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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Interview with Gene Sperling; Economic Recovery; GOP Showdown; Deadly Beating
Aired June 12, 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: OUTFRONT next the top adviser to President Obama says the campaign strategy is destined to fail.
And a major development in the George Zimmerman case tonight. His wife arrested and charged.
And tears on the witness stand during the Jerry Sandusky trial. It was an emotional day in court. It started with allegations of a secret file on the former Penn State football coach.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Well, good evening, everyone, I'm Erin Burnett and OUTFRONT tonight a wake-up call from the raging Cajun, Bill Clinton's top adviser, James Carville, along with two respected Democratic pollsters out with a blistering 16-page indictment of the president's campaign strategy. Carville says the president's efforts to convince voters that the economy is going in the right direction is the wrong strategy in his words will fail. Well he's right about one thing. The president is selling a message of hope, hard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've gone through the worst financial crisis and economic crisis since the great depression. We've made significant progress. The good news is, is that we're starting to see progress. So we're making progress. We're moving in the right direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Progress -- does it add up. Well we looked at some important economic indicators with Bespoke Investment Research (ph). Just take a look at the unemployment rate. Now this chart starts in the summer of 2007, when America was booming. At the very top, unemployment was 4.6 percent. A level it had hovered at for years. Today it's 8.2. Now take a look at consumer confidence. It was just shy of a record then.
Today, it's more than 40 percent lower. And industrial production, despite recent gains in manufacturing is still not back to the levels of five years ago. And home prices, they peaked in 2006. They are down 35 percent from those levels, a bigger decline than in the great depression. One of our most reliable sources, Peter Kenny of Knight Capital Trading tells us at this stage of a recovery, we should be well past this level of stall in the rebound.
Well we asked our political "Strike Team" made up of independent reporters and analysts if the president can win just on the message that recovery is working that there's progress. Forty-three percent said yes, 56 percent no. Gene Sperling is the director of the National Economic Council for President Barack Obama. It's a job he actually held under Bill Clinton for whom he worked in both White House terms. Well I started by asking him if he sees James Carville's point.
GENE SPERLING, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Not really, unless you put it in a very simplistic way. I think the American public is smart enough to understand three points at the same time that this president inherited the worst financial recession, the deepest recession and downturn that we've had since the great depression so that we were in a very deep hole. I think they can recognize that we have made progress, but it's not good enough. We're not all the way back. The president is not satisfied. He won't be satisfied until unemployment is much lower and job growth is much higher.
BURNETT: I mean, there's a couple things, though. You know when you look at those charts, yes, indeed, this problem obviously started before the president came in office. Everybody knows that. But it got significantly worse while he was in office when you look at all of the indicators I just mentioned and then this, Gene, which I really am curious how the campaign will handle this real question. When you look at average hourly earnings, what people just earn from their jobs, the number outpaced inflation, but then when President Obama took over in 2011 that stopped. Inflation started to rise more quickly than wages. Now, who can he blame that on?
SPERLING: Well, you know, Erin, I mean, we went through the worst financial recession in our country. Obviously, the president inherited that midstream. Let's remember when he takes office, in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, our economy is shrinking at 7.8 percent. We've lost four million jobs, and we're losing jobs at 800,000 a month. That's the economy he took over. So, of course, it was on a deep dive.
Indeed, most people -- many people feared we could go into a global free-fall, even a second great depression. And the steps the president took didn't stop that on a dime. But they had a significant impact. We returned to growth in the second half of 2009. One year after we were losing 800,000 jobs in March, 2009, job growth was growing. If you look even how we are comparing to the last recovery, the tap-in under President Bush, we are over two million jobs ahead of pace than we were in the last recovery --
BURNETT: What does that mean, though? Because we have 735,000 fewer jobs now than we did than when this recession started.
SPERLING: Erin -- BURNETT: And that obviously doesn't count for you know growth of population, right?
SPERLING: Erin, there is --
BURNETT: I mean the hole is bigger than that, Gene.
SPERLING: Erin, there is no question that we inherited a deep, deep hole in this economy. And there is no question that things are not all the way back to where they should be --
BURNETT: Right, but Gene the question is --
SPERLING: -- or the president's vision.
BURNETT: OK, but hold on --
SPERLING: But Erin --
BURNETT: Hold on. But let me just ask you --
SPERLING: What was the -- what was the unemployment rate in November of 2010?
BURNETT: I'm going to bet --
SPERLING: What was the --
BURNETT: Was it 10.2?
SPERLING: Nine -- 9.8 percent. Now, is it wrong for the president to point out that in that 16, 17, 18 months, that we have gone from 9.8 to 8.2 percent? Is it wrong for him to point out that we have created 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the last 27 months, and that we haven't created that many manufacturing jobs in 17 years? And can make --
BURNETT: But Gene -- but Gene, again, you can make those points --
SPERLING: -- and still tell the -- and right --
BURNETT: But what about the fact that when I look at that --
BURNETT: -- that plunge, I see a plunge, and as a voter, I don't want to say, oh, I'm a little bit above the bottom of the Grand Canyon when I'm looking up at the top and going hey I used to be there. I want to know how you're going to get me there, right.
BURNETT: Not about how I'm a little higher than I was a year ago.
SPERLING: Absolutely. That's what I'm saying is --
BURNETT: But what is the president's plan for that?
SPERLING: -- we inherited a default. What's the president --
BURNETT: Isn't that James Carville's point?
SPERLING: The president's plan? The president is the one that first of all put out a 447 billion American jobs act, over half of it tax relief, for small businesses, workers, including things like putting construction workers and teachers back on the job that independent economists estimated would have added two million jobs to the economy this year. Why would they now work with the --
BURNETT: But Gene, you spent $3.8 trillion, $3.8 trillion. And that includes the other 297 billion of the jobs plan you're talking about that the president wants to spend and as you say has not been able to.
SPERLING: I -- Erin, I don't agree --
BURNETT: That's a lot of money.
SPERLING: I don't agree with the number you used one bit.
BURNETT: My number includes unemployment benefit insurance, extensions, payroll taxes, the stimulus plan.
SPERLING: I don't --
BURNETT: It also includes the TARP balance, which is still outstanding and it includes the fed.
SPERLING: No --
BURNETT: Isn't it fair to include what the fed has done as stimulus?
SPERLING: I don't think those numbers are right at all in terms of what taxpayers put on the line. And I think what you'd find, first of all, is that our problems with the deficit and debt are overwhelmingly due to the fact that we put two large tax cuts and two wars and a prescription drug plan on a credit card in the last decade. The measures the president took were measures he was compelled to do by the crisis he inherited. And our economy would be in far worse shape had he not taken them.
BURNETT: All right, Gene Sperling, thank you very much. Good to see you as always.
SPERLING: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. OUTFRONT next we talked about issues in the Democratic Party where there is a revolt. How about a revolt in the Republican Party? Some Republicans turning on a man that many call the most powerful member of the GOP.
And Spain is hoping prostitutes can help turn around its economy, which is swirling in a vortex.
And George Zimmerman's wife facing charges tonight of lying. What it means for the case against her husband, George.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT hey, you know what, Democratic Party is falling apart with infighting, so is the Republican Party. Good. Maybe we'll get some good people to come out of this. All right as President George H.W. Bush celebrates his 88th birthday, a wonderful thing no matter what your party is to see that. His son Jeb has been making headlines saying that Bush 41 and Ronald Reagan would not fit in with today's GOP.
Of course, prominent Republicans pounced including the anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist who called the remarks foolish and bizarre. Jeb Bush today came out on Twitter to say I want to clarify. And he said the point I was making yesterday is this. The political system today is hyper partisan. Both sides are at fault.
You know what, Jeb, come on this show. We agree. John Avlon, David Frum and Erick Erickson are here with me now and John, let's -- I guess just start with this. How big of a split is there in the GOP between Jeb Bush and Grover Norquist? Jeb Bush recently obviously also saying hey look I'm not a guy to be on board with that anti tax pledge.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's fascinating that these are the two faces of the split within the GOP right now. Jeb Bush versus Grover Norquist and you're seeing a growing number of elected starting to question the wisdom of Grover Norquist anti tax pledge. And when you know Jeb Bush says that his father, Ronald Reagan, might not have been welcomed in the current Republican Party well that's not a matter of opinion. That's a matter of litmus test. You can check down the box. It would be true for Barry Goldwater, too. It is a real challenge to this current status quo when a guy like Jeb Bush is saying we've gone too far and folks try to rhino hunt him out of the party.
BURNETT: Rhino hunt, Erick, whose side are you on? If you had to pick between the Jeb side and the Grover side?
ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well full disclosure. I was one of the people who privately urged Jeb Bush to run for president this year. I'd still rather him over our current nominee, although I'll support Mitt Romney. I like Jeb and I'm largely aligned with him, but at the same time, you know most of the people who would today say Ronald Reagan couldn't be the Republican nominee, back in 1980, probably wouldn't have been voting for him in the Republican primary at the time, including Jeb Bush.
BURNETT: Let me just play what Jeb Bush said about Grover Norquist's tax pledge, which you know everybody signed. I remember Jon Huntsman was the guy running for president who said I'm going to have no parts of it. But Jeb Bush, here's what he said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I ran for office three times. The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor. I don't believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people. You -- I respect Grover's political involvement. He has every right to do it. But I never signed any pledge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: David Frum, is that the voice of reason or is that just something that we mean now you couldn't get elected in the Republican Party?
DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You asked a couple of times what Jeb's side versus Grover's side. In fact, there are not two sides here, not yet. Jeb Bush needs to be on his own side. What has happened here is we have had a narrow faction of the Republican Party that has pushed the party toward a message that is economically counterproductive, that is culturally exclusionary, that is barbed racially that is not in keeping with modern America. Because of the severity of the depression, that side has had the illusion of success for an extremist message.
But it won't play. It can't govern. Now there's gathering resistance, but there is not yet any force organized to meet this faction and that is what Jeb Bush needs to do. He needs to be a leader here. He needs to be on the same side and he needs to stand up for the same principles that Lindsey Graham -- the same nervousness -- it's not yet a set of principles but the same apprehension that Lindsey Graham was articulating also. These are important voices of caution and they -- the party would do well to heed them.
AVLON: And let's be clear about what the ground that we're discussing here is, it's something we've talked about on this show a lot, this un-enthusiasm for raising taxes. It's really about a question of can we forge a grand bargain. Is it acceptable to come up with a deal like Bowles/Simpson where you can lower rates but close loopholes to raise revenue or is that a violation of the pledge? That is the critical question.
AVLON: It's about whether deficit and debt reduction is more important than anti-tax --
BURNETT: Right. Well now Grover Norquist has said he's all right with closing loopholes. Some might pay more, but I believe the issue is overall, he wants the revenue to remain the same.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Revenue-neutral, which is absurd if you're trying to reduce the deficit and the debt.
(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: Right. You can't. Then you're actually putting more of the burden on the poor and that means it's a regressive pledge -- Erick.
ERICKSON: I've got to say that what David just said, and to some of John's point, I think it's a little bit silly. I mean to say the Republicans are exclusionary and they're on the fringe, you know these are the same people who have moved to the left, who realize that the public isn't really with them, but they can't accept it. And when you look at 2010, the Republicans made the biggest gains at the local county, state and federal level since 1896. To say that somehow the Tea Party is out of touch that they're not in touch with the American people, that's not only palpable nonsense, it's factual nonsense.
FRUM: I will say the leaders -- the people are expressing the discontent inside the Tea Party. They are part of the public. But the leaders of the Tea Party, yes, they are totally out of touch and that's an example. When you interpret a vote against economic distress as a vote for a radical platform, and when you interpret your success in a year when less than 40 percent of the public came out to vote as a guide to how you're going to do when 55 percent of the public is going to come out to vote --
FRUM: When you say here's how we did in the electorate that is old and white and this is just how well we're going to do with an electorate that is not so old and not so white because we have a platform that doesn't address anything to do with how you address this great recession that our plan is to cut and cut and cut and to take away Medicare --
FRUM: -- from everyone under 55 --
FRUM: -- that is not a path to the future. And God --
FRUM: Thank you, Jeb Bush for saying so.
FRUM: I hope he keeps --
ERICKSON: -- years more Democrats have become Republicans than Democrats.
BURNETT: Yes, but you know, the other thing is here you've got on the Democratic side, Bill Clinton saying look taxes need to go up for everyone, as soon as we can. Obama is saying I'd veto any such thing. So you've got the Democrats moving farther to the left. You've got the Republicans moving farther to the right with Grover. They're getting further apart, John, not closer.
AVLON: Of course and we've known that -- we've seen that in poll after poll after poll.
AVLON: The parties are more polarized than ever before. But occasionally, independent voices step up and say stop, enough. We've got to find a way to reason together.
AVLON: (INAUDIBLE) Jeb Bush and Grover Norquist I don't think it's a split between the establishment and the Tea Party. It's about folks who are focusing on reducing deficit and debt who recognize we need to figure out a way to work together to solve these big problems.
AVLON: And people who have an absolutist position and that becomes a problem whether you're on the left or the right.
BURNETT: All right well thanks to all of you. We appreciate it.
All right still OUTFRONT a father beats a man to death for allegedly sexually assaulting his daughter. Is the death excessive force or was it justified?
And which country the United States thinks is sending attack helicopters into Syria to kill its citizens. It's not Iran.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT an outpouring of support for the Texas father who says he discovered a man trying to molest his 4- year-old daughter and in a fit of rage beat the man to death. The father told police he heard his daughter scream and caught the man trying to molest her. He admits hitting the man. Says he didn't mean to kill him.
The county sheriff says the story rings true and the community of Shiner (ph), Texas has rallied behind the father. The case, though, will soon be handed over to prosecutors for possible charges. Our legal contributor Paul Callan is on the story for us OUTFRONT tonight. Paul this is a tough one. I mean what determines in this case whether it was a justified killing or a crime?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well the law in Texas pretty much the same believe it or not as the law in Florida. They have a stand your ground law and if you believe that you're in danger of being killed or seriously injured or you're protecting somebody else, in this case, 4-year-old daughter, you can use deadly physical force on the assailant. And that's what the self defense claim is here.
BURNETT: Crucial question. If they didn't have the stand your ground law, would it mean he would be charged or not?
CALLAN: No and the reason is prosecutors, when they look at a case like this -- now, I'm assuming, and we don't know all of the facts here -- but assuming his daughter was being sexually molested, she was 4 years old, and he comes across this scene, prosecutors know there's no jury on earth that's going to convict this guy even if technically it's illegal.
CALLAN: So it looks like he beat the guy to death. Now, we've got to see what the autopsy says. And -- but if the autopsy shows that the force was reasonable under the circumstances, I'm pretty sure a grand jury won't indict.
BURNETT: Right. Because I mean you're saying even in self defense, it's whether you think someone is in danger of being killed, I would imagine most people would say just on a human level molesting a child of that age --
BURNETT: Maybe the child wasn't going to be killed, but that is --
CALLAN: Well --
BURNETT: -- if indeed it were true, such a horrific thing that nobody would say that it was unfair.
CALLAN: Absolutely. And it's an even lesser standard if it's serious physical injury and certainly the child in a molestation would be seriously injured. So I think legitimate self defense claim goes on the board, very sympathetic defendant unlikely to be indicted unless there is something we don't know about, which who knows.
BURNETT: And that could be what? I mean we obviously don't have the autopsy report.
CALLAN: Well --
BURNETT: It could be that or some history between these two men.
CALLAN: Yes --
BURNETT: I mean they were the only two in the room other than the girl. The girl did go to the hospital, though.
CALLAN: Could be a long, bad history. Could be the autopsy shows maybe the guy was dragged outside and hit with something. Maybe it didn't go down the way he said it went down. A lot of things turn up in autopsies that change cases.
BURNETT: Will the 4-year-old girl's testimony be used?
CALLAN: Probably not. I don't think they'd put a 4-year-old girl through that. And so I doubt that she would testify. And there will be physical evidence, though, if she was injured during the molestation. That would come in and be presented to the grand jury.
BURNETT: Such a strange case. (INAUDIBLE) people watching say they would want to kill someone if they ever saw such a thing happen too --
CALLAN: You know these cases happen --
BURNETT: Most people don't see it happening.
CALLAN: No they don't.
BURNETT: But you would as a father want to kill --
CALLAN: These cases happen all over the country and they get thrown out by prosecutors --
CALLAN: You have the right to protect your daughter, and use force to do it. And sometimes somebody is going to get killed when that happens. And maybe that's what happened here.
BURNETT: Maybe that's what happened. And if so, a miracle for that little girl that it didn't continue happening. Well thanks very much to Paul.
And still OUTFRONT in our second half a major development in the George Zimmerman case. Florida police arresting and charging his wife with lying.
And an emotional day in the Jerry Sandusky trial and someone who was in the courtroom going to be on our show, talk about what caused one of the alleged victims to break down into tears while he was on the witness stand.
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start the second half of the show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines.
Tomorrow, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon will testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee about his bank's $3 billion loss. We have his prepared testimony, and in it, he calls the loss an isolated event. Now he does go into details on how the trade went wrong, and steps the bank has taken to fix it. But remember the trade that went bad was actually supposed to help the bank reduce risk, and well, many times, Jamie Dimon had been asked about it and said it wasn't a problem. Thus does call into question his clarity in the statement saying that you know what, there is no other problems out there. That could be the big question tomorrow. He also talked about the portfolio, saying that it got bigger than he had any idea it might actually be. The U.S. is accusing Russia of escalating the conflict in Syria by sending attack helicopters to help with a government crackdown. Now we've been talking on this show for months about how Russia is Syria's chief arms supplier. We asked retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton (ph) what the U.S. options are in this case and he told us that NATO or the U.S. and its allies should establish a no-fly zone, sort of like the one we did in Libya. That would prevent the Assad regime from flying those helicopters. A new U.N. report today says the regime is using children as human shields and torturing kids whose parents are suspected dissidents. The U.N. peace-keeping chief has dubbed the conflict now formally a civil war.
And there is some good news tonight, though, on Amy Copeland. She's a 24-year-old who has been battling flesh-eating bacteria for more than a month. OUTFRONT has learned that Amy has been upgraded from critical to serious condition at a Georgia hospital. She lost her hands, part of her abdomen, one of her legs and remaining foot in an effort to battle the bacteria. But she started breathing and speaking on her own.
And in North Dakota today, voters are considering a proposal to get rid of property taxes. If the measure passes, North Dakota would be the first state to get rid of property taxes. Pretty big, bold move.
According to the Tax Foundation, the state would lose about $800 million in revenue. But North Dakota, you know, they kind of have a special position right now. They are the second largest oil-producing state in the country. Oil, natural gas, is why the state has the lowest unemployment in the nation. And so, they've got money. They have a surplus of about $1 billion.
Well, it's been 313 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. If we had a surplus, we wouldn't have this problem. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, the deficit, unfortunately, really threw a wrench into things today. The deficit came in May for $125 billion. A your ago in the same month, it was only about $54.
Our fifth story OUTFRONT, a big development in the case against George Zimmerman. His wife Shellie arrested and charged today with one count of perjury. Prosecutors say Shellie Zimmerman lied under oath to the judge during her husband's bond hearing on April 20th.
Testifying by phone, it was this exchange about their family finances and how much money they had that got her into trouble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you mention also in terms of the ability of your husband to make a bond amount, that you all have no money, is that correct?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S WIFE: To my knowledge, that's correct. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Were you aware of the Web site that Mr. Zimmerman or somebody on his behalf created?
ZIMMERMAN: I'm aware of that Web site.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how much money is in that Web site right now, or how much as a result of that Web site was --
ZIMMERMAN: Currently, I do not know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the truth. Records show that Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $74,000 from George Zimmerman's legal defense fund to her own account, just days before the bond hearing. And actually spoke to him about it during recorded jailhouse phone calls.
She'll be arraigned July 31st and has been released on $1,000 bond.
Mark NeJame is a Florida criminal defense attorney and a CNN legal analyst. He joins us. And in a moment, we're going to be joined by Trayvon Martin's attorneys.
Mark, let me ask you this. That exchange is pretty damning. I mean, she lied.
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's very damning, of course. And it's a tape that nobody can dispute. It's a recorded conversation while he was in jail, and she was listening from the outside and talking with him. So that's in evidence and it's there.
I would say that the primary defense, if any, that exists in that case is she said, "I currently do not know." So can she make an argument that at that moment when that question was asked, did she know the exact amount? The questions weren't asked, was there money in there, was any money transferred or otherwise?
So there is an angle that could be played out. But it's definitely damning. But there is a defense there.
BURNETT: Right. There's a defense. But it was pretty clear from the whole exchange at the time that the Zimmermans, you know, didn't -- George Zimmerman diplomat talk about exactly how much money had been there. They didn't admit to taking any out.
I mean, you can use a technicality of the law but it's pretty clear, right, that --
NEJAME: Well, technicalities --
BURNETT: Took the money out.
NEJAME: That's obvious. But technicalities are the law. The reality of it is, it's clear that she knew there was money in there and it's clear she moved it out.
Then you've got to really analyze the words to see if she has a defense. But it looks horrible. And if somebody lies under oath, they deserve to be punished. And it looks like she lied under oath.
BURNETT: And this does really -- I mean, does this, I guess, hurt the credibility of George Zimmerman who himself is trying to get a second bond, because he also didn't tell the full truth on this issue of how much money was in the fund.
NEJAME: Well, you have the court of public opinion, and, of course, it hurts. And then you have a court of law. It's not going to get in. He did not testify at his hearing, and didn't say anything under the Fifth Amendment.
NEJAME: He had no requirement to say anything. He can sit there and remain silent. And his lawyer has come out, did not know about it. When he found out about it, brought it forward.
So the fact of the matter is, it's -- unless she gets convicted before the trial, that probably won't get in. But it does hurt her credibility tremendously. And I think that anybody that's going to listen to her is going to be big questions on it -- clearly, in the court of public opinion.
BURNETT: All right. One final thing: the judge recently had written an order. I just want to quote from it here, about George Zimmerman, Mark, saying, quote, "George Zimmerman has now demonstrated he does not properly respect the law or the integrity of the judicial process."
Those are incredibly harsh words from a judge. And I'm wondering now that his wife is involved, what this means in terms of, you know, where the judge is intending to go with this.
NEJAME: Well, Judge Lester is an excellent judge. I've known him forever 30 years. He's fair, compassionate and tough as nails when he needs to be. He's what we want out of our judges.
NEJAME: The fact of the matter is, is that it's especially important when it comes or if it comes to a stand your ground hearing. There's less and less chance that might happen. But the fact of the matter, if there is a stand your ground hearing, George Zimmerman's testimony is going to be critical for a court's consideration to have this case thrown out early.
And because the judge clearly has suspicions about anything that may in the future come out of George Zimmerman's mouth, the reality of it is, it lessens his chance if, in fact, the case rests on George Zimmerman's word.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I want to bring the attorneys for Trayvon Martin into the conversation now. The parents of Trayvon Martin today made an emotional plea to change Florida's stand your ground law today. There was a task force meeting in Orlando where they did that.
The law, of course, is going to be a key factor in the case against George Zimmerman. The Florida neighborhood watchman says that he did shoot and kill Trayvon Martin. He says it was self defense. And the stand your ground, according to Mark O'Mara, the defense attorney -- intended to be a key part of the defense.
Benjamin Crump is the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family and he's OUTFRONT tonight, joining Mark and myself.
Benjamin, let me just start by asking first your reaction to the arrest of Shelly Zimmerman. That exchange you just heard where she lied, and what you think this does for your side of the story.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, TRAYVON MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, I'll simply say this, Erin. The prosecutor sent a strong message that you have to tell the truth in court because it's the basis of our entire American justice system. And credibility of every witness is always at the crux of the matter.
BURNETT: So do you think this makes your case strong, though, now that you have what's very clear on tape of George Zimmerman's wife lying?
CRUMP: Well, the special prosecutor who is prosecuting the case felt that as they said in court, it was blatant lies, and they feel that it is about credibility, and they're going to use any and every aspect of George Zimmerman's testimony, or statements, to put forth to the jury, Erin, and be able to say, is he telling the truth or not. It is all about credibility. Because it is only his version that says Trayvon Martin attacked him.
Every other piece of objective evidence seemed to suggest he said in his own words he was chasing Trayvon Martin. And so it certainly suggests that the objective evidence says that he pursued him, and it's only his version.
BURNETT: Yes. Benjamin, let me play -- today there was the hearing on the stand your ground law that I know George Zimmerman's team has said they're going to be using in his defense. Here is Trayvon Martin's mother making a very emotional plea for that law to be overturned before this case. Here she is today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOM: My 17-year-old son was unarmed. He had a bag of candy and a can of iced tea. He was not harming anyone. He was not committing any crime. And I just don't understand how this law was passed under these grounds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Benjamin, what are you asking the task force to do? Do you think you can get this law overturned in time for it to not be used by George Zimmerman and his defense?
CRUMP: Well, Erin, it's very important that you -- that everybody listens to her whole testimony to the task force. She first said that she is not opposed to the Second Amendment, and that they are not trying to have the whole law repealed. They're trying to have the Trayvon Martin amendment to the law that says you cannot pursue and then confront the person and kill them, and then say that I was standing my ground.
What a horrible message that sends to society, because as Trayvon's father said, it tells America that vigilantism is OK. And we can't have that message out there.
BURNETT: Mark, do you think they could get an amendment like that passed? I mean, my understanding was, if you pursue, that stand your ground may already not be applicable. But maybe I misunderstood.
NEJAME: Yes, look a couple sections of the stand your grand law, extremely complex. And to condense it into a short time like this, it's really requires almost some -- a law school class.
NEJAME: The reality of it, though, is that the perverse irony of all of this, the sad tragedy -- the additional tragedy of all this is that, you know, this law was passed in 2005 under Jeb Bush's Republican administration. It's been supported by all of the administrations that have been conservative administrations and the Florida legislature. And now, we have a conservative prosecutor, a conservative state attorney general, and a conservative governor who have all presumably supported this.
So, now, the very case that they're supporting is objecting to the stand your ground law. So we've got a great inconsistency going on. We also have to address are these gun laws we have that allow people to go ahead and basically arm themselves to the teeth and then walk around.
The fact of the matter is, yes, we have a law that has to be looked at and figure out how to make it right so that it's fair and it doesn't create injustices. But we also have a big issue. When you arm people, people are going to get shot and killed. And to let people in public places arm themselves to the teeth, whether it's a library or a mall or a public road or walkway, people are going to get killed when you have laws such as stand your ground that are not dealt with, in concert with gun laws.
And we've got an irresponsible approach in our legislature with our politicians the way they approach this. That's the bigger issue that independent of the tragedy that's occurred for the Martin family and what Zimmerman is going through that has to be addressed. And it's interestingly how conspicuously silent the NRA and some of the leading politicians are about this point. Oh, they're the ones that have pushed it from day one.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I think we can all agree, there's a serious issue with how this even happened. Somebody with a gun and somebody that didn't.
All right. Next, a key witness in the Jerry Sandusky trial took the stand. What former Penn State coach described finally came out today on the stand. What he really saw in the locker room that day.
BURNETT: Well, we've been talking for a long time about the economic problems in Spain. And it's gotten so bad politicians have been forced to lift a ban on prostitutes' advertising. That's right. If it you're a prostitute in Spain, as of today, you can now advertise your services in the local paper.
Apparently it's a very profitable advertising business. One study found that advertising by prostitutes brought in $50 million a year in Spain. And you know what? Right now, in Spain every one of those pesetas -- oh, sorry, wait, they still use the euros for now -- counts.
Today, Spain's borrowing costs soared. It now costs Spain 6.83 percent to borrow money for 10 years. Yes, if you have a mortgage in the U.S., you can realize how high that is. It's the highest interest rate since the euro started in 1999. And it is one Spain cannot afford.
There are a lot of people and politicians trying to find a solution to this problem. But a lot of things are getting lost in translation, literally.
According to a German paper, politicians have been forced to send back official E.U. documents, because they have been so poorly translated. So the rest of Europe has a problem and then Germany hears about the problem and can't even understand what it is. Maybe that's why it's taken several years to try to start solving it.
Politicians are being forced to waste time just getting documents clarified. So, the E.U. decided let's get an entire translation unit to solve this problem. They did. You know, there's 23 official languages spoken in the E.U., which means every official document has to be translated into every single one. Even into Maltese. How many people even speak that?
It's an expensive process. And that's our number tonight -- $375 million. That's how much the E.U. spends every year on translation services. That's about 300 million euros. That's a really lot of money that adds up fast and maybe that's a canary in the coal mine of how bad it is over there.
All right. Well, now, we're back with our "Outer Circle" -- let's reach out to our sources around world, and we go far, far away for this one to Australia. The 30-year-old mystery of the death of 2- month-old Azaria Chamberlain has finally come to an end. A court ruled that Azaria, who disappeared from her family's tent during a holiday in 1980 by the famous Ayers Rock was killed by a dingo, a type of wild dog.
The story gained worldwide attention and was made into a 1988 Meryl Streep film, "A cry in the Dark."
Kieran Gilbert from Sky News Australia is following the case. And I asked him how they finally came to this verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIERAN GILBERT, SKY NEWS AUSTRALIA: Erin, the wheels of justice have moved very, very slowly for the Chamberlain family. It was 32 years ago that the Chamberlains said a dingo had taken their baby from their campsite at Uluru or as it was known then, Ayers Rock, in central Australia and it's taken more than three decades for the Australian legal system to catch up. Four coronial inquests.
Lindy Chamberlain was sentenced to a prison term for the death and then exonerated. The Chamberlains have already been paid compensation, but it was never actually decided unequivocally by the legal system that it had been a dingo. The cause of death was left open.
Well, yesterday, Azaria Chamberlain's death certificate was finally complete. A northern territory coroner emotional in making her ruling did say, and ruled finally a dingo had taken their baby, Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. And I guess as Jerry Seinfeld said, a dingo stole their baby.
Now let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360."
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Hi, Erin.
We're keeping them honest on the program tonight.
Americans got slammed by the recession, we all know that, with net worth plunging nearly 40 percent. A new report points that out. And now the political blame game, well, it's begun. Mitt Romney pointed the finger at the president even though he wasn't in office the entire time.
The Obama campaign, though, not backing down either with a new attack ad, attacking Romney's job record while governor the Massachusetts. The numbers and the facts ahead. Keeping them both honest.
I'm also joined by Kevin Madden and Cornell Belcher.
Also, the latest on the fires blazing across Colorado and New Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of acres already lost. And with winds expected to pick up tomorrow, little progress made today -- what little progress was made today could be lost. We're going to check in with Chad Myers. Those stories and a new report out of Syria documenting almost unthinkable acts by pro-regime forces, the use of children as human shields, in addition to the torture and murder of children.
It's all starting at the top of the hour, Erin. We'll have a lot more as well.
BURNETT: All right. Looking forward to hearing all that, Anderson.
All right. Well, it was an emotional day of testimony in the case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. An 18-year-old who prosecutors identify as victim number one broke down in tears as he testified how Sandusky repeatedly abused him from the age of 11.
Testimony which also brought some jurors to tears was followed by more disturbing statements from key prosecution witness Mike McQueary. You may remember him, the redheaded assistant football coach who was the first eyewitness to tell the jury he saw Sandusky molesting a young boy in the showers at Penn State.
Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He denies all of the allegations.
Jean Casarez is a correspondent with "In Session." She's in the courtroom for all of this today.
Paul Callan is our legal contributor and a criminal defense attorney.
Jean, let me just start with you. You were there. What was that moment like when the victim broke down into tears and why?
JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: You know, Erin, he started to -- and I said to myself, I was sitting in court, and I said, he's breaking down, he's going to start to cry. And when he outlined the first sexual abuse that truly he says happened to him, he just started to sob. Absolutely sob.
And at one point, I saw him look at Jerry Sandusky and he glared at him like he was so angry. But he was petrified on that stand. And the prosecutor said, why didn't you tell your mother? He said, "To my mother, Jerry Sandusky was my role model. I hadn't had a father. I couldn't tell her." And I saw the prosecutor look at Jerry Sandusky and just paused for a second and glared at him.
And the jury very focused but the young man who is going to be a senior at Penn State, he could not look at someone so close to him in age as he testified so graphically on that stand.
BURNETT: And, Jean, what did Mike McQueary say? This incident that we've all heard so much about. That he said or before had said, he saw Jerry Sandusky with a boy in the shower and then went and told the head coach, Joe Paterno, about it the next day.
What did he say? Did you learn anything new about that moment today?
CASAREZ: It was so detailed. That's what was new to me. He was very confident. He said that he was home that night and decided, I'm going to go do some work.
So, he went to the coach's locker room because he was an assistant coach. And he opened the first door. He heard slapping sounds. The showers were running.
Very confused. Didn't understand what he thought he heard. Went to the second door. Went to his locker. Looked in the mirror. Saw showers, saw Jerry Sandusky with a little boy, he testified.
He then looked for himself. He said he saw the little boy with his hands up on the shower wall. He said he took his locker door and slammed it shut and then was three to five feet, and what was happening broke up and they all had eye contact.
And then he called his father and he went to his father and he said, "What do I do?" And his father said, "Go to Joe Paterno."
BURNETT: Paul Callan, obviously incredibly emotional and hard to hear. Obviously, Jerry Sandusky still denies that any of this happened. What's going to happen here in terms of a verdict? I mean, jury members are crying.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this case is starting out very, very well for the prosecution. You've had two days of very compelling, very moving testimony.
Mike McQueary's testimony today, you know, you would have thought on cross examination maybe they would really make a dent in his credibility, his believability. But most courtroom observers said, no, McQueary came across very well.
One of the phrases that just resonates, he said -- he told Joe Paterno what he saw in the shower room was wrong. It was perverse and it was clearly sexual. I don't think I've seen those words used like that to demonstrate it was clearly conveyed to Joe Paterno what was going on in that locker room with Sandusky.
BURNETT: Paul and Jean, thank you very much.
And a major fast food chain is launching its new summer menu tomorrow. But we actually know what's going to be on it. We have the press release.
You know what? There's something on this menu that I think Mayor Bloomberg needs to know about.
And all of you that hate Mayor Bloomberg right now, you might actually want him to get involved.
BURNETT: So, tomorrow is a really big day in the world of fast food. That's when Burger King will finally announce its long awaited summer menu. It's a backyard barbecue theme and the menu is expected to include a new style whopper, a pulled pork sandwich, barbecue chicken, sweet potato fries, frozen lemonade and a vanilla sundae.
But it's the vanilla sundae that caught my eye because in addition to ice cream, it also includes fudge, caramel, lots of both of those things and a ton of bacon. Oh, oh.
Tested in Nashville area Burger Kings since earlier this year, the company hopes the bacon sundae will win back customers, especially restaurants like Denny's and Jack in a Box which apparently already offer big and flavored desserts, which is strange for a lot of reasons, but mostly because two months ago, Burger King rolled out a $750 million plan to go healthy, salads and wraps, and things like that.
Maybe the bottom line is people want what they want. They want bacon flavored sundaes. Some of you are saying that's delicious and other people are throwing up and saying, why do you do these stories at dinnertime.
Mayor Bloomberg would get so hot and bothered about this, he would ban Burger King. But maybe there's another solution. If you want bacon sundaes? Fine. But you pay higher health insurance premiums. We'll take a picture any time you go and you bought a bacon sundae, higher premium.
Let us know what you think. Thanks for watching.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.