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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Sun Sets On Benedict's Papacy; Sex And The Church; Budget Cuts Ignite Political Circus; Potato Party!; McDonald's Set To Make Fries 100 Percent French

Aired February 28, 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: OUTFRONT next, the pope steps down, leaving behind a Catholic Church still mired in scandal. Does its future depend on changing its view on sex?

President Obama changes tactics over his latest battle with the Republicans. Is he losing the fight over forced spending cuts tonight?

And a Montana couple didn't believe the story police told them about the death of their son, so they became real-life detectives to discover the truth. It's an OUTFRONT investigation. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a papal good-bye. Surrounded in pomp and circumstance, history made in Rome today and it was amazing to watch. Pope Benedict XVI addressed the crowds in St. Peter's Square one last time, as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

About 150,000 people were cheering with signs saying, thank you, to the pope. The pope met with more than 100 cardinals, the ones who were going to choose his successor, one by one, each of them clasped his hand and kissed his ring in a sign of reverence. Every second of this day was planned. Every move was a first because no pope has ever retired.

The pope rode in a Mercedes-Benz. He rode to his Augusta Westland helicopter, which took him on a sunset tour of Rome. And I just wanted to show you these aerials. It was beautiful. It was literally sunset over the Roman coliseum. It looped back over St. Peter's Basilica.

So the pope could once again see where he had spent so many years of his life. It was truly beautiful to watch. And then 15 miles away, at the pope's destination, Castel Gandolfo, the bells were ringing, and his final address to the public as pope was at that balcony you see there at the Castel Gandolfo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE BENEDICT XVI (through translator): I am no longer the pope, but I'm still in the church. I'm just a pilgrim who is starting the last part of his pilgrimage on this earth. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The church, though, which allows 1.2 billion in its flock has a question. Can it keep growing and remain relevant? In the United States since 1965, the number of priests has dropped by nearly 35 percent and the number of nuns has plunged 70 percent. Is celibacy the reason?

Two of our next guests have left the church for that reason. Father Albert Cutie left the reason after his relationship with a woman became public and Mary Johnson left the sisterhood because of the celibacy vow. She is also the author of the new called "An Unclinchable Thirst." Father Edward Beck is a priest and host of "The Sunday's Mass."

I appreciate all of you taking the time. Father Cutie, let me start with you. You were a priest in the Catholic Church. You had a relationship with a woman in 2009. You ended up leaving the church, going into the Episcopalian Church, which allows married men to be priests. Does the Catholic Church have to change its view on celibacy or not?

FATHER ALBERT CUTIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION: Well, I think celibacy is very valid, especially in the case of those who feel 100 percent called to that life for all of their life, for their entire life. And I think that religious priests, for example, like father beck, who's a passionist, and monks and religious sisters maybe have a reason to live in community and be celibate.

But secular priests were never celibate in the history of the churches. The parish priest always lived like the people that he served. So to say that celibacy has to be the way for all priests really is an imposition of the church. And it's become more than a tradition.

It's become a custom to say to people, celibacy is the way it's always been. Well, that's wrong. It was for many, many centuries where most priests were able to marry and have their families and be good priests.

BURNETT: Father Beck, let me ask you. Christiane Amanpour talked to Timothy Dolan today, the cardinal from New York and you and I were sitting there watching. It was an amazing interview, but she asked him whether the next pope is going to consider the celibacy issue. Here's what Timothy Dolan had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: I would say he might talk about it and think about it, but I don't think it's going to happen. I think the past popes have listened and spoken about it and talked about it. So it's not going to be new.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Why do they reject it?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, HOST, "THE SUNDAY MASS": I think probably because, for a thousand years now, it's been something in the Roman Catholic priesthood that makes it distinct. And there has been a value to it. There is a value, a spiritual value of being free to do ministry, because you don't have a wife, you don't have children, and you can give yourself totally to it. It's freely chosen.

BURNETT: Do you feel that yourself? I mean, you feel that calling?

BECK: I really do, yes. I could not do the priesthood I do in the way that I do and be married and have children. It's distinctive. What Father Cutie said is very true. I think for priests, perhaps some of them, if they were free, they would marry and they could do their ministry just as well married. I don't think for all priests, that's true, though.

BURNETT: And Mary, I want to ask you about this from the nun's perspective. You were a nun for 20 years. I know you had fallen in love with a fellow sister and then a priest and you'd finally decided to leave the Catholic Church.

In the convent, you were forced to be with women all the time. You were forced to be celibate. Do you think your vows to the church to follow the strict rules, to follow celibacy led to you having a relationship with another woman?

MARY JOHNSON, FORMER NUN, SISTERS OF MOTHER OF TERESE OF CALCUTTA: I don't think that the vow of celibacy led to that. I think it's a natural, normal, human thing to have a relationship with another person. I think that growing in intimacy, growing in knowledge of yourself in relationship with another person is an important part of being a human being, wherever you are. And that the more the church would allow its leaders to become more and more fully human, the better it would be for everyone.

BURNETT: Father Cutie --

JOHNSON: I think also --

BURNETT: I'm sorry, there's a little bit of a delay. I'll finish the question. I'm curious, Father Cutie, someone had said, a Father earlier this week in an interview in Rome that he thought about half of the people now who went to become priests now were gay.

That was his estimate. I don't know that it's true, but if society becomes more welcoming and more accepting of gay choices, do you think that will mean fewer people choose to enter the church?

CUTIE: Well, I'll tell you, in my book "Dilemma," when it was first published, it was very controversial for some people to hear something that most clergy know, and I would say it's more than 60 percent of the Roman Catholic priest are homosexual men, some of them are celibate, and a good number of them are promiscuously gay or involved in more than one relationship. I didn't see too many homosexual priests that were faithful to one person, to tell you the truth. I saw them embrace a lifestyle, many times, where they were involved with many people. And we see the things in the Italian press in the last week where people get very scandalized about the gay subculture, well, that's old.

It's old news. It's been going on for a long time. Now whether we want to accept it or not, the fact is some priests are celibate, whether they're heterosexual or homosexual. But there are a good number of priests, a significant number of priests that are promiscuous and are living sexual lives and, obviously, hiding it from the institution.

BURNETT: Father Beck, you recoiled when he first said 60 percent.

BECK: I don't know where he quite gets that statistic. I mean, it's certainly not --

CUTIE: Father Daniel Colson says that.

BECK: Well, he may say that, but that doesn't --

CUTIE: Father Daniel Colson says that in his books.

BECK: OK, but that doesn't make it true, necessarily. I'm sure there are gay priests and some of them are active. I would never deny that, but that doesn't mean that you throw away celibacy because some don't live it well.

There are married people, 52 percent get divorced, 60-something percent have adulterous relationships in their marriages. That doesn't mean marriage isn't a sacred institution and worth something because people aren't always faithful to it.

BURNETT: That's an interesting point, that's a very interesting point. Mary, what do you think about the fact that there's been -- that 70 percent drop in nuns, way more than priests. If celibacy were changed, would you suddenly have little girls who want to become nuns now, or is that something that wouldn't affect the plunge in people's interest in that at all?

JOHNSON: I think little girls in the Catholic Church might want to become priests. I think that that's really at the heart of another problem in the church, the whole subjugation of women to really a second status as far as leadership roles in the church go.

BURNETT: All right, well, thanks very much to all three of you. I went to Episcopal High School, grew up as a Catholic, so I got a little taste of all of it. Thanks to all three of you.

So who do you think the next pope will be? Go to our web site, cnn.com, we have an interactive list of the cardinals who appear to be frontrunners to be the next pope.

Still to come, the forced spending cuts, they are going to kick in tomorrow and there was absolutely no action in Washington today, but there was a whole lot of childish drama.

Plus remember the body found floating in the hotel drinking water tower? We have an update on that story for you tonight.

And a dead American with a suicide note, it seemed like an open and shut case, so why do these parents say it was murder?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I read the note, I handed it back to the officer and I said, my son might have killed himself, but he did not write this note.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, a political circus. So when it comes to the spending cuts, they're going to kick in tomorrow. There was pretty much nothing going on in Washington this week, but there was a whole lot of drama.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.

SENATOR HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: Boehner hopes Senate gets off their ass. I think he should understand who is sitting on their posterior.

ARNE DUNCAN, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices they can't come back this fall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether it's also related, I don't know.

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is something that's going to have an impact on the safety of this country.

BOB WOODWARD, "WASHINGTON POST": It was said to me in an e-mail by a top --

BLITZER: What was said? Yes.

WOODWARD: It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Well, OUTFRONT tonight, we've got Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Daniel Altman, economics professor at NYU, and our own John Avlon. It was a fun week. You know, you don't get to hear the word -- you don't get to say the word "ass" all the time, and now we get to say it, because they've all said it. JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's been legitimatized at the highest levels of government.

BURNETT: I mean, sadly so. Daniel, the president was talking about these cuts and he was using some really serious, dire language. Here he was on Monday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What "The Sequester" does is it uses a meat cleaver approach, to gut critical investments in things like education and national security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK, but then last night, it wasn't a meat cleaver. It was this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: A cliff, but it is a tumble downward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: It's not a cliff, but it is a tumble downward. So, now we're backing off. Maybe it's not -- why is the White House now downplaying this, after saying it was Armageddon?

DANIEL ALTMAN, ADJUNCT ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NYU'S STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Well, I think that they don't want to be seen as responsible for something that's making a big hole in the economy, so they downplay it. But the fact is, this is not the time to make big spending cuts, whether it's with a meat cleaver or with a knife and a fork.

BURNETT: But these aren't even big.

ALTMAN: Yes, they are not big, but it's not time for any spending cuts. Why do you want negative stimulus right now? As Bob Sorrell wrote yesterday in "The New York Times," this is not the time. Wait a couple of years until the economy is on more stable footing.

BURNETT: So who do you blame, the first person to say the word ass or the person who repeated the first?

AVLON: I think repeating a bad praise doesn't justify it. I mean, everybody looks bad here. This is sandbox politics. This is worse than that. I mean, this week the fact that Congress and the Senate went home. "The Sequester" is kicking in tomorrow and they all left Washington like there's nothing going on.

BURNETT: Well, they are not working in Washington, at least, any Fridays this year.

AVLON: And that's --

BURNETT: We knew that. I don't know why you're disappointing. I don't know why --

AVLON: Hopeful. But, B, they deserve a long weekend. I think they should go get some sun.

BURNETT: They should -- all right, Doug Holtz-Eakin, I just -- this is really embarrassing. I mean, I know you don't agree with Daniel that we shouldn't do any cuts at all, but this is embarrassing.

DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACTION FORUM: This is not a high point in the history of the republic. You know, in the phrase of the week, we're going to regret it. We certainly can do better than this.

Let's face it, we have very large problems of federal debt. We have very large economic growth problems, and we are devoting a lot of time to what amounts to just a drop in the bucket, compared to the problems we face. And that, I think, really stands out to everybody who looks at this problem.

BURNETT: I think we all will regret it. Let's talk about that because this Bob Woodward kerfuffle has become a giant kerfuffle. And he said that it was Gene Sperling, senior economic adviser, told him he will regret it.

By the way, what Bob Woodward was talking about, he said, you're essentially to blame. You agreed to these sequester cuts and now you're trying to change your tune. So we've seen the e-mails now.

The e-mail that Gene Sperling actually sent to Bob Woodward, now Bob Woodward is a tough guy. This is a guy who is meeting the deep throat, right? This is Gene Sperling, "I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today, my bad.

But I do truly believe that you should rethink about your comment saying that potus asking for revenue is moving the goalpost. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret taking out that claim."

ALTMAN: I think it's pretty clear what's going on here. He is saying you're going to regret it because you're going to find out that you were wrong. And Bob Woodward is making a big deal about it because Bob Woodward wants attention.

AVLON: This is a game of patting cake. This is Bob Woodward who fought with the Nixon White House. I mean, Chuck Colson would be ashamed to see Gene Sperling not come with anything stronger than that. This isn't threatening letter at all.

BURNETT: Gene Sperling is capable of being a lot nastier than that.

EAKIN: I think what's going on here, Erin, is they're reaping the fallout from years and years of massaging the press, threatening the press, and expecting to get their story out and not have a free press question them. And you know, they really have overplayed their hand on this. BURNETT: They can be very tough. They can be very tough on reporters and very aggressive. Yes, they can.

ALTMAN: It has to be said that that really started in the Bush White House, which was locked tight, as far as access for the press, and you had to put out their story if you wanted to.

BURNETT: In a sense. They all have choirs they can preach to now, even in the media. Why would you want tough questions if you can possibly avoid them? But let me just say this. This goes both ways in terms of the failure here. We have put together, and by the way, I am included in this, so I will humiliate myself, about how people have talked about these cuts. Just take a look. This is what's been going on.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The problem with the spending freeze, you're using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a hatchet not a scalpel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hatchet, it's a bit of a scalpel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a hatchet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A scalpel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hatchets and scalpels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a hatchet, it's not a scalpel, it's a q-tip.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The right way to do something is taking a machete to something as oppose to a scalpel. A scalpel to the discretionary budget rather than a machete. A scalpel and not a machete.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scalpel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The machete.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Butcher's knife.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: An ax.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meat cleaver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meat cleaver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meat cleaver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meat cleaver.

BURNETT: Meat cleaver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meat cleaver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The meat ax.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And suddenly, scalpel is the good one!

ALTMAN: Yes, everyone's talking about sharp things, but actually, it's a really blunt instrument that they're using. This is not the kind of way that you want to make cuts in the economy, even if you decide to do it.

BURNETT: When you put it together like that, though, we all look so foolish.

AVLON: We've got a bad metaphor problem. We've got to get more creative, but in all seriousness, scalpel, meat cleaver, this is an incredibly stupid idea that was designed to be so painful that it would force folks in Washington to work together, and here we are, Erin, you've been talking about the sequester on your show for over a year. And yet folks are acting surprise. No urgency.

BURNETT: We were sitting here together 19 months ago when this happened.

AVLON: Absolutely.

ALTMAN: A better idea might be to set up a mechanism if they don't make their own cuts in time in Congress, than an independent comedian gets to make smart cuts instead of the stupid ones that we have now.

AVLON: A super fail committee.

EAKIN: Erin?

BURNETT: Final words.

EAKIN: Forget the language. This is not a big deal. This is tiny, tiny cuts compared to the federal budget, which is $3.6 trillion.

BURNETT: Yes.

EAKIN: This is going to have a minuscule impact on the economy. It will be smaller than the rounding error in GDP. We revise people by more than this. No way.

ALTMAN: Macroeconomic adviser says it's --

EAKIN: Compared to what? Compared to a tax increase? Compared to a tax increase? Compared to a tax increase that gets rid of the cuts? I don't think so.

ALTMAN: Nobody should say there's a tax increase either.

EAKIN: The president of the United States is saying there should be a tax increase. Compared to --

ALTMAN: Let this economy recover. We still have 7.9 percent unemployment.

EAKIN: Yelling louder is not generally the way to make your point.

ALTMAN: I'm sorry --

AVLON: The reality is --

BURNETT: Let Doug finish.

EAKIN: The point is that you have to make choices. The choice is to raise taxes, worse, do nothing, we have enormous problems, we could scare credit markets to death and we can't have do this, or we could replace these cuts with smarter long-term cuts, but the president and the Democrats stood in the way of that. So this is, in fact, the best of a set of a bad choices and it's small.

AVLON: No, it's not. The best of the set of bad choices is a balanced plan and Republicans have been lousy when it comes to revenue and closing loopholes and Democrats have been gutless when it comes to entitlement reform. They all need to get done.

BURNETT: They did just raise $600 billion of taxes, but it was 100 percent revenue.

AVLON: And that's a good start to paying down the deficit and the debt, but we need to do more and everybody's going to have to give a little bit. It's the reality of divided government.

BURNETT: Yes. All right, well, thanks to all of you. We appreciate it. Feisty, as always.

Still to come, money for titles that's the charge against President Obama tonight. Are the biggest Democratic donors getting the absolute foreign jobs in the world? You know, like ambassador to (inaudible).

Plus, a story about McDonald's French fries, a shortage and how France is actually going to help.

And why Dennis Rodman is hanging out with Kim Jong-un.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Do you have a weakness, a love for McDonald's French fries? I do. I adore those fries, even knowing what they are probably doing to me, I still dream of them. And I'm not alone. Here's me with former president, Bill Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So what are the vices that you have left? You're a guy, let's be honest, people loved you because of your vices. They may have hated you for your vices, but then they loved you because of your vices.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Once in a while, I break my diet and I eat French fries. That's about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But Bill and I have nothing on these guys. This is $250 worth of French fries purchased by kids in South Korea. For those of you who don't know, this is actually, apparently an in thing in Asia right now.

The fad started in Japan when McDonald's lowered the price of French fries, which caused excited children to buy massive amounts of the fry, spreading them out across the table, and calling what they called a potato party.

Now I ate that many fries, it would surely break me of my love for them, if I did not die first. But in Korea, they apparently love it, except the employees at McDonald's who keep running out of fries. So we have found a solution to the problem.

France. This week it was announced that France is going to start growing a lot more potatoes, and it's all for one place, McDonald's, which brings me to tonight's number, 100 percent.

That's how much of McDonald's 66,000 tons of French fries that are sold in France are going to be grown in France. So why are they doing it? Is it because they know they think their taste better or maybe they're just still angry about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom fries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: You know France. We've made fun of you a lot for your language police that ban American's words, you know, this time, though, we're on your side because it seems only right that your McDonald's French fries should be French. And if you have any extras in your 10,000 acres of potatoes, go ahead and put them on a plane to Korea, so those kids can keep having those potato parties.

Well, ambassadorships are some of the most important foreign jobs available, so why are so many of them being handed to President Obama's biggest donors?

Plus, the mysterious death of an American businessman and the two people who are using forensic evidence to investigate, his parents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though I have a mortuary background, the family has a mortuary background it's very hard to go through the pictures. But we will go to the ends of the earth to see justice is done. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(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.

And I want to begin with new developments in the WikiLeaks case. Private First Class Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him, except for the most serious one, aiding the enemy. Former Army JAG Attorney Greg Rinckey tells us a major challenge for the government now is going to be proving that Manning intended to harm the United States.

In court today, Manning said he only made public the classified documents that upset him, and he didn't intend to disclose anything he thought would harm the United States.

Well, just in this evening, the president is urging the court to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage. In a legal brief submitted to the Supreme Court by the Justice Department, it asserts that gay and lesbian couples in California should have the same equal protection rights to wed. Senior government sources tell us the president provided his personal input for the brief and gave it his blessing.

I do want to note thought that the administration refused to argue that the right should be extended to the other 41 states that define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Well, you would expect this would happen. Tourists are suing the Los Angeles hotel where the decomposing body of the 21-year-old woman was found. Remember when they told you about this horrific story.

Steven and Gloria Cott have now filed a suit against the Cecil Hotel, saying they paid $150 for a two-night stay that included clean running water. Instead, the Cott believe they bathed in and drank water contaminated by human remains. The Cecil Hotel had no comment.

It has been 574 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, nothing in Washington, but there was some good news on job. First time claims for unemployment fell last week by a much bigger amount than economists were expecting.

And now to our third story OUTFRONT: cronyism. Big donors getting the cushiest jobs the president has to offer, coveted ambassadorships.

Our Jessica Yellin is reporting that some of the new ambassadors the president is likely to name are big-time donors to the president's re-election campaign. These are the cushiest jobs in the diplomatic corps, getting romantic Paris. Marc Lasry might. He's a founder of Avenue Capital. He raised nearly $1 million for the president in 2012. Look at him, he's already smiling in the picture. Walking down the streets of Paris with a glass of wine.

Or cosmopolitan London, Matthew Barzun might get that. He raised nearly a million bucks for the president last year. He's an Obama campaign finance chair.

Or imagine going on safari for a long weekend vacation and sipping wine near Table Mountain in Cape Town. Patrick Gaspard might have just drawn that lucky straw. He's executive director of the Democratic National Committee and he might be the new ambassador to South Africa.

Or even the Land of the Rising Sun, a little exotic. Caroline Kennedy might score that one. She backed the president, of course, and was the co-chair of his reelection bid. We hear she's up for Tokyo or, now, super hip Toronto.

Is this cronyism at its ugliest or simply smart diplomacy?

OUTFRONT tonight, the former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, and our contributor, Reihan Salam.

All right, Reihan. Is the president crossing a line? These are -- I mean, there are people who put their entire lives and careers to being good ambassadors and diplomats. These are some of the most important spots in the world.

REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You really hit the nail on the head. So, presidents have been doing this for a very long time. President Bush did, President Clinton did it. It goes back very far.

But the thing is, that the Foreign Service is an organization that depends on talented personnel, and right now, the foreign service is losing a lot of those talented personnel, because, again, you know, you're going from Zimbabwe, you're going to Djibouti, you're going to Canada, you're bouncing around with a spouse, OK? That's a very stressful and difficult life.

If you don't have those plum ambassadorial posts as something you can aspire to eventually, you're a lot more likely to leave the service.

BURNETT: Right. You're saying you're going to have to be a grunt and we'll give the good job to someone else.

SALAM: Exactly, exactly.

BURNETT: All right. Andy, defend it, because I know your boss --

ANDY CARD, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, first of all --

BURNETT: Yes, go ahead.

CARD: I'm the dean of the Bush School at Texas A&M University, which is the first President Bush's School and we have a lot of our graduates who are anxious to get into the career in foreign services and they would like to be ambassadors. In fact, we already have a graduate who's an ambassador to a country, but he's an ambassador from Afghanistan to Australia.

So, I have a great respect for the career foreign service officers and I want many of them to become ambassadors. But I also know that presidents should be able to put people into positions that are going to help American diplomacy. And there are many countries in the world --

BURNETT: All right.

CARD: -- that like to have someone who's connected to the president as a close friend, and there are about 20 nations around the world that have had, I'm going to say, political ambassadors, for 90 percent of the time that there have been ambassadors.

BURNETT: But isn't this what we're supposed to do --

CARD: It's unusual. It's the right thing to do.

BURNETT: -- different, then, Andy, than other countries? I mean, that we're not supposed to be crony politicians? I mean, George W. Bush, 30 percent of his ambassadors, appointments, were political. And Obama's running the same rate, 31 percent.

So, we pick on Obama, but President Bush did the same thing.

But isn't this we're supposed to be different?

CARD: Virtually, every president -- every president since the 1960s has maintained a ratio of about 70 percent of the ambassadors being career foreign service officers and about 30 percent being political appointees. There are some nations in the world that really do want to have the president's best friend as an ambassador.

SALAM: But here's -- respectfully --

CARD: Japan jumps right out near the top. In fact, the Holy See, the Vatican, every ambassador that has served in the Vatican has been a political appointee.

SALAM: Look, respectfully, there's also been a change in the Foreign Service Officer's Corps, because we didn't have the problem with tenure that we have now. Right now, the kind of people that go to the foreign service have many other attractive opportunities. And seeing to it that they have a path forward to get to those most desirable jobs is more important now than it would have been 20 years ago, when people tended to have very long tenures in the foreign service.

Think about it this way. When you join the foreign service, you gain valuable language skills and much else. That is a lot more valuable now to global multi-national companies, and that's why those guys are getting drawn away into the private sector. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing for the world, but it is something that is actually causing headaches for the State Department, lack of retention of this personnel.

And when you see time and again those most desirable jobs going to donors, not all of whom, by the way, are close, personal friends of the president. There does appear to be increasingly what looks like a pay-for-play aspect here. I think that's got to be really disappointing.

BURNETT: Yes. Andy, what about these pay-for-play?

(CROSSTALK)

CARD: Don't call those words out. There is no indication that this is pay-for-play. And quite frankly, the president is the chief foreign diplomat for the country. He speaks for the United States.

BURNETT: But if I give a million bucks and I get France, how is that not pay for play?

CARD: First of all, it's illegal for anyone to pay to get a job in the government. And I can't imagine the president would allow any of his --

SALAM: Andy, I apologize, I shouldn't have used the term "pay- for-play," that's a fair point. But what you're suggesting, if the person is a close, personal friend, what if the person is an impecunious close personal friend who didn't donate a dime? That happens and I can see why that might be valuable and unique situation.

BURNETT: I got to get my dictionary.

SALAM: But the thing is, that's not what happens.

CARD: Let me give you an example. Let me give you an example.

SALAM: Absolutely.

CARD: When the wall came down in Germany and the Soviet Union started to collapse, President Bush went to a friend who happened to be one of the most prominent Democrats in the country, Bob Strauss, and asked him to become ambassador to Russia. And he did a fabulous job, and that was a political appointee --

SALAM: I absolutely applaud that kind of thing, and if you think that's exactly what's happening here, then we might disagree. We might have a different perspective.

I think actually if President Obama nominated folks who weren't raising money for his campaign but were people that he really admired and respected, someone from across the aisle, I think that could be a very impressive gesture.

BURNETT: All right. I'm going to just hit pause there.

CARD: Are you telling me that people that support a candidate are disqualified to make a difference for this country? I think there are a lot of qualified people and they may --

SALAM: What I'm saying is that the foreign service has changed.

CARD: -- well, the foreign service has changed. Every aspect of the government is changing.

SALAM: Absolutely.

CARD: But I can tell you, we at the Bush School --

SALAM: I'm suggesting.

CARD: We are training diplomats at the Bush School at Texas A&M University. We're doing a great job of it. We've already got some SES career foreign service offices that came out of the Bush School and we've got some that are already in the high level of the GS system.

SALAM: And I applaud you for that and I want them to be able to go all the way to the top. Thank you very much for doing that.

CARD: And they can.

BURNETT: I'm going to have to --

CARD: And there have been career people appointed to Germany and England and France, it does happen.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks to both of you. And please, everyone, let us know what you think.

If you donate $1 million, should you be disqualified? Is that unfair, as Andy said? Or if you donate $1 million and get France, is that definitionally pay-for-play, even if it isn't directly? Please let us know what you think on Twitter.

CARD: Thank you.

BURNETT: And our fourth story OUTFRONT: was he murdered? The mysterious hanging death of American Shane Todd in his apartment in Singapore, it's raised questions about whether his work for a prestigious government research firm actually made him a target. The police believe it was suicide. His family, though, says that doesn't add up.

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY TODD, MOTHER OF SHANE M. TODD: I just fell to the floor, and said, it couldn't be, my firstborn son. MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mary Todd and the moment she was told her son, Shane, was found hanging in his Singapore apartment.

That came call last June, the 24th, from Shane's girlfriend in Singapore. Grieving, in shock, the Todds went to Singapore to bring their son's body back and hopefully find answers.

Suicide was hard to accept. Their first meeting with Singapore police made it harder.

M. TODD: They sat there and read like a novel, Detective Cole said, "I am going to tell you how your son hung himself."

MARQUEZ: To the parents, the detective's explanation defied logic.

M. TODD: It included bolts in the wall, screwed into his wall, ropes, pulleys, slung around a toilet, and over a door.

MARQUEZ: Then came the suicide note, one memory in particular about Shirley Temples, never happened.

(on camera): Was that a big family memory? Did you ever drink Shirley Temples at the beach?

M. TODD: No, never, not once, never did we drink Shirley Temples.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): What was doubt about suicide became disbelief.

M. TODD: My son might have killed himself, but he did not write this note.

MARQUEZ: The Todds went to Shane's apartment. Mary Todd made a beeline for the bathroom.

M. TODD: There were no pulleys, there were no ropes.

MARQUEZ: There were also no screws or holes in the ceramic walls.

CNN's Liz Neisloss in Singapore went to the building. Nothing the Todds saw suggested suicide.

LIZ NEISLOSS, CNN SINGAPORE: They saw signs of someone ready to move. Clean clothes folded, boxes packed, and a plane ticket lying on the dining room table. All signs that their son was eager to move back to the U.S.

MARQUEZ: He had already lined up a new job. Shane Todd, 31 years old, had a PhD in electrical engineering and by all accounts a very bright future. His project involved creating faster, more powerful semiconductors using the compound gallium nitride. His parents say that in his last few months, he was stressed, even expressing fear for his life. He had told them he didn't feel right about his work, that it might be illegal, even a risk to U.S. national security.

With little faith in the Singapore police and the FBI unable to help in a foreign country, the Todds had little choice but to launch their own investigation.

Rick Todd had pictures of Shane Todd's body taken when it returned to the U.S. They gave them and the Singaporean coroner's report to a forensic pathologist in Missouri.

His conclusion, Shane was murdered, most likely strangled by a wire. The evidence, bruises on his hands and a lump on his forehead indicating a fight. The back of Shane's neck was front. Hanging only causes damage to the front of the neck. There were bruises on Shane's fingers and neck, indicating he was trying to squeeze his hands under the wire, again, struggling to live.

RICK TODD, FATHER OF SHANE TODD: It's very hard to go through the pictures. But we will go to the ends of the Earth, to see justice is done.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Still, the question, why? Why would anyone want to kill Shane Todd?

His parents believe the answer lies in the project their son was working on in a powerful Chinese company called Huawei.

(voice-over): The evidence from Shane's external hard drive. They believe it was accessed after his death and whoever did that either killed their son or knows who did.

The first access, 3:40 a.m. on June 23rd.

(on camera): And we're talking three minutes here.

R. TODD: You're talking three minutes.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): A tiny sliver of time. They believe someone, maybe even Shane, under duress, knew exactly what they were looking more. The drive was accessed again at 8:38 p.m. on the 27th, the day before the parents visited Shane's apartment.

Singapore police say they accessed the hard drive before handing it over to the parents.

On the drive, documents about a proposal for Huawei and IME to build a powerful amplifier using gallium nitride or GaN techology, amplifiers that could be used in cell phone towers or military radar systems.

Both companies insist there was no such project and deny there was or is any relationship between them. IME and Huawei say there were preliminary talks, but nothing came of them. Huawei also says it does not do military equipment or technology. For the Todd family living in the beauty of Montana, all of this, overwhelming. What they want now, a full and fair investigation into their son's death.

M. TODD: Shane was just one of those bigger than life people that you could not help but notice and love.

MARQUEZ: A family devastated by loss, now resolved to find the truth.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Marion, Montana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Still to come, an emotional day of testimony in the Jodi Arias murder trial. She broke down in tears on the stand. We have that moment for you.

And Dennis Rodman is now apparently buddies with the leader of North Korea.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

And tonight, we go to North Korea where former NBA star Dennis Rodman met with the supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, and took in a basketball game.

Steven Jiang is covering the story and I asked him how the two actually got along.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN JIANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the former NBA star reportedly watched an exhibition game, along with North Korea's young paramount leader, Kim Jong Un, according to China's Xinhua news agency.

Now, the two apparently sat side by side and chatted and laughed throughout the game, which featured four Harlem Globetrotters who traveled to Pyongyang with Rodman. And the final score was a draw.

Xinhua said Rodman spoke after the game, calling himself a friend of Kim and the North Korean people.

The report mentioned most people seemed surprised by Rodman's visit and wondered if it would help frosty relations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Bizarre.

Our fifth story OUTFRONT now: the breaking point. After 13 days on the stand, accused murderer Jodi Arias lost control of her emotions after being shown a photo of her dead boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: You're the one who did this, right?

JODI ARIAS, MURDER DEFENDANT: Yes.

MARTINEZ: And you're the same individual who lied about all this, right?

ARIAS: Yes.

MARTINEZ: So then take a look at it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The judge immediately called for a recess so Arias could compose herself. And when the trial resumed, prosecutors forced again Arias to recount how she killed Alexander in June 2008. She was in tears for most of the day.

So, did they go too far?

Criminal defense attorney Anne Bremner is OUTFRONT, along with former prosecutor and New England law professor, Wendy Murphy.

Anne, let me start with you. Did the prosecution make a mistake? They got her to say yes, I stabbed him 27 times, but she's balling. She looks completely bereft.

ANNE BREMNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think the prosecutor Martinez was watching your show last night, because he got a little better today, at least, in terms of not asking why, you know, et cetera, but he didn't get better in terms of being combative and getting kind of argumentative with her.

Yes, I mean, it looks extreme. He's yelling, doing all the things that violate the Ten Commandments of cross-examination which is an art that's engaged in by lawyers.

And so, I think she does look sympathetic at the end of the day. I wanted to say, though, frankly, objection, it's day five already. I mean, I looked up the longest cross-examination, and the only one I could find longer was in the Nuremberg trials.

BURNETT: Oh my -- wow. Which is -- makes this one certainly look ridiculous.

Wendy, Arias spent most of the day in tears, as I said. Here's another brief clip of a moment that caught my attention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARTINEZ: And you would acknowledge that a lot of the stab wounds, and if you won't, we can count them together, including the ones to the head, were to the back of the head. And to the back of the torso, correct?

ARIAS: OK. I won't count them, I don't know. I'll take your word for it.

MARTINEZ: Would you like to look at the photograph?

ARIAS: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So is the jury going to become more sympathetic, even though the crime she admits to doing is so vicious and lethal, Wendy?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I think they're becoming nauseous. I don't know about sympathetic.

This is like -- to me, this is the oldest trick in the book. When the really damning evidence comes out during cross-examination, start crying. Ding ding, why? Because when the jury hears the damning evidence and watches her cry, their emotions get mixed. They don't take in the really vicious stuff in the way the prosecution wants them to.

You notice, she didn't cry when the same evidence came out on direct of other witnesses. She only cries when it's to her advantage, and the jury is feeling manipulated. I have to say, you know, this case was in check mate for the prosecution when it started. I think what the prosecutor did on cross was grab the king and crushed it into powder because there is nothing -- she cannot recover from this cross. I don't care if she cried.

BURNETT: So, you though that --

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY: I don't care what she did. She cannot recover.

BURNETT: You think making her cry and look -- I don't know -- look so feminine was not a mistake on his part?

MURPHY: She didn't look feminine. She looked like a faker, like an actress, like a liar, because she only cries when it works to her advantage, and the jury sees it. They hate her. They want to slug her.

And what the prosecutor did with his mean words was the verbal equivalent of slapping her. I loved it.

BURNETT: Ann, are you convinced? Are you won over by Wendy's impassioned feeling?

BREMNER: No, I mean, very well done, as always. But, come on. I mean, it's like the prosecutor is slapping Jodie all the time. It's like, you know, warfare and combat. But she's a girl, remember. She's crying.

Wouldn't you cry if you were talking about a horrible act of self defense? Then he's trying to rub her nose in those pictures like he would rub a puppy's nose in what we know, something that they shouldn't be doing. That's how he's handling it.

How do any of us recover from this cross-examination? Today, I felt like my head was going to explode. Like no more. It's got to end sometimes, and it hasn't, and we have to go back Monday.

BURNETT: And we will be there with both of you. And thank you.

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

I know, Anderson, you're also going to be talking about the trial.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we'll have more on the Jodi Arias trial. We'll talk to Jeff Toobin and criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos.

Also tonight, a day after not backing down in testimony in Congress on gun control, Milwaukee's police chief went home to another shooting. Ten people targeted by a man with an assault rifle. Let's hear why he says gun control is simple and elected officials are making it seems complicated.

Also tonight, something we're very proud. A "360"-produced documentary called "The Bully Effect". It's airing at 10:00 tonight. It's an inspiring story of how kids and parents are turning grief and suffering into action. At 8:00 tonight on "360", we're going to talk to anti-bullying advocate Kelly Ripa, my friend, who joins me along with an expert panel.

Those stories, plus tonight's "Ridiculist" and a whole lot more at the top of hour, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Anderson, see you in just a couple moments.

And still to come, do you want to go to Mars? Guess what. We know how. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Yesterday, Dennis Tito appeared on this show. He was the world's first space tourist. He spent eight days in space. He went around the Earth 128 times. And he still looks 50, even though he's 72, because space, you don't age, that's maybe why a lot of you want to go.

Now the multimillionaire plans to send two other people to space, all the way to mars -- well, near mars. The mission for America is a 501-day trip that will send a married couple within 200 miles of Mars. It's expected to blast off on January 5th, 2018.

When I spoke with Dennis Tito yesterday, I told him I wanted to quo. And based on the results of our online poll, we asked you about it, a lot of you do to, too. Sixty-seven percent said you would be willing to spend that many days in a cramped capsule with your spouse. Who said marriage was doomed?

The entire conversation with Dennis Tito is on our blog, CNN.com/OutFront.

Anderson Cooper starts now.