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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  January 20, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm EST

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believer. >> when they came with the idea of the firefly sweet tea vodka, i thought, good for you. whether you can market it or not, that's another story. but the success story is incredible. it started here in charleston and, i don't know, downtown charleston just grabbed ahold of this beverage and it sweeped out throughout the country. >> maybe it's time to try some. our show is over. have a wonderful weekend. "anderson cooper 360" starts now. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: erin, thank you very much. good evening, everyone. i want to welcome our viewers to charleston. [ cheers ] >> it's one of the most beautiful colleges i have seen. a lot of enthusiasm here on campus tonight. a lot of enthusiasm in the state of south carolina for what's going to take place tomorrow in this state. newt gingrich the surging.
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mitt romney says tomorrow may end in defeat for mitt romney. nearly a week ago it was expected to be a coronation. that's how quickly things have changed. speaker gingrich's comeback began with a strong performance in a debate monday. and then last night's strong performance on cnn. >> as you know, your ex-wife gave an interview with abc news and the washington post and the story is viral on the internet. she says you came to her in 1999 at a time when you were having an affair. she said you asked her to enter into an open marriage. would you like to take time to respond to that? >> no. but i will. [ cheers and applause ] >> i think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country,
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harder to attract decent people to run for public office. i am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. [ cheers and applause ] >> is that all you want to say, sir? >> let me finish, please. [ cheers and applause ] >> every person in here knows personal pain. every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. to take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything i can imagine. [ applause ] >> last night david gergin called that the most dramatic moment in debate history.
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abc news is pushing back on another claim speaker gingrich made last night that he offered up friends to refute the story. he said the network wasn't interested. jeffrey schneider said, quote, we would have been happy to interview anyone they put forward. the former speaker who talked another minute and a half on the subject and he's not talking anymore. >> reporter: on the day before the polls open in south carolina, a new tactic from newt gingrich on the question of his relationship with his second wife. >> mr. speaker, is it valid to bring up personal issues in a campaign? >> reporter: a reporter tripped which seemed to take gingrich's attention. so we tried again. his refusal to answer is a 180 from yesterday. he was standing with his wife and was asked a similar question by a man attending a south carolina rally.
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>> going to god for forgiveness. >> reporter: then he talked about it with reporters. >> it's an issue icon front when it comes up. icon front it the same way and people seem satisfied with it. you watched the audience. >> reporter: during the last two days gingrich's crowds have grown bigger and louder as the stakes get higher. on the eve of the iowa caucuses and the new hampshire primary, newt gingrich knew he wasn't going to win. now he believes victory in south carolina is within his grasp. >> if we win on saturday, with your help, i believe i will become the nominee. i do think south carolina, in fact, has an enormous impact. you picked the winner every single primary since 1980. and i believe that we will go on to win florida and then we'll go on to win the nomination. >> do you think it's critical that you win here in south carolina? >> i think it's critical that you win as often as you can. the number one thing we now know
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is that when this becomes a two-person race then romney has a problem. he's too liberal for most republican voters. >> reporter: as gingrich's poll numbers increased so have his spirits. he's eagerly belting out one-liners. in this case talking about president obama's thursday visit to walt disneyworld. >> think about the president standing with mickey mouse on one side and goofy on the other. >> reporter: gingrich wasn't want to be backed into a corner. if he doesn't have a a strong performance in south carolina which neighbors his home state of georgia we'll be unlikely to hear things like this for real. >> mr. president -- >> not yet. but with your help. >> reporter: gary tuchman, charleston, south carolina. >> joining us now our political panel on the college campus with us. former george bush press secretary ari fleischer, political analyst roland martin. let's talk about what's
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happening today. is this surge of newt gingrich so powerful he could win? >> absolutely. >> do you think he will? >> i predict newt gingrich will win south carolina. more than what i predict i have talked to several leading south carolina republicans who know the state in and out. to a person they all thought newt would win by a small margin. i spoke to a national pollster who thinks newt will win big. the ground started shifting monday at the debate. the shift accelerated last night. i think newt wins. >> eric, do you agree with the prediction? also, what went wrong for romney? >> what went wrong was the debate on monday. his debate last night sealed it for him. newt gingrich had huge momentum after monday the polling shifted dramatically for newt gingrich. last night locked it in. there is another key detail. this is also a proxy fight between the governor who endorsed mitt romney and the speaker of the house who endorsed newt gingrich. the speaker has fired it up for
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newt gingrich to get grassroots activists for the polls tomorrow. we'll see it as a proxy fight and between newt and mitt. i think newt will win. >> what do you think that means moving forward if he does win? >> this is going to be a fight to the end over a period of months. far too many national journalists kept saying he wins two, three, four and it's over. absolutely not. you look at what happened. perry drops out this week. happens if santorum comes in fourth. will he stay in? ron paul's not going anywhere. this will go to april or may. >> you mean paul isn't leaving. >> he's not leaving the race. this is a race for delegates. not about how many states you win. can you get to 1445. mitt romney should be focused on the long haul. >> do you think santorum will place fourth?
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is paul strong enough for third? >> i think so. you had the evangelicals come out to endorse santorum who got no bump. moving to florida, gingrich has the wind at his back, not santorum. i think evangelicals will rally. florida had the delegates cut. this is a race for delegates. florida had its delegates cut. you have 95% of delegates out there. >> both santorum and gingrich want to be the lone conservative standing and neither seems willing to blink. >> santorum has no choice but to blink, especially if newt wins. newt is of national stature, is known everywhere. rick santorum had a great night in iowa. since then, no other state is like iowa. i think it is going to come down to a newt/romney race with ron paul in there. if mitt romney could have delivered a knockout punch in south carolina it wouldn't have mattered because he would have
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chased everybody else out. looks like he'll miss the opportunity now. >> the money will flow to newt gingrich. >> interesting to say that evangelicals, you think florida will move to gingrich. evangelicals here support gingrich which, two weeks ago, not a lot of people thought that. >> the issue with his ex-wife, does that start turning evangelicals against him? he's beating santorum two to one but it helps he's seen as a southern evangelical when santorum as not. >> as of last night we can forget about the gop as the party of family values. if you're seeing evangelicals say, newt's okay. all the stuff they have been saying for 30 years is irrelevant. throw that talk out. come on now. you can't talk about morality and -- that means the last 30
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years obviously it's not the most important thing. >> they will go with the guy who does the best against barack obama in debates. >> there is a big florida curve ball. 30% of florida voters have already voted because of absentee balance. whatever the bounce newt gets out of here it will be submerged. don't write mitt romney in florida. this thing keeps going. >> it's been a fascinating race. everybody's been in the lead at one time or another. at what point will there be -- >> until it hits 1445. >> remember, after florida a lot of races favor mitt romney. then you get into super tuesday with texas, rick perry helping gingrich. georgia with the largest field outside of texas which texas moved beyond that so you have georgia, newt's home state, dominating super tuesday. >> this will turn into what i said. who can win regions of the country? who does well in the west, the
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southwest, the midwest. that's what it boils down to. >> on the other hand, everybody's predictions have been wrong. who knows? >> every year we keep making them. >> all about the money. >> guys, thank you very much. let us know what you think on facebook. goolg plus. add us to your circle. follow me on twitte twitter @andersoncooper. we got word from a top gingrich adviser, predict a margin of victory tomorrow. we'll tell you what he said and also tonight we take a look at the tradition of dirty tricks in south carolina. newt gingrich is the target of fake e-mails sent to republican voters claiming -- well, we'll tell you about it after the break. as you will see, politics down here can be very, very rough. a lot more on mitt romney's eroding advantage and what may be responsible for it. we'll have new developments in the cruise ship disaster. stunning details about what the captain was doing after the ship
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[ cheers and applause ] welcome back. we're here with a crowd on the campus of the college of charleston. one of the most beautiful college campuses i have ever seen. we have late word from the gingrich campaign tonight. in fact, you can call it boasting really. one of his top south carolina advisers, a man named richard quinn, is predicting a win and is predicting the margin of the win by four to six points. we are feeling the aftershocks
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from last night's debate up the road from us. newt gingrich used it as a springboard as he had the debate on monday. for mitt romney it may have been a stumbling block. for months campaign watchers say romney has struggled with allegations that he's out of touch with average americans and is a flip-flopper. he's had a tough time shaking the charges and seemed to struggle last night. >> back in 1967, your father set what was then a groundbreaking standard in american politics. he released his tax returns. he released them for not one year but for 12 years. will you follow your father's example? >> maybe. you know, i don't know how many years i'll release. i'll take a look at what the documents are. [ jeers from the crowd ] >> and i will release multiple years. i don't know how many years. i will be happy to do that. let me tell you, i know there are some who are very anxious to see if they can't make it more difficult for a campaign to be
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successful. i know democrats want to go after the fact that i have been successful. i'm not going to apologize for being successful. [ applause ] >> that was last night. cnn caught up with governor romney today. >> you were booed and jeered -- >> wait a minute. we have people from other campaigns in the audience. >> are you concerned -- >> they will boo people based on the interest of their campaign. >> if i could finish my question. >> certainly. >> are you concerned that the varying ways you have answered that question might feed into the feeling that some republicans have that you are a waffler? >> no. at the very beginning i indicated that i hadn't any plans to release my tax returns. then it became clear that it was of great interest to everyone. >> jim accosta joins us along with john king agloria borger.
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seemed they were cruising to victory after iowa, new hampshire. turns out he didn't win iowa and he could come in second here in south carolina. what happened? >> number one as you said, speaker gingrich using speaker performances to attack the news media. he's proved he's the strongest of the candidates in the debate setting. if you ask campaign pollsters studying the data, not releasing tax returns, the mixed message on releasing tax returns has fed into the perception, doubts about governor romney and his debate performances haven't been as steady. gingrich is feeding red meat to the base. romney is playing it safe because they thought it was a double digit lead. i talked to a top romney campaign adviser who conceded the momentum is going the other way. they hope they can pull out a victory tomorrow but the expectation tonight is that gingrich wins. >> i want to play a clip of mitt
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romney trying to lower expectations here in south carolina. take a look. >> speaker gingrich is from a neighboring state, well known, popular in the state. so i knew we'd have a long road ahead of us and frankly to be in a neck and neck race at the last moment is exciting. >> it sounds like he's trying to couple with a reason for a loss here. >> it does, anderson. you have to keep in mind last night during the cnn debate he called newt gingrich a creature of washington. here he is saying he hails from a neighboring state. he's trying to clean up what looks like may be a loss in south carolina. we should point out that he's had conflicting statements on the tax returns. monday night he said he might release them. tuesday he said, i'll release the 2011 returns. today he said i'll have multiple returns this spring. then trying to turn the tables on newt gingrich saying, you released the ethics report you
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had back in the mid 1990s. that report is already online. it's already available online. >> gingrich blasted mitt romney for saying release anything. he said you have no business talking about releasing something if you won't release your tax returns. >> the irony is what does mitt romney have to hide? he's told people he paid a 15% rate. in a republican primary that's not terrible. people want to lower taxes, not raise taxes. people already know he tithes his income to the mormon church. so there doesn't seem to be anything to hide here. why make it seem as if there is? is the bottom line is mitt romney seems very uncomfortable in talking about his own personal wealth. i think that has become a problem with him. he's trying to relate to middle class voters and he hasn't managed to make that connection. >> john, why do you think that is? to gloria's point, the lack of
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comfort talking about it and, the question you asked last night and, you know, mentioning his father releasing 12 years of his returns, it certainly highlighted his discomfort. >> they have known for years, anderson, this was coming. it was a slight issue -- his wealth -- in the last campaign. the obama campaign, before his republican rivals took it up and that complicated it. if it was just the democratic national committee he could say, i'm not going to bow to the demands of the democrats. the problem was when gingrich, santorum and perry added it on, too. why? they were looking for something to stop governor romney's momentum. that's a part of it. you asked why. i talked to a close friend of the governor today. one of his top campaign advisers. they said, he has nothing to hide. they say he's a private person and they are having a hard time convincing him to be more transparent. he released a financial disclosure form with a ton of
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information on it. he views it as an invasion of privacy. they stress to him the political urgency of figuring it out. >> gloria, in florida, where this race moves next, there are two debates scheduled for next week. it's amazing, the degree to which speaker gingrich has been able to use these debates to propel himself forward. >> you know, the debates for newt gingrich have been the primaries he's won. once he got on the landscape there, he is a terrific debater. he's also a knife fighter. he's very good at attack politics. he knows how to do it in a debate. you saw what happened last night in our debate. mitt romney gave him a by on the personal allegations against him. then he went right back at mitt romney, didn't say thank you. just started getting him on the taxes again. you can assume that newt gingrich is going to continue doing this because he wants to
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show republicans that he's a fighter and he can go up against barack obama. mitt romney has to show that he can do battle. >> mitt romney still is the one who has the organization, who has the ground forces and the money. >> that's right. this race changes once it's out of south carolina. newt gingrich can claim a victory tomorrow if he comes out on top. mitt romney was mr. inevitable on monday. he's not anymore. when it gets to florida we are talking about miami, orlando, jacksonville, the panhandle. it takes lots of money to campaign and mitt romney has the organization on the ground. he also has the super pac to flood the zone the way it has in south carolina and other states. >> it turns out inevitability is not a campaign message. >> right. >> we should mention both gingrich and romney may be at the same place on the last day of primary day in tommy's ham house in greenville. sort of the ham-handed way the
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campaign has handled the week. hopefully lots of ham an hand. >> we'll see if the ham house is big enough for them. still ahead, raw politics. the latest dirty tricks in south carolina. a lot of history here in the state. phoney e-mails sent to republicans on the eve of the primary. newt gingrich the target of the smear tonight. also, disturbing details about how long it took the crew on the italian cruise ship to react to the life-threatening disaster. there is new video where you see crew members telling folks to go back to their rooms because everything is under control. we're keeping them honest. we'll be right back. now i'm a geologist at chevron, and i get to help science teachers. it has four servo motors and a wireless microcontroller. over the last three years we've put nearly 100 million dollars into american education. that's thousands of kids learning to love science. ♪ isn't that cool? and that's pretty cool. ♪
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welcome back. we are here at the college of charleston tonight in south carolina. a huge crowd here. hundreds of people actually. lots of people turning out. a lot of excitement in this state about what's going to happen here tomorrow. we want to focus on the raw politics. dirty tricks in south carolina aimed at stopping newt gingrich's momentum. a phony e-mail made to look like a cnn news alert was sent to republicans in south carolina from a fake e-mail account. here's what it said. this was completely fake. a source close to marianne gingrich tells cnn that former house speaker newt gingrich forced her to abort a pregnancy conceived during the affair that preceded her marriage to gingrich and "preceded" is misspelled. it is not true, it is false.
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it comes on the heels of the interview to abc news which caused contcontroversy. a second fake e-mail was sent out. the headline was newt gingrich responds to abortion allegations. it's made to look like it's from the gingrich campaign and says, i have said many times including on the debate stage last night that i am not a perfect human being and i have made mistakes. this was one of them. i have had to apologize to god and seek reconciliation. it's fake. sounds like a confession. here's what gingrich said about the e-mails today. >> i am sick of the kind of dishonest campaigns that we see where people who fake somebody else's material for the purpose of causing trouble 24 hours before a primary. this is not worthy of our children and grandchildren and it's not worthy of america. it's not funny. it's not a game.
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it undermines our capacity to govern ourselves. >> dirty politics most definitely. surprising in south carolina? not all that surprising. here's tom foreman. >> i'm rick santorum -- >> reporter: with the race tightening, robo calls are making sure south carolina knows moerm endorsed mitt romney. >> there is only one place to go right now and that's mitt romney. >> reporter: the problem is that was in 2008. the robo call says so but santorum calls it another case of dirty pool in a state famous for it. >> massachusetts moderate mitt romney. he can't be trusted. >> ron paul is not a reagan republican. >> newt attacks because he has more baggage than the airlines. >> reporter: ads filled with half truths and innuendos are filling the air waves and internet there now. this week santorum's wife was attacked in a flyer about a long ago relationship with a doctor before she met santorum.
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it said, did you know rick santorum's wife karen had a six-year affair with an abortionist? fake christmas cards supposedly from mitt romney and his wife appeared reminding christian conservatives of the family's mormon faith. that same year bill clinton stepped into scandal by drawing a parallel between barack obama's campaign and that of another black politician -- jesse jackson. in 2000, as george w. bush battled john mccain, an anonymous rumor arose that mccain's adopted daughter was from an illicit affair with a black woman -- not true. so why do things get so rough in the palmetto state? political analysts say those candidates who are leading want to knock everybody else out and those trailing see it as a last chance to throw punches, no matter how dirty it gets. tom foreman, cnn, washington. a lot of mud flying around south carolina over the years. joining me is david gergen and
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gloria borger. it's remarkable that in the history of dirty politics in this state. >> it is. politics has always been a contact sport in south carolina. we are seeing a lot of it this year. overall i have to tell you i think we are seeing less this year than in past years. there's not as much race injected into this campaign as we have seen in the past. often candidates are attacked for being too close to blacks, intermarried or they have a child. we are not seeing that. we are seeing a barrage of negative advertising. >> what do you make of the surge of newt gingrich? i'd like your thoughts. >> i'm struck that not only is he surging here but what gallup came out with a national a tracking poll among republicans. they have shown in the course of a week that mitt romney's lead over newt gingrich nationwide has gone from 23 to ten points and the head of gallup said mitt
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romney's lead is collapsing. that's striking. it means there is something bigger going on than beyond what's going on here. >> it is interesting in this day and age to see the e-mail circulating today to realize there are these kind of dark things out there. >> they are out there. i agree with david. it's not the way it used to be. lee atwater was a republican -- famous republican operative who prided himself on understanding how to deal with those dirty tricks. i think we are seeing more transparent campaigns. on the other hand, the super pacs have come in and they have kind of replaced all the old sort of negative dirty tricks because they don't have to disclose who they are. they say, oh, restore our future or great for america pac, whatever it is. i think they have essentially taken up where the dirty tricks left off. it's just different. >> let's talk about the race. for months now people have been
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saying, romney is set up for the long game, for a long war. he has the organization, the money. can gingrich, if he's a viable candidate which people in the state are saying, yes, he seems to be. is he set up for a long game? >> he's not. he's not. and i think you have to say whatever happens here that mitt romney remains the front-runner. there is something going on, anderson, that i think is bigger. if newt gingrich wins here tomorrow and santorum doesn't do well, which it looks like we are headed toward, then it could become a two-man race which is what gingrich wanted. he felt if we could get it into a two-man, i can beat him and the money will start coming in. support from a strong conservative group. >> where did he move from here? >> ron paul's support has been consistent. he's got the organization.
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particularly in a state like nevada. i think ron paul will continue to remain a constant and he may take it to the convention, for example. i think that the race between newt and romney is going to get darker and nastier. i think the romney people have a stack this big of opposition research on newt gingrich. i think they are going to start throwing it back at him. they haven't done it so far. >> going to be fascinating. thank you very much. a programming note. cnn will replay last night's gop debate at 4:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow and cnn's live coverage of the t primary starts at 7:00 p.m. eastern. we'll have the latest live from what's gone on in this state. coming up, disturbing new developments as we piece together what happened when the costa concordia cruise ship ran
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aground. crew members playing down the incident and telling passengers to go back to their cabins. also ahead, four members of a & m university arrested on hazing charges. we'll have the latest coming up. we'll be right back. r. and it's very physically demanding. if i'm sore i'm not at my best. advil is my go-to. it's my number one pain reliever. [ male announcer ] make the switch. take action. take advil.
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welcome back. keeping them honest now with 48 hours worth of disturbing new developments in the cruise ship disaster, the disaster that is really almost impossible to believe. disturbing details because it's looking more and more like the 11 people who died there and the 21 people still trapped, still missing, might be alive today if the captain and crew of the costa concordia had reacted differently, had reacted better after the captain's risky course steered the ship into a massive rock which opened up the ship's hole like a tin can. look at the rock still lodged in the hull. it's hard to imagine downplaying
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the seriousness of the situation. according to coast guard logs published in the italian press, at 10:14 local time, more than half an hour after impact no one on board had called the italian coast guard. that's not entirely true. people on shore called the coast guard after worried relatives on board called them. the coast guard reached out to the concordia. here you will hear a crew member down play the program. st stop.
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as you can hear, the crew member seems to be downplaying the incident as the concordia is taking on water fast. the passengers were told to put on life vests. the newly released amateur video show this is. take a look.
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crew member there saying, nothing to worry about. not for the coast guard, not for passengers. it's remarkable to see that video. within an hour those same passengers were scrambling for their lives having climbed down the outside of the ship. that's night vision of the passengers crawling down the outside of the ship. the question is did some never make it because they listened to the announcement and went to their cabin, deep below deck and never made it out? some may still be in the cabins. there was the captain, francisco schettino? he was allegedly with a woman ordering dinner.
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here's what a cook told the television network. >> translator: the captain insisted on having a meal around 10:30. he arrived with a woman i didn't recognize. at that time i was with a colleague, another cook jason velasco and we wondered what was going on. we felt something was wrong. the stuff in the kitchen was falling off shelves and we realized how grave the situation was. you would not believe it. i have had 12 years of experience on a cruise ship. i have witnessed fires so i wasn't that scared but i wondered what the captain was doing. why was he still there. we gave him his drink. after that he was still waiting for dessert to be served for the woman he was with. >> waiting for dessert. so the cook claims the captain was waiting for dessert while his ship was sinking. he later abandoned the ship with crew and passengers aboard. his last explanation was he tripped and fell into the lifeboat. first he denied it. then told a coast guard commander talking to him from
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the lifeboat he could better coordinate from there. that's what his attorney claimed. the commander ordered him to get back on board. he never did. finally there were report it is captain told investigators the ship lurched, he tripped, stumbled, fell into the lifeboat along with his top crew members, by the way. no one is buying that. we are now learning his hair is being tested and his urine to see if he was drunk, high or chemically impaired. then there is the woman he was dining with, a young costa employee traveling on vacation. she's denying romantic connection with the captain but says he was on board until midnight and she stayed with him in case he needed a translator. >> translator: i was asked to remain on deck because i speak five languages in case i was needed to make the last announcement. i was next to the captain, 20 officers and the director of the trip. it was quite an important person on the ship.
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we were waiting for orders from the captain so we could pass information to the passengers. >> that's what she's telling authorities. i want to get a passenger's take on these developments. we spoke earlier this week by phone with georgia and anayis one of the last passengers along with her husband arthur to leave the concordia. georgia, thanks for being with us. since we spoke new details emerged about the disaster and what you and thousands of others went through. i want to get your reaction first to a letter that an employee of costa cruises wrote to an italian newspaper. there is an employee that wasn't on the ship. we can't confirm the letter's authenticity, but one portion says, i have read, seen and heard so much nonsense with bitterness just from these survivors who resorted to sensationalism rather than information. he's saying thesurvivors are making a bigger deal of this. what do you think? >> i was most angry when i read and heard that.
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i can't believe they would make a statement like that. actually, words can't adequately describe the story. it's a lot more sensational than has been reported by word of mouth. i think it is absolutely a crime to be talking this way about people that have died and people that are injured. for them to do this, i was very, very angry when i heard it yesterday. but i am just incensed by all of this. this is ridiculous. but it has been typical of the response that costa cruise line, carnival cruise line and the staff have done all along. this is really hurtful and it's got to stop. it's a defamation of the character of the people that died there and a defamation of all of us who suffered through this horrendous event. >> you at multiple times -- last time we talked -- you said good-bye to your family members. you had somebody hand you their baby because they didn't think they were going to make it. >> that's right.
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that's exactly what happened. that was just one incident of four where we said good-byes and we thought it was the end. the only way people got off the ship is that each person helped each other. we pulled people to safety. people pulled us to safety. for them to make statements like that is so hurtful. >> what do you make of the claim now by one of the ship's cooks that the captain ordered dinner and was waiting for dessert while the ship was filling up with water? >> i'm going to tell you. after we got to the island of giglio, we conversed with with some of the waiters on the island. they said he partied hard. they weren't surprised he was having a party at the time this happened. and there was a statement made that there were 20 other officers and that lady was trying to interpret. why weren't they on deck giving orders and direction? i never heard an order to put on your life jacket. never.
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>> georgia, i appreciate you being with us. i'm happy you and your family are safe. we'll continue to talk with you as new developments keep coming in. new developments in syria. the state department is considering closing the u.s. embassy in damascus. and florida a&m, four members of the school's marching band facing charges in a hazing incident, but not the case that made headlines around the world. we'll explain ahead.
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at the right price. liberty mutual auto insurance, responsibility -- what's your policy? [ cheers ] hey, welcome back to the campus of the college of charleston. i keep telling the students they should be studying. we are just hours away from the south carolina primary. we're going to have a lot more from here coming up. first the latest on other stories we are following tonight. >> the united states is considering closing its embassy in syria because of security concerns. that's according to senior u.s. officials who said only a handful of embassy staffers remain in damascus. in georgia, the autopsy results are in for the reallier of a 7-year-old murdered by a maintenance worker at her apartment complex. the man hanged himself with a sweatshirt in the prison cell
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according to the medical examiner. he was sentenced to life after confessing to the murder. four members of florida a&m's marching band have been arrested on hazing charges that date back to september. a school spokeswoman said the charges are unrelated to the november hazing death of drum major robert champion. that investigation is ongoing. singer etta james has died. ♪ at last [ cheers and applause ] ♪ my love has come along >> her amazing voice landed her in the american rock and roll and blues hall of fame. etta james was 73. and al green performed at a campaign event for president obama last night who then paid homage to green.
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take a look. >> then to know that reverend al green was here -- [ cheers and applause ] ♪ i [ cheers and applause ] ♪ so in love with you [ cheers and applause ] >> not bad. the line from green's hit song "let's stay together". >> there you go. are you a crooner, isha? >> oh, yeah, i can croon. >> really? >> why do you sound surprised? >> i don't know. i don't know. you have many talents. i shouldn't be surprised at all. up next, a cougar controversy. it has microparticles so it enters the bloodstream fast and rushes relief to the site of your tough pain. it's proven to relieve pain
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time now for the ridiculist. tonight we have a cougar controversy in utah. in draper, a new high school is opening next year and students were asked to choose a mascot. the future students of corner canyon high school voted and wanted to be the cougars. that's when the claws came out. the school district superintendent said he got a lot of e-mails and phone calls from parents with various complaints about the mascot including, quote, many also have commented on the negative double entendre of the word cougar.
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[ laughter ] >> the negative double entendre as students here know, i take it they are not talking about john mellencamp. i know i'm dating myself. these students weren't born when "jack and diane" was released. do you know what that is? they don't know anything. this is a little ditty about parents getting freaked out about kids going to a school where the mascot is the cougar because it's slang for an older woman looking for an older man. parent rnts worried about this cougar, but this one. >> i'm toni, welcome to the cougar den. i treated myself to a jonas brothers concert. >> oh, you deserve it. >> well, i was thrown out. >> what happened? >> i was really rocking out, you know, pumping my fist when my menopause patch flew uh off my arm into a young girl's mouth.
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>> the school board scrapped the kids' choice for the mascot. they won't be the cougars. they will be the chargers. that makes me think of my blackberry. but i guess it's not as sexually charged a name. there are plenty of mascots more beavis & butthead troja trojans, gamecocks. it's not like they wanted to be the corner canyon crack pipes. what kind of stupid mascot is cougar anyway? [ cheers and applause ] >> wait a minute. i'm sorry. i'm sorry. all right. >> we are, indeed, probroadcast from the college of charleston, home of the cougars. this is working out


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