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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Newt Gingrich's Past Revisited; School Rejects Honor Student With HIV
Aired December 6, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's 10:00 here on the East Coast. Good evening, everyone.
We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with Newt Gingrich, who's skyrocketing the polls and downplaying his past, which includes the dubious distinction of being the first House speaker in history to be reprimanded for ethics violations.
First, the polls, and they are striking. A CBS News/"New York Times" poll out today shows Gingrich leading Mitt Romney in Iowa by 14 points, with Ron Paul close behind. In South Carolina, which often ends up winnowing out the less conservative candidates, Gingrich is up 16 points in a new poll from Winthrop University. Gingrich is also gaining ground on Romney in New Hampshire, Romney's home turf.
So there's the polls. Now the past which these days is bubbling back into the present. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is threatening to dredge it up. Gingrich supporters say revealing confidential information from the House ethics investigation would be at the least unethical.
Congresswoman Pelosi says she's only talking about what's already on the record. We can decide whether it matters.
CNN's Jim Acosta asked the candidate about it yesterday in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We turned over a million pages of material. We had a huge report. The total 83 charges were repudiated as false. The one mistake we made was a letter written by a lawyer that I didn't read carefully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, "Keeping Him Honest," though, Mr. Gingrich isn't telling the whole story about the House Ethics Committee investigation back then. It's a complicated but in a nutshell the committee wanted to know whether Gingrich used money from tax exempt organizations to fund a pair of college courses he taught and used, by his own admission, to further his political agenda.
Here's the timeline. Shortly after a political rival filed the complaint, Gingrich hired a Washington lawyer who wrote two letters dated December 8, 1994 and March 27, 1995 to the Ethics Committee. According to committee documents Gingrich signed the first letter and approved the second. Both contained statements that were false.
In his latest October 1996 Gingrich was telling the committee they were accurate, but on January 17 of 1997 under tough questioning from Special Counsel James Cole Speaker Gingrich acknowledged the falsehood.
As Cole described it, it was like pulling teeth -- quote -- "It was not that he just walked in, recognized everything was inaccurate and explained it right off the bat."
By then Ethics Committee chairman, Republican Porter Goss, had already released a document alleging that Gingrich failed to seek and follow legal advice that would have told him he was improperly using tax exempt organizations for political aims.
And the document also included the admission from the speaker -- quote -- "I, Newt Gingrich, admit to the statement of alleged violations dated December 21."
Speaker Gingrich also put out a statement of his own -- quote -- "In my name and over my signature, inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable statements were given to the Ethics Committee, but I did not intend to mislead."
The statement went on to say, "I did not seek personal gain, but my actions did not reflect credibility on the House of Representatives."
So what sounds now in his answer to Jim Acosta like a simple oversight was by his own admission back then a bit more.
Again, you can determine for yourself whether it matters. Special Counsel Cole concluded that Gingrich had violated tax law and lied to the committee. But the panel couldn't agree on the tax part, turned it over to the IRS, which later sided with Gingrich.
The committee settled instead on the admission of guilt I just read from Speaker Gingrich, a reprimand and a $300,000 bill for the four-year investigation.
"Raw Politics" now with Democratic strategist and Obama 2012 pollster, Cornell Belcher, also GOP strategist Mary Matalin and RedState.com editor in chief Erick Erickson.
Cornell, how much do you think the re-emergence or the re- discussion of these ethics violations could damage Gingrich's campaign?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know at this point, I really don't think it's going to matter that much because I think when you look at the Republican primary voters right now they're looking for someone who can be the authentic conservative and the opposition to Mitt Romney. And they seem to be coalescing when Cain left the race all those -- all those voters seem to be coalescing around Newt Gingrich right now. And right now they're looking for a conservative voice that can be -- that they can all rally around.
I really don't think this is going to matter so much in the primary right now. I think it will matter if he's the nominee in the general election with independent voters. With those hard core conservative ideological voters, I really think they're just looking for the most conservative authentic person they can vote for right now.
COOPER: Erick, you agree with that?
ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, by and large, I do. This may come up if Republicans get a little scared thinking that this is going to really hurt him in the general election. They might wave a red flag and say, no, we better not go with him. But it was so old, more than a decade ago, the IRS dismissed the tax charge, sided with Gingrich.
I think most people don't care about that. They're going to start focusing on his record more than what happened a decade or so ago with this.
COOPER: You say he should just release the ethics records himself if for no other reason, just transparency sake.
ERICKSON: Yes, I think for transparency, he may want to. The Democrats -- if he gets into the general election, the Democrats are going to dog him on this and continue to badger him with it and on and on, trying to keep the media raising questions about it.
The easiest thing for him to do is to go on and make a full disclosure, be very transparent about it, and say, this was 10 years ago. I don't think even in the general election if he did that, voters would say, well, lord, this is more than 10 years ago, why does it matter now?
COOPER: Mary, you've known Gingrich for decades. Do you think he really can be the Republican nominee?
MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I do. If you -- everyone said -- all crazed about these tap line polls in first four states but they're deeper than that. And Erick knows this and so does Cornell from being on the ground.
These tap lines are nothing compared to what's underneath him. He is pulling way far ahead of everybody else. And the number one issue which key voters care about, not just primary voters, but independents and general electorate, which is leading on the economy.
All of this extraneous baggage has been discounted for him and will be discounted in the general because this is a message not a messenger election. And he epitomizes what is a contemporaneous message ironically, which is the era of big government is over. Whatever else he did, Newt is the guy connected to President Clinton saying the era of big government is over. And that is what this election is going to be fought over.
COOPER: Cornell, are the polls as deep as Mary has seen them?
BELCHER: Well, you know, it's -- for one who's always am a pollster always be cautious about sort of early polls because, you know, my guy was -- one time was behind in all the polls by 30 points going into the primaries. But there's a trend line and what we look for in polling is a trend line and clearly the problem for Mitt Romney is that the trend line for him has been stuck in the 20s now for four or five months now.
And you look at all those other voters, they're not -- Mitt Romney is not the second choice of any -- of the any other candidates. You know, so it's real problematic for him. The trend lines aren't moving his way.
The other person I would say don't count this out -- it goes to Mary's point about on the ground -- Ron Paul. Ron Paul has got an energy about his supporters and an energy about what's going on right now, particularly when you look at places like Iowa where he actually has some soldiers on the ground and they're energized and they're young. You can't overlook that. I think it's worth a couple of points.
COOPER: Erick, does Nancy Pelosi's attack on Gingrich or a threat of releasing information, does that actually help him?
ERICKSON: Yes, I think to a degree. Look, Republicans like to rally around whoever is being attacked by the Democrats. And to a degree Republicans react more harshly and more defensively when Nancy Pelosi attacks than when Barack Obama does.
There's a visceral dislike of her in the Republican Party that I don't even think Barack Obama even has with a lot of Republicans. That said, the attacks that are going to matter against Gingrich aren't going to be from Pelosi. There are -- to Cornell's point, they're going to be from Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.
If Mitt Romney wants to win New Hampshire he needs to shut down Gingrich and if Ron Paul wants to win Iowa, he's got to shut down Gingrich. So the attacks are going to come fast and furious, but they're going to come from the right, not from the Democrats.
COOPER: And, Mary, I mean, Gingrich is painting himself as a Washington outsider. Will that hold up to scrutiny? Because I mean, this is a guy who spent an awful lot of time and made an awful lot of money in Washington.
MATALIN: Well, I'm going to go back to my basic framework, which is this is ultimately a message, not a messenger. As a messenger he's proved he's Lazarus, now he has to prove that he's not Icarus and fly too close to the sun.
But picking up on what Cornell said, whoever is -- and we've all done this in Iowa. It's really not organization. It is, as my old boss, George Herbert Walker Bush, said, it's big mo. Whoever has the big mo going into the final days, that is the momentum, is going to win Iowa which influences New Hampshire, et cetera, et cetera.
And he has the big mo right now. I -- take it from me, this notion of organization, we had the best organization that got beat by Pat Robertson who had the big mo. So if he can sustain the mo and not be Icarus, then I -- he's going to be pretty good to South Carolina.
COOPER: This --
BELCHER: And can I say one thing about New Hampshire, too?
COOPER: Yes, yes, go ahead.
BELCHER: I mean, if you look at how things are getting close in New Hampshire, too, the other thing about if you were Ron Paul or you're Newt Gingrich is, and Mary knows this well, is set the expectations in New Hampshire right now if you're Newt Gingrich so high that Romney can't meet those expectations.
You should be saying right now that, you know, what, this is your home state, this is -- this is backyard. You have to win New Hampshire by going away by 10 or more points or it doesn't count at all. And if he -- if he can't meet those expectations, he doesn't have the momentum. And it's -- it really gets hard when he tears down to South Carolina.
COOPER: It is amazing, and this is what I love about presidential races, and must be what, Mary, you love about, you know, working in them and working in the world of politics, is, you just cannot predict. I mean, months ago, who would have predicted Newt Gingrich when we were all reporting on all his staff defecting?
MATALIN: Well, those of us who have known Newt for over two decades said, and I think I said it to you, Anderson, you can never say never when it comes to Newt. And he did earn this comeback. He is the quintessential comeback kid. He scratched and clawed and he won on -- on merit. And he was again going to the notion and -- that this is a message not a messenger. And he's a fighter.
So every time they put out the number of Ron Paul and Romney and everybody putting out these things showing Mitt in full battle, well, that's what they want. That's what they don't like about Romney's last-man-standing strategy. They want a fighter who can take it to Cornell's candidate because Cornell is putting together a great campaign. And Obama is going to be tough, tough, tough. We need somebody who can armor up. And they're showing -- and Newt can do that. That's what they like.
COOPER: Mary Matalin, fascinating.
Erick Erickson, Cornell Belcher, as always, thank you.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, Google+. Add us to your circles. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper, I'm tweeting tonight.
Just ahead, is it a new version of the botched operation Fast and Furious that let guns be smuggled back and forth across the Mexican border until a border agent was killed by some of those guns? That is a question being asked by Republicans now mostly about an operation reportedly involving money, not guns, money-laundering from Mexico. We'll ask a sheriff on the front lines and an agent who spent years infiltrating drug cartels, a really fascinating discussion.
Also tonight, "Keeping Them Honest," trying to get answers to why a prestigious school relied on questionable medical evidence when it denied admission to an honor student with HIV.
First let's check with Isha, we'll see what she's covering -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, new trouble for mega-church pastor Eddie Long. He's taking a break from his church and his wife wants to take a break from him. This after facing allegations he sexually abused several young men in his congregation -- that and much more when 360 continues.
COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report tonight.
Tonight, we're trying to get answers from the Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania about who they actually consulted for medical advice before they denied admission to a 13-year-old honor student and athlete who is HIV positive.
Last week when I asked a spokeswoman from the private boarding school what specific direct threat the boy poses to the school's other students, here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONNIE MCNAMARA, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL: There are a number of issues, but the key issue for us comes down to sexual activity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The school is hanging its decision largely on the possibility that this 13-year-old boy might some day have sex with another student. In other words, a hypothetical. Not only sex but unprotected sex.
We reached out to the boy through his lawyers and asked them for the response. In an e-mail to us, he said, and I quote, "If anything the lawyers and spokesperson for the school are a direct threat to me by insulting my intelligence as though I do not understand or know the consequences of having unprotected sex. Who wants to have sex anyway at my age? That is not what I'm focused on. What kind of boarding school are they running that the kids there are that sexually active with all the staff members there 24 hours a day?"
There's also this fact. Nothing hypothetical about it. This 13- year-old is taking drugs to keep the virus in check. Drugs that reduce the risk of sexual transmission by more than 95 percent even if the sex is unprotected.
Here's Dr. Kimberly Manning of Emory University Medical Center.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. KIMBERLY MANNING, EMORY UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: This was a decision that was rooted in fear not because of public health concern because if this was truly for public health purposes, they would have sought the counsel of the appropriate medical professionals who would have then told them of the compelling data that has demonstrated that those who are taking anti-retroviral therapy, if indeed they do have sexual intercourse with someone HIV negative, the chances of getting HIV is minimal in those instances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So who exactly did the school consult for medical advice on the matter? I asked about that as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What medical evidence was your decision based on?
MCNAMARA: We did a thorough review. We had the admissions committee and our senior administration along with our medical staff review the case.
COOPER: So you had a doctor or medical professionals consulting on this?
COOPER: And they advised you that there was a risk of having an HIV positive child in the school?
MCNAMARA: I wasn't in those discussions, Anderson, but I can tell you that the decision at the end of the day was that in balancing the risks, we had to think about those other 2,000 students in our home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, we spent all afternoon trying to contact the school's medical staff. We made several phone calls but each person we spoke to sent us to the communications director and each time we got a voicemail.
We also asked their spokeswoman again tonight for the names of the medical professionals the school claims to have consulted. She sent us a statement, but it didn't address which medical professionals if any they consulted when making their decision. In the meantime, we reached out to another expert on HIV/AIDS, Dr. Nicholas Hellmann with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation. He told us and I quote, "There's essentially no risk to the rest of the student population, which is why there's no reason to exclude this individual from school." Tonight, the Milton Hershey School is standing by its decision. We finally heard back from the school which told us in a statement, "We understand that the risks presented by an HIV-positive individual who's on medication are low. Taking all these and other factors in consideration including the fact that we would be prohibited by law from informing our community of the young man's HIV-positive status, we concluded that the risk was significant and rose to the level of a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
"Our first obligation is to protect the students already in our care. If we knowingly admit a student with HIV, and that student ultimately had sexual relations with another student that led to the transmission of HIV, we believe we would have failed in meeting our obligation."
Well, a lawsuit filed against the Milton Hershey School claims that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by turning this boy away simply because he's HIV-positive.
Joining me now is Areva Martin, a disability rights attorney and children's advocate.
Thanks so much for being with us, Areva. The school says it's made its decision --
AREVA MARTIN, DISABILITY RIGHTS ATTORNEY/CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE: Thank you for having me.
COOPER: -- based at least in part on the advice medical professionals. The school won't release the names of the medical professionals. Does it strike you as odd? I mean, if this lawsuit moves ahead, they're going to have to eventually disclose those medical advisers.
MARTIN: Absolutely, Anderson. They're going to have to release the names of the medical providers and tell us what factors did they weigh. Because the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it very clear that there has to be an individualized assessment.
You can't just base your decision on gross generalizations or fear or hypotheticals. And everything in this case is so very speculative. We've not heard one piece of evidence, one factual statement to suggest that this young man, this 13-year-old student, poses any risk to those other students. So I'm at just a loss as to how the school was even justifying the decision that they made.
COOPER: And this is a -- it's a great school. They help a lot of kids in need.
But, specifically on this, it's pretty shocking, because they are saying that they're basing their argument on the risk of the student possibly engaging in sexual activity. How much weight would that kind of hypothetical carry legally?
MARTIN: Very little, Anderson. I mean, the reality is, yes, in general, all kids, all students, all adults, may have sex, but is there any evidence that this young man -- and what about all the other kids? Are they going to start testing them for sexually transmittable diseases, for HIV?
So you're talking about a remote possibility that something might happen. And you know even considering that even if he does have sex, we know he's on medication. So the chances of him transmitting AIDS to another student again is so very small, so insignificant, that I don't believe any court is going to prevent this young man from entering that school.
And I agree with you. This school has a stellar track record. It educates underserved students. It takes kids from low-income communities, a lot of foster care kids. So its track record is amazing. So when you look at this decision, it just doesn't fit with what the school has done historically in terms of educating those who have been locked out of society.
COOPER: And the school keeps coming back to the term direct threat as a way of saying it's not in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act as if you can prove it's a direct threat then that can be an exemption. But the Justice Department has specifically said that people with HIV are rarely if ever a direct threat.
MARTIN: Absolutely, Anderson. And not only that, they're using this term "direct threat" broadly. They still haven't addressed what the Americans with Disabilities Act requires them to address, and again that's the individualized circumstances. What is it about this young man? So who are these doctors? What have they reviewed relevant to him?
Not the general population, not all students that may have sex, not all individuals that have HIV, but the Americans with Disabilities Act is very clear. It doesn't want schools, it doesn't want public institutions discriminating against individuals based on broad generalizations. And that's what we have here and that's what's so troubling about this decision.
COOPER: Right. And what seems to be important about this decision is that if, say, this school, then some private college can decide well, we don't want other HIV positive students either.
MARTIN: Could be.
COOPER: And other schools can decide -- or any kind of boarding school or any school that has -- you know, a college where kids are in residential facilities.
MARTIN: Absolutely, Anderson. It opens the floodgates. And we can see this rash of discrimination against students with HIV and any number of disabilities. And we fought hard. I mean, the Americans with Disabilities Act was just enacted in 1990. So we're not talking about decades and decades of, you know, students being allowed to enter private schools. We're talking about a very recent law that has opened the doors. COOPER: Right.
MARTIN: And now this decision by this school closes that door. And that's troubling.
COOPER: Areva Martin, appreciate your being on. We'll continue to follow this.
Still ahead: a DEA agent reportedly laundering and smuggling Mexican drug money across the U.S./Mexico border. The question tonight, is this another botched operation like the gun running operation Fast and Furious Congress is investigating?
We're going to dig deeper, though, with a sheriff who's been very outspoken against Fast and Furious for a different opinion about this money laundering operation. And we're going to talk to a former undercover agent who's actually laundered money. He'll tell us his perspective.
Also in "Crime & Punishment" tonight: The hunt for a child killer is on right now. Police say the person who sexually assaulted and stabbed a 7-year-old Georgia girl to death is still on the loose and may be living nearby -- details ahead.
COOPER: In a moment, you're going to hear from a man who spent five years under cover in the company of killers infiltrating Colombia's drug cartels. What they didn't know is that he was working for the DEA, not them. He did what he did by getting inside their money laundering operation.
This week congressional Republicans took aim at a similar program where reportedly agents helped launder and smuggle Mexican drug money over the U.S./Mexico border. They say it's similar to the botched operation that did the same thing with guns that led to the death of Border Agent Brian Terry, which was Operation Fast and Furious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA), OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It looks like it's the same sort of a program. In this case, not only let money but assist in money getting out of the U.S. and into Mexico with the hope that they would be able to follow the money.
So we have to ask the question of, how long are they going to continue with either failed strategy particularly when we understand that money is the lifeblood of the drug trade? With money, they can corrupt the system in Mexico.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Congressman Darrell Issa this morning on FOX News. He's expanding his investigation to cover the money operation that's going to ask the Attorney General Eric Holder about it when the committee reconvenes on Thursday.
Joining us now is Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu who's taken strong exception to the gun-walking operation. And on the phone is former DEA agent Robert Mazur who doesn't want to show his face for his own safety. He's written about his undercover life in "The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel."
Robert, you personally laundered money for Pablo Escobar's cartel as an undercover agent. You defend the practice. Why is it important? Why does -- why did it work?
ROBERT MAZUR, FORMER DEA AGENT: I think that there's a lot of merit to these operations as long as they are professionally managed and organized.
In operation that I was involved in, over a period of two years, we laundered $34 million which I know sounds like a lot of money to many people, but when you look at it with respect to the amount of cash that's generated in the United States every year from the sale of drugs, which is roughly about $65 billion, that would be one-fiftieth of 1 percent.
In my view, you know, equal to a snowflake in a blizzard. And what did we get as a result of that? We managed an operation and stayed right on top of it making sure that what we got was not just the money, but what we got was evidence that was prosecutable against individuals who we actually could arrest, and we arrested over 100 drug traffickers and money launderers including a considerable number that reported directly to Pablo Escobar that I wound up dealing with.
We seized 3,200 pounds of cocaine, about $100 million in cash and assets, about $500 million in fines. But most importantly we got to identify an international bank, which was then the seventh largest privately held bank in the world with offices in 72 countries. And we were able to indict about a third of the senior management of that bank, arrested them, imprisoned them, put the bank -- the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, BBCI -- out of business around the globe.
And to me, in return for laundering one-fiftieth of 1 percent of what's generated in the United States, that has benefit to us and to those around the globe that fight this war every day.
COOPER: Sheriff, we've heard a lot of outrage to this from Congressman Issa and Mexican authorities. You say, though, some of your deputies have been involved in laundering as well. Do you say it has value as well?
PAUL BABEU, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: Well, to Agent Mazur's point, I mean, it worked beautifully with Escobar.
And if we -- and his comment about if it's well-managed, and that's the question that I know Congressman Issa is looking at is what kind of surveillance and oversight? Did we have criminal informants, or do we have embedded agents that are within the cartels?
And that's where the contrast, where we do see it in law enforcement, as an advantage, that if we can get deep into the criminal syndicate in order to collapse the entire organization or key parts of it, that's the advantage.
What didn't happen with Fast and Furious that we now know for truth is that there was no tracking. There was no surveillance. And now 2,000 weapons got into the hands of the most violent criminals in North America. And that no way could anybody ever conceive that that would end well, and it hasn't. Two, 300 people in Mexico, according to their attorney general, have been murdered. Agent Brian Terry here in my state had been murdered. Two of these weapons were used to murder him.
So it's very different to look at guns, heavy armaments, versus, as the agent already pointed out, as a useful tool in law enforcement, as Long as it's managed properly and we do have the end state.
COOPER: The sheriff raises an interesting point, because Congressman Issa, in a letter to the attorney general, Eric Holder, is comparing the alleged money laundering to the Fast and Furious program. And he wrote, and I quote, "These allegations, if true, raise further unsettling questions about a Department of Justice component engaging in a high-risk strategy with scant evidence of success."
The letter went on to say, "The existence of such a program calls into question your leadership." Do you see the programs -- the two programs as analogous?
MAZUR (via phone): No, I don't. And I agree with the sheriff. I know that I had the opportunity to deal -- climb through a portal into the underworld through this undercover operation and deal directly with the likes of the principal consigliore to Pablo Escobar, an attorney in Medellin. We would have never, ever known about him and what his activities were if it wasn't for this type of operation.
I was able to meet face-to-face and record 1,200 recordings with senior bank officials, with high-level drug traffickers. And we were able to bring those people to justice. That's -- that's really the benefit of these undercover operations.
COOPER: New hearing on Thursday. We'll see what comes out of it. Robert Mazur, appreciate your time and Sheriff Babeau. Always good to have you on. Thank you.
BABEAU: Thank you.
MAZUR: Thank you.
COOPER: We're following a lot more stories. Isha is back with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isha, dozens of people were killed in two suicide bombings in Afghanistan today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: One attack was caught on camera, the bomber targeting worshipers gathered for a holy day service at a Shiite shrine in Kabul, where 56 people were killed. Four others died in an explosion on a busy street in Mazar-e Sharif.
Well, the head of the FAA has resigned three days after being charged with a DWI. However, Randy Babbitt made no mention of the arrest in the statement announcing his departure.
President Obama traveled to the Republican heartland of Kansas today to talk about the fragile U.S. economy and how to fix it. He called on Congress to end the payroll -- to extend the payroll tax cut, I should say. He also shared his concerns about how the economy is hurting Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a make-or- break moment for the middle class and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class, because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: While the president was on on the road, Lady Gaga paid a visit to the White House to talk about her crusade against bullying. She met with the White House public -- White House Office of Public Engagement about the issue.
Anderson, as you know, the White House had a conference on anti- bullying earlier this year.
COOPER: All right. Isha, thanks very much.
Still ahead, up close, Bishop Eddie Long brought a small congregation to a thriving mega church, but his high-flying days are screeching to a halt. His stunning fall from grace ahead and what's behind it.
Also, in "Crime & Punishment" tonight, the latest in the search for a 7-year-old girl's killer. Her body was found in a Dumpster near her home. Her neighbors are now wondering, "Is there a murderer among us?"
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, the tragic death of a little girl in Georgia and the search for her killer which is ongoing. Jorelys Rivera's body was found in the Dumpster right outside the apartment building where she lived in Canton, about 40 miles north of Atlanta.
The 7-year-old was last seen alive on Friday near a playground at the apartment. Authorities said she died of blunt-force trauma to the head and that she was stabbed and sexually assaulted. The FBI and police are looking into any known sex offenders who live nearby. But the head of the George Bureau of Investigations says, frankly, there's no strong suspect, and they need help from the public.
I spoke earlier with CNN law enforcement analyst and former D.C. police detective Mike Brooks, who was in Canton today.
COOPER: So Mike, a child snatched up in broad daylight outside your home. Do authorities have any idea who might have done this?
MIKE BROOKS, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Anderson, they're not saying right now, but they -- I think they've kind of narrowed their focus now. And I was told by law enforcement officials today that they are looking at a number of people.
Now, I just spoke with Vernon Keenan, who's the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, just moments ago. And he said they're not going to announce any arrests, but he didn't say that they weren't close. I think as a former investigator it is not a matter of if but a matter of when.
COOPER: There are several registered sex offenders who live in her apartment complex or live nearby. Have they been ruled out as suspects?
BROOKS: Well, in fact, Anderson, there's one who lives in the apartment directly above her, a registered sex offender here in the state of Georgia. When I asked Director Keenan yesterday about him, if he had been cleared, he says, "I don't want to get into that." But they have not ruled anyone out as of right now.
COOPER: Her body was found in a trash compactor. Do we know of any clues that investigators gleaned from that?
BROOKS: Well, apparently, they did get some evidence. We saw evidence bags out on the scene yesterday where they recovered her body. They took the compactor, Anderson, over to a remote area where they were able to bring a back hoe in because there was that much garbage in the compactor. And they were looking through every bag that was in that compactor.
And then they were back at the apartment complex again today. But that compactor, that is the key, I think, of where a lot of that evidence could be, Anderson. Because that compactor also only the maintenance people at that complex have a key to turn the lock on that to compact the trash in to there. And that's going to play a vital role, a key piece of evidence, if you will, in the timeline of when she was placed in that compactor the other day. COOPER: And I know children services have taken the girl's two other siblings. Do we know why they would have done that?
BROOKS: Well, they didn't say why, but, you know, they're not telling us exactly why. But she went to court yesterday, and she did not get the children back.
COOPER: Mike Brooks, appreciate the reporting. Mike, thanks.
BROOKS: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Such a disturbing case. Let's dig deeper now with Casey Jordan, a criminologist, attorney, and contributor for "In Session" on our sister network, TruTV.
So the -- authorities think the person who did this lived either in the complex or had access to it?
CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Absolutely. The chances are extremely high that it's a neighbor, someone very familiar with the complex.
Remember, they think that the crime took place in a vacant apartment also in the apartment complex. Only somebody who lives there or who frequents there. If they don't live there, then they're definitely a guest or a visitor or a relative of somebody who lives there. They know the complex very well. They knew, if they abducted this child, they could go to that abandoned apartment or vacant apartment to commit the crime.
COOPER: What do you make of the -- just the brutality of the attack, not just sexually assaulting her, the stabbing, the bludgeoning?
JORDAN: Very, very disturbing, because it's overkill for a defenseless, vulnerable 7-year-old child. You don't have to beat them to death and then stab them, as well. The stabbing is very sexual. It indicates an impulsivity, a level of anger. We called these child murders who like to torture and overkill a child mysopeds. And they...
COOPER: Mysoped? Never heard of that.
JORDAN: Mysoped. Yes, and it's perhaps the most disturbing and sadistic of the child molesters, the ones who actually kill a child.
COOPER: What does that mean, mysoped?
JORDAN: The killer would have gotten off on the process of killing the child, almost symbolically trying to destroy their innocence during the process of sexually assaulting and then killing the child. Beating the child, and then stabbing the child, this shows rage. It indicates to me that -- we typically see this in offenders who were also abused as children. COOPER: So is that something that somebody builds up to, or would this person have a record already probably?
JORDAN: This person -- about a 40 percent chance that they've been incarcerated before, and most likely that was a juvenile offense. I don't get the feeling that this offender has ever done this before.
The police are saying that the crime was very premeditated, even planned, but I'm not sure I agree with that. I see a great deal of impulsivity. I think the fantasy was there for a Long time. The person has built up the fantasy in his head. And yet the actual act: probably just encountered the child, maybe outside her apartment, in a stairwell, on the playground, and then the fantasy became a reality.
So the person is clearly not organized. Disorganization -- you know if you get rid of the body right at the complex, in the Dumpster, it's very likely to be found. And of course, now that's why they're focusing on all the occupants, doing hundreds of interviews with everybody who lives in the complex.
COOPER: So that tells you it was rushed or just disorganized?
JORDAN: Absolutely rushed. I mean, a 7-year-old child, not to be morose, would fit into a duffel bag or suitcase. It's easy enough to get the child out of the complex unnoticed and take the body far away and dispose of it in a place that would never be found. Instead the body was dumped within feet or yards of the apartment where the crime took place.
COOPER: So disturbing.
COOPER: Casey, appreciate you being with us. Casey Jordan. Thank you very much.
JORDAN: Great to be here.
COOPER: Coming up mega church Pastor Eddie Long says he's taking time off after his wife filed for divorce. You may remember Long was sued by four male congregation members who say that he pressured them into sex when they were teenagers. We're going to go up close and look at the timeline of what happened.
Also tonight, word that federal agents have searched the home and office of former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, looking for evidence in the alleged child sex abuse case. We'll tell you what they found.
COOPER: "Up Close" tonight, a powerful preacher's fall from grace. Just a year ago, Bishop Eddie Long's wife and congregation rallied to his side when he was accused of sexual misconduct. He'd vowed to fight the charges and win. Instead he's settled out of court with his accusers, and now his wife has filed for divorce after 21 yeas of marriage.
Here's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Megachurch Bishop Eddie Long was one of America's most influential, wealthy and powerful preachers.
BISHOP EDDIE LONG, MEGACHURCH PASTOR: All the things that God has spoke to you. All of it. You got to declare it. I'm making the official announcement. God has not changed his mind about me. He has not changed his mind about you. Declare it, declare it, affirm it, walk in it!
TUCHMAN: A boisterous, confident sermon, even though it came just a few months after he had been accused by several young men of coercing them into having homosexual sex. They said they had viewed Long as a father figure and alleged he lavished them with gifts and trips before eventually pressuring them into sex. Strong allegations, especially considering Eddie Long was such a strong critic of homosexuality.
LONG: You cannot say, "I was born this way." I don't care what scientists say. If you say you were born this way, then you're saying, "God, you're a liar." You can be converted. You were not born that way.
TUCHMAN: The bombast of Bishop Eddie Long who has packed tens of thousands of people in a suburban Atlanta church, has come to an end, at least for the time being.
This is what he had to say this past Sunday.
LONG: I'm going to take a little time off to work with my family.
TUCHMAN: Eddie Long says he's stepping away from the pulpit for now, after his wife filed for divorce last week. Stating she was doing it after a great deal of deliberation and prayer. Before Vanessa Long's decision, there had been plenty of drama in the public eye, including this interview done by Atlanta TV station WAGA with one of her husband's accusers.
JAMAL PARRIS, BISHOP LONG ACCUSER: I cannot get the sound of his voice out of my head. And I cannot forget the smell of his cologne. And I cannot forget the way that he made me cry many nights when I drove in his cars on the way home. Not able to take enough showers to wipe the smell of him off of my body.
TUCHMAN: At first Long aggressively fought the allegations, using his pulpit and biblical references to cast doubt on his accusers.
LONG: And I want you to know one other thing. I feel like David against Goliath. But I got five rocks. And I haven't thrown one yet. TUCHMAN: But it doesn't appear he threw his five rocks. Instead Long, who allegedly sent these photos to one of the plaintiffs, agreed to a secret legal financial settlement with four men. And while some congregants still support him...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want him to know that we are behind him.
TUCHMAN: Many others have left his church empire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to repent and to change his wicked ways and to make amends to those young men.
TUCHMAN: Attendance is way down at his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. And now with Long's announcement, it doesn't bode well for his mega church or his marriage, but he told his congregants...
LONG: We're going to work it out.
TUCHMAN: But for many, his word isn't quite as good as it used to be.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Let's check in with Isha. She's back with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, court documents reveal what federal agents were looking for and what they found when they searched the home and office of former Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine. Investigators were told to search for pornography that could have been used, according to the document, to, quote, "sexually arouse or groom young males to engage in sex acts," unquote. Agents took cell phones, iPads, computers, cameras and more than 100 CDs and DVDs.
Fine denies any allegations and has not been charged with any crimes.
Indiana officials today announced the maximum money settlement allowed by law for victims of that stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. Sixty-one survivors and the families of the seven killed will get a total of $5 million compensation.
ESPN reporter Erin Andrews has filed $10 million lawsuit over being secretly filmed naked in a Nashville hotel room three years ago. Andrews is suing both the hotel and Michael Barrett, who filmed her.
It looks like Alec Baldwin was kicked off a flight today for playing a game on his phone while waiting for the plane to take off from LAX. Baldwin tweeted that he got reamed out by the American Airlines flight attendant for playing Words with Friends at the gate. He also tweeted that he'll never fly on American Airlines again. And in "The Connection" tonight, two companies are building safer motorcycle jackets. ABC reports the companies are working on air bag suits that motorcycle riders can wear with sensors that detect impact and inflate in less than a second. When the jackets hit the market, they're expected to cost between $1,700 and $8,000.
Now back to Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up, like a wave of hair spray sequins and very high heels on very small feet, a new season of "Toddlers & Tiaras" is careening toward "The RidicuList." Next.
COOPER: Time now for the "RidicuList." And ready or not, the return of "Toddlers & Tiaras" is nearly upon us. Da-dada-dun! That's right: TLC's hit show about pint-sized beauty pageant contestants and the moms who -- let's just say -- motivate them is back.
Now, I've got to say right off the bat, I'm truly conflicted about this show. On the one hand, it seems like putting pancake makeup on a 2-year-old is somehow wrong, that maybe, just maybe, it sends the wrong message.
On the other hand, I can't stop peeking at this show from time to time. I've tried. I just can't do it, though.
The new season of "Toddlers & Tiaras" starts tomorrow night. And TLC has a preview. Let's take a look, shall we?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband and I watch a lot of drag shows. Fierceness, Riley (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mommy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fierceness, fierce.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mom, don't help me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We take a lot of our inspiration from RuPaul. He's our favorite queen. Shake it. Shake. Basically the queens tell us, you know, be fierce and don't worry about what other people think because what other people think of you is, you know, it's none of your business.
COOPER: Now, as far as pageant mom mantras go, that's actually not so bad. But is it just me or does the whole "not worrying about what other people think" philosophy maybe, just maybe conflict a tad with the whole forcing your child into a sparkly swimsuit to get judged and ranked by strangers thing? I don't know for sure. But I do know this. For a pageant mom, the work is never done. Nope.
Do you think a 5-year-old's eyebrows are going to wax themselves?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't tear it. Don't tear it! Ah!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's all done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you teared it out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a bad experience with not Jessica, with another lady, to where the wax was way too hot and it actually ripped off her skin. So she's been kind of terrified ever since then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Don't let that stop you. So I've said it before. I'll say it again: pageant moms, they are the real heroes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pray, pray. Woo. Go!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, yes, that was a 2-year-old in a cone bra, in case you were wondering just how old she was.
Next on the hit parade, we have a 4-year-old dressed like a prostitute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here comes "Pretty Woman." Paisley.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I've actually met Paisley. I'm just glad that Paisley's mom went with the Julia Roberts "Pretty Woman" prostitute and not the Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos "Monster" prostitute.
See, pageant moms have to make bold choices every single day, like what kind of fake boobs to get for your 4-year-old?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It goes like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she wears the fake boobs and the fake butt, it's just like -- it's an added, you know, extra bonus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: But no segment on child beauty pageants would be complete without Miss Eden Wood. She's arguably the most famous toddler currently wearing the tiara. Her song? "Cutie Patootie."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDEN WOOD, PAGEANT CONTESTANT (singing): Cutie Patootie. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. Here is a video of Eden singing her song on the daytime show "The Talk," which somebody online slowed down just a little bit and put on YouTube. Why? I have no idea. But the results will haunt your dreams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC: "CUTIE PATOOTIE")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I've watched that about a million times. I can watch it again.
I don't really know how I can follow that, so I'll just say to the new season of "Toddlers & Tiaras," welcome back. We'll be watching.
OK. That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.