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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

The Mormon Influence On The Boy Scouts; Northeast Braces For "Historic" Blizzard; Blessing Or Curse?; New Details on Alabama Hostage Taker

Aired February 6, 2013 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, is there a Mormon connection? A major announcement from the Boy Scouts of America today delaying a controversial and highly anticipated vote to lift a ban on gay membership. We have that story.

Plus, we talk about Marco Rubio and whether he's making the biggest mistake of his life right now.

And the boy who was held in an underground bunker for six days celebrates his birthday. What we just learned about his captor. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. OUTFRONT, tonight, is there a Mormon connection? A major announcement from the Boy Scouts today, as I said, they're delaying a controversial and highly anticipated vote to lift a ban on gay membership.

The question tonight, does the long history between the Mormons and the Boy Scouts have anything to do with the announcement today? Check out the connection between the two groups that really amazed us. This is pretty stunning.

Mormons represent 15 percent of the 2.7 million registered Boy Scouts. That is the single biggest group in America. They pay dues. They also jointly own land together and their departure could leave a gaping hole in the Boy Scout's organization, which has seen its membership overall decline by a third since 1999.

So as the organization has gotten smaller, the Mormon influence has gotten bigger. Now the Mormon Church has sent mixed signals and its position on gay rights. Mormons spent nearly $20 million in 2008 trying to ban same-sex marriage in California according to the "Protect Marriage" organization.

But in recent months, for the first time, the church acknowledges that sexuality is not a choice. They even unveiled a new web site reaching out to gay members. Just before our program, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints issued this statement to OUTFRONT.

"We believe Boy Scouts of America has acted wisely in delaying a vote on this policy issue until the implications can be more carefully evaluated. We caution others not to speculate about our position or to assume that individual Latter Day Saints inside or outside the scouting movement speak for the church." Now they also say that the church has not launched any campaign to effect or prevent a policy change. So here's what we do know thought, the church doesn't support at least right now, a change to the Boy Scout's policy. What we don't know is if they ever will.

OUTFRONT tonight, McKay Coppins, a reporter for Buzz Feed, a practicing Mormon. He has been working his sources all day. John Gustav Wrathall, a former eagle scout who says he's been excommunicated from the Mormon Church because he is openly gay.

I want everyone to know we stress we have asked for a representative from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They have declined our invitation to appear on the program.

Thanks to both of you though for taking the time. It's obviously a really important issue for the country and for the Boy Scouts. McKay, what are your sources in the church telling you about the role that the church played in getting the Boy Scouts to delay this decision about whether gays can join?

MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED REPORTER: Well, you saw in that statement, the church's PR people are getting their paychecks today because they're trying to walk a very careful line, right. Every resource that I've talked to involved in this negotiation says that the church has been trying to exert some kind of influence. They don't want this ban lifted for many reasons, but then the church comes out --

BURNETT: So, they want the ban on gays to stay the way it is.

COPPINS: Yes, they want to stay the way it is. They have many reasons. They're worried about lawsuits. They're worried about what you know a PR campaign waged against the church.

But at the same time, they're also saying that they're not exerting influence and that it's maybe individual Mormons who are exerting influence, not the church itself. So they are trying to walk this fine line, but it's very unclear because the lines between the two organizations have always been so blurred.

BURNETT: Right and especially when the first line of their statement that we read says we believe that they've acted wisely in delaying the vote. If you were for gays joining the Boy Scouts, you wouldn't think they acted wisely in delaying the vote.

COPPINS: Right, especially because every source that I've talked to also said that the momentum up until this point has been toward the ban being lifted and letting gay members in. So this delay only serves to impede that process from taking place.

BURNETT: John, let me ask you. You were an eagle scout. You grew up Mormon. You were brought up in that church. You say you were excommunicated back in 1986 because you were gay. Has the church changed?

JOHN GUSTAV WRATHALL, MORMON AND FORMER BOY SCOUT: Well, there's huge change happening in the church now and you know, the unveiling of this web site I think is a step in a process that's been underway for some years.

And you know, for me, personally, it was huge for the church to really publicly come out and say that first of all, we acknowledge you didn't choose to be gay. We love you. We knew we want you to feel welcome. We want you to feel included.

And I thought that there was a very clear message that they wanted gay people to be able to participate as fully in the church as possible and they said really the only requirement is that you follow the church regulations regarding sexual morality.

For Boy Scouts, for youth, I can't see how that, you know, how being gay and having that sexual orientation should be any kind of hindrance at all to participating fully in the church's youth activities, which includes the Boy Scouts. The church's youth program is very much for the young men.

COPPINS: What I'm hearing from the church, John, is that they actually would allow people who identify as gay into Boy Scout programs, but not those who act on their homosexuality, so this is a very fine line.

BURNETT: That's an absurd line and as a Catholic, they -- same absurdities, right. Yes.

COPPINS: So they're trying to walk that line, but in the end, if the Boy Scouts do lift this ban, the church is going to have to decide do we stay with this organization, which we've been with for 100 years and which is so entangled or decide to divorce.

BURNETT: Not many people and I have to say everyone. We reached out. We tried to get people who were saying let's keep the ban on gay marriage in the Boy Scouts who were Mormon to talk and they don't want to.

Says something at least to McKay's point, the way momentum was and how people feel that's not something that's going to fly. Somebody who has been vocal in saying gay should be not be allowed is Texas Governor Rick Perry. Here's what he said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons. Sexuality is not one of them. Never has been. It doesn't need to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That -- OK, there are people who think that. That's the proof, right, John?

WRATHALL: You know, that's kind of absurd. I mean, you know, when I was involved in the scouts, I wanted to be involved in the scouts for the same reasons everybody else did. I loved camping. I love swimming. I love the activities and certainly, the last thing in my mind was sexuality at that point in my life.

And so, you know, I just talked today to you know, an individual who is active in the church today. He is gay and he served as a scout master and you know, again, I think that there are so many of us that have participated for a long time.

Our behavior within the organization has been exemplary. It's been what's been expected of us and you know, really the question here is, are we going to send people a message that you have to lie or hide?

You have to live in fear that other people are going to find out about this and you know, I came to a point in my life journey where I almost committed suicide because of my anguish about this. And to be able to be open about it, this is a huge thing if you're gay or lesbian.

BURNETT: All right, well, thank you very much. We really appreciate you both for taking the time and John, for sharing that personal story.

Still to come, Marco Rubio has received a huge honor from his party today, but it might just end his career.

Plus, children who survived Sandy Hook shooting are set to appear at this month's Grammy Awards. Is it a treat for the children or are they actually being exploited totally inappropriately?

And the American northeast prepares for an historic storm or not. No one seems to be able to forecast it or agree. What the heck?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, people up and down the northeast are bracing for a potential blizzard. The weather models, which honestly have been all over the map, suggest this could be a historic storm.

Chad Myers is OUTFRONT. Chad, what can we expect?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You asked a good question before the tease. What's going on with this? How come nothing's agreeing? I'm going to take you back to the Super Bowl. We have a quarterback that has to throw the ball. There's the ball.

We have a receiver up here. This is the cold air. This is the warm air. If the receiver gets there too fast before the ball gets there, it's an interception. The other way around, if the moisture doesn't get there in time, it's just goes out to sea and it's an incomplete pass.

So we have these two storms that literally have to merge right off the coast of New York City. When that happens, if it happens like the computers are saying, we have quite a historic event that's going on. Here's where the snow is right now, Milwaukee and the like.

Here's where the rain is. This is the big rainmaker for the southeast. It could be inches of rainfall in places that have quite a bit of rain already. Here goes the rain up the east coast. Red spots there. That's 6 to 10 inches of rainfall along the northeast along the Atlantic coast from Bloomington up to parts of Delaware.

But here's where it gets interesting. When that rain gets up here where the cold air will be, that's where the connection has to happen. That's where the storm is going to spin. That's why there's a blizzard watch already. This is 36 hours before this snow even starts. That's why I'm so wishy washy.

I can't say 1 to 12 because that's where the computers are. Computers for New York City could be 1 inch with mostly rain. I'm going to show you one that will scare you, Boston on this computer, 21 inches of snow. I think that's a pretty good number, especially for the Berkshires.

Look at this thing, this computer says, my gosh, it's not going to warm up at all. The rain's not going to happen. It's going to be all snow, 23. So literally, we have 1 to 23 inches of snow possible in New York City.

That's why we have to wait for at least another computer run before we really understand what's going to happen here. I hate to be wishy washy about it, but it's a big storm for somebody any way.

BURNETT: For somebody, but I'm just so confused. It used to be to me we always knew what the weather would be, right? We knew a few days in advance and now, it seems like every time there's a big storm, we have no idea. It could be big. It could be little. What's going on? Is this because of climate change? I don't know, what?

MYERS: It's because of overpopulation of models and over thinking it. Now, we have so many models, look at this one, look at this one. Before, we had two. We looked at one, decided one or the other. Now, we have like nine so we don't know which one to pick.

BURNETT: Wow. You know what? Sometimes the platter of choices is not so great. All right, thanks, Chad.

And now to our second story, OUTFRONT, a blessing or a curse. Today, we learned Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is going to give the GOP response to President Obama's "State of the Union" address next week.

It sounds like a great gig, right. The whole country watches you. You're in the center of attention, time to shine for a much talked about potential 2016 presidential candidate. Here's the problem.

It hasn't always been a shining moment for rising stars in the past. Our contributor, David Frum, former speech writer for President George W. Bush joins me along with Rosa Brooks, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama Administration.

I'm sorry, this just sort of made me chuckle when I saw this because, you know, David, I started thinking back to Bobby Jindal in 2009, panned by Democrats and Republicans alike. People were so nasty.

They were picking on the way he walked out to the podium. It was pretty harsh. "The New York Times" headline the next day was Governor Jindal rising star plummets after speech. Is this speech too dangerous for a rising star to take on?

DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, these are big opportunities, and there's always a chance of recovery. Let's not forget one of the most universally condemned and rejected speeches of recent times was Bill Clinton's keynote speech at the 1988 Democratic convention where he got his biggest round of applause when he said "in conclusion." And yet, he did okay. They nominated him next time anyway, and he went on to a pretty successful political career.

Let's not forget that last time the person who gave the response was Paul Ryan, who went on to gain the Republican vice presidential nomination. It's a big moment. If you do well, there are opportunities. If you do badly, as Bobby Jindal is thought to have done, it's a difficult thing to recover from, but not impossible as Bill Clinton showed in 1988.

BURNETT: And Rosa, you know, when you look at the popularity, Rubio has some ground to catch up. He's running behind at least Paul Ryan when it comes in popularity. And for those who want to say oh, Paul Ryan's out of it because he was on the losing team, obviously at least from the polling doesn't seem it. Very likely to support for the Republican nomination in 2016 - among Republicans, 75 percent say Paul Ryan, Chris Christie is at 59, Marco Rubio is at 58.

So, in this sense, there is a big opportunity for Marco Rubio, right?

ROSA BROOKS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Yes, I think it's a great opportunity for Marco Rubio, and frankly, I think it's a blessing. It's a good thing for the Republican party. And Erin, I'm a Democrat. I don't know if you know that. I'm a Democrat.

BURNETT: I am - I am aware of that. Although I know working in the administration doesn't mean you have to be. Easy to see.

BROOKS: Absolutely. And when good things happen to the Republican party, a little grinch-like part of my heart starts shriveling. But I'm going to rise above that and say that I think he is one of the best hopes for the Republican party. He speaks to the growing Hispanic immigrant population, to the native-born Latin population. It's really exciting he's going to be doing his speech in Spanish as well as in English.

I think if he plays this right, and obviously there is always a risk, but I think if he plays this right, this is going to catapult him up. And I think it's going to be terrific for the image of the Republican party.

BURNETT: And David Frum, when -- there's something here that people may not realize that I think is pretty incredible. So, Rubio's going to deliver the address in English, then he's going to deliver it in Spanish. Is this going to woo over the Hispanics who have so overwhemingly repudiated the GOP?

FRUM: Well, it opens the door. Marco Rubio gave, I think the single best speech in 2012 at the Republican convention. But there is a tendency in the Republican world to overemphasize messaging and to underemphasize message. It's great that you're speaking in Spanish. The question is, what will you say? You have to have a message that connects with middle class America and Republicans of all backgrounds. And Republicans have been having trouble doing that. That is the urgent challenge. A middle-class message. Not just more adept messaging.

BURNETT: I mean, I guess the -- pretty interesting to see just how it could pan out over time, though. But we shall see how he will do. As people can say, criticize the way you walk, better practice your stride and everything else.

Thanks so much to both of you.

And OUTFRONT next, one of the most feared jihadists in the world is hunting American citizens. Why didn't this country take him out when we had the chance? Because we did have that chance ten years ago.

And Chris Christie comes out swinging when he hears a doctor tell him this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's almost like a time bomb waiting to happen unless he addresses those issues before he runs for office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT: taking out a terrorist. One of the most feared jihadists in North Africa has been hunting Americans. We first heard about this man while I was traveling on the Mali border last summer. A Tuareg tribesman got a warning call telling him this man was in the area.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: What's his name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

BURNETT: Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Born in Algeria, he's been a jihadist since his late teens. He's feared, but also revered in northern Africa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now, we are learning the United States had a chance to kill Mokhtar Belmokhtar a decade ago but missed the opportunity. It's a pretty incredible headline. And OUTFRONT tonight with that story is our Chris Lawrence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: He's a one-eyed bandit with the head of a jihadist terror cell called "those that sign in blood." And ten years ago, the U.S. considered taking him down and chose not to. Vicki Huddleston was the U.S. ambassador to Mali under President George W. Bush when Mokhtar Belmokhtar first popped on the radar.

VICKI HUDDLESTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MALI: He was not a threat to anyone. He was just a cigarette smuggler at that point and he was not a legitimate target.

LAWRENCE: Ten years later, Belmokhtar is one of the most brazen extremists to have targeted Americans abroad. In January, he masterminded the attack on an Algerian gas plant. His group took dozens of hostages. Three Americans ended up dead.

HUDDLESTON: We've seen he is a much cleverer man than we ever imagined.

LAWRENCE: But back then, taking out Belmokhtar seemed too risky. Huddleston argued against a unilateral air strike in 2003.

HUDDLESTON: The strikes would have been imperfect at that time, and furthermore would have united the region against us.

LAWRENCE: Huddleston did push for intense intelligence sharing and mentoring with Mali's forces and uniting the region against militants.

HUDDLESTON: The tragedy is we did not continue the same policy.

LAWRENCE: Huddleston later moved over to the Pentagon for the Obama administration. She says they advocated a policy of trying to contain al-Qaeda in North Africa, instead of building up the abilities of regional governments to fight them. Huddleston says there's no guarantee Belmokhtar will confine himself to North Africa.

HUDDLESTON: France is definitely a country where he would carry out terrorist attacks. He will also carry out terrorist attacks against Americans in American installations in Africa.

LAWRENCE: Similar perhaps to Osama bin Laden. When the 1990s began, bin Laden was in Saudi Arabia. In 1992, he crossed into Africa and escaped an attempted assassination in Sudan. In 1996, bin Laden took a chartered flight to Afghanistan.

(on camera): In 1998, President Clinton ordered a cruise missile strike on bin Laden and missed. But critics say the Clinton administration missed other opportunities to get bin Laden. Whether the miss on Belmokhtar ever comes close to the miss on bin Laden remains to be seen.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.

BURNETT: All right. And still to come, the child who was held hostage in an underground bunker celebrated his birthday today. He turned six. What we now know about the man who held him captive for six days. We have some new details to tell you tonight. Plus, survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting set to appear at this month's Grammy awards. Is that a healthy distraction, or is it true that they're being exploited?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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.

We begin with the U.S. Postal Service planning to drop Saturday mail delivery. And they're going to do this starting in August. The agency says the move will save $2 billion a year. Now, they lost $16 billion last year. It comes with a personal cost, though. As many as 22,500 jobs could be affected.

Now, two key things have led to the post office's demise. One, the 2006 mandate that requires the agency to prefund health care benefits for future retirees. That's a really smart rule. If every company and country abided by that, to begin with, we wouldn't be in the global crisis we're in right now.

The other problem, though, for the Post Office was as costs increase, revenue plunge.

Dan Greenhaus of BTIG shared the chart you see on your screen with us. It shows a decline of about 50 billion letters and packages from 2001 until now.

For more on the Post Office, go to CNN.com. The author of "Saving the Mail" says that even this move won't save the Post Office.

President Obama has nominated Sally Jewell to succeed Ken Salazar as secretary of the interior. I thought this was an interesting pick because Jewell isn't a career politician. She's currently the CEO of REI, a company that sells outdoor gear and sporting goods. Before that, she was an engineer at Mobil Oil.

Phil Radford of Greenpeace says because Jewell has worked with both parties to protect America's environmental heritage, they're going to be counting on her leadership to fast track clean energy and stop what he believes is reckless drilling in the Arctic.

Last night, we told you about how a former White House physician described New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's weight as a time bomb waiting to happen. Well, today in classic style, Christie responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I find it fascinating that a doctor in Arizona who's never met me, never examined me, never reviewed by medical history or records, knows nothing about my family history, could make a diagnosis from 2,400 miles away. She must be a genius.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: You got to love Chris Christie. He went on to say though something very serious. One of his sons saw the interview with the doctor and asked if he was going to die. It shows you the personal side of this. The doctor, Connie Mariano, told CNN it was unfortunate the governor took it in that manner and that her comments were meant to be constructed.

Well, there's a lot of buzz about whether actress Ashley Judd will run against Mitch McConnell for his Senate seat. She's not even a candidate a yet, but American Crossroads, the Republican-backed super PAC that Karl Rove is affiliated with isn't wasting any time. They're running this ad against her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AD NARRATOR: You know what this country really needs? An independent voice for Obama.

ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: I am committed to President Obama and Vice President Biden. I think he's a brilliant man. He is now able to flower more as the president I knew he could be.

AD NARRATOR: A leader who knows how to follow.

JUDD: I will go where ever the president wants me to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The group is spending $10,000 to run the ad online.

Here's what a spokesman for Judd told OUTFRONT, "Ashley thanks Senator McConnell, Karl Rove, and their negative allies for all the attention as she considers her future political plans, although a decision hasn't been made yet." Taking a page from the Chris Christie playbook.

It has been 552 days since this country lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, some good news on hiring. Home Depot today said it's going to hire 80,000 seasonal workers for the spring, 10,000 more than they hired last year.

And now, our fourth story OUTFRONT: happy birthday, Ethan.

The child who was abducted from his school bus and held hostage for nearly a week was home, safe with his family, celebrating his sixth birthday today. The bunker, we can tell you, tonight is now set to be destroyed as soon as they remove all of the evidence. This is according to the sheriff in Dale County, Wally Olson.

Meanwhile, CNN is also learning more tonight about Jimmy Lee Dykes, the man who held Ethan captive after shooting and killing Ethan's bus driver.

Martin Savidge has that story from Midland City, Alabama, tonight. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As bomb disposal teams spent a second day searching the area around Jimmy Lee Dykes' bunker, CNN's learned explosives weren't the only unstable variable law enforcement had to deal with. There was Dykes' state of mind.

Neighbors described the 65-year-old as a paranoid, anti-government loner, fixated on a conspiracy involving horse racing.

THOMAS FOLDS, KNEW GUNMAN: He used to keep notebooks of horse races. He always said that mafia run the horse races.

SAVIDGE: Sources close to the case say while talking to police from his bunker, a contentious Dykes would ramble on about his theory and wanted to get his message out.

SHERIFF WALLY OLSON, DALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: Mr. Dykes, he feels like he has a story that's important to him although it's very complex.

SAVIDGE: In the early hours of the standoff, local authorities even contemplated sending in a local reporter to talk to Dykes.

RICKEY STOKES, BLOGGER: I knew the school bus driver had been shot.

SAVIDGE: Local blogger Ricky Stokes was the first reporter on the scene capturing this video. He says authorities approached him with the idea.

(on camera): And you were willing to go along with that?

STOKES: Anything that they needed me to do, if it meant me showing him how to use equipment or me going into the bunker, I was willing to do just like everybody involved in the operation over there would have done.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): In the end, the plan was nixed and the FBI took over investigations.

Federal hostage rescue teams began training up on a model of the Dykes bunker behind a closed restaurant screened off by a blue tarp.

(on camera): That mock up was located right over there next to the building. It's all been taken down now. But look at this, that secretive training was all taking place right next to it here, the media compound.

(voice-over): And that training turned into action Monday afternoon, authorities say Dykes had become even more irrational and when he was seen with a gun, the deadly assault began. Rescuers blue a hole in the roof, but says Dykes fired with a handgun fired at agents who returned fire, killing him, while leaving 5-year-old Ethan unharmed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Martin Savidge joins me now, along with John Miller, former FBI assistant director, and Dr. James Fallon, a neuroscientist who has been studying the brains of murderers for two decades. Good to see all of you.

Martin, I know you spoke with a lot of people who knew Jimmy Lee Dykes. Were they surprised that this happened? That this came to this?

SAVIDGE: They were surprised that it did come to this. Yes, Erin. I think a lot of people once this drama was underway felt that in no way would Jimmy Lee Dykes harm that child. However, the authorities clearly, they were the ones talking to him and they had a different thought on that.

BURNETT: But, John, you've talked to officials who have seen the video because there was a video of what happened on that bus. You and I were just talking during the commercial. It was very, very emotional.

JOHN MILLER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: This video, you know, you think he goes on the bus, he grabs a child at gunpoint, he shoots the driver, you think this happens in five seconds. This video goes on for four and a half minutes and he knows the bus driver. The bus driver had dropped off fresh eggs and homemade preserves at his home a few days before to thank him for putting kind of a driveway in so he could make the U-turn with the bus every day.

BURNETT: So, they had a relationship, probably as much of a relationship as Jimmy Lee Dykes had with anyone.

MILLER: In fact, when they we want to search for a third party that could be -- somebody who can help in negotiations, the sheriff's department, which was providing the key intelligence to the FBI, Dale County, went out there and came back and said we can't find anybody who has a relationship with him. The person he seemed to know more than anybody was Charlie, the bus driver.

BURNETT: And what happened when the bus driver in those four and a half minutes?

MILLER: So, Jimmy Lee Dykes comes on the bus and he hands him a piece of paper. It's kind of got instructions on it. He hands it to Charlie, the bus driver and Charlie Poland stands up and puts himself between, it was about 20 kids on the bus. This is an odd school bus because of the rural area. You have kids from kindergarten to high school there.

BURNETT: All ages.

MILLER: The littlest kids sitting in the front, older one sitting in the back. And he says, I'm going to need to take two kids and Charles Albert Poland, the bus driver, who has been through hostage training two years before in case a gunman ever came on his bus, I'm sure he never imagined it would be somebody he knew, says, "I'm responsible for these children and you can't have them."

And over that four minutes, you hear Jimmy Lee Dykes saying, "I'm going to kill you if you get in the way here." As he's trying to take the kids, he says, I'm going to shoot you. I'm going to shoot you". And Poland, you can tell on the videotape that he's frightened, but he stands his ground and then Dykes shoots him and it's Ethan, the 5- year-old, who's sitting there in the front row.

At that point, he just takes Ethan, the one child, and heads to the bunker.

BURNETT: Just an amazing story of heroism.

Dr. Fallon, you know, when you hear this -- about what Jimmy Dykes was like, and as we said, he was a loner, possibly the person he was closest to was the man that he shot and killed. You know, one person told us here at CNN that Dykes thought the world was wrong and he was right.

What can you tell us about this man's personality?

DR. JAMES FALLON, PROFESSOR OF NEUROLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CAROLINE, IRVINE: Well, of course, we don't know anything about him, Erin. It's like Governor Christie trying to talk about a diagnosis 2,000 miles away.

So, given some of the points, it sounds like he's what's called a schizotypal personal personality disorder type. And they're very paranoid. They take everything personally and they're on a mission and they have very odd sorts of feelings about their own body and they think people are always talking about them.

BURNETT: Right.

FALLON: So, it's not atypical of somebody. And also, it's not atypical somebody with PTSD.

BURNETT: PTSD, I want to ask you about that, because Dykes was a Vietnam vet and a lot of people watching this, or parents watching this are saying, well, is this something to be afraid of? You know, people who are loners, who seem a little strange, you know, could have PTSD and could do something awful, could be capable of that.

Is PTSD, is it fair to link that to this?

FALLON: Well, it's just that they're -- they often go together. It's not unusual for that to happen. In any sort of trauma, it could be a precipitating event. They could have been that way from birth. You see, there is probably a genetic component to somebody like that and some early trauma.

So, to blame it on the war, the war could be a trigger. And it certainly would go along with that personality type.

BURNETT: And, John, I mean, are we ever going to get more information about Jimmy Lee Dykes?

MILLER: Well, we've learned a little bit and I think Dr. Fallon would probably read some things into this, but here was a guy who patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a rifle to make sure that nobody was coming on to his property. He once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe that used to cross through his land. Here's a person who brandished a weapon at his neighbors. These are some of the reasons he had no friends or wasn't in contact with any family in the area.

So what we see here is somebody with an elevated sense of self- importance, certain air of grandiosity about himself and his controlling the area around him. But what we really see here is an individual who wanted to rail with his grievance, particularly about the federal government, who knew? No one would listen to him and say a month and a half after the Newtown disaster, he had clearly figured out, if you want a high value target, take children off the school bus and then you'll be talking to the federal government and anybody you want.

BURNETT: Martin, today was Ethan's birthday. What can you tell us about how he's doing and how they celebrated that?

SAVIDGE: Yes. Well, we talked to the sheriff and, again, the sheriff had the opportunity to see Ethan today, celebrate the birthday, small town, everyone knows everyone. So, he would have been invited.

It's done very much under the protection of the federal government. He's still in the custody of authorities. So, they're looking after him.

He had a party. It was private. He was playing with toys. He was with his family and he was smiling ear to ear. That's all we know about how this day was spent, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to all three of you.

And still to come, survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting have already appeared at the Super Bowl and they're now going to appear on a show hosted with Ryan Seacrest on E! Are the producers of these shows exploiting the children for their own gain?

And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his first trip to Egypt, ever. But guess what? He got attacked. We're going to show it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

And, tonight, we begin in Cairo where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on an historic visit today and, well, he was met with a shoe. Four men hurled shoes at Ahmadinejad as he shook hands with supporters. It's considered one of the biggest insults in the Muslim world and this came on the first visit by an Iranian head of state to Cairo in 30 years.

Reza Sayah is covering the story and I asked him what punishment the throwers will get. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the four men face jail time. They're out on bail right now, but they will be put on trial at some point.

In the Muslim world, throwing a shoe at someone is one of the worst insults imaginable. It's like throwing dirt, filth and anything else you may have stepped on at someone you don't like. That's what happened to President Ahmadinejad last night during a visit to a mosque. He was walking through a crowd, when all of a sudden someone launched a shoe at him. The shoe didn't connect. It hit a security guard.

Prosecutors say right before the attacker threw the shoe, he yelled, "You killed our brothers," perhaps a reference to the war in Syria. Iran, of course, backs the Assad regime in Damascus. Egypt does not -- Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. Thanks, Reza.

And, of course, this isn't the first time a world leader has been pelted with footwear. Remember back in 2008 when an Iraqi journalist launched both loafers at a very deft George W. Bush during a news conference. It looked like I couldn't have reacted that fast. Obviously, at the time, it really wasn't funny. The man who did it was ultimately sentenced to a year in an Iraqi prison, but was released early for good behavior.

And next to North Korea where the country is pledging to carry out a, quote, "higher level nuclear test." The details are shrouded in mystery, but experts warn the tests could happen with absolutely no warning.

Anna Coren is following the story from the Korean Demilitarized Zone and I asked her if there was evidence to suggest how serious North Korea is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Despite the threats and fiery rhetoric coming from North Korea, experts believe they're serious and ready to go. After the successful rocket test in December, Pyongyang is on a roll, and many fear if this goes off without a hitch, North Korea will emerge more aggressive than ever.

(voice-over): Pyongyang conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 at its underground site in Punggye-ri, on the northeastern tip of the country. Satellite imagery recently showed activity and officials believe the third test will also be conducted here.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: All right. Well, now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on a few minutes on "A.C. 360". Hey, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Hey, Erin.

About 12 minutes from now, we're keeping them honest tonight on the program. We're going to take you on a ride along for a California program to seize illegal weapons. These are weapons ID'ed by a unique database used to target those who have a gun and should not have a gun. We're talking about felons, lawbreakers. And this works. Ten thousand guns have been taken off the streets so far. It seems like a great program.

A no brainer, right? Except it's underfunded and tonight, you'll hear California's attorney general Kamala Harris explain why. Also ahead tonight, the former White House doctor who New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today told to shut up, saying she was, quote, "a hack looking for her five minutes", presumably, of fame. My guest tonight is Dr. Connie Mariano, who responds to what Governor Christie said about her.

Those stories and a lot more tonight at the top of the hour, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Anderson, really looking forward to that. See you in a couple of minutes.

And now, our fifth story OUTFRONT, exploiting the students from Newtown. That's what some are saying after it was announced that Ryan Seacrest would be featuring a group of students from Newtown, Connecticut, on his red carpet show that airs right before the Grammys. Now, E! Entertainment television says they're going to be singing the hit song, "Call Me Maybe."

The appearance comes just a week though after another group of students from the school sang alongside Jennifer Hudson at the Super Bowl. So, is all of this cute, endearing, good for the kids, or is it exploiting with Sandy Hook tragedy?

OUTFRONT tonight, Bonnie Fuller, president and editor of HollywoodLife.com and Slade Sohmer, cofounder and editor-in-chief of HyperVocal.com.

Slade, you were unafraid to come out and give your point of view on this, when you read about the kids performing with Ryan Seacrest, you tweeted out, "Come on, it's just exploitation."

SLADE SOHMER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF HYPERVOCAL.COM: Sure, if psychologists and grief counselors said that this is good for the kids, then so be it. Then, that is great.

But on the same time, on the part of Grammys, on the part of the adults in this situation, is it exploitative? In some ways, absolutely. Maybe it doesn't meet the textbook definition because it might be mutually beneficial.

But if they really want to do something, then you send Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen and all these people to the school, like what the MLS did when they had soccer night in Newtown, they sent people quietly into the community, something good for the kids. Did it get press? Absolutely. But at the same time --

BURNETT: But not taking the kids, flying them across the country and disrupting their lives?

SOHMER: Something for the kids, sure.

BURNETT: Bonnie, what do you think? The students from Newtown, as we said, various groups of them have sung at the Super Bowl, they performed on "Good Morning America" on ABC. Some performed in a benefit in which Paul Simon was the headliner.

In "The New York Times" NFL blog, after it was announced the kids would be in the Super Bowl, this is what they wrote: "The Super Bowl is more than a game, it's a national event. Is there a touch of exploitation in the move? Maybe even a hint of political commentary?"

In the Super Bowl, a place where no one would think that's appropriate, do you agree?

BONNIE FULLER, PRESIDENT AND EDITOR, HOLLYWOODLIFE.COM: I don't think that the idea that being exploited? In fact, I think it's irrelevant in this case. I think the families of Newtown don't want the American people to forget the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook. People have a short memory. They're on to next week's news, next week's tragedy.

But 20 little children were slaughtered. And right now, yes, there is pending legislation. There's great debate over gun control. They want that debate. They don't want people to forget.

And having their children singing and reminding -- while honoring their classmates, I think, is a perfect way to remind people of what happened.

BURNETT: I mean, I see your point, although, Slade, I can see where you're coming from, which is, OK, it may be good for us, for the country, but what about for the kids?

SOHMER: Yes.

BURNETT: That's really ultimately what we have to care about. I mean, I don't know the answer, I'm saying I understand the distinction.

FULLER: They're not being taken across country. Apparently, Ryan Seacrest is flying there, they're going to be filmed there.

(CROSSTALK)

FULLER: But you know what? These were their classmates and they're traumatized. And so doing something together with their -- the other pupils in the school, I think this is fully a very kind of supportive thing to do.

BURNETT: Right.

What about, though, the political undertones, and I want to ask this, because, you know, noticing how this happened at the Super Bowl, there were the kids from Newtown, and in front of them was Jennifer Hudson. And Jennifer Hudson, of course, has a horrible tragedy in her own life, with her mother, her brother and her nephew being shot and killed in gun violence.

You can view it as a statement, a political statement about guns.

SOHMER: You could. And I think some of the families in Newtown would want you to view it as a political statement. That's all well and good.

BURNETT: Right. But is it appropriate for the Super Bowl with 165 million people watching?

SOHMER: Right.

FULLER: But you know what? This is something that the entire country needs to think about.

BURNETT: Yes.

FULLER: It is a huge issue. And so why not take the Super Bowl to remind people that this is going -- gun violence is occurring every single day in this country and children are often the victims.

BURNETT: There's also going to be a movie. And I want to get your take on this, and tell our viewers here. There's a movie, a director has come out and said I want to do a movie related to Newtown shootings. A 13-year-old boy with a terrible mental illness, has this huge fear after his parents learn about the Newtown shooting. So, it's directly linked. Is it too soon?

SOHMER: I think it's probably too soon. Again that is exploitative. That is the society we live in at large, almost everything we do, in the media, on the blogs, everywhere is exploitative of tragedies. That's become the society that we currently live in.

BURNETT: Right.

Well, people can make that criticism. I mean, let's just be honest here. They can make that criticism about us and our coverage of the media. I'll be honest.

FULLER: These tragedies are not made up. These tragedies are enormous, and they're potentially preventable. So, why wouldn't we talk about them? I don't think it's exploitation to talk about what's gone on.

BURNETT: Yes.

SOHMER: Yes, I'm all for talking about, and I'm all for doing this if the kids actually want to do it. That's great for them. I'm talking about the adults in the situation who are supposed to be there, and not just use them for their gain. I think the Grammy saw what happened at the Super Bowl. They saw that it was all over the Internet. They saw the tweets, they saw -

BURNETT: We want a piece of that too.

SOHMER: We want a piece of that action. That's all I'm speaking to.

FULLER: But I'm thinking about the kids. I'm thinking about the parents of Newtown. They are -- they have to every day probably comfort their children before they go to school. I mean, those children have been deeply traumatized. They must be terrified to go out the door and go to school every day. And I think that joining with their fellow classmates, singing.

Thinking about the classmates they lost, like you don't just forget about this in a few days, in a month. This will go on for years. Doing things like this together can help them.

BURNETT: All right. Bonnie and Slade, thanks to both of you.

SOHMER: Thank you.

FULLER: Thank you.

BURNETT: And let us know what you think about this on Twitter, please?

And still to come, yesterday, we told you about America's war on cats, which we found truly offensive and we took the other side. And cat supporters responded and you are not playing games.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: So, it's been a tough few days for cats. Yesterday, we told you about the Smithsonian Institute study that recommended sterilization and euthanasia to combat America's, what they say, is an increasingly dangerous cat population. We were extremely disturbed by this.

And based on the Twitter and Facebook response we got about the story, so were a lot of you.

But, today, cat scratch fever has firmly taken hold in America. And guess what? We have the board game Monopoly to thank for it. A month ago, Hasbro announced they would be ditching one of the metal tokens from the board game Monopoly and then they said, it's a vote, OK? Vote what you want.

Now, after a heated month of voting, users from 185 different countries picked their favorites and they're eliminating the iron from the game.

It's a pretty big deal. It's been part of the game for 76 years and now that it's gone, there's a void, you know? A void that needs to be filled. What's going to take its place? Meow.

In a separate vote, users decided which piece would be added to the game. The choices included a toy robot, a guitar, a helicopter, a diamond ring and a cat. And with 31 percent of the vote, the cat won by a whisker.

Now, look, I know a few of you iron fans are pretty steamed right now. There's somebody who always want to have the iron, but Hasbro has you covered. The golden token bonus set is coming that includes all the original pieces including the iron and the cat. It hits stores on February 15th. If you want to get your (INAUDIBLE) on one.

Dog lovers, keep in mind you've always had a dog piece. And we love doings too.

Anderson starts now.