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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Penn State Scandal; Syracuse Sex Abuse Case; Blagojevich Goes to Prison; Gadhafi's Son

Aired December 7, 2011 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, HOST: Thanks, John.

We're counting down to a big event in Iowa tonight. Mitt Romney is pulling out the big guns, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie giving a speech this hour.

No charges for Bernie Fine, the assistant basketball coach at Syracuse accused of molesting boys. We discovered something shocking about the statute of limitations for child abuse in America.

Plus, Jerry Sandusky in jail tonight. He couldn't post $250,000 cash bail, but he might tomorrow, the "Bottom Line" on that.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight arrested again, former Penn State assistant football Coach Jerry Sandusky arrested for the second time. Police handcuffed him and charged him with sexually abusing two more boys from his charity, the Second Mile. Sandusky was arraigned in court and unable to post $250,000 in cash bail. He remains in jail tonight.

Now Sandusky has now been charged with sexually abusing a total of 10 boys although he continues to deny all allegations. Sara Ganim is in State College for us tonight. She has the latest on the story. Sara thanks for being with us and what can you tell us about the situation and whether he'll be able to post bail and perhaps go free tomorrow as some reports indicate?

SARA GANIM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What his attorney told us after the hearing was that he's planning; he's working on it overnight basically. He was arraigned too late in the day. That was what his attorney said. It was a 3:00 hearing and by the time they could get something together, he was going to have to spend the night in jail and hopefully post in the morning.

Now it is $250,000 cash bail. However, he can put up property. He can use a bail bondsman or he can pay in cash. But it's straight bail which means he has to post the whole amount, not just a percentage to get out. And then if he does get out, if he's able to post, he is going to be on an electronic ankle monitor which is going to confine him to his house. It's essentially house arrest until trial.

BURNETT: And what can you tell us about these boys? GANIM: Well these two additional victims are several years apart. One of them, the prosecutor in the room said that he was the most recently abused victim. So, you know, his allegation is as late as 2008, it's around the same time as victim one came forward. The other one was from 1997. And they both say, you know, things very similar to the things that we've already read in the earlier grand jury presentment which is abuse over a long period of time, inappropriate touching and then one of them actually goes so far as to alleged rape.

BURNETT: All right, well thank you very much, Sara.

Well meantime, we have news today about the Syracuse assistant basketball coach accused of sexually abusing three young men. The case took a strange turn. No charges are being filed in this case. The district attorney said they would not prosecute Bernie Fine even though the alleged victims were credible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ATTY. BILL FITZPATRICK, ONONDEGA COUNTY DISTRICT: In addition to considering the victim's own believability, the district attorney's office was able to interview a person on Sunday, November the 20th, with significant inside information about the Fine household which left one with little doubt that an inappropriate relationship existed between Bobby Davis and Bernie Fine and that Laurie Fine (ph) was well aware of its existence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The D.A. continued to say that the victims' allegations would have arrested -- would have arrested -- resulted in the arrest of Bernie Fine. Why, because the statute of limitations has expired. This got us upset because we don't know whether he is innocent or guilty, but we were upset that if something really happened, a statute of limitations could mean a person guilty of great harm could go free. And we wanted to get to the bottom of it. So we got the numbers.

By our count, 19 states plus the District of Columbia have statutes of limitations on sex abuse. Most states give a victim until the age of 18 to report an instance of abuse. But every state is different. It's a damning situation considering that 45 percent of sexual abuse victims who do tell about abuse don't do it for at least five years and, of course, most people still never tell anyone.

Isn't a statute of limitations for crimes like these wrong? Paul Callan is a former NYC prosecutor. Mark Geragos is a defense attorney. And I appreciate both of you being with us. Let me start with you, Paul Callan.

It does seem rather shocking. And you look at state by state. I know this is complicated. But why would there be statutes of limitations in these cases?

PAUL CALLAN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it exists for a good reason. And the reason is that if you're trying to reconstruct whether a crime took place, it's not fair to go so far back in time, 20, 25 years. You're accused -- let's say you were accused falsely.

BURNETT: Why is it fair if you did it?

CALLAN: Well what if you didn't do it? What if it's a false claim? Where are you going to find your witness to support you? Traditionally we've had statutes of limitations in everything but murder in the United States. And there's been a trend though recently and this, I think, is legitimate.

Where children are involved, because they have an inability to report the crime themselves, most states have extended statutes of limitations to allow them to become adults and have a certain period of time after that to report it. That probably wouldn't have saved the Syracuse case, though I think he was in his 30s when he reported it.

BURNETT: One of them 39. Mark Geragos, what do you think about this whole concept of statute of limitations?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well look, Paul said it perfectly. What if you have the situation where somebody is innocent? How do you reconstruct 20, 10, even 15 years after the fact? It's extremely difficult to do. One of the more astonishing things though from this press conference from my standpoint though was as this D.A. went out of his way to say look, there's this exonerating information.

He called it Brady (ph) material which is what the nomenclature that we use when we're in court. He said well this couldn't have happened basically in some of the accusations but we're confident beyond any doubt that it happened in other accusations. The problem is, is you've got a U.S. attorney who's sitting there who's doing the investigation who must be cringing when he sees his D.A. counterpart out there trying the case in public because that's not something that a federal judge is going to take cotton to later on.

BURNETT: Right. I want to follow up on this though because you know I know someone who was sexually abused and didn't deal with it, married, had a family, ended up having his own problems, marriage broke up as a result of it, well beyond the statute of limitations and in fact has no intent of coming forward. But what happens if he did? Doesn't he have a right to come forward when his whole life and his now ex-wife's life and his children's lives are so affected?

CALLAN: Well you know it depends on what state. There is a national trend to extend these statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania until you're 50 you can bring these things up. In many states you could sue for money damages, but where criminal charges are involved, where somebody is going to go to prison as a result of this, the statutes have traditionally been shorter. Now, by the way, you know I think -- I agree that there should be longer statutes in some cases where children are involved.

BURNETT: Right.

CALLAN: But we have to have a system where there is fairness where we're going to send somebody to prison for a long time. BURNETT: And I understand both of your points that reconstructing after so many years, it clearly --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Go ahead.

GERAGOS: Erin, the other problem with this is the U.S. Supreme Court has already come out in a case that originated in California, Stogner (ph), and said well, it's fine if you want to extend these statutes of limitations. But you can't revive crimes where they've already expired and a lot of this kind of hullabaloo about the statute of limitations are people who are trying to do something that the Supreme Court has already said you cannot do, so --

(CROSSTALK)

CALLAN: Let me talk about one -- just one practical example.

BURNETT: OK.

CALLAN: A case I had.

BURNETT: Yes.

CALLAN: I get a call, a Catholic priest in his 50's gets a telephone call from someone who says I was with you in a camp 30 years ago and you sexually abused me. And the priest says, you know, son, I don't know what you're talking about. You know if this is true, report it to the police. Now we investigated it subsequently and the person making this claim, it was in my view, a totally false claim. But you know something, if that statute had been extended, he could have been arrested on that charge.

BURNETT: Right.

CALLAN: Now is that fair after 30 years? The camp had burned down. There were no records of the camp as to whether they had even been there together. How do we reconstruct it?

(CROSSTALK)

CALLAN: There has to be basic fairness in the system.

BURNETT: Right and it is if these claims are untrue, obviously something that in a horrible way ruins the person who is being accused, life as well.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Well gentlemen thanks so much to both of you, appreciate it, adding some nuance (ph) to the situation.

Well still OUTFRONT the body of 7-year-old Gerallis Rivera (ph) found near a dumpster. A man who worked in her building arrested. And former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich sentenced today to 14 years for trying to sell President Obama's Senate seat. And we've got reports today that Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saadi, planned to sneak into Mexico. His lawyer speaks to OUTFRONT next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Americans love Walmart, globally not so much. Walmart was trying to tap into India's $450 billion retail market. But Indian leaders suspended the decision on letting foreign retailers come into the country thanks to resistance from citizens. And this isn't just a Walmart problem. It's an American problem.

U.S. companies have had a hard time breaking into the biggest markets in the world collectively called the BRICs, Brazil, Russia, India, and China. And that brings us to our number tonight, 2,868,060,586. That's the estimated population of those four countries. It's 41 percent of the people on this planet and it's a group that analysts tell us that U.S. companies are desperate to reach.

Now Walmart's Brazil and China operations have had their struggles. The Home Depot and Best Buy have had problems in China, too. Why, well American tastes don't always fit into other countries. Sometimes there are problems with local governments that don't welcome foreign and especially American businesses.

And local companies often have the edge. American companies need to get into those markets big time to keep being the world's biggest and best companies. So Walmart's setback is something all Americans should watch.

All right, you're looking at Chris Christie right now, a live picture of him at a campaign event. Obviously, as you know, he has endorsed Mitt Romney for president. This is happening right now in West Des Moines, Iowa. We're going to be watching this carefully for you. We're going to have more on this in just a couple of moments as we're monitoring every moment of it to see what exactly what he has to say.

He was, as you remember when he was expected to announce his own or make that decision on his candidacy. Instead he decided not only to not run but very quickly made his endorsement for Mitt Romney who now is trailing Newt Gingrich by double digits in national polls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: This is a time for me to be strong for my children, be strong for Patty, and this is also a time for Patty and me to get home so we can explain to our kids, our babies Amy and Annie, what happened, what all this means and where we're going from here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, what it all means is that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has just 90 days left as a free man. After that, he'll start serving a 14-year prison sentence, that's what he received today. He was found guilty of corruption after he was accused of trying to make a profit by selling then Senator Barack Obama's seat.

Joining us with reaction to the sentence is Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey. John thanks for coming OUTFRONT and you say it's no secret. You're not a fan of the former governor. You called for his impeachment, but that said, do you think that he got a fair sentence today?

JOHN FRITCHEY, COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Well I think the sentence that came down today is harsh but justified. You know, let me be clear. I have sympathy for Rod Blagojevich as a husband and father of two young girls, but not as the impeached governor that tried to shake down a children's hospital and tried to really just keep the state at a standstill and tried to sell off the former -- the president's former Senate seat.

BURNETT: So he's now the second Illinois governor who has been sent to jail. What does that send to the state's political community? I mean at first there were sort of jokes about the mafia like atmosphere in Illinois politics. But what does this mean?

FRITCHEY: Well it's not just the second governor. He's the second consecutive governor to be sent away to jail. He's the fourth governor to go away in four decades. And at a certain point you have to say when is enough, enough. Former Governor George Ryan got 6.5 years. We thought that would send a clear signal. It obviously didn't. Rod Blagojevich ran on a platform of cleaning up corruption in politics and sure enough, he wound up you know taking it to an art form. And hopefully now a 14-year sentence will send a message loud and clear to other people that you know it's time for a change now. You know politics as such in Illinois cannot continue. The voters can't put up with it anymore. Our economy can't put up with it anymore.

BURNETT: All of that true. But he, you know, he -- you heard his apology the other day. He admitted that he had done something wrong. He said I didn't think so at the time, but I guess it was sort of the first time that he had really admitted it. It was a plea to spend time with his family. You weren't won over at all?

FRITCHEY: I've got to tell you what, when you're up there for the first time that you actually accept any responsibility for your actions, is that the sentencing phase? I think it's too little too late. This is somebody that went on to the media constantly to take on the judge, take on the prosecution, and was very defiant until the end. If he believed he was innocent, then he believed he was innocent, but you know for me to think that he all of a sudden had a revelation today, I think it's too little too late.

Now that being said, I think the fact that he did do that today probably led to Judge Nagle (ph) taking a few years off of that sentence. Keep in mind for anybody that thinks this sentence is harsh, the prosecution asked for a 15 to 30-year sentence. Judge Nagle (ph) came down below that at a 14-year sentence. And there's no question, listen, that's a long time, even under federal guidelines he'll do just under 12 years. But that means that you know his oldest daughter who is now 15, she'll be in her late 20's by the time her dad is out again.

BURNETT: Yes.

FRITCHEY: His youngest daughter will be coming out of high school. You know, that's the tragedy here.

BURNETT: It is. All right, well thank you very much, sir. We appreciate your taking the time. Viewers, let us know what you think --

FRITCHEY: Thank you.

BURNETT: Fair or too much for the sentence for Rod Blagojevich of 14 years. Go ahead on our Facebook page and please post your thoughts.

Well reports today that Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saadi Gadhafi, tried to sneak into Mexico and buy safe houses there. That's what Mexico's interior minister announced today to the world. Now I spoke to Saadi's lawyer, Nick Kauffman (ph), who told me that Saadi is still in Niger, the country which has given him political asylum.

He also told me that Saadi has not tried to flee since he arrived in the country. Here is his statement. He said quote, "The sensational nature of the Mexican press conference was designed to discredit my client who since fleeing for his life has shown complete respect for the U.N. sanctions and for the Republic of Niger." CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has met Saadi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For sure he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life in Niger and for sure he wants a better lifestyle. He's used to the sort of cosmopolitan way of life, spending a lot of money, having a lot of money, having a decent lifestyle. And he spent some time in Hollywood.

So that's the kind of life and that's the kind of guy he sort of sees himself being. So absolutely he's going to try and get out from where he is right now. He's also the kind of guy that kind of thinks that he didn't really do too much wrong. And hey, you should be accepted back into the rest of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Saadi's brother, Saif, who was the heir apparent to his father, was thwarted in his attempt to sneak into Niger. He was captured and he's being held in an unknown location.

Well Governor Christie is stumping for Mitt Romney in Iowa right now. We showed you he's speaking. Will his endorsement be enough to turn it around and help Romney get some movement again? And Tom Cruise scaling the world's tallest tower, it's a story we can't resist, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And now a story we can't resist. It's hump day and we usually run a story about camels on Wednesday, so we already filed this week's "Camel Report" while we were in Abu Dhabi on Monday for an exclusive interview with Sheikh Mohammed, but speaking of the Sheikh, he was with Tom Cruise today in Dhabi to promote Cruise's new movie "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol", during the city's annual film festival.

A scene from the film was shot in the Birds Calpe (ph) in Dhabi. It is the world's tallest tower; actually it's the location where we interviewed the Sheik on the 123rd floor, where I really didn't want to go up that high. It's an amazing building. It's an exciting scene there to be honest and we can't resist giving you a look at just how they did it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Tom (INAUDIBLE) from this angle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This angle is great.

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Action!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I have to tell you I honestly feel sick. Just that building is not -- hanging on the outside. Well we just couldn't resist showing you that, Tom Cruise, you've got courage. You can find more footage in Dhabi including our exclusive interview with Sheikh Mohammed on our blog at CNN.com\OutFront. And we have a great story coming your way soon on all of this that we can't wait to show you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT the "OutFront 5".

The front-runner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is resilient. He is always thinking.

BURNETT: A Muppet for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (INAUDIBLE) (EXPLETIVE DELETED) all over the place.

BURNETT: All this OUTFRONT in our second half.

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

Up first, former Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky arrested for the second time. Police handcuffed him, charged him with sexually abusing two more boys from his charity the Second Mile. Our Sara Ganim was in court this afternoon. She told us Sandusky will remain in jail tonight after failing to post a $250,000 cash bail. She says though that his attorney told her he could post that bail tomorrow and leave jail.

Number two, letter bomb was sent to the CEO of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. The device contained shrapnel, but did not detonate. As a precaution, the New York City Police Department increased security around the company's New York offices.

Number three, Florida A&M University holding off on its plan to dismiss the school's band leader and four students involved in an alleged hazing incident. We learned that law enforcement officials have asked the school to hold off on any action until the criminal investigation into the death of the band member is complete. Investigations believe -- investigators believe hazing played a role in last month's death of Robert Champion. He was found not breathing on the band bus after a football game.

Number four, 2011 not over yet, but we know it has set the record already for the most billion dollar natural disasters. There has been 12 billion dollar plus weather disasters this year. The damage right now is at 52 billion. The report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association states the total could go even higher. The organization is still collecting data from the big pre-Halloween snowstorm that hit the northeast and damage from Tropical Storm (INAUDIBLE).

Well it has been 124 days since America lost its top credit rating, when are we going to get it back? The Federal Reserve releasing data today that showed consumer borrowing increased to $2.46 trillion in October, two-year high. Most of that increase came from student loans.

Well breaking news tonight, the most popular Republican in the nation, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, speaking tonight in Iowa. Here's what he just said about why he is supporting Mitt Romney as the presidential candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Also, he is the only person who I believe can legitimately take the fight to Barack Obama this November. And so as Republicans, we know we love our party, but I will tell you that if you're looking for the candidate who agrees with you on everything, buy a mirror. OK, buy a mirror because that's the only one you're going to find that agrees with you on everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And before he could even talk, though, he got heckled and he loved it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(YELLING)

CHRISTIE: Oh, yes. No. No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. Let's bring CNN contributor John Avlon, former President Bush speechwriter David Frum, and Ned Ryun, the founder and president of American Majority.

Just to know, I believe what his exact words at the end of that little interaction, were, oh, now you all went New Jersey on me and everything.

So he had a sense of humor about it.

John Avlon, what do you think about Chris Christie? Can he turn this around for Mitt Romney? I mean, he was socially liberal, right? But the Tea Party loves Chris Christie because he's conservative when it comes to financial matters, that he'd win them over.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. What we're seeing right now is Romney campaign pivoting, our putting forward their biggest gun, someone who's clearly comfortable with conflict and can speak to the base, but still has credibility across the board. By deploying Chris Christie to Iowa right now, they're saying, look, they're going to double down play in Iowa. You're seeing them running ads as well, try to humanize their candidate.

But it shows the power of a strong endorsement, someone who might be more popular in the candidate themselves trying to really take the fight and play offense in Iowa.

BURNETT: Ned, do you think he can turn it around for Mitt?

NED RYUN, AMERICAN MAJORITY PRESIDENT: You know, I really don't know. I mean, I will say, it's a good move for the Romney campaign. Chris Christie is definitely popular with a lot of Tea Partiers. But, you know, as we've seen, Mitt can't get past the 25 percent ceiling.

Is Chris Christie going to make it a better sale? I don't know. I don't know. But it's a good move for the Romney campaign. I'm not going to deny that.

BURNETT: David Frum, is this a sign of -- I mean, I guess this is a sign of real desperation though for Mitt Romney in the sense of you got to pull out Chris Christie now to try to move the needle.

DAVID FRUM, FMR. GEORGE BUSH SPEECH WRITER: I think it's a sign of desperation among party donors and the party punditariat. One of the most frightening things in the various polls BURNETT: Punditariat, is that a new word here?

FRUM: I just made it up.

BURNETT: Add it to lexicon, I like it.

FRUM: I just made it up.

In the recent polling data has been the discovery that lots of Republicans activists and base voters think of Newt Gingrich as electable, almost equally electable as Mitt Romney. And, yet, the people who write the party's checks and run the party's campaigns and hold office do not think so. They see Newt Gingrich as a very Goldwater disaster waiting to happen.

And so, what you're seeing with the bringing forward of people like Chris Christie is a plea to the party, do not -- do not make this mistake. You and all of your neighbors may love Newt Gingrich, but the country is full of people who remember the Clinton impeachment and don't want to relitigate that.

BURNETT: All right. So, today, Newt Gingrich came on with Wolf Blitzer. There's a lot -- I mean, very generous Newt actually. He was talking about Mitt Romney, praising him, calling him competent, saying he would support him if he became the nominee, said he would pick him as a V.P. potentially if it came down to the two of them.

And listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wish everybody had loved me. I'd rather be effective representing the American people than be popular inside Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: What do you think, John?

AVLON: He's very gently responding to the pretty personal criticism he's been getting a lot from his former colleagues from back in 1990s.

BURNETT: Yes, it's been pretty harsh.

AVLON: It has. But, you know, when you're on top, you get to sort of be above the fray. And that's what he's trying to put forward, that new, improved and matured Newt.

It's fascinating. I mean, you look at all the polls right now. He's the Tea Party candidate. You have this outsider insurgent force backing the ultimate insider. And that is a fascinating role reversal.

And among other things, it really shows the depth of frustration with the Romney camp. They'll circle around even this ultimate insider as an alternative to Mitt right now.

BURNETT: David Frum, I'm curious about one thing. And I know John Avlon did a really great story on this today, the next endorsements. But the current endorsements -- you have Kid Rock, you know, the singer. I can't sing the song, I won't hurt anyone's ears.

But anyway, he is coming onboard with Mitt Romney, going to be the songwriter for his campaign. But maybe this endorsement will matter where others like Chris Christie haven't.

But, David Frum, Newt Gingrich hasn't gotten endorsements really. And it hasn't mattered.

FRUM: It hasn't. Endorsements give a feeling of inevitability. But the question people should ask is, why are there no endorsements of Newt Gingrich?

The thing he said in that clip, I'd rather be effective than be popular in Washington. The reason he's not popular in Washington is precisely that he wasn't effective.

Republicans lost seats in 1998 even -- and Newt Gingrich had to resign. Even before that, the leadership in the House of Representatives passed to Tom DeLay because Newt Gingrich couldn't work the caucus, that the open secret among those who were close to him and knew him in those years was he was not very good at that job.

And he was great at getting the majority, but he's not good at exercising or keeping the majority. That's what the bitterness is about effectiveness.

BURNETT: All right. Let's play a sound bite from Mitt Romney today, because it seems like he's trying a much tougher, harder edged side. Here he is on President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. Like others among the Washington elite, he believes that America's role as the leader of the world is a thing of the past.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Ned, that's a tougher, stronger Mitt. But also a Mitt that's very clearly trying to make it about him versus Obama, instead of him versus Newt.

RYUN: It really is. I mean, the thing that's interesting to me right now is the fact that Romney is realizing we're less than 30 days away from Iowa. Newt is very strong in the polls.

But, Erin if, I could --

BURNETT: Yes. RYUN: The irony to me in some of this is here you have two poster children for many of the issues that the Tea Party came out against, you know, individual health care mandates, TARP, you know, with Newt, Medicare Part D, you know, historian for Freddie.

But I think what you're seeing now, you know, Mitt is taking a strong stance. He realizes that Newt is definitely a threat because the grassroots is looking at this and really going anybody but Mitt. They cycled through, you know, Bachmann and Cain and Perry, and also, lo and behold, the last man standing it looks like is Newt Gingrich.

It really does boil down to anybody but Mitt. I think it's going to be very interesting to see, though. I mean, Mitt has much better infrastructure. Newt has basically admitted they're flying by the seat of their pants less than 30 days away.

So I'm going to be very interested to see what happens in Iowa. Is Newt going to pull a Howard Dean? What happens here in about three -- three, four weeks?

AVLON: I just want to mention this appeasement rhetoric. Part of the six candidates who spoke today at the RGC used that rhetoric of appeasement, a reference to Neville Chamberlain. This is the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

And there is something a little bit beyond the pale of raising sort of specters and attach them to the American president. You can have policy differences. You can have stylistic differences. You can have substantive differences.

But raising that particular specter on this particular date, that seems to me, I mean, in bad taste at least.

RYUN: Erin --

BURNETT: Yes. Go ahead.

RYUN: If I could, too. I think the interesting thing with Newt and I've pointed this out to many Tea Party leaders, I talked with many with them across the country, they -- some of them are sitting on the sidelines. And I think very wisely at this point, being pragmatic, just keeping their powder dry.

But the one concern that some of them have expressed and I think is there is they're projecting upon Newt Gingrich their hopes that he'll be a conservative champion. I think some of his behavior in the past 15 years has shown otherwise.

So, I think it's going to be -- Newt has got a lot to be able to still convince people that he is an authentic conservative and I think, you know, he and Mitt, especially Mitt, have a lot of ground to make up for the Tea Party movement.

BURNETT: All right. But is it done, David Frum? I mean, as John Avlon is saying, you know, less than 30 days away at this point.

FRUM: I don't think it's done. I think things move very fast.

And the points that Ned makes -- I mean, if your complaint against Mitt Romney is he's on too many different sides of too many issues, Newt Gingrich has been on more sides of more issues. If you're complaint is that --

BURNETT: He was in Congress, for God's sakes.

FRUM: But he's -- what people think is that anyone who so vehement and violent in his speech as Newt Gingrich, can't -- I mean, he must be sincere. And the fact that he was just as vehement three days ago when he said the opposite thing, he must have been sincere then, too.

If Mitt Romney's greatest vulnerability is the healthcare mandate, well, Newt Gingrich was in favor of that. In fact, that was the Republican alternative to the bill that Hillary Clinton healthcare plan when Newt Gingrich was leader of the Republican of party in the House of Representatives.

There is a kind of, as Ned said, there's the kind of unreality about the whole Gingrich campaign. I think that is going to come home. It's above all going to be the case that with Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party is making this an election about the past, about the Republican past, and not about President Obama's record -- which is what the party should want to make the election about.

BURNETT: Well, thank you, David, Ned, John. Appreciate it.

I think David's got a fair point. A lot of people don't realize the things you just said. So, we'll see if they do if their views change or not. Thanks, guys.

RYUN: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: Meantime, the clock is counting down on the extension of the payroll tax break. Now, we've been telling you this could result in you paying $700 to $2,300 more in taxes next year.

So, this morning, the president met with Senate Democrats. And late this afternoon, he took a hard stand.

White House correspondent Jessica Yellin is with us.

And, Jessica, what did he threaten?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin.

Well, he stopped short of suggesting that he would veto anything. But what the president said is that he wants a clean bill. He wants that payroll tax cut passed. But the only thing attached to it, basically, that he'd accept he would be paid for.

He doesn't want anything extraneous attached. And he said if there is anything else, he would, quote, "reject it." But he also suggested that he knows that Senate Democrats would not allow a bill through the Senate that has anything extraneous attached to it. So what do we mean by extraneous?

Well, for example, Speaker Boehner had suggested that he would like that controversial XL pipeline that would bring oil from Canada down through the United States, that he'd like to force a decision on that, legislation attached to the payroll tax cut as part of that package.

BURNETT: I know a lot of people would support the president in him taking a hard stance on nothing extraneous being attached, because I know a lot of people just hate that, how that always happens. That's where the pork comes in, I guess.

But what's your -- what's your bet, Jessica, on what happens? Do you think that we'll get a millionaire surtax as a way to pay for this payroll tax cut, or will that not just pass Republicans and we're going to hear something else come through?

YELLIN: Given the makeup of Congress and the way the fight went this summer, it seems unlikely that that is what this Republican House of Representatives is ultimately going to swallow. So, it seems unlikely politically that that would happen. You never know. But probably, some other kind of compromise will have to be fashioned -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jessica. We appreciate it.

I think we all can make a bet that there should be some sort of compromise just because the American people love this particular tax cut. Thanks, Jessica.

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

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Hey, Erin. We're keeping them honest tonight in the program.

A fat check on whether dictator of Syria is saying now about the bloodshed in his country. President Bashar al-Assad talked with ABC News' Barbara Walters, disputed claims that he's responsible for the deadly violence in the country. He also said his government doesn't kill or tortured its own people. He explained the brutal death of a 13-year-old boy named Hanza and thousands of others. His remarkable response tonight on "A.C. 360."

And explosive new reporting on the Bernie Fine investigation. The D.A. announces at a news conferences he will not file charges against the former Syracuse associate basketball coach because the statute of limitations has run out. The D.A. sat down with our own Gary Tuchman afterwards to talk about why he thinks two of Fine's accusers are indeed telling the truth, what he says that Fine's nanny also told them. That's only on 360. Those stories, along with Jerry Sandusky's re-arrest today on new charges of child sex abuse and tonight's "Ridiculist" at the top of the hour -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Anderson.

And in tonight's "Outer Circle," a Pakistani actress alleges an Indian magazine doctored nude photos of her. Our own Sara Sidner spoke with the actress. She comes OUTFRONT with details.

And the tragic story of a 7-year-old girl murdered in a Georgia apartment complex. Today, with help from the public, police arrest a man who works in the child's building.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

And first to Russia, where after two days of protests over the results of Sunday's parliamentary vote, the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is calling for new elections over voter fraud concerns.

Phil Black is in Moscow tonight.

And, Phil, how significant is Gorbachev's statement here?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it is significant to the international audience. The international community has always held Mikhail Gorbachev in very high esteem.

But to put it bluntly, here in Russia, people stopped caring what Mikhail Gorbachev thinks a long time ago. By the time he stepped down as the head of the Soviet Union, he was already deeply unpopular. His credibility had eroded to pretty much nothing.

In recent years, he has been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, particularly on the issue of democratic reform. But no one here is going to start changing their opinions now just because Mikhail Gorbachev has expressed his -- Erin.

BURNETT: Phil, thank you.

And now to Syria, where embattled President Bashar al-Assad denied responsibility for the crackdown in Syria.

Ivan Watson is following the story closely from Istanbul.

And, Ivan, what kinds of reactions are you hearing?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Delusional, the true meaning of insanity, Bashar al-Assad is a madman in complete denial of the situation in Syria. Erin, those are some of the words that Western diplomats, Syrian opposition activists and long-time political analysts and Syria watchers are using to describe their reaction to Bashar al-Assad's ABC News interview.

Of course, he does have some supporters as he denies any government role in the killings that have taken place though since March. The Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah came out forcefully in support of its Syrian ally in a public speech on Tuesday -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you.

And now to India, where a Pakistani actress says an Indian magazine doctored photos of her to look nude, including one that shows her with nothing but the initials of the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, written on her arm.

Sara Sidner is in Mumbai tonight.

And, Sara, what action is she taking against the magazine?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Pakistani actress Veena Malik has decided to take legal action against "FHM" magazine because they doctored a photo that was on the very front page of the magazine this month. That photo shows her nude. She says she did not pose nude. "FHM" magazine however said she was fully aware and very happy with the photo spread that they did with her. And that she knew that this was going to be in their magazine and they are now serving her legal notice to counter-sue her.

Why is this causing such a big controversy? Well, in Pakistan, the government reacted and her family has disowned her. The interior minister of Pakistan's government says they will look into this case. Certainly, this is not the kind of image that Pakistan wants for its intelligence agency -- Erin.

BURNETT: Sara, thank you.

We have breaking news for you about the man under the arrest tonight in the brutal stabbing death of a Georgia child. Ryan Brunn was taken into custody early today. He was accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a 7-year-old girl 40 miles north of Atlanta.

He is set to be arraigned tomorrow. Police say he worked in the same apartment complex where Jorelys Rivera girl lived. She was last seen Friday at her Canton, Georgia, apartment. Her body was found nearby in a trash bin on Monday.

Police say she was killed in a vacant apartment and that they were able to find Brunn with help from the public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VERNON KEENAN, DIRECTOR OF GBI: We have had Brunn under surveillance since last night as we continue to collect evidence in this case. We reached a point this afternoon where we had sufficient evidence to obtain arrest warrants for the murder of a 7-year-old child.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Holly Firfer has been covering this story for us.

And, Holly, walk us through what exactly led to his arrest today, when they said "help from the public"?

HOLLY FIRFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it was a tip from somebody in the apartment complex that actually led them to Ryan Brunn. Now, remember back on Friday when they started canvassing the apartment, law enforcement told us they were focusing on somebody they thought who lived or had access to the apartment complex. A couple of things which transpired what they found on Monday where they found her body in a trash compacter.

First of all, you need a key to use the trash compacter. The only people who had keys were maintenance people. Secondly, there was evidence, blood and a mattress found in an empty apartment building next door to where Jorelys lived. Who would know about that? They said somebody who live there had or somebody who had access to those apartments.

So, they canvassed the neighborhood, asked residents for anything that they saw, and someone came forward and said there was a maintenance guy who started about a month ago. He started actually on November 7th.

He supposedly was living in the apartment complex, with somebody else. We're told by a neighbor it's the property manager's son. And that he was very friendly, he was seen around, but they didn't really know him that well.

So when GBI and the FBI and the sheriff's department were asking around, a lot of people were mentioning this guy, Ryan Brunn, Erin, so his name kept coming up.

BURNETT: So, I guess when you're saying he's only worked there a month, I guess possible people didn't really have a sense if whether he appeared to be off or was looking at children, or behaving around children inappropriately.

Do you know whether he had to go through any kind of a background check before he was hired?

FIRFER: Yes, as a matter of fact, just moments ago, we got a statement I want to read to you from the McCormack Baron, the company that manages the apartment complex where Jorelys Rivera was killed. And it says, quote, "He was put through an extensive background check that included a criminal and sexual predator background check and he passed. He had to undergo this for both his employment and residency."

And according to law enforcement officials, they did not find any criminal record in his past, but they do say they're going to check out every county, every state that he's lived to see if there are unsolved crimes or whether maybe it was a sexual crime that wasn't reported. But they suspect there might be something in his past that they just didn't know about. BURNETT: All right. Well, Holly, thank you very much. A deeply horrific story.

Well, the GOP nomination is still up for grabs. You saw Chris Christie on the stump tonight for Mitt Romney. You see the polls for Newt Gingrich and Republicans having a mutiny against Newt Gingrich, some of them.

So you know what? Maybe it's time for a new candidate. We have one, exclusively going to announce his candidacy and he's going to talk about why he felt he need to run, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We have some exciting news tonight. OUTFRONT is here with a new presidential candidate. Someone we haven't met before and we don't think you have either. But they really might be shaking up this campaign, big time.

It's a he, and he's not just any old politician. He's a muppet.

So let's not wait any longer. Let's bring our guest on. With us is Marvin E. Quasniki.

And, Mr. Quasniki, thank you so much.

You got your platform, sir. What do you have to say to America?

MARVIN E. QUASNIKI, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, I want to thank you for having me on to speak with you and to be talking with you as we are now and I thank you for the opportunity.

Basically, here's the deal. I was driving the in my car a couple of weeks ago and I was listening to the debates, and I'm thinking to myself, this is all a bunch of bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And I'm tired of it and I'm going to change it and make America good again, or at least get us back in the playoffs.

BURNETT: All right. You released a statement earlier this morning on YouTube, and I have to say, sir, it was laced with some profanity, provocative language maybe, shall we say? Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUASNIKI: It's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) all over the place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So what are you trying to accomplish here? Why use that language?

QUASNIKI: Well, you know what? Sometimes I would talk, and I get heated, but my heart's in the right place. And I'm going to clean up my act. You bet I am.

No more bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), no more (EXPLETIVE DELETED), no more -- no more, you know, dirty (EXPLETIVE DELETED). None of that!

BURNETT: One question here. This is a big one. If you were president right now, we've got this payroll tax cut that Americans have been enjoying. It's got to be extended by the end of the year. Democrats and Republicans, they both want to do it, but they can't agree on how to pay for it.

How would you pay for it?

QUASNIKI: Put rich people in jail. Take their money and then give it to everybody else. Number one, boom, done.

BURNETT: Really?

QUASNIKI: Yes.

BURNETT: And you're a Republican?

QUASNIKI: Well, you know what? I'm a Republican. Right now, I'm only running as Republican, because they are a bunch of clowns. But you never know.

I'm an American. I'm for the people. I'm for everybody for in -- I'm for everyone in our country -- not people who aren't here, but everyone -- and fortunately, I will get people back to work.

BURNETT: Let me ask you, you say they're all clowns, this is important here. Who is the biggest clown running for president?

QUASNIKI: Well, now, I don't want to disparage anyone's -- I don't want to disparage anyone's personality, so let's point out the physical defects.

BURNETT: OK, that's good.

QUASNIKI: All right. Rick Perry has got a tremendously good coif. A nice head of hair on him. That Mitt Romney fella, good posture. Michele Bachmann, good eyes. And I know eyes!

Well, Herman Cain's gone on the account of he's -- didn't do something he shouldn't have.

Newt Gingrich! He's got the cutest cheeks I ever seen. You could pinch him all day long.

BURNETT: Oh! I don't think I'd want to do that.

QUASNIKI: OK. Well, I'm just saying. I didn't ask you too, you said you could.

BURNETT: Yes, well, you gave me a mental image, that's all, you know? I mean, so --

QUASNIKI: I didn't mean too. I'm sorry. I apologize for that!

BURNETT: Well, that's all right. Mr. Quasniki, thank you very much for coming OUTFRONT tonight, announcing your candidacy. I think you've said a lot of things Americans are going to agree with. So, best of luck.

QUASNIKI: You boom. You bet! Thank you very much. You're nice. Remember to vote for me.

BURNETT: We just thought we'd have a little fun there.

All right. Thanks so much as always for watching. We'll see you same time, same place tomorrow.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.