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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Nuclear Iran; Super Tuesday; Dr. Feel Good

Aired March 5, 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: President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, handshakes, photo ops and a nice, long lunch. Did Israel back away from war with Iran?

And the woman known as "Dr. Feel Good" is charged with murder. Did her prescriptions actually kill her patients? The numbers are stunning.

And bounties placed on the heads of former NFL stars. A former player says he knows of players who made big money by being dishing out hits, getting paid to literally knock guys down that had to get carted off the field.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, stalling Israel. When it comes to Iran, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are going to great lengths to look and sound like they're on the same page. Today, there were handshakes, there were photo ops, there were a whole lot of cameras in that room. They both wore blue ties, a two-hour meeting followed by a working lunch and lots of friendly language.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I've said repeatedly, the bond between our two countries is unbreakable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Israeli prime minister echoed the sentiment saying Iran viewed the United States and Israel as one and the same.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: You know for them, you are the great Satan. We're the little Satan. For them, we are you and you are us. And you know something, Mr. President? At least on this last point, I think they're right. We are you and you are us. We're together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But if you listen closely, it's not so cut and dry. There is reason to think the two countries may not be standing together so closely when it comes to Iran. Here's President Obama again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We do believe that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And here's the prime minister.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NETANYAHU: Israel must have the ability always to defend itself by itself against any threat and that when it comes to Israel's security, Israel has the right, the sovereign right to make its own decisions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now, we spoke to several U.S. diplomats and senior military advisers today to try to read between the lines. Most agreed with Colonel Cedric Leighton, former member of the Joints Staff and former deputy director of the National Security Agency. He told us quote, "the talks in D.C. make a unilateral Israeli attack less likely in the next few months", but he stresses, quote, "Today's discussions bought us a little time -- nothing more."

The bottom line is neither Israel or the United States say they will accept a nuclear armed Iran, but they don't agree on when to intervene militarily. The diplomatic detente coming as the International Atomic Energy Agency chose today -- interesting timing-- to repeat warnings about possible quote "activities including a containment chamber used for high explosive tests at Iran's Parchin military site". Inspectors have been denied access to the Parchin and site in recent months.

The head of the IAEA says the agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear activities. With worries about Iran causing oil prices to rise, can President Obama keep Israel from military action? Will sanctions work? That really is perhaps the most crucial question that we are facing right now when it comes to Iran.

Naftali Bennett is Benjamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff. Hooman Majd wrote an op-ed this weekend entitled "Starving Iran won't Free It", the Iranian American journalist is also author of "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ" and appreciate both of you being here.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: And as we all noted smilingly coming into the segment -- you are side by side. Let me start with you though, Naftali. Obviously, this has been much reported on, Leon Panetta earlier telling a journalist, David Ignatius, that Iran -- Israel could be prepared to strike Iran militarily this spring. Did this meeting change that timing? NAFTALI BENNETT, FORMER NETANYAHU CHIEF OF STAFF: Well I think the good news from this whole summit is that Obama made very clear that Iran is a mortal danger to America's national interest and to the entire world and that he's now adopting the doctrine of prevention rather than accepting a nuclear Iran. The bad news is that words said in Washington don't stop the insulation of centrifuges in Natanz. As these talks are going on, chief inspector Amana (ph) of the U.N. reported that Iran has tripled the pace of production of --

BURNETT: Right.

BENNETT: -- 20 percent grade of uranium that they're moving the installations under ground and pretty shortly the window of opportunity to take out these nuclear facilities is going to be closed for Israel and I think that's the crux of the problem --

BURNETT: How big that window is. That seems -- in your view.

BENNETT: Exactly. And I think it's important to emphasize there's going to be a certain period where Israel can no longer do the job and then essentially, Obama is telling Israel you depend on us. Trust us. But does it make sense for the Israeli nation to sort of outsource our very existence to Obama? That's a very tough request to ask. I don't think we can accept it.

BURNETT: I'm going to ask you more about timing in a moment. Hooman, let me ask you a fundamental question here about the sanctions. Obviously, President Obama has -- is relying on them and he has put crippling sanctions. He's gotten Europe on board, not countries yet like China, but you are very skeptical as to what those sanctions might achieve.

HOOMAN MAJD, AUTHOR, "THE AYATOLLAH BEGS TO DIFFER": Absolutely. I mean I don't know if the sanctions are going to achieve anything. If the sanctions have the goal to change the regime's behavior, Iran's behavior, that's not going to happen. No (INAUDIBLE) inside Iran believes the sanctions are going to make Iran change (INAUDIBLE) to American demands. Demands that they stop enrichment, demands that they stop their nuclear program, which they claim is for peaceful purposes.

BURNETT: For peaceful purposes, yes.

MAJD: And if the sanctions have the side goal of changing the regime by forcing the people to suffer so much that they rise up and overthrow the regime, that's not going to happen either, so what is exactly the goal? We talk about diplomacy, but there really isn't any diplomacy. The fact is that there has been no diplomacy with Iran. There have only been sanctions. There have only been sticks and no carrots. Nothing has been offered to Iran.

BURNETT: What carrot could President Obama offer?

MAJD: Well it depends on what your goal is. First of all right now contrary to what the Israeli government says and our own government says is that Iran has not made a decision to build a bomb. Iran has not moved forward with the weapons program.

BURNETT: Well then sanctions themselves if that's true --

MAJD: Yes.

BURNETT: -- are not justifiable.

MAJD: No.

BURNETT: I mean that's -- you can't say that you're putting sanctions, they won't have a bomb if you don't think that they're trying to do that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. Leon Panetta --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: There is something --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: -- inconsistent about that.

MAJD: There is -- it's completely inconsistent because Leon Panetta has said and President Obama himself has said they have not made that decision to build a bomb or to move forward with weaponization (ph).

BENNETT: I think no one in the world anymore has a doubt of Iran's intent. I mean, you don't build -- just over the past two months, you don't install 2,600 centrifuges under ground if you're not going to use it for weapons. You don't enrich uranium 20 percent over 109 kilograms of that for peaceful reasons. You don't develop weaponized warheads for peaceful uses. I think that's behind us.

BURNETT: Could there be --

BENNETT: Regarding the sanctions though, I do agree that the current sanction architecture is too soft, too slow to make any dent, perhaps paralyzing sanctions will do the job. For sure the current sanctions will not.

BURNETT: One question though. Is it possible that Iran is doing all these things because they want it to look like they're trying to go down that way because it's pride. They want to show that they can. After all Israel has nuclear weapons, and isn't supposed to and they want to show that they can do that even though they're not really? That this is bluffing?

BENNETT: That's unlikely. Look you know our history teaches us something very simple. When a leader, a foreign leader, an enemy says he's going to annihilate you, believe him. And we're listening to what Ahmadinejad said, what Khamenei says. Just a few days ago he said Israel is a cancer, tumor and we've got to remove it. So we take this threat very seriously and so does President Obama and that's good news. President Obama has none of the doubts that my friend here is talking about.

MAJD: Well I mean we have to remember --

BURNETT: Some of these deputies have been indicating as such recently, I mean they've been coming out with this whole question on intent, but can I just ask each of you this, because you have very different points of view on it, but this is something more and more people have been asking me about. What if Iran gets nuclear weapons capability? Some people say so what. What's wrong with containment?

BENNETT: I think the notion that a maniacal radical Islamic regime will be able to be contained that the same rules of rationality apply on Ahmadinejad as they did with the Soviet Union is insane. I think the Soviet Union or anyone has never -- accept Iran has never talked about annihilating a different nation and that's what Iran is doing day in and day out. I think Iran, there's no doubt today that Iran is the world's biggest exporter of terror. They're killing people all around the world. They're the lifeline of Assad's regime right now that's butchering thousands of Syrians --

BURNETT: The U.S. government, the Obama administration has accused the Revolutionary Guard of being behind --

(CROSSTALK)

MAJD: Russia is the lifeline of Assad's regime, not Iran. Russia is a far more powerful country. If Russia took away its support -- and China -- from Assad he would probably fall, so that's unfair to say. Also Iran is -- I mean to talk about them and saying they want to wipe another country off the map and if they want -- they want to annihilate Israel, that's not actually true that they've never actually said they want to, or they are going to build a bomb and destroy Israel. That's just --

BURNETT: Last week --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BURNETT: -- one of their senior military officials said if Israel threatens them, they're going to wipe them off the map --

(CROSSTALK)

BENNETT: -- just remind ourselves Ahmadinejad said Israel must be wiped off the map. He said Israel has reached the end like a dead rat.

MAJD: He doesn't use the word Israel.

BENNETT: The shout of the Iranian nation is forever deaf to Israel. I've got 20 quotes of this maniacal, fanatic leader of Iran who is telling us we're going to kill you. We're going to annihilate you. I take him seriously.

MAJD: But every time --

BURNETT: Final word to you, why would -- if it goes in that direction --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BURNETT: -- could containment be a policy that we should consider?

MAJD: Well absolutely. I think it should be. If it goes in that direction, I think we still have a lot of time to get to the point --

BURNETT: To see if it goes there.

MAJD: -- to even go -- if it even goes there to begin with, but if it were to happen, I don't think Iran is anymore dangerous as a country. It's not going to protect the regime. Nuclear weapons aren't going to protect the regime and in terms of maniacal, I mean Stalin was maniacal. He killed -- how many millions of his own people did he kill? But he never used a nuclear weapon. I don't think Iran is going to ever use a nuclear weapon if they ever even decide to build one.

BURNETT: All right, well gentlemen, thank you very much. Appreciate your coming on side by side. This is -- it's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out.

All right, we're just hours away from Super Tuesday. One question, can Mitt Romney clinch the nomination tomorrow? And then the woman known as "Dr. Feel Good" is in custody tonight. She wrote -- hold on for this -- 25 prescriptions per day for these painkillers and a break in the case of the woman found murdered in her Mercedes. Will her husband be taken into custody?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We're just hours away from the biggest single day of the Republican presidential campaign. Tomorrow is sort of Super Tuesday and the candidates are making their final pitches.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you think this campaign against President Obama is going to be about the economy and jobs and government being too big that I'm the guy you need to nominate.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look into the eyes of the candidate. Look into what they overcome over come and what they offer to this country. Not just what money they have. But where's their soul, where's their conviction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Ten states vote tomorrow, over 400 delegates at stake, which is more than all of the primary days so far combined. Now, a lot of these states are up for grabs. Just take a look at this one CNN poll out from Ohio, which of course everyone knows is a pretty crucial state for the general election. Dead heat, not even statistical dead heat, literal dead heat between Santorum and Romney. Historically, Super Tuesday is when the nomination is clinched. Reagan, Bush, Clinton, McCain all emerged as the clear front runner and eventual nominee after the big day, but tomorrow nobody will walk away with the actual nomination.

We've got not as many states as was last time and this whole proportional allocation thing, that's a real, real problem. Some of those guys probably regret it now. Unfortunately for the GOP they have caused this to drag out. This race has been going on and on and it's hurting the party's image. A new poll shows four in 10 Americans say the primary process has left them with a less favorable impression of the Republican Party.

John Avlon, Kevin Madden was a Romney adviser and Jamal Simmons a Democratic strategist join us. OK, so great to have all of you with us. I appreciate it. Let's talk first of all about what everybody needs to do tomorrow to actually win this thing. Mitt Romney is the guy people are looking at to see if he can do it, John Avlon. He's got to win a majority of delegates.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I mean I think the bar is pretty high, but he's won five states in a row. The big mo seems to be behind Mitt Romney. The key for him is to get out from behind his sort of strength in Massachusetts, Vermont. He'll win Virginia because almost no one else is on the ballot. Ron Paul alone with him, but can he win Ohio? That would be a major momentum changer because Santorum had double digit leads. Can he start edging in to other states in the West and the Deep South? That will be a real test about his strength.

BURNETT: Kevin, can he win Ohio?

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I do believe he can. I think John's right. I think look this is a campaign that has been built organizationally to win delegates. But most importantly we're in a position now, Governor Romney is, to consolidate a lot of the different elements within the party that have been competing across the party for who would make the best nominee, who would make the best nominee, and because Governor Romney has spent the last few contests focusing on the economy, he has done very well and by focusing on the economy he's also helped serve his argument about electability. And as we go forward now after -- you know we'll sit here after these contests tomorrow and we'll wake up Wednesday morning. We'll have a candidate that is best positioned to bring the party together and that will be another big selling point going forward for many Republicans.

BURNETT: All right, so Rick Santorum, what does he have to do tomorrow? John Avlon was thinking about this today, Ohio, Tennessee and Oklahoma. First of all, John, is he out if he doesn't win anything?

AVLON: I don't think anybody's out. The math means this will go on. Nobody will clinch the nomination tomorrow. That's just the facts. It's a big momentum test. But clearly if Rick Santorum after that three-state sweep he had, he's had some narrow wins, if he can't put some serious wins on the board, that's a major negative. He had a double digit lead in Ohio. Now, this is neck and neck, but he should have a solid strength in Oklahoma and in Tennessee, but he's got to put some real wins on the board tonight to show that he's going to be the last man standing against Mitt Romney.

BURNETT: Jamal, this has got to be something that for the guys you're advising is pretty good news. This long, drawn-out battle has hurt Mitt Romney significantly when it comes to approval ratings, 40 percent unfavorable rating, which I believe is worse than any other recent candidate in American history who has gone on to win the nomination, according to the NBC "Wall Street Journal" poll. So you're I'm sure hoping just as another -- the ground battle continues, yes?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I mean this is actually good not just for Democrats, but it's good because it's helping America to get a real eye in. The one thing that's true about presidential campaigns is that they really do start to reflect and reveal who these people are as people. And I think the bigger problem for Mitt Romney right now is a lack of leadership that he's been showing. A couple of weeks ago when Rick Santorum said that going to college made Barack Obama -- wanting kids to go to college made Barack Obama a snob, Mitt Romney didn't really stand up to that. He didn't have much to say.

BURNETT: Yes.

SIMMONS: Last week when the -- the Limbaugh event happened he used that bad word about the Georgetown law student, Mitt Romney still didn't have a lot of say. That's the kind of thing that Americans look for you to stand up and actually you know corral your people and say OK we've gone too far. Let's get back to the center of the debate and that's what I think has hurt Mitt Romney the most right now.

BURNETT: Interesting point because he did give the -- you know, the least shutdown kind of comment about Rush Limbaugh. Certainly Rick Santorum was much stronger in saying that it was absurd. I want to play for all of you though -- there's obviously been a backlash to the Rush Limbaugh situation. Advertisers have dropped out. A Hawaii radio station has dropped him as well, Armed Forces Network though did not. He apologized again today saying he had dropped to the level of the left. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke. That was my error. I became like them and I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Kevin Madden at the -- when this first happened, what do you think went through Mitt Romney's head? He simply said that wasn't appropriate or words I would have used or something like that, but he didn't say that was absurd, offensive, ridiculous. MADDEN: Well look, I'll tell you what goes through most candidates' heads. Look, I don't think anybody is out there running for president trying to be the leader of the free world based on arguments about -- that take place on talk radio and talk radio controversies. I think most people that run for president are running because they want to take care of very big things. They want to talk about the economy --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Kevin --

(CROSSTALK)

MADDEN: They want to talk about national security.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin, you know --

MADDEN: They want to talk about the direction of the country --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're right, but the problem -- the problem --

MADDEN: -- and because they're focused on those big issues --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin --

MADDEN: -- because they're looking at --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin --

MADDEN: -- they're looking at reasons why they can talk about the big issues that are affecting people in their daily lives that's why they run for president. So I think getting drawn into a lot of the cable talk is really not one of those things that becomes a priority --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Kevin --

BURNETT: John has been waiting patiently --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: The reality is of course that talk radio has been determining the talking points for far too many folks running for president and for office in recent years. That is a real problem in the party and the role of a real leader is to stand up and say stop, enough. That's too extreme to police their own.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Bill Clinton --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Clinton -- (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on, guys, hold on, hold on, hold on --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Let John finish --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'd actually do it when --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin --

BURNETT: Kevin, let John finish.

AVLON: But as Bill Clinton did with Sister Souljah, the real problem also this has a negative dynamic for the Republican Party is it alienates women, independent women. Not just from talk radio, but from the conservative cause and that's the reason this resonates deeper across the electorate from just one guy on talk radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think --

(CROSSTALK)

MADDEN: I think that's right and I think there's a lot of other issues where candidates can go out and address the real big concerns that women have, whether it's education, whether it's health care, whether it's the overall economy rather than having it all compartmentalized into one incident that had to do with a radio talk show host. I think this was a discussion that a lot of people had in the country. That's great. I know it took up a lot of space up on cable news. But when your asking the question is how did the candidates handle this, that's what I'm trying to talk about is that candidates have to go out and talk about what they believe are the big issues, the bigger issues that are driving the American electorate's decision when they're choosing a president.

BURNETT: All right well gentlemen thanks very much to all three. We simply hit pause.

All right now to California where an L.A. County doctor has been arrested for murder after three of her patients died from prescription drug overdoses. The allegation was that three otherwise healthy men all in their twenties were murdered by a deadly cocktail of prescription drugs. Lisa Sing (ph) was arrested last week after a lengthy undercover investigation into a case of a doctor turning out pill prescriptions by the thousands. Investigators say Sing (ph) wrote as many as 27,000 prescriptions in three years. That's 25 prescriptions a day, 365 days a year. It seems to be an extraordinary amount of prescription drugs moving out of a nondescript strip mall near a busy California freeway. Perhaps even more extraordinary the murder charge itself. That has never happened in the state of California and is exceedingly rare nationwide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDI GIBBONS, SPOKESWOMAN, LOS ANGELES DA OFFICE: As you know, we have prosecuted cases charging involuntary manslaughter, most recently, Conrad Murray in the Michael Jackson case, but this was a little different. This involves multiple victims and a large amount of undercover work by both the DEA and the State Medical Board.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The sting operation went on for years. Our Miguel Marquez is working the story for us. He is here tonight with the latest. Obviously, usually in L.A., but wonderful to have you here tonight, so how exactly was she doing this?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was so unbelievably simple. You'd walk into her office with a back problem, the simplest of symptoms. You'd tell her about it and she would prescribe basically anything you wanted, anything that she could prescribe at several different pharmacies to sort of cover her tracks. I pulled some of the names of the drugs she was prescribing, everything from OxyContin, Xanax, Narco (ph), Hypochodrone (ph), Hydromorphone (ph), Opona (ph), morphine, the list goes on and on and on and on. It was -- it was everywhere. It was incredible.

BURNETT: So it was very clear that people who had problems or addictions would go to her and she knew exactly what she was doing.

MARQUEZ: They were coming not only from southern California, but even other parts of the country, some from Arizona, but lots and lots from Southern California.

BURNETT: So 27,000 prescriptions over three years is the alleged amount. How much money would she have made from that?

MARQUEZ: She made millions. She -- there was one indication in the charging documents that she would charge $110 per visit. If you look at that over the number of prescriptions she made, it was also indication that she -- she and her husband paid $5 million cash for an office building two years ago. That gives you an idea of just how much money she was making.

BURNETT: Wow, so this is -- obviously we were talking about this has not happened before. Conrad Murray obviously was charged with manslaughter --

MARQUEZ: Yes.

BURNETT: -- or involuntary manslaughter, I apologize. She's now charged with three counts of second degree murder. Are they considering other charges?

MARQUEZ: They are indeed. There are two other cases being investigated by investigators right now and it is possible that there are more out there. There was some reporting done a couple of years ago on her and there are as many as six to perhaps eight people directly or indirectly related to prescriptions she made. BURNETT: So why did it take them so long to find this? I mean it seems sort of like in this day and age if all these people are flocking to one person who will give you drugs, there would be a very blatant trail, even on Facebook, social media.

MARQUEZ: A variety of reasons. The people seeking the drugs for the most part wanted them and weren't out there --

BURNETT: Right.

MARQUEZ: -- advertising the fact they were looking for these drugs. Also, she was very smart. She would make the prescriptions -- the smartest thing she did to cover her tracks was to make the prescriptions at different pharmacies. So you'd go in, she'd give you three different drugs from three different pharmacies. It was very difficult for them to track and to see that this was happening.

BURNETT: Perfect. All right, Miguel, thank you very much, appreciate it and good to see you here --

MARQUEZ: Thank you. Thank you. Good to be here.

BURNETT: All right, are NFL coaches paying players to purposely injury star players, a former player OUTRONT says yes.

And Canada's making moves on the international stage. A number of things our neighbor to the north is doing to be the next superpower.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our reporting, do the work and find the "OutFront 5". First tonight, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu going to great lengths today to look and sound like they're on the same page when it comes to dealing with Iran's nuclear threat. Today, handshakes, photo ops and a two-hour meeting and a working lunch. Was the United States able to keep Israel from taking military action against Iran? Colonel Cedric Leighton, former member of the Joint Staff and former deputy director of the National Security Agency tells OUTFRONT "the talks in D.C. make a unilateral Israeli attack look less likely in the next few months, but today's discussions bought us a little time -- nothing more."

Number two, China says it's increasing military spending by 11 percent and that's just what they're formally saying. An expert on China's military tells OUTFRONT the spending is likely going towards missile systems, specifically China's DF-21D. It's an anti-ship ballistic missile system. Our expert says it'll be a game changer that will have profound consequences for U.S. military operations in the western Pacific.

China's increase comes as the U.S. proposes slashing military spending by half a trillion over the next decade. However, note, America will be increasing its spending in the Pacific. Number three: Attorney General Eric Holder publicly defended the killing of suspected terrorists, even if they re U.S. citizens, on foreign soil. In a speech this evening, Holder said the president had the authority to order such killings through a 2001 congressional authorization which approved any force necessary against al Qaeda or associated groups. It also addressed critics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces.

This is simply not accurate. Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process. It does not guarantee judicial process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The Human Rights Watch is among groups criticizing the so-called target killing and notion that the entire world is a battlefield.

Number four, India has banned exports of cotton. This cost cotton prices in the United States to go up 4.5 percent today, which is the largest move allowed in a single day. India put the ban in place immediately because they're worried about a supply crunch.

If you remember, it was just a year ago when cotton prices hit an all-time high due to supply concerns. The USDA's most recent forecast predicted the decline in cotton use. After last year's price shock, several suppliers started to turn to alternative fibers. (INAUDIBLE) a little bit more.

Well, it's been 214 days since is U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, stocks fell today because for our country to grow, we need China to grow and China cut its growth forecast to 7.5 percent. Sounds like a lot, but it's really not.

For years, NFL players have earned big money making big hits. But a recent NFL investigation shows that a few players and coaches are taking it to a whole new level.

Former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams was questioned today about his 2009 Super Bowl champion Saints.

According to the investigation, the NFL says his defense awarded catch payments to players who delivered excessive hits. And here's how it went: $1,500 for a knockout, $1,000 for a cart-off -- meaning the player had to be carried off the field.

Kurt Warner and Brett Favre were just two players believed to have been targeted. But up to 27 players may be involved in placing bounties on opposing teams.

Some people say, though, that this whole, quote, "paying for performance" could be a lot more widespread than that.

One of them is Coy Wire. He played for Greg Williams while on the Buffalo Bills in 2002. And he's OUTFRONT tonight.

Coy, really appreciate your taking the time to be with us. Obviously, we're talking here specifically about the New Orleans Saints. But did this happen at the Buffalo Bills?

COY WIRE, FORMER NFL PLAYER: In Buffalo, we had a culture of relentlessness. You know, we wanted a competitive edge over our components. And, you know, we crossed the line. We went a little too far when we took pay-for-play to a level where it shouldn't have gone. Pay-for-play is harmless when you're talking about interceptions, touchdowns or causing fumbles.

But when you're rewarding players financially with money, you know, you don't want to reward players for injuring another player. That's when the line is crossed.

BURNETT: So, were these amounts about what people were betting at Buffalo in terms of $1,500 for a knockout, $1,000 more for a cart off, if a player was, you know, incapacitated and had to be wheeled off the field?

WIRE: I want to speak for my own experience. It was never a set dollar amount. There was never a method to this system, is what some are labeling it.

BURNETT: But how did it work? I mean, how were the amounts determined in Buffalo? Was it just like a group of people that got together, threw money into a pool, and depending how much was there, that's how it was based that particular game? Or how did it work?

WIRE: That's right. There was no specific system in place. It was just a week to week thing, you know? It was a group of people who came together and said I'll put in this much money for an interception or a forced fumble.

You know, the problem is when it escalated into a state where you're paying to injure another player. And now what we know with injuries, concussions, the long-term effects of playing the game of football, we know that it can't escalate to that level. Now, we're crossing the line.

BURNETT: Now, even Dave Duerson's son was on this show recently, you know, talking about how he thought his father had committed suicide because of the brain injuries that he sustained while playing for teams including the Chicago Bears.

Do you think that it motivated players to hit harder? That these sorts of not just the amount of money, because maybe to some highly paid football player is the amount of money wasn't huge. But just the whole fact that it was there, that it was betting on who could hit someone harder, who could knock somebody out. Did it motivate people to be meaner?

WIRE: Well, I think what this is, it's a classic case of group think. It's a term and psychology used to describe how a group of people will, you know, fully functioning sensible people, will do bad, irrational things when they're in a group setting. They get carried away.

Greg Williams had a great quote. He said instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it and all those involved who were including myself, you know, we should have stood up and said this isn't right. Why are we condoning injuring another player?

There's reason that rules like unsportsmanlike conduct, unnecessary roughness exist in the NFL. Roger Goodell and the NFL Players Association have come together over recent -- you know, the past months to make sure that we don't have certain types of hits anymore. That we protect our players, that we cut back training camp and the days that contact can be allowed at practice.

So, this is yet another example of something that has existed in the NFL and we know we cannot accept it any longer or we're condoning it.

BURNETT: Do you think, though, for the sport of football to be safe and not something where people can get serious damage, I know you've been injured -- can you have the sport of football the way Americans like to watch it and not have those risks? I mean, that's the real question for all this, isn't it?

WIRE: Great question. There's wrong with playing this game aggressively. Hit people. Hit them hard, legally. Just don't condone it by rewarding them financially if someone gets hurt.

People are going to get hurt. This is football. We can have a competitive, exciting game for fans -- a violent game even.

But we can still do it with integrity, respect for other players and good old fashion sportsmanship.

BURNETT: So you think it can be violent and still have integrity?

WIRE: Absolutely. This is a violent game. Big hits are encouraged and we should -- that's what makes this America's sport.

It's a wonderful game. It's a violent game. We just don't need to reward players for injuring another person.

BURNETT: All right. Coy, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

WIRE: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: Senator John McCain calls for air strikes in Syria today. Is that the right call?

And a break in the case of Michigan's Mercedes murder. Could the victim's husband be the next one taken into custody?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

And we want to talk tonight about Syria and Senator John McCain's call for United States air strikes on Assad regime forces. Those forces have been trying to squash a popular uprising for the past year. Activists say that 7,500 people have died.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If we want to stand by and watch Syrians being massacred in the most brutal and incredibly genocidal fashion, then that is the decision we can make. But please don't tell me we can't do it. We can if we have the will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Opposition activists report at least 15 people were killed across Syria today as international aid workers were denied entry into the heavily hit Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr.

CNN's Nic Robertson is covering the story from Beirut and I asked him about today's violence and the food and supply situation in Homs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the civilian death toll continuing to mount in Syria. Deaths from the north of the country, Idlib, Aleppo, moving south to Hama, Homs, even in the suburbs of Damascus, people killed, and Daraa right in the south.

But it's in Homs where the Red Cross have been trying to get into that beleaguered neighborhood of Baba Amr. For four days, they have been refused access.

Residents in Homs say that they've seen smoke rising from Baba Amr. They're accusing the government there, activists accusing the government of summary executions, of burning the evidence inside that neighborhood. The Red Cross able to deliver some aid, some aid, some humanitarian and medical supplies to neighboring villages.

Two thousand people believed to have fled that area for here in Lebanon -- Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Nic, thanks very much.

And now to Ireland where a 900-year-old heart of the Dublin's patron saint was stolen from Christ Church Cathedral this weekend. St. Laurence O'Toole's preserved heart had been on display inside the cathedral since the 13th century. CNN's Erin McLaughlin following the story. I asked how this happened and if police ever expect to recover the missing heart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, there was no visible signs of the break in at either the cathedral or the chapel. However, that steel cage that had encased the heart was wrenched open and the box that contained the relic and, of course, the relic itself was stolen.

Now, police are scouring hours of CCTV footage taken from the entrance of the cathedral to try and find out who was behind this and it really has cathedral officials scratching their heads because they say that the heart had very little economic value. But it was of huge symbolic importance to members of the clergy.

Now, this isn't the first time that something like this has happened in Ireland. Earlier this year, in January, a relic of St. Bridget was taken from a church in Dublin -- Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

And now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper.

Hello, Anderson. What's coming up on "A.C. 360"?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Hey, Erin.

We're keeping them honest tonight on the program. Rush Limbaugh's latest explanation of his comments about the Georgetown University law student, the woman he labeled, quote, "a slut and a prostitute" -- comments that had ignited a political firestorm. Comments he's since apologized for, comments nonetheless have advertisers bailing on the radio talk show host. We're going to talk about that with David Axelrod, senior strategist of the Obama 2012 campaign.

Also tonight, could the U.S. be on the verge of joining the fight in Syria? You just played some of John McCain calling for air strikes. Well, that's one of the voices of the opposition. We'll also ask about Syria's latest attempts to discredit him and his network.

And a dramatic rescue today from the Indiana tornado involving a 2-year-old girl. It happened over the weekend. She was taken off life support. We'll tell her story.

Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" at the top of hour -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Anderson, looking forward to all of that.

And we have a big development in the Gross Pointe murder case. Handyman Joseph Gentz has been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the slaying of Michigan woman Jane Bashara.

Now, you may recall the story here. Jane is a marketing executive, mother of two. She was found strangled in the backseat of her Mercedes about one month ago. Forty-eight-year-old Gentz reportedly has an I.Q. of a third grader, has claimed that the victim's husband, Bob Bashara, promised him $200 and a used Cadillac to carry out the hit. Now, Bob Bashara, again the husband of the victim here, denies any involvement.

Paul Callan is a contributor, former New York City homicide prosecutor.

This story had a lot of back-and-forth. Obviously, the handyman had accused Bob Bashara, then taken it back, then accused again. It turned out subsequently that Bob Bashara had affairs, rather strange personal life. Gentz has now been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Does that mean there needs to be someone else that you conspired with or no?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that's the most interesting development, I think, not just first degree murder but conspiracy. Conspiracy means that there are two or more people involved in the crime. So, the question is, who's person number two?

Now, of course, Gentz's original story was that Bashara was his coconspirator. He said Bashara actually committed the murder. So, it's very interesting that they've handed down a conspiracy indictment here.

BURNETT: How relevant is this I.Q. issue?

CALLAN: Well, it could be relevant. His I.Q., I understand, is about 65, which puts him, you know, well below average. If they're going to be relying on a confession from somebody with an extremely low I.Q., it's going to have a bearing on whether the jury will think it's reliable or not.

Remember, Gentz has changed his story two or three times.

BURNETT: Right.

CALLAN: And if you're depending upon his confession to try to implicate Bashara, you have a problematic case.

BURNETT: But if they thought Bashara did it -- at this point, wouldn't they have already taken him into custody? Isn't this sign that their case against him, if there is one, is weak?

CALLAN: Great question, but with a conspiracy indictment, the answer is no. And that's because you have to corroborate the conspirator story. So you can go into a police station and say I killed somebody with acting in concert with somebody else. Your confession can't be used unless this independent corroboration and the police don't seem to have that at this point. They've got some good motive stuff, but we haven't heard anything about hair, DNA, blood evidence that would actually link him to the crime.

BURNETT: All right. We'll see what happens in the next few days. Paul Callan, thank you.

CALLAN: Nice being with you.

BURNETT: Well, in the last 10 years, there have been 8,000 cases of men using acid to punish and disfigure women. The woman who won an Academy Award for her documentary about this disturbing trend in Pakistan comes OUTFRONT tonight.

And our neighbor to the north -- oh, yes, we're watching you, Canada -- makes a play to become a super power -- an imperial play. There are a number of reasons why Canada is sniffing around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, the use of acid to punish women for doing things like asking for a divorce or turning down a wedding proposal. For the last decade alone, there have been more than 8,000 reported acid attacks in Pakistan. It's an atrocity that has gone unpunished until now.

Thirty-three-year-old Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Chinoy won an Academy Award for a documentary about victims of acid attacks. Her film has inspired the country's new legislature to act. An acid attack now considered a crime, which can carry up to life in prison.

Sharmeen Chinoy came OUTFRONT today and I want to warn you before you watch this -- some of the pictures are very hard to watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One night I was sleeping and he came and threw acid on my shoulder. A year later, he came back and threw it on my face. All because we rejected his proposal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I mean, it's just -- it's just horrific and it's -- I mean, it's barbaric. Why does it happen?

SHARMEEN OBAID CHINOY, DIRECTOR, "SAVING FACE": You know, it happens specifically in one area of Pakistan and it's a culmination of very many things. It has the lowest levels of literacy and highest levels of unemployment. And acid is widely available because it's used for cleaning cotton. You don't need to have a license to buy it. No one can trace the acid back to you.

To kill a woman, you need a gun. But to maim her face, you just need a chemical that's so widely available. And there is a mindset in that area that violence against women is OK because for years no one's been prosecuted for it. BURNETT: And I know that's part of your goal, right? For that to change. I mean, we have met some women in jail in Pakistan and it seemed at the very least their frustration was their cases never went to trial and no one ever seemed to listen to their side of the story.

CHINOY: Absolutely. The onus is on the educated Pakistani women to give back and to help the uneducated women and that's the central thesis of this film. If you -- if people watch, they'll realize there's strong female characters in the film. A strong lawyer, strong female parliamentarians who take up the fight and become the voice for these uneducated women.

BURNETT: There are some in Pakistan, though, who are frustrated at you and say, well, you're adding to these, you know, people in the West, they hear Pakistan and they think bad things and they think dangerous things. And they said you're adding to that.

What do you say to them?

CHINOY: You know, my response to that is that we need to talk about our problems. We cannot afford to sweep them under the carpet. But most importantly, you seldom hear of problems in Pakistan that have solutions.

Acid violence has a solution. The parliament in Pakistan has passed a bill against it. It -- there are people fighting against it.

So, what the film shows is that Pakistanis want, they can solve their own problems.

So, I look at as it as a film with hope as well as despair.

BURNETT: And what is the right punishment? I know you said something before that stuck with me which was, if you want to kill a woman, you get a gun. But a gun is hard to get. If you want to maim her, ruin her life and her livelihood, you throw acid in her face.

Is it essentially the same as killing someone? Should it carry the same punishment? And how have you gotten your head around the right punishment?

CHINOY: I think it's worse than killing someone because when you kill somebody, their life ends. But when you throw acid on their face, they're forever scarred. Each time they look in the mirror, they remember of that time.

Most women don't leave their home after this happens because there's so much shame associated with it. Somehow society has made them believe it's their fault that this has happened.

So, for me, this is like the living dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And, of course, an amazing documentary, worth seeing. Well, Canada offers up its oil for a couple of pandas apparently. A number of other loonie things our northern neighbor is doing tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Since Iceland's financial collapse in 2008, there have been a lot of discussions about whether the country should stick with the Icelandic krona or adopt another country's currency. The obvious choice could be for Iceland to submit to, say, oil king Norway or maybe join the E.U. and adopt the euro.

So, what does Iceland do? Well, that bring us to tonight's number, 126. That's how many Icelandic krona you can get for one Canadian dollar. Why is this exchange rate so crucial.

Iceland is considering adapting the Canadian loonie as its official currency. Now, on paper, this could make sense for both sides. Both economies are based on natural resources. Trade would go up and the stable Bank of Canada would gain control of Iceland's struggling economy.

And Canada seems, well, sort of kind, wow, imperial about it. On Friday, Canada's ambassador to Iceland said, quote, "We'd be certainly open to discussing the issue."

So, is Canada a rising imperial superpower? It's the 10th largest economy in the worlds. It has a better unemployment rate than the United States and Canada is AAA.

Oh, and after the U.S. delayed the Keystone pipeline, Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper went to China to talk about redirecting the pipeline to the Pacific coast where China's ships are waiting.

You know what brought this story to my attention today? A Canadian. They're everywhere.

Anderson Cooper starts now.