Return to Transcripts main page


Romney Takes Nevada; Russia and China Veto UN Resolution Regarding Syria; Bishop Eddie Long Proclaimed "King"; Geezer Bandit Wanted; Kennedy Recordings Surface

Aired February 4, 2012 - 23:59   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining at this very late hour. You're in the CNN Newsroom.

It's two in a row for Mitt Romney. The Republican presidential hopeful tonight walked away with the Nevada caucuses, a dominant showing in what will be a crucial battleground state this fall. At a victory rally afterwards he was fired up by a very energetic crowd and he focused his remarks not on his challengers but on President Obama. Take a listen.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our mission is it to increase the freedom and opportunity of the American people, and our blueprint is the constitution of the United States. We're going to build an America where hope is a new job with a paycheck, not a faded word on an old bumper sticker.


LEMON: So it wasn't that big of a surprise. All along it was pretty much thought that he was going to win Nevada, but a much different mood and much different story at Newt Gingrich's headquarters. Instead of a cheering crowd, it was a quiet room and a Q&A with reporters. Very unusual.

CNN's Brianna Keilar was there. She asked one of those question, Brianna, I heard you. Newt Gingrich is still defiant, he's still vowing to fight on, and the question is, he said, "oh, you know I wanted to be a more positive sort of campaign," but yet he had a whole lot of negative things to say about his opponent.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, that was the interesting distinction, Don, because we've been hearing from some sources familiar with staff meetings that Newt Gingrich had been having here in the last couple of days as they talked about a strategy moving forward here for the next month. They were saying it was going to be a pivot to a more positive message, which certainly made a lot of people's eyebrows raise because it has not been a positive message lately. He has, as, you know, Mitt Romney has certainly heard on TV ad and mailings.

LEMON: Brianna, can I jump in just one second? We're going to get back to you. We just want to go to Clark County where they're counting the late votes in this late caucus. Let's listen in and we'll get back to Brianna.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Ron Paul. Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney.

LEMON: They're counting votes at a late caucus in Clark County, Nevada and that's for observant Jews, Seventh Day Adventist people who couldn't vote earlier and they voted later. So we're going to continue to monitor that.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser standing by. He will take us through in just a moment. I want to get back to Brianna. Brianna, I so rudely interrupted you. You were saying. Pardon me.

KEILAR: Oh, no. Don, that is definitely OK. But now, we've been talking about how we'd been hearing from some sources that Newt Gingrich was going to make a pivot and try to have a more positive message. But I'll let you be the judge. One of the things that he said about Mitt Romney at his conference tonight, he called him a pro- abortion, pro gun control, George Soros approved Massachusetts moderate and he said if there is - if it's between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, there is no choice. Obviously, that is not positive. Take a listen to some more of what Gingrich said.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me start and say there's one story that came out today that I just want to put to rest hopefully for the next few months. I am a candidate for president of the United States. I will be a candidate for president of the United States. We will go to Tampa. We have over 160,000 donors, 97 percent of whom have given less than $250. We have an obligation to them to stand up for their values and concerns and the reason they got involved.

We will leave on Monday to go to Denver, and then to Minneapolis, and then we will go on to I think four cities in Ohio and we will continue the campaign all the way to Tampa. I think actually this week several things have clarified themselves that are very helpful. Unlike Governor Romney, I care very deeply about helping the poorest Americans. I believe that the Declaration of Independence's commitment that our creator endowed us with the right to pursue happiness extends to the poorest of Americans and I think one of the great challenges to conservatism is to turn the safety net into a trampoline to give people an opportunity to achieve real status earning a living, buying a house and having a decent future.

So I'm not comfortable as Romney said he was with simply allowing people to languish in the safety net. And I think that that's a very fundamental difference between the two of us. I also believe that his proposal for indexing minimum wage is a bad idea, which will increase unemployment. And every evidence we have would increase unemployment, and if you're in a state like Nevada which has some 32 percent teenage unemployment, if you're in a country which has 43 percent black teenage employment, maybe you shouldn't be, in fact, suggesting a capricious increase on an automatic basis of a minimum wage which kill jobs and stops access for young people.

So there are some very big differences evolving in this campaign as we move forward. I also believe that the vast majority of Republicans across the country are going to want an alternative to a Massachusetts moderate who has in his career been pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase and who ranked third from the bottom in creating jobs in the four years he was governor.

So I suspect this debate will continue for a long time. Our commitment is to seek to find a series of victories which by the end of the Texas primary will leave us about a parody with Governor Romney and from that point forward to see if we can actually win the nomination. Tonight he will do reasonably well. This is one of his best states. It is a very heavy Mormon state and a state which he carried in 2008.

I think that we have early returns. We don't know yet how it's going to end up. The last time around Ron Paul was in second place. Anytime we're in a caucus state, Dr. Paul has a substantial advantage. I think I will do better than John McCain did three years ago. We will get some delegates here. Obviously, we'd like to get more, but we're very happy to be competing here, and we're going to move on to compete first in Maine, Minnesota, Colorado. Early voting has already begun in Ohio and in Arizona. We'll be competing later this month in Arizona and in Michigan, and we'll go on to super Tuesday and then beyond that.

So I just want to sort of set that so all of you could relax. What happens is every primary day or caucus day, the Romney headquarters in Boston sends out the rumor that they believe I will withdraw, which, of course, is their greatest fantasy. I'm not going to withdrawal. I'm actually pretty happy with where we are, and I think the contrast between Governor Romney and me is going to get wider and wider and clearer and clearer over the next few weeks. And so I look forward very much to opportunities to debate him, opportunities to draw the contrast and opportunities to compete for votes.


KEILAR: So, Don, to boil some of that down for our viewers, when I did ask Newt Gingrich about what the positive message might be, what he said was he was going to be giving a number of positive speeches about America's future. But I think it's pretty clear that this sort of negativity between him and Mitt Romney is here to stay. But you saw him, Don, seizing over and over on a moment that actually played out on CNN this week when Mitt Romney was on with our Soledad O'Brien, and he said he wasn't concerned about the very poor. They have a safety net. If there are holes in it, he will fix it.

And you see Newt Gingrich really very much seizing on that. He's talking to independents when he says that unlike Mitt Romney he cares very much about the poor. But he's talking to conservatives when he mentions something else, and that is this idea that he said of letting the poor languish in a safety net.

What he's trying to seize on is that Mitt Romney is not truly a conservative. That he doesn't speak the conservative vernacular, which is to not endorse, as you would hear Newt Gingrich call it a welfare state, but to instead talk about lifting up the poor and lifting up the middle class, this idea that we heard him reiterate tonight about a trampoline to kind of lift up all Americans.

He's trying to use this example, and I think this is something that will last for some time, the drawing this line between him and Mitt Romney and saying he's not truly a conservative, I am, Don.

LEMON: Brianna Keilar, thank you very much. We appreciate you.

You know, Romney is a winner, so what do his challengers do next? Let's bring in Wolf Blitzer for some analysis on that. We heard one of his challengers say he was going to do next. That's what Newt Gingrich said he's going to - I'm going to be a little bit more positive, what he said about the message, but it didn't seem he's being so positive about Romney. What are the other challengers do next?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The other challenge is for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum? Which candidate specifically? Because they all have challenges as you know, Don, down the road.

LEMON: And Wolf, up next is Colorado, Minnesota and then Missouri.

BLITZER: Right. They all have challenges coming up in the immediate future, but February does look like a pretty good month, a very good month for Mitt Romney. March, super Tuesday March 6th could be different, assuming everyone stays in the contest by then. What we did heard specifically tonight, obviously the winner of the Nevada caucuses, Mitt Romney he is not going anywhere. You know, for all practical purposes, it's his to lose right now, at least given the delegate count so far.

But the other three candidates they all made it abundantly clear that they're staying in the race. I spoke to Ron Paul. He said that if he were to leave, there would be a revolution, a revolt among his supporters. They desperately want him to stay. So Ron Paul is staying in. I asked Rick Santorum "Are you staying in?" He said he's staying in. He's sort of hoping, he didn't say it bluntly that Newt Gingrich might drop out and he would be the so-called conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, but Rick Santorum says he's staying and he thinks he's going to do well in Colorado and Minnesota, the caucuses this coming Tuesday.

And you just heard, we just heard from Brianna and from Newt Gingrich, he's staying and he's staying in until the convention at the end of August in Tampa. So this could be a contest that could go on and on and on and on just as it did four years ago on the democratic side. You remember that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama didn't wrap up their early primaries until June. I remember waiting for the Puerto Rico contest to come in in June.

So this could go on and on and on. We have a big debate coming up February 22nd in Arizona, Don. So I think that's going to be lively.

LEMON: As we're looking at the numbers there, 18 percent for Ron Paul. That's not so bad for him there. The battle in Nevada was for second place. You know, Ron Paul did better probably than he thought, than many thought coming in at 18 percent, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, these are not official final numbers right now. We're still expecting Clark County numbers to come in, so we will get the rest fairly soon. We're waiting for that special caucus to wrap up for observant Jews, Seventh Day Adventists. That's wrapped it up right now. We got live pictures of that coming in. They're still counting the votes in that special caucus in Clark County in Las Vegas.

Once they do that, we get all the numbers coming in from Clark County and 70 percent of the people that live in Nevada live in Clark County, that's Henderson. That's Las Vegas, the biggest city, obviously, in Nevada right now. So we should know pretty soon. But I think there will be a battle for second place, but Mitt Romney is the clear, decisive winner in this state. Newt Gingrich does make a good point. Mitt Romney won four years ago as well. John McCain didn't but John McCain eventually got the nomination.

LEMON: All right. Great analysis. Wolf Blitzer, appreciate it.

We're going to move on now the next two counties block, countries, I should say, the U.N. from adopting a resolution against Syria for killing thousands of its protestors. We'll tell you who they are and why it has got the U.S. and others outraged.


SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We will not rest until you and your bravery achieve your basic, universal human rights to which all human beings are entitled.



LEMON: Let's get back to Nevada, specifically Clark County. There was a late caucus held there. Paul, we have been telling our viewers this is for observant Jews and also for Seventh Day Adventists who couldn't vote earlier in the day. We have some results. What do you know?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes, we finally got the results, Don. Here's the final tally. 153 votes for Ron Paul, 49 for Mitt Romney, 42 for Newt Gingrich and 11 for Rick Santorum. About the only people left here in the crowd in this theater which is at a school in northwest Las Vegas are Ron Paul supporters and Don when they did the vote total there, there was a lot of applause in the room. This caucus as you mentioned is kind of unique because it was only for observant Jews and Seventh Day Adventists, people who couldn't take part earlier in the day in the other caucus sites here in Clark County. It was quite a sight tonight. There are a lot of people here. That's why people lined up - about 200 people lined up, Don, outside. That's why it took a while for this thing to get started. But it's over now. The final caucus and we're done. Don.

LEMON: Paul, give me the numbers again will you.

STEINHAUSER: They're doing another count right again, but as of now it's 153 for Ron Paul, 49 for Mitt Romney, 42 for Newt Gingrich, and 11 for Rick Santorum. That's where the count stands right now. But as you can see behind me right now, they're continuing to recount.

LEMON: All right. Paul Steinhauser. We appreciate you reporting. Thank you very much.

We're going to move on now to other news, at least 321 people killed in Syria over the last two days. That's what an activist group is saying. You can hear gunfire in this YouTube video of a mass funeral procession there. Also today a draft resolution condemning the Syrian government failed to pass at the U.N.. And we're going to break it down with what happened with the vote in a moment. First, Mohammed Jamjoom on the latest round of bloodshed in Syria.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Utter carnage and horror. That's how residents and activists in the Syrian city of Homs have described what went on there starting late Friday and continuing during the overnight hours into Saturday.

(voice-over): They say the Syrian government committed a massacre, that at least 260 people were killed in Homs, over 130 of those killed in the Homs neighborhood of (INAUDIBLE).

(on camera): One civilian activists identified as Danny told us of bodies in the streets. That those who try to help people were shot at including ambulances. He said they were in dire need of assistance and of medical supplies.

"DANNY," SYRIAN PROTESTER: These aren't animals dying here. These are human beings being bombed by mortar bombs, being bombed by tank shells, and no one is doing anything about it. We're just going to sit here and get killed. There's one message I want to get out. That we are not going to stop, the Syrian people are not going to stop if they kill millions. We will remember that no one did anything about this.

JAMJOOM: Later Saturday opposition groups reported even more deaths saying tens had been killed in different parts of Syria.

(voice-over): Activists also reported a funeral procession that took place in the (INAUDIBLE) neighborhood of Homs. This amateur video reportedly shows thousands gathered for that funeral procession. Visible are coffins on the ground. The Syrian government meanwhile denied the reports and blamed armed terrorist groups for violence in the country.

(on camera): Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


LEMON: All right. Mohammed, thank you very much.

Now to the U.N. vote. The U.N. Security Council try to formally condemn Syria's government today. It didn't happen. Russia and China used their veto power to block it. American ambassador Susan Rice saying the U.S. is disgusted that the council is being held hostage by a couple of members. Richard Roth was at the United Nations and spoke with Ambassador Rice.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The U.S. ambassador and others were deeply disappointed, India's ambassador said he was surprised at the double-veto. I asked Susan Rice, why the diplomacy broke down?

RICE: At the 11th hour Russia tried to introduce amendments that would have gutted the text. They were unacceptable to the other members of the council. The one silver lining in this is that 13 members of this council supported the resolution, made strong statements in its favor. The countries that had originally not supported the resolution last time changed their position and voted in favor.

ROTH: So take us into the backrooms, if you can. Do you feel Russia was stalling all along? They were presenting a more conciliatory front, they are working together, sleeves are being rolled up. Do you feel they ever intended to abstain or vote yes?

RICE: I can't speak for Russia, Richard. I think our colleague, Ambassador Churkin was negotiating in good faith. But I also had think that at the end of the day the decisions were made in Moscow, and Moscow decided that it would rather stand with Assad against the people of Syria than do the right thing.

ROTH: Despite last-minute talks in Germany between U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and the Russian foreign minister Lavrov, the Russians still vetoed just like they did in October along with China.


LEMON: That was CNN's Richard Roth. President Barack Obama released a very strongly worded statement today shortly before the U.N. Security Council vote. He urged the U.N. to stop what he called the Syrian leaders "killing machine." Here's what he said.

He said "Any government that brutalizes and massacres its people does not deserve to govern." He added, "the international must work to protect the Syrian people from this abhorrent brutality." A very direct statement from President Obama. Not enough to prevent China and Russia from splitting with other security council members on today's draft resolution.

A big night tonight in politics as we have been mentioning here. Goldie Taylor fired up and has a lot to say. She is next live here in our studio.


LEMON: Very big night in politics. I want to bring in now my friend and political analyst, Goldie Taylor. She's the managing editor of the Goldie Taylor So we saw what happened there. Before we talked about the victory, I hate to talk about the victory (INAUDIBLE) as they say.

Newt Gingrich said he'll have a whole new strategy and he's going to be positive, and as soon as he wants to be positive, nothing positive comes out. What's going on?

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MANAGING EDITOR, GOLDIETAYLORPROJECT.COM: You know, this is like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. Newt Gingrich can change his chief of staff. He can change his field (INAUDIBLE) he can changed every volunteer. Newt Gingrich cannot change Newt Gingrich, and that's going to limit his pathway to victory to probably just one or two avenues.

LEMON: OK. Listen, now to the person who actually won. Let's go to Mitt Romney and listen to what he said to his supporters tonight after he won.



ROMNEY: Our mission is to increase the freedom and opportunity of the American people, and our blueprint is the constitution of the United States. We're going to - we're going to build an America where hope is a new job with a paycheck, not a faded word on an old bumper sticker.


LEMON: So he is going after President Obama, not even mentioning his opponent as we said, Newt Gingrich.

TAYLOR: Absolutely. I mean that's the job for Mitt Romney now, is to avoid, you know, missteps and focus his attention on President Obama for this fall. He's got to limit Newt Gingrich to everything beneath the Mason-Dixon line. He has to win the entire north and out west, which he can probably do and wrap this up by super Tuesday. If he fails to do that, if he fails to contain Newt Gingrich to the three strong very southern states, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee is the other. If he fails to limit him there, then there could be a real contest.

And that way the only way that Newt Gingrich is able to pull this off is that he holds Mitt Romney to 1144 under that magic number for clinching this nomination and taking this to the convention where the party faithful will show up and they'll try to convince them why. But the chances of that are going very, very nil.

LEMON: All right. I was going to ask you. I know you don't want to predict anything when it comes to politics because one never knows. As they say, no one never knows do one when it comes to that. But the chances, it seems that - it seems that Newt Gingrich, as time goes on and you listen up to him, there's always an excuse about this not happening, that not happening. My opponent on the stage said some very terrible things about me that were inaccurate, but I don't have the time to respond to them.

TAYLOR: Well, that's the story of Newt Gingrich's political career. He's been making those same kinds of excuses as his career has worn on, and he's managed to, you know, sort of rebirth himself in a way. And so this year, you know, he had some terrible missteps in his campaign, some terrible strategy, you know, put forth and it has brought him no real returns.

These sort of surges in the polls was sort of the flavor of month. He was just the only candidate to have sort of the tenacity to hold on. You know, beyond being the flavor of the month. Otherwise, if he were, you know, Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain, he may have stepped out by now. But he is Newt Gingrich and for Newt Gingrich, he's the center of his own constellation.

LEMON: So then what gives here? He was even asked by a reporter in the press conference that he gave afterwards, he didn't give a speech. He didn't say congratulations to the winner or anything. Here's what I'm going, here's how I'm changing my strategy. We were up on the stage. Everything he said was false. I've never been confronted with anything like that. I was stunned. Why not take the opportunity if you're the former speaker of the House and someone who is known for speaking his mind, take the opportunity to turn and say "You know what? Goldie? You just said a big bomb lie about me." Why can't you do that on the debate stage?

TAYLOR: You know, that's an interesting thing about Newt Gingrich, he sort of (INAUDIBLE) away when it's put, you know, right to his face. You know how bullies in the school yards do. They want to bully, bully and the minute you sock one of them back, they go scurrying away. That is Newt Gingrich, and so I don't expect him to last beyond super Tuesday. He won't have the money. He certainly won't have the volunteers for the organization. What he'll have to rely on is what we call earned media like tonight. He was able to call cameras together and hold us for 15 or 20 minutes pontificating about everything under the sun. Throwing bombs wherever he could. He'll have to continue to draw cameras like that to stay in this race.

LEMON: This was Mitt Romney's (INAUDIBLE) with Mormons having the higher percentage of the voting population in Nevada as they do. But Ron Paul was also a favorite there and Rick Santorum at the bottom.

TAYLOR: Sure. Ron Paul has a very fervent organization. They are going to show up come hell or high water, especially in a caucus. This was not a primary. These are, you know, people who are very, very invested in the process. So Ron Paul tends to do better in a situation like that.

Rick Santorum is a more retail politician. He likes to go door to door, shaking hands and you saw that in Iowa and that's why he came away with a state like Iowa. So this works out in Ron Paul's favor when you have a caucus state. You have two more caucus states coming up February 7th, and I'm going to bet that Ron Paul is going to do well.

LEMON: Yes. He has got some fervent supporters.

TAYLOR: All over Twitter (INAUDIBLE) tonight.

LEMON: You heard him - thank you, Goldie. You heard him in the late, live caucus that we had - the late live caucus that we had here on CNN. We are going to back to. Thanks again, Goldie.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) our Paul Steinhauser who is getting some results from that caucus now. Finally and once they believe this count is over, then we get all the final votes in Clark County 100 percent and we can report them. Go ahead, Paul Steinhauser.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Hey Don, it is finally over. It took 2 1/2 hours. And I'm hearing myself in my ears. So I'll take my (INAUDIBLE) out. But here's what happened, Don. Here's the final count, 183 for Ron Paul, 61 for Mitt Romney, 57 for Newt Gingrich and 16 for Rick Santorum.

Behind me right now these are Republican Party officials from Clark County. You can see the votes right over there, right above those boxes. They are going to take them downtown to the party HQ and they're going to be added to the county totals and then of course, will be added to the totals for the state.

Thank you. Now I'm good with my ear. Don, this is one crazy caucus. As, you know, the back story here. This was for Orthodox Jews and Seventh Day Adventists and others who could not take part in the caucuses throughout Clark County earlier in the day because of the Sabbath. They had to wait until the sundown. It was quite a time and it started late because of the crowds coming in. It's finally over two and a half hours later, Don.

LEMON: All right. Paul Steinhauser, thank you very much.

Coming up here on CNN, parents in one New York state community want answers about a medical mystery. I want you to listen to how this town hall meeting went today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm done listening to you. You guys need to do something. My child, my children all of them, I run a business in this town. It is not safe. Why is it you need - (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That's only part of it. You'll hear more from these parents coming up in two minutes.


LEMON: A community meeting in Le Roy, New York turned ugly today after officials told parents a local school was safe, despite a group of children developing involuntary twitches and gestures. Doctors diagnosed most of the children as suffering from conversion disorder, a condition induced by stress. Some parents suspect the problem is linked to a train derailment 42 years ago that spilled toxic chemicals a few miles from the school. School officials defended science showing no environmental link, but enraged parents weren't satisfied.


KIM COX, LEROY SCHOOL DISTRICT: What I have to do as the superintendent is take the experts - what the experts are telling me, and the experts are telling me and the data is showing me that there is no environmental cause here linked to this condition.

MELISSA CIANCI, PARENT: You need to prove to us that it is safe to put our children in this school. As a community we need to come together, we need to pull our children out. There's other places we can take them and give them the education they need. You are not doing your job. You are not doing your job at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not answering questions.

CIANCI: Stand up as parents to fight for the rights of our children. You're not.


LEMON: Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is among those investigating whether environmental factors are causing the illnesses.

Mega church pastor Bishop Eddie Long gets anointed king and wrapped in a Jewish scroll by what appears to be a rabbi. It's an unusual ceremony you got to see. Straight ahead we're going to talk about it with a real rabbi.


LEMON: Sit back and watch this next story. It is unbelievable. Just two years ago Bishop Eddie Long of Atlanta's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church made headlines accused of misusing his spiritual authority to coerce four young men into sexual relations. Who could forget these pictures that you're looking at right now.

That issue was settled out of court, and then last year his wife filed for divorce. You think after all that maybe it's time to lay low a little bit, but I want you to take a good look at this video, which has gone viral. It is showing Bishop Eddie Long in a ceremony presided over by what we're told is a rabbi. Bishop Long is raised up, wrapped in a Torah scroll and the master of ceremonies pronounced Bishop Long king religious royalty here.

(INAUDIBLE) serves on the committee of Jewish law and standards which helps guide other rabbis. So Rabbi, when you see this video, what's your reaction to it? Is it insulting to you as a Jew?

RABBI HILLEL NORRY, SENIOR RABBI, SHEARITH ISRAEL: Thank you for doing this story, Don. It's very offensive. A number of people have reached out to me and said how offensive they find it. For a few reasons, really. One is the reverence that we show for the Torah. It's not something that's to be used or to utilize in some way and to pronounce some kind of coronation ceremony, which well frankly doesn't really exist is pretty deeply offensive.

LEMON: Yes, so as a non-practicing Jew, I say Torah and you say Torah. In the handling of this, in the handling of the Torah, why is it so offensive? It should not handled in that way in the Jewish faith?

NORRY: That's correct. Look the Torah does not belong to the Jewish people. It comes through us, but belongs to the whole world. But it's used in a very special way, and it's meant to be guidance and instruction and inspiration. It's not meant to be treated as a prop, and I felt like he was putting on a show and treating the Torah as a prop. And we don't do that. We treat it with the highest reverence and would never really use it in that way.

LEMON: This notion of being anointed a king through a ceremony?

NORRY: Look, I have to say it borders on the ridiculous. There's no such thing in any Judaism that I know of and there's not much the denominations of Judaism agree about. But across the spectrum people are shocked at what they're seeing. It doesn't reflect anything that anybody does in the Jewish community.

LEMON: Then why do something like this? You say it looks like he's putting on a show. Why?

NORRY: Well, obviously, he's there to support Bishop Long, and I don't have an opinion about Bishop Long and what he did or didn't do. In my opinion this guy is not a rabbi. He's not recognized by the Jewish community as a rabbi, and I think he's trying to give authenticity to Bishop Long by suggesting that the ancient scripture of the Jews, the scripture of Jesus he's trying to put and to cast Bishop Long in that kind of light.

And I understand why he's trying to do that, but he's making use in a kind of fraudulent way basic Jewish symbols that don't really teach the Christian teachings he says they do.

LEMON: Very interesting. Just looking at the video is just -

NORRY: Remarkable.

LEMON: Took the word right out of my mouth. Thank you, rabbi. We appreciate it.

NORRY: Thank you.

LEMON: Good to see you.

It is official. Mitt Romney wins two in a row. The latest on the Nevada caucus, on that vote. More on your top stories as well coming up next.


LEMON: The headlines right now on CNN. Mitt Romney makes it two in a row. He scored an easy victory tonight in the Nevada caucuses, picking up a double digit win over Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum. Romney's win gives him new momentum in the battle for the Republican nomination. Newt Gingrich down-played Romney's victory and said he's in the race to stay.

A few tense moments Saturday at McPherson Square in downtown Washington, D.C.. Park police searched through tents planning to take down any that violated the no camping park laws. Although most of the protests were peaceful, police made eight arrests. This comes just days after a federal judge rejected a demonstrator's request to prevent police from banning camping in the park.

The Pentagon says a brigadier general has died in Kabul province becoming the highest ranking soldier to die in Afghanistan. General Terence J. Hildner was based the Fort Hood, Texas. Te military says the 49-year-old general died Friday of natural causes.

A major winter storm is moving out of Colorado and into the midwest and plains. Blizzard warnings have been issued for parts of Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. The same storm dumped up to six feet of snow in parts of Colorado.

Up next here on CNN, why is the FBI calling this man the geezer bandit? He's been robbing banks in Southern California. We'll explain that right after the break.


LEMON: A gun-wielding grandpa who has robbed more than a dozen banks in Southern California is still on the run, but as CNN's Kareen Wynter tells us he may not be as old as you think he is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a stick up.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Old men robbing banks looks comical in "Going in Style."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to be kidding me.

WYNTER: But the FBI says this seemingly elderly serial bank robber dubbed the geezer bandit is no joke. DARRELL FOXWORTH, FBI: This isn't funny. This guy is going out there and he's victimized people, threatening that he's going to shoot these tellers if they don't give him money.

WYNTER: On wanted posters the geezer bandit is described as 60 to 70 years old. He has hit 16 banks in California so far making off with tens of thousands of dollars over the past two and a half years. The FBI says he's been hard to nab because of his non-threatening look and his discrete manner of putting bank tellers at gunpoint so he escapes before too many witnesses know what happened.

These aren't the type of take-over robberies you see in movies like "Point Break," (INAUDIBLE) ex-presidents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not a crook.

WYNTER: Or "The Town's" elderly gun toting nuns. But there may be one thing in common. The geezer bandit, too, may be a masked man. Watch this surveillance tape closely as flees a bank two months ago.

FOXWORTH: It doesn't appear to be consistent with someone who is 60 or 70 years old moving at that pace.

WYNTER (on camera): Clues have led law enforcement authorities here to this business on the outskirts of Hollywood. Could this be the face of the geezer bandit? Yes, says Rusty (INAUDIBLE), the man behind these masks.

(voice-over): Rusty Slusser creates these form-fitting silicon mask.

RUSTY SLUSSER, SPEX MASKS: The idea is to make this thing absolutely real.

WYNTER: That he sells around the world for $600 and up.

(on camera): You can see how someone says "Wow, this is so lifelike and maybe I can fool someone."

SLUSSER: That was the idea originally.

WYNTER (voice-over): Slusser says he cooperated with law enforcement agencies contacted him about the geezer bandit and asked about any buyers of the specific type of mask. When Slusser puts it on, it transforms him. The same style was used by a young Asian man who snuck on board a flight to Canada to seek refugee status. This one was worn during a bank heist in Ohio, and the robber was actually white.

And this mask dubbed the handsome guy was a disguise in a series of brazen Texas bank robberies last year. But the mask maker says he's tired of seeing his creations on surveillance videos and prefers to see them on the big screen like in the movie "Drive."

SLUSSER: These are not meant to commit crimes. They're meant for novelty use only and people have fun fool their friends. WYNTER (on camera): One thing to do pranks and another thing to rob banks. So this person is actually out there committing this crimes with your masks. What do you say to them?

SLUSSER: I say please do not our masks to commit crimes.

WYNTER (voice-over): The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for anyone who can help them unmask the geezer bandit.

Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles.


LEMON: New recordings from the moments after the JFK assassination hidden away for decades now offering a rare glimpse into the confusion that followed the president's murder. Hear them for yourself, next.


LEMON: We are now getting a rare and intriguing glimpse inside one of the darkest days in American history. Thanks to audiotapes hidden away for 50 years. CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were among the most anxious, gut-wrenching hours in American history. The chaos following president John F. Kennedy's assassination. Everyone, including top administration officials, was scrambling for accurate information. Newly released audiotapes offer fascinating insight into the confusion and the government's response.

Listen to this phone call from White House physician Admiral George Berkeley who was in Dallas to Army Surgeon General Leonard Heaton on where to take the president's body.

ADMIRAL GEORGE BERKELEY, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN: In regards to the taking are of the remains of the - President Kennedy and we are planning on having the president taken directly to Walter Reed. Probably Mrs. Kennedy will also be going out there. But we will clarify that later.


TODD: But it wasn't clarified. Just minutes earlier Secret Service head Jerry BEHN had called another official with the president in Dallas saying the remains should be taken to another military hospital.

AGENT BEHN, SECRET SERVICE: Arrangements have been made for a helicopter for the Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

TODD: The president was taken to Bethesda. For decades critics said his autopsy was incomplete, mishandled, maybe even part of a conspiracy. I listened to the tapes with historian Max Holland who has a different take. MAX HOLLAND, AUTHOR "THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION TAPES": The government had no protocol for having an autopsy of a president. It was just never, something no one ever thought would be necessary. They were completely unprepared.

TODD: The tapes were discovered by the Rab Collection, a historical document dealer. They get them from the estate of General Chester Clifton, a top aide to President Kennedy and then donated them to the National Archives. The recordings were made by the White House Communications Agency and include radio traffic from the president's plane Air Force one.

(on camera): Part of the recordings which are not new are still riveting like when is a distraught Lyndon Johnson and his wife get on the phone from Air Force One to console President Kennedy's mother.

LYNDON JOHNSON: I wish to god there was something that I could do, and I wanted to tell you that we were grieving with us.

ROSE KENNEDY: Yes. Well, thanks a mill - thank you very much. Thank you very much. I know you loved Jack, and he loved you.

LADY BIRD JOHNSON: Mrs. Kennedy, we feel like we've just had -

ROSE KENNEDY: Yes, all right.

We are glad that the nation had your son as long as it did.

ROSE KENNEDY: Yes, well thank you, Lady Bird. Thank you very much. Good-bye.

TODD (voice-over): It leaves us all wanting to hear more, but some of these recordings we may never hear. Officials at the Rab Collection say at least two hours of the raw tape are still missing.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


LEMON: I want to get you caught up in some of the top stories before we get out of here tonight.

A running back Curtis Martin headlines this year's class for the pro football hall of fame. The New York Jets star was one of six players announced tonight. Martin said the honor was bittersweet since his former coach Bill Parcell wasn't chosen. Others going into the hall are Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf and Dermontti Dawson, also Jack Butler is going in as well. They'll be formally inducted on August 4th in Canton, Ohio.

Friends and colleagues pay tribute to Don Cornelius in Harlem on Saturday. The legendary deep voice host of "Soul Train" died Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Al Sharpton hosted the event. He was joined by Roberta Flack and others in honoring Cornelius for changing music in America.

This is New York's Time Square. A flash mob broke out in Times Square in memory of the "Soul Train" founder.

I have a programming note for you. It's about tomorrow night. Singer and dancer Jody Watley is going to join me live at 6:00 Eastern to talk about her memories of Don Cornelius. She was an original "Soul Train" dancer. Don't miss it.

Thanks for watching. I'm Don Lemon. I'll see you back here tomorrow night. Good night.