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Jodi Arias Breaks Down on the Stand; Lawman vs. Lawmaker; Inside Benedict's New Home

Aired February 28, 2013 - 20:00   ET



Good evening, everyone. What has not happened in nearly six centuries happened today. We're going to take you inside Pope Benedict's departure and reveal surprising details about what his life will be like after retiring for a -- from a job almost no one has ever retired from.

Also tonight the lawman who took on the lawmaker. You'll hear from a police chief who said there is a simple way to reduce gun violence and wonders why our elected representatives make it seems so complicated. You might not agree with him but he's a powerful advocate. He joins us tonight.

We begin, though, with "Crime & Punishment," probably the most dramatic moments yet in a trial that was already off the charts when it comes to drama, deception, and dirty little secrets.

Jodi Arias broke down on the stand under cross-examination in a murder trial in Arizona today. She's been on the stand for a whopping 13 days now. Thirteen days. The whole time, until today, calmly and coolly talking about the most intimate details of her relationship with a man named Travis Alexander, a man she now admits to killing in 2008.

So much of her testimony has been about phone sex and text messages, the nitty-gritty of the couple's sex life, but today it focused on the day she actually killed Alexander. Shot him, stabbed him 29 times, slit his throat from ear to ear.

The prosecution is trying to show that she intended to kill him all along. Arias says it was in self-defense, but remember, she changed her story twice before, first saying she was nowhere near his house that day, and then telling pretty much anyone who would listen that masked intruders were to blame. And they also tried to kill her. All of those lies.

The trial is reaching a crucial point after all that tawdry preamble finally now, finally, after 13 days, the prosecutor grilled Arias today about the killing itself. And that's when her unflappable demeanor finally cracked.

Randi Kaye reports. We warn you the story contains some graphic photos and testimony. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tears from Jodi Arias. She broke down on the stand as the first photo of Travis Alexander's body was displayed in court. It showed him twisted and crumpled on the shower floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, were you crying when you were shooting him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you crying when you were stabbing him?

ARIAS: I don't remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about when you cut his throat? Were you crying then?

ARIAS: I don't know.

KAYE: With her face in her hands, the prosecutor dared her to look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a look, ma'am. You're the one that did this, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're the same individual that lied about all this, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So then take a look at it.

KAYE: From the stand, Arias did her best to convince the jury she acted in self-defense. She says Alexander attacked her after she dropped his camera.

ARIAS: He body slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He body slammed you down, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a very forceful way. Where did he body slam you down, ma'am?

ARIAS: Right in the same area, on the tile.

KAYE: Even if it was self-defense, how did it lead to this? Nearly 30 stab wounds, his throat cut, and a single gunshot to the head. And prosecutors specifically retrace the steps leading up to that point, starting with the moment she says she shot him. ARIAS: He just was running at me as I turned around.

KAYE: Arias alleged Alexander had charged her like a linebacker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me the linebacker pose.

ARIAS: He got down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me, show me the linebacker pose. That's what I'm asking for you to do.

ARIAS: OK, he went like that and he turned his head.

KAYE: That's when she says the gun went off.

ARIAS: I think I screamed stop when I pointed the gun at him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then what do you do?

ARIAS: I don't really remember. I just remember -- I don't remember anything at that point, so I would be speculating.

KAYE: Later, the prosecutor displayed several gruesome photos from the crime scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And according to your versions of events, you would acknowledge that that stabbing was after the shooting, according to you, right?

ARIAS: I don't -- yes, I don't remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not asking you if you remember, ma'am. I'm asking if you acknowledge that it would be you that did it, correct?


KAYE (on camera): No matter what she said on the stand, the state isn't buying her story, and here's why. Investigators believe Arias killed Alexander in the shower. Inside court, the prosecutors showed a clip of her interview with a detective, an attempt to prove that she lured Alexander to the shower just hours after they had sex.

ARIAS: I asked him if I could do pictures of him in the shower, and he was like, no. I was like, I just had an idea, a couple of ideas, I saw this thing in a Calvin Klein ad once that looks really good. And so he was -- you're right. He wasn't very comfortable at first. He -- he's standing there and he's all, I feel gay.

KAYE: Arias snapped naked photos of Alexander, including this one shown in court. Investigators say it's time stamped 5:30 p.m. just two minutes before Arias stabbed him in the heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you were the person that was directing him on where to be and how to sit, right?


KAYE: Directing him, perhaps, to his own death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember that we're talking about Travis Alexander? Let's start with that.

ARIAS: Yes, I remember that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why we're here, because you killed him, right?



COOPER: Randi Kaye joins me now live from Phoenix.

Randi, you were in the court room today during all this emotionally charged graphic testimony. What struck you? I mean, how was it received in the court room?

KAYE: I think a lot of people were surprised to see her break down, Anderson. It was really remarkable to watch after she's been so stoic and so calm all these weeks, to see her break down in tears over and over again, and then to watch her transformation, all of a sudden, she would just become so -- she would just stare at the jury with this blank face. Almost like she was in a trance or something.

But then something else that they did in court, the prosecutor, very effective. He kept a picture of Travis Alexander's body up on one of the giant screens in the courtroom, so Jodi Arias had to stare at that. So what she did was she wouldn't answer to him. She wouldn't answer to him directly. She would stare at the jury instead for her answers because she couldn't bear to look at the monitor, but it gave the jury some time to absorb that.

But the final surprise of the day really came near the end of the day, when the prosecutor got Jodi Arias to admit that she was the one who put that digital camera with all those naked photos of them and some photos of Travis Alexander dead in the washing machine. So the prosecutor said that that shows that she knew she had done something wrong. That she was trying to get rid of evidence, and this had nothing to do with self defense.

COOPER: Randi, thanks.

I want to bring in CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos, co-author of the upcoming book, "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works and Sometimes Doesn't."

You know, I just find it so incredible and I want to put up these pictures again that were taken just minutes before Travis Alexander is killed by his then-girlfriend. She's taking these pictures of him just two minutes just before she kills him. It's so eerie to me and bizarre to me. It's just one of many bizarre things. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know what today is? Today is the day that Mark Geragos apologizes for criticizing the prosecutor so much.



GERAGOS: I want to give this guy -- I want to give him --

TOOBIN: This was an amazing day of cross-examination.

GERAGOS: Yes. Really. Where did this guy come from? That's why she broke down. She said, where in the hell did this prosecutor come from? I have said --

COOPER: Badgering, all that is gone.

GERAGOS: Yes. He finally just got his -- I don't know, his legs about him. He was so much better. And she didn't know how to deal with him.

TOOBIN: There was a moment that I actually thought was what prompted her to break down, and Randi -- I mean, there's so much to talk about. She didn't talk about this part. Three days after she kills him, she writes an e-mail to him saying, I'm going to come see you. I mean, just like chatty, long e-mail.

I mean, it's so perverse. It's so crazy. She's killed him. Yet she's writing these e-mails basically just to cover her tracks, as if she didn't know he was dead. I mean, he --


COOPER: We have that sound. I want to play that from the court today that Jeff is talking about.


ARIAS: He -- I haven't heard back from you.


Hey you, I haven't heard back from you. I hope you're not still upset that I didn't come to see you. I just didn't have enough time off. It's OK, sweetie, you're going to be here in less than two weeks. We're going to see the sights.


COOPER: She broke down then.

GERAGOS: Well, yes, because what are you going to do? At that point, that's exactly what he should have been doing day one. I will give him, as I said or as Jeff said, I'll give him his -- I'll give him his props. He was infinitely better. This is what he should have done, but you know what, get out. She's done. She's toast. If they're going to get anywhere with her, this is it.

TOOBIN: I mean, just notice how that e-mail was written.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: Basically to try to establish that she was not present in Arizona.

COOPER: Right. The first line is right there, hey, I haven't heard back from you. "I hope you're still not upset that I didn't come to see you."

TOOBIN: I mean --

COOPER: "I wasn't there, I wasn't there, I wasn't there."

TOOBIN: So sinister. Yes. Will she get the death penalty? I don't know. I mean, you never know what goes through a juror's mind. That's such an instinctual reaction.

GERAGOS: You want to make a prediction?

TOOBIN: My record on predictions is not so good.


TOOBIN: Let's wait until the end of the trial.


GERAGOS: I'll make a -- I'll make a bold prediction. I'm going to say no.


I just think -- I think as much as they have -- you know, what did I call it, the tsunami of evidence that they've got against her, I just think they've over-tried the hell out of this. Enough is enough.

COOPER: Do you think -- does -- I mean, do you buy the tears? I mean, do you buy that --

GERAGOS: No. I don't. At this point, I think today was the most effective the prosecution has been with her because it looks like every time she's caught in a gotcha moment, then she reduces herself to tears, the problem is that she's spent 10, 12 hours on the stands before now, and she's kind of established a little bit of a bond. I know everybody will say, no, she's diabolical, she's this, she's that. Yes, that's probably all true, but the problem is the jury has got to make a decision. Do we really want to drop the pillow on her? Do we really want to kill her? Because I don't think -- I don't think you're going to find 12 people who will.

TOOBIN: Sometimes tears, you know, can look like remorse or sadness for the death. This, to me, anyway, just looked like she was so caught. She was just so caught with her own -- GERAGOS: Today as opposed to before. Yes.

TOOBIN: Before, you know, she was upset because he was -- the prosecutor, Martinez was yelling at her. This was just -- my story has fallen apart so completely.

GERAGOS: Yes. This was busted.

TOOBIN: Yes. Exactly. And that -- those tears I don't think will generate much sympathy.

COOPER: Redirect by the defense starts on Monday.

TOOBIN: Boy, I don't know how you start with this.


GERAGOS: If I'm the defense on this, again, get in, get out. This is like one hour. Talk about a couple of things, hit the high points, and get out. Enough. The whole idea of what they're trying to do here is just get somebody to say I'm equivocal. I've got a little bit of doubt as far as putting her to death, and be done with it.

TOOBIN: The defense is in. They have all the material, the defense does, to argue whatever it is they're going to argue. More time on the stand with her, which, of course, will then allow more cross-examination, I don't see what benefit that would -- that would have.

COOPER: It's a riveting day, incredible stuff.

Jeff Toobin, Mark Geragos, thanks very much.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow night for an AC 360 special, "SEX, LIES, AND AUDIOTAPE: THE JODI ARIAS TRIAL." That's Friday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll have a regular edition of 360 of course at 8:00.

Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. What did you think of today's testimony? Did you buy any of the tears or do you think it's just -- as Mark said, it was basically she was cornered and that was her only way out. Be tweeting tonight as well.

Next up, I'm going to talk to the police chief who took on a senator yesterday over guns.


CHIEF EDWARD FLYNN, MILWAUKEE POLICE: We make gun cases. We make 2,000 gun cases a year, Senator. That's our priority. We're not in a paper chase.


COOPER: Just a day after that testimony, gun violence erupts in his city, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn joins us next.

And later what does the papal retirement actually look like? The fascinating details of Pope Benedict's departure and is he actually going to be still behind the scenes a force in the Vatican, next.


COOPER: "Raw Politics" tonight in preventing another gun massacre. President Obama, most Democrats and many Republicans have made expanding background checks the centerpiece of it. The reasoning goes like this. If you have to get checked out before making a purchase at a gun shop, why doesn't the same apply at a gun show or private sales where millions of firearms are sold?

And critics say there's no point to more background checks if people who fail aren't being prosecuted right now afterwards anyway. Supporters say that's missing the entire point, which is not to prosecute would-be buyers with bad backgrounds. It's trying to stop them plain and simple from buying guns.

Now yesterday the two sides squared off. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Why aren't we prosecuting people who fail a background check and there are 15 questions there. They're not hard to understand if you're filling out the form. So I'm a bit frustrated that we'd say one thing, how important it is, but in the real world, we absolutely do nothing to enforce the laws on the books. Now, let's talk --

FLYNN: You know, just for the record, from my point of view, Senator. The purpose of background check --

GRAHAM: How many cases have you made -- how many cases --

FLYNN: You know what, it doesn't matter. It's a paper thing.

GRAHAM: Well --

FLYNN: I want to stop --

GRAHAM: Can I ask the question first --

FLYNN: I want to finish the answer.

GRAHAM: Well, no. I'm asking --

FLYNN: I want to stop 76,000 people from buying guns illegally. That's what a background check does.

GRAHAM: How many AR-15s you legally own --

FLYNN: If you think we're going to do paperwork prosecutions, you're wrong.



COOPER: Well, just today in Chief Flynn's city, the day after that testimony, a man opened fire with an assault rifle on a crowd of 10 people, wounding two of them. The suspect has a long criminal history.

Chief Edward Flynn joins us now.

Chief, I appreciate you being with us. First of all, what do we know about the type of weapon that was used in that shooting today?

FLYNN: Well, it was an AR-15 knockoff made in China. Had a 30- round banana clip, semiautomatic rifle, able to get a lot of rounds off, which the individual did.

COOPER: And if Congress approved the current legislation to ban so-called assault weapons, is this the type of weapon that would be banned?

FLYNN: Yes, it was. Actually. It fits perfectly the profile.

COOPER: We saw that heated exchange you got in with Senator Graham over background checks. You know, opponents of stricter gun laws like the senator don't understand why you and other law enforcement personnel and prosecutors aren't going after these people who are stopped by the background check system. On its face, people who might wonder why you wouldn't go after a potential criminal who fails background checks, someone who lies, someone turns out to be a felon, and lied about trying to get a gun?

FLYNN: Well, I can understand some people being misled by that, but when somebody of the senator's stature, that's sophistry. All right? It's a false issue. It's a total red herring, not filling out the form truthfully is an offense, yes, you're right, it is. Certainly we would welcome additional funding from the United States Congress to pay for 80,000 extra prosecutions a year, but that's not the point.

The point is, as you just pointed out, that we are using background checks to prevent the wrong people from getting firearms. The background check system works because it prevents people from getting firearms legally that shouldn't. That's the purpose of it. Yes, it's a technical violation. But no one who works in the criminal justice system in any level thinks for a moment that any judge is going to entertain a large number of prosecutions for that violation, you know, crowding a docket full of drug prosecutions, you know, firearms prosecutions, homicide prosecutions and so on.

So it's total sophistry. It's a pretend important statistic that is irrelevant to the functioning of government.

COOPER: It also doesn't seem to me, and this is the thing I don't understand. I've interviewed the NRA a number of times and I asked them, it doesn't seem to be an either/or thing. I -- I mean, it's not as if, if you're -- you know, you cannot extend private background checks through so-called private sales or gun shows and not also increase the prosecution of people who lie on background checks. I mean, it would seem you could do both those things.

FLYNN: It might seem so. But I mean, it's a practical matter. And I think you know this, Anderson. You know, we live in a government of finite resources. As a matter of fact, there are some in government that would like them even more finite, perhaps no resources at all, but the fact of the matter is the criminal justice system works at maximum capacity now. The feds are prosecuting RICO cases, organized crime cases and drug cartels, and a wide variety of significant federal offenses.

We're filling up the court dockets with homicides, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, car thefts, domestic violence, and so on. Yes, in a perfect world, people would get prosecuted for lying on their background, but don't get misled. The most important function that background form fulfills is it enables us to do investigations that disqualify people from buying firearms. That's their purpose. They serve that purpose admirably, and it's a complete phony issue to raise the specter of insufficient prosecutions for not filling it out properly.

COOPER: One of the things that the NRA says, and again this is something I -- the logic of it I don't quite understand is that, you know, further background checks at gun shows or private sales so- called would prevent legitimate citizens, outstanding citizens, you know, it wouldn't be an inconvenient for them and it's not going to prevent criminals.

What I don't understand is, how do you know it's not preventing criminals if you're not doing any background checks on people buying at gun shows? How do you know they are upstanding citizens buying them unless you actually check?

FLYNN: Listen, any working cop will tell you an awful lot of upstanding citizens are a first-time offenders with a firearm, so that's no guarantee, either. But the more important issue for us is this, we want to make it hard. We don't live in a perfect world. We cannot make ourselves invincible from threat.

But I'll give you an example. You know, in 9/11 I had a privilege of being a member of the Arlington County Police Department responding to the Pentagon. What we determined on 9/11 that we as a society will never again going to allow airplanes to be used as weapons of mass murder. We made a societal wide commitment and we have inconvenienced the lives of millions of travelers in their laudable, social compact that we're going to protect ourselves from airliners being weapons of mass murder.

Now why on earth can we not generate that same will when it comes to military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. We have a slow motion mass murder in this country every year. It's our homicide statistics and then we have the horrific tragedies as in Aurora and Newtown that shocked the conscience and should shock the conscience of any responsible public official.

You know, yesterday at that hearing, I was appalled at the number of senators who are so worried about gun owner's rights they couldn't stick around for the testimony of the people from Newtown. I was appalled. How do you call yourself a public servant and cast aside their testimony?


That matters, saving lives matters, and they seemed disinterested in that construct.

COOPER: They actually left the room? They weren't even there?

FLYNN: They found urgent business elsewhere.

COOPER: That's a -- that's pretty stunning stuff. And often you don't see the cameras -- you know, you see the cameras trained on the people giving the testimony. You don't see on those listening. I didn't even know that a lot of them had walked out before -- before the Newtown people came in.

Chief Flynn, I appreciate you being on. We'd love to have you back. Thank you.

FLYNN: You bet. Thank you.

COOPER: It was a day of farewells for the Pope, for Pope Benedict. Just ahead, how he spent his final hours as pontiff before climbing into that helicopter that carried him away from the Vatican. Took him to the papal summer home where Swiss Guards closed the doors hours ago, marking the end to Benedict's papacy.

Ben Wedeman is going to take us inside Castel Gandolfo where Benedict is going to spend the next few weeks.


COOPER: One-time NBA star Dennis Rodman is in North Korea of all places on a basketball diplomacy mission. He's sitting courtside with the dictator of North Korea, to Kim Jung-Un, apparently his new best friend. We'll explain ahead.


COOPER: Tonight, the Catholic Church is without a leader. Benedict XVI papacy ended at 2:00 p.m. today as you probably know. In his final hours as Pope, he said his farewells, starting with his cardinals who will elect his successor. He pledged unconditional obedience to the next Pope.

Benedict is the first pontiff in almost six centuries to retire as leader of the world's Roman Catholics. And when he was done speaking, he met briefly with each of the 144 cardinals who were there. Then he boarded a helicopter waving good-bye as he headed off to the papal summer home, Castel Gandolfo. The bells of St. Peter's Basilica tolled as he lifted off, and St. Peter's Square crowd watched on giant television screens and cheered. At Castel Gandolfo, Benedict was greeted by another cheering crowd.

Ten thousand people came to bid him farewell. He said good-bye from a balcony, he told them he was no longer Pope, just a pilgrim starting the last part of his pilgrimage. It's the last time he's likely to be seen in public.

Ben Wedeman has more now tonight on Castel Gandolfo where he will begin his retirement.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The massive doors of Castel Gandolfo have opened for Popes since 1626. Pope Benedict once wrote, only here could he escape the pressures of the job. That was Pope Benedict XIV, back in the 1700s. Benedict XVI, as poem emeritus, will spend several months in this traditional summer residence of Popes before returning to the Vatican to live in the convent being specially prepared for his retirement.

(On camera): Going back to Roman times, these hills south of the city have been popular with the rich and powerful. It's a great place to go to escape the heat and humidity of the Roman summer.

(Voice-over): It's comprised of 55 hectares, almost 136 acres of manicured gardens, olive groves, orchards, and pastures, in the Alban Hills, home of Frascati wine.

History runs deep here. This ancient tunnel dates back to Roman times. For more recent days, you can still see the damage from Allied bombing during World War II. The staff here recounted thousands of local residents took refuge in Castel Gandolfo during the war. And the papal bedroom was converted into a delivery room where as many as 50 babies were born.

The director of pontifical villas, Saverio Petrillo, says he doesn't expect the 85-year-old former pontiff to spend much time outside.

SAVERIO PETRILLO, DIRECTOR OF PONTIFICAL VILLAS (through translator): The Holy Father takes short strolls, he says. He isn't one to go on long walks like John Paul II. He is by nature a reserved man, a man of study. He doesn't like to stay out in the open.

WEDEMAN: He's more likely to pass his days in his private apartment, not shown to visiting journalists, or in the reception area, a relatively Spartan set of rooms with little decoration. But for a fairly vivid painting depicting the martyrdom of Vietnamese Christians in the 17th Century, the view, not surprisingly, is stunning. A residence albeit temporary, fit for a newly retired pope. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Interesting look at where the pope will be. Let's get you caught up on some of the other stories we're following tonight. Isha is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the Obama administration today filed a legal brief expressing its support of same-sex marriage in California. The so-called Proposition 8 case is one of two landmark same-sex marriage cases the Supreme Court will hear next month.

Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of giving secret documents to Wikileaks pleaded guilty today to 10 of 22 charges, but not the most serious one, aiding the enemy.

A former coal company executive pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with the Upper Big Branch mining disaster that killed 29 people. David Hugert admitted covering up safety violations and in a dramatic turn, he also implicated his old boss, though, he didn't name him. A lawyer for the CEO Don Blankenship denied his client did anything wrong.

And Anderson, former NBA star Dennis Rodman told North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jung-un, he has a friend for life. They sat next to each other at a basketball exhibition in Pyongyang, North Korea. Rodman is there to film a documentary.

A journalist that is there with them offered an invitation to Kim Jung-un and said he should come out to the U.S. and visit. The invitation was met with laughter.

COOPER: I wonder if Dennis Rodman has any idea what the North Korean dictator has done to his people and continues to do with the gulags and concentration camps.

SESAY: Dennis Rodman said he wanted to meet Psy, the South Korean rapper.

COOPER: Isha, thanks very much.

Up next, goodbye, Congress, hello, budget cuts. Dana Bash is reporting that the $85 billion in across the board spending cuts will begin at the end of the day tomorrow. Why? Members of Congress, the only ones with the power to stop the cuts, are not done, just keeping them honest.

Plus this --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give it to him, hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you're seeing that happened to me on that bus happened every day, if not worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: This is a boy named Alex, one of the kids profiled on Lee Hersh's remarkable documentary "Bully." Tonight, you're going see how his life has changed. A preview of our documentary that's at 10:00 tonight, "The Bully Effect," ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back. Keeping them honest tonight, the people who ought to be in our nation's capital working but are not, the people who more than a year and half ago creating a ticking time bomb that goes off tomorrow, forced spending cuts sucking billions of dollars out of the economy, furloughing defense workers and tangling of air travel.

Now with those stakes, you would think tonight lawmakers would either be hammering out a deal to avoid the crisis they and the White House created, or at least they would be sticking around to pass emergency legislation or something. Instead, they failed to pass a pair of deficit reduction bills and left town.

House members did even less than that and also left town. The failed Senate Republican plan offered President Obama more flexibility to implement those forced cuts, which the White House rejected not wanting their political fingerprints on unpopular choices.

Also not wanting to swallow what they see as a Republican poison pill. The only thing everyone is doing is basically waiting for -- well, pointing fingers right now and hailing cabs for the airport. Dana Bash tonight is keeping them honest.


DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lawmakers racing down the capitol steps, bolting out of town for a long weekend. This was before noon, a full day before the hammer comes down on forced budget cuts they voted for.

(on camera): Is there a concern you all are going to leave town while these cuts kick in and you won't be here?

REPRESENTATIVE TIM GRIFFIN (R), ARKANSAS: The speaker and the leadership will be here, and I'm a quick flight away. I go home every weekend to see my family.

BASH: You're on your way out. Are you on your way home?


BASH: So you're not going to be here in town when the cuts kick in?

HANNA: If they call me back, I'll be back.

BASH: But what do you think about the idea that Congress and you all won't even be here when these cuts kick in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to go to the airport.

BASH: You have to go to the airport? OK, bye.

(voice-over): Some Republicans whose party runs the House were unapologetic about leaving Washington until Monday.

REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD HUDSON (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, I think it's actually better when we're home working because the work we do there, in my opinion, is more important than the work we do here, especially if we're going to keep spending money.

REPRESENTATIVE JIM RENACCI (R), OHIO: This was his idea, the president's idea.

BASH (on camera): But as you well know, most Republicans voted for it.

RENACCI: Well, I voted for it, too, because I think we have to get our spending in line. So, you know, these are the things at 2 percent, most families, most businesses back home have had to do the same thing.

BASH (voice-over): But other lawmakers in both parties sounded as fed up as their constituents.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH (D), WASHINGTON: I mean, leaving -- we would stay here and if we were staying here and not passing a bill, it's not any better.

REPRESENTATIVE ELIOT ENGEL (D), NEW YORK: It's an absolute disgrace that we're going home. We should stay here until "The Sequester" has ended. This is a stupid way to do it.

BASH (on camera): I assume you're going to New York?

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I think "The Sequester" is crazy. I think the president had to show them leadership. Congress should do more, but to sit here by myself serves no purpose.


COOPER: Dana Bash joins me now. So you talked to members of the House, which of course, run by Republicans, but the Senate is run by Democrats and they're gone as well, right?

BASH: That's right. They left only a few hours after the House. As you mentioned at the beginning of the segment, they did have a couple of votes on this, trying to alleviate some of the pain that will come from the spending cuts. It was both a Democratic plan and a Republican plan. They were really political show boats. Neither was expected to get the 60 votes to pass, and neither did.

COOPER: Does anyone actually expect any progress out of the White House meeting tomorrow?

BASH: No, that's the short answer, and perhaps the depressing answer. I can share with you an e-mail exchange I had with a senior Democratic aide here asking that very question late today, and the response I got was ha, ha, ha, and it went all the way across the e- mail, two or three lines. That was the response I got not a lot of optimism at all.

COOPER: Well, Dana, I appreciate you, you know, trying to at least get lawmakers running out of town to tell us why they're running away from the mess they made. Appreciate that today.

In his invocation, the Senate chaplain today offered this prayer, rise up, God and save us from ourselves. With us tonight, CNN contributors, Charles Blow and Margaret Hoover. He is an op-ed columnist for the "New York Times." She is a Republican consultant. Also joining us is senior political analyst David Gergen.

David, we talked about this yesterday. Do you see any sense of urgency in Washington right now?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anything but. The fact they're meeting tomorrow, both sides are into theatrics now. Whether they'll come together after this, yesterday, I was hearing they'll probably get this resolve within three or four weeks. Now they're saying two or three months.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think that we all know that they are playing politics. We get that. To say there's no urgency, I agree there should be a lot more urgency in Washington, but you have to give the Republicans a little bit of credit. Just a little bit.

They did pass this measure that allowed for the cuts to come with a scalpel, not with a cleaver. It seems like the Democrats entirely pass this off. The president didn't take it seriously at all.

And to suggest that Republicans need to come to the table with a balanced approach undermines the fact that the fiscal cliff deal promised -- promised that was built into the 11th hour deal that Mitch McConnell negotiated with Joe Biden.

They said we're going to deal with revenues now. You can understand why Republicans could feel like they had just given on revenues.

COOPER: John Boehner saying it's time for them to do their job and to pass a bill. That's going to be his message to the White House tomorrow, but the Republicans haven't passed the bill.

HOOVER: The house has passed two bills. They had passed two proposed bills --

COOPER: Last session, not this session.

HOOVER: Well, they could easily pass it again. There's nothing that has come out of the Senate, absolutely nothing out of the senate. If the Senate had passed anything, then they could go to conference and the White House could sign it. Look, we know that -- this is like the cold war between the president and John Boehner. They're not talking. They say they like each other, but it's clearly just for kicks. They literally can't negotiate. So Boehner has said we're going to do regular order.

We're going to pass bills. Let the Senate pass bills and send it to the White House and let the White House sign it.

GERGEN: The whole country knows these are childish games. This is sand box. Look, you can apportion the blame here, the blame there. It comes out however you see it, but at the end of the day, they're responsible for running a country and a government that gets its budgets passed.

They haven't had a budget in four years. That's a main responsibility, to pass a budget. In four years, we haven't had a budget come out of the Senate and House together that the president has been able to sign.

This is just a continuation of the lack of responsibility that serious people and serious positions of power, that's what is so -- you know, I don't think the day is far off, frankly, when the Italians can take a clown and have a new party started.

And he comes in number one for the lower House of parliament, you wonder, maybe we should bring in some clowns, and Al Franken turns out to be a pretty good senator.

CHARLES BLOW, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There is a serious point, which is even if they can figure out a way to -- we're going to start doing something now, so people will start to get notices for furloughs and what have you, something will happen.

But both the CBO and independent economists have said that this will have a real impact on a very fragile and weak economy. And that is a very real thing. Whether or not all this other tinkering around, whether or not hundreds of people, you know, were released who were, you know, illegally detained or whatever, those are actually smaller in comparison to the economy going back in the wrong direction for all of us.

COOPER: It's interesting how Wall Street is kind of brushing this off. You look at the stock market yesterday reaching close to --

GERGEN: It is. I had a chance to talk to a number of CEOs now. They're basically all in the same camp that they have crisis fatigue. They don't want to talk about this. They are having to run their businesses as if Washington will be broke and they'll do the best they can.

They assume some day it will be fixed, who knows when. But the big issue for them is an issue that Charles is going to. How much of a drag is Washington going to be on economic growth this year?

There's a split, and a CEO commented about this. Some think the economy will do well, and others think, I think the majority, it's hard to count, wait a minute, the combination of "The Sequester" spending cuts that Charles is arguing, and rightly so, is a drag.

And the bigger combination of the tax increases we had earlier this year, that we may knock a point, a point and a half off the economic growth this year, and the economy is going to roll along at a very anemic, slow pace, and people are not going to get jobs.

BLOW: You could add a point to a point and a half to the unemployment rate which psychologically would be very damaging for Americans. We have to pull back and say, in particular, the White House, they are really the ones who should be feeling some friction here because if you have a slow-down, they're not -- we ricochet our attention spans ricochet.

This will happen over the course of a month, two months, six months, by that time, there will be other crises in the world, other crises in America and other things happening in Washington. And what people will remember is that it happened of this president's watch.

COOPER: We also have 40 days into this administration's second term, the first 100 days, you know, is critical. Is this White House going to be able to get other stuff done if they're spending a lot of capitol on the budget matters, immigration reform, and gun control --

BLOW: I think that's why they're fighting so hard. They have to fight as hard as they are to make sure that whatever comes of this, which they think will be catastrophic, that they don't get the blame for it, because if they do get the blame for it --

GERGEN: If they poison the well on the other issues, that's the question.

COOPER: Interesting. David, thanks. Charles and Margaret, thanks.

Up next, a father who turned his grief over his son's suicide into a mission to help other families and kids.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife and I, we plan on fighting bullying forever because our boy, he's going to be 11 years old forever.


COOPER: Kirk's inspiring story is featured in our documentary, "The Bully Affect." The documentary starts add 10:00 Eastern tonight. We'll have a preview in a moment. Stay tuned.


COOPER: We've been waiting for this night for almost a year. That's how long we have been working on a documentary called "The Bully Effect." It airs later tonight at 10:00 Eastern and follows the stories of a number of people who appeared in Lee Hirsh's remarkable 2012 documentary "Bully." These are kids and parents who have taken their pain, their suffering, their grief, and turned into action. They're truly inspiring. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything that happened to me on that bus happened every day, if not worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bullying got so bad at school that we feared for her safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He sped up and ran over me. When I rolled over onto the ground, he drove away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife and I, we plan on fighting bullying forever, because our boy, he's going to be 11 years old forever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the bystanders of the schools would get involved, I guarantee you, we can overpower any bully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really found, I want to say, my purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get this road. I'm telling you. I believe in you. You believe in you. Tell me, I am somebody. Raise this roof. That is what I'm talking about.


COOPER: We partnered with the Cartoon Network on this project. Earlier, I talked with its president, Stuart Snyder and also filmmaker, Lee Hirsch and Kelly Ripa, who has become a passionate anti-bullying advocate.


COOPER: Lee, I want to start with you. I mean, what you were able to capture with Alex in your film and where we see Alex now, the transformation has been extraordinary, I think.

LEE HIRSCH, DIRECTOR, "BULLY": Yes, I think it's definitely the thing that gives me the most almost like pride after all of this, is to see how confident he's become, and how -- you know, it probably won't be like this for every kid, but to take a boy who was being bullied so badly.

And see him get the kind of love and support that he had, and to turn that into now being outspoken, and the messages we see him get from literally thousands of kids that thank him and that he gives them inspiration, it's amazing.

COOPER: It's also interesting, what he said about, you know, bystanders kind of taking a role. I think that's such an important thing because it's sort of part of the equation that often we don't really think much about. STUART SNYDER, PRESIDENT, CARTOON NETWORK: The 85 percent of the occurrences of bullying has a bystander watching it happen, and if we can empower them to have a form of speaking up and getting involved, we know that the instances of bullying goes down. They get cut by 50 percent and even the single incidents of the bullying event will last under 10 seconds.

COOPER: I also think so many parents have kind of -- for the last couple years have felt like, you know, this has always happened. Kids will be kids and I don't think some parents have understood the full ramifications of how it's different now with the internet --

KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL: It follows them home. Social media is so cruel. We were just talking about this. As grownups, social media can be cruel, unbelievably so, and sometimes children have access to social media, maybe their parents aren't even aware they have.

And kids are very technologically savvy, and children can be unbelievably cruel to one another in a way that is -- there's no forethought about what's going on behind the scenes in a child's life.

And so kids are reading these negative comments about themselves, sometimes all day long. And it follows them into their bedroom, into where they're supposed to be safe.

COOPER: I want to play you a clip from the bully effect because you talk about the personal effect this had on you as a child. Let's take a look.

HIRSCH: The particular thing that was really terrifying for me was getting home from school. I didn't take a bus. I had to walk. I was always trying to, like, find a route where I wouldn't get beat up.

And the thing that I really carried into making this film was just how difficult it was to really explain what was happening, crazy. This is the middle school I went to. This was a place where I had a pretty hard time. It was very difficult to talk to my father about it.

My dad fought in World War II and he was this really tough guy whose response was, you know, just man up. Don't be a pussy, basically, and that was very, very difficult because you stop going for help. You give up.

COOPER: When I saw that, I really related to that. I think a lot of adults can relate to how returning to a school, you become that kid again. The things that happened to you as a child, they don't go away. They may kind of be hiding somewhere else in you, but it still has an impact, and you were saying making this film was healing in a lot of ways.

HIRSCH: Seeing that clip immediately takes you back. What was so amazing about going back to South Side Middle School in Long Island where I went to school is that school was completely transformed. When we went inside there, you could see they had amazing programs in place, a commitment around bullying.

And one of the things they did really well was, you know, pushing social and emotional learning. They're recognizing this new kind of -- you know, I think it's new to recognize kids who are standing up for each other.

COOPER: And Cartoon Network has been very out front in anti- bullying efforts. What have you been doing?

SNYDER: For the last three years, we have been raising the awareness in our "Stop Bullying Speak Up" campaign, and this year, we're taking it to the next step. We're distributing 2,000 stop bullying speak up flags in schools to reach over 1.5 million students.

These flags will be raised to raise awareness of the topic, and also will appear in the schools. So to really establish that the school does not tolerate bullying and that kids are in a comfortable zone to speak up. We'll be doing that in 2,000 schools and also 4,000 boys and girls clubs of America.

COOPER: Kelly, Lee, and Stuart, thanks very much.

RIPA: Thank you.


COOPER: We hope you watch "The Bully Effect" tonight. It airs at 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Ran out of time for the "Ridiculist." That does it for us. Join us for our bullying special, "The Bully Effect," one hour from now, 10:00 p.m. Eastern. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.