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Shooting At Texas Community College; Mickelson's Tax Problem; Interview with Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

Aired January 22, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, just weeks after Newtown, another shooting at an American school as two gunmen open fire at a Texas college. We go to Houston for the latest.

Plus the family of an American hostage murdered in Algeria spoke out today.

Beyonce's national anthem, what you may not have known about it. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a shooting at a Texas campus. Shots rang out at the Lone Star Community College in Houston today in what officials now are blaming on a fight between two people. It was pretty awful to watch.

It was so much uncertainty today as we started to see just what those helicopter shots, people running, there were stretchers. No one was sure what was happening, where the shooters were.

Police and emergency responders swarmed the campus minutes after a 911 call. Students were ducking under desks and running for cover. Here's how one terrified witness described it.


AMANDA VASQUEZ, STUDENT AT LONE STAR COLLEGE (via telephone): I heard about six shots and kids started rushing down the hallway and a few even came into our classroom. Everything really happened so fast. I called my mom just because I need her to know that I was OK. And that, you know, that I loved her just in case anything was going to happen.


BURNETT: At least three individuals were injured, a maintenance worker among them who was caught in the crossfire and two suspects are in custody. Ed Lavandera is in Houston tonight with the latest. Ed, what is your understanding at this point about how this happened?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really, the best information or the most colorful information we have received or heard so far is from those witnesses that saw the altercation taking place. There was one witness who had told one of the initial reporters here on the scene that they had seen the altercation escalate. And in the words of that one witness, they talked about how it seemed like it was something that could have been resolved but it kept escalating. One gun involved between these two people. The maintenance worker who was shot in the crossfire there was wounded in the leg and he is being treated in the hospital as well.

The two people who were involved in the altercation are also hospitalized and wounded and being treated as well, but so far, no charges and no arrests have been made -- Erin.

BURNETT: Ed, what can you tell us, you say one gun between the two people? With so much focus now on gun laws, what kinds of guns are used, whether they're legal, what do you know at this point?

LAVANDERA: Well, we have been asking around as to whether or not this was a hand gun that was legally owned, legally purchased, what the background is on that gun. Obviously, there are agents that will handle that part of the investigation.

I haven't been able to confirm anything on that end just yet. However, you know, hand guns in the state of Texas, you are legally allowed to carry a hand gun if you have the proper license and that sort of thing.

However, just because you have that license doesn't mean you can carry guns on to a school campus. Campuses and churches, there's a laundry list of places where you can't carry guns and school campuses are one of those.

So as the sheriff here said in what I think was a school campus official said it's impossible to check the thousands and thousands of students that come through here, but in theory, this is not a place where you should have had a gun.

BURNETT: All right, Ed Lavandera, thank you very much. Ed continues to work that story. As Ed just mentioned, those Texas laws, they are actually considering a law in Texas right now that would allow you to carry a concealed hand gun on a college or university campus.

I want to talk more about that because this is the fourth school shooting since the massacre in Newtown and it comes amid a bitter debate over gun control in the United States. Just yesterday in his inaugural address, the president appeared to link the debate to the founding principles and the constitution.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have always understood that when times change, so must we. That fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges. That preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Hogan Gidley, Republican strategist, Michael Waldman, former speech writer for President Clinton and John Avlon. Michael, let me start with you. Obviously, that was a reference, it was a rather oblique one, to the gun control debate, but a reference it appeared to be.

The fourth school shooting, though, in more than a month, nearly half of the American people disapprove of what the president is doing on gun control. Is it time now for less talk and more action from the president on gun control?

MICHAEL WALDMAN, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE, NYU: Well, you're right, that in that powerful speech yesterday, he used the words and the sentiments of the founders to argue for his agenda and one of the elements obliquely, though not explicitly, was gun control.

Now, he took the first step with those 19 executive actions, but the next step, of course, is in the hands of Congress, where the NRA has been one of the most powerful forces for years and years and years. The really interesting question is this.

This horrible shooting today following on those other horrible shootings, of course we've had these before, but since Newtown, perhaps things have tipped. Now the media is paying attention.

Every time it's a new bit of information about why we need some sanity on guns and when that happens, even politicians who are afraid of the NRA might become afraid of looking like they're just on the wrong side of history and the facts.

BURNETT: Hogan, let me ask you about this, because you know, the NRA has said let's put armed guards in schools. I've been skeptical of that just because all of a sudden you think you're going to find this whole host of people in the United States that know how to handle all these situations and know how to handle guns and know how to shoot and you're just going to put them in schools tomorrow and it's going to work.

But I'm curious because the Lone Star College system, of course, where the shooting was today at the community college, employs commissioned police officers, they will put the statement up, but I will paraphrase it here, that are just like police officers as well as non-commissioned security guards and those police officers carry department approved hand guns.

The security guards are unarmed. So they have both kinds. They have armed guards. Armed guards did not stop this.


BURNETT: My point is --

GIDLEY: It could have been a lot worse? We don't know. It's tough to know --

BURNETT: -- saying we're just going to put armed guards in all the schools, how can that possibly be a serious solution?

GIDLEY: Well, how could it not be a serious solution? If this is the battlefield with which the criminals have decided to fight, for us not to arm somebody on those campuses would just be ridiculous. No one's talking about a post-apocalyptic razor wire scenario here, but armed guards are at festivals and football games already.

Half the children at Newtown, half of them probably wanted to be policemen or firemen so it wouldn't be traumatic to any child or any college student for sure. That's just the world we live in today. The sanity we're talking about here as the previous guest just mentioned.

The definition of sanity is going to be a little bit different from him and myself, because quite frankly, we need to look at some common sense solutions and feel good legislation is not going to matter. We need something that actually gets something accomplished and actually protects our children, and does that mean universal background checks?

Probably so. Does that mean armed guards at some of these schools? Absolutely. There are a lot of things we didn't look at. The mental health factor of it we talked about for weeks now since Newtown. But it's no one thing is going to fix the entire problem here. Criminals are criminals for a reason. They're just bad people and evil happens in this country.

BURNETT: Let me ask you a question. You raise a lot of good points and as you said, universal background checks, you said probably a good idea. Obviously the vast majority of Americans and Republicans support them.

But I just have to ask you this since you are obviously coming here from the conservative side of the spectrum. If you're going to get armed guards in all schools, would you have federal money pay for that? I mean, schools are getting so many cutbacks right now, where are they going to get the money?

GIDLEY: Well, thankfully that's not my job to figure out. That's something Congress and the states are going to have to come up with. But look, talk to states like -- look, I think armed guards are important but look at a state like Florida.

Let's look at what the states do. They have a 10-20 life law. They raised the penalty for gun crimes. If you commit a crime with a gun it's 10 years mandatory. If you actually show that weapon, it's 20 years. If you actually use the weapon to commit the crime, it's absolutely life.

That's for a first time offender. Those types of things at the state level that we can look to, the federal government needs to look at and see, those are things that actually could prevent some of this gun violence. Let's make the crimes harsher, let's federalize some of the penalties for using a gun to commit a crime.

BURNETT: All right, I just -- I find it ironic that people who want spending cuts are proposing more spending. That's a separate issue. John, let me ask you about this that I referenced in Texas.

They are now saying there's a law being considered, a bill in Texas, where if you're already allowed to carry concealed hand gun, you would now be allowed to carry that concealed hand gun on a college or university campus. Is that bill going to change because of what happened today or is it just going to go full ahead?

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Let's hope so, I mean, if there's some common sense and decency on the part of the legislators to respond to changing facts on the ground. Look, I mean, this shooting is a case study for why more guns on college campuses are a terrible idea.

I mean, it doesn't pass the common sense test. Anyone who has been to college, it's hard to imagine a worst case scenario than a bunch of college students with more guns, but every once in awhile this ideological driven idiocy is not driven by reality too often in our recent history.

Four school shootings since Newtown? At what point will we get a reality check and realize the worst thing we can do is have more guns on college campuses? Today is a reality check, yet another one. This is a case study for why that proposal is idiotic from the beginning. Hopefully some of these politicians will wake up.

BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to all three of you. We appreciate you taking the time and giving us your thoughts.

OUTFRONT next, golfer Phil Mickelson forced to apologize for saying he plans to make drastic changes because of the new tax laws.

Plus, a major development in the Petraeus sex scandal.

And Prince Harry brags about killing Taliban soldiers. Has he actually put the British people in danger?


BURNETT: Our second story ,OUTFRONT, Phil Mickelson's mulligan. The professional golfer apologized today for saying he was going to make, his words, drastic changes in his life because of new tax laws. There is no question that Phil Mickelson's taxes are going up. He is one of the highest earners in professional golf.

Only Tiger Woods made more in 2012, according to "Golf Digest." Phil Mickelson's numbers, $5.3 million on the course, which is really just chump change for this guy because he made $40 million in endorsements.

Now, the 42-year-old golf champion told the "New York Times," I'll quote him, "if you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and unemployment and Social Security and state, my tax rate is 62 percent to 63 percent."

Roland martin is a CNN contributor and so is Reihan Salam who also writes for the "National Review." All right, I love this story because this hits on so many things. Reihan, let me start with you.

A lot of Americans are going to have a lot of trouble saying Phil Mickelson earning $45 million, I really, I do not feel sorry for you. But this isn't really just about the super-rich who are going to pay about two-thirds of their income in taxes, is it?

REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. It's also true that when you look at California, they raised the rate on those top earners. They also raised the sales tax from about 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent.

That doesn't sound like a huge increase but the thing is it's already the highest state sales tax in the country and the reason they're raising taxes on top earners is the same as they're raising the sales tax.

It's that California's government is really ridiculously inefficient. It's one of the worst state governments in the country. So if those tax dollars were buying a great efficient terrific public sector. That would be one thing, but instead, it's paying for mediocrity and yet they keep asking for more and more.

BURNETT: Roland, that brings me to a point. You know, when Phil Mickelson was asked would you leave California or the United States because of taxes, he said I'm not sure. But you know what, when taxes get to a certain point, people start to make those decisions and it's easy to point and say you're not patriotic. Maybe part of the problem is with the taxes.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, he's the Gerard Depardieu of golf obviously because he decided to leave France and go to Russia. I was going to talk about notorious B.I.G. song, "Mo Money, Mo Problems." Look, this is California.

Governor Ann Richards when she was governor and I was covering politics there, she often would go to California to recruit companies to move to Texas because of what, taxes. You have Governor Rick Perry who sent a tweet to Phil Mickelson saying come on to Texas.

A lot of golfers actually live in Texas and Florida, why, because of taxes. Today, Tiger Woods held a news conference, he's playing in the tournament out there in Torrey Pines and he addressed the issue, saying one of the reasons he left his native California to move to Florida was because of taxes.

Here's my suggestion to Phil Mickelson. If you really want to confront taxes, be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger and run for governor of California.

BURNETT: There's another way to change it.

MARTIN: Run for governor.

BURNETT: There's another way to change it. Reihan, you know, Mickelson apologized. Everyone jumps on the guy and he said look, I should have kept my comments private but then he also said this. I think this is really important. Right now, I'm like many Americans who are trying to understand the new tax laws. I've been learning a lot over the last few months and I have talked with people who are trying to help me make intelligent and informed decisions.

I certainly don't have a definitive plan at this time, but like everyone else I want to make decisions that are best for my future and my family. Look, just because -- whether you're rich or whether you're poor, when your taxes change dramatically, people can change how they spend money. What's wrong with that? Why are people picking on him for that?

SALAM: I think it's pretty silly to pick on him for it. What happened in California is that that top rate went from 10.3 percent to 13.3 percent. Then for a lot of hires across the country because of the new federal laws, you're also paying a 39.6 percent top rate.

That means forget about other taxes like capital gains and all that stuff and the Obama care taxes. You're looking at a rate that's a little bit over 50 percent. That means for every additional dollar, every new golf tournament, every new endorsement you get, you get less than half of every additional dollar.

So that's going to have a big effect on your decision making. I'm not saying that rich people shouldn't pay a reasonable share of taxes. That's totally fair enough. But once you get to those very high rates, it starts affecting your economic activity and that has big consequences for everyone else.

Not only that, but when a state like California depends more on those high earners, the tax base gets really volatile.

MARTIN: But Erin, here's the deal, 98 percent of the country is saying Phil, shut up. They would love to make $40 million a year. They would love to win a golf tournament and make $1 million.

He was right when he said I should have kept my criticism to myself because he looks like a whiner. Here's the other piece. When he goes and plays in a golf tournament, know what he wants? He wants the people out there to buy tickets to see him play.

BURNETT: Right. That's a fair point.

MARTIN: He wants them to buy his golf clubs and the clothes he wears.

BURNETT: You know what, Roland, I see your point. I think you're totally right. But then I think about it, I think how many people does Phil Mickelson employ directly or indirectly? If he stops employing some of them because his taxes, but is too afraid to talk out about it because people say he's whining, you have this bad effect and no one is aware --

MARTIN: There's only one person he needs to employ, his caddy. If his caddy isn't happening, he's not winning on the gulf tournament. SALAM: Look, this is actually a very, very important issue because California is an asset for the whole country. California has one of the best climates. It's one of the most beautiful places. Why is that state losing people to Texas, to Washington State, to Nevada, to all these other --

MARTIN: Texas is God's country that's why.

BURNETT: They have term limits. Maybe we should think twice.

MARTIN: Erin, I'm a native Texan. We welcome all Californians to come to Texas.

SALAM: You'll get more of them.

MARTIN: Please.

BURNETT: All right, thanks very much. Roland's smart. Knows where the taxes are low. That's where he lives.

All right, still to come, Beyonce's national anthem was one of yesterday's inauguration highlights. But we didn't know something pretty significant until this afternoon.

Prince Harry boasted about killing Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Has he put his countrymen in danger? That's next.


BURNETT: Our third story, OUTFRONT, fear of retaliation. There are concerns in Britain tonight that the Taliban could be seeking revenge after Prince Harry boasted of killing Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.


PRINCE HARRY: Take a life to save a life. That's what we sort of revolve around, I suppose. You know, if there are people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them on the game, I suppose.


BURNETT: Those comments were made as Prince Harry completes a four-month tour of duty. OUTFRONT tonight, Max Foster with more on what military life was like for Prince Harry in Afghanistan.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Combat ready, Captain Wales of the British Army making final checks to his helicopter before a mission. This is Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, serving his country in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

(on camera): This is the flight line, where the aircraft operate from, including the Apache attack helicopter. This is what is Captain Wales has been flying. PRINCE HARRY: Our job is to make sure guys are safe on the ground. If that means shooting someone who is shooting at them, then we'll do it.

FOSTER (voice-over): No one is saying how many insurgents Harry might have killed during his 19-week deployment. But sitting in the front seat means it was Harry who was in charge of the Apache weapons system.

PRINCE HARRY: Got the panel up here so we know exactly what's going on.

FOSTER: Other bits of kit met more basic requirements.

PRINCE HARRY: In our bag we have (inaudible). If you're in the aircraft three and a half, four hours, if I can hold on, I will. Once you've been out here two or three weeks, you master the art.

FOSTER: Away from his helicopter, Captain Wales mixed freely on base, eating in the canteen like anyone else.

LT. COL. TOM DE LA RUE, BRITISH ARMY: He's not treated any differently. My interaction with him is exactly the same as with any of my other officers.

FOSTER: On down time between missions, video games with the crew.

SGT. JAMES JOHN, BRITISH ARMY: It's mainly squadron. That's the way he likes to be treated when he's in work, essentially.

FOSTER: Back on the flight line, it was all about the job and the wider strategic aim, building the role of the Afghan National Army, the ANA, so it can eventually take over.

PRINCE HARRY: It's great to see the ANA taking more of a lead in things as well and you know, the professionalism is definitely showing through.

FOSTER: That's something his superiors in the army might say of the prince himself. Max Foster, CNN, Afghanistan.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, there were a lot of amazing performances at yesterday's inauguration. It was pretty awesome to see all those bands at the balls. So why did the audience just phone it in?

And the family of an American hostage who was killed during the Algerian hostage crisis spoke out today.


BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories we care about where we focus on reporting from the front lines and we begin with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tomorrow. She is testifying finally about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.

Now, officials tell us she will address concerns about weak security at U.S. diplomatic posts and will answer quote, "every question asked of her," among those questioning her, Republican Representative Chris Smith of the Foreign Relations Committee.

He tells OUTFRONT, he wants to know if Clinton was aware of the request for security upgrades at the consulate. We are going to speak to the congressman tomorrow to see if he is satisfied with the secretary's answer.

And we have an OUTFRONT update on the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet who has been fighting to keep his sight because last week we told you about an assailant who had a mask on who threw acid at Sergei Filin he approached his home. The Russian state media reports he received third degree burns to his face and eyes and our Phil Black says he's scheduled for another surgery tomorrow. Doctors will not know if he will have sight or be blind for another 10 days.

Well, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is once again dismissing the impact of Western sanctions on his country. Today, Fars, the country's semi-official news agency, quoted Ahmadinejad as saying, "I don't give a damn if you don't want to buy Iran's oil. We can gain 10 times more money through our academic inventions than the money we earn through oil sales."

Anthony Cordesman of CSIS says the sanctions are having a very powerful impact on the Iranian economy, but they have only succeed in slowing the nuclear program, not halting it -- meaning a decision on what to do about that for the United States and Israel could come in the next few months.

Well, the Defense Department inspector general has cleared General John Allen of allegations he wrote inappropriate e-mails to Jill Kelly. Now, Jill Kelly had claimed that she was being threatened by Paula Broadwell. You may remember the woman who had an affair with the former CIA director, David Petraeus.

We were sent an op-ed by Kelley and her husband, Scott, that will be published by "The Washington Post." In it, the Kelleys describe how they were victimized throughout the ordeal. They also urged Congress to consider legislation to strengthen electronic privacy.

Well, it has been 537 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, a total of about 4.65 million homes were sold in 2012. These are homes that were previously owned. That number may not mean much but it does mean something important. It's the best year we've seen for those home sales since 2007.

And now, our fourth story OUTFRONT: mourning the hostages lost. The family of one of the American victims of the Algeria hostage crisis spoke out today.

Victor Lovelady's brother and daughter told the world a bit more about the man they've lost.


MIKE LOVELADY, BROTHER OF MAN KILLED IN ALGERIAN HOSTAGE STANDOFF: I just want to know how my brother died. It means a lot to me. If they told us they don't think he suffered.


M. LOVELADY: I want to know that, because that's closure for me.

E. LOVELADY: My whole life, he's always told me that good things happen to good people. And that I was a good person and good things were going to happen for me. And he's always told us that. That's what makes this so hard, because how good he was and that he didn't deserve that.


BURNETT: We are also hearing more now from the hostages who did survive.

Nic Robertson has their stunning stories.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): As it began at the remote Algerian gas facility, no one had any idea that one of the most ambitious terror attacks of the last decade was under way.

ODDVAR BIRKEDAL, FORMER HOSTAGE IN ALGERIA: When I woke up early Wednesday morning, I heard the alarm sound and gun fighting.

ROBERTSON: Neither they nor their families knew what was happening.

TONY GRISEDALE, FORMER HOSTAGE IN ALGERIA: We could hear gunfire outside, machine gunfire and mortars (INAUDIBLE). Sometimes rapidly, sometimes quiet for a little bit. We knew it was really, really bad situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just went back to the accommodation, locked the door, battened down the shutters, knocked the lights and kept quiet.

ROBERTSON: Around 40 armed Islamist militants loyal to this al Qaeda connected jihadist, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, stormed the site, taking hostages.

BRIAN MCFAUL, BROTHER OF ESCAPED HOSTAGE: They made him sleep with a Semtex on his or strap around his neck, he had duct tape over his mouth and his hands tied.

ROBERTSON: McFaul's brother Steven survived. British engineer Gary Barlow did not. He had called his wife and told her he had explosives strapped on his body.

Security sources say the terrorists may have been trying to take them out of the country to be used as bargaining chips to stop attacks on the militants.

Inside the plant, the jihadists' agenda to take only non-Muslims hostage was becoming clearer.

ALAN WRIGHT, FORMER HOSTAGE IN ALGERIA (through translator): They asked if we were Algerian Muslims. We said yes. Then they said don't worry, we are here to promote Islam and to give USA a lesson about Islam.

ROBERTSON: Some foreign workers were helped to freedom by Algerian workers.

GRISEDALE: They said they were going to cut the fence and head into the desert, so they gave us coats, they gave us hats to make us look a bit more blending in. We moved into the desert very, very reasonably quickly and then we were picked up by military.

ROBERTSON: By the time Algerian forces finally took control of the sprawling plant late Saturday, at least 37 foreign hostages were dead, including three Americans and three Britons. Others are still missing.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


BURNETT: Three Americans dead in Algeria. You just heard from Nic.

This is the response from President Obama. One paper statement, one paragraph. He put it out the night the hostage crisis ended, that was a Saturday night.

Now, he has had a lot going on this weekend, for sure. There was the inauguration. There was the speech. There were the balls. And there were a lot of people to see from Beyonce to Alicia Keys.

But take a look at the response from our closest ally. British Prime Minister David Cameron postponed a major speech to deal with the crisis and he talked to television and parliament three times.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It appears to have been a large well-coordinated and heavily armed assault and it is probable it had been preplanned.

The world needs to come together to deal with this threat in North Africa.

This attack underlines the threat that terrorist groups pose to the countries and the peoples of that region, and to our citizens, our companies and our interests, too.


BURNETT: Britain, like the United States, lost three citizens in the crisis.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs joins me tonight.

And, sir, thanks very much.

Obviously, two very different responses. The president yet hasn't said anything physically out of his mouth. Prime Minister Cameron obviously coming out several times, talking passionately. Three Americans are dead and something that Leon Panetta and the administration called a terrorist attack immediately.

Do the American people deserve to hear directly from our president about this?

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Erin, what I have been focused on in the days since I came back from a trip overseas is making sure that the highest level of our government is engaged, is committed to a full response to this attack by AQIM, one that as you pointed out cost not just the lives of three Americans, three Britons, but 37 foreign nationals. This is a reminder that AQIM, an affiliate of al Qaeda in West Africa, is a lethal threat, not just to our immediate interests but to our allies' interests.

And I think it is important that leaders in the United States such as I have done as the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee chair, make statements positively, make statements that denounce this attack and that suggest our willingness to engage in strong support for actions in Mali that were in part what caused this attack in the first place.

BURNETT: You know, yesterday the president didn't touch on foreign policy very much in his inauguration speech, but he did a little bit. I just wanted to play you a part of what he said. Here's the president.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform tempered by the flames of battle are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm.


BURNETT: Now, Senator, obviously few would disagree with what he said there. It's pretty basic, eloquently said, as much of what he says is. But with three Americans dead in a terror attack in 48 hours before he was speaking, would it have made sense to perhaps mention that?

COONS: Well, Erin, I'm not going to parse with you exactly what the president said in his inaugural address, his second inaugural address. I'll simply comment that I just returned on Sunday from a visit to Egypt, to Afghanistan, to Jordan, to Israel, with six other senators, a bipartisan delegation. We were supposed to go to Mali a week ago yesterday but were diverted because of the deteriorating security situation there.

And across all these different places, we saw a common theme, which is that the United States needs to continue to be engaged in the world. We need to continue to invest in the military strength, the development efforts, the diplomacy efforts --


COONS: -- that will push back against jihadists and radical Islam. I think it's vital that the president and leaders in the Congress continue to make visible to the American people the importance of our investing in a strong international presence.

This shocking incident in Algeria reminds us that America's interests can be attacked almost anywhere in the world.


COONS: Terrorists don't need to attack America to hurt our interests and to kill our citizens and we need a stronger presence around the world.

BURNETT: And to your point, sir, let me just play something on this issue of al Qaeda particularly, al Qaeda linked groups. I recently spoke to the still Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about this issue, about Mali. And I asked him what the U.S. would do about al Qaeda.

Here's what he said.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We've got to go after al Qaeda wherever the hell they're at and make sure they find no place to hide because -- let's not forget, the main -- the main goal of al Qaeda is to attack the United States. And we're not going to allow that to happen again. If we're not going to allow it to happen, we've got to go after them in Yemen, in Somalia and yes, in Mali if necessary.


BURNETT: Senator, it seems Panetta is raising his voice. It's not clear the administration is really hearing it or they are fully in agreement. You've said northern Mali has become the largest territory controlled by Islamic extremists in the world.

COONS: Right. BURNETT: We've got a defense secretary coming in and a new secretary of state in Chuck Hagel and John Kerry who are known for favoring a light footprint.

Do you think that they are going to take the action that you believe is needed?

COONS: Well, I look forward to raising these questions with them when I get a chance to attend their confirmation hearings -- confirmation hearing in the case of Senator John Kerry or to meet with him in person in the case of Senator Hagel.

I met this morning with Senator Kerry to give him an update on this trip. A number of the senators who were on the trip with me met with him, and I am determined that we make certain that the United States invests in the kind of forward leaning relationship in Africa that will take the fight to al Qaeda in Africa and that will invest in stability in countries where if we don't partner with them effectively, they may slip into the kind of state that Mali's in now.

Just a few short years ago, Mali was viewed as a stable, Democratic ally of the United States and it's come unwound fairly quickly.

I chaired a hearing on December 5th to look at Mali and to look at the situation there and try and raise its profile.


COONS: I have gotten great cooperation from the State Department and Defense Department. But as you point out, this incident in Algeria reminds us that it needs attention and investment at the highest levels of the American government.

BURNETT: Well, Senator Coons, thank you very much. We appreciate it. And we will see if the president of the United States does indeed say anything about the three Americans who died in Algeria.

OUTFRONT next: elections in Israel today. The voters send Benjamin Netanyahu a very strong message.

And --



BURNETT: We are back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to our sources around the world.

And tonight, we go to Israel, where voters turned out in huge numbers today to decide whether coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to lead the country, a right wing coalition. Well, the results were not as clear as expected. It's a crucial election for the United States. And Sara Sidner is in Tel Aviv. I asked her what happened.


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, here in Israel, a clear but slightly wounded winner in the Israeli elections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition had expected to get more votes. They did in fact win the most number of seats but not as many seats as they had wanted.

And what ended up happening is that voters turned around and chose centrist or center left groups as well in big numbers.

The big, big surprise was Yesh Atid, a group that came out of nowhere almost because they just started their party last year but ended up getting the second largest number of votes.

All the polls had predicted that Netanyahu's party would swing farther to the right and it appears that he is opening up a possible large coalition and including perhaps the left if he can get them to join.

So, this may have an impact on how the international community sees Israel, have an impact on some of the things this particular government goes after, such as what they will do with the peace process or what they will do with settlements. But, certainly, there is going to be a lot of horse trading over the next few weeks -- Erin.


BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to Sara.

And now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360." Hey, Anderson.


Yes, we're keeping them honest tonight on the program. A really amazing investigation by our Drew Griffin on the revolving door between your congressmen and congresswomen and the lobbying industry. We're going to show you how one member of Congress after being reelected in a landslide just up and quit for the big bucks as a lobbyist and the most amazing part, she'll still have al that great access to all her old friends on Capitol Hill.

Now, also tonight, the man who hit the jackpot twice, designer Jason Wu, he joins us live. His dress, as you know, was again chosen by Michelle Obama to wear on inauguration night. Four years ago when he found out about the first lady's choice, he was eating a mushroom and pepperoni pizza from Domino's and he started screaming. I got a feeling things were different for him this time around. We will talk to him about it.

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

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to you, Anderson.

And now, our fifth story OUTFRONT -- was she lip syncing? It's actually kind of hard to do. I can't even imagine what it would be like if you were the most gifted singer on the planet. It's really hard to do -- like you do more gesticulation. It's hard.

So, Beyonce's rendition of the national anthem at yesterday's inauguration simply may not have been all it first appeared to be.


BURNETT: It turns out Beyonce may have used a prerecording of the anthem that she made Sunday night with the U.S. Marine band.

Now, there's been no comment from Beyonce herself but why would she use a canned version?

OUTFRONT tonight, Lorraine Ali, music director of "The Los Angeles Times", along with vocal coach, Liz Caplan, who coaches starts like Neil Patrick Harris, and is consultant for Broadway shows, "The Book of Mormon" and "One".

So, you know everything about lip syncing and non-lip syncing. And it seems -- let me just start off with that question, though. Why would she use a prerecorded version when it seemed at least from what we've heard now confirmed from the other artists, Kelly Clarkson, and James Taylor, who were there, both of them sang live?

LIZ CAPLAN, VOCAL COACH: My feeling is that the only reason to lip sync would be the fear of the cold weather and certainly the pressure of the event surrounding her. But it seemed not lip syncing to me.

BURNETT: It seemed totally real.

CAPLAN: It seemed very real me.

BURNETT: Yes, again, the U.S. Marine band had indicated they didn't have time to do a live performance, that's why it was lip synced. Beyonce has not yet commented. So, we're not 100 percent sure.

Lorraine, why do you think she would have done -- I have to say when I watched it, it was absolutely glorious -- as I'm sure everyone would agree. I was amazed that she could sing like that with the cold and even with being Beyonce, it's got to be kind of a nerve-racking moment.

LORRAINE ALI, MUSIC EDITOR, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, actually, using something called a backing track while artists are performing on live televised events is kind of standard at this point. So it's possible that she was using a backing track, and by that I mean something that she prerecorded before the show and that she was singing along to live.

So, whether that constitutes lip syncing or not, I think when we talk about lip syncing, we think about the humiliating Milli Vanilli moments of them singing along to someone else's voice. But that very possibly could have been a backing track that she had recorded beforehand.

BURNETT: So, she's hearing herself --

ALI: And that's pretty standard. I mean, they do that for Super Bowl.

BURNETT: Right. So she's hearing herself but you're saying she was actually singing. She wasn't just mouthing it. Am I understanding you right?

ALI: You know, I'm not sure. I mean, I'm not sure what she was doing, but that is a big possibility, because the way that I heard it as well, it sounded like it was live singing. It sounded imperfect, but it sounded good. And I would be surprised if it was a flat-out lip syncing.

BURNETT: And, Liz, I've got to imagine when you -- I mean, it's got to be really, really difficult to do that. I mean, just when -- if she were to have been lip syncing, when she hit that high note, you know, your whole body arches up, you see the muscles in her neck, her eyes. I mean, how do you do that without actually belting it out?

CAPLAN: I find it theatrically nearly impossible to have completely been lip syncing to the "Star-Spangled Banner" because of her phrasing and certainly because she pulled out one of the monitors in her ear sort of one-third of the way through the song. I feel like maybe the mix was not exactly correct in her ear, so she wasn't hearing her own natural instrument acoustically and frequency wise --


CAPLAN: -- exactly in balance. So maybe she needed to pull one monitor out so she could feel herself singing while she was listening to the band in her other ear, which says to me that she -- if she was listening to herself singing, she was still singing live.

BURNETT: All right. Let me ask you, Lorraine, what this means? Let's say it turns out she was lip syncing, which as you point out, is very common. It's happened at the Super Bowl before. She's about actually to sing at the Super Bowl in two weeks.

But what does this do to -- does this hurt her reputation or credibility at all that it was, quote-unquote, "not real"? It is her voice, but it may not have been real at that moment?

ALI: I don't think so. I mean, you know, if you look at other singers that have done this, I mean, Whitney Houston did it, Jennifer Hudson's done it, the E Street Band did it when Springsteen played at the Super Bowl last time and they're one of the tightest bands around.

So I don't think it hurt her reputation. I think, you know, at this point, many in the industry know like this is just what has to happen at a live televised event, and she already has such a stellar reputation as a singer, I would be surprised if this actually hurt her.

BURNETT: All right. Well, it's a pretty amazing thing. I have to say, I still, you know, watching it and then re-watching it again at the moment everyone said maybe because her mouth is so close behind the mike, that's lip syncing. Who knows? If she can lip sync that well, she's even more amazing.

CAPLAN: Exactly.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks so much to both of you. We appreciate it.

And, everyone, let us know what you think about Beyonce.

And next, a recap of the best moment at least I thought from yesterday's inauguration and why -- well, we're going to tell you why this moment was so important. There's a new look in this country. You kind of go like this and I'll tell you why.


BURNETT: So, yesterday, I attended President Obama's inauguration in Washington, D.C., with a million or so other people. It was an amazing moment in American democracy to experience the sights, the sounds of the parade, the balls, the crowds and all of it live. Well, sort of.

And that brings me to tonight's number, which is 1.1 million. That's the number of inauguration themed tweets that were sent during yesterday's ceremony. That's an incredible jump from 82,000 tweets that were sent in 2009. And that's an incredible jump.

And it wasn't just Twitter. This week, CNN teamed up with Instagram. And on Sunday and Monday, we received more than 10,000 photos from people at the inauguration.

That's right. People were really busy on their phones during the ceremony. For better or worse, social media has changed the way we experience life. Yesterday afternoon as the president of the United States walked to the podium to give his speech, the audience was getting their phones ready to video it.

And this moment is what was amazing to me when I was there. When the president and the first lady arrived at the ball, the crowd surged forward trying to get that perfect shot. It's like a wave of people lifting their right-hands about six inches forward of their bodies to film it. You know, it's kind of like this new wave, I call it, where everyone is going like this and just looking like that instead of just actually looking like that.

The camera on my beloved has been broken for a few months, so I didn't take any pictures of the inauguration. I didn't have any video of Alicia Keys or Stevie Wonder at the ball. But I got to sing and dance, which is actually impossible to do when you're holding a phone trying to film it.

I looked at all these people and they're going like this instead of, you know?

It's fun to share memories with your friends and families for sure. But if you're going to see the president of the United States dance just one time in your life, at a ball, with his wife, that a moment in history, should you film it or should you actually watch it?

And as for all the tweeting, I realized when I'm busy thinking of a tweet and then typing the tweet and making sure that the tweet goes out, which is really hard at an inauguration because it may take three or four tries, the wires get all missed, signals, I missed a whole lot of stuff since I started to send the tweet. Things have happened and I missed them.

Maybe communicating instantly, constantly and being able to memorialize everything is not all it's cracked up to me. After all, the moment is really sure, the bragging rights of showing the video really don't get you that far, but the memories of things we see with our own two eyes and no screen in between are the greatest possession we'll ever have.

Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.