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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Ryan's Influence; Drawing a Red Line; Personal Info for Sale
Aired August 22, 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, Paul Ryan's curious comment about abortion today. Will his boss follow suit?
And a little-known company that knows more about you than the FBI, the IRS, even Google and they're making money off of that -- tonight, an OUTFRONT investigation.
And Michelle Obama headed to Wisconsin tomorrow to meet with victims of the Sikh temple shooting. Why some say it is too little and too late. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, who's the boss? Here's Paul Ryan today on abortion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (INAUDIBLE) I'm proud of my record. (INAUDIBLE) I'm proud of my record. Mitt Romney's going to be the president. The president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. I'm comfortable with it because it's a good step in the right direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Here's one thing we know for sure about Paul Ryan. He is precise. He likes his facts, his figures and his numbers. He has written four budgets totally hundreds of pages. He thinks before he speaks and he even bragged about that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: Words matter a lot and I'm putting a lot of effort into them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: On abortion, his record is extremely consistent. He received a score of zero from NARAL Pro-Choice America which means he has voted against every pro-choice piece of legislation that group has backed. And Ryan has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, meaning he has backed every piece of anti-abortion legislation that group has supported.
Those are pretty good scores, zero and 100, a man of precision. You want to know where he stands, you know. As the "Wisconsin State Journal" simply reported in 1998 when Paul Ryan first ran for Congress, quote, "Ryan says he opposes all abortions." Ryan told the "Weekly Standard" in 2010, quote, "I'm as pro-life as a person gets. I am never not going to not vote pro-life."
Paul Ryan makes up his mind and he sticks to it. He has long said he only supports abortion if the mother's life is at risk but not in cases of rape or incest. But now that appears to be changing. On this issue, he says he will defer to his boss. So where does his boss really stand? After all, Mitt Romney has gone back and forth on this specific issue. In 1994 when he was running against Ted Kennedy trying to win the liberal senator's seat in Congress, here's his view.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it and I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Fast-forward 13 years to 2007, Mitt Romney now competing with his fellow Republicans for the GOP presidential nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: We should overturn Roe v. Wade and return these issues to the states.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And now here is Mitt Romney just yesterday in an interview with CNN affiliate WCMH of Columbus, Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: With regards to my own view, I've made it very clear, I'm pro-life. But I believe there should be exceptions in the case of rape and incest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Very clear. Well, all right. It made us wonder, will Paul Ryan even though he's the number two be the one convincing Mitt Romney to change his mind on abortion, on Medicare, on a lot of things? After all, Paul Ryan has been clear and consistent on this issue. Mitt Romney has not. If you're the person of conviction, maybe you can convince the person who doesn't have conviction.
Paul Ryan could be a lot more powerful than your average VP. After all, this guy is a policy wonk who has dedicated his professional life to very specific causes and views on how this country should be run. Craig Gilbert has covered Paul Ryan extensively for his hometown newspaper "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel". Mark Preston is our political director here at CNN. And Reihan Salam writer of the "Agenda" (ph) blog at "The National Review" joins us.
Craig, let me start with you because you have known Paul Ryan for a long time, before he became this person now who has exploded on the national stage. How influential do you think he will be on Mitt Romney, on this campaign, on all of these issues that he has for so long felt so firmly about?
CRAIG GILBERT, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Well I think he has a chance to be pretty influential for two reasons. One, the one you noted, which is that he has very strong views. He has a very well- developed set of issue positions and well-developed belief system. And, two, he has kind of an independent stature in the Republican Party and in the conservative movement. That's why you saw conservatives lobbying to have Ryan picked for the ticket. So I think Romney has to show conservatives that he's listening to Paul Ryan.
BURNETT: But let me ask you this, Mark, in terms of Paul Ryan because he is so strong and a man of conviction. We've seen strong VPs in the past, right, Dick Cheney, you know people who loved him, loved him. People who hated him said he was the puppeteer, right? They said he had unprecedented influence. Joe Biden of course was picked by Barack Obama because he was the person with foreign policy experience the president lacked at the time. Where would Paul Ryan fall on the influence spectrum?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well let's just talk about the short term right now. Influentially, he's going to help Mitt Romney with social conservatives. Craig just said that. Having Paul Ryan on the ticket might you know help some social conservatives not be so concerned about Mitt Romney being the nominee. Long-term though, it's going to be about fiscal policy.
He is the budget chairman in the House. He's very well-respected within conservative circles. And let's not forget, as much as we talk about the Medicare debate, Paul Ryan has not shied away from it and has been talking a lot about it on the campaign trail. And this is something we haven't really been discussing very much, Erin. But Paul Ryan could help Mitt Romney navigate Capitol Hill. He's a long-time staffer on Capitol Hill. He's been in office himself since 1999. He knows how to navigate up there. He knows the personalities. Mitt Romney has no Washington experience.
BURNETT: Reihan, I want to talk about the fiscal side of it in just a moment because there's a real conflict between Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney on that as well. But first this issue of abortion, obviously the American public certainly supports abortion in the cases of rape or incest, to allow that choice, the majority of people do. We called all five Republican women senators today and all of them supported that. Three of them in fact described themselves as pro- choice. Paul Ryan certainly is not on the side of most American people on this issue. He's going to defer to Mitt Romney. But do you think he'll move Mitt Romney?
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I find that unlikely partly because Mitt Romney has been around for a very long time. He's a very -- he's been a leader for a long time. It's hard for me to imagine him deferring to a much younger guy but also because --
BURNETT: It's not hard to imagine him changing his view on abortion.
SALAM: Well when --
BURNETT: I mean it's gone from --
SALAM: Well the accusation is that he does it for reason of political expediency and when you look at the politics of abortion, it's actually very ambiguous. There are a lot of folks who will call themselves pro-life or pro-choice and not necessarily mean what Paul Ryan means or what Mitt Romney means.
BURNETT: Fair point.
SALAM: There's actually a lot of movement, so for example, 59 percent of men and 56 percent of women favor more restrictions on abortion than we have now, but not all of those folks describe themselves as pro-life. Some of them describe themselves as pro- choice, so again --
BURNETT: There is ambiguity --
SALAM: -- there's a lot of ambiguity here.
BURNETT: Yes. All right, well and now let's talk about this issue of fiscal loopholes because let me ask you this because this is something Paul Ryan is passionate about. You know when he came out with his budget this year, I interviewed him that day and he said look I'm going to get money because I'm going to close a lot of these loopholes that benefit the wealthy. And that you know he didn't leave anything off the table, but obviously Mitt Romney does not feel that way about some very crucial ones, capital gains, for example. So how is that going to play out? This is an issue where Paul Ryan knows a lot and he cares a lot.
GILBERT: Yes, he does and unlike social issues, this is really kind of the issues that Paul Ryan wants to lead on and these are the issues he thinks should be defining the Republican Party for independent voters and undecided voters. So yes, this is where his energy is going to go into. You know Paul Ryan has been more specific on the spending side than on the tax side. He's thrown some general principles out there. But you know there are a lot of gaps that still need to be filled in, even in terms of his own tax policy.
BURNETT: All right well thanks to all of you and everyone let us know what you think. Who's going to end up being the boss on a lot of these things, Mr. Ryan or Mr. Romney?
Still OUTFRONT, President Obama and his red lines. He's warning Syria not to cross one tonight. But is his red line just a lot of talk?
And a key figure in the Sandusky sex scandal speaks out for the first time. That interview here ahead and the first lady going to Wisconsin to meet with the victims of the Sikh temple shooting. Some of those families though say the White House has completely failed. That's OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, drawing the red line. That's what President Obama tried to do this week when he warned Syria about using chemical weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: We have heard a lot of red line talk from the administration. Here's Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in January talking about Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Number one, we cannot allow them to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line. And number two we cannot tolerate Iran blocking the Straits of Hormuz. And that's a red line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But are these red line warnings talk? Take the chemical weapons, the risk is serious. According to CIA reports Syria has one of the most advanced chemical weapons programs in the entire Middle East. If those weapons fall into the hands of al Qaeda, the United States would be on high alert. But would America really ever act on these red lines?
Eric Schmitt is a reporter with "The New York Times" and the author of "Counter Strike: The Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against al Qaeda" (ph) and Fran Townsend is CNN's national security contributor. Eric, I want to start with you. When the president says there's a red line on Syria when it comes to chemical weapons, how serious is the threat of those weapons falling into the hands of al Qaeda?
ERIC SCHMITT, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I think Erin right now the threat is still relatively small. But intelligence analysts worry it could be growing and here's why. As Assad's forces become more desperate in fighting the rebels, there is a concern that he could use these chemical weapons against them. If he uses them, he has to move them out of the arsenals in which they are now stored.
And by moving them, they then become more vulnerable to capture by some of the other extremist groups, including those linked to al Qaeda. And that, of course, is the real nightmare scenario for the administration that he could possibly use these chemical weapons not only against the rebels but they could be vulnerable to capture by the extremists.
BURNETT: And Fran though what about this talk of red line, so say one of these steps starts to happen as Eric's referring to, does Syria really think that President Obama would act? I mean what would he be able to do? Do they believe him?
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well Erin, I think, one, in terms of the threat of a red line, we've got to -- we have to believe that President Obama's statement is really meant to be a deterrent, a warning to Syria not to cross that red line. The problem with that is, is the message is what he hears. Everything short of that is sort of fair game, is not the red line.
You know there's been a real concern that we haven't been doing enough to help and protect the Syrian people, to help the rebels. And frankly, more than al Qaeda -- the more immediate threat, I think is these sorts of weapons falling into the hands of Lebanese Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a proxy of Iran. They're clearly resident inside of Syria and they've got a real presence there and have known to be a threat in the region and to the U.S. directly.
BURNETT: Eric, I'm just wondering does the United States even have the ability -- so we say there's a red line -- to stop movement of these chemical weapons. I'm just you know thinking about the Libyan intervention, right, where there was intervention and now we see surface-to-air missiles and all these weapons, you know as we were seeing in northern Africa now in the hands of militants linked to al Qaeda.
SCHMITT: Well Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has talked about how the U.S. and its regional allies, Israel and Jordan, for instance, are monitoring closely the suspected sites of these chemical weapons. The Pentagon has also done some preliminary planning that it would require tens of thousands of troops to go in on the ground to secure these sites, so they're watching the scene very closely, but obviously it would be a major commitment of U.S. military force should these weapons become vulnerable.
BURNETT: And, Fran, a final question. An influential Israeli TV channel this week saying Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, will strike -- bomb Iran before the election. This talk had died down. Everyone had thought this has gone away. Now it's raising its ugly head again. Do you take that risk seriously?
TOWNSEND: Oh absolutely I do and more importantly, I think American administration officials do. That's why you've seen this constant travel over there by members of the cabinet to try to reassure the Israelis. Look they were told to wait and see if sanctions would be effective. Sanctions are having an impact but they're not changing Iranian behavior. And that's the ultimate test for the Israeli prime minister, so I think we've got to expect that Benjamin Netanyahu will act if he believes that the sanctions aren't changing Iranian behavior. BURNETT: All right and of course the president is just praying that that action if it happens is not before November. All right thanks so much to both of you. Appreciate it and of course check out Eric's great book.
Well next, there's a company in Arkansas, Arkansas, and it knows more about you than any government agency, more than Google, more than the IRS and what they're doing with that information is even more alarming. There is an OUTFRONT investigation next. And a man at the center of the Jerry Sandusky scandal speaking out tonight for the first time -- his side of the story OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: And now our third story, OUTFRONT, "Under Surveillance"". It's no secret of course that the FBI, the IRS, websites like Google and Facebook know a lot about you, probably stuff that you will regret ever telling them. But what they know pales in comparison to the information being collected by a little known company in Little Rock Arkansas, Acxiom Corporation. It's home to the world's largest data collecting center, knows the basics about you, knows your name, your age, your race, your gender. OK fine, right?
But guess what? They also know your political affiliation, what you buy, your financial status, what you make and very sensitive health information. Not only do they know this, but they are selling this information to other companies. Here's Ed Lavandera OUTFRONT.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They've been called the cyberazi (ph), largely unknown companies that buy and sell personal information on virtually everyone across the country; data marketing is now a $300 billion industry.
DON JACKSON, SECURITY RESEARCHER, DELL SECUREWORKS: They know more about us than we know about ourselves and they can actually predict what we'll do in the future with a high degree of accuracy.
LAVANDERA: There are hundreds of data brokering companies in the U.S. One of the largest is a company called Acxiom based in Little Rock, Arkansas. In case you missed it, this company recorded sales last year of more than $1 billion. This is the first TV interview Acxiom's chief executive has ever granted. Scott Howe says he wants to demystify what his company does.
SCOTT HOWE, CEO, ACXIOM: I think there is a misunderstanding about what we do. So we collect data and we use that data about people to give them more relevant advertising and help businesses make better decisions about marketing to those people.
LAVANDERA: Acxiom said it has marketing data on 144 million households in America. The raw data about individual people is run through complex algorithms, tracking purchasing and lifestyle patterns. Then you're grouped into a life stage cluster. There are about 70 different groupings with names like savvy singles and apple pie families. It's all perfectly legal, but pinpointing exactly how it's all done and what they have isn't easy.
(on camera): Do you know the numbers to my bank accounts?
HOWE: Let me tell you what we know. We collect things like contact information, demographics and your preferences on things, pretty generic stuff, so it includes things like telephone books.
LAVANDERA: It takes more than a phone book to get that information, right?
HOWE: It's really the melting pot of all of this different information that we are, again, securely, appropriately and legally collecting on consumers.
LAVANDERA: This is the complex where Acxiom keeps all of its computer servers that are constantly processing the staggering bits of information about you. We asked the company for a tour inside to see how it all works. But Acxiom officials say all of this is off limits.
(on camera): Why is that?
HOWE: There's not a bank in the world who is going to let you take cameras into their bank vault. We view our data the same way.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Privacy experts say it all plays into the secrecy of the data brokering industry.
SARAH DOWNEY, PRIVACY ANALYST, ABINE.COM: I think they try to exist below the radar because their entire business model is based on selling your personal information and that's a disconcerting thought to a lot of people.
LAVANDERA: Data brokers are taking snapshots of your life and like the real paparazzi, the cyberazi (ph) is always watching.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Little Rock, Arkansas.
BURNETT: Well OUTFRONT next, standing up to the grand ole party. How a 22-year-old woman is sending shock waves through the entire Republican establishment and so she's OUTFRONT next.
And new information just in on a tropical storm that is on the verge of becoming a hurricane and could hit Tampa on Monday.
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines. And we have breaking news tonight on Isaac. That's the tropical storm now in the Caribbean. The latest forecast shows it could be a hurricane as early as tomorrow and could threaten the Republican Convention in Tampa next week.
Meteorologist Chad Myers is watching the path of the storm. Chad, this is something a lot of people said just could not happen because it hasn't in decades and decades. What's the latest?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and all that talk when they put it in Tampa in hurricane season, they go, don't worry about it. It will never happen, the odds are -- well, the odds have gone up significantly -- at least 10 percent to 15 percent now.
Now, I cannot let you -- I can't rule out anywhere from New Orleans to North Carolina. You say, that's a great forecast. That's like two to 10 inches of snow. No, this is too far away. This is still about six days out if it would get to New Orleans -- six days out if it would get to North Carolina. These things go left and they go right.
One thing I can guarantee you about this storm is this forecast will change. It may change back, but it will change at least one time. Right now, winds are 45. Hurricane hunters in there flying around, not finding very much, about 40 miles per hour right now. It may have weakened just a little bit in the past little bit.
Now, let me show you what the forecast track is and let me explain this cone thing. We haven't talked like in a year, right? I mean, kind of lose track of what these things are. This big white box here is the left side or the right side of where this thing could go. It could go to the Carolinas. It could go into the Gulf of Mexico. The middle of the line, the most logical place for it to go, the middle of all the computer models is somewhere over Cuba into the Florida straits and up toward Florida.
Again, my guarantee, it's going to go left and right, the forecast is going to change, maybe even change back. We'll have to see.
But if it doesn't change at all, this is a very big storm. Before it hits America, this is going to hit Haiti, at 400,000, 500,000 people live in tents in Haiti, because all the houses got knocked down in that earthquake. So this is already a big problem if this storm right there with that eye hits the Dominican Republic and then finally into Haiti in probably 48 hours.
Let's talk about this now. If we zoom in -- I hate to do this because it's still five days away -- what does that center right there mean? This would be Fort Myers. It means that 275 miles around that center is the error possibility of where this could be on Tuesday. It could be all the way into the Atlantic. It could be in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.
Watch it with us. We'll keep you up to date. Every time it changes, we'll tell you. But this is a big one for 50,000 people that have never seen a hurricane before going to Tampa, Florida.
BURNETT: And a GOP convention that desperately does not want to be canceled. The mayor of Tampa said he will if he has to.
Thanks very much to Chad.
MYER: You're welcome, Erin. BURNETT: So, this is a hurricane everyone's going to be watching more avidly than most.
Also, now, new developments tonight in the case of Chavis Carter, the 21-year-old who was fatally shot as he sat handcuffed in the back of a police car in Arkansas. Jonesboro police say they spoke to Carter's girlfriend and she told them that Carter called her from the police car and said he told her he had a gun and that he was scared.
Police say they're inspecting Carter's cell phone use. But they say that Carter received a text message from another man asking Carter to bring a gun. And according to police, that man admitted to sending the text, which was sent about half an hour before Carter encountered the police.
Police are still investigating the death which was July 29th. But a medical examiner earlier this week concluded that Carter committed suicide. The attorney for members of the Carter natural have pointed to race, noting that the officers are white.
The attorney told OUTFRONT Monday there are still many questions to be answered.
Well, an OUTFRONT update on Aimee Copeland, you know her, the young woman we've been following since she was diagnosed with a flesh- eating disease in May.
Well, tonight, wonderful news. She is home for the first time and her father, Andy, told us that Aimee left her rehab facility earlier today. Before bringing her home, they stopped at a steakhouse for a late lunch. She spent the afternoon watching "Futurama" with her sister Page.
You may remember from coming on to the show talking about her sister. Local companies contributed labor and materials. There's been an addition to the family home. It's completed now, ready for Aimee and all the needs she will have. She lost her leg a foot and her hands in her fight against flesh-eating bacteria. But she is fighting back with prosthetics and going to win.
It has been 384 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating? What are we doing to get it back?
Today, the Congressional Budget Office issued a warning about the fiscal cliff, saying, hey, if we go over, lemmings, it could cause a significant recession and 9 percent unemployment next year.
Our fourth story OUTFRONT now, standing up to the Grand Old Party. So, you know, a lot has been made of the Republican Party's platform, especially because of the Todd Akin story this week on hot button social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
Now, one woman who just happens to be the youngest member of the Republican platform committee is challenging her party's conventional thinking and generational divide. In fact, she is the only member of the committee, 110 people, who brought up Representative Todd Akin by name during a debate about abortion and said the platform needs to be more welcoming to women.
OUTFRONT tonight is Jackie Curtiss. She is at the GOP convention in Tampa.
Jackie, we're hoping you're not going to get rained out or anything like it.
So, you have caught everyone's attention and I was amazed when I heard about you yesterday. I'm so glad you're coming, you decided to come on the show.
So take me inside the room about what happened yesterday. Everyone's talking about abortion and you raise your hand and bring up Todd Akin. What did you do?
JACKIE CURTISS, YOUNGEST MEMBER OF THE GOP PLATFORM COMMITTEE: Yesterday, a woman from North Carolina proposed an amendment to a section on health care that the FDA ban drugs that could be known as abortion bills. She named one in particular, but she also had the language kind of vague to include any pill, any medication that could induce abortion. I simply asked her if that would include the morning-after pill, Plan B. She responded and I didn't really get the answer that I was looking for to say that, absolutely not, that didn't include the morning-after pill.
And frankly I spoke up and said, in light of the comments by Congressman Todd Akin, the party needs to show the American people our sensitivity on the issue of rape. And we need to not support an amendment that could possibly take away a rape victim's best chance at preventing pregnancy.
BURNETT: And so a lot of people would say, tell us how you come to grips with this. You're in there trying to force change from within. I mean, we've all read that line, you know, and that line, and that amendment, if it went through, would not allow the states to allow a woman to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest. That's what that amendment would do.
Are you trying to change that completely?
CURTISS: You know, I don't feel like that amendment specifically said that. I do feel like it singled out medication abortion.
And, you know, what I'm trying to do is start a debate. I personally believe that in the case of rape and incest and life of the mother, that we should make exceptions for abortion. Our Republican candidates feel that same way. The Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, feels that way.
And frankly, I think most of the Republican Party and the American people feel that way. It just wasn't -- that representative in that room yesterday.
BURNETT: So what are you trying to do to bring younger people into your party? A lot of people watching tonight will look and say, gosh, she's a young woman and she's talking passionately about effecting change from within the Republican Party. They're not used to seeing that, right? In 2008, people in the age group of 18 to 24, 68 percent went for President Obama -- 30 percent for John McCain.
What do you think would change that?
CURTISS: I think the Republican Party needs to focus on the issues that I think are the most important to the American people because those are the issues that are the most important to young people. We want jobs when we graduate from college. We want the economy to do well. We want the same things as everyone else.
We want the party to focus on those issues because those should be the focus of this election. And it's the focus of what's important to the young people.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Jackie, thank you very much. We look forward to meeting you and seeing you down in Tampa.
Well, two months after former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse, the fallout continues at Penn State. The school was fined $60 million. Its football team banned from bowl games for four years and all victories since 1988 have been vacated. And that doesn't even talk about the costly civil suits that are going to be coming down the line. There are also cases against Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, both charged with failing to report a sexual assault and with lying to a grand jury.
Now, noticeably absent, though, from these cases is former Penn State president Graham Spanier. He's not been charged with anything. He sat down with our Jeffrey Toobin and "The New Yorker." And Jeff is here.
I mean, this -- people have been really, really wanting to know what this guy had to say. You spent several hours with him.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I did.
BURNETT: Over a couple of days.
TOOBIN: I did.
BURNETT: A lot of heart-to-heart conversation. Everyone's wondering why he hasn't been charged, along with other leaders at Penn State. Did you get an answer?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, I have to say -- I went into this interview I think probably like a lot of people. That I was so horrified by the Jerry Sandusky scandal. I wanted to see all these people thrown to the wolves.
But, you know, Spanier has a story. Spanier says, look, Sandusky was horrible, but I did not know. And there are two incidents at the heart of the Freeh report, the 1998 incident and the 2001. And we went through those in considerable detail. And he says, look, in 1998, I was copied on a couple of e-mails. I did not know. And by the way, those were, in fact, reported to the police, that incident. And the police declined to press charges. The 2001 incident, he's in a much more vulnerable position and it's a more complicated situation.
BURNETT: All right. So, let's talk about the Freeh report. Of course, it's gotten a lot of coverage. It was a scathing report. And it concluded, quote, four of the most powerful people at Pennsylvania State University, including Spanier and Joe Paterno failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for the past decade.
Let's listen to what Graham Spanier said to you about the report.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GRAHAM SPANIER, FORMER PENN STATE PRESIDENT: The Freeh report is wrong, it's unfair, it's deeply flawed, it has many errors and omissions. I know they had a lot of very good people on that team working on this. They interviewed, they say, over 430 people. Many of those folks have spoken to me about their interviews. Many of them describe those interviews to me as a witch hunt.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: A witch hunt. It sounds defensive.
TOOBIN: Yes. He's pretty defensive. And he's very angry about it. Frankly, I don't buy that it was a witch hunt.
But whether in fact Spanier is culpable here is much more of an open question than I thought. The 2001 incident, that's the one we spent so much time talking about. That's Mike McQueary, the famous redhead graduate assistant who saw something in the bathroom of the football locker --
BURNETT: The shower.
TOOBIN: The shower, I'm sorry. And then, you know, reported it to Joe Paterno. What he saw and what he testified at the trial is something very different, Spanier says, from what he was told about what happened. He says he was only told there was horseplay, not a very sexual and rape-like encounter.
BURNETT: OK. I still remain someone who doesn't understand why anybody would think that a man engaging in horseplay with a teenager boy in a shower, I mean --
TOOBIN: That's a big problem for his position.
BURNETT: And you asked him about an e-mail in which they were talking about trying to be more humane towards Jerry Sandusky. One of the damning emails and let's listen to that and get your takeaway from what he said. Here's Mr. Spanier said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SPANIER: I think what people -- many people wanted to read into it was that it was humane for us not to turn him in for being a known child predator. But I never, ever heard anything about child abuse or sexual abuse or my antennae raised up enough to even suspect that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: This is, again, where I'm confused -- horseplay between a naked man and naked teenager in a shower. How did that --
TOOBIN: So fascinating. Graham Spanier, before he became a college administrator was a sociologist with a specialty in child abuse. I mean, this is something he knows about tremendously. And he says he's a big intervener as an administrator.
I mean, he says his antennae was not raised. He said he asked Schultz and Curley, what was this? Are you sure it was nothing more than horseplay?
Again, he says that's all he was told. It's not clear what horseplay was to him. But they did not do what they could have done in 2001.
BURNETT: Very quickly, tenured professor at Penn State, he still is one despite all of this. Is he being paid?
TOOBIN: He sure is. He is no longer living in the president's house but he is still a tenured professor. His wife is a tenured professor. And they intend, as far as I can tell, to stay there for the foreseeable future.
BURNETT: All right. Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much. I know a lot of we're waiting to hear.
Well, ahead, Michelle Obama plans on meeting with the victims of the deadly temple shooting in Wisconsin tomorrow. One family, though, is upset. That's OUTFRONT.
An incredible video of a volcano erupting in Ecuador. This is pretty stupendous video. That's next.
BURNETT: We're back with tonight's "Outer Circle" and we reach out to our sources around the world for that. So, we go tonight to Ecuador where a volcano has been spewing molten rock, ash and lava since the weekend. Rafael Romo is OUTFRONT and I asked him how the eruption is affecting local residents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Erin, people living near the volcano known Tungurahua are already evacuating the area. Ecuadoran authorities say falling ash has ruined farms and is endangering farm animals around the volcano. They're trying to keep highways in the area open. The glacier capped volcano rises to almost 16,500 feet above sea level. It's been erupting periodically since 1999.
Back in July and August of 2006, Tungurahua killed at least four people and left two missing during a particularly active period. In April of 2011, ashes from the volcano rose more than four miles into the air and authorities closed schools and evacuated residents in areas nearby. It hasn't gotten that bad this time. But Ecuadoran authorities want to be prepared -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to Rafael.
Now, let's check in with Anderson with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360." Hey, Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Hey, Erin. Yes, we're keeping them honest tonight on the program. Congressman Todd Akin still hanging on despite calls from all levels of the Republican Party to abandon his Senate run in Missouri. So why is he blaming the liberal media instead and will that strategy actually work for him?
We're also going to look at the changing language Paul Ryan is now using to describe rape.
Plus, Chicago's homicide rate has surged 31 percent so far this year. Last night, we took you on the street with police trying to get a handle on crime. Tonight, we take you inside the E.R. where an overnight shift one of the doctors said can feel like a war zone.
Also story you've been covering, tropical storm Isaac could very well become hurricane Isaac, threatening to hit the Florida coast on Monday, perhaps Tampa, the start of the Republican convention. We're going to have new information at the top of the hour from the CNN weather center -- a new report, a new tracking for the storm. We'll have that.
Of course, tonight's "Ridiculist" and a whole lot more, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, see you in just a few moments, watching that track like a hawk.
BURNETT: All right. Our fifth story OUTFRONT: new information tonight about the officer hailed as a hero. He saved lives during the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting and this is wonderful news because Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy who was among the first to arrive at the Sikh temple, he was shot nine times, is out of the hospital. A news came late this afternoon, just a day before First Lady Michelle Obama heads to Wisconsin to meet with family members of those killed and injured.
It's been 17 days since the shooting that left six dead and four wounded. But it is the first time anyone from the first family has visited. And some in the community say it's not enough. Among them is the Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka. His uncle, Satwant Singh Kaleka, the president of the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, was killed on august 5th.
Moments ago, I spoke to Kanwardeep and we spoke about Officer Murphy's release. But I started by asking about how Kanwardeep was doing?
KANWARDEEP SINGH KALEKA, NEPHEW OF SIKH TEMPLE PRESIDENT WHO WAS KILLED: I'm doing all right. It's been pretty chaotic since this all has happened. And just trying to get back to work and trying to focus and get back to regular day life. It's somewhat difficult, you know, especially when you're still trying to wrap around just basically just the impact of all this.
BURNETT: And as you go through that, the first lady says she's going to be coming out. Obviously, she's just coming out tomorrow to meet with family members and I know that you've chosen to not be among that group.
Why your frustration with her gesture?
KALEKA: To be frank, it's a good first step, but I think there's a lot more than need to be done, needs to be done, both by President Obama and I think the presidential candidate Mitt Romney. I just think there's a lot of solidarity that needs to be shown.
And the first lady visiting is nice. It's a campaign stop as well. I think the community appreciates it. It's a little later than we were hoping to get. Any sort of recognition or, you know, sympathy or however you want to call it.
BURNETT: Kanwardeep, when you mentioned that this was a campaign stop, what makes you feel that way? I mean, the White House obviously, you know, they say to us they know it's not a campaign stop, but what makes you -- what makes you feel that way? Obviously on the day this horrible tragedy happened, the president and Mitt Romney put out statements condemning it. The attorney general has been out to Oak Creek. Obviously, the president has not until this point.
But what makes you feel that way?
KALEKA: A phone call to the families would have been nice, something along those lines, just showing their support on a more personal level. I think when a tragedy like this happens they're expected to make a statement. And it's good that they did, but you know, for me what I really want is action.
I think the time may have passed and, you know, I'm sure it would still be accepted in terms -- or welcomed in either of them want to reach out to the families of the victims or the community itself.
BURNETT: Let me ask you about where you stand, how important this is to you and how you now feel about politics. I know that you're a registered Democrat. You gave money to President Obama last election cycle when he ran for president, obviously voted for him. Has this changed your view on him? On donating? On voting?
KALEKA: You know, the verdict is still out. I think right now I would have appreciated more support earlier on. I think there's an opportunity for this to happen.
BURNETT: Do you think the president handled things differently with the Colorado movie theatre shooting than he did with you? I mean, obviously, he had made calls there that he didn't make in the case of the temple shooting. But do you think that he did? And if so, why? Why do you think that decision was made?
KALEKA: You know, logistically, he did handle it differently. He visited Aurora at least once, I'm told twice. He did make the phone calls to the families. Whereas in our case, he did not.
You know, in terms of the whys -- you know, a lot of it is the political environment, you know? We're not in a state of unity. When you hear this -- the fear, the hate talk about oh, he's a Muslim, we can't vote for him. Things of that nature, I think are sort of what create an environment where it's difficult.
BURNETT: Kanwardeep, I just want to give you some news here that we have just out tonight. Lieutenant Brian Murphy, the policeman who was, the heroic policeman who took all those shots to try to save lives have just been released from the hospital.
KALEKA: That's really tremendous. I think after everything that's happened, we really -- I mean, you know, his heroism was amazing. Thank you for that wonderful news.
BURNETT: Well, thank you for taking the time to talk to us again, Kanwardeep. We appreciate it.
BURNETT: All right, the U.S. looked the other way in Ethiopia and now it's coming back to haunt us.
BURNETT: Today, the body of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived in Ethiopia from Brussels. No one is sure yet how he died. But, you know, that's part of the secrecy which shrouded his authoritarian rule.
The story matters to America because Ethiopia's dictator was an ally in the fight against al Qaeda and Somalia. Thanks to that allegiance, the U.S. looked the other way on things like how Zenawi regime jailed opposition leaders and journalists and led Ethiopia to ranking of 174 in 187 countries in the human development index. That measures human rights.
We saw what an African police state looked like when I was at Ethiopia last month. At the airport, it took an hour to clear customs, not because of lines, because of checks and questioning. Officials tried multiple times to take us in government cars so they'd know where we went and they only relented after forcing us to leave hundreds of thousands of TV gear in the airport.
Outside the airport, we saw -- this is the outside of the airport -- you see nothing. Inside was empty. Outside was a crowd. Why, we asked? They said we're not allowed in to greet our arriving our families and friends. The police are worried about unrest so the people stand outside in the rain.
Another visual that ties some of these together is this photo -- this is myself and our camera man Christian next to a Lada, those are the ancient Russian cars which are still the taxi cab of choice in Addis Ababa, left over from when Ethiopia was a socialist ally of the USSR. Maybe that's why the United States is so proud of winning Ethiopia over as an ally. It's proof we won the Cold War.
But despite supporting the regime that deprived its nation of a free press, the United States isn't reaping the benefits you might expect. These guys are. These are Chinese businessmen in the airport. They are everywhere. China is the biggest investor in Ethiopia. That's right. They were everywhere.
Here's the bottom line: The U.S. gives about $1 billion a year in aid to a dictator and looks the other way on human rights and China gets the prize. That's kind of ugly no matter how you look at it.
Thanks as always so much for watching. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.
"A.C. 360" starts right now.