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Immigration Battle; Banning Violent Video Games?

Aired April 26, 2010 - 20:00   ET


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody.

Tonight: The battle over immigration is in full swing once more. And with growing anger on both sides, nobody is backing down. That was clear this afternoon, as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who just signed the toughest immigration law in the country, spoke at an event in Tucson.

Outside, a crowd of protesters rallied, holding signs saying, "Brewer, show us your papers," and "We are the majority. This is not over."

So, what comes next? Tonight, you are going to hear from both sides in this very heated debate.

And then a little later, should kids be able to buy violent video games? Today the nation's highest court agreed to decide if states can ban the sale of violent games to minors. But just how dangerous are these video games anyway? We will look at that.

And also tonight, a look inside the first lady's inner circle, the real Michelle Obama in the words of one of those that know her best, her brother, Craig Robinson. We are going to get to that and a whole lot more tonight.

But we begin with your cheat sheet for today's top stories, the "Mash-Up."

And our number-one domestic story, the cleanup under way tonight after deadly tornadoes ripped through the South. At least a dozen people were killed as storms battered an area from Louisiana to Alabama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A twister with winds up to 160 miles per hour tore across Mississippi Saturday, killing almost a dozen people, including two children and a 3-month-old baby. More than 30 people were injured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The monster tornado formed in Eastern Louisiana. Its highest winds were 170 miles per hour, at least point one 1.75 miles wide. It moved at a stunning clip, 65 miles per hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities now say there were 61 tornadoes in all that tore through nine states and killed at least 12 people -- 32 tornadoes hit Mississippi alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. There it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People who saw it say the largest was more than a mile-and-a-half wide at its bottom. The winds were 160 miles an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now the cleanup is under way, state and federal agencies doing what they can with volunteers from near and far doing the rest.


BROWN: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said today he will request emergency federal aid.

Our top international story, chilling new videos of the alleged Christmas Day bomber. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is accused of trying to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear, is shown learning to fire weapons at an al Qaeda training camp.

ABC News has the pictures.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tape produced by al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula shows a group of about two dozen men at a desert training camp believed to be in Yemen. The firing range targets including a Jewish star, the British Union Jack and the initials U.N., and among those firing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian who left Yemen in December for his Christmas Day suicide mission.

Later in the video, Abdulmutallab delivers what appears to be a farewell martyrdom statement, perhaps aimed at possible recruits.

"The enemy is in your lands with their armies," he says, "the Jews and Christians and their agents." And then citing a passage of the Koran, he said, "God said, if you do not fight back, he will punish you and replace you."


BROWN: Abdulmutallab has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. But authorities say he has been cooperating with investigators.

Our top political story, a speed bump on the road to Wall Street reform. Tonight, Senate Republicans blocked Harry Reid's Democrats from starting debate on financial reform legislation, the final vote, 57-41.


JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING, USA": Senate Democrats failed a short time ago to muster the 60 votes they needed to begin debate on a package of sweeping financial reforms. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The two sides agree on the goals of reform, just not how to get there. Democrats say the consumer protection agency created by the bill would guard Americans from predatory mortgage loans and credit offers. Republicans argue the agency, while well-meaning, would be too expensive and too powerful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight, both Democrats and Republicans claim public frustration is on their side.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Democrats stand for bringing more accountability and transparency to Wall Street. As far as I can tell, the only thing Republicans stand for is standing together.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: The Democrats want us to trust them on this one. With all respect, Americans aren't in a trusting mood.


BROWN: A new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll found 65 percent of Americans do support more regulation of banks and other financial firms.

And the story that is getting all the buzz tonight, "The Simpsons"' shout-out to "South Park." Last week, we told you how the creators of "South Park" had received threats from a radical Muslim group over their cartoon depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.

Well, last night, Bart Simpson stood up for them in his own special way. That's right. In case you missed it, here's a closer look. Yes, that is Bart writing, "South Park, we'd stand beside you, if we weren't so scared."

And that brings us to tonight's "Punchline." This is courtesy of the folks at "Saturday Night Live," with some gator-themed humor from the land down under.


SETH MEYERS, ACTOR: A water aerobics class in Australia was postponed Tuesday when a five-foot long alligator entered the pool, at which point I'm guessing the intermediate class suddenly became advanced.



BROWN: "Saturday Night Live," everybody. And that is your "Mash-Up."

Today, in Arizona, anger, recriminations, and vandalism physical proof of the outcry over the toughest immigration law in the country. The mayor of Phoenix just came on CNN threatening to sue his own state. You're going to hear from him, plus true believers on both sides of the fight join us live right after the break.


BROWN: Today, the uproar over Arizona's tough new immigration law triggered vandalism at the Arizona state capitol. Somebody smeared refried beans in the shape of a swastika across one entrance. They did the same thing on the sidewalk spelling out the message "Arizona equals Nazis."

And just a short time ago, the mayor of Phoenix told CNN's Wolf Blitzer he wants to challenge the new law in court. Listen.


PHIL GORDON (D), MAYOR OF PHOENIX, ARIZONA: There will be court challenges. I'm confident that the federal courts will enjoin it, at least until it is determined is it constitutional and how to enforce it, so that officers don't get sued by civil rights individuals alleging civil rights violations.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: When are you going to file your lawsuit?

GORDON: Well, I'm hoping the city council will authorize us tomorrow. But if not, then I will -- as a mayor, I will file a suit to protect our community and to keep it safer.


BROWN: The new law requires Arizona police to question anybody they suspect is here illegally, and forces immigrants to carry proof that they are allowed to be in the U.S.

Those arrested would be turned over to the federal government.

With me right now is Bob Dane with FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which worked on the new law, and Thomas A. Saenz of MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which opposes the law, also CNN senior legal analyst and political analyst Jeffrey Toobin with me as well.

Thomas, you just heard the mayor there saying he's going to sue. He thinks the law, obviously, targets Hispanics and subjects them to racial profiling. I know you're filing or planning to file your own lawsuit. Lay out the basic argument for me.

THOMAS A. SAENZ, MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND: Well, Campbell, I think the major flaw with SB-1070 is that it takes on for the state of Arizona something that under our Constitution only the federal government can do. And that's regulate immigration.

It deviates from the way the federal government has decided to direct its enforcement resources and requires Arizona police officers to engage in something they're not trained to do, which is to enforce immigration laws. That's going to lead to abuse. That's going to lead to discrimination.

But, first and foremost, what it does is puts Arizona in the business of something only the federal government should do, which is to regulate immigration.

BROWN: So, let me go to you on this, Bob, because I know you have worked on this law. The way you wrote it, you think that, legally, it's airtight.

So, walk us through the potential -- or how I guess you deal with a potential challenge.

BOB DANE, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: Well, the claim is what lawyers -- and I'm not a lawyer, but it's a sweeping claim of preemption, which means that the federal government has always thought of as having the domain of immigration enforcement.

But, obviously, in the -- with the failure of the federal government to protect the borders, Arizona law 1070 is a state acting where the federal government is failing...

BROWN: Has failed to act.

DANE: ... really a reaction to the inaction.

Now, you know, this law is based -- deeply rooted in common sense. It's what Arizona needs. But it has a solid legal foundation. Should it be challenged, we would certainly think that it will stand up to legal scrutiny. Why? Because it affords every possible legal protection in the law, not least of which our Fourth Amendments rights, the rights of all person to be secure in their persons, papers and effects, and against reasonable search and seizure.

We would hope -- and just a final word -- we would hope that the special interests representing illegal aliens, who have no legal right to be in Arizona, do not interfere in the affairs of Arizona., because that will really be nothing other than a stall tactic and delay much- needed enforcement.

BROWN: OK. But that's not -- that wasn't the question. So, let me go to Jeff on this.

And be -- give us your view, from -- taking the politics out of this. Do you think it's going to hold up?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think a lot depends on how it's applied.

Their -- the great mystery at the heart of this law is, what does it mean to have reasonable suspicion that some person on the street is an illegal immigrant? What evidence do you have, as a police officer, to determine that? If it's simply you have brown skin and you look Hispanic, then this law is going to be struck down.

But if the Arizona authorities can articulate, which they haven't so far, some basis on which to stop people on the street, then perhaps it will be upheld.

BROWN: So, what -- and, gentlemen, you tell me if I'm wrong here -- the basis seems to be that you're breaking some other law.

Am I right, Bob, that no one's going to get stopped unless they were breaking another law? They were, you know, driving too fast, they ran a stop light, something like that, correct?


DANE: That's right. The important part of this bill is what's not in it. This does not give police officers any additional power to stop you that they didn't already have. You have to have another infraction, speeding or reckless driving.

BROWN: But here's where it gets tricky. And tell me if I'm right about this, Thomas, is that, OK, so how do you get to the next level? What prompts that suspicion that this person is here illegally in the mind of this police officer, other than the color of their skin?

SAENZ: Well, first, Campbell, it's inaccurate to say that it only relates to someone who's guilty or accused of another offense.

In fact, what the law says is, any lawful contact between a police officer and someone else. That means it could be a victim of a crime, a witness of a crime. Those folks, too, could face reasonable suspicions that they're undocumented and be required by a police officer to produce some proof of their status.

And if they don't produce adequate proof, they could end up being swept in by this dragnet as well.


BROWN: OK. so, that's true, right, Bob?

DANE: No, that's not true, because not only does the police officer need justified, legitimate, lawful conduct, this law applies at the end of the process.

That law enforcement officer isn't going to immediately ask about immigration status. They're going to ask the same questions of everyone, regardless of who you are, your driver's license, registration. They may poke their head in the car, you know, and see if you have got a snootful.

Only after that are the law enforcement officers required to ask about immigration status. And even then, and it articulates this on the front page of the bill, law enforcement officers under this new bill cannot use race, color or even national origin as a basis of reasonable suspicion.

BROWN: Jeff, so herein lies the problem. This is so incredibly gray, it's not even funny. I don't get how you lay it out in a way that doesn't make this very subjective. TOOBIN: Well, it is likely to be very subjective. But there are a lot of laws that are subjective.

A lot is going to just depend on -- we keep talking about this in the abstract, you know, what a police officer would do or should do. Let's see what the police officers do do. Let's see how they apply the law.

Courts generally don't like to consider challenges to laws on their faith. That means just challenging the law as written. They want to see the law challenged as applied. How does it work in the real world? I think it's going to take the use of this law in the real world to see whether it's...

BROWN: Before any sort of challenge holds? Really?

TOOBIN: Well, that's right. Yes. The law goes into effect 90 days after the end of the legislature -- legislative session. That's not very long from now. And I think at that point, somebody's going to go to court and who's been arrested, who's been stopped. And then we can see how it worked.

But dealing with it in the abstract, I think, is unlikely to get much of a resolution.

BROWN: All right, Jeff Toobin, really appreciate it.

Bob and Thomas, thank you very much for your time. Appreciate it, gentlemen.

The Arizona fight, obviously, part of a much larger political battle that is also playing out right now. We're going to look at why immigration is now giving Republicans and Democrats a bit of a headache with the midterm elections just around the corner -- when we come back.


BROWN: The political heat coming from Arizona can be felt all the way to Washington right now. The new battle over immigration just cost Democrats key support on a climate change bill. And that is only some of what is brewing right now in the nation's capital.

Here to hash this all out is CNN political contributor Hilary Rosen, "TIME" magazine CNN political analyst Mark Halperin, and Reihan Salam of the joining us as well.

Welcome to everybody.

Mark, you know, hard enough getting I guess moderate and conservative Democrats to pass that vote on health care reform this year. You think they're going to be really excited about taking on immigration reform?

MARK HALPERIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, "TIME": They're not. But I don't know that it's the political loser with it out there that some Democrats fear and some Republicans hope.

BROWN: What do you mean?

HALPERIN: Republicans are divided on this issue every bit as much as Democrats.

You're just now seeing Democratic people starting to put pressure on Republicans, for instance in Florida, where you have got two Republican Senate candidates, Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio, who have not spoken out on what they think of it. They will be torn between anti-immigrant forces in their state and the large Hispanic community there.

BROWN: Right.

HALPERIN: We have not heard from any of the Presidents Bush or Jeb Bush, Republicans who in the past I think would have spoken out against measures like this.

So, I think that the Democrats don't want to vote on it. But I don't think having it out there is necessarily the short- or long-term loser for them that some believe.

BROWN: What do you think, Reihan?

REIHAN SALAM, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: I think that it is a strategic move. I think that that's exactly right. I think that there's more downside potential for Republicans.

And Democrats know there is not a lot of upside potential in it for them. But, again, I think this is really about throwing a bomb out there and seeing what happens.

BROWN: Well, I was noting, Ed Gillespie had told Politico I think today, in his view, that when -- who is a former RNC chair -- when an immigration is issue, nobody wins.

Hilary, should Democrats take it up this year, do you think, or is it a risk, given the intense pressure heading into November?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, interestingly, Democrats are not going to be monolithic on this. But the politics in the Senate for Democrats are actually pretty good.

Harry Reid in Nevada, you know, a senator who is in some jeopardy -- some would say it's gotten better than it was -- Hispanics made up a significant percentage of Obama's victory in Nevada. Harry Reid needs those Latinos to come out for him.

Colorado, where again we have another Democratic senator up for reelection, again a close election, Latinos made up a significant portion. So, in the Senate, I think it's probably a win for Democrats and a loss for Republicans.

Politically, in the House, I think it's tougher, which is why I'm not sure we're going to get all the way through the Congress this year. There are a lot of House members in tougher seats, marginal seats in the North and in the Midwest where it's not as clear-cut.

BROWN: You want -- shaking your head.

HALPERIN: I think Hilary knows that there is no way it will get through the Congress this year. The White House doesn't want it to. The House won't vote on it unless the Senate does first. And there's no way it can pass the Senate.

It has to be bipartisan. This is one where it really does have to be bipartisan. And that is just not going to happen. There is not enough bandwidth left in the Senate to get done the things that are a higher priority, despite Senator Reid saying he would like to move it.


SALAM: It strikes me as a remarkably cynical move, for what it is worth. I mean, it's incredible. It's not going to get done. And, so, you're trying to activate this constituency that could be important in some swing states, but, again, to what end? All you're going to really do is create a lot of ill will. It's a very sort of tricky maneuver.

BROWN: And does that end up backfiring? I mean, people are a little more sophisticated sometimes.


BROWN: Go ahead, Hilary.

ROSEN: Campbell, I was just going to say, under that scenario -- and I don't disagree with Mark's analysis of the conclusion -- nothing will get done, because Republicans have pretty much decided that there are going to be no more victories this year for Democrats, because the benefit inures too much to Democrats and President Obama.

So, we saw today on financial regulatory reform, an issue that the country overwhelmingly wants to see passed, -- climate change legislation, the country overwhelmingly supports. And when you look at immigration, nobody is satisfied with the current system.

BROWN: But let's go back to financial regulatory reform, because I do want to shift gears a little bit and talk about that. There are people, Hilary, in fairness, who do have real substantive disagreement with Democrats over this bill, right?

I mean, I can't -- I don't think you can accuse everybody of just playing politics.

But she is right. If you look at the poll numbers, overwhelmingly people want to see something done, and quickly. So, there's going to be huge blowback for Republicans, right, if this doesn't get done?

SALAM: There is absolutely room for a compromise. We're probably inches a way from a compromise. On the derivatives stuff, you could definitely bring a handful, a crucial handful of Republicans inside.

But I think that there is a lot of dispute about some other elements of the bill. And I think there are some Senate Democrats who want to take all the credit for what happens. And, again, they're some Senate Republicans who are saying slow down.

There is some piece of this we can do. So, I think that that's not quite right. I think there are Republicans who would be happy for a bipartisan bill to happen. But I think that, again, the political incentives are skewed not just for Republicans, but also for Democrats.

BROWN: Mark?

HALPERIN: I think that in -- Democrats remain very confident that Republicans will eventually break and that final bill passed in the Senate could well have a lot of Republican votes. I think Republicans are playing a losing hand for sure, unless they can hang tough and somehow convince the country that the president can't get anything done.

I think that's going to be a tough argument to make, given that he passed health care and given the polls. So, I think -- I'm not quite sure why they're extending the pain, particularly tomorrow, when you're going to have testimony on Capitol Hill that's from Goldman Sachs that's going to...

BROWN: Lloyd Blankfein.

HALPERIN: ... that's going to highlight in a real tangible way one of the big abuses that bill is intended to correct. And I think, again, Republicans are going to give the president an accomplishment, probably vote for it, after suffering several more days of pain. And I don't get what they're -- I don't get what they see.

SALAM: They could be trying to get some substantive concessions, right...


SALAM: ... do care a little bit about.

HALPERIN: Some of them are. But the way to get those substantive concessions is to meet and negotiate and just say, let's get this done, rather than continue to drag it out.


BROWN: Go ahead, quickly, Hilary.

ROSEN: Well, the problem with Republicans consistently claiming that they need just a few more things is that we have seen this drill on too many other issues.

HALPERIN: Right. ROSEN: We saw it on health care, when they had no intention of supporting the final product. I think Mark is right that ultimately they're going to make a political decision that they have to vote for this and they're just trying to suck every ounce of, you know, I don't know, lobbyist money that they can out of the banks until they get the vote.


BROWN: Oh, get one in there, Hilary. Get one in.

HALPERIN: Good grief. Good grief.

BROWN: All right, stand by. We're going to come back in a second and look at one of the big fat incentives out there for politicians leaving office these days, the payday waiting on the other side. We are going to show you how Sarah Palin and others are raking in the dough right after this.


BROWN: Don't cry for elected officials once they find themselves out of government life. It is often the best thing that could happen to their bank accounts, the newest examples, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

The new issue of "New York' magazine reports she went from making a paltry $125,000 as a civil servant to $12 million in the nine months she has spent in the private sector.

And, today, we learned details about former President George W. Bush's memoir, set to be released in November.

And back with me once again, Hilary Rosen and Mark Halperin and Reihan Salam.

Mark, give us the big picture. Just how rich is Sarah Palin these days?

HALPERIN: She's making millions and millions. And she's doing it -- far be it from me to say that writing books and talking on TV is easy, but she's not having to lobby. She's not having to do anything that doesn't come pretty naturally to her, which is to communicate what she's thinking about things.

And she's got...

BROWN: Be specific about how she's sort of built this brand.


HALPERIN: Oh, she has got a deal with FOX that pays her, the article says, I think $1 million a year. She has just signed a deal to do a cable show about Alaska with TLC.

And she makes quite a bit from public speaking. She gives many more speeches to -- public is the wrong word -- she gives many more speeches to private groups than is normally known and has been reported. And she makes $100,000 per talk. And that's -- that adds up pretty quickly. And she has got another book deal with HarperCollins.

BROWN: And I know, Reihan, you actually, though, think she should be making more money right now.


SALAM: Well, here's the thing.

I mean, compare Sarah Palin to Billy Tauzin, another Republican that most folks at home have never heard of, but he's a guy Republicans spent a hundred --

BROWN: Can I just as a Louisiana girl, I would -- it's Tauzin. And I would get killed at home if I didn't try --

SALAM: Tauzin.

BROWN: Anyway, go ahead.

SALAM: Billy Tauzin spent $100 million passing Obamacare through the pharmaceutical industry. This is a guy raking in the bucks, making millions for tons of ex-politicians. Again, you'll never hear of him. Not only mispronounced name but some of the other people mispronounced their names, too. And those are the guys who are really the ex-politicians raking in the dough and actually perverting our political system. So I think that, you know, Sarah Palin, I have my objections. You know, we all have our objections maybe, but she's not doing nearly as much damage as Billy Tauzin.

BROWN: Hilary, do you see her giving up all of this money, though, when the time comes to make a decision about 2012?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, she -- she doesn't have to -- she becomes like Oprah more important than the president. So, you know, that I don't see her giving it up. And frankly, I don't see her doing anything that would lead her to a presidential run. She doesn't put herself in any news situations where she has to answer a tough question. She's, you know, goes to friendly audiences and doesn't take questions. She's in a very controlled media environment. I don't see her giving that up. And frankly, you know, one of the things that happens in this kind of thing is the more you do the commercial things, the harder it is to kind of go back in some respects to elective (ph) politics.

My favorite thing about this article, which I recommend everybody to read, it's really fascinating, is that she's actually making a fortune from the very media elite east coasters that, you know, she likes to make fun of and is completely ridiculed for the last two years on the campaign trail. You know, News Corporation paying her all this money, Harper Collins, Discovery television. It's comical how, you know, these are the organizations that are her financial partners and yet she's out on the trail, you know, inciting the tea party activists against those very same media elites.

MARK HALPERIN, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Rupert Murdoch may be based on the East Coast.


HALPERIN: But I wouldn't necessarily consider him part of that.

SALAM: What's wrong with swindling them rather than being swindled? You know --

HALPERIN: People who question her intelligence have to respect the fact that she has herself and with a very smart Washington lawyer named Bob Barnett, figure it out how to make a lot of money, monetize her fame and her celebrity inner influence with the Republican Party. As the article correctly points out, no one's ever done it quite this way. It's pretty impressive. And you shouldn't underestimate someone who can figure out how to please the market that much.

BROWN: Let me, before we run out of time, quickly ask you about George W. Bush's memoirs. We're getting a little information about it. It's going to be called "Decision Points." Give us a sense of what you know about what's in it.

HALPERIN: I think he's doing a very smart thing. He wants to write about his presidency in a more controlled way than a full-blown memoir. So he's looking at some big moments in his life when he made decisions including the one I'm most interested in is something he has talked and written very little about which is his decision to give up drinking when he was 40. So there's some personal ones, but then there's also some big moments of his presidency, 9/11 and some of the other big moments where he made big decisions. And I think, you know, we'll see how revelatory it is. But I think the way he organized it for him and for the reader is pretty smart.

BROWN: All right. We have to go. Guys, we're out of time. Hilary, thanks you so much. Mark, Reihan, good to have you here as well. Appreciate it, guys.

Coming up, the Supreme Court takes on violent video games. Should games that encourage your kids to actively kill, maim, even dismember their characters, should they be protected as free speech? That after the break.


BROWN: The Supreme Court today accepted a California case pitting free speech against a ban on selling violent video games to children. Video game makers argue their voluntary rating system gives parents all the information they need to decide which games are too violent for their kids. But lawmakers say underage teens still manage to buy them, even those with the adults-only ratings. So what exactly kind of games are we talking about here? Take a look at these clips that we found on YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop crying. Get down.


BROWN: OK. Awful. We can shut it off. I don't even like watching this.

Grand Theft Auto is, I believe, what you're watching right here. One example of the games that this California law targets, specifically game that's allow kids to, quote, "kill, maim, dismember and sexually assault other characters."

Dr. Craig Anderson is director for the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University. And he's joining me right now along with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

My reaction, pretty obvious there. I think it's horrifying. But what do you make of the court's decision to take up this case?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it's really a hard, hard case. Because just last week they decided this case involving other horrible videos, there used to be criminal penalties. There's a federal law that said you could go to jail if you sold a video involving crush films, cruelty to animals.

BROWN: Right.

TOOBIN: And what the court said was you can make it illegal to engage in cruelty to animals. But you cannot make it illegal to have a depiction of it be a crime because that is a first amendment protected activity. And this system, this seems like a very similar case because they are not just criminalizing bad behavior, violence by children, against children, but they are saying depictions of it can't be bought by children. And that raises a lot of First Amendment problems.

BROWN: So you -- I mean it sounds like, if I interpret your leanings here --

TOOBIN: Right.

BROWN: -- is that they would be more open to seeing it as a free speech situation?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. Remember, you know, the parallel is the movie ratings because we don't allow kids into movies. Remember, those are voluntary ratings. Those are not -- the motion picture industry set those up so the government did not regulate it.

BROWN: Right.

TOOBIN: But the government has never regulated who can go to movies. So the question is will the government now regulate who can buy a video game? BROWN: You know, I was such a proponent of free speech in these areas until I had two small children suddenly. Let me get your view on this, Dr. Anderson, because some opponents of the ban say there is no research to prove a link between violent video games and violent behavior. You've researched this. Tell us what you found here.

CRAIG ANDERSON, IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes. There's actually a lot of research on this topic. We being a bunch of colleagues of mine from Japan and the United States just published a major analysis of over 380 different tests of the hypothesis that violent video games might create some harmful outcomes, involving over 130,000 participants worldwide. And the results are really quite clear.

We know that regardless of gender, boys and girls, young men and young women, regardless of culture, whether it's a Eastern culture like the United States or Germany or, you know, whatever or an Eastern culture like Japan --

BROWN: Right.

ANDERSON: We know that playing violent video games increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior and aggressive thinking, decreases the likelihood of pro social behavior, increases what you might think of as desensitization. We now know that that is true both in the immediate situation, that is, shortly after playing such a game. But it also is the case -- you get the same results in terms of long-term effects.

BROWN: Right.

ANDERSON: So repeated exposure to these violent video games increases the likelihood, for example, of getting into fights at school.

BROWN: And it's similar just to -- just correct me if I'm wrong. I was in just in my research, you say it has the same effect as violent movies, essentially. Right?

ANDERSON: Yes. There's a large research literature on television violence and film violence that shows essentially the same kind of thing. And we've known this for 20 to 30 years at least. These are the same kind of effects, maybe slightly larger. That's not entirely clear at this point. But it's basically the same phenomenon. It comes as no surprise to media violence researchers or to social scientists or to pediatricians or any of the groups that have looked at this research.

BROWN: But you say -- I do know, though, Doctor, that there's no point in trying to ban these things, right? That you -- your view is this is about educating parents and you're never going to be able to control it with the ratings system or legal cases or anything else, right?

ANDERSON: Well, yes and no. I mean on the one hand, what I try to do when I talk to, say, parent groups and other sort of general public groups is to point out that probably the best solution is to educate parents, educate the general public about what the real effects are. But we also need to give parents better tools so that they can, in fact --

BROWN: Right.

ANDERSON: -- take charge of their child's media diet and the current rating systems don't do that.

BROWN: Absolutely. Don't do that.

Jeff, does it matter that, like, does any of this evidence, the research that's being done, does that weigh in the decision making process for the court?

TOOBIN: Yes, it does. It does matter. And the courts -- the reason this law has a chance is that the courts are generally more willing to cut -- to allow kids to be protected. Since this law is so directed at kids, the law has a chance. They're much more -- when it comes to adults, they sort of don't want any regulation of any kind of content.

BROWN: All right. Interesting conversation. Jeff Toobin, we'll wait and see what happens obviously. Dr. Anderson, appreciate your time tonight, sir. Thank you so much.

ANDERSON: All right.

BROWN: When we come back, the growing concern over video game addiction and one family's fight to save their son, after this.


BROWN: More now on children and violent video games. As we told you, the Supreme Court is now considering whether California's ban on selling ultra violent games to kids violates free speech. There's another issue here as well. Recent studies show that video games can be highly addictive, particularly for young boys.

Tonight, we go inside one young man's battle to kick his online obsession.


BROWN (voice-over): Like most teenagers, Ben Alexander set out for college looking to discover a new world. And he did. But it was nothing like he'd imagined and it nearly destroyed him.

PETER ALEXANDER, FATHER OF BEN ALEXANDER: Ben was, I think, very creative, very bright. He did not have a great deal of difficulty with probably anything.

BROWN: Still, within the span of just a few months, Peter and Linda Alexander witnessed a startling transformation in their son.

LINDA ALEXANDER, MOTHER OF BEN ALEXANDER: This child that we love and enjoyed and had wonderful experiences with as he was growing up was gone, and replaced by this, beyond sullen, withdrawn, totally anti-social person.

BROWN: What Ben's parents didn't know was that he was losing himself in an online fantasy universe, one of the many multiplayer Internet games out there, World of Warcraft.

BEN ALEXANDER, RECOVERING INTERNET ADDICT: I told myself I'm just going to try it out and see what it's like. And that will be the end of it.

BROWN: But it wasn't the end. The game drew him in, introducing him to other players, people who didn't see him as the shy, awkward kid that he was but the brave virtual warrior he had become.

B. ALEXANDER: I was a lot more outgoing in the game than I ever was comfortable with in real life.

BROWN: Linda began to see her son turning into a different person.

L. ALEXANDER: He's far more animated when he was talking to these people online, sitting on his bed, you know, madly typing on his keyboard and playing this game. Far more animated that we've seen him for years. He had lots of power, lots of authority in that game, whereas in social, real social situations, he had very little.

BROWN: Before too long, Ben was hooked.

B. ALEXANDER: Stopped going to class and stopped doing my homework and I just basically totally withdrew from that.

L. ALEXANDER: Peter and I would ask him about school. And you know, what did you hear in lecture today? What's your professor's name? Well, I don't know. And if he doesn't even know the teacher's name, there's a problem.

BROWN: Ben knew he had a problem, too. He tried to stop but he couldn't. He was playing 16 to 17 hours a day. His obsession was out of control.

B. ALEXANDER: I neglected pretty much everything else -- relationships, school, hygiene, eating. Basically my day consisted of playing World of Warcraft and sleeping.

BROWN: Finally, he turned to his parents for help and moved back home in the middle of his first semester. Peter and Linda tried to put locks on the computer, blocked Ben from going online. But that didn't work either.

P. ALEXANDER: He was going on to the parental controls, changing the schedule in the middle of the night so he could play all night long and then change it back in the morning.

BROWN: The situation only got worse.

L. ALEXANDER: Clearly, very depressed with all of the symptoms that go along with depression. He was not eating well. He would not talk to us. He would not answer questions unless we forced him to respond. And then it would be a one word answer.

BROWN: Ben's parents sought professional help for their son but it wasn't easy. The American Psychiatric Association doesn't recognize Internet addiction as its own separate disorder. The Alexanders say most substance abuse programs weren't equipped to treat it. Then they discovered the ReStart center, a clinic outside Seattle that bills itself as the first in-patient treatment facility for Internet addicts. Psychotherapist Cossette Dawna Rae who co-founded ReStart says troubled young people like Ben can see World of Warcraft and other online games like at in an escape patch.

COSETTE DAWNA RAE, RESTART INTERNET ADDICTION RECOVERY CTR: They may be dealing with anxiety disorder or maybe they have depression. Maybe the stress is overwhelming in their lives. A variety of reasons that might lead somebody to use the computer as a coping strategy.

BROWN: Ray believes Internet addiction is real and that recovering addicts experience withdrawal.

RAE: If they start to be -- you know, exhibit signs and symptoms of anxiety, stress, some aggression. You know, we hear of people putting their fist through walls, they're so angry and frustrated.

BROWN: Frustration Linda Alexander saw in the eyes of her own son.

L. ALEXANDER: When Ben would -- when we would take the computer away from him, say, no, you're not going to play this weekend, his response is physiological, the dilation of his eyes, his behaviors were totally like an addicts' behavior when whatever it is that they're using is taken away from them. And we could see that.

BROWN: Ben's road back has not been easy.

B. ALEXANDER: Obviously, I lost pretty much a year of my life to this. And so, there's a lot of missed opportunities.

BROWN: He is now living at home, trying to earn enough money to go back to college and make up for lost time.


BROWN: As we mentioned, Internet addiction isn't an official psychiatric diagnosis. But with concerns growing, the American Psychiatric Association is now considering including it in the 2012 edition of its manual of mental disorders.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few minutes. Larry, what do you have tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Campbell, here in the New York and we've got the latest on Bret Michaels, the Poison front man and reality star who suffered a brain hemorrhage last week. Donald Trump Jr. and Darryl Strawberry who know him well are going to join us. Then we're going to talk immigration with the Reverend Al Sharpton and, you know Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They are on opposite sides of the issue as you might imagine, which has stirred emotions on both side. And Ryan Seacrest is going to drop by with a very special announcement. All next on "LARRY KING LIVE," Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Larry. We'll see you in just a few minutes.

Coming up next, the founder of "Playboy" shares his wealth to come to the rescue of a national treasure, right after this.


BROWN: Coming up, a good job still so hard to find for many people. Hundreds waited out in the rain last night for a shot at opportunity. One man's story is coming up. But first, Joe Johns here with tonight's "Download."

Hey, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, massive cleanup efforts are under way tonight after tornadoes ripped through the south killing at least 12 people. The devastation stretching across Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Among the dead, three children including a 3-month-old baby. Entire neighborhoods were decimated, homes destroyed, cars overturned and toppled power lines left thousands of people in the dark.

Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley is reacting cautiously to the calls for the National Guard to patrol his city's violent streets. Two Illinois lawmakers are urging the governor to send in the troops following a surge in violent crime. Chicago's police commissioner is resisting. He says the guard's military training does not cover criminal laws and procedures that police must follow.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said today he will not appeal the six-game suspension imposed by the NFL. Roethlisberger also apologized for his behavior last month at a Georgia bar. A 20-year-old college student accused the quarterback of sexually assault during a night of drinking. The quarterback's lawyer says no sexual assault took place. Prosecutors eventually dropped the case.

And finally, Hollywood is ending up with the Hollywood ending a lot of people were hoping for. The famous Hollywood sign has been spared from developers hoping to cash in on some very tempting real estate. "Playboy" founder Hugh Hefner donated $900,000 to complete the $12.5 million fund-raising drive to save the land behind the famous sign. Hefner called that sign Hollywood's Eiffel Tower. So how do you say that's Hollywood in French, Campbell?

BROWN: Love it. Joe Johns for us tonight. Joe, thanks very much.

"LARRY KING LIVE" coming up in a few minutes. But first, camping out in the rain for a chance to just apply for a job. One man's story coming up.


BROWN: Just how far would you go to apply for a job? Well, we're about to meet a guy who is out of work and desperate enough for a paycheck to camp out in a cold rain on the sidewalks of New York City just to get an application for one of 100 positions at a company that repairs elevators. No guarantees, but maybe a glimmer of hope. Take a look.


SCOTT POWER, UNEMPLOYED: I am Scott Power. I've been unemployed for six months. You know, like everybody wants a white-picket fence, so do I. It's been very rough, very rough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been out here since Friday at 4:00 a.m. First one on line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here since Saturday morning, 8:00.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 12:00 on Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For three days.

POWER: We got here Friday then Saturday, as you know, it rained like crazy. So we put plastic over our tents. And, you know, had our sleeping bags in plastic and put plastic inside the tent, under the tent. So, you know, just to stay dry.

Collecting unemployment, my wife works part time. And just making ends meet is rough. Emotionally it hurts you. Your feelings, it crushes you, you know.

Read the horoscopes, bro. Maybe today is our day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's less than 50 applications left.

POWER: It is more than just a job. It's security. A future. A permanent future. So that I can send my kids to college.

Everybody is out trying to do the same thing. Just take care of their families.

It was worth the wait, absolutely 100 percent worth the wait. Now that I have it in my hands.


BROWN: A little hope. And that is it for us.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.