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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Iowa Caucus; Bachmann vs. Defector; Tracking Kids
Aired December 29, 2011 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Candy Crowley, thank you so much. You know the jokers in the Senate. We have one for you here tonight, former Senator Arlen Specter comes out front like you have never seen him before. Stay tuned for that.
Also this story coming up, it will break your heart, this 18- year-old with just days to live says good-bye to the world all on the Internet.
And the "Bottom Line" on the Iowa caucus it is the country's first contest to decide the GOP nomination and let's just say it's getting ugly.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Hi there, and good evening. I'm Brooke Baldwin sitting in tonight for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight drama in Iowa, you know, count them with me, five days, we're only five days away from the nation's first contest in the race for the GOP nomination, and as I mentioned a moment ago I know you're following this with us here at CNN.
It's getting ugly. Newt going after Romney, Perry going after Santorum, everyone going after Paul and Bachmann is fighting very publicly with her now former Iowa chief, but Romney, he seems to be riding pretty high after a new CNN poll shows he has really broken out of this dead heat and has first place pretty much all to himself. Let's go straight to the ground there to our CNN political correspondent Jim Acosta, who I know, Jim, you spent the day following around Mitt Romney, his campaign, and you know, if I may, it looks like Mitt Romney has a little extra pep in his step.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I would say so, Brooke. He has a spring in his step. He is singing the tune of a frontrunner. He came to of all places, the Music Man Museum, which is here in Mason City, Iowa, to talk to voters earlier today. He even threw out a reference from the classic musical from the early 1960's saying he felt like playing 76 trombones.
And you know if he wins in this state it could be trouble, if I can quote from the movie again, trouble with a capital "T" for his GOP rivals because consider this, Brooke. No GOP presidential candidate since Gerald Ford has won both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, if Romney does both he is going to be very hard to stop.
And one of the reasons why he is doing so well right now in Iowa is that all of the other candidates in this field are fighting with each other, taking their sights off of Mitt Romney, and if you want to know how easy things are going for the former Massachusetts governor, consider the fact that here at this museum earlier today, an 8-year- old asked him the question, is it hard running for president?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Is it hard running for the president?
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. And that's a darn good question. And the answer is yes and no. It sounds like a politician. I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: So he sounded a little bit like a politician there, but he's a politician on the move. You know he has one of his top surrogates coming to Iowa. Chris Christie will be campaigning with Mitt Romney tomorrow morning in Des Moines and then Romney is heading back to New Hampshire, but in a sign of just how confident he is about these caucuses, Brooke, he is coming back to Iowa for a big swing through this state over the weekend and into Tuesday and he will plan on staying in Des Moines on caucus night to watch those returns come in, and if those returns are good returns, he is going to be very hard to stop in this race for the GOP nomination -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: I appreciate the music man reference to Acosta (ph) and while we're at it, let's go ahead -- and Kelly (ph), let's pop those live pictures back up.
ACOSTA: Yes. I've got the hat, too, by the way.
BALDWIN: Very nice. Thank you for not wearing that. Let's pop up the live pictures because we know he is still you know at it in front of a crowd right there. This is Ames, Iowa, Romney for president rally, grassroots rally there, so as we look at that, I do want to switch gears and I do want to talk Newt Gingrich because his campaign on the downward slope as well and we're finally seeing this you know hard number, this 45 percent, this is the new analysis from the "C Mag" (ph) poll showing 45 percent of all Iowa ads were negative against the former speaker of the House, so finally it's this, you know hard number that's proof behind his decline in the polls.
ACOSTA: That's right. I think there's no doubt about it. That is what brought Newt Gingrich down in this state and all you have to do is turn on any TV in Iowa to watch what is happening to Newt Gingrich. Nearly every political ad that is being run by one of the other candidates is aimed at taking down Newt Gingrich and that goes for a pro-Romney super PAC which has spent more than some of the campaigns here in negative attack ads on Newt Gingrich. They have had a devastating effect on his campaign.
They have raised his negative poll numbers if you look at many of the polls, but Newt Gingrich is a fighter. Keep in mind he still has a chance of winning this state even though our CNN, "TIME" or our "C" (ph) poll shows that Gingrich has fallen to the middle of the pack you could say. There was another poll that came out from ARG that shows Newt Gingrich perhaps not doing as badly. So the House speaker, the former speaker of the House is not out of the woods yet, but he is in serious trouble -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Jim Acosta, thank you so much. Live for us tonight there in Iowa and now to another major political story making news today. High-profile Bachmann backer, Kent Sorenson, shocked the political world when he jumped ship for Ron Paul's campaign. Bachmann says he took money for the switch. Sorenson told CNN today no way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENT SORENSON, FORMER BACHMANN STAFFER: That conversation never happened and as much respect as I have for Michelle, the fact of the matter is it just didn't happen and I think it's unfortunate they're resorting to these types of tactics. The fact of the matter is she wasn't going to win Iowa, and I believe that we had to make a clear choice and I believe it was my duty to my family and to my state to make sure that we're not electing a frugal (ph) socialist like Mitt Romney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: But Bachmann, she's not giving up. In fact she is standing by her claim that money drove him to drop her. Listen to what she told Wolf Blitzer not too long ago in "THE SITUATION ROOM".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He told a lot of people. There are people a mile long that he told that he was getting money and all of those people are coming out of the woodwork making themselves available. So what -- so Kent Sorenson and I had the conversation on the phone and yesterday Kent even came out to our stop in Indianola, Iowa and he was there with me yesterday. He left our event and then went to the Ron Paul event. This is about money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Well, let's see if it is about money. I want to bring in John Avlon, senior columnist for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast", also David Frum, CNN contributor -- gentlemen, is someone lying here? I mean John Avlon, I'll begin with you because you're sitting right here. Why would the Paul camp pay? Is there any sense in that?
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, there's a lot of money flittering in lower levels of politics, but what Michele Bachmann has set up is a he said/she said. The tie-breaking vote as what -- given what we know to date is that her political director in Iowa said that look, I'm sticking with Michele Bachmann, but Kent Sorenson is telling the truth. He was not offered money. He was summarily dismissed. What we know from the sum total of Michele Bachmann's record and other context such as PolitiFact and truth is that Michele Bachmann occasionally has a truth-telling problem and this may be --
BALDWIN: So you're saying Michele Bachmann is Pinocchio here. AVLON: There's a Pinocchio potential that we should not ignore. Someone is not telling the truth and I'm not sure she's earned the right for the benefit of the doubt.
BALDWIN: David Frum, do you agree "A" and do you believe "B" that the state senator is a big enough player to even be bought?
DAVID FRUM, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR G.W. BUSH: This is -- if true, this is a story. It violates state law. It also I think takes a part -- takes a little bit of the lid off the way Iowa operates and a lot of people have been under a lot of payrolls and money really matters. You cited that survey of the prevalence of anti-Newt Gingrich ads and he ran -- Newt Gingrich ran into a wall of negative advertisement sponsored by Mitt Romney's enormous financial advantage. Rich Perry has a big financial advantage, too. Money really matters. The weight of money is telling. Organization matters. Ron Paul has that and in many ways the story of Iowa is a lot of strange things happened early, but right now this race is coming down to what American politics so often comes down to, the power of money.
BALDWIN: Yes, we brought up here referencing the 45 percent of the "C Mag" (ph) poll and they dropped sort of the demise of Gingrich and I know you're itching to jump in, John Avlon, but I do want to turn the corner because who would have thought we would be talking about attack ads on Rick Santorum, right? When I think of Rick Santorum I think of him, seems like a perfectly nice guy (INAUDIBLE) wings of our CNN debates, you know because that's sort of where he's fallen thus far. If I may, can you give us a little refresher course on Rick Santorum --
AVLON: Sure. I will spare you a Google search on Rick Santorum to say this --
AVLON: That he is a former two-term Pennsylvania Senator, beloved by the social conservative wing of his party. He was a very young Senator, defeated Harris Wofford in 1994. Big win for Republicans at that time. He, however, lost in a 16-point margin in 2006 to current Senator Casey. He has made his mark by being a stalwart social conservative. He has been working the ground game hard in Iowa, famously visiting all 99 counties.
BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE) 99, 99.
AVLON: But that's a big deal because one of the big questions of this campaign is does retail politics still matter, and the fact that Rick Santorum is surging late it does indicate that all that has not been for nothing.
BALDWIN: There's the retail politics side of it, but I think also it's this new you know attack ad part of it, and so David Frum I'm going to throw this to you, but first let me set it up. So Santorum has been rising in the polls and now -- we know what that means. That means you have a bull's-eye on your back. Case in point, I want to play part of this attack ad from Rick Perry a la "Wheels of Washington" "Jeopardy" style. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's "Wheel of Washington". I'm your host (INAUDIBLE). First question, which Republican running for president voted for the "Bridge to Nowhere" earmark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Susie from Des Moines?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rick Santorum?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. Santorum voted for the "Bridge to Nowhere" and a highway bill full of pork.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: David Frum, can Santorum fend off these attacks? Is there even enough time? We're talking five days until the caucuses. Is there enough time to make a difference?
FRUM: Well I think this ad shows something that the amazing boldness of American politics. I mean for Rick Perry of all people to make clean government of all issues an issue, absolutely amazing. It's not his forte to use a phrase and what's even more remarkable is that Rick Perry has recently been pushing very hard an idea that congressmen -- members of Congress should work less and be allowed to earn more outside income which is an invitation to corruption.
So it's a strange issue for Rick Perry to take and a strange approach to take against Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum, as John said, is a strong social conservative, but something else needs to be said of him and it must not be lost sight of in the excitement that may gather around his campaign. He has been the one candidate on that platform to be willing to say some of the unwelcome truths of what is happening to the American middle class, the slowing down of upward mobility in the United States --
FRUM: -- the stagnation of middle class incomes. That's something that other candidates have not wanted to engage with. Rick Santorum really has. You may not like his solutions, I think there's a lot of scrutiny to be applied to the solutions, but he has taken onboard some of the most important facts about American society and talking about them in a way that's really refreshingly candid.
BALDWIN: David Frum, John Avlon, I appreciate it. Thank you guys very much.
Coming up next on OUTFRONT, "Under Surveillance", how the feds are tracking your kids. The Baker and the Music Maker (ph), you've heard the so-called radio head song. Now meet the guy behind it. This is an amazing story if you're a music fan as I am of mistaken musical identity and Hugo Chavez levels wild accusations against the U.S. government. Did we give him cancer?
BALDWIN: In tonight's "Under Surveillance" segment the federal government tracking your kids, your kids. The Department of Education recently taking steps to make it easier for states to share the personal information of fellow students, information like where they live, where they were born, how old they are, but also information like how often they're absent from school, how many extra curriculars they participate in and much do they weigh.
The Department of Education says this is all an effort to help improve education programs all across the country, but as you can imagine, not everyone is so thrilled about that including my next guest. Lisa Snell is director of Education in Child Welfare at the Reason Foundation and Lisa, what is concern number one for you when you hear about this?
LISA SNELL, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION & CHILD WELFARE, REASON FOUNDATION: Well, you know, it's just a slippery slope. It gives new meaning to the idea that you would have a permanent record as a student and that anything that happened to you in fifth grade or in high school that someone might get access to that personal information. So, you know, it tracks things like disciplinary issues, how many days you were absent from school, you know if you became a single mother, so there's just a lot of sensitive information and the idea of moving toward putting it in one place so that lots of different agencies have access to it, you know, is scary.
BALDWIN: But, what specifically, is your concern if the Department of Education says it's not like it's some big national database. This is for the improvement of your kids' education. What is your biggest worry that what could they do with that information?
SNELL: So I mean you know whether they eventually will be able to do this or not is an open question, but they collect a lot of information that has no relevance to student achievement. So the big worry might be something like, OK, we're using this information to evaluate a program like say a school violence prevention program. So we're going to release all the records about individual kids and their discipline programs to evaluate whether this program had less school violence or less bullying in the school. And so it just -- it gets at right now we are anonymous and we don't link specific information to specific kids, and the more the sharing goes on without the consent of the parent, the more likely that some of that information might fall into the wrong hands.
BALDWIN: It sounds, from what I've read from the Department of Education that they say any and all information is indeed to remain -- in fact I want to just quote part of what the DOE is saying. Changes are meant to help, quote, "evaluate education programs to ensure limited resources are invested effectively, to build upon what works and discard what does not, to increase accountability and transparency and to contribute to a culture of innovation and continuous improvement in education."
BALDWIN: I think, Lisa, you'll be with me in saying, look, you know education in America very much so, we report on this constantly --
BALDWIN: -- is lagging so far behind other countries. You know what's wrong with the idea of maybe the government helping my kid out?
SNELL: Right. So, I mean, one of the issues with that is the government already has tons of data that they could use to evaluate programs and teachers. So, for instance, when -- you know "The Los Angeles Times" was able to look at seven years of data to see the individual value added of every teacher did the district do anything with that information to take the best teachers and maybe have them have best practices?
I mean the bottom line is there's tons of data out there. There's no reason that we have to have you know even less privacy for kids because they're not effectively using the data that's already obviously available to them and that's very detailed data about student achievement and about performance of programs. So this expansion just causes concern about how they might link to become a federal database in the future if they don't have to get parents' consent to share this kind of information.
BALDWIN: Well we will just have to follow up and see if they do, in fact, honor their word and keep this information to themselves for the betterment of our children.
BALDWIN: Lisa Snell, thank you very much.
SNELL: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Busted immigrants, they're getting a perk. Today the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency launched a toll-free hot line; people detained on immigration violations can call, get help. It's open every day around the clock; service available in seven different languages. The point, to make sure detainees know they could get deported and that they're aware of all their rights.
Still OUTFRONT, this is such a touching story about a young man saying good-bye, an 18-year-old's final words and the latest developments in the case of Baby Ayla (ph). Trista Reynolds (ph) says the baby's father has not communicated with her once since this little child was reported missing. And that haunting 911-call made just before the Christmas Day murder/suicide in Grapevine (ph), Texas. We're OUTFRONT tonight.
BALDWIN: Police released the haunting 911-call from the Christmas Day murder/suicide in Grapevine (ph), Texas that took the lives of seven family members. In it the gunman 56-year-old Azizala Yazdanpanah (ph) who had dressed up as Santa Claus is heard whispering about the rampage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPERATOR: Hello, Grapevine, 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help me. Help me.
OPERATOR: You need help?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm shooting people.
OPERATOR: Are you sick?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm shooting people.
OPERATOR: What was that?
OPERATOR: Do you need an ambulance or police? Hello? One moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Yazdanpanah (ph) said to have been having marital and financial problems opened fire on his estranged wife, his teenage children, his wife's sister, her husband and his niece before turning the gun on himself. In fact, just about 30 minutes before that 911- call was made, in which you heard him whispering, his niece sent this text message to a friend -- I'm going to quote it.
"So we're here. We just got here and my uncle is here, too, dressed as Santa, awesome." She then sent a second text 15 minutes later. It read "Now he wants to be all fatherly and win father of the year." Police now believe that before Yazdanpanah (ph) killed himself he tried to stage the crime scene by placing one of the two guns used in the killings in the hands of his brother-in-law, but according to authorities once he realized what he'd done, he killed himself as well.
And the Stamford Fire Department has now just released those audio transmissions between dispatch and firefighters on the scene of that deadly Christmas Day fire that killed those five family members. They revealed the heroic efforts firefighters made to rescue those victims inside the $1.7 million Victorian home before the searing heat and the flames turned them away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-four to Unit 4 (ph) (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead 24.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got victims trapped on the second floor. We're going to rescue mode with a ladder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Received.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a report from one of the victims. There are people in that window.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right we're going to need some protection up here. (INAUDIBLE) We can't stay here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I hear you. We've got to get in there, though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we're going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four engine, charge that line, charge that line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four engine, four engine, charge that line NOW.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Three children and the parents of a high-profile ad executive, Madonna Badger, died in that early morning fire caused by discarded fireplace embers. Smoke inhalation killed all five of them. The grandfather, Lamar Johnson, also died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck when he fell through roof rafters while trying to rescue one of his little granddaughters. The funeral for those three girls is scheduled for next week in Manhattan. The Johnsons will then be buried in Canada where they met.
Still OUTFRONT tonight the final words from a terminally ill 18- year-old patient; he shares his message of love with the world.
Also shocking claims from Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan president said our country gave him cancer. Also ahead former Senator Arlen Specter like you have never seen him before OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress tells a joke, it becomes law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when Congress passes a law it turns out to be a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: The U.S. government is sending a multibillion message to Iran to reach the Gulf region stable or else. U.S. officials just announced this $30 billion deal to arm Saudi Arabia with 84 new F- 15/SA jets, and upgrade 70 more aircraft there. An Obama administration official also said today the U.S. will do what it must do to keep the Strait of Hormuz open.
Right now, Iran's military is holding a 10-day drill just to the east of that strait in an effort to just show its force. Iranian officials threatened to block it, angered over the possibility of tighter sanctions all because of its nuclear program.
And as violence continues in Syria, the death toll rising as well. Opposition activists say almost three dozen people were killed today as Arab League monitors are spreading from the flashpoint city of Homs, to at least four more cities, including the Damascus suburbs. That is where activists say security forces opened fire on a crowd of about 30,000.
Opposition groups have been pushing back against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad since March.
And how about this one for you tonight? Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the man who has claimed capitalism ended life on Mars says it's possible the U.S. gave him cancer. Now, Chavez says he didn't want to make his accusations, saying he didn't have any proof, per se, but he finds it a little strange that five current or former South American leaders have also been diagnosed with cancer.
A spokeswoman for the State Department called his comments, quote, "horrific and reprehensible."
And now to someone we'll be seeing a lot of New Year's Eve.
Anderson Cooper coming up next.
Anderson, I'm excited to be in Nashville. Are you excited for a little New Year's Eve in Times Square?
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": I'm excited/scared with Kathy Griffin, as always.
BALDWIN: As we should be, all of us.
COOPER: Looking forward to it.
BALDWIN: What do you have coming up?
COOPER: Brooke, we're keeping them honest tonight on the program, five days until the biggest test yet for the Republican presidential field. It is getting a little odd in Iowa today. A top Michele Bachmann supporter jumped to team Ron Paul. Bachmann claims it was about cash, saying the guy was paid off. Paul's campaign denies it, so does the person involved and we're keeping them honest.
Also tonight, in crime and punishment, a serial killer suspected of trolling the Internet for targets, four women found dead in the space of a week. Police say three of the dead women have one thing in common -- they placed escort ads on the Web site called backpage.com, apparently also in other sites as well. It's focused attention on this Web site and what critics say is the willingness to allow prostitutes to post ads. We'll speak with the company's law enforcement adviser ahead.
Plus, we go up-close on the violence in Syria. Exclusive, new videos from the front lines from inside the city under siege, Homs.
Those stories and our year-end "Ridiculist" countdown continues with number two tonight. That all starts at the top of the hour in about 25 minutes -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Good deal. Mr. Cooper, we will see you then. Thank you so much.
Now to this. Are you a Radiohead fan? I know I am. It's one of the most critically acclaimed rock bands in the world, with a rabid fan base that follows their every incremental move.
So, last week, when a previously unreleased track by the band was leaked online, fan, the media went absolutely crazy for it. Here it is.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BALDWIN: Posted to YouTube last week, the track entitled "Putting Ketchup in the Fridge/How Do You Sit Still" has already racked up more than 94,000 views and has the music magazines and fans calling it a terrific return to their earlier sound. It has been re- posted dozens and dozens of times to YouTube. It has lit up Twitter.
Of course, and here's why we're telling you this -- a couple of problems here. That is actually not the name of this song in case you're wondering -- I know I was -- talking about catch up here.
And it's not Radiohead. Singer/songwriter Christopher Stupa (ph) came OUTFRONT earlier today to share his amazing story. Here you go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before Christmas, as I was wrapping work at the bakery, I happened to see an article and headline that said that there was a lost Radiohead track. And I thought oh, that's kind of interesting. So I clicked on the Web site and there was a small blurb saying that some lost track that had never been released had been found, and I thought that was interesting. And so I hit play and what started coming out of my speakers sounded very extremely familiar and after a couple of seconds, I thought, well, wait a minute. This is my song.
So, my first thought was to think somehow I had hit play on my iTunes or something on my computer had triggered iTunes and I was hearing my own demos. But the funny part, of course, is that that was the song that I recorded in 2001 called "Sit Still" in New York.
Morris (ph) was there and me and three other guys and then that broke up and I put together Public. We did a lot of things. And then a couple of years ago, that couple of the members got disheartened and stopped.
My partner was a baker and a storefront opened up on our street, and I sort of took the opportunity to build a bakery with Roseanne.
So I've spent the last two years building a bakery with my kind of library of songs just sitting there unused and it's kind of funny that out of the blue, after not doing music for a few years with no band and not having played for about a year and a half, this all of a sudden pops up out of nowhere.
BALDWIN: Right? Someone played that for me earlier. You close your eyes and I thought it was Radiohead.
I think Chris Stupa I think will be doing more than baking soon enough.
During the prep of this story, we came across a review of Morris Air (ph), the band Chris recorded this now infamous song with, the writer noted how much he sounded like Jeff Buckley, Coldplay's Chris Martin and, yes, Radiohead's Thom Yorke.
Now the final online message from an 18-year-old man. Don't miss this.
BALDWIN: I just wanted to share something with now tonight that really moved me. You know, every so often, you see a piece of video that makes you stop and think. And this piece of video did that for me and it also perhaps did it for the more than 1.4 million people who watched it on YouTube.
It was posted by a young man, 18-year-old, by the name of Ben Breedlove, a teenager born with a chronic heart condition. Ben passed away on Christmas Day and only a couple of days after posting this two-part video by himself in which he doesn't actually even speak. He just holds up these index cards while a version of the song "Mad World" plays in the background.
Here's just a portion of it.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BALDWIN: A memorial service was just held for Ben and we're fortunate enough now to be joined by his mother on the phone. Deanne in Austin, Texas.
And, Deanne, I'll tell you, I watched this video of your son and it gave me Goosebumps. Of course, my condolences to you.
Quickly, off the top, when did you first see this video?
DEANNE BREEDLOVE, MOTHER OF BEN BREEDLOVE (via telephone): Our daughter shared that video to my husband and I the morning after Ben passed away.
BALDWIN: And your first thought was, I mean, did you -- through the video we should explain, he explains this three different times in his life that he describes cheating death and feeling this big, bright light. Did you have any idea he'd experienced that?
BREEDLOVE: Yes. We knew exactly what had happened and he had shared those things with us and we talked about it many times and so the content of the video didn't surprise us at all, but just the emotion behind it and his sincerity was really overwhelming and it was a huge blessing to us, and very emotional.
BALDWIN: The third time he explained with his cue cards that he cheated death he was at school and he passed out. Again, he describes this bright light and looking in this mirror. And I just -- I took this note of what he said that's really resonated. He said, "I then looked at myself in the mirror and I was proud of myself, of my entire life, of everything I have done. It was the best feeling."
I mean, knowing that about your son even though you've lost him must make you feel pretty strong to know he felt that way.
BREEDLOVE: Well, it's extremely comforting and it's a big part of what's helping us get through these first few difficult days. And, you know, we can't explain what happened. It was just something, you know, very unusual and very poignant, but we just feel that maybe Ben was allowed to get a glimpse of himself and his life the way God sees him, and I think God would see all of us as the people he has created, as beautiful people with beautiful purposes, and I hope that's what Ben saw when he looked in that mirror.
BALDWIN: And, you know, when he's telling the story the third this time he cheated death this year, he talks about how he was wearing his favorite suit and he was alongside with his favorite rapper kid Cudi who said -- I know -- who said, you know, "Go now." He's telling Ben, go now. And then once Cudi heard about this, he said he immediately broke down into tears.
I'm sure you've heard the story. I don't know if our viewers had. So, I just want to show this message.
This was on this rapper's blog, and I just want to quote him. "We love you, Ben, forever. Thank you for loving me. To Ben's family, you raised a real hero. He is definitely mine. You have my love."
Deanne, have you been in touch with that -- have you been in touch with kid Cudi at all?
BREEDLOVE: No, we haven't been in touch with him, but we will. But to read that, and it's very touching and I just think any time any kind of love is shared, it's going to be something joyful and that's what this whole situation is for us. And the message of hope, I think, is maybe what touched kid Cudi, and I hope that it has encouraged him and inspired him in some way the way his lyrics inspired our son. BALDWIN: I read the obit that you and your husband wrote in the "Austin Statesman" and you talked about, you know, inviting everyone to log on to YouTube and to enter Ben Breedlove.
Deanne, I really appreciate you calling me after your own son's memorial. Thank you.
BREEDLOVE: You're very welcome. Thank you.
BALDWIN: Coming up next, the comedy stylings of Arlen Specter. America's new favorite stand-up comedian comes OUTFRONT.
BALDWIN: As you all know, I'm not the normal person sitting in this chair. It's Erin Burnett.
And Erin -- you know, she really takes the word OUTFRONT quite literally. She will get out there. She will travel to tell the story she deems are important. Recently, Erin went to Pakistan. And in addition to talking about terrorism, she went to visit a jail for women.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Jail in Karachi, barrack- style living for some of Pakistan's poorest women, accused of serious crimes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kidnapping for ransom.
BURNETT: So why no jail cells? Because despite the gruesome charges, few are guilty. Only 10 percent will be convicted.
Like most of the women we spoke with, for fear their families might see them and take revenge, Karen (ph) requested we blurred her face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He used to beat me and my parents.
BURNETT: Twenty-year-old Karen said that she did not strangle her husband to death. She's been her nine months. She has met her lawyer once and has no trial date.
(on camera): Most of the prisoners here are waiting. On the day we visited, 51 of 66 prisoners were waiting for trial. One faces the death penalty for murdering her family.
(voice-over): Her name is Amnaz (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody comes to meet me here. Nobody is near me.
BURNETT: She says she's innocent, but she's been in jail for 13 years. Her appeal was still pending when we visited.
Even Pakistan's human rights chief acknowledges the problem.
IQBAL HAIDER, HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF: Delay in prosecution is a major, major, major issue.
BURNETT: So how do they pass the time? This jail is one of the best in Pakistan. There is a computer room and occasional yoga classes. But the women were listless. They spend most of their time sitting, and the TV is never on.
Only the children seem immune from boredom. Yes, there are children here -- children with no memory of anything but jail. They've never even seen their own images. They stay here until 7, when Muslim law allows them to be taken from their mothers.
This seems inhuman to Anis Haroon, who heads the National Commission for Status of Women.
ANIS HAROON, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL COMISSION FOR STATUS OF WOMEN: They definitely have some psychological influence in and leave some scars on them.
BURNETT: But starting from jail better than home?
SHEEBA SHAH, WARDEN, SPECIAL PRISON FOR WOMEN, KARACHI: Because in their homes, they are not get the facility of even wash rooms facility. But in jail, we have six wash rooms in each barrack.
BURNETT: But from the women, we heard only one answer. Better conditions for them or their children don't make up for injustice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hopeless here. So is my dream to get out from this place.
BURNETT: The unequal treatment of women living in poverty isn't just Pakistan. For many in rich and poor countries, something as natural as having a baby is a death sentence.
According to Amnesty International, more than 3,000 women die every year from childbirth. It's a shocking statistic and one that Christy Turlington Burns wants to change. She is the founder of the humanitarian group "Every Mother Counts" and the director of the documentary "No Woman, No Cry." Christy is an activist and, of course, now you see her face, she's known worldwide as a supermodel, too.
Christy, thanks so much for being with us.
CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS, ACTIVIST/SUPERMODEL: Thank you.
BURNETT: Seeing the sick baby in jail that we saw there in Karachi, that's something that you've seen a lot of?
BURNS: I have. I've seen a lot of sick mothers and sick families. One of our focuses at looking at a mother is that if her health is not optimal, then her entire family and community actually suffers. BURNETT: You've been to a lot of places where this is true. Pakistan is just one place. You've been to Bangladesh, South America. You've been to Africa.
This is a global problem, a global tragedy. In my film, we actually look at Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala, and here in the U.S. as well, where we're not doing as well as we actually should be. Amnesty International, the same report that you just mentioned, they actually have us ranked 50th behind 49 other countries in safe motherhood.
BURNETT: It's shocking.
BURNS: It's absolutely shocking and completely inexcusable.
BURNETT: What are the top one or two reasons why women are dying in child birth?
BURNS: Well, post-partum hemorrhaging is definitely the leading cause. I'd say the majority of deaths are coming from that. And women will actually bleed to death, often times they live far away from a facility or from a doctor who can actually perform a surgery or, you know, an intervention that is necessary.
Another one is obstructed labor. That's when a mother is maybe a young girl and she's not quite developed enough to actually deliver her own child and the child will die in her. And then she may die herself or experience a fistula. And it's a horrific type of outcome to have, all child birth-related.
Another is unsafe abortion, which continues to represent about 13 percent of all maternal deaths.
BURNETT: A lot of people don't realize, in many places like in India and China, where there's still such a preference to have boys over girls, there's such a demand for abortions.
BURNS: There are. I mean, most countries where it's not legal, it's still happening. So, it doesn't change the outcome or number of deaths or abortions actually. It just makes it less safe for more people to actually access services.
BURNETT: What about here in the U.S.? Because I think when you said that we rank number 50, we'll probably shock a lot of people watching. It might shock a lot people how few pregnant women have health care in this country.
You have been talking about how pregnancy-related complications that nearly cause death, near-misses, in the U.S. are up 25 percent in the past 12 or so years. How is that possible?
BURNS: It's -- it is shocking. The situation here in the United States is different than it is in some of the developing countries that we've looked about. Here, for example, one of the scenarios that makes it very dangerous for women to have children is having too many caesarean sections.
Another is, you know, moms are having their children later. That can put you at risk as well.
Diabetes, you know, obesity, these are problems that you might not see in developing countries but here are quite prevalent, and it has added significantly to this number.
BURNETT: You are pushing the bill, the Maternal Health Act, which I know is in Congress, they're trying to get review of maternal care in America. You're in school. You're speaking at the U.N.
You are doing all of these things. You are also a mom.
How do you do all of those things?
BURNS: All the things that I'm doing now are very, very linked. They're -- I feel grateful, I had a complication from my first birth and that's kind of what woke me up to these issues and understanding the global statistics that exist.
And I just feel -- I feel that I'm in a place in my life where I'm able to contribute and bring who I am and who I've become over the years of experiencing good fortune that I've had and be able to share the spotlight with an issue that's really underreported and not talked about enough.
So, I can help other women.
BURNETT: So you're running the New York City marathon, part of the goal to raise money for "Every Mother Counts." What is the goal of that organization?
BURNS: We're really an advocacy and mobilization campaign and we're sort of design to education and raise support for maternal and child health. But also, we're trying to find new ways to engage audiences, new audiences, to participate in this issue. And I believe that every woman, every person has some skill set that they can contribute in a meaningful way.
BURNETT: All right. Christy, thanks so much. We appreciate it.
BURNS: Thank you.
BALDWIN: So, last night, we showed you part of a performance by America's new favorite stand-up comedian. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARLEN SPECTER, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Congress tells a joke, it becomes a law. Whatever Congress passes a law, it turns out to be a joke.
(INAUDIBLE) on his 65th birthday, I said, Bill, congratulations on being 65. I said how do you feel? He said I feel like a teenager, the problem is, I can't find one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Oh my. Yes, that was former Senator Arlen Specter doing a stand up routine, at an open mic night. Imagine walking in and you get the senator to a Philadelphia comedy club and he's good enough to join me OUTFRONT tonight.
Senator Specter, nice to see you. I mean, I have to ask, more than three decades in Congress, you walk into open mic night, why?
SPECTER: Well, I have had a lot of experience in comedy. I been a senator for 30 years but I think humor is very important. It lightens things up. When it lightens up a little bit, you talk to one another.
Right now, in the Congress of the United States, Senate and House, nobody talks to each other. So, a little humor could help out there.
BALDWIN: So, you are lighting up this comedy club in Pennsylvania. As the former Senate Judiciary chair, let me just remind everyone -- I mean, I watched the show online. If I may, sir, some of the material is fairly risque. Are you running the jokes past your wife?
SPECTER: Well, all of the risque stories I have told were approved at home by my wife, Joan. But, I have a serious side, too. I got a new book coming out about Washington. It's called "Cannibals Devouring Senators: Life along the Cannibals".
In Washington today, it's a blood sport. They eat up their young. A great senator like Bob Bennett, can't win a primary in Utah who only had a 93 percent conservative ratings.
So, I think if you brought a little humor in, lightened things up, it could help the governance of this country.
BALDWIN: Wow, cannibals, huh? Let's talk about the GOP race. Iowa coming up, the caucus is in five days. Who are you liking?
You certainly know your junior senator, Santorum. Do you think he would make a good president?
SPECTER: Well, I'm not going to get involved in the Republican side of the Iowa primaries. I may not get involved in the Democratic side.
I think that what is really an issue here is that the country has been run by the extremists on both sides. You have the Tea Party on the far right really in control. I think that's bad for the country.
But then again, the country is not doing well with the current administration. So, I think the national election is going to be a healthy thing.
BALDWIN: Well, sir, you are a Republican turned Democrat. In 10 seconds, what makes a funnier candidate, which party?
SPECTER: Which makes the fun -- repeat that question.
BALDWIN: Oh, we're out of time. We have to go. We'll save it for the next conversation.
Senator Arlen Specter, thank you.
"A.C. 360" starts now.