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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 31, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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authentic and try to be who i am. >> and similar things. good to see you. and good to see you, karen. >> yes. take care. >> next week, i'm in charlotte, north carolina, with the live coverage at the democratic national convention and sit down with all of the party movers and shakers and be in the cnn grill every night with special midnight editions of "piers morgan tonight." that is it from tampa. good night, everyone. thank you, piers. we begin the night with hundreds of thousands of people in need. dealing with destruction left behind from hurricane isaac. we know more tonight about those who lost their lives in the storm, at least four dead. and tonight, breaking news from mississippi where there are fears that a dam could fail threatening thousands off homes down river in louisiana. emergency management officials say that the water is being pumped from the dam and the water level is dropping and they don't know if it is enough. now in a few minutesly speak to director of the mississippi emergency management agency. now, look at the pictures and it
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is a terrible deja vu for the pictures of louisiana. these are pictures we were showing you seven years ago tonight on cnn after hurricane katrina devastate d the state. ab these are pictures from now, seven years now, and different storm isaac was hitting different areas, but in many cases similar destruction as seven years later. and isaac was a cat 1 when it slammed into the gulf coast tuesday. flood warnings in effect now for all of coastal louisiana and mississippi and more than half a million customers still don't have electricity as i said in the states and in arkansas and alabama as well. mitt romney visited louisiana today to survey the damage. president obama will head there monday. and louisiana governor bobby jindal said that both are welcome, but there is no time for partisan politics right now, because the focus is on cleaning up as floodwaters are starting to recede and revealing the extent of the damage. john zarrella joins me now live with the latest. john, explain where you are and what you are seeing.
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>> anderson, we are in the sti city of ameet in louisiana. that is the tangipahoa river, and now people living within miles of the banks of the taken -- tangipahoa river were ordered to evac wait, but positive news to report. they are pumping the water out of the lake and appears that cutting a hole in the dam may no longer be necessary. this is just one of the many lingers effects from hurricane isaac. >> reporter: hurricane isaac descended on louisiana tuesday night nearly seven days to the day that hurricane katrina struck. isaac wasn't such a monster, but it was still a killer. parked on top of louisiana, mississippi and parts of alabama. hundreds had to be rescued. what is it like back there? >> sad. water is over the top of the
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roof. we had to break through the ceiling and come through the attic. >> reporter: others weren't so lucky. the category 1 hurricane has claimed at least four lives in the u.s. and some like jean otoe were trapped in their own homes. >> right now in my attic with my wife and 3 1/2-month-old baby, and the police came around and said that the levee had broke, and within an hour, the water was coming up. it looks like we lost everything. >> reporter: and it is not over yet. the slow-moving storm continues the wreak havoc with heavy rainfall and flooding which overtopped the levee with water in new orleans. >> i have more damage for this storm than katrina. >> in mississippi, there was concern over a potential dam collapse, and now officials say that the dam holding back the isaac swollen tangipahoa lake is not failing, but engineers are working to pump the water out
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the release the pressure. down river in louisiana the parish president ordered thousands to evacuate along the 54 miles it runs through the parish, just in case. >> my concern is whether it's one person or if it is 50,000, a life is a life is a life. >> reporter: not everyone is listening. johnny womak sent his family to higher ground but he's not going anywhere. >> i ain't going nowhere, man. i been here -- i built that house myself and i ain't gonna leave and let somebody just take it from me. if he take it from me, at least i'm gonna see it go. >> reporter: isaac has left many with unsafe drinking water and more than 800,000 without power. not just in louisiana but mississippi, alabama and even arkansas. and it's not over yet. there's a chance of tornadoes as the region digs out from what isaac left behind. >> a lot folks in mississippi feel they get shorted in terms
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of attention with the focus on louisiana and new orleans and you were in gulfport when the storm hit. and what is -- and along coastal mississippi, and what has it been like in the last couple of days? >> well, anderson, they're still feeling the effects here. we've had rain every single day. the river here in some places is overwashing the road. there's still serious concerns of flooding. even if the dam does not give way. so the bottom line here in mississippi is they still have a tremendous amount of work to do. and before they can say that they're in the clear, certainly from the waters that are still rising in the tangipahoa river. anderson? >> john, glad you are there and appreciate the reporting. we will continue to check in with you at least four people have died in the u.s. as a result of the . storm, including a couple whose bodies were found in seven feet of water in a home in plaquemines parish. their names we should point out have not been released. cnn's brian todd was able to make it to the place where the couple was found. he got there by air boat.
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it's the only way he could get there. he reports tonight on just how badly hit that entire area was. >> reporter: it's still almost unapproachable and dangerous. we have to navigate around seeping natural gas and down power lines just to get near it. this house is where the first two reported fatalities from isaac occurred. a couple trapped inside. urban truel, the fire chief here, knew them and had to pull their bodies out. do you think the couple had a chance to get out once the water started flowing in here? h >> the water came up so fast. we had a lot of emergency personnel that had a rough time getting out. so, so elderly couple, needing assistance, would have been very -- very tough to do. >> reporter: there may have been one opening. maybe. the couple was found floating in the kitchen of this house. the kitchen is around the other side of the house. we can't access that right now. what we're told is the water levels at the time rescuers got here were about eight feet
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higher than they are right now, up to that attic vent right there. if the couple could have gotten to that possibly they could have gotten out. truel declined to identify the couple by name. he said the emergency officials got word to as many as possible when the levee near here was overtopped. one of the neighbors tried to get the couple to leave but they wouldn't. now the only creatures are either amphibious or have to ride what's floating. we see homes that are flooded, buckled. the chief says one house floated about a mile from its foundation. bobby landry and seven others in his family stayed through the storm. he'd lost one house to hurricane katrina and then moved here to remodel this one and now this. he and his family had to climb out windows as the water rose toward the second floor. >> i feel empty. it hurts. >> reporter: bobby, do you want to come back and live here? >> this is great living right here. this side of the river, right here, the people in this community are all tight, close.
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unfortunately, there's not enough of us. >> reporter: an exhausted fire chief is worried about more potential losses. >> it's not more that i want to see. hopefully it's the last ones we will see. we're searching a few more residences along here and we're hoping that everybody made it out. >> brian todd joins us live from plaquemines parish. i remember seven years ago finding a family, a couple, their children, who had drowned, finding their bodies in their home in wave lynn, mississippi, and after hurricane katrina. i don't think a lot of people get the idea how quickly the water rises in the house. the idea of drowning in your own home, it is horrific. >> the chief told us the water just came on so fast once that levee was overtopped that these people really probably didn't have a chance. they tried -- the rescuers tried to get access through that attic
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vent just to get to them. called crawled in through that. there was no response. it took them a while to get around the house to that kitchen area where they found the bodies floating. horrific to think about. >> this levee in plaquemines parish was outside the federal levee protection system. this was a locally maintained levee. there was money in the pipeline for it but the federal money -- hasn't been built yet, right? the. >> that's right, that's what the parish president told us. he said the money was in the pipe ryan. it had been approved. they had gotten into the bidding process when this happened. timing just could not have been worse. you just hear a lot of resentment from people inside that town. talking about how the money should have been there. the things should have been upgraded before this. but it just wasn't. >> brian todd, again, appreciate your reporting. back to our breaking news. as we said at the top of the program, mississippi dealing with the possibility, and it looks like it's a receding possibility, the need to breach a dam to alleviate pressure. evacuations have been ordered downriver in louisiana. there's still a chance it can be avoided.
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joining me on the phone is robert latham, executive director of the emergency management agency. appreciate you being with us. the storm is threatening your state as we speak. what's your biggest concern at this point? >> anderson, i think the biggest concern we have, we still have some rising water in port river county. water's been going up all day. we've been evacuating citizens in subdivisions that were isolated. my fear is citizens will let their guard down. we don't want them to return to areas that are unsafe. we will continue to work on the dam. we feel very confident tonight the plan we had in place is working. the level of the water was dropped over 2 foot by 2 1/2 foot since midnight last night. we're continuing to bring the water level down. the governor's adamant about making sure we don't just pack that dam but we're going to rebuild it. we're going to bring the water level down and redo the dam so we never have this problem again. >> this may be a dumb question. i apologize in advance. is the water rising in pearl because rains are continuing
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there or some other reason? >> yeah, i think, anderson what we've got -- some places in mississippi, we had 18 inches of rain. on the gulf coast, we had a storm surge of 10 to 12 foot in places. but the water in the tributaries coming into the pearl river and others, inland mississippi, brought an enormous amount of river down in pearl river county and caused a lot of the flooding. we've got a lot of places in the county that we've never had before. >> in terms of that dam, john zarrella was saying it seems the need to kind of open up a hole in it, that's passed, yes? >> what we're going to do, anderson, we've got engineers from the corps of engineer, department of environmental quality, and department of transportation, and equipment from the national guard that are working to bring the water down to a level that we can control. we want to continue to bring the water level down, and we will let it out a little at a time so we don't raise the tangible
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water level, because we are just as concerned about the few families in mississippi downstream as we are the people in the pearl river area. we'll do everything we can to protect the citizens. >> do you have the personnel you need? >> absolutely. we've got the personnel. we're working 24/7 to make sure we continue to do that. the plan the government put in place seems to be working. we're confident that it will. it does not appear to be any seepage in the levee at all. >> director robert latham, i know you've got your hands full and you must be exhausted. appreciate you taking the time to talk to us tonight. thank you, sir. >> thank you, anderson. >> and our best to everybody affected in mississippi and alabama and throughout the region. let us know what you think. we're on facebook. follow me on twitter, @andersoncooper. was the convention successful in getting its message across to voters that it most needs to win the election?
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our political panel weighs in on that when we come back. i was teaching a martial arts class and having a heart attack. my brother doesn't look like a heart attack patient. i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. i'm a fighter and now i don't have that fear. but don't just listen to me.
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in raw politics tonight, taking stock of the past three nights in tampa. of course, a political campaign is to try to sway the voters who are sitting on the fence, and the mitt romney campaign went all out to try to tailor the convention to them. for mitt romney, that may well be working class white voters. the romney campaign went all out. speaker after speaker talked about their parent's sacrifices
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and humble beginnings while trying to get mileage out of an overarching theme that hard work should be respected. >> small businesspeople say they made it on their own. all they're saying is nobody else worked seven days a week in their place. nobody showed up in their place to open the door at 5:00 in the morning. nobody did their thinking and worrying and sweating for them. >> big government didn't build america. you built america. >> don't tell me that my parents didn't build their business. >> my dad was a bartender. >> my dad never made it through college. >> dad grew up in poverty. >> yes, mr. president, they did build it. >> that was a theme we heard a lot obviously. another subject that convention speakers hit hard was welfare. >> obama enables an entitlement society that says give me liberty and gimme gimme. why? because democrats depend on dependants. >> he believes in government handouts and dependency. by waiving the work requirement for welfare.
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>> my working parents told me that i could do better, and they taught me that i was as good as everybody else, and it never occurred to them to tell me that i could just rest comfortably and wait for good old uncle sugar to feed me and lead and then bleed me. >> numerous times before, as have many fact checking organization, rick santorum's and others claim that president obama ended the work requirement for welfare is just incorrect. one of their posters said this week it's their most effective ad for voters. clearly they think that the message of welfare and voters is what they want to reach. the question tonight were republicans successful? joining me cnn political contributor republican strategist mary matalin. also democratic strategist paul begala who is also an adviser to a pro-obama super pac. paul, i don't know how many news organizations and fact checking
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organizations have pointed out this -- these incorrect statements, these factually incorrect statements from the republicans about what the obama campaign, what the obama white house is doing about welfare reform. and yet they continue to hit this message hard. is it working for them? >> i suspect it is or they wouldn't be doing it. i have to say it is a bit of a character test for three different parties. first off, the romney campaign who is running the ads and they have failed the character test. there is a lot of good issues they could run on, but this is simply untrue. i don't like to use the l-word, but it is simply not true. it is a character test for the press. i complain to the media a lot that the press has done its job. i don't know how many times the press can report that the ad is false, but you keep doing it and thank you.
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mitt romney actually loves people on welfare because he's created so many. and in fact if you want to count up welfare, bain and company, which romney negotiated this bailout, it's a huge story in "rolling stone" yesterday about this bain and company took a $10 million federal bailout. that's corporate welfare. so i mean, you'd have to be on welfare in massachusetts for 328 years to get the amount of money bain and company got out of that bailout. my side's got to fight back on this and i hope we will. >> mary, we did hear a lot on this welfare argument. do you agree it is factually incorrect? >> i agree with the primary architect of it who said it violated the spirit and congressional intent and it was not done going through congress, it went around congress. and the upshot of it is that it will relieve and reduce the work -- it reduces the work requirement, and now -- >> wait a minute, your argument is a procedural one. the way he went about doing this was incorrect. and that's perhaps a valid argument you can make. but that's not the same argument that's being made from the podium which is that he just wants to send you a check.
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that's what they're saying in these ads. to you believe he just wants to send out a check? >> and the reason -- anderson, the reason is because people don't understand the impact of process on policy. it sounds like gobbledygook to everybody out there. just like all the acronyms do. but the result is his waiver weakened the work requirement. and i really have to laugh -- i'm very amused at paul's self-righteousness. this is a party who called mitt romney, who's running for president of the united states, a felon. as someone who creates cancer in women. a vampire. somebody who abused his dog, dogs, who's waging a war on women. why this spot is resonating is because it comports with the reality that people are living. that there are two americas. one america is paying, is producing and paying. and the other america is being paid not to produce. that's their reality with this endless unemployment benefit,
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and all of the transfer payments. we have the greatest number of people and the greatest number of households that are dependent on some sort of government largess and people are reacting to it, because we can't afford it anymore. >> before i get inundated by tweets saying i'm a tool for the obama white house, we have done plenty on, you know, are debby wassermann schultz's incorrect statements on things. people on unemployment checks don't want to work, essentially what you're saying. there's a whole class of people getting these handouts. do you really believe that? >> that's not what i'm saying at all, anderson. no one would ever accuse you of being a stool for anybody. i was reacting to paul with his self-righteousness. he, himself, who was the architect of the most flagrant fallacious add of the cycle
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saying that mitt romney can cause cancer in some women. >> he did not cause cancer, but he killed the man's health insurance policy. >> and that is just also pretty far out there, paul. >> if you want become an inference checker, fine, but the facts of the ad are irrefutable. >> and now, come on, paul, that ad was misleading and it truncated the time line and it is like the movies that say based on a true story and you know that is not real. it truncated it so it was like i lost my job and then my wife died. well, actually she still had health insurance from her other job and this is a second job and i don't know why we are -- we have lost it all. >> let me come back to this point. first off on that ad, joe soptic in that ad is more fair to mitt romney than mitt romney was to him. mitt romney came in and ruined that company and did a poor job managing it and instead of taking responsibility, he pushed
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it into bankruptcy and canceling the health insurance for men and women who worked there. and that is what the ad said. that is what he says and i stand behind it. but governor romney got one of the same waivers that the ad is complaining about, mary, so is mitt romney undermining the welfare reform law when he was governor and got one of the same waivers that he is now complaining about in the ad? >> okay. anderson, we are conflating two policy issues here and two philosophies. our philosophy is that it is always more efficient and less costly and more effective to have the states be in charge of the programs. that is why paul ryan and mitt romney want to have for entitlement reform on medicaid for instance and bloc grant to the state, and yes, we do prefer the waivers and states to be in control of the mammoth programs that the feds are forcing down their throats, but this is not what that was.
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it is a process issue and we can bore your audience here or we can say that the spirit of that ad is absolutely true and the spirit of what obama did was to reduce the work requirement. that's why republicans are objecting to it, but it fits into a bigger narrative which is what kind of country do we want to be and we started out talking about the convention, and that is what the difference is here. we want to be a country that grows the e kconomy and not one that redistributes the wealth and has class divisions and race divisions and gender divisions. >> do you really believe -- i guess i mean i suppose that i understand the rhetoric, but do you really believe that the other side wants race division and class divisions and don't want to grow the economy? >> well, listen, if you are a hammer, everything is a nail. if you're a liberal, everything is race, gender and class. and the flaw with that is several things. it's, one, there's a homogeniaty in this group-think that every woman, every class, thinks the same way. they do not.
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there's tls fault of the static, like when facts change, people rational people change. they did like obama. they thought he was change in '08. he's been nothing but bad change. his recovery -- been worst than the recession. that's the fact. that's what the electorate is going to be responding to >> i did a very bad job on moderating this. . i apologize to both you. i got to leave it there. paul, thank you. mary, thank you. i want to bring in a blogger, andrew sullivan from the daily beast. andrewsullivan.com is his website. what do you make of what happened at the republican convention? you're a conservative. but you're supporting obama. you also wrote a really interesting article about what you think he needs to do next week. >> obama? >> obama to change the narrative. you think he actually needs to come much more to the middle. >> i think he's already in the middle but i think he needs to make it much more explicit. i think the key thing he needs to do is persuade independents
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and people in the middle of the road that he's dead serious about the debt and paul ryan and mitt romney are not serious about the debt. >> you think the way to do that is by reembracing simpson/boels? >> yes, by saying that what i want to do is a grand compromise and get the democrats to agree to cut medicare and entitlements and get the republicans to agree to raise some revenues in taxes and trimming the defense and if we can all do that together, and the sunset of the bush tax cuts will help. whereas ryan wants to cut taxes and increase defense spending and not tackling medicare right now, but only tackling medicare in 20 years' time, and they won't balance the budget for 28 years according to the cbo, so obama needs to own tackling the debt, and he needs to say, we're going the have to make a call by the end of the year, because we have the tax sequestration, and
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bush tax cuts expiring. >> and why did he vote simpson/bowl simpson/bowles? >> well, it was that you would have to get unanimity on both sides. paul ryan stopped that because he was opposed to any tax revenue. and. >> and paul ryan would say, yes, i opposed it and i came up with my own plan and president obama did not. >> yes, he did. it is in the budget, and it is all there and he has a long term plan but part of it is the cost control curve plans in obama care which they will get rid of. so they will get rid of romney and ryan. and the actual cost control m mechanisms in the aca, and that's going to make cost controls go up. i see all of this. i see cutting taxes, increasing defense spending, and go the war
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in iran and it feels like bush/cheney all over again as if they don't have a memory of it. of course, the memory of the bush years was wiped like an etch-a-sketch from the republican mind. >> and it is something that james carville said last night is that nothing he heard last night and everything could have been said by the bush administration in terms of all of the rhetoric. >> i want a reporter to ask romney, what do you disagree with bush on in his eight years? what would vu done differently? and because you seem to be proposing exactly the same policies, and bush gave us the debt. obama just had to handle the debt in the middle of a recession. >> do you think that romney and there is a lot of talk this week of romney's need to kind of reintroduce himself or show his human side, and do you think he did that? >> yes, i do. i think it was really effective in that sense. the evening was great. i loved the early testimonies to his private charity. >> that couple who lost their son was devastating.
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>> and devastating and why they were shunted into the early evening, i don't know. and i also thought that the propaganda informercial was effective. then we had the clint eastwood on the stage with an empty chair. and it was the most surreal thing i have ever seen in my life and all that anybody is talking about to today is invisible obama, and cletus and this is obama right here and he is standing in between us. >> and what is fascinating that we will talk about in the next segment is "the new york times" reporter who talked to the romney h people is that they did not vet a speech. they never actually asked him for a speech. >> here is romney, super control freak, right, and always punting wall, a -- punctual, and he was forced into the speech. >> and what about the fact that president obama in order to win is now appealing to individual groups and shoring up the bases as much as he k and basically
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dividing people? >> well, that is what every, and to some extent that is what everybody does. the republican party appealing to the evangelicals and the climate change denialists. >> that what the elections are n now? >> yes, they appeal to that. i don't think that when you say, look, we have got to cut the debt, and everybody has to sacrifice, that therefore, the rich who have done really well should pay a little bit more to help is class warfare. i don't. we have a huge debt, and someone has to pay it off, and romney and i agree with george w. bush, there, i didn't think i'd ever say that, but here is what he said. i won't balance the budget on the backs of the poor. when you have a budget proposal entirely devoted only for the sick and the poor, i have a problem with that when you are actually giving the wealthy and the successful more money. that's just not just. i don't know -- i just don't understand how a catholic like paul ryan can propose something that is so hostile to catholic
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values and catholic teachings. >> and than you shg, andrew. >> and it was probably the most bizarre moment at any convention, and clint eastwood's performance, speech to the empty chair and we will find out what led up to it. ♪ [ male announcer ] its lightweight construction makes it nimble... ♪ its road gripping performance makes it a cadillac. introducing the all-new cadillac xts. available with advanced haldex all-wheel drive. [ engine revving ] it's bringing the future forward.
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some shocking comments. a priest defends other clerics who have abused children, and even blaming the children for the abuse calling them seducers. a huge uproar followed.
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welcome back. we are digging deeper tonight. what was by far one of the strangest moments probably ever at a political convention. we're talking of course about clint eastwood's speech last night in tampa. >> i wondered about, you know, all of these promises, and i wondered about, you know, when, when the -- what? what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that.
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he can't do that to himself. you're crazy. you're absolutely crazy. i think that you mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home, and you give that target date. and i think that mr. romney asked the only sensible question and he asked why are you giving the date out now? why don't you just bring them home tomorrow morning? i thought, i thought, yeah. there's -- i'm not going to shut up. it is my turn. by the way, mitt romney is not advocating bringing the troops home by the way. within minutes someone created twitter accounts for clint's obama chair.
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it's been widely discussed today. the romney campaign probably tried to put a good face on it. joining me, chief political analyst gloria borger and michael barbaro of "the new york times." trying to find out who was responsible. is anyone taking credit for clint eastwood's speech? >> a lot of people not taking a lot of credit. what we know is there are two key aides to governor romney who cleared this. a whole lot of other people who thought it was a great idea entrusted those two people to vet it. what ended up happening, there really wasn't much of a plan. the plan was to trust a seasoned actor to deliver the kind of message they thought he had done very well in a previously endorsement and he decided to do something extremely creative. something like an ad-libbed sketch and a republican convention. those aren't two things you often put in the same sentence. >> right, every moment is so crafted in these conventions. >> that's right. >> so did they not know -- i mean, somebody put the chair there. so somebody knew. >> yeah, somebody, clint eastwood. at the very last minute we learned this afternoon in our reporting clint eastwood asked a prop person just a couple minutes before he went on stage, could you get me a chair?
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suddenly, there was a chair on stage. i really do think that people were taking in a completely live improvised show the likes of which we have never seen at any presidential convention. >> so as far as you've been able to find out, there was no practice and nobody actually like vetted a speech, asked eastwood to -- >> what we do know is they vetted every other speech. whether it was some hr person from the massachusetts governor's office or rick santorum, line by line. but there was no line by line to go through with eastwood. he was making it up as he went along. >> i want to play a little more of mr. eastwood's speech or performance, whatever you call it. >> i know even people in your own party are very disappointed you didn't close gitmo. i thought -- well, i think closing gitmo, why close that, we spent so much money on it. but i thought maybe it's an excuse -- oh, what do you mean shut up? okay. i thought it was just because somebody had a stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown
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new york city. maybe that will work. >> gloria, some romney supporters are saying, look, it played well in the hall. i've been getting tweets saying you liberals just don't get it or you in the elite media, you're making much ado about nothing. you said this was a complete embarrassment to the romney campaign. >> yeah, i think it was an embarrassment because they had spent the entire convention aimed at this sliver of voters who actually voted for president obama in 2008. are now disappointed with him. and might vote for mitt romney. this tone was distracting. it was very often crass. and it has become a diversion from mitt romney's speech which is of course what they want to be talking about all day today. instead of clint eastwood. >> this was in prime time on many of the broadcast networks. what was not in prime time was that incredible couple whose son
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had died, who mitt romney had helped write the will and befriended. he gave a eulogy and i certainly found that extraordinarily moving and that wasn't in prime time and instead you had something like this in primetime. gloria? >> and here you have -- here you have clint eastwood, this sort of iconic director and actor. and so if you think of it from the point of view of the romney campaign, they give him a few talking points or something, but it is hard to script someone who actu actually makes movies, himself, and they'd heard him give a, you know, intro to romney before and they kind of of liked it. so i could sort of see from their point of view how they wouldn't have it -- >> i'm curious as a director, what does clint eastwood think of his own performance as a director, and it would be interesting when he does talk about it. gloria, thank you so much and, michael, fascinating report. thank you so much. and up next, outrageous
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comments from a priest seemingly blaming the victims of sexual abuse and now a backlashing and we will hear what the priest has to say. we're sitting on a bunch of shale gas.
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now get 200 free trades when you open an account. a former navy s.e.a.l., did he break law by writing a book about the raid on osama bin laden, and we will see what the pentagon had to say today.
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a new york priest has sparked outrage for remarks he made about the sex abuse scandal that has shaken the catholic church. comments that he gave this week to the "national catholic r register." reverend benedict groeschel said in a lot of sex abuse cases it was the teenage victim who was actually the seducer. he also said first-time priest sex offenders should not be imprisoned. he appeared to express sympathy for jerry sandusky, convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse. he now says he never intended to blame the victims. deborah feyerick reports. >> reporter: when father benedict groeschel celebrated his 50 years with the franciscan friars of renewal, he could not anticipate the anger he'd face over his comments concerning priests and sexual abuse. those comments have drawn fire from survivors and the new york archdiocese.
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the popular catholic author, radio host and tv figure known simply as father benedict, describing convicted serial pedophile jerry sandusky as this poor guy, before going on to defend predatory priests for blaming children for their own abuse. in his words, a lot of the cases, the youngster, 14, 16, 18, is the seducer. describing a father/child dynamic. saying, quote, they won't be planning to get into heavy duty sex but almost romantic, embracing, kissing. perhaps sleeping. but not having intercourse or anything like that. the archdiocese condemned child sexual abuse as a crime to be prosecuted fully. >> i'm with cnn. i was trying to find father groeschel. >> father's not -- he's not here. >> he's not. okay, thank you very much, ma'am. >> reporter: 78-year-old father benedict established this home nearly 40 years ago to serve in part as a spiritual refuge for clergy. several priests accused of child abuse over the years have,
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according to news reports, sought sanctuary here and guidance from father benedict. a man answering the phone told us father benedict had recently fractured his leg and he would be away for about three months. the franciscan friars of renewal apologized for father benedict's comments defending his lifelong work and saying the comments were out of character. the comments in this week's national catholic register set off a firestorm. forcing an apology from the priest. who said, quote, my mind and my way expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. >> i don't care whether you're senile or whether you may have had a hard day. the fact is, for you to say something like that tells me there are much, much deeper issues going on with you as the individual to try to justify something that is so horrific that has destroyed the lives of so many children it. >> reporter: jeff gardere is a clinical psychologist. for an adult to think a child is seducing that adult, what's going on?
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>> this is the typical mind of a pedophile. where they intellectualize the relationship. and convince themselves that the child wants the sexuality. >> reporter: the national catholic register quickly removed the story from its website. a visitor looking for father benedict defended the aging clergyman. intelligent? >> yeah. >> reporter: thoughtful? >> yeah. >> reporter: reflective? >> yeah. >> reporter: surprising that he would seem to make comments defending priests who may be quote/unquote seduced by children? >> yeah. yeah. >> reporter: now, the franciscan friars say father benedict never intended to excuse the abuse. or even implicate the victims, a and they say in recent months his physical and mental health have been failing, and while it is not an excuse, but it is may help explain why a man they
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consider so compassionate could have been so wrong on this, anderson. >> a guy who counseled priests for years. if this is what he, in fact, thinks, it's incredibly telling. deborah, appreciate the reporting. three people killed in an early morning shooting at a new jersey super market. and i have to find a way to manage my cash flow better. [ female announcer ] our wells fargo bankers are here to listen, offer guidance and provide you with options tailored to your business. we've loaned more money to small businesses than any other bank for nine years running. so come talk to us to see how we can help. wells fargo. together we'll go far.
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♪ i can do anything today ♪ i can go anywhere ♪ i can go anywhere today ♪ la la la la la la la [ male announcer ] dow solutions help millions of people by helping to make gluten free bread that doesn't taste gluten free. together, the elements of science and the human element can solve anything. solutionism. the new optimism. i'm susan hendricks with a "360 bulletin." a battle heating up between the pentagon and the author of a new book about the raid that killed
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bin laden. a lawyer for the former navy s.e.a.l. claims his client did not violate the military's ban on disclosing classified information. opposition groups in syria say at least 85 people were killed today in fierce fighting across the country. the city of aleppo has seen some of the worst battles between government forces and opponents of the assad regime. flee people were killed this morning at a supermarket in new jersey. officials say a 23-year-old man shot to death two co-workers at a path marc before killing himself. and you have to see this, tonight it is a blewe moon even though it is pale yellow. that means it is the second full moon in one month. stay with us, because anderson is back in a moment with the ridiculi ridiculist. don't miss it.
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time now for the ridiculist, and tonight, some shocking news. shocking news that three minutes a day using a fitness gadget from an infomercial may not melt away the pounds after all. i am stunned. the ftc has file d suit against the advertisers of the ab pro. it looks so convincing on tv. >> now there's a machine so advanced, it targets your entire core. all in one circular motion. >> it's fun and easy and takes just three minutes a day. >> it's fun and easy. it's like a tilt a whirl for your knees. it seems like it would work, but everyone knows that really to get in shape, you need serious workouts with some serious
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equipment. >> you just shake it. back and forth. there's no motor, no batteries, and you get the results you want. >> fitness equipment has come such a long way, hasn't it? take the 80s. back then all we thought we needed to get this shape was big hair and a few friends and leotards and preferably belted. >> reach it out. exhale. each side. three. two. hips are still. really open it up. and reach. stretch it out. open up that chest. >> and reach. this era taught us another lesson. do not neglect your face exercises. no equipment necessary. ♪
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what the heck? it was a simpler time, wasn't it? there we were with our contorted faces and our shiny workout clothes. aerobicizing ourselves to within an inch of our lives. yet, i don't know, something was missing, wasn't it? then along came a pioneer. a visionary if you will, who ushered in the golden age using only her thighs. >> i used to do aerobics till i dropped. then i found thigh master. every single time you squeeze thigh master, you strengthen and tone right where you need it. so it's easy to squeeze, squeeze your way to shapely hips and thighs. it's quick and easy and you can use it any time. >> just look where we are now. we have the shake weight. we have the solar flex. we have people on treadmills in their houses. there's even a thing that lets you -- well, i guess you would say thrust your way to fitness. [ speaking foreign language ]

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