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JOHN KING, USA

The Perry Factor; Syrian Conflict; Libyan Rebels Advance; Coping with Wall Street

Aired August 17, 2011 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN KING, HOST: Good evening everyone.

Tonight the president promises a new jobs plan in a speech after Labor Day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These aren't radical ideas. I mean, building roads, when did that become a partisan issue?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: From his Republican rivals cries of too little, too late.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. President, actions speak louder than words. My actions as governor are helping create jobs in this country. The president's actions are killing jobs in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: One of those Republicans went as far to offer the president a little speech writing advice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope he begins by recognizing that his plan three years ago hasn't worked. That his -- his responsibility of turning this economy around was not fulfilled, that it's been a failure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The back and forth on jobs is crackling proof the campaign's suddenly in a more engaged space (ph) and in part because of the president's travels to the Midwest and in part because of the new energy that Texas Governor Rick Perry is adding to the Republican race. Wednesday Governor Perry visited New Hampshire, and while it is clear he's the flavor of the moment in presidential politics, the more he speaks, the more people, including many Republicans, ask this question -- by so aggressively appealing to the Republican base, is Governor Perry undermining his appeal as a general election candidate? This comment in New Hampshire questioning man's role in global warming is new fodder tonight for the Perry electability debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: I think that there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects. And I think we're seeing it almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Here's another comment from Perry today that is suspect when put to the fact check test.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: What six weeks ago the president went to El Paso and said the border is as safer than it's ever been. I have no idea. Maybe he was talking about the Canadian border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And generating the most heat is Perry's Iowa salvo suggesting it would be, quote, "treasonous for the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to loosen U.S. monetary policy in an effort to keep the recovery going.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: I don't know what you all would do to him in Iowa, but we'd -- we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: On the campaign trail the confident candidate appears unfazed, even amused.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: You know, yesterday the president said I needed to watch what I say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Well amused there, but even some Perry fans in the Republican establishment see signs of potential trouble, quote, "he needs more bio and less Texas", that's how one top party strategist put it to me tonight.

Let's debate the Perry factor with CNN contributors Erick Erickson and Alex Castellanos and our senior analyst David Gergen. Let's start -- Alex, I want to start right here with you in the room. If you get on the global warming -- I know it's a huge issue -- it's a good big issue with the Republican base. But look at this Gallup poll. Do you believe the increase in earth temperature is due to human activities? Fifty-two percent say, yes. Natural changes 43 percent. So a majority of Americans say humans are contributing to global warming.

Governor Perry clearly questions and disputes that. If you look at breakdown by partisanship it gets fascinating. Global warming seriousness is it exaggerated, 22 percent of Democrats say so, 43 percent of independents and 67 percent of Republicans, so what Governor Perry is saying has clear appeal to Republicans but is he risking his potential support among independents and even conservative Democrats by saying that.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well on all these issues you have to say what you believe. That's what he believes. It's only worse if you're inauthentic, but, yes, that's the concern about Rick Perry. One of them is that he appeals to the base but that in a general election he could become George McGovern or even Barry Goldwater, candidates with intense support but unable to reach across the middle. And you accent that when you shoot from the lip as some Texans are known to do, you know, does he have mad cowboy disease.

KING: And, Erick, he talked today, he joked, he mocked the president going to El Paso and saying the border is as safe it has been in recent memory. Obviously he's a border state governor. Obviously he has a unique perspective being from Texas, but if you just look at the numbers, if you look at the numbers, El Paso, Texas, on the border is one of the cities in America with the lowest rates of violent crime. Others are on the border, too, San Diego and Phoenix.

El Paso had 12 murders in 2009. If you go just across the border, the town across the border had 2,000, so there is a problem across the border. Border Patrol agents today 20,700, more than double the size in 2004, 1,200 National Guardsmen along the border and if you look at just about any study and most attribute this more to the economy than to the Obama administration but the number of those people coming across the border is also down. So can the governor's credibility be questioned when he says things that the numbers don't seem to support?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, I think it depends on which numbers you look at on that John. Yes, the violence in El Paso is down, but look in the rural parts of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico where violence is up. Those -- that's where the people are coming across there. They're not coming across in El Paso. Likewise you have the drug cartels fighting their bloody war south of the border. Right on the border you've got this operation fast and furious nonsense with the ATF down there. Yes, I think he can make an issue out of it and you know on the global warming issue, I see the Gallup poll, but there are other polls out there as well that show that a lot of the public doesn't know.

This -- global warming is not going to be an issue in 2012. It's going to be jobs. Yes, Rick Perry, I think Alex is right; he has got to be careful what he says. He can get painted into a box. He can get in trouble. I think it's early. I think the big issue is going to be jobs when it comes to -- when it comes to next year, but he doesn't want to get painted into a corner.

KING: And David, it is early. It's his first week on the trail and a lot of candidates say things they regret or take back or modify, and Barack Obama yesterday took a pass on criticizing Governor Perry. I bet in part because he's said a lot of things that he regretted especially as a young candidate early in 2007 and into 2008, but particularly drawing scorn from a lot of Republicans and Democrats is the idea that Ben Bernanke would be treasonous or treacherous behavior if he kept putting money into the economy. Last night I had one of the lesser-known Republican candidates Rick Santorum on the program and he took direct aim. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He might you know say lots of things about you know how misguided the policies, but you don't up the ante to those types -- that type of rhetoric. It's out of place and hopefully Governor Perry will step back and recognize that you know we're not in Texas anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: What is he learning, David, this first week on the trail, Governor Perry?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He's playing in the big leagues. He's playing on the national field now. He's done very well in Texas, won three big elections down there and he may -- he said things that people questioned, but he sort of brushed them off and went on. Now he's playing in the big leagues and he'll get a lot more scrutiny. We'll have to see how it goes. I'm still laughing over the mad cowboy disease from Alex. But I tell you this, I -- the border statement today I didn't think much of. Global warming, he was -- he didn't come out and call it a hoax at least.

But I thought what he said about Bernanke was a real gaffe, and, you know, on almost treasonous if he increases, he goes back to quantitative easing and you know we treat ugly down there in Texas. That kind of swagger is going to scare the hell out of a lot of voters. You know, he's done well in these early polls in the Republicans, but I'm here in New York now, John. I've had people come up to me on the street and say I'm scared about Rick Perry. And the kind of comments he makes, you know, he'll play much better obviously in the south than a place like New York anyway, but there are some people out there now who -- who are listening and saying, oh, wow, I didn't realize he meant that.

CASTELLANOS: And to David's point, John, I think is exactly right, it's different, it's big league pitching in the presidential campaign. It turns out, for example, there were two governors who signed a letter asking Ben Bernanke of all people to get moving with that $700 billion TARP program. One of those governors was Rick Perry. So these things kind of come back to bite you in the big leagues.

KING: Another thing he said that I think will get scrutiny in the campaign, back during the BP oil spill -- remember Texas is a big oil state and oil has been a good part of the economy there that the governor is bragging about. If you go back in those days, he said, you know he was talking about should we suspend drilling and what should we do. "From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of god that cannot be prevented -- acts of god that cannot be prevented."

Erick, we know what happened on that rig was horrible, that there was some negligence involved. There was questionable maintenance. There were questionable calls by the leadership. I bet that's one he'd like to have back.

ERICKSON: You know I'm not sure, you know, at the time it was -- this acts of god thing, you know, anybody who is a lawyer understands what acts of god means, accidents. And at the time that that happened there was still a probe and there was a lot of speculation it could have been an accident, yes. We -- there was a lot of negligence involved at the time but I think most people understood what he meant who aren't in New York and Washington.

KING: Aren't in New York and Washington. That's a shot at us, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What, John?

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: You know I'm curious about why the Bushes are going after him. Why Karl Rove and why the others from the George W. Bush -- what's the nature of that tension --

KING: There's inside-Texas rivalry. There's some talk among the Bushes that as governor he tried to say he was better than George W. Bush and also in supporting Rudy Giuliani back in 2007 he went to an event where he said George W. Bush was no fiscal conservative, so there's a lot of -- it goes on and on --

ERICKSON: It's not going to hurt him in a Republican primary --

KING: Probably not going to hurt him, and there's also some consultant feuding that happens from time to time, right, Alex? You know how that happens from time to time --

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: It does happen. There's (INAUDIBLE) war now and then. But, you know, the other thing about Rick Perry is let's give him his due, when he came out of the box, he came out as a man who knew his mind, who didn't have to ask other people who he was and what he believes. And when you contrast that with an uncertain president who, you know, is for what he's against go into Libya while you're coming out, you're going to reduce the deficit while you spend more, he actually looked pretty strong and decisive --

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: You've got to watch him --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: And we're talking about -- we're talking about him which means he jumped into the debate with a little bit of gusto and we'll talk about it a lot more in the weeks ahead. Erick, David and Alex, appreciate your coming in.

Still ahead here, a new jobs promise from the president and some advice for you from Suze Orman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think 2012 could be a very difficult year. I'm on the camp that we have more chance of being in recession than avoiding it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And next more bloodshed as the Syria regime's defiant answer to international demands to end the violence. Plus Libya's rebels claim progress as they try to put a choke hold on Tripoli.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: A 2-year-old girl is the new face of global outrage as Syria ignores international condemnation and continues its deadly crackdown. This horrific video of the young girl shot in the eye comes from the coastal city of Latakia, where Syrian forces have been on the assault for four days now. CNN's Arwa Damon is tracking the story from Beirut tonight, and Arwa, the government says it is pulling out. The forces are leaving Latakia. What are your sources telling you?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well what activists who are located in that very neighborhood are saying is that that quite simply is not true. They told us that two, maybe three military vehicles, armored personnel carriers pulled out, went to another area, but that the security forces are still fanned out. Just a short while ago I got a message from an activist saying that he was hearing sporadic gunfire.

There are still snipers positioned on rooftops, checkpoints, shops, pharmacies, bakeries, all remain closed. Families most certainly not coming back and so they're saying that the Syrian government is quite simply trying to buy itself more time by making those various statements that it is, in fact, pulling out of this area.

KING: And, Arwa, a couple of weeks ago it was the teenage boy dropped on a doorstep beaten. It looked like he had cigarette burns. Now this horrific video of this 2-year-old girl, inside Syria obviously the administration is trying to send a chilling message to these activists, but inside Syria, how are they receiving it? Is it causing them to pull back or making them have more resolve?

DAMON: When it comes to the demonstrators, just about every single act that is a byproduct of the government's excessive use of force has only served to harden them and make them even more determined. The case of this little girl, they find it horrific, yes. But at the same time, they will tell you that it doesn't really surprise them. They fully expect this type of behavior from the government. Now, in this case it seems as if she was not deliberately targeted.

But they do cite other instances where children, they say, have been deliberately killed, detained, tortured, all to send some sort of a message. They say that this regime doesn't differentiate between adults or children when it comes to silencing voices of dissent. And they'll also tell you that this is not something that has emerged ever since this uprising began. They'll tell you that this has been the regime's behavior ever since it came into power, so for around four decades which is exactly why they say it just simply has to go.

KING: Arwa Damon for us in Beirut tonight, Arwa, thank you.

And in Libya tonight rebels claim progress toward a key goal and circling the capital of Tripoli to choke off the Gadhafi regime's food and other supply lines. CNN's Sara Sidner is in Yefren (ph), Libya tonight. And Sara, I understand you just talked to a rebel commander. What is his sense of the state of play? Do they believe they have the necessary momentum?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the short answer to that. But here's what seems to be happening now. In Zawiya, the city that is quite important because it is a lifeline to Tripoli, where fuel comes through and other supplies, an easy way to get those things into Tripoli and as you know fuel is scarce there, and we're hearing that food is becoming quite scarce for residents there as well.

According to this colonel, the situation is that the rebels do not have complete control of Zawiya that they have control of some parts of the city but the Gadhafi forces are still there, that they're on the eastern most side of the city, that they are shelling into the city and that there are snipers there near the hospital even on top of buildings, those snipers belonging to the Gadhafi regime. So, there is still fighting in that city. They do not clearly have control of that city.

KING: Is the goal, Sara, to ultimately march on Tripoli or just to encircle it and choke off the regime?

SIDNER: I think it's two-fold. One, they do want to encircle it and choke off the supplies and, therefore, weaken the regime, but the real goal here is to move into the city. Move into the capital, and move out Gadhafi and his regime. That is what the rebels have been asking for. They want him to go, and if they -- if they have to do it by force, they say they will do that. There's a lot of optimism. We heard from a commander earlier this week that he believes that they will be in Tripoli in the next few weeks at the end of the month.

KING: And, Sara, don't answer the question if you're worried about your safety, just say good-bye, but it's impossible not to notice the gunfire behind you. What to make of that?

SIDNER: Yes. So, here's what happens. Oftentimes and as you've seen throughout this war, when there is celebrations, a lot of times there are lots of people with guns, and people get very happy and very excited. And they start firing, and it's something that we all have to contend with obviously. I mean, for our own safety, we're always kind of looking over our shoulder and trying to listen to make sure that it's not coming our way, but sometimes it is. And a lot of times it's just enthusiasm on the parts of the rebels blasting into the air.

But, again, a dangerous thing, and something that actually we talked to commanders in the early days when I was in Benghazi and in Misrata for several weeks and said why waste the ammunition? I mean, we know people get excited, but why waste this when you know that you have limited resources. The answer was, we're trying to control the situation, but we can't control everything -- John.

KING: Sara Sidner, amid what we hope is just a celebration in Yefren (ph), Libya tonight, Sara, thank you.

Let's get some important context now from our experts. Nick Burns is the former under secretary of state and CNN national contributor Fran Townsend is also with us. She's a member of the External Advisory Board to the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security. I want to go to the map Fran and Nick first.

Let's start with Libya. Sara Sidner making the point I want to show you right now if you see the stripe this is held by the rebels, the opposition. Tripoli the capital right here, so you see they are beginning to put a bit of a circle around. The question is a couple of government towns here, regime towns here.

Fran to you first -- from folks you talk to in the intelligence community do they have any confidence that these guys finally have their act together and they really might have a chance to choke off and then maybe even march on Tripoli?

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, FORMER BUSH HOMELAND SEC. ADVISER: Well, John, this is the most strategic success they've seen coming out of the rebels. And the question is can they put the internal sort of machinations aside? We've seen some indications that there's tension among the ranks of the rebels. If they can put that aside and actually really choke off supplies, it will weaken the hold inside Tripoli and really provide them with an opportunity. Along with NATO support, there's a chance that they can actually achieve their objectives of choking off the Gadhafi regime, but it remains to be seen. I mean, look, this is going to require a sustained and persistent effort that we haven't yet seen --

KING: And so let's ask the former NATO ambassador, Nick Burns. Nick, the strategy from NATO, they've been dropping -- and we see a lot of airstrikes in Tripoli, but if the rebels can get a surround right here, what does NATO have to do and will NATO, if you will, clear a path for them to march on Tripoli?

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, John, I think Fran is right. This is a consequential week shaping up perhaps for the Libyan rebels. They have an opportunity in Zawiya if they can take the town to essentially cut off supplies from the western part of Libya into the Gadhafi regime. NATO has intensified its bombing campaign. There are reports that the United States is adding Predators, so you're beginning to see, I think an opportunity here, both for the rebel alliance but also for NATO to put some pressure on the Gadhafi regime to relieve this stalemate that has been in place now for the last six months.

KING: And you see I just brought up here the pipelines here. If the rebels can keep this circle right here, they can also cut off pipelines going into Tripoli which is an important economic resource, but I want to move the conversation over to Syria, if we can. If you look at this August 7th and 8th, the Saudi King said "stop the killing machine". We know what happened. The killing continued.

August 9th the United States -- the Turkish foreign minister -- excuse me -- meets with Assad, and he says stop. Assad says I won't relent in his pursuit of what he calls the terrorists. And August 10th, the United States announces new sanctions and again I can go to just about anywhere on this map, I will just pick the town of Harasta (ph) here, international pressure on the regime and this is what you get, people in the street protesting for their rights being shot at.

Nick Burns, Secretary of State Clinton yesterday said you know we haven't called for Assad to step down because we're using, quote, "smart power". We want others in the community, others with closer and more important relationships to step forward. Does that pass what I'll call the sniff test?

BURNS: Well, I think it's understandable that Secretary Clinton would want to have key countries in the Middle East, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and others work with her in concert to call, together, for the remove of Bashar al Assad for his resignation, given the outcry and legitimate indignation of the world community over the images you've shown on your television tonight.

But in the final analysis, if those countries cannot act with the U.S., there really is no substitute for the power and the leadership of the United States. Despite our many problems we are still by a wide margin the most powerful country in the world. I think it would be a dramatic signal of international condemnation of the regime if the U.S. were to call for his resignation. I think it would galvanize others to do the same.

KING: Nick Burns, Fran Townsend appreciate your insights tonight, we're going to stay on top of this, big important weeks in Syria and potentially in Libya as well.

And still ahead here CNN's Piers Morgan asking the former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell about some of her more controversial views, you will want to see her reaction. She walks off the set. And next Suze Orman on how you should navigate the roller coaster stock market plus her take on President Obama's job picks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The word volatile just doesn't seem to do justice in describing the past couple of weeks on Wall Street. Giant drops followed by big gains, and vice versa. There are jitters about the messy political debates here in Washington and about major debt problems across Europe, not to mention worries the economy could again stall into recession. So what should you do about your 401(k) or about big decisions like buying a new car, maybe a home, or setting aside money for a college fund?

The renowned personal finance guru our friend Suze Orman is here with her advice on how to survive these confusing times. And Suze I want to start with a Suze gut check. If you look at economists, "USA Today" just polled a survey of leading economists, are you more or less optimistic than you were three months ago about the economy? Ninety-five percent said they were less optimistic. Are you that down about the economy?

SUZE ORMAN, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: Well, here's the problem. I've been down about the economy since 2008. I can remember coming on CNN, writing a book called "The 2009 Action Plan" where in that book I actually said it will be until 2015 until we feel like we even have hope again. So, this doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me that we're not out of the woods when it comes to housing, doesn't surprise me that we have 9.1 percent unemployment, doesn't surprise me that nothing is working the way that it should because the devastation that happened in 2008 was so beyond the beyond of anything we could have imagined was possible that I don't understand where we could be except where we are right now.

KING: And so if we are where we are right now, what should we do? If you look at just the past couple of weeks, a startling 19 percent swing in the ups and downs just last week. You hear people say well buy gold, it's way up. You hear people say cash out, get out of this crazy market. What does Suze say?

ORMAN: Suze says this. Again, I hate to keep saying that I've said this. I've said it now for almost two years, if you're going to be investing in the stock market, I personally would like to see you be investing in dividend-paying stocks or exchange-traded funds depending on how much money you have. Why? Because during wild swings when it goes up and down, all you want to know at this point in time anyway is that your money is yielding you four, five or six percent, otherwise that money is going to be out of the market and doing, what, John?

It's going to be sitting in a money market fund making you a half a percent, one percent. We heard the Fed chair say he's going to keep interest rates low until at least 2013, so I wanted to be paid on my money. So, again, if you can find good high-yielding, 4.5, five, six percent dividend-paying stocks or exchange-traded funds where the dividend is safe there's good economics behind the company, up, down, eventually, you'll be ahead of the game. You want to look for what it gives you more than for what your money is doing in itself.

KING: And does the current situation impact at all if somebody is out there watching and they're thinking about, you mentioned those low interest rates, maybe they think it's time to buy a new car. Maybe they think it's time to buy a new home. Should any consumer's decision about a big ticket purchase be influenced by the roller coaster of the past few weeks?

ORMAN: I think it should be influenced if -- if your job is not secure. So a lot of times when we see a roller coaster happening, it is also possible that some of that roller coaster has to do with a company that maybe you're working for, so if your job is secure, if you have at least 20 percent to put down, if you have at least an eight-month emergency fund, besides the 20 percent to put down, if you can afford a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, the property taxes, the insurance and you can get a steal of a deal, because I don't think we've seen the bottom in the real estate market. I think we are now definitely saying we're in a double dip. I think in many areas you could see it go down another three, five or 10 percent.

So, if you can get a steal of a deal and your job is secure, go ahead and do it. If all those things aren't there, can you just wait?

Same thing with a car. You better need, really need, a new car to buy a new car. And if I were you, I wouldn't be buying a brand-new car unless you have so much money you didn't know what to do with it. You could buy a new car for you, but you should buy a used car, because new cars the second you drive it of the market -- or the lot there, they're down 20 percent or 30 percent in value the second it leaves the lot.

So, what are you doing, people? What are you doing with your money? You need to be conserving it for what's coming ahead.

KING: We've talked about this many times in the past about how we live in a consumer-driven economy. If the consumer spending goes up, a lot of the other indicators go up, too. But people are in funk.

The University of Michigan which tracks consumer confidence just came out its preliminary August report, 54.9, that's down from July, 54.9 -- that is the lowest since 1980 which is also a recession year.

What is it going to take to get people out of their funk?

ORMAN: Truthfully, to get them out of the funk, we have to have people agreeing in Washington. There's nothing more disheartening when you don't know what to do and you're counting on your leaders to really lead you through the battle, through the victory, so that you'll be OK.

And they're fighting with one another. They're bickering with one another. They're waiting for the very last minute before they pass bills that protect the consumers out there.

So, what do you expect these consumers to think? They don't have faith that anybody in any side of the political battle here really has their best interests at heart. They're watching all these things. They're not understanding it.

And the truth of the matter is, they shouldn't have a lot of confidence, because, again, I think 2012 could be a very difficult year. I'm on the camp that we have more chance of being in recession than avoiding it.

So, they should be conservative right now. Their confidence should be down because there's every reason out there that they shouldn't feel confident.

KING: When you say you're more in the camp that we're going to fall into another recession than less, are you way into that camp, are you still a little divided?

ORMAN: I'm pretty much way into that camp. But I've been way into that camp now for the past year or two. You know, obviously on my own show, on "The Suze Orman Show," I've been saying to my viewers to be careful of 2012. And they keep writing, why, Suze, why?

And it's obvious if you look what's happening out there. For this economy to recover, we need housing to recover. Housing can't recover unless jobs recover. Housing can't recover until you take care of the excess of all the homes that are in foreclosure and the banks are willing to work with these people that want to keep their home but they're so underwater they don't know what to do.

All of these problems, plus more, what's happening in Europe, everything adds to we have trouble ahead.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong so much I can't begin to tell you. I don't think I am, however.

KING: Well, I want you to listen to a guy who hopes you're wrong. He's the president of the United States. He has to run for re-election in 2012. And if we were to fall back into recession, it would severely hurt the prospects of his re-election.

And the president is focusing on jobs, we need jobs, it would be a good spark for the economy.

I want you to listen to the president outlined some of the things he says should be done now and get your sense if you think how much they'd help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The payroll cut that put $1,000 back in the average family's pocket this year, let's extend it. Construction workers who have been jobless since the housing boom went bust -- let's put them back to work rebuilding America. Let's cut red tape in the patent process so entrepreneurs can get good ideas to market more quickly. Let's finish trade deals so we can sell more American-made goods around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How are those ingredients? Is that a major jobs package or is that more small ball playing around the edges?

ORMAN: I think that's more small ball playing around the edges.

And I'll be the -- you know, my political affiliation, I don't hide. I am a supporter of President Obama. I want him to win again more than you have any idea for many of the reasons out there.

However, many people don't work in construction. Many people don't benefit from some of those things. Yes, $1,000 would be good and all.

But there are a lot of people that lost their jobs. Why? Because of productivity. A lot of these corporations are so productive now without them. Because of technology, they don't need to hire them back.

So, how does that help the women or the people who had jobs either on Wall Street or wherever they were? And they're not construction workers. They don't do those things and they've been trying to get a job now for two years! And they still can't get a job.

We need to really do a whole lot more than that to solve this problem, but it's a start. Do I think it's a big enough start? I'm so sorry to say I don't.

KING: And the jobs debate comes as part of the deficit reduction debate. The president wants the congress to do more on that front. He's getting a little help. The president said we should raise taxes on the wealthy Americans.

He's getting some help from one the wealthiest Americans out there, Warren Buffett, who recently wrote this in "The New York Times": "For those making more than $1 million -- there were 236,883 such households in 2009 -- I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million including, of course, dividends and capital gains."

He goes on to say for those making $10 million or more, they should raise taxes even more.

If you look at the Warren Buffett plan, does that get from Suze an approved or denied?

ORMAN: That actually gets an approved. If you had watched me recently or even over the past year or two, I was absolutely against President Obama wanted to raise taxes on anybody for $250,000 or more, because you can be in New York city make $250,000 and you don't have enough money to pay your bills, believe it or not.

But once it gets to the tune of $1 million or $10 million a year, I'd be more than happy to pay extra money in taxes if it solved the problem. Because it's true, John, you know, you look around and when you're making a few million dollars a year, our lives haven't been affected. But everybody around us has. So, would a difference of $50,000 or $100,000 a year from me in more taxes make a difference? No, not to my lifestyle, but if it would help the economy, I think every one of us should be willing to do that and I don't have a problem with that.

KING: As always, appreciate the frank and very blunt and some sober advice from Suze Orman. Appreciate your coming in.

ORMAN: Any time.

KING: Thank you, my friend.

Next, Christine O'Donnell abruptly ends an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back.

Here's the latest news you need to know right now:

In India, thousand of demonstrators have surrounded a New Delhi jail to show support for a 72-year-old reformer who is threatening to begin a hunger strike to protest government corruption.

Vice President Joe Biden started a five-day visit to China today. One key goal of that trip, getting to know the next generation, the rising generation, of Chinese leaders.

A short time ago, former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cut short a taping for CNN's "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" when Piers asked her view on gay marriage and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": I'm just asking you questions based on your own public statements and now what you've written in your own book. It's hardly rude to ask you that, surely.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), FORMER U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, don't you think as a host -- if I say this is what I want to talk about, that's what we should address?

MORGAN: Not really, no. You're a politician.

O'DONNELL: Yes. OK, I'm being pulled away. You know, we turned down another interview for this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You see right there, her aide steps in front of the camera. And after he blocks the shot there, O'Donnell walks out.

It's a pretty straightforward question from Piers there. You can see the entire exchange tonight, 9:00 Eastern, on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT."

Next, new details of the president's plan new jobs proposal and Alaska Republican congressman who was right there at one of the president's town halls today. Will he and his party work with the president or will we go back to gridlock?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: "ANDERSON COOPER 360" coming up at the top of the hour.

Anderson is with us for a preview.

Anderson, tell us about this series, a shocking series "Ungodly Discipline." It's an amazing story out of California. Tell us more.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Yes, there's this little girl who's 7 years old, and she didn't have to die. She was beaten to death by her parents in California. All the other family members are in foster care. The parents have been arrested.

A book found in her parents' home taught that God wants parents to spank their kids and the spanking wasn't just spanking with your hand. It should involve a belt or a rod and be hard enough to cause real physical pain.

And, John, what's interesting is that many people are now preaching this kind of message from the pulpit. I want you to listen to an audio recording of a sermon given just last month from a man named Roger Voegtlin, who is the leader of the Fairhaven Baptist Church in Indiana.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DR. ROGER VOEGTLIN, FAIRHAVEN BAPTIST CHURCH: The rod in scriptures never carefully defined, but it's obviously some kind of stick or a switch. And this is it. It's designed to give a sharp, unpleasant pain.

If that isn't the result of your spanking, then you're failing. A sharp, unpleasant pain.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Certainly, some people are going to listen to that and have no problem with it. Our question tonight, though, is: are some parents -- some parents -- now using the Bible to justify their own bad parenting, or their own mistreatment of their kids? We'll look at that.

We're also going to have the latest on Libya. And we're following on the Rick Perry story, keeping him honest about his record on job creation as governor of Texas.

John, it's interesting. I mean, you've been covering politics for a long time. It's interesting to me how many candidates right now these days are making statements that are misleading or not supported by facts, and I guess it's always been this way. But it seems easier to kind of catch them at it now.

KING: Well, it's easier in the YouTube age to find videos that they might have said. It's easier in the Internet age to find their past statements more quickly.

And, Anderson, Governor Perry is learning things that all candidates learn, especially the first couple of weeks out. Being a governor is a lot easier than being a candidate for president. Everything you say and do is now in the microscope.

COOPER: Yes, sure is.

KING: We'll see you in just a few minutes.

COOPER: Thanks, John.

KING: All right. New word from the White House about new proposals for job creation and deficit reduction.

Our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin told the jobs plan will come in a speech after Labor Day and will be a complete legislative proposal, not just a list of ideas.

Jessica here with more tonight.

The administration is clearly feeling the pressure. The president out on the road saying, I understand you want jobs.

So, you're told a new plan, new proposals, and he'll actually say to Congress, here it is.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Remember, just a few weeks ago, his critics were saying not enough specifics, not being firm enough on the Republicans. Now, we're seeing as detailed as it gets.

It will be, I'm told, actual policies written out as legislation. These are not the infrastructure bank and the patent reform we've been hearing him talk about lately. It will be proposals that are not already before Congress. Separate from the deficit reduction committee proposals he'll make separately.

And yes, he'll take it to the trail arguing for Americans to support it. And if Congress blocks it, he'll say they've got an issue, why the Republicans blocking.

KING: Why the Republicans block it. We'll see how this plays out.

But you talked about the Republicans and the president believes -- I think I'm right in saying this -- the White House politically thinks they have a win/win here. He puts forward a proposal. If they don't pass it is, he can say the obstruction is Congress.

YELLIN: You're right on the politics.

KING: OK. So but he has other politics.

MoveOn.org from the left putting this email out to its supporters and it claims millions of them. "President Obama has spent too much time pandering to a minority of Tea Party Republicans who will never negotiate in good faith. Instead, he needs to start listening to the vast majority of the American people who say job creation is not the number one -- is the number one priority and the rich and corporations should be taxed more, not less."

So, as he thinks he can do battle with the Republicans here, he's got some trouble on the left flank.

YELLIN: And they know that, that the base is going to be frustrated with him if he doesn't do what they're asking in every respect. But they feel like at this point they have a strategy and a proposal moving into the fall campaign season that gets him away from Washington, away from the gridlock here. That's when his numbers go down.

They're trying to appeal to independents. Though, they feel confident -- the campaign does -- they can win these supporters back come next year.

KING: Win them back.

And let's look, Gallup has some new numbers out tonight that are pretty stunning. If you're on the president's re-election team you have to look at these and think, whoa, you think he's got a political win, or they think -- you say they think they have a political win on the job numbers.

But look at these numbers -- opinion of the president's handling of creating jobs, just 29 percent of Americans approve, 65 percent disapprove. His overall handling of the economy, 26 percent of Americans approve, 71 percent disapprove. To get 65 percent, 71 percent disapproval, that's not just Republicans, that's a lot of Democrats and independents.

YELLIN: Absolutely. And I hear you make this point all the time which is you've not seen a president get reelected with unemployment at the high levels at. And these are the numbers Republicans are pointing to and these are numbers that concern the president's advisers.

What they can point to is that the Republican brand went down after the debt talks. Americans do not like gridlock and fighting, and that hurt the brand for Republicans, and that the president remains personally popular in their view. So, those are two things they are trying to navigate through. That's we'll see him hitting the trail, talking about jobs, trying to work on his likability and build that into support for his job approval.

But those numbers are terrifying for the campaign.

KING: And I want to move onto something he said on the road today that's interesting about the campaign. But when they talk about these new proposals, will they pay for them? Will they put the payroll tax cut that costs money? Unemployment insurance cost money. Infrastructure cost money and there are new proposals we'll have.

Are they going to say here's our plan and we understand the deficit reduction is important. Here's how we'll pay for them?

YELLIN: Yes. And this proposal to the supercommittee will include, they said, cuts beyond the $1.5 trillion that's been laid out as part of that package.

KING: Back to the grand bargain.

YELLIN: Yes, exactly. And that they'll account for extra spending in the jobs proposal with the new cuts in the grand bargain.

KING: It's interesting. The president has officially -- as you know, the White House says it's a listening tour. It's a presidential listening tour. It is not a campaign trip the president is on.

But you can listen to him getting his themes ready. Here he is. He must be listening to Governor Perry who gave the other day saying, "I want to go to Washington" or said in an interview today, "I want to go to Washington to make it less consequential in your life."

Listen to the president today saying -- you're going to hear a lot of people bash the government but --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You're going to hear a lot of stuff over the next year and a half just like you have for the last 2 1/2 years. People attacking government and saying government is the problem. I think Jordan just reminded us -- government, our police officers, our firefighters, government is all those young men and women who have been serving, protecting us in Afghanistan and Iraq. Don't buy into this notion that somehow all our problems would be solved if we eliminate government.

(END VIDEO CILP)

KING: He has to be careful there though. He has to be careful there. Say Republicans want to cut it all. But he can't appear to be big government guy.

YELLIN: He can't. But this is a very fine line they have to walk, because part of what they're trying to do is to find different philosophies about how to govern. But they want to say the government can help more without, as you say, seeming like big government.

KING: It's fascinating week, fascinating few days. We have a campaign that is kicked into a little bit of higher gear.

YELLIN: It probably happens, right?

KING: Jess, thanks for coming in tonight. Up next, a very, very important story. It is back to school day in Joplin, Missouri, less than three months after that killer tornado hit a remarkable little town.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: This was a big day in Joplin, Missouri's, recovery from last May's deadly tornado. School started. For some Joplin High School students, that means classes in a renovated shopping area of a shopping mall. Others will share space at a middle school.

This is the first time that classes have been held since the May 22nd tornado that you will recall killed at least 160 people, that left much of the town, including schools in ruin.

Joplin High School principal, Dr. Kerry Sachetta, joins us now.

Mr. Principal, congratulations on your first day back. I have to assume it was an emotional day.

KERRY SACHETTA, PRINCIPAL, JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL: It was an emotional day. Seeing the expressions on the students' faces and all of the excitement around the building was just almost too much for a while because it was just good to have everybody back and to see kids happy.

KING: And I want to listen here to one of the fourth grade teachers. You're a high school principal.

Listen to a fourth grade teacher talking about pins and needles coming into the day and then this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see how things have turned out and how wonderful Joplin has turned around, it's pretty simple. You know? It's going to be all right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Pretty simple yet fighting back the tears there.

Take me inside your school as you wandered the halls today to check in to make sure everybody was OK.

SACHETTA: Well, we were all over the place all day today. We had volunteers everywhere, too. And the teachers did a good job of making sure that they directed the students around. Our school is different this year. (INAUDIBLE) campus, we have much wider hallways, different learning spaces, and different size rooms.

So, the kids were eager to look around the place and get a feel for what was going on. I can tell you the high school students were really fired up today to be in the new school and it's really a good kickoff for what I think will be a great year for us. KING: If I have this right from the research, you lost a school secretary and seven students. How did you remember them on this day as you try to look forward, how much time was spent looking back?

SACHETTA: Well, one of the things we do when we talked about before we handed out laptops and we had our meetings with each class is we talked about caring for each other, looking out for each other, and we're all here together. And that goes for teachers looking out for students, student looking out for teacher and so on.

Our district has done a good job of trying to make sure that we have extra staff around, social workers, counselors throughout the district for the year and make sure that the healthy well-being of our students and teachers are taken care of and all staff members in the district.

So, we mentioned that right off at the beginning of giving out laptops and we talked about that a little bit about how far we've come from, what we've come from, and how far we've been and where we're headed and at the same time every day is a new day.

KING: And we talked about this a couple weeks back, the coping and having enough mental health professionals on hand. You just mentioned them. What do those professionals tell you about when they think you could encounter issues?

Obviously, it's an exciting first day at school, many of the students were in new surroundings, you have a lot of new equipment donated by people all around the world and bless them. But when do they tell you that there may be a little bit of a boom and it sinks in and people might need some help?

SACHETTA: Well, we hear a lot of different things. And I think the 60 to 90-day mark is something that you really have to watch out for folks, because sometimes people have delayed reaction to trauma when they suffer something like this because they are doing so much things so quickly all at once and then, all of a sudden, some things happen or an event happens, or we have our first tornado drill next week sometime -- something of that nature may trigger something in a student or faculty member.

So, we have to be very cognizant of that and we have to warn people ahead of time and we just have to be very careful.

KING: Kerry Sachetta is the principal of Joplin High School -- sir, congratulations on a great first day. And we hope, we hope, you have a safe and productive school year going forward. Things continue to get better in Joplin.

SACHETTA: Thank you for talking to us. Pleasure to be with you.

KING: You take care, sir. Thanks again.

And that's all for us tonight. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.