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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Interview with Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich; Interview with Rep. Allen West

Aired January 13, 2012 - 19:00   ET

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


ERIN BURNETT, HOST: Thanks, John.

Well President Obama wants to get rid of some federal agencies and Republicans aren't happy. Why?

And then Shyima Hall, abducted in Egypt, sold into slavery in America. She comes OUTFRONT with her story.

And the "Bottom Line" in the GOP race, Newt Gingrich closing in on Mitt Romney going into South Carolina. He is here tonight OUTFRONT. Let's go.

Good evening everyone. I'm Erin Burnett and OUTFRONT tonight Newt Gingrich giving Mitt Romney a run for his money in South Carolina. A new poll shows the former speaker trails the front runner by only four points. That's almost within the margin of error and it is much closer than just a week ago. Could South Carolina be Newt's comeback state? Here's what he had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I'm going to win South Carolina on a liberal conservative split where I represent a Reagan conservatism (ph) and Romney represents a Massachusetts moderate view. Second, I hope to win on jobs. I had a record working with Reagan of creating jobs. I had record as speaker where we added 11 million new jobs. I think both on the jobs front, which certainly appeals to a lot of folks here and on the conservative liberal front, which appeals to almost all South Carolinians, we have a really good chance to win next Saturday.

BURNETT: Well you got me to jobs, so I want to get straight to that. You're in Florida today, in Versailles, Florida. And you said this about your jobs creating record when you worked with President Reagan.

GINGRICH: We banished a series of tax cuts, a series of deregulations. It was so successful that in one month, August of 1983, we created a million, three hundred thousand jobs in one month.

BURNETT: All right, so I heard that this morning I have to admit, Speaker, and I said -- I said no way did we ever have 1.3 million a month. So we back and checked the numbers and there has not been a month where we had that many jobs created. September 1983, 1.114 million jobs were added. But it seems a little unfair because more than half of those jobs, 640,000 were AT&T workers returning from strike. So people returning from strike aren't new jobs created. Are you taking credit for that?

GINGRICH: Well, actually, I'm going to go back and double check that. My staff had come up with that number and that's where it came from. And no, I wouldn't take credit for that. I think that clearly is a anomaly, but if you look at the overall Reagan job creation record, it was clearly millions and millions of new jobs. The unemployment rate dropped from 10 -- I think 10.8 percent down to about 5.6 (INAUDIBLE) so he added about five percentage points to the workforce went back to work in a growing workforce and I don't think anybody doubts that the Reagan recovery was one of the greatest job creation periods in American history. But I'll go back and double check that. Thank you. We literally did not -- at least I did not know that.

(CROSSTALK)

GINGRICH: Good job on your part.

BURNETT: Well, you know I look at those jobs numbers every month, so I saw that, and I said whoa, I can't believe that. Anyway, so that -- I looked into it, but you also went on today to talk about -- to talk about that record and you talked about the 11 million that you were talking about creating while you were speaker. But it made me sort of wonder because obviously, you were in a position of power in government when all those jobs were created. Are you saying that government is an important player -- plays an important role in creating jobs?

GINGRICH: Absolutely. A government which is cutting taxes as my plan proposes, a government which is cutting regulations, a government which is supportive of American energy, a government which is favorable to entrepreneurial job creators, helps dramatically set the environment of creating jobs. And a government which is against jobs, a government which wants class warfare, a government which raises taxes, a government which over-regulates, a government which is anti- American energy kills jobs. Governments themselves don't do the work, but governments create the conditions and they can create favorable conditions as Reagan did and candidly as Clinton and I did or they can create very unfavorable conditions. And I think that's a big factor. You know you look at Romney's record in Massachusetts. He created a relatively unfavorable condition by raising taxes constantly and the result was Massachusetts was 47th in job creation in the four years he was governor.

BURNETT: Let me ask you about Mitt Romney because we have the "Strike Team" on this show where it's -- we got Dow 30 CEOs on, we got venture capitalists, we got small entrepreneurs, auto parts manufacturer, so it's a real broad swath of the economy. And I'd asked them who they thought was the best on the Republican side on the economy. Now all but three of them picked Mitt Romney, two of them picked you, and I want to be honest, you know most of them said that if Romney didn't win, they'd be OK with you. But let me just ask you about this. What do you have to say to those business leaders that picked Mitt Romney over you? GINGRICH: Look, I don't blame them. Mitt Romney has run around now for six or eight months saying he created 100,000 jobs. Two days ago, "The Washington Post" gave him three Pinocchios because they said it wasn't true, he couldn't prove it. In 1994, when he ran for the Senate, he said -- he claimed 10,000 jobs and I think he has a new ad out this morning that dropped the claim and his new ad says he helped create thousands of jobs.

But you know he's had six months of running without anybody challenging him on this claim. Now, it turns out he didn't create very many jobs in the private sector compared to his claim and he actually weakened job creation in Massachusetts. And I suspect if you go back to your panel and you say to them, gee this guy was 47th in job creation, he raised 750 or $730 million in taxes, they can go to RomneyTaxes.com and they will see how many taxes he raised because there was a long list there. I think all of a sudden, they'd have a different attitude. He's done a very good job of selling something which is baloney, but he sold it very methodically. He said it over and over again and now that he's being tested on it, they're a little rattled because it's turning out it wasn't true that he's not a particularly good job creator either in the private sector or as governor.

BURNETT: We saw one of your ads airing in South Carolina today. Here's a very brief clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLITICAL AD: And just like John Kerry --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- he speaks French, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right, so Mitt Romney speaks French, partially because he's a Mormon. He did his mission in France, but is that fair? I mean what's wrong with speaking a foreign language --

GINGRICH: Well I don't think John -- John Kerry's not a -- wait a second -- wait a second. John Kerry's not a Mormon. He's Catholic.

BURNETT: No, no, I'm saying the reason Mitt Romney --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: The reason Mitt Romney speaks. What's wrong with Mitt Romney speaking French? That's my point. Why is that a negative?

GINGRICH: Nothing is wrong -- look, nothing is wrong with it. Let me quote Herman Cain. Sometimes, it's good to have a sense of humor. That particular ad has gone viral because it's funny.

BURNETT: You really -- was really trying to be funny and not play on the sort of, you know anti-French, anti-foreign thing?

GINGRICH: It wasn't anti-French. We happen to have a clip of Kerry speaking French. We were making the point of how similar Massachusetts politicians are and they're not very -- normally don't do very well in Republican primaries. So if you're a Republican primary voter and you're going, OK, I got it, Dukakis, Barney Frank, John Kerry, Mitt Romney, is that really where I want to have my presidential candidate come from?

BURNETT: Do you speak French?

GINGRICH: No. I used to live in France.

BURNETT: No --

GINGRICH: A long time ago, I spoke some French.

BURNETT: You spoke some French. Any language --

GINGRICH: I have a -- I have a PhD in European history. Over -- you know I can work -- I can do some work in Spanish, French and German. This is -- don't overthink this, Erin. This is supposed to be humorous. It's funny. It's closer to "The Tonight Show". It's not -- this is not you know a PBS documentary. It was just done to be funny.

BURNETT: OK. Today in Virginia no doubt you've heard -- I know you were trying to get on the ballot there, got turned down. Your campaign manager said this was sort of like a Pearl Harbor, went and appealed it. Judge has turned you down again. How big of a problem is this? Are you dead set on getting that ballot? Will it crush you to not be on it?

GINGRICH: Well you have to accept reality and if that's the last word, it's the last word. It's unfortunate because it means the voters of Virginia have been denied five candidacies that ought to be on there. It's the only state we've had that kind of problem in so far and I think we're now on 25 or 30 ballots around the country. And we're going to keep going and it just means I have to (INAUDIBLE) coming out of winning South Carolina and winning Florida, I'll have to beat Romney in enough extra states to make up for it. That's all.

BURNETT: And let me just ask you one thing about the polls that stood out to me as a woman, I saw this today. You lead with men, South Carolina, no problem. Twenty-nine percent you lead with men. Women, Mitt Romney leads with 38 percent. Why do you think that is? I mean I know Mitt Romney objectively, I mean he's a good looking guy, right?

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I don't know if that's why. Why do you think it is?

GINGRICH: It could be -- maybe it's the hair. I don't know. Look, I don't know what people are cueing off of right now. I think that the commercial advertising version of Mitt Romney is very appealing. I think the reality of who he has been as governor is dramatically less appealing and I think as that message sinks in, that we're frankly going to pull away from him over the next week here. You know he claims to be pro life. In fact, he's been very pro abortion. He claims to be against tax increases. In fact he raised taxes. He said publicly he's for gun control. And he actually had a 400 percent increase in taxes on guns, so I think as people see his real record versus his commercials, I think he will lose ground both with men and with women.

BURNETT: And so what do you say then to people who also when it comes to electability, really going for Mitt Romney in a dramatic change. Back in -- now, we got 55 percent of people saying Mitt Romney, 13 percent are saying you're more electable. A month ago, you were both tied at 35 and 36 percent. What do you have to say to those people who are saying he's more electable than you are?

(CROSSTALK)

GINGRICH: I say you know watch and see what happens in South Carolina where I think we're going to prove that he's not more electable and then you'll see the whole thing reverse again. We've been up and down like this all year and what happens is you know he -- he got one-fourth of the vote in Iowa after five years of campaigning and $20 million. Three out of four Republicans voted no, but he came in first by eight votes although three out of four voted no.

He actually bought a house, moved into New Hampshire, has been living there and he got 37 percent. Two out of three Republicans said no. But nonetheless, the stories are he came in first both places. So people (INAUDIBLE) go, gee, I guess it's him. If we win South Carolina, the electability issue will go right back down to being even. And if we win Florida, then people will put me back ahead of Romney. It's all responsive to the sort of daily news.

BURNETT: All right, well thank you very much, Speaker Gingrich. Good to see you again, sir. Hope to see you in person next week.

GINGRICH: Thank you. Good to be with you, Erin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: All right, coming up, a close call or a more serious threat? We have new video just coming in within the past hour of Iranian speedboats coming right up to American naval ships.

And on his last day in office, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour pardoned more than 250 convicted felons. We tracked down one of the men pardoned for murder and the governor explains his actions.

And "Under Surveillance" tonight posting photos on the Internet, your Social Security number and your location can be determined just by those images. We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: We're OUTFRONT tonight with an exclusive interview with a convicted murderer pardoned by outgoing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Anthony McCray (ph) was among more than 200 inmates released including five murderers. Back in 2001, he killed his wife. CNN's Martin Savidge tracked McCray (ph) down, Martin here tonight and Martin, what did he say?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, he said that he's a changed man. No real surprise there, especially since he asked for the pardon, but take a listen as we talk to Anthony McCray to ask him how does it feel to be out of prison.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a blessing to be out. See your children (INAUDIBLE) taking care of your children, stuff like that. I've been -- I've been saved. I've been baptized. I've been reading the Bible for 12 and a half years, so it's just a true blessing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: May be a blessing to him, it's a second chance to start all over thanks to the governor of this state. However, we should point out, his victim didn't get that chance. He shot and killed his wife, shot her in the back in front of witnesses. And this is the man that the governor decided to pardon, so that's one of the reasons there was so much outrage in this particular state at this particular time.

He's just one example of the others and here's what the state attorney general says tonight. It looks like his pardon is going to be overturned and that of many of the other pardons. It means that McCray may go back to prison. It means many of the other pardons may be revoked -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Martin Savidge, thank you very much. We're going to hear more from Martin and his interview with Mr. McCray on Anderson Cooper. But as you just heard, many people outraged about the pardons and one of Mississippi's highest ranking Democrats is among them. Representative Earle Banks joins us and good to see you, sir. Appreciate you taking the time. Just a short time ago, Haley Barbour spoke to FOX News. He talked a lot about forgiveness and faith. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no doubt in my mind that these men have repented, have been redeemed, have come back hard working to prepare themselves to go out into the world. I have no question in my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: You hear him? He says it's the Christian thing to do to forgive. You heard one of the convicted murderers saying he's changed, read the Bible, and found God. What's your reaction? EARLE S. BANKS (D), MISSISSIPPI STATE REP.: My reaction is I do not believe there's no way in reasonable logic Haley Barbour can say that he can believe 210 people so that he's pardoned, that all of them have found God and they've been redeemed. Because one he hasn't talked to them. There's been no background investigation.

He doesn't know if all of them read the Bible or whatever. And I know criminals read the Bible. All kind of people read the Bible, but that does not realize or say that these people are ready to be returned into our society here within Mississippi.

BURNETT: And Representative Banks, let me ask you, though, I mean obviously, you know he's made the point that 90 percent of the people that he pardons were recommended by the Parole Board to be released, which is part of it, but obviously, there are murderers here who were not on that list. But as a fundamental principle, as a person do you believe someone can kill someone and change their life around and be forgiven or not?

BANKS: I know that some of the people who were pardoned were turned down by the Parole Board and days later he released them. However, to your question, there are people who can turn their lives around, but the point is have all 210 people turned their lives around? These are a lot of people that have been released into the society of Mississippi. And this is frightening to me as a legislator in my district and to all across the state of Mississippi. Of these people released in our community, our DAs weren't aware of it. Our Sheriff's Department, Police Department weren't aware of these people. Immediately, they released in our society without any public hearing, without any public notice. Haley Barbour signed the form to say release them and put them back into Mississippi's community. That's outrageous.

BURNETT: All right, well Representative Banks, thank you very much for coming on and sharing your side of the story.

BANKS: Thank you.

BURNETT: Viewers let us know what you think. Haley Barbour was talking about some of these murderers, how he felt comfortable having them play with his own grandchildren. Please let us know what you think about this conversation, the whole country watching.

All right, by now, we're all aware, personal information is being connected over the Internet, but do you have any idea how much? I mean this is amazing. We found out today if you post a photo from your iPhone, people can figure out where you are. Maybe you're not surprised by that, but did you know the first five digits of your Social Security number can be predicted from a Web cam photo? And right now 1,500 pieces of data exist on every single person using the Internet. Most likely that means you. And all that information is being sold to the highest bidder. We asked Lori Andrews, author of "I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did" if the law is doing anything to protect you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LORI ANDREWS, DIRECTOR, IIT CHICAGO-KENT COLLEGE OF LAW: Judges have said it's OK if one party gives consent. It doesn't violate the wiretap statute or the computer fraud and abuse statute to have one party's consent. So if you're an Internet service provider consents to the marketing of your private information for which they get money it's OK. You're not protected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Andrews suggests a Social Network Constitution, saying that our legal system lags technology when it comes to crucial things like privacy. Well President Obama says he's making the federal government a lean, mean political machine. He says I want to have six agencies become one agency. I mean you'd think the Republicans would say, oh my God, Holy Grail, let's have a hug, but they are not -- one of them coming OUTFRONT. And Rick Santorum supports your right to bear arms, but he wants you to pay $100 for it. "The Number" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: So according to the South Carolina primary, there are a few questions we still need answered, but one thing we know for sure is that Rick Santorum loves sweater vests. Green ones, blue ones, gray ones, beige ones, his navy one, yes, a red one even. He even -- he's got a camel one, see. It seems like he's got a different-- red and pink, wow. He's got a different one for every event, but you know other candidates have things too, t-shirts, stickers and buttons, I mean every single Web site you know buy my swag. But Rick is the only one with vests and when I talked to him during the New Hampshire primary last week, I had to ask about them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right, well I know you're in a rush and you're leaving. I see your sweater vest has Rick Santorum on it.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're selling them now --

BURNETT: So, you're selling them --

SANTORUM: We're selling them online. You can get them -- I think $100.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Hundred dollars, my gosh.

SANTORUM: Well it's a part you know campaign donation.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: One of my supporters said this is my Second Amendment vest, the right to bear arms. You like it?

BURNETT: I like it. It's so bad it's good. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right apparently, he was very serious about selling them, which brings us to tonight's number, 100,000. That is the number of dollars the Santorum campaign has made from vest sales. In the past 48 hours the Santorum campaign has brought in more than $1 million in contributions and according to Rick, 100,000 of that was all vests, available online at Rick Santorum's official Web site and made in the USA from 100 percent cotton.

Santorum claims the vests are quote "perfect for demonstrating solidarity with true conservatives and a great way to show your report -- support for Rick." Well apparently it's working because today Twitter was full of mentions of his vest, some positive and some negative. And on the campaign trail, Rick Santorum actually called the vests his quote "source of power." Now according to his campaign, retailers have also seen an increase in non-Santorum sweater vest sales. But if you're not than conservative don't worry, you can always go a little higher end with "Runway to Win".

That is the new fashion fund-raiser in support of President Obama's reelection campaign. He wins hands down on a high end award for his flag. Available on his official Web site, the new collection features Barack inspired pieces by exclusive designers like Tori Birch (ph), Diane Von Furstenberg, Sean Combs and even Beyonce.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT the "OutFront 5", Obama's stand.

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With or without Congress, I'm going to keep at it, but it would be a lot easier if Congress helped.

BURNETT: Sold into slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was taken away from my family and was given to strangers.

BURNETT: All this OUTFRONT in our second half.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Up first tonight, talking about Newt Gingrich, came on our show, had some squishy jobs number about 1.3 million created in one month. Well, we did the numbers and I asked him about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I heard that this morning, I have to admit, Speaker, and I said, no way. Did we ever have 1.3 million a month? So, we went back and checked the numbers. And there has not been a month where we have that many jobs created. September 1983, 1.114 million jobs were added. But it seems a little unfair because more than half of those jobs, 640,000, were AT&T workers returning from strike.

So, people returning from strike aren't new jobs creators. Are you taking credit for that?

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, actually, I'm going to back and double check that. My staff had come up with that number, and that's where it came from. And no, I wouldn't take credit for that. I think that clearly is an anomaly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Number two: we've learned all four U.S. marines shown in a urination video have been identified. We showed you the video here on the show. It's on the web, appears to show a marine sniper team, it does show, sniper team urinating on bodies in Afghanistan.

The deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan issued an order saying, quote, I require all personnel to treat all coalition, Afghan national security forces, civilians and insurgent dead with the appropriate dignity and respect."

Investigation into the incident could lead to court martial of the marines and punishment for their commanding officers.

Number three: John Edwards has a life threatening heart conditions which requires him to undergo a procedure. That's what a federal judge revealed today when delaying the former presidential candidate's trial until at least March. Edward faces six felony charges related to accusations that he used nearly $1 million in campaign donations to hide his pregnant mistress Rielle Hunter during his 2008 run for the White House.

Number four: consumer sentiment. This is a study of how consumers feel about the economy and it jumped in January, good news. University of Michigan index up for the fifth time in a row. Better than expected.

Now, analysts say this is positive, but traditionally, it's important to note sentiment does not correlate with spending, only expectations. And the analysts tell us consumer sentiment, it's all dependent right now on that payroll tax. If it doesn't get extended at the end of next month when it expires, you could see a big drop.

Well, it's been 161 days since America lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, it was a very unlucky the Friday 13th in Europe. Standard & Poor's downgrading the credit ratings of nine European countries and in one, they, like Mitt Romney and apparently even Newt Gingrich a little, speak French. More on that.

I do not speak French. President Obama today sounding a bit like his Republican opponents on the campaign trail. He announced plans to make the federal government quote, "leaner."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, today, I'm calling on congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had to streamline and reform the executive branch. And let me be clear: I will only use this authority for reforms that result in more efficiency, better service and a leaner government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. For example, there are six agencies that deal with Congress and trade. The president wants one. So, you'd think this would be music to Republicans' ears, like we said, a big group hug in Washington.

But Congressman Allen West, Republican of Florida, says he's going to vote against it. He's OUTFRONT tonight.

Why?

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: Well, I think, Erin -- good evening to you -- when you look at what the president said, this is nothing but another case of political gimmickry. The day before the president asked for another $1.2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. Under this president, we have seen the debt go from $10.6 trillion to $15.2 trillion, almost $15.3 trillion. That's more debt than from George Washington to President Clinton. And per day, we're looking at $4.24 billion of debt that the president's raking up.

Now, this process that he's talking about is only going to yield $3 billion of savings over 10 years. Last year, the Government Accounting Office, the GAO, put out a report that said they're $200 billion to $300 billion of failed and redundant programs in Washington, D.C. I wish the president would take action on that instead of this gimmick about $3 billion over 10 years.

BURNETT: OK. I mean, I understand it's a small step and understand there's a long way to go. But if he's starting and he's cutting $3 billion and you want a lot more, why would you say no to $3 billion? I mean, why not just take that and then say, but I want a lot more?

WEST: Well, like I just said, if you're asking for a $1.2 trillion increase of the debt ceiling, which means that basically, every day, the president is adding $4.24 billion per day to the debt, $3 billion over the 10 years, this is nothing but a gimmick. And if you want to show and offer some type of credibility, then go back to the GAO report last year that talked about $200 billion to $300 billion of failed and redundant programs.

So, let's be serious about what the president's doing. This is nothing but another opportunity to get the big megaphone and try to create some sense of him remaking himself, which he has never shown intent of doing.

BURNETT: He's also elevating the Small Business Administration to a cabinet level agency. That seems to be a pro-business move. Do you support that?

WEST: Well, I don't think again, we don't need to see that. On one side of your month, you talk about streamlining government, now you want to create another cabinet level position. We've got some agencies in the federal government that are absolutely failing that they have not made up to their missions.

And so, for us to stay we're going to raise up to a new cabinet level -- the Small Business Administration is working very well as it is. There are some things we can do with the Small Business Administration. I sit on the small business committee to refine its operating procedures. But just making it a cabinet level position is not going to show true effect.

BURNETT: Representative West, thank you very much. We appreciate your coming on, sir.

And now, let's bring in CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist, James Carville.

James, what's your point of view on this? I mean, it would seem that you would just take something and start somewhere, but we don't even seem to be able to do that.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, we just released a new (INAUDIBLE) poll which shows Republicans in Congress with dismally low ratings. And for the first time, the Democrats have now taken the lead in that ballot test in 2012.

And I think what you just saw is a good reason why. There's nothing that President Obama can be for that these guys would support, and it's just really about not liking him as opposed to like wanting to move the country forward. You're right; it comes in with an idea to sort of telescope some of these agencies and save some money. It looks like something you'd say, well, that's a good start.

Elevate to cabinet level, it means this is in part an agency of government, you know, to be all or end all. But it sure would look like if I were if Congress and I had a chance to do something that the president could support, I'd take back to my voters, I do that. But apparently, it's not the mindset of the Tea Party and Representative West is a prominent member of that organization.

BURNETT: Yes, he is. Yes, he is. And I mean, it does seem, I think just from a lot of people would say, all right, even if they think he has a lot of points, why wouldn't you take this and then take more if I want more.

But let me you ask this, James, because this does play to this whole issue. You know, the president gave a speech today where he talked about making government smaller and he said, quote, "It is always easier to add than subtract in Washington." OK, the merger idea that he's got of making six agencies one sounds nice, but government isn't really getting any smaller. The only people going away are people retiring. I mean, is it just politics? He can't cut head count at all. We don't seem to see any size reduction in government?

CARVILLE: Well, essentially, the federal government, if you think about it, it's a giant insurance agency, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security and it has a huge Defense Department. Once you get beyond that and pay the debt off, there's not as much to it as you think.

Actually, I think the number of federal employees actually went down during President Clinton and they had a bunch of these problems. That's not to say that you can't do anything.

BURNETT: Yes.

CARVILLE: And the public really would like to see that. I think if you get something, well, this is little, it's not going to make a big dent --

BURNETT: Right. The public wants to see it. But can the president get behind saying it's a good thing to be eliminating jobs? I guess that seems to be the political challenge, right?

CARVILLE: Well, I think eliminate jobs, sometimes they're not replacing jobs -- kind of hard to say eliminate, and you sort of make things more efficient. I don't think things are like wholesale farms when they merge these agencies.

BURNETT: No, they're not. They're only getting rid of 2,000 through retirement out of tens of thousands. Not really doing it.

CARVILLE: Right. No. And again, I don't know if that's really what we need to do is be laying -- you know, if you look at the private sector job growth in this recovery, if we want to call it that, it's actually been not as bad if we look at the total levels, because we share hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs, which has had a bad effect on the economy. So I'm not sure we want to go out slashing federal employees right now.

BURNETT: All right. James Carville, thank you very much. Have a good weekend.

CARVILLE: Thank you. Thank you very much, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, the threat of war with Iran. There's new video in tonight. We're going to show it to you right after the break. Speedboats coming right up to U.S. naval forces, being yelled at over the bullhorn to go away, not going away. We have that for you.

And Shyima Hall abducted and sold into slavery in America. She comes OUTFRONT with her story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

And tonight, to Iran. There's amazing video in tonight. The Obama administration is warning Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that closing the Strait of Hormuz will be a red line that will not be crossed.

So, why was this said today? Well, because of this. This video is just in tonight. You're looking at Iranian speedboats zooming up to U.S. ships and ignoring repeated bullhorn demands that they retreat.

This is out in the Straits of Hormuz, in the open ocean. And the incident that you're looking at right now happened on January 6th, but the video is just available tonight. And sources tell CNN that the U.S. military ships had two close calls with Iranian speedboats in the strait.

Now, tonight, we're learning America has asked Iran to establish a direct channel of communication, it means that there is not one. They're trying to establish one so a miscalculation like the one you've seen does not lead to military confrontation.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr explains why these close encounters -- Barbara.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Navy in the United States would like you to think that this is fairly routine, and everything's under control. They don't want to ratchet up more tension. But the reality is, if you have Iranian speedboats within 500 yards of your warship, exactly how much further are you going to let them come? How close are you going to let them get before you have to do something about it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That's a big question, do something about it. Meaning firing on them.

And now to China, large crowds trying turning violent over the iPhone 4S. They scuffled with police and threw eggs at Apple's flagship store in Beijing. Apple underestimated the demand for iPhones and it closed the store.

We asked Sascha Segan, a lead analyst for "PC Magazine" what Apple can do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SASCHA SEGAN, LEAD ANALYST, PC MAG: Apple is almost certainly going to reopen the stores within a couple of days, working with the local authorities for better security and better policing of the line. These Apple flagship stores, there's only a couple of them, but they're critical to Apple's brand presence in China. And Apple wants to make sure that order is displayed.

They just didn't expect the crush of scalpers and just the intensity of these people to buy out the stock of iPhones for sale elsewhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Yes, I'll tell you. I've never seen anything like those stores in China and the love of iPhones.

Well, now to Peru. Joran van der Sloot was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores. Sources tell us that van der Sloot could be out on parole after serving 10 to 11 years. Van der Sloot faces possible fraud charges in the United States tied to the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway as well.

And we asked CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin what will happen next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We do know that he is facing extortion charges here in the United States. A U.S. attorney in Birmingham, Alabama, has indicated that they do intend to pursue those charges against him. Whether he will be extradited prior to the end of this sentence in Peru is still undecided.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well now imagine working 16 hours a day, cooking and cleaning, imprisoned as the slave. And now imagine if this happened to you starting at age 8.

Well, it did happen to Shyima Hall and it happened her in the United States. Her Egyptian parents sold her into slavery for $30 a month. Now, according to the State Department, there are 12 million people who are slaves right now around the world.

Shyima is no longer one of them. She is 22 years old now. And as we found out, an independent woman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT (voice-over): Shyima Hall came to the United States from Egypt in the year 2000. Not the live the American Dream, but as the slave of an Egyptian family.

SHYIMA HALL, HUMAN TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR: I definitely feel the trap. I didn't have an option. I didn't even know this was wrong in the U.S. or anything like that.

BURNETT: Shyima was held in this opulent house in Irvine, California. That's her clearing the table in home video while other people danced. These rooms were reserved for the family, but this was Shyima's room, a filthy garage.

MARK ABEND, ICE SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: At night, they'd lock her in there at night. It was a one-way door. So, she couldn't get back in the house. If she had to go to the bathroom, she had to use the bucket.

BURNETT: Shyima was rescued from this life after a neighbor alerted authorities. And one of her rescuers, immigration agent Mark Abend became a mentor.

HALL: Even when I have problems with foster care, he's always been there for me. Even as growing up, I was becoming a teenager, and I wanted to do stuff I never done before and no one could handle a teenager.

BURNETT: U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, says Shyima's story is one of hope.

JANET NAPOLITANO, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: One of the things I think we can do is get the message to those who are the subject, the victims of trafficking themselves, that there is -- there is help for them. There is a future for them.

BURNETT: Shyima is focused on her future. She became a U.S. citizen last month and is determined to stop human trafficking by becoming an immigration agent herself.

HALL: ICE has been there for me for so many things and to help me become who I am today, and I want to give back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Shyima Hall's story is a remarkable tale of perseverance, and I spoke with her and her attorney Angelo Paparelli just before the show. And she shared more details about her abduction and her life as a slave.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HALL: The only thing I remember is I was taken away from my brothers and sisters, my family, my friends, from the life that I had over there and just given away to a completely stranger people that knew nothing of me and didn't really care to take care of me or to -- nothing, they didn't care. All they cared about was they have a person that can take care of their house work and their kids and that's really about it. I mean, yes.

BURNETT: Did they abuse you?

HALL: No. I was not abused. I mean, a few times here and there, but I was not abused.

BURNETT: When you wanted to become an immigration official yourself, can you tell us how you were smuggled into the country? HALL: For me, it was -- I was given to somebody that came to the U.S. and to just act that he was my becoming adopted dad and he wanted to show me where he lived most of the times, because he lived in the U.S. most the times. And if I had any questions not to say anything but I didn't speak any English anyway or anything like that. Only spoke Arabic at the time.

BURNETT: You were 8, you were only 8, right?

HALL: Yes.

BURNETT: Angelo, what has happened to the family that imprisoned Shyima?

ANGELO PAPARELLI, ATTORNEY FOR SHYIMA HALL: Well, I understand that the female of the household was convicted and spent some time in jail and then was sent back to Egypt, where we're given to understand she has resumed employing young house servants. The --

BURNETT: Resumed, doing it again?

PAPARELLI: That's what we understand.

BURNETT: Shyima, have you spoken to them since you left the family at age 13? Would you want to speak with them? What would you say to the family that kept you as a slave?

HALL: I've actually seen them once after that and it was in court when the case was final in 2007. And that was the only time since I got taken away in 2000, and from there I never seen them again.

I would not want to see them or speak to them. I have nothing to say to them. I believe in whatever they've done it comes back and, you know, that there's -- you get what you deserve kind of situation.

BURNETT: And, Shyima, do you think there are other young girls, young boys in this country more than any of us would think that are going through what you went through?

HALL: I think so. I mean, I was with them for a while and no one knew anything about me other than a neighbor that finally realized there was something going on and they called. So I think there's more than we think.

BURNETT: You're an American citizen now. I know it's a wonderful thing, what you're trying to do is an amazing thing. You mentioned, though, your brothers and sisters, your parents. Your parents who made this decision for $30 a month when you were 8 to sell you.

HALL: Yes.

BURNETT: Are you angry at them? Have you talked to them, your parents?

HALL: I actually moved on from the hating part or to -- not to forgive them or anything like that. I moved on.

I miss my brothers and sisters. They had nothing to do with -- you know, my younger brothers or even the older ones, they had nothing to do really with what my parents chose to do or what my -- pushed them to that limit.

I have not spoke to them maybe almost three years, I haven't spoke to them, and that was when they told me my biological father died and I honestly, I had no reaction to it. I had no parent's figure my whole life and I lived without it my whole life, and I don't see the need for it just because I'm independent on my own.

One day, I am planning on going back to see my brothers and sisters, and maybe to get to know them.

BURNETT: Shyima, thank you so much for sharing your story -- an inspiring one for so many. That's something so awful could end as amazingly as it has for you. Thank you. Shukran.

HALL: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: It's an amazing, amazing tale for Shyima.

We're going to take a break. When we come back, France, the country of France is not happy today, and it has nothing to do with the old, you know, thing going on between Mitt and Newt over speaking French. The story is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Ah, France. You know, fine wine. Good food. High fashion.

In Paris, life seems to be a party that just won't stop. Until it did today. S&P downgraded France's credit rating from AAA to AA.

And when it comes to cutting ratings anyway, that is not an improvement. France now has the same rating as the United States. You know what? It's about time. Love or hate the French, it was getting ridiculous that for the past six months, France with an economic crisis and a higher unemployment rate than America had a better credit rating.

Take it from America, mon amie, you're in for some changes. First of all, news anchors will become obsessed and start counting how many days it's been since you lost your crystal clear rating. And second, it won't be much fun this weekend. According to -- I don't know, I'm sorry, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy told aides back in October, quote, "If France loses its AAA (SPEAKING FRENCH)" -- the French election is scheduled for April 22nd.

And if Sarkozy is right and he isn't re-elected, you know, the political form of being dead, the country could be forced to deal with this downgrade with an unknown quantity in power. But don't worry, France. Things aren't that bad. You still have the things that made you famous. Great works of art. And, you know, other things and people.

In all seriousness, America remembers how France helped us win our revolution against England, a country which is still rated AAA. That's unacceptable.

But without you, we'd have no Statue of Liberty and maybe no country at all. So, we decided the thing to do is bond together, France and America, become friends. After all, Mitt Romney speaks French. Newt says he speaks a little bit of French. Barack Obama probably speaks a little bit.

Let's get our rating back together and deal with the fact of what's going on with the fact that England, U.K, has AAA.

All right. Well, next week, we're going to go OUTFRONT in South Carolina, ahead of the state's primary. We're going to see you at 7:00. We're going to see you at 11:00.

We have some great interviews lined up. We're going to check out some neat places down in South Carolina, in Charleston, and we'll be there for our debate as well.

Thanks so much for watching. Have a wonderful weekend no matter where you are in the world.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.