passengers to help restrain them before returning to Canadian air space, landing, and being met by oh, Canada, the Mounties.

Well the other passengers had to wait almost 18 hours for a new flight. The two men pled guilty to charges of mischief and were ordered to pay restitution to Air Canada. Now our frequent fliers are banned from flying with the airline again. Apparently they were among the two biggest frequent fliers in all of Canada. They've now been suspended by Research In Motion as well, probably until the inevitable video of the flight surfaces. Because you know it has too, right, and you know how much do you want to bet it was shot by another passenger using an iPhone? Oh, poor Torch (ph), "Seriously?!".


BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT the "OutFront 5": Banned in Kentucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's racist. That's all you can call it.

BURNETT: Funny or die?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be your president because this Cain is able.

BURNETT: All this OUTFRONT in our second half.


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

Up first, unemployment drops to 8.6 percent. A good psychological headline. But a closer look, 120,000 jobs net added last month. Barely enough to keep up with population growth. Never mind, really putting a dent in the 9 million jobs or close to it, lost in the great recession.

The president appeared with the former President Bill Clinton today, a very popular man whose help he may need to win over the independents and reelection.

CNN political analyst David Gergen came OUTFRONT and he says another Clinton may actually be the key to re-election, Hillary. Gergen says there's talk about Hillary joining the ticket next year. Her current approval rating is higher than that of her husband, 69 percent.

Number two, General Electric and Rolls Royce announcing their dropping their self-funded efforts to build an engine for the F-35 fighter jet based a number they're giving up on a potentially $100 billion market. But the decision comes after the Defense Department canceled its funding for an alternative engine. And this is a victory for Pratt & Whitney, which has the contract for the engine on the F- 35.

But you know what? Pratt & Whitney may not want to celebrate. The F-35 is one of the most delayed and over-budgeted programs in Pentagon history. And there are concerns that Defense Department cuts could dramatically impact or end the F-35.

Number three, Ticketmaster will be refunding $1.50 processing fee to customers that purchased a ticket to the company within the past 12 years. Wow. The refund is the result of a class action lawsuit filed in 2003. It's alleged that the fee was wrongfully collected. Ticketmaster is actually still charging the fee. But now, it's clearly disclosed.

In a statement to CNN, a Ticketmaster spokesperson said, quote, "Ticketmaster attempts to earn a profit for its services and it will continue to charge fees for the service it provides."

I just can't imagine with this, you know, figuring out who bought the tickets and the mailing fees add up for that $1.50 refund.

OK. Number four: strong and destructive Santa Ana winds dying down across California tonight. OUTFRONT checked and there are still more than 100,000 people, though, across the state without power. Gusts in some places have reached 140 miles an hour. Winds toppled thousands of trees and damaged hundreds of buildings.

Well, it has been 119 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, the stock market gave a little bit of a lift. All the major indices, 7 percent higher for the week. The Dow, its second best weekly point gain ever. Now, there was that one big amazing day.

Well, thou shall not discriminate, unless you're a member of the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church in Pike Ville, Kentucky. On Sunday, the church voted 9-6 to ban interracial marriages, shutting the doors on Stella Harville and her fiance Ticha Chikuni.

Stella and Ticha attended services at the church while visiting her parents in June. They plan to marry next summer.

But the church issued a statement this week saying, quote, "Parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals." And this is not a joke.

The National Association of Freewill Baptists says they do not condone or disallow interracial marriages and they encourage the church to reverse this decision.

Stella Harville is OUTFRONT with us tonight.

Stella, we really appreciate this, you're taking the time to be with us. This is a shocking story. It's hard for me to imagine that this still could happen in this country.

Were you shocked when this happened?

STELLA S. HARVILLE (via telephone): Oh, absolutely. Yes. I mean -- (INAUDIBLE) ever since was a little kid. It's been a very hard process.

BURNETT: So, how did you find out? I know that your parents have been going to this church for a long time. And the pastor at the time pulled your parents aside, said, you can't sing anymore because I don't want my 3-year-old granddaughter growing up thinking it's OK to marry a black man.

How did -- how did you find out? How did your parents tell this to you?

HARVILLE: Well, obviously, I'm not around in the area because I'm up in grad school in Indiana. But it was weird because I was with a friend, staying with a friend in Corvin (ph) the night before. And, you know, I just decided to surprise my parents with a visit because I hadn't seen them in a few weeks.

And this was right after they had the conversation with the former pastor. And when I came home, you know, mom was like, Stella, we need to talk. I'm like, oh, no, I haven't heard this phrase since I was a teenager, you know?

So, that's how I learned about it. And I was just floored. I mean, as well as they were. To say we couldn't sing in church because he doesn't want his granddaughter growing up thinking it's OK to marry a black guy?

Like I get it. People have their convictions. And it's not like I want to flaunt it in front of them, but what are they going to do? Are they going to go out to a public outing and if they see an interracial couple, they're going to be like, oh, we need you to leave because I don't want my granddaughter thinking it's OK?

It's just -- I still don't know how to process all of this.

BURNETT: Well, Stella, I know that the pastor who said that comment about his granddaughter and told your parents this summer stepped aside, and not related to that decision. There is a new pastor now. But on Sunday, your church voted, I guess there were 43 people that could have voted. Only 15 of them did, 9-6 to ban interracial marriages.

I mean, is this changing the whole way you see the community where you live, your church, your parents' friends? Assuming that some people in that church are their friends? I mean --

HARVILLE: I mean, yes, like -- I mean, I know all the members that voted ever since I was a little kid. But I have to give a shout- out to my community because I'm just so overwhelmed with their support and their love. And I really don't think Ticha and I would have been able to get past, you know, these few days without they're support. So I thank them for that.

And, you know, I'm sorry for the church itself that has to go through this because obviously not everyone agrees with this vote, only these nine members.

So, you know, and as for the members that didn't take a vote, I think that hurt even more. That they knew what was right, but they chose not to take a stand on this. So, I felt like the outcome could have been, you know, different if they had stood up.

BURNETT: That is one of the most disturbing parts. People are afraid to have their voice.

Now, I want to emphasize that the new pastor isn't in favorite favor of the old pastor's decision. And I know that there's going to be another vote this weekend.

Let's just say that it changes and they say you can get married. What does that change? You're still going to get married in that church? Are your parents still going to go to that church or no?

HARVILLE: Well, I mean, we weren't planning on getting married in the church, you know, in the first place. And we're definitely not going to consider getting married there now. So that was never an issue.

If they do over-vote it, overturn the vote, my parents have expressed they will return to support Pastor Stacey because he's just a great guy and has a great heart for God. And we really do think he can do great things for the church and get it back in order.

So they have expressed that they will go back. But as for Ticha and I, you know, I won't say, you know, never. But it's going to take a while to go back there.

BURNETT: I think anyone can understand that. Thank you for coming OUTFRONT and sharing your story tonight, Stella. Good luck to you.

HARVILLE: Thank you. Appreciate it.

BURNETT: Well, did Jerry Sandusky continue to have a friendly relationship with the boys he's accused of sexually abusing after the abuse ended?

Now, this is a question that some people are asking as the war of words heats up among the attorneys in the case. Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys while he was an assistant coach at Penn State. He's denied the allegations.

Earlier this week, his attorney told CNN's Sarah Ganim that the former football coach has been social with two of the alleged victims as recently as this past summer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The young man we believe to be the person in the number two allegation, and the young man we believe to be the person in the number six allegation have maintained friendships with Jerry and his wife Dottie. And, in fact, Jerry and Dottie had dinner with them this past summer.


BURNETT: Today, an attorney for victim six says Sandusky only asked them to dinner because he knew he was being investigated and the police were aware of the dinner and even asked victim six to wear a wire, which he didn't do he said because he was nervous. HLN's "Morning Express" anchor Carlos Diaz is OUTFRONT to break down the story.

Carlos, it's the big question I have is that even if a person had been abused and, quote/unquote, "still does things that seem friendly with an abuser," that doesn't necessarily mean they're OK with it or it didn't matter or it didn't happen.

CARLOS DIAZ, HLN ANCHOR: Yes, all you have to do is ask yourself one question. This accuser hits the stand. The prosecutor says, did you shower with Jerry Sandusky? Yes, I did.

Dinners, relationships, none of that matters. Did you shower with Jerry Sandusky? Yes, I did. Were you naked? Yes, I was. Did he touch you? Yes, he did.

Those questions are what matters. Having dinners, saying we're still friends matters not. And that's the problem here.

The lawyer for Jerry Sandusky, who, by the way, we hear a lot from. We're not hearing a lot from the prosecution, because they're busy probably and allegedly fielding new complaints from other alleged victims. The defense is out there talking to everyone that he can about, you know, how Jerry Sandusky is still friends with this victim and that victim. And once again we're seeing Jerry Sandusky trying to charm his way out of a situation.

BURNETT: All right. So just to make it clear here, there would be no legal ramifications whatsoever, right, if someone who had been abused remained friendly with the abuser, right? I mean, because we never know. Maybe they still felt the pressure or still feel the guilt. There was all kinds of things that could explain that.

DIAZ: And that's the thing. It's not about whether you're having dinner with Jerry Sandusky. Whether you think he's a great guy. All those things do not matter in the situation. It matters what happens in the grand jury testimony, which we've already received, with eight victims, over 23 pages, 15 years of accusations.

And then what matters is when these children take the stand and they're questioned by the prosecution. That's what matters.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Carlos. We appreciate your taking the time tonight.

Well, it's been two weeks since Michelle Parker disappeared. The sister of Florida's missing mom comes OUTFRONT with details next.

And the latest on country singer Mindy McCready. The deadline for her to return her son had come and gone. And now, her mother begging for a safe return.

And there's something funny about the name Dick Lover. We're tying to talk to him when he comes OUTFRONT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: We do this at the same time every night, our "Outer Circle." We reach out to sources around the world.

And we begin tonight in Cairo where the parliamentary elections took place for the first time since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. The results have been coming in.

And Jim Clancy is there for us.

So, Jim, what was turnout there like, and who won?

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, a record vote here. Election officials say 62 percent or 8.5 million voters turned out to cast their ballots. Some surprised, too. It appears that some very hard line Islamic politicians are going to be members of parliament. They want their races outright.

We're still waiting to see the full details, election officials say they've been working nonstop to get those. But with 8.5 million voters casting ballots, election officials say this hasn't been seen since the time of the pharaohs -- Erin.


All right. Now to Iraq where the last of 40,000 U.S. service members once stationed at Camp Victory packed up and headed out today.

Martin Savidge is in Baghdad.

Martin, how long did it take them to clear out, and what's the next step in the full drawdown?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, this drawdown has been going on for about six weeks. As far as what happened today, that took only a matter of hours. There was just that few U.S. forces were there. They got in to their vehicles and documents were signed. The kin to closing on a house, essentially, according to one officer. And they left.

As to what comes next? Well, there are still about 11,000 forces that are in Iraq, not to mention thousands of gear that all continues to flow south well ahead of schedule -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Martin.

Finally to London where Jim Spellman is keeping tabs on the trial of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He's accused of paying an underage woman for sex.

So, Jim, who did prosecutors put on to stands today.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, today a detective testified that three of the women at one of Silvio Berlusconi's notorious bunga bunga parties were indeed prostitutes. Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with one of them, a then-17-year-old exotic dancer known as Ruby Heartstealer. Berlusconi said he would appear at some of the trial today. He was a no show -- Erin.

BURNETT: Two weeks after 33-year-old Michelle Parker disappeared in Orlando, Florida, investigators are expanding the search area. Parker was last seen on November 17th when she dropped her 3-year-old twins off with their father, Dale Smith.

Smith and Parker were once engaged, but their relationship ended in a heated argument in the TV show "The People's Court." The part over the engagement ring. Coincidentally, that show aired the same day Michelle Parker disappeared.

Dale Smith has been named the primary suspect in the case. We have invited both Smith and his attorney to come OUTFRONT this week. They have declined our request.

Joining us now, though, Matt Morgan, attorney for Michelle Parker's family and Lauren Erickson, Michelle's sister.

It's good to see both of you again. We hoped with a much better story to tell.

I know you've expanded the search area and are still looking, Matt. Why was the search area expanded, do you know?

MATT MORGAN, ATTORNEY FOR MICHELLE PARKER'S FAMILY: At this point in time, they're just trying to increase their search area, and come up with new leads. And they felt like they had exhausted their awareness efforts at Oakridge. Everybody pretty much knows what's going on at this point there. And so, they want to move to Seminole County and raise awareness down there.

BURNETT: Lauren, what have you heard? I'm sure from the family, you know, people have been trying to help you. Has anyone come forward with anything that has made you think your sister could be nearby or you could be close to finding her?

LAUREN ERICKSON, MICHELLE PARKER'S SISTER: I mean, the police department and crime line are sifting the through thousands of tips. And since she went missing, and then it went live with the crime line and everything like that, we've had thousands and thousands of tips that have come in, which I am grateful for. Some have panned out. Some have not.

And by pan out, I mean that they fit in the time line of possibly sightings of her vehicle and things like that.

BURNETT: Lauren, have you -- when is the last time you saw the twins? It's my understanding that, at least as far as you know, they don't know where their mother is but have been asking for her repeatedly?

ERICKSON: I saw them on Monday. I got to spend a few hours with them. Took them to McDonald's. They got some French fries and a Happy Meal and little toys they got to play with it. So, I got to spend time with them, which I was happy for. And they're 3 1/2. So, they don't really quite understand what's going on. But they just say, mommy's at work.

BURNETT: Matt, let me ask you what your view is now. I mean, at this point, only Dale Smith has been named a suspect. But he is the father of those twins. He has the custody of them now.

What -- do you have any further sense as to whether he was responsible, whether you and the family think he is responsible, or has your point of view changed in the past couple of days?

MORGAN: Our point of view remains the same and that's that we truly do hope that he had no involvement, because for the kids' sake, we think that would be terrible for them -- to grow up with the knowledge that their father might have had something to do with their mother's disappearance. So, we remain hopeful that he didn't.

But you know, in regards to Dale being the prime suspect, we really are leaving that in the hands of the police at this point in time and we want them to continue to explore all possible avenues. So, in the event that somebody else is out there, that they're caught and brought in.

BURNETT: Lauren, when you and I spoke earlier this week you talked about, you were trying to remain cordial with Dale because he was the father of the twins, but that he had over the years been abusive to your sister and she had confided in you about that, right?

ERICKSON: There were definitely times when she confided about me -- confided in me with things that happened in their relationship that definitely gives me a different opinion on things. But it's just -- I don't know -- it's just one of those things I'm just trying to keep my head on straight I guess.

BURNETT: All right, well, we hope that this is resolved quickly, and thanks to both of you again for being with us -- Matt Morgan and Lauren Erickson.

MORGAN: Thank you, Erin.


BURNETT: Well, she's had a public battle with drug addiction. She's now pregnant with twins and on top of all of that, country singer Mindy McCready is in violation of a court order to return her son to the custody of his grandparents. McCready's mother calling today for the boy. His name is Zander, safe return to their Florida home.

Court deadline to give 5-year-old Zander back came and went yesterday. A representative for McCready says the child has been with his mother for the past month, says McCready is in a custody battle to getting back full time because she's fearful about his safety.

We invited McCready to join us again tonight but she declined. The child's father, Billy McKnight is here.

And, Billy, I really appreciate it. People have been so curious about the story. And I just wanted to ask you -- when is the last time you talked to Mindy and to Zander? And what did she say?

BILLY MCKNIGHT, FATHER OF MINDY MCCREADY'S SON, ZANDER: I talked to Zander about 7:30 last night and Mindy later on about 9:00 last night. She sounded upset with the situation. She doesn't want to bring him back home. She thinks she has a case against Florida and that she was going to stay hidden, they'd have to find her.

BURNETT: You said once you decided to talk to the press she decided, Mindy didn't want to talk to you anymore?

MCKNIGHT: I haven't. Her phone has been off since last night. So, I haven't been able to talk to Zander today.

BURNETT: What's your understanding of the situation? Because I know that she's saying that yes, she may have had her problems but that Zander was being mistreated and abused in some way by his grandmother and that's why she's done this. Can you explain whether you think that's true or give us a better sense of what happened?

MCKNIGHT: Well, he's been down here for four years. I've gotten a really good relationship with Gayle and Mike Inge and every week or every other week we exchange Zander.

He's never had bruises. He's rarely ever sick. He's very happy. He loves being there. He loves being with me.

So I can't see that. I don't see any signs of that whatsoever.

BURNETT: And what condition is she in? Obviously you all are cordial at least, right? I mean, you've communicated about him and you both get to talk to him on the phone. So, it's not as if you all had a bad relationship, all things considered, right?

MCKNIGHT: Well, right. Recently we've been cordial. We went for a long time without talking. I don't really know what condition she's in right now.

I do know she's pregnant. I hope she's sober and well for her babies' sakes, for Zander's sake and her own. I couldn't tell you what her condition is.

BURNETT: Do you know when you might get to see Zander again? Did she talk about that with you last night or no?

MCKNIGHT: She said I would be able to come where she is, however, that she didn't tell me where she is. She said that she will be able to prove things are wrong with Lee County and that I would be able to come up there and visit and, you know, that's not how I want to do things. He's been down here. He's away from his home and it worries me, that he's OK.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Billy, thank you so much for coming out and sharing your side of the story.

MCKNIGHT: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: I hope you see him real soon.

All right. Next on OUTFRONT, we're going to the front line, an exclusive preview of our trip, next.


BURNETT: This fireworks display went down tonight in the United Arab Emirates. It was the July 4th for the UAE, home of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the world's tallest building. And the Emirates is really young, only 40 years as a country. And they want to be a big ally of the USA.

Take a look at this ad that they took out in "The New York Times" today. It was four pages in "The New York Times." And last night in Washington, the power elite were at a UAE hosted party.

UAE is in a power position right now. They got nuclear power. They're about 150 miles from Iran. They sent planes to help the U.S. enforce the no fly zone in Libya and they sit on 10 percent of the world's oil.


SAUD MASUD, MIDDLE EAST ANALYST, SM ADVISORY GROUP: Well, apart from being a strategic ally in terms of regional security, UAE also is the largest export partner in the Middle East for the U.S. and the largest export partner on a per capita basis worldwide. And clearly that positions UAE very strategically for the U.S. and bilateral relationships have been pretty strong for decades now.


BURNETT: So, it could be a biggest ally in the region but the UAE does have some problems. Dubai is still climbing out of a massive bust with real estate prices down 60 percent from the peak.

So, we're going there to get the story, from the Arab Spring to Iran to Syria, to the indoor ski slope. In a very rare interview with the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. He comes OUTFRONT in a special interview on Monday.

We'll see you then. But "ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.