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Recent Poll Shows Mitt Romney Leading in Iowa; Bachmann's Iowa Campaign Manager Jumps Ship

Aired December 29, 2011 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Thanks. Good evening, everyone. We begin tonight, keeping them honest.

With the clock ticking to the Iowa caucuses five days away, and tonight the Republican presidential candidates are pulling out all the stops. The latest CNNTime/ORC poll shows Mitt Romney and Ron Paul battling it out for the lead. Romney 25 percent, Paul 22, Rick Santorum has surging to third place more than tripling his support since the beginning of the month. Newt Gingrich as you see dropped to 14 percent down from 33 percent early in December. Rick Perry at is 11 percent, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman in the single digits.

Now, Huntsman is not campaigning in Iowa. He is focusing in New Hampshire. But Michele Bachmann which is nine percent on the latest poll is still trying to rally support. And tonight, she is doing it without the support of two high ranking members of her team, one who defect it and one who defended him. Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman or man named state senator Kent Sorenson has jumped ship and gone to Ron Paul's campaign. Now, Bachmann says Sorenson is a quote "sell out" and says he was paid to go to the Paul campaign. Take a look.


MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had a conversation with Kent Sorenson. And in the direct conversation that I had with him, he told me that he was offered money. He was offered a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign to go and associate with the Ron Paul campaign. No one else knows about that conversation other than Kent Sorenson and myself. And I know what he said to me about that.


COOPER: Now, Sorenson says he went to the Paul camp simply because Ron Paul has the best chance of beating Romney and President Obama in his opinion. In his statement, Sorenson says quote "as for the ridiculous allegations that Congresswoman Bachmann and her surrogates have made, I was never offered money from the Ron Paul campaign or anyone associated with them and certainly would never accept any." Here is what Sorenson himself said on FOX News today with Megan Kelly.


MEGAN KELLY, FOX NEWS TODAY ANCHOR: Was money offered to you by anybody from the Ron Paul camp to jump ship?

KENT SORENSON, MICHELE BACHMANN'S FORMER CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR: Absolutely not. The fact of the matter is that I did not accept money from the Ron Paul campaign. I was never offered a nickel from the Ron Paul campaign.

KELLY: Or anybody associated with it?

SORENSON: Never offered a nickel.


COOPER: Well, it's a he said/she said. So, we don't know exactly what conversation, if any actually took place between Bachmann and Sorenson.

But tonight, there's another he said in the mix. And another Bachmann campaign official who came to Sorenson's defense. Her Iowa political director, Wes Enos, said that Sorenson's decision was in no way financially motivated quote "while I personally disagree with Kent's decision, and plan to stay with Michele Bachmann because I truly believe in her, I cannot in good conscience, watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a 'sell out.' That is simply not the case and it was not the basis of the decision."

Now, when he made that statement, Enos may have planned to stay with Bachmann. Bu as of tonight, he too is gone from her campaign. Bachmann said he quit. Ron Paul's campaign put out on press release saying he was quote "recently terminated." Enos himself told NBC News quote "it was a mutual thing. I knew when I undermined Bachmann's statement last night that effectively was tendering my resignation."

You can decide for yourself who is most credible in this entire scenario. Bachmann's other claim about the Paul campaign today is less debatable. She tells FOX News quote "the only conversation was between Kent Sorenson and myself. And I know what I was told in that conversation. And clearly, what that reflected was the nervousness on the part of the Ron Paul campaign, that they were losing steam in Iowa. They were losing momentum in Iowa because Iowans eyes were opening up.

Paul has 22 percent in the vote in the latest poll. It's up five percent from the start of the month. Let's get to Ron Paul takes on Des Moines, Iowa. Chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, host of CNN "STATE OF THE UNION," in Washington, republican strategist Rich Galen and Cornell Belcher, pollster and democratic strategist for President Obama's re-election campaign. He is also a pollster for the President's 2008 campaign.

So Cornell, Bachmann says Ron Paul is losing steam in Iowa, is he?

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think he is losing steam in at all in Iowa. And I quite frankly don't understand why Bachmann is pushing this story. Because this is a story that gets in the way of everything she wants to do. So, we are spending all these time talking about people leaving her campaign as oppose her being on message. I mean it's sort of really bad campaigning going on.

If you look at Ron Paul as well as Santorum, they have a lot of momentum going into the closing here. And as any sort of campaign professional will tell you, what you want is you want your candidate hitting his or her stride and getting momentum at the end here. And I would be at all surprise to see Santorum or Ron Paul that when in fact I think both of them have a better chance of winning than does to Romney.

COOPER: Wait, wait. You think Ron Paul or Santorum have a better chance of winning than Romney?

BELCHER: I think they absolutely have a better chance of winning in Iowa because here is the thing. You know, the caucus goers, you are talking about less than probably 11 percent of (inaudible) are going to vote in the caucus. If you look at the history of Iowa, it's really a special electorate.

Now, the republican side, you have the most, tell me which candidate is entering the first or second choice of most conservative voter and or the voter who is in church the most frequently or and on the evangelical voter.

Mitt Romney is not the first of second choice of either one of the voters. And those voters have this proportion at impact on the Iowa caucuses just like we saw last time. He is going in neck-in-neck with Huckabee and him, finishing what, nine or ten points behind Huckabee. I think it's the same thing this time around.

COOPER: And Candy, you're on the ground in Iowa. Ron Paul has a lot of volunteers coming into that state to try to get people at the caucuses, right?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He does. And there's you know these are the people that do the door knocking. And it is such a small group of people who actually end up going to these caucuses that every door knocked counts. So, he can count on reliable, younger people who are caught up in the campaign, whether the antiwar message or the legalization of certain drugs, marijuana included, whether it's a small government message. Whatever it is, he attracted a good number of young people.

Let me just briefly say that also here on the ground in Iowa, what you hear from a lot people is a little bit off what Cornell just said which is they believe and when you poll the evangelicals, while it's important to them, the matter of abortion, stem cell research, that kind of thing that key and ranking higher in terms of importance are matters of the economy. And so the Mitt Romney campaign will point out to you. I don't know who has the better chance at this point. We do know Mitt Romney is barely leading in the polls. And he is here and playing very big at the end.

COOPER: Rich, what is it -- what do you make of Michele Bachmann saying that the Paul campaign is paying off people or paying her , you know, this member of her staff to jump ship. Does that make sense to you?

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, it doesn't make any sense. But neither does Sorenson's reason saying that Ron Paul is the most conservative person that could win this. I think any -- most people would say that it would probably go to Santorum. But, you know, you get involved these things and then that kind of stuff happens.

You know, Representative Bachmann is grasping at straws like we would - Cornel. This is certainly not the conversation you want to be having at the pizza plaza where she goes in the last week of the campaign. You want to be in your message not defending yourself against something else.

But, going back to something else, another polling data point, in contrast to something Cornell was just saying is that generally speaking, that even the most evangelical conservative Iowa caucus goers may not want Romney as the first choice, but they certainly want Barack Obama as the last choice. And for a lot of folks going into the precinct Tuesday night, that will be in their mind. I think they recognize that neither Santorum nor Paul has a great chance of beating President Obama. But Romney could get this.

BELCHER: And you know, and to my good friend, this is exactly the sort of thinking that is sort of upsetting the grass roots because you have the Washington establishment sort of pushing their candidate. And listen to what the guy who jumped ship said. He said he was jumping ship to go to going to fight for someone who have most conservative and had a chance to win. There's a real grass roots sort of effort and movement out there against Romney, against the Washington inside the house candidate.

GALEN: Right. And the Obama campaign would love to run against Ron Paul or Rick Santorum.

BELCHER: We'll take on any of the field.

GALEN: You're going to have to.

COOPER: Let me ask you, Cornell. I mean, there's a lot of focus on Rick Santorum's surge in Iowa. He's still polling in third place. For a guy who's been living in Iowa for this past year, he's spent a huge amount of time, he's whole campaign is basically in folks in Iowa. Is third place enough to do anything because he had life beyond Iowa?

BELCHER: Well, if he comes in third place which I by the way saying, I think he's going to do better than the polling is showing right now from sort of his momentum and make-up of the caucus. If he does third in Iowa, Santorum is done. I mean, he has - he has put everything. He went all in Iowa. Same way to Huntsman is going all in New Hampshire. If he finishes a distant third in Iowa, wrap it up. It's time for him to go back to Pennsylvania.

COOPER: Rich, do you agree with that? GALEN: No, I think what he will coble - I think what he and Gingrich both will do is to sort of wave at New Hampshire by participating in the debates but head for South Carolina, see if either one can stay alive through that. Newt certainly can. He's got enough money. But Santorum can live off the land. And I think whoever loses - who ever beats the other in South Carolina, the loser goes home.

COOPER: Let me - let me living off the land. Candy, CMAG which tracks campaign, add that up, release a breakdown of what political spots aired in Iowa this month. And this is really fascinating, they found out that almost half of the ads were attacked at aimed directly at Newt Gingrich. I mean is this clearly textbook evidence that negative ads work. His numbers have dropped significantly there.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. People so negative ads still work and they sink in. And that's why I think you have to be a little but cautious about Rick Santorum's rise. He's been in all 99 counties. He has worked very hard. He's got precinct captains in most of these places.

But the real reason at this point behind Rick Santorum's rise is a, he's the only guy left that hasn't had his time for attention. And b, Newt Gingrich fell. So - and we have seen this pattern throughout this year. You know, Michele Bachmann goes up, down. And then she goes down, Rick Perry comes up and then come Herman Cain. So, this is following the natural rhythm of this year. Newt Gingrich fell down. And the limelight and the support went to Rick Santorum. We'll see how much sticks.

BELCHER: Quickly, the one thing is that, yes, all this keeps going up and down. But it never goes to Romney. And right now, Santorum is at the right place at the right moment.


GALEN: The reason that negative campaigns work, is because like or not, human beings love gossip. And a 30 second negative ad is nothing more that highly distilled gossip. And that's why it safe that sinks in. That's why it's sticks. People pay attention to it. Everybody wishes they were different but it is not different.

BELCHER: And Rich, do you think it was mal-practice for the Gingrich folks not to sort of defend themselves immediately today because it bothers my mind with it?

GALEN: Yes. He didn't have any money. I mean, if they had money they would have gone up with some kind of retaliation ads. There's no question in my mind. But as you know, the old saying goes, if you are a lawyer and if you have the facts or the facts are against you, if the law is again you, argue the facts. If you have neither one, call the other guy names.

COOPER: We have got to leave it there. Rich Galen. Thanks. Cornell Belcher, Candy Crowley.

The Iowa caucuses not just five days away. We'll obviously be covering it all. Be sure to tune in five nights from now, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Tuesday, January 3rd. That's where our coverage begins. Join us on facebook, Google plus. Add us to your circles. Follow us on twitter tonight @andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting already a little bit.

Coming up, a Web site that has been linked to sex crimes in the past, full of prostitution and some even child prostitution. It's now a common thread. Say authorities and at least three murders in Detroit. Web site called They are not backing down. They are saying multiple Web sites were linked to some of these victims. And they are not backing down about the content on its Web site. We will talk to someone from the Web site.

And later, our exclusive look inside the battle of Homs, Syria. The factor through Syrian army holding soldiers at bay in one neighborhood in Homs even though they were out manned and outgun. We'll hear from the defector.


COOPER: In crime and punishment tonight, a disturbing new twist in a story we have been following more than a year. Tonight, police how are investigating and linked between escort ads placed on a Web site called and other Web sites and three murders in Detroit.

Police suspect a killer may be targeting escorts advertising online with that Web site. reportedly takes in tens of millions of dollars each year for its online ads for adult services. And some of those ads have been linked to sex crimes including child prostitution.

Now, officials of the Web site have told us that they are vigilant about monitoring the content of their ads and promptly report potential abuses to the national center for missing exploited children.

Meantime, law enforcement officials say criminals use these types of Web sites as a tool to target their victims. Take a look.


COOPER: Four women found dead in less than a week. Their bodies stuffed in the trunks of cars. Detroit police will not say if it's the work of a serial killer. But they are alarmed by another pattern they discovered. Detroit police Chief Ralph Godbee says three of the victims had posted escort ads on


CHIEF RALPH GODBEE, JR., DETROIT POLICE DEPARTMENT: With the fast increase of use of social media and the Internet, we must continue to be vigilant in identifying any Web site which make attention and calls a threat to individuals.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: The first two victims, Denishia Hunt (ph) and Renisha Lander (ph), were found in a car in this abandoned house on December 19th. Two more bodies were found on Christmas morning, burned beyond recognition. says they reached out to the Detroit police when they first heard about the deaths and are fully cooperating with the authorities. In a statement, the company says quote "backpage is now provided law enforcement authorities with computer forensics or other evidence that show that at least 70 different third party ads or other postings on at least 22 different Web sites appear to be or are potentially related to this investigation.

We are not aware of any evidence that would indicate which of these 22 Web sites may have been used by the suspect to establish contact with victims. Police decline to say that they were also looking into other postings but they did warn about dangers lurking online.


GODBEE: We felt that it was imperative alert the public that deciding to meet unknown persons via the Internet can be extremely dangerous. We implore people to be careful.


COOPER: It's not the first time has been caught up in controversy. It's a classified ads service operated Village Voice Media, owner of a national chain of alternative newspapers.

Last year, after intense pressure Craigslist stopped taking ads for adult services. As a result, those advertisers turned on mass to A firm that tracks online classified, the AIM groups says generated at least $2.1 million from escort and body rub listings in October alone, a record high.

Over the last year, the site earned more than $23.9 million from adult services ads according to A.I.M. Critics say is profiting from illegal activity and exploitation.


AIMEE GALICIA TORRES, THE MAJESTIC DREAM FOUNDATION: We are trying to remove the adult section from because it's a breeding ground for human trafficking.


COOPER: Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to raping and extorting sex for 15-year-old girls he met on In October, authorities in Massachusetts indicting Norman Barnes (ph) for pimping out two underage girls, also on He denies any wrong doing. And earlier this year, CNN spoke with a 13-year-old who says she was repeatedly sold on for $300 an hour.


UNIDENTIFIED 13-YEAR-OLD-GIRL: If I ran away, I was going to get killed. And if I called the cops, I was going to get killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: And the guys that call you, how old are they?

UNIDENTIFIED 13-YEAR-OLD-GIRL: You don't know until you walk through the door. You walk to the door like -- they could sound like they are 21 and you walk in and they are old and disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: And at this point, how many guys were you seeing a day?

UNIDENTIFIED 13-YEAR-OLD-GIRL: At this point, like five or four.


COOPER: The national association of attorneys general says they know more than 50 cases in 22 states involving trafficking of minors on In a letter signed by 51 attorneys general, the group warned, quote "as a practical matter, it is likely very difficult to accurately detect underage human trafficking on's adult services section, when to an outside observer, the Web site's sole purpose seems to be to advertise prostitution."

But says what they do is perfectly legal under the communication decencies act and protected by the first amendment. They say they monitor and screen their listings. They have a no nudity policy and report suspicious listings to national center for missing and exploited children.

Quote " shares the concerns of law enforcement that every effort be made to stop violent criminals from using the Internet to commit their crimes." The company said in a statement, it go on to say, "We do our best to provide a safe and legal environment through aggressive content monitoring and sophisticated content filtration software." Not good enough say critics. They want the adult ads done away with completely.


PHIL CENDELLA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM ADVOCATES: There's a section that that is utilized by sexual predators and human traffickers to sell children for sexual purposes. And it has to stop. It's that simple.


COOPER: Well, the terms these ads use, back rubs, escorts, adult company are obviously familiar code that authorities say criminal see a sign of post. Ed McNally is's law enforcement advisor. I talked to him a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Mr. McNally, if you scroll through the adult services ads on, you see clearly people who are advertising prostitution. How do you justify that?

ED MCNALLY, LAW ENFORCEMENT ADVISOR, BACKPAGE.COM: Well, it's really not a question of justifying it so question of compliance with the law. People post things on your Web site that you have no control over. But we live in an extra ordinary marketplace of ideas on the Internet. And lawful content is protected especially when it's posted by third parties.

COOPER: But, what you're profiting -- I understand legally, under the communications decency act, it's a third party posting, therefore you are not held liable for it. But, one of the terms of use on your Web site prohibits and I quote "any ads for products or services user sale which prohibited by any law or regulation." You've also said that your company is committed on a Web site too quote "preventing those who are intent on misusing the site for illegal purposes." Isn't prostitution legal purpose?

MCNALLY: Well, first of all, what we are really focused on more than anything is the protection of the people in our society who are most vulnerable. And most of our filters, most of our mitigation efforts, most of our law enforcement efforts are really focused on preventing human trafficking and especially the most vulnerable which is children.

COOPER: And I guess, and again my question, how do you define illegal activity? You claim your site - I mean, one thing of your site, yes, you know what, there's illegal activity going on our site, so what, we are protected by it. That would be one thing. But, you are saying you are not hosting illegal activity. I guess my question again is how do you define illegal activity? Is prostitution legal activity?

MCNALLY: If you are under the belief that there's someone out there in the government are in the business community, they can define which of the classified ads running in the Detroit free press today are lawful or not lawful, I think that's an extraordinary challenge.

COOPER: Well, I mean, I just went on your site and there's some, you know, person whose name I won't even mention with dollar signs in her name advertising herself on your site. Again, I'm asking, how do you define illegal activity on your site? It's a question you seem don't want to answer. Prostitution is an illegal activity.

MCNALLY: The Village boys as a proud tradition. It was founded here in New York by Norman Mailer (ph) maybe 50 years ago. They have always carried adult services in their ads. They have also regularly earned four prizes by standing up to, you know, the big businesses in the government. They are unapologetic about that.

COOPER: I'm not - again, I'm not making a moral judgment against your company which is making more than $20 million a year off these adult services ads or tens of millions of dollars, I'm not even sure the exact figure. But according to figures I have seen, I have seen as much as $22 million last year. Two million I think in one month alone. It's obviously very profitable for you. I get that.

But I just don't understand. It would seem to be hypercritical if on one hand, you are saying we want no illegal content on the site, and we are not hosting, you know, illegal activity. And yet, that seems to be proliferating on your site in adult services.

MCNALLY: Let me cut to the chase. And when you talk to my colleague at the bar Jeffrey Toobin later, he'll have his own views. But let me give you the clearest example of the problem that you are talking about.

United States congress, both Democrats and Republicans in complete unanimity have three times, in the last 17 years tried to ban content that would be harmful to minors on the internet. And each time, very conservative, pro-family, pro-children, Supreme Court has told Congress we are a first amendment country and your law can't pass constitutional master. This is a great challenge for every Internet service provider out there. The core issue here is what should responsible businesses do to make America's Internet safer for communities and businesses?

COOPER: But, you would agree that prostitution it's an illegal activity?

MCNALLY: Absolutely. Of course.

COOPER: OK. So, if prostitution is being marketed on your site, is that something you are concerned about or something that that's just where the business is?

MCNALLY: Well, as you know very well Anderson --

COOPER: And why not say look, we are Web site that, you know, that takes the market prostitutes. So what?

MCNALLY: Backpage and the village boys are unapologetic if they posted adult services as they have for 50 years. There have been crimes and there have been predators since long before the Internet and long before there were newspapers. These are a factor of the landscape. And criminals who misuse cell phone services, common Fed ex and other kinds of businesses and the roads of our community to commit crimes.

COOPER: How do you monitor -- law enforcement is particularly I was with concerned about is that most people are, is, is - you know, a children being trafficked on your site.

MCNALLY: Absolutely.

COOPER: Attorneys general in many states have sighted multiple cases of kids being trafficked on your site. How do you filter for that?

MCNALLY: Well, we believe that we are an industry leader in protecting our Web site in two significant categories. Number one, we are proactive in working with law enforcement. And in contrast, the attorney generals, the guys on the front line, the men and women who are defending our children, our communities are very happy with the response they get from back page.

COOPER: I have not heard that. Because I actually talked to a number of police officials in various states over the last year and a half, and they cite your site as well as others as places where people are trafficked.

MCNALLY: Well, here is where your facts are wrong. If you look at the materials I provided to your producer, you will see that law enforcement officials all across the country, singles out backpage as acting in a way that other Web sites don't.

For example, ever adult advocate posted has to pass 22,000 word tests of words, code words, misspelled words before they even can get on the site. I think we are the only adult services poster in the country that has live, 24/7 human monitoring that looks at each ad before it gets on the air.

COOPER: Ed McNally, appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.

MCNALLY: Thank you.


COOPER: The interview went on for a couple of minutes longer. You can watch the entire interview with Ed McNally on our Web site later tonight. Go to

The long huge Web sites like and others from being accountable for any crime that may result because of ads even though critics say the ads are pitching illegal services with euphemisms.

I talked about that with CNN legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and Washington State. Attorney general, Rob McKenna.


COOPER: So Jeffrey, why not -- if they are at clearly, you know adult services and prostitution, why not just say yes, we are profiting on prostitution and that's our business model is?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think they are embarrassed. I think it is as simple as that. I think it's legal what they are doing. The communication see it basically says that the Internet is more like a telephone than a news paper, in the sense that a crime committed over the telephone, you can't sue the phone company. But you can sue a newspaper if they print something, even an advertisement that is defamatory or illegal in some way.

COOPER: Mr. McKenna, what do you think of that?

ROB MCKENNA, ATTORNEY GENERAL, WASHINGTON STATE: The first amendment was never designed to protect illegal activity. And the congressional alliance on the telephone analogy I think is failing. I think that congress needs to come back and revisit whether or not Internet is like a telephone or more like a newspaper.

And I think that with a growing number of lawmakers concerned about and similar Web sites that inevitably, they are going to turn their attention back to that original assumption.

COOPER: But attorney general, Mr. McNally saying look, we have lots of letters from law enforcement officers across the country who say, you know who would thank us for you know, returning -- responding to a subpoena or who thank us for our involvement in stopping something.

MCKENNA: I don't know anyone in law enforcement who doesn't see and similar online sites as being a, not quite a legal accomplice but being certainly useful tool used by pimps and of members of organized crimes as well to promote prostitution including the prostitution of teenagers.

COOPER: Obviously with child prostitution, they seem much more responsive to monitoring that than adult prostitution.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. There's a big difference both as a business, moral and legal aspect between prostitution, which is basically tolerated in big cities in America. It's the key to the business model of back page. That is how they make their money.

COOPER: I guess my question is, why on this Web site than say it goes against our user rules to post ads or products or services user sale which is prohibited by law --

TOOBIN: It's false. I mean, it's not true. I mean, the prostitution is a separate category. I mean they are endorsing, embracing profit from prostitution. However, as far as I can tell, they really are trying to avoid being involved in any way with child prostitution.

COOPER: Mr. attorney general, you agree with that? That do they seem to be responsive on child prostitution?

MCKENNA: We have asked for document that will actually show us whether or not they have been as responsive as they have been. They promised us documents in late September which we have yet to see. So that hasn't been documented to us. We are not satisfied that they are not doing what they need to do with regard to child prostitution.

But the second and even more important point is, as long as they tolerate ads for prostitution, which do, which they freely admitted that they tolerate when they met with my staff, in my office. They are creating the place on the Internet that people go for adult prostitute and child prostitutes.

But the other point is this. That, you know, this isn't just about child prostitution. In human trafficking research, it's become increasingly evident that most adult prostitutes are trafficking victims. In fact, about 90 percent of prostitutes who have been reached through academic research have indicated they want out of prostitution life. COOPER: Attorney general McKenna, let me push back a little bit. There was a counter argument to this which says look, isn't it better to have the ads on a site that does monitor to some degree?

MCKENNA: It's not better because the Internet has facilitates and has facilitates the expansion of prostitution and is directly contributing to the growing rise of child prostitutes being marketed.

COOPER: Attorney general McKenna, thank you. Jeff Toobin, thanks.


COOPER: Interesting discussion. Let us know what you think on twitter @andersoncooper. Let's talk about it on twitter.

Still to come, the Arab league is under pressure in Syria with one activist calling its mission a mockery. This is one example of what we're seeing. Security forces firing on civilians. Are observers being shielded from the violence or they just not looking or what is going on? We still to find out.

Plus, after massive displays of grief, North Korean fall silent to honor their dead leaders. Scenes from a second day of national mourning, just stunning scenes out of North Korea. We'll show them to you ahead.


COOPER: Let's get a quick look on stories we are following. Isha is back. Isha, welcome back. We have got "360 News and Business Bulletin" - Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, another day of mourning in North Korea after Wednesday's three hour funeral for leader Kim Jong-Il. Thousands of people assembled in Pyongyang for a national memorial service for the late dictator. Once again, the ceremony focused on Kim Jong Un. The eldest Kim's son and chosen successor with speech is calling him the supreme leader.

More than one million people have visited the September 11th memorial in New York, less than four months after it'd open. It's free to visit. But visitors must reserve a time on the memorial's Web site. A museum at the sight is still under construction.

U.S. ambassador is ready end the year on a good note. Stocks rose today rose across all spurred on by positive reform of housing, manufacturing and employment. The Dow up 136 points.

And one collector will get a chance to earn more than 5,000 artifacts from the titanic in the coming year. The owner will auction them off at a single lot. The collection's valued at more than $189 million. Anderson, what you get from that kind of money, according to reports I have seen fine China and ship (inaudible).

COOPER: Really? SESAY: Yes.

COOPER: I actually had a relative who died on the Lusitania which was sunk. Can I actually bought it auction like one or two little items from that tank.

SESAY: What did you buy?

COOPER: it was like a porthole, a piece of metal, basically. And also it doesn't sound very good, but it was kind cool. And - everyone is laughing in the studio. And also a postcard that was sent by somebody on the ship who also passed away. And actually you know why, a passenger list that had my great uncle's name on it.

SESAY: Every time I think you can't do anything stranger, you just manage though.

COOPER: What, I thought it was cool. I don't know. I'm so not cool. It's sad. All right. You are with us for New Year's Eve.

SESAY: Yes, you can change the subject very quickly. Yes, and make it easy.

COOPER: That will be cool. OK. Check in with you.


SESAY: I'm embarrassed for you.


COOPER: Thank you. We'll be right back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER: "360 News and Business Bulletin" is brought to you by Biotene for suiting relief of dry mouth.


COOPER: Up close on Syria again tonight. An Arab league fact finding mission has so far, done really nothing to stop the pledge at some activists say it was a just ploy but President Bashar al-Assad are willing to buy time. The mission's leader is a military commander in Sudan and was head of foreign intelligence in Sudan. Then the government which is now accused of genocide in Darfur.

So in addition, activists say, the observers are constantly guarded by Syrian security forces and in every city, they aren't visited today. Activists reported more deaths, at least 35 people in all. This amateur video, let's take a look.


COOPER: This amateur video showed soldiers firing at protesters in a suburb of Damascus. You can hear the protests are chanting "God is great" and "freedom from Bashar." Of course, it's impossible to verify the video or any reports on the ground because Assad government won't allow international journalists into the country or to travel freely if they are in the country.

One reporter got in. He recently snuck into the opposition stronghold, the single neighborhood in Homs. We are not revealing his name for his own safety because he hopes to go back. But tonight, we have more of his exclusive video from the front lines. We need to defectors in his video from the Syrian military who are no longer willing, they say, shooting and kill their own people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The neighborhood of Homs and the Assad fighters took me into a house where their men were engaged in a shootout with snipers at Syrian military. These men say they are all defectors from Assad forces. They call themselves the free Syrian army.

One of the men managed to take a rifle with a precision scope with him when he defected. But most of the fighters from the free Syrian army are ill equipped, short on guns on ammunition and with no heavy weapons. Still, they have managed to kick Assad forces out of Babamer (ph) and hold the area. It's possibly the first blaze in Syria beyond government control. Check points like this mark the front line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Assad troops are about 25 to 30 meters away from us with soldiers in tanks. We are here to prevent them from passing and killing young and old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The man introduced me to one of their leaders. Abdel Razzaq Tlas is one of the few willing to be identified. He was a lieutenant in Assad's army before defected. His uncle is a former Syrian defense minister.

ABDEL RAZZAQ TLAS, OFFICE WHO DEFECTED FROM SYRIAN ARMY: We got orders in the army that went against my oath as a soldier. I'd sworn to protect civilians. But when I saw what the government forces were doing to people, I defected on June 2nd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: People like Abdel Razzaq Tlas are heroes for the people of (inaudible). He was cheered at an antigovernment demonstration. (Inaudible) is surrounded by the Syrian military and constantly shelled by tanks and artillery.

At a meeting in a safe house, Abdel Razzaq Tlas insist that even though Assad has not used his air force against the uprising, only a no-fly zone imposed by the international community could help the rebels win.

TLAS (through translator): We are in contact with the soldiers in the army. They tell us that in a no-fly zone is essential to prevent them from getting bombed is they defect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: For now, men of the free Syrian army are fighting a guerilla war against an overpowering foe. They smuggle fighters in and out of the neighborhood they control evading government check points. At night, they search everyone entering and leaving the area to stop government death squads, the so called "shabiha (ph) from getting in".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The street you see over there is controlled by the Shubiah (ph). They are known to kidnap our women and children. We try to prevent this. When strangers come here, we stop and search them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The people of this part are not afraid to take to the streets. They are regular nighttime rebels. But after months of casualties, they have long lost their faith in non-violent protests. Many believe that real change in Syria will only come from the barrel of a gun.


COOPER: Remarkable look inside Homs. Joining us from Stanford's Fouad Ajami is senior fellow of Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

It is interesting - I mean, just watching that, it reminds me of the beginnings of the conflict in Beirut back in the day where you have groups controlling neighborhoods. Is this the start of civil war in?

FOUAD AJAMI, SENIOR FELLOW, STANFORD UNIVERSITY'S HOOVER INSTITUTION: Absolutely. This is really neighborhood was fare if you look at it and if we talked yesterday about Homs, the center of this revolution. And this is a divided city. And when we were talking about it, you are talking an old neighborhood. This has been the target of the Assad regime because this is the place where the Syrian army is making their stand.

It's interesting this report who just who listened to and watched. There is a man in Assad plus the defector, his uncle was one of the pillars of the Assad regime. He was a companion of old man (inaudible). So, it tells you something about this fits within the elite and the fight for a new Syria.

COOPER: A group like this, if the regime wanted to move in with tanks and stuff, they could try to retake this neighborhood?

AJAMI: Well, I think that's exactly what is it. Look, we live in a world where nations dwell along. I mean, in fact, we can look at say the Bosnians were saved in 1995. But, they were saved after 30 months of bloodshed. They were saved after 150,000 people possibly were killed. There are ones who were never saved. And now, the Syrians, they are really in the cross fire. And I think what they have been -- what they witness, what they know about their situation is the solitude of the Syrian people.

If you take a look at the geography of Syria, the geography of Syria really favors the regime. Because when you think, here is a country which has Lebanon on one side, which is subordinate to Syria which has Jordan on the other side which is in a way very, very wary than in intervention. And then it has Israel which is very complicated relationship. Then it has Iraq which is very sympathetic to the Assad regime. Then it has Turkey, which has played cat and mouse with the Syrian rebellions. It is -- it will come in, but then it doesn't. So, I think it's a recipe for a long, long war.

COOPER: And anything else that's going to happen.

AJAMI: Absolutely. This is where we are. The regime can't bury this revolution. The revolution can't overthrow the regime. And I think that when we take a look at the powers beyond, the international community has been disgraceful and the belief in the Arab league has been such a sham. When you look at this in general going to Homs and saying he saw nothing frightening at Homs, when, with all due respect, the standards are of Darfur standards.

COOPER: Right. And for - on this where I just cannot believe that the guy who is head of this Arab league delegation, works for regime, the leader which wanted by the international criminal court for crimes against humanity.

AJAMI: Well, absolutely. And when you realize for example that this man was chosen to be chief monitor that he was picked by the Syrians. Because no other candidate was accessible and no other wanted this job. The Lebanese wouldn't do it. The Saudis would not be acceptable and they would not want to do it. The Egyptians were normally would have done this kind of work really out of contention given their own troubles. So, you come to this Syrian management of Amar Bashir (ph) of the man wanted by the international -- we are in Syria now.

COOPER: Fouad, thank you being with us. Appreciate it.

AJAMI: Thank you.

COOPER: Still ahead, the chilling 911 call made by a Texas man who allegedly killed six members of his family, then himself on Christmas day.

Also ahead tonight, caught on tape a driver's rampage through his neighborhood. Amazing video I'll show you ahead.


COOPER: Hey, let's check in again with Isha. She's back with the "360 Bulletin" - Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, a disturbing discovery in the deadly Christmas day shooting outside of Dallas. The police have in hunt in audio, a 911 call and say the voice they uncovered is the presumed killer. 56- year-old (Inaudible), his words are chilling.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm shooting people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 911 DISPATCHER: What was that? Do you need an ambulance or police? Hello?


SESAY: According to investigators he killed six family members including his estranged wife and two daughters before shooting himself dead.

A 19-year-old California man accused of shooting and paralyzing an army soldier pleaded not guilty at his arraignment today. Ruben Jurado is charged of attempted murder of army specialist Christopher Sullivan during a welcome home party for the Afghanistan veteran.

The Wall Street general posted several employees of all giant BP could face criminal charges. Seven from the deep water horizon explosion. They maybe say prosecutors are looking into whether they falsified information to regulators.

And Anderson, take a look at this video. It comes from Colorado. Police have arrested a driver they say intentionally rammed his SUV into five cars, including that last one you saw there. A security camera captured all of it. The police say the driver also tried to run over several people. The man is now cooling his healed in county jail on a $50,000 bond, just crazy.

COOPER: Yes. That audio tape, the 911 call is one of the creepiest things I have heard in a long time.

SESAY: Yes. They released it in fact that they missed it initially and had to go back.

COOPER: Yes. But it's enhanced. You can actually hear what he's saying.

Coming up -- well, change of subject to make you smile at the end of the night. Your choice for number two in the top ten ridiculist countdown for the year. Well, I don't give it to you. We will just surprise you with it. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We have been counting down the top ten ridiculist of the year based on your votes. Tonight number two, it's cautionary tale about texting at the movies from back in June. Take a look.


COOPER: Tonight, we are adding my latest annoyance, people who talk and text at the movies. And I want to talk about one young woman in particular. A woman who is repeatedly warned to stop texting during a movie in Austin Texas, wouldn't stop. And was probably thrown out of the theater. Then she left an angry voice mail for the theater which was posted on its blog for your enjoyment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via audiotape): I didn't know that I wasn't supposed to text in your little crappy movie theater.

COOPER: Alright. Did I mention that theater calls the Alamo draft house that they serve beer. Well, I'm not sure I mentioned that. But indeed, I think her text may have per taken to be a little pre-party during the previous perhaps. Listen to her next offense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So excuse me for using my phone in the United States of America where you are free to text in a theater.

COOPER: I love living in the United States of America where you are free to text in a theater. Now, that the lady who knows her constitution. What's all that freedom jazz about if some drunk girl can't constantly update facebook status while people to concentrate on kung fu panda, 2.

Next, the text lady employs something I like to call the silent but deadly defense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it was on silent. It wasn't on loud, it wasn't bothering anybody. You guys were obviously being --

COOPER: I'm sorry drunk girl. But texting in a dark movie theater is like lighting road flair. People are going to see it. You might not through your beer goggles but everyone else will. Drunk girl didn't give up though. She's been hitting a wall and comes up with two more arguments for her defense. A combo of the "I didn't know" defense seasoned with just a touch of the I do it everywhere else defense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was not aware that I couldn't text in your theater. All right? I've texted in all the other theaters in Austin. No one ever gave a (bleep) about what I was doing on my (bleep) phone, all right?

COOPER: Now, maybe she texts through every other theater in Austin. I wouldn't be surprised. But as it turns out, this particular theater has a well known zero tolerance policy against talking in cell phones. It's kind of those theaters who say is and the all kind of creative announcements about it. Watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Electric cattle prod. If I hear someone talking. Not an aggressive shock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you vote for me, I'll make sure everyone is very quiet in the theaters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn all your cell phones and beepers, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Find out who they are and cut their tongue out.

COOPER: So, I think it's clear where the Alamo Draft House has stands on this issue. And you know what, maybe a theater with that kind of policy just isn't for everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I will never be coming back to your Alamo Draft House or whatever. I would rather go to a regular theater where people are actually polite.

COOPER: Yes. The regular theaters are full of polite people, politely shouting at the screen, politely bringing screaming toddlers to rated R movies 11:00 at night. Bluntly talking, texting though the whole movie. The CEO of the Alamo Draft House says he wants his theater to be different. Here is Tim Lee, great American hero.

TIM LEE, CEO, ALAMO DRAFT HOUSE: We wanted to take a hard stand and say those people are not welcome at the Alamo Drafthouse. So we'll get rid of those people and make it a better place for the rest of the movie going public.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: I think that guy should win the Nobel Peace Prize.

So listen up, United States, news flash, a movie theater is not your living room, so don't act like it is. We're paying to see the movie, not your cell phone light. And we want to listen to the actors, not your lame comments and inane chatter. Next time you are about to text in a film, remember the Alamo Drafthouse or you might end up with the ridiculous.

Oh, drunk girl. What are you going to do for New Year's Eve, I wonder? We'll have the best of the "Ridiculous of the Year" tomorrow night. That does it for us. See you again at 10:00.

"Piers Morgan" starts now.