Return to Transcripts main page


Congress Passes Two-Month Payroll Tax Cut Extension; Republican Presidential Candidates Spar or Foreign Policy in Debate

Aired December 16, 2011 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": Thanks, John. Two Penn State leaders charged with lying in the sexual abuse case against coach Jerry Sandusky. Former assistant coach Mike McQueary, the one who saw Sandusky showering with a boy, testified today.

The death of Robert Champion Jr., a Florida A&M University drum major who died last month ruled a homicide today. A lawyer for Robert's family comes out front.

And the bottom line in the payroll tax, a government shutdown averted and the payroll tax in countdown. Let's go OUTFRONT.

I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, breaking news on what matters to all Americans watching tonight, the payroll tax. Democrats and Republicans have been fighting for weeks over how to pass an extension. Now, if it gets extended, the average American will save about $1,000 in taxes next year. Senate Rs and Ds have been meeting right now. Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota was in the room stepping out. We're hope, sir, you will tell us some good news. Our Kate Bolduan has been reporting a deal for a two month extension. What can you tell us?

SEN. JOHN THUNE, (R) SOUTH DAKOTA: Right, it's a two-month extension, Erin. It has unemployment insurance. It has the payroll tax cut extension and what we call the doc fix, which deals with physician reimbursements under Medicare. And it also has the Keystone pipeline language that was in the House also in this particular Senate bill.

So I feel really good about where we are considering the fact that the Senate Democrats I don't think were comfortable with the pay- fors that were being proposed. And we would like to have gotten a full year like what was passed through the House of Representatives. But this is where we are. We get a two-month extension of the three things I mentioned, plus we get the pipeline.

BURNETT: OK. Two months, though, is really not something that makes people feel very good. I mean, we're going to be having the same conversation in 60 days with another countdown?

THUNE: Well, my guess is we probably will. We'll have to revisit this issue. That was not the preferred alternative for many of us. We wanted to see the same thing that passed through the House of Representatives pass in the Senate, which was a one-year extension. But the Democrats would not accept credible offsets to pay for it in the Senate.

So this is what we got down to in terms of a package that we could get support from both Republicans and Democrats for. For Republicans, this is a big victory in the sense that the Keystone pipeline was really important and we think the real jobs component in this bill. This is the thing that creates jobs in the near term.

BURNETT: I'm curious, though, because there were so many things that Democrats liked that some Republicans liked, as well, that could've paid for this. And it seems, you know, some might say, look, you Republicans, you just pushed for some of the things that Democrats really didn't want when there were some things, like increasing fees to mortgage lenders or means testing for some on Medicare, that they would have been on board with that would've funded this thing for the year.

THUNE: Right, and we were all in favor of those things, Erin. I'm not saying -- what I'm suggesting is I don't think that Senator Reid could sell some of those pay-fors to his caucus. He couldn't get Democrats onboard with supporting some of those. In fact, the pay-for that will pay for the two-month extension is the increase and the guarantee fees on the GSEs. So that's something that everybody agreed on. That was something that both Democrats and Republicans felt comfortable with.

But the other pay-fors, many of which are things we supported and we thought we could get Democrat support for, evidently he could not.

BURNETT: You say you feel good. I feel a little bit let down. I was hopeful you would come up with something more than two months, and especially when you all wanted to do this and you agreed to pay for it. If you can't get this done for a full year, what in the world can you guys get done?

THUNE: Well, look, I don't disagree with you. I'm disappointed, as well, that this isn't a full year. We had a full year passed out of the House of Representatives. They sent it to the Senate. The pay-fors were pay-fors most in the Senate would support. But there's a lot of opposition to the way this thing was paid for.

And so to get it down to a level where everybody was comfortable with the offsets being used to pay for those three things, this is where we ended up. What that simply means is we will revisit this in another two months, and obviously, we'll have probably these same debates all over again. It's not a perfect solution by any stretch.


THUNE: But it's what we're able to get through.

BURNETT: This Keystone pipeline, let me ask you about that. The president will have the right to say he doesn't want to do it because of national security concerns. Do you think he'll do that?

And I'm also curious because the current version of this pipeline, obviously, you know, this is going to go through your state, and you're going to benefit from it. So I get that you support it. But how many jobs are we really going to get? Some studies said we were going to lose jobs because it's going to hurt farmland. Others studies said we're going to gain 583,000 jobs, which frankly seems a little absurd. And the state department said only 5,000 jobs. It seems like nobody has any clue.

THUNE: Right, well, the president -- what he has -- if he has to determine this is not in the national interest in order for it not to go forward. But with regard to what it does for jobs -- and the numbers you have used are not numbers I've seen. We've seen a 20,000 number jobs created in the construction phase, and then also, of course, lots of jobs after that.

But in my state of South Dakota, for example, when keystone one went through there, it created about 2,400 jobs full-time and part- time, and that was more than predicted that would be created. It's good for my state, obviously, in terms of jobs and the economic impact it would have and a lot of other states, as well.

But think about the other issues here. This is an energy security issue. General James Jones, the president's former national security adviser came out today and said this is in the national interest. This helps make us less dependent upon foreign sources of energy. And if we don't benefit from it, that energy is going to go someplace else, probably west toward China.

BURNETT: All right, well, Senator Thune thank you very much. And let me confirm what your sense is as to whether this has been vetted through the House. Is this going to be voted on tomorrow? Or is it possible this two-month deal you have somehow doesn't happen?

THUNE: It's never final until it's final, of course. But we had our -- our caucus met. I think there was general acceptance and pretty broad support for it. The Democrats I think are meeting, as well tonight. My understanding is at least it has these elements in it I think that the House will be for it. We'll vote on it tomorrow. If everything moves forward according to plan, the House will have to come back and vote on it sometime probably Sunday or Monday.

BURNETT: I guess they go on vacation later than you do. Thank you, senator.

THUNE: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: Let's bring in John Avlon, CNN contributor.

So not quite 24 hours ago we were sitting here, and we were upset about a two-month deal because it doesn't do anything. It doesn't put a lot of money in people's pockets, doesn't cause hiring, and we're back to square one on something they all agreed on. And here we are, John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Here we are. This breaking news just shows how addicted Washington, D.C. is to brinksmanship. They can't get past the kabuki theater even when they agree. And we have kicking the can down the road two more months, and we just heard Senator Thune say we'll probably be back here in two months.

BURNETT: No, he said it. He said we'll be talking about the exact same thing. My problem here is you made a list of 10 different ways to propose to pay for it. Some the Democrats hated, some the Republicans hated. And yet, that left seven or eight. And they couldn't use them.

AVLON: And they couldn't get it done past kicking the can because apparently Republicans would not give up on delinking the Keystone pipeline despite as Senator Rand Paul said a few nights ago. He said let's delink it from the payroll tax and give it an up or down vote. Keep it straight, keep it honest.

This just shows how much bad blood there is between the two parties, how much distrust, and it shows that Pew poll that said two- thirds of Americans believe that Congress should be kicked out, there's a reason for that frustration out there. This is just the latest example.

BURNETT: And on top of it, one thing that's getting buried in this because we have this breaking -- I'm putting quotes around it because this is a two-month deal, but the government shutdown was averted. In that case there were eight threats of that this year, but they're going to fund through next September. You say, great, there's not going to be this problem until next year one month before the election.

AVLON: That might be the good news. Right, exactly. We'll see the specific timing. But that is good news, right? We'll hopefully not have a brinksmanship about lack of money in a presidential year. That should be filed under no-brainer, right? Congratulations, you're not going to shut down the government. That's the standard of success right now?

BURNETT: Yes, pretty much, John, it is.

AVLON: That seems to be the success. So we've got a payroll tax cut, it shows 160 million Americans going to be affected by this potentially, they're not going to see their taxes go up immediately.

BURNETT: That's an average of up to $160 over two months. The whole point is to make you feel wealthier and money to spend on things, and you don't even know if you're going to have it in month three?

AVLON: This falls short. This creates that exact atmosphere of uncertainty that people have been complaining about.

BURNETT: That's right.

AVLON: So, you know, look, kicking the can down the road, it's great they're going to pay for the government, but this payroll tax gets filed under epic fail again.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, John Avlon. Still "OUTFRONT," presidential candidate Mitt Romney picks up a big endorsement today, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. Will her yes matter?

And the SEC files suit against the former CEOs of Fannie and Freddie, Mac and Mae. The U.S. government giving them a $125 billion in a form of a bailout right now. Do we need them?

And radioactive material -- a team from a nuclear reactor found in a passenger's luggage in Moscow today going to Tehran. We have the latest developments in tonight's installment.


BURNETT: So a lot of people have fallen in love with a guy named Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos were one and four until this guy, Tim Tebow, became the starting quarterback. Since then the team in seven an done. Some are pretty mystified about how he's managing to win because obviously some sort of superstar, but statistically the numbers don't seem to work.

So we considered comparing Tebow's stats to Tom Brady's. Obviously if you don't know who he is. Come on, he's married to Giselle, you know who he is, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, and his opponent for this weekend. Instead, we decided to look at his fat head. The number tonight is 50,000. That is how many dollars worth of Tim Tebow fat heads they sold in the first two days of release.

For those unfamiliar with "Tebowing," there was someone in our staff who was unfamiliar. The quarterback's signature touchdown celebration has become a sensation in a way for rivals to poke fun at the phenom. Fat head, the maker of life-size graphics that you can stick on your wall started selling the Tebowing image on Tuesday. It quickly became the best-selling image on the site. It's on pace of the best week sales of any fat head ever. Wow, $50,000. All right, Tom or Tim, who are you rooting for this weekend?

A very high-profile endorsement for Mitt Romney today. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made the announcement on FOX News this morning.


GOV. NIKKI HALEY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: What I want is someone who is not part of the chaos that is Washington. What I wanted was someone who knew what it was like to turn broken companies around, someone who had proven results by improving a failed Olympics that ended up being a great success story, and someone that knows what it's like to make a decision and lead, not just make a vote.


BURNETT: Now, it's not a huge surprise that she chose to support Romney. Haley has endorsed Romney before and he's endorsed her. But here's why it could be a little bit bigger of a deal. Number one, she is the Republican governor of South Carolina. South Carolina will be the first state in the south to hold a primary next month after Iowa and New Hampshire.

Romney, of course, could use a bit of a boost there. The latest CNN poll shows Newt leading by a big margin, 43 percent to 20 percent for Romney. All right, that's one reason that it matters.

Second reason, Governor Haley was elected into office with the help of the Tea Party and Romney as all our viewers are well aware has had a lot of trouble getting support from Tea Partiers and conservatives.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst David Gergen, Republican strategist Scott Stanzel, and Democratic strategist Jan Psaki. Good to have all of you with us. Let me start with you, Scott. I'm curious, what do we read into this, because Nikki Haley supported by the Tea Party, but her approval rating in her state right now is not very high.

SCOTT STANZEL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, that's right. It is an important endorsement, but endorsements today mean less than they did 10 or 20 years ago. South Carolina is an incredibly important state. It deals the knockout blow to the challenger in a Republican primary situation with 96, 2000, and 2008, the eventual winner of the GOP primary in South Carolina getting the nomination.

I think for what it's worth, I think an endorsement from say very popular conservative Congressman Tim Scott from South Carolina may actually mean more in the end game of this campaign in South Carolina than say the Nikki Haley endorsement does because Tim Scott is very influential, continuously influential with those Tea Party voters. So that endorsement may actually mean more in the end result of the primary.

BURNETT: David Gergen, it is interesting, though, that the Romney camp has managed to get a couple of these endorsements. Nikki Haley, this week, Christine O'Donnell, which obviously came with a -- well, let's play that sound bite why that one was more problematic here on CNN's AMERICAN MORNING.


CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, (R) FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: That's one of the things that I like about him because he's been consistent since he changed his mind.


BURNETT: She said that with a straight face.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, the old Kerry line. I voted for it before I voted against it. If endorsements were going to determine the outcome, this would be over now. Romney would be ahead by 30 points. He's collected most of the endorsements as a result of his diligence, his support, and frankly the money he's put into helping people in the past. And that's politics. That's what you should do.

But the critical thing is this -- this endorsement will not matter much if he's coming -- if Romney coming limping out of New Hampshire. On the other hand, if Romney can beat expectations in Iowa and win New Hampshire, then the Haley endorsement could actually matter a lot because at that point, Gingrich might seem to be faltering and this endorsement could really push Romney over the top. He's a long way back now, but in that scenario, the endorsement suddenly becomes very important.

BURNETT: Jen, speaking for the Obama campaign administration, are they still counting on mitt Romney being their adversary? Or has the feeling inside the Obama camp changed, that perhaps they may be fighting someone like Newt Gingrich?

JEN PSAKI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I wouldn't want to be making a bet right now in Vegas, I have to tell you. And I think that's true for most people who are watching. What's interesting about this endorsement is that Nikki Haley is a favorite of the Tea Party. This race has become a race to the right. You have Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney duking it out for who can appeal more to the conservative base. And at the same time you've seen their support among independents drop. So the longer this goes on, the more interesting it will be to see how far to the right they go in the pursuit of the nomination.

BURNETT: She uses the word "interesting," David Gergen, but I would imagine she's been polite. I would imagine that Barack Obama would say the better this becomes for him because all of a sudden he's got all of these campaign fights going on the far right that help him win.

GERGEN: It depends on how far right they get drawn. These debates overall, I think it helped Gingrich a great deal, including the debate last night where he was on the defensive for the first half of the debate and then he came roaring back in the second half. I think he more than held his own. Last night Romney was very steady.

While the debates have helped Newt Gingrich and made him competitive, I think overall it's been a two-edged sword, and that is the debates -- the hard right quality of these debates week after week has deepened the impressions of the mind of independents, these guys may be too far right for me.

BURNETT: All right, thanks to all three, please enjoy your weekend.

PSAKI: Thank you.

GERGEN: Thank you.

BURNETT: Earlier today, the SEC filed civil suits against the former CEOs of housing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now these suits claim that Daniel Mudd, the former Fannie Mae CEO, and Richard Siren, former CEO of Freddie Mac, along with four others, understated the amount of subprime securities that they were exposed to by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Ken Rosen of U.C. Berkeley told "OUTFRONT" today that, quote, "This is a long overdue attempt to hold accountable some of those responsible for the massive losses in the mortgage market meltdown."

Now, Fannie and Freddie are ground zero for the housing crisis in this country. The companies were created to provide stability in the housing market, to increase home ownership in this country, and in the process they became massive government-sponsored enterprises. They make too big to fail look tiny. Combined they hold or guarantee $5 trillion of U.S. home mortgages. That's half the total U.S. mortgage market. And since this whole crisis began, they have been buying nine in 10 mortgages in this country. It is why the government had to bail them out at a total estimated cost of $125 billion through 2014.

But do we really need Fannie and Freddie? Canada does not have a home mortgage interest deduction or a Fannie or Freddie, and Canada has the same home ownership rate of the United States, virtually identical. Let's be honest, the way the situation is in Washington right now, the chances of a decision being reached on what to do with Fannie and Freddie are slim, and they have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger during this crisis, so big, so big. It would take years for them to be wound down. In a time of big deficits when you look at their long-term track record over the past 50 years, it's a question, should we eliminate Fannie and Freddie? Let us know what you think on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Out front next, new developments in the case of Robert Champion Jr., the Florida A&M University drum major who died last month. Authorities say it was homicide. A lawyer for Robert's family comes OUTFRONT.

And the latest from the Penn State child rape scandal. Mike McQueary, the assistant coach who saw Jerry Sandusky showering with children, testified.


BURNETT: It's Friday, and try as we could, there's a story we couldn't resist. Britney Spears made a huge announcement today. This morning she tweeted this -- "OMG, last night Jason surprised me with the one gift I've been waiting for. Can't wait to show you! So, so, so excited!!!!"

Well, later it was confirmed the gift was an engagement ring. That's right, Brit is getting married, and we're happy for her because she's had tough times, and she really has come through it in a really resilient way.

But her fiancee and former agent Jason seems to have help her turn the tough times around. Since she started dating him last year, her album went platinum and she guest starred on hit TV shows like "Glee." Of course, as good as Jason's been for her, we're not sure how good she's been for him. Probably a stretch to say she's been a toxic influence. Jason's physical transformation since they met is pretty amazing. Take a look.




BURNETT: We just couldn't resist.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Radiation levels 25 times higher than normal.

BURNETT: McQueary on the stand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he was my client, I wouldn't have let him testify.

BURNETT: All of this OUTFRONT in our second half.



BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our reporting, do the work and find the "OUTFRONT 5".

Number one tonight, new details on the payroll tax cut extension. Senate Democrats and Republicans meeting tonight over a potential new deal. Republican Senator John Thune was there and he came OUTFRONT.


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: It's a two-month extension, Erin. It has unemployment insurance, it has the payroll tax cut extensions, and what we call the doc fix, which is the issue that deals with physician reimbursements under Medicare. And it also has the Keystone pipeline language that was in the House also in this particular Senate bill.

So I feel really good about where we are considering the fact that the Senate Democrats I don't think were comfortable with the pay- fors that were being proposed. And we would have liked to have gotten the full year that was passed through the House of Representatives. But this is where we are, we get a two-month extension of the three things I mentioned. Plus, we get the pipeline.


BURNETT: The House still has to decide whether they're onboard with that deal. Number two, a group called Iowans for Life telling OUTFRONT tonight it is not behind an anti-Newt Gingrich flyer. The flyer attacked Gingrich for being a pro-life fraud. I'm quoting, flyer said it was paid for Iowans for Life. However, we spoke to Maggie DeWitte, executive director of Iowans for Life. And she told us her group had nothing to do with the flyers.

She also told us, quote, "I don't believe the accusations on this flier. We feel that newt Gingrich is pro-life."

Number three: new video tonight of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. Manning had a pre-trial hearing today where his attorney was denied the request to have the investigating officer of the case removed due to conflict of interest.

The officer has a civilian job at the Justice Department, which is investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Our experts believe if Manning is convicted of this crime, he could spend life in prison.

Number four: Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 no longer the most popular web browser. The top spot belongs to Google Chrome, which has now about 25 percent of the market according to Internet data tracker.

Now, we look at the numbers. When you go in, it's a little bit more complicated. When you combine the different versions of Internet Explorer, Microsoft still leads with nearly 40 percent of the market. There's the good news, Microsoft. The bad news, of course, your market share used to be 90 percent.

Now, the antitrust eye turns on Google.

It has been 133 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Ratings agency Fitch says France gets to keep its AAA for now. It revised its outlook in the country to negative from stable.

If France were downgraded, it could have a big impact on the European debt crisis. A lot of people say their situation is worse than that in the United States. So, shady or not.

Radioactive material from Russia, the kind that can only be obtained from a nuclear reactor was, found today in an airline passenger's luggage in Moscow. The discovery was made in Moscow and apparently was pretty easy to detect because radiation levels in the area were reportedly 20 times above normal. The plane was about to leave Moscow and fly to -- you guessed it, there we go going south -- yes, Tehran.

Which is why so many urgent questions are being raised about Iran's nuclear program, how far along is it? And which countries are supporting it?

The United States has sanctions against Iran. But what are China, Russia, North Korea doing to support the country's nuclear ambitions? What role does Germany play? Yes, Germany.

Joining us now to talk about this is Gordon Chang, author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World."

And, Gordon, let me start by asking you, what is the importance of what was discovered today in Moscow? Sure, it may have been crude and some are saying, oh, this was medical devices, but this whole concept that Russia still has 18,000 nuclear warheads and all its radioactive material, it could somehow get on a plane.

GORDON G. CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN": Yes. What's really important is that you had an Iranian courier trying to smuggle nuclear material into Tehran. And the important thing for us is that Iran doesn't need long-range ballistic missiles to be a real threat to us. All it needs is a crude device they can take apart, they can smuggle into the United States, and resemble it. We're talking about nuclear terrorism, and it is the most important thing that we should really be looking at, because it is just -- affects everybody.

BURNETT: And Russia has tried to make a point of saying, no, our warheads are safe. Right after the breakup of the USSR, they were all over the place. They put them in and they know where they are. And it's secure. Does this now put that in question?

CHANG: Well, yes. And also, there have been reports that there were suitcase nuclear weapons that went missing. Also, there have been nuclear shells that were taken out of a Kazakhstan nuclear dump.

There were all sorts of stories, we can't confirm them. But, clearly, they exist, and we know who wants to buy this stuff. That's the atomic ayatollahs in Iran.

BURNETT: So, do we know how these materials were obtained? We're talking about an Iranian courier. But any more details you can think of what might have happened here?

CHANG: Yes. As you pointed out, this was not made in somebody's basement. This came from a particle accelerator. That means it was a university or a government lab. That means people had to have been bribed.

And if people can bribe to steal sodium 22, which is after all, not that dangerous, they probably can also be bribed for uranium, plutonium -- and Russia has a lot of plutonium that is unsecured.

BURNETT: So what does this tell us about who's helping Iran? Could this have been more formal in Russia? And what about China and North Korea?

CHANG: Well, China has been selling Iran particle -- all sorts of stuff like beryllium for nuclear weapons, centrifuges. They've been doing this secretly through the last decade. Also, they've been doing it indirectly through North Korea.

BURNETT: Yes. CHANG: So we know that China's been a big supporter, and Russia has also helped, though, a bit more above board because they are building Iran's first nuclear reactor at Peshawar.

BURNETT: The power plant, that they is -- right. What was amazing to me, spending a brief time in Iran was, you know, I saw a lot of German businessmen there too. I'm not saying they're doing any of the nuclear. But the point is there's a lot of people doing business with Iran when theoretically --

CHANG: And that's why it's so hard to get sanctions through U.N. or the IEAE governing board because a lot of interests are there that really want to preserve this deal flow with Iran. And the only way that we're going to stop them is if we stop the gasoline going into Iran and the oil and gas coming out.

BURNETT: Which points right at China.

All right. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

CHANG: Thanks.

BURNETT: China, of course, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude oil.

Well, it is official. We now know what killed the Florida A&M University drum major who died after allegedly being hazed last month. The medical examiner has ruled the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion Jr. a homicide. The cause, the report says he died of shock due to the blunt force trauma sustained during a hazing incident.

And then the report concludes he collapsed and died within an hour of the incident.

Joining us now, the lawyer for Robert Champion's family, Christopher Chestnut.

Thanks so much for being with us, sir. We appreciate it.

And what was the family's reaction to this?

CHRISTOPHER CHESTNUT, LAWYER OF ROBERT CHAMPION'S FAMILY: Devastation. It was somewhat comforting to have an answer as to what happened in confirmation, but equally disconcerting. I mean, no one ever wants to lose a child and especially due to a violent death.

BURNETT: What we found out, obviously today is, unfortunately, and tragically consistent with what we had been hearing from Robert's fellow band members. He died after a right of passage. They called it crossing bus C where I guess he was supposed to walk backwards from the front to the back, other people were supposed to beat him while he did that.

What more can you tell us about that?

CHESTNUT: You know, it's still very early on in the investigation. We have confirmed it was a bus C hazing that was customary for the band. And it went too far.

So it's, again, unfortunate. And we're hoping that we can change the culture there so this does not happen to anyone else.

BURNETT: What does the family intend to do next?

CHESTNUT: Well, the family has a Facebook page and a 1-800 number, starting a foundation in Robert's memory, the principal purpose of the foundation is to stop hazing. Equally, we're filing a lawsuit against the institution and whoever is responsible.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, sir. We appreciate your taking the time.

CHESTNUT: Thank you.

BURNETT: Unfortunate ending.

The latest developments on the Penn State child rape scandal. Former assistant coach Michael McQueary tells the hearing in graphic detail exactly what he saw Sandusky doing with a young boy.

And then, one in six Americans are hungry tonight. Howard Buffett talks about it, one of the country's most well-known farmers comes OUTFRONT about that, coming up.


BURNETT: We do this at the same time every night, our "Outer Circle," where we reach out to our sources around the world.

And tonight, we begin in Cairo where violence between pro- democracy activists and security forces ramped up today.

Ben Wedeman is there.

And, Ben, what tactics did police and the military use against the crowds?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, according to eyewitnesses, it appears that live ammunition has been used against these demonstrators. Not only that, from photographs and video we've seen, the soldiers have been throwing Molotov cocktails, rocks, bricks, furniture. In one case, one soldier has even been photographed urinating on the demonstrators.

This despite the fact that the Egyptian prime minister three weeks ago promised that violence would never be used against peaceful demonstrators. It appears that some in the military and army haven't received that memo -- Erin.

BURNETT: Tank you, Ben.

And now to Paris where Carlos the Jackal, once one of the most wanted fugitives in this world was slapped with yet another life sentence in prison. Jim Bittermann was there.

And, Jim, was this -- it must have been amazing to be there, a throwback from a different era?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, in fact, it is. This is very much back to the Cold War era, the days of the Baader-Meinhof gangs and the Red Brigades, a terrorist of a different shape and form back then that were fighting proxy wars on behalf of the Cold War enemies, the Soviet Union, and the United States.

Carlos himself said in a nearly four-hour wrap-up at the end of his trial, he said "Long live the revolution." He said I'm a living archive, a reference to the fact that most of his fellow terrorists from that era are now either in prison or dead -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you, Jim.

And now to India where moonshine brewed in the country's West Bengal state caused mass illness and death.

Ram Ramgopal is watching the story for us from Atlanta.

And, Ram, this has been an unbelievable story. What happened to people who made this toxic brew?

RAM RAMGOPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, authorities raided several alcohol shops in the suburban Calcutta, the city formally known as Calcutta. At last report, police tell us 168 people have been killed, some 100 are still in the hospital.

Police say they've arrested some dozen people. They don't have the ring leader of the liquor ring. The problem: dangerous chemicals that are added to cheap, home brewed booze to give it more kick -- Erin.

BURNETT: Terrible story.

Now to the scandal that has grabbed headlines here in the U.S.

Today, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that two former university officials are headed for trial in the Penn State child rape case. Gary Schultz who was once head of campus police and Tim Curley, the former athletic director, are both charged with lying to the grand jury and failure to act when accusations of sexual abuse when allegations against coach Jerry Sandusky surfaced.

Well, the fate of Schultz and Curley may hinge on the day's star witness, Mike McQueary, the man there with the red hair. He testified about alleged abuses that he saw -- that is the operative word -- back in March of 2002.

HLN's Mike Galanos was in the court.

And, Mike, McQueary went into graphic detail. And I know the whole debate coming into this have been, did he see it, did he just hear it? What really happened?

What did he say today? How strong was his testimony?

MIKE GALANOS, HLN: It was very strong, Erin. I thought he was very credible. You know, he walked in with a demeanor like, this is my day to tell the story.

And we got that extra detail that, number one, there were throe different looks, and also the sounds. First off, it was the sound, the rhythmic slapping. He thought sexual sound. He was embarrassed right out of the gate.

Then he walks to his locker and catches a glimpse out of the mirror and through that reflection says he saw Jerry Sandusky with this young boy and believes he's molesting the young boy -- can't believe it, takes a beat, and then takes another look with his own eyes and sees the image of Jerry Sandusky as close as can be, believing there's some kind of intercourse going on.

And then few beats later, he walked into the shower and at that point, Sandusky and the child were four or five feet apart, and the molestation he believes is stopped. And that's the detail we get that made it credible, I thought, Erin, listening in the courtroom.

BURNETT: It's hard to even hear you retell it. I have to be honest with you, Mike.

So, you believe this was credible. What does this -- what does this now mean, do you think, in terms of these other two men who were accused of lying?

GALANOS: Well, you know, we also had a chance after the morning break to listen to their testimony read in detail. We have the presentments, which was a summary, now we get more detail.

And to be honest, I mean, this is the prosecution's day. Gary Schultz, Tim Curley did not look good. It was Tim Curley's decision to not investigate, to not identify who this boy was.

And Gary Schultz, he's the head of police, Erin. And no investigation with him. And there are quotes from him, "oh, these allegations weren't that serious." You coupled that with what we heard from Mike McQueary.

Now, it's not altogether fair because McQueary's there in person. They're reading the testimony, but it was such a stark contrast, again, making McQueary that much more believable.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Mike Galanos.

Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Horrible to listen to. Isn't it unbelievable? BURNETT: It is horrible to listen to. But --

TOOBIN: Gives me creeps.

BURNETT: It does. But you know one thing that when this whole debate had happened, because Mike McQueary said he saw it and the grand jury testimony, then some of his friends say, well, he told us he just heard it. That this is what you need to hear, right?

I mean, something like this would be emblazoned on your eyes forever. And he remembers, saw it in the mirror, I took a beat -- that's what you would remember if you were telling the truth.

TOOBIN: It sounds like a credible story, and it is certainly likely to be very bad for Sandusky. However, this is about these two administrators. And I actually think it's not surprising that the case was ordered forward. There's a very low standard for this kind of hearing.

But this is a problematic case against the administrators. I don't think it's a slam dunk at all because it's one thing for him to recount this today. It's another thing to prove exactly what he told the administrators and how the sort of game of telephone worked for them to know what happened and what they did afterward.

BURNETT: So he may have seen that, but it all depends on what he exactly told them and also told Joe Paterno.

TOOBIN: And told Joe Paterno.

And, you know, the lack of urgency that this university showed -- I mean, you know, here we are hearing the story and we are repelled that people in a position to do something about it, to find the kid, to help the kid, to help other kids completely absent.

BURNETT: Right. And you wouldn't even think and I know if it came up today, but that Mike McQueary would be obsessed with finding that child.

TOOBIN: With finding that child and making sure that this guy not only was off the Penn State's campus. But not doing this to kids again. I mean, you would think he would be calling the police that day. Not, you know, after he talked to his father, but that day.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. And we're going to -- obviously, more and more of the awful things are going to come out.

TOOBIN: We'll see.

BURNETT: Let's check in with Anderson Cooper.

Anderson, what do you have on the show tonight in?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Erin, last night the main attraction in Iowa was Newt Gingrich, the new front-runner attracting all the attention. Most of the heat from his opponents as well, he was attacked last night over the $1.6 million he took from Freddie Mac.

He says he wasn't a lobbyist, though. But keeping them honest we're going to show you new details reported today that some people believe show otherwise.

Also tonight, the death of author Christopher Hitchens. As an atheist who criticized everyone from Mother Theresa, he compared heaven to a celestial North Korea, and he wrote the best-selling book "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything."

Shortly after his diagnosis he and I had a really interesting talk about his life and his possible death. We'll play some of that interview for you tonight.

Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" at the top of the hour, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Anderson, looking forward to that and hearing your conversation there with Mr. Hitchens. Thanks.

Howard Buffett, the son and heir of Warren, said it's unacceptable that one of six Americans is hungry at this moment. He is OUTFRONT next.


BURNETT: Did you know that one in six Americans are hungry right now? It's embarrassing and unacceptable for the world's biggest economy, where we have a surplus of food.

Howard Buffett is trying to change that. He's president of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. If the name sounds familiar, it is. He's also the son of Warren Buffett.

Howard recently came OUTFRONT to talk about his work with Feeding America. It's the third biggest charity in this country.


HOWARD G. BUFFETT, PHILANTROPIST: We have almost 50 million food insecure people in this country. And a lot of those people -- I mean, the number has risen significantly in the last three years --

BURNETT: Food insecure means not starving but not sure where the next meal --

BUFFETT: Well, you don't know where your next meal's coming from.


BUFFETT: I mean, you really don't know how you're going to feed your child or yourself. And, of course, the people within those numbers change as well. So, there's more than just that number overall from, you know, throughout a year. But really, they don't know where their meal's going to come from.

BURNETT: We have an incredibly cheap food supply in this country. I mean, we grow it here. When you look at sometimes how much things cost in the grocery store. You know, 20 cents sometimes. And yet still that's not within reach of a lot of people.

BUFFETT: Well, we have -- really in the developed world, we have about the cheapest food supply in terms of the percentage of our income of anybody in the world. And not only is it cheap and people can't get it, but we also last year had almost $3 billion worth of fruits and vegetables that never could get harvested.

You know, we're losing food on one end in big numbers and we have people who are hungry on the other end. It's really pretty crazy in this country.

BURNETT: And then we have food stamps. Are food stamps effective either in the administration or the cost of dealing with this problem? Or no?

BUFFETT: Well, you have to have some kind of safety net. So you can argue over the details of it. Actually, the SNAP program has one of the lowest fraud percentages of use of many federal programs.

BURNETT: So, Feeding America, as we said, is the third biggest charity in the country. Why have you chosen to back them? What are they doing that's innovative, that's different?

BUFFETT: Well, Feeding America is in my opinion the best partner we could choose to do this with because they're the largest in terms of outside of the government. They're the largest in terms of the amount of people they feed. They're very well-organized. And they have a huge network of over 200 food banks and over 60,000 agencies they work with.

So their reach is very extensive.

BURNETT: If you could just wave a magic wand, what would be the biggest change you would make?

BUFFETT: If you could really scale up the option of using your SNAP card at, like, farmer's markets and in places where you can get better food for your kids, more nutritious food or more balance where you can provide a more balanced food basket, they're doing this I think it's around maybe 10 percent. That maybe is a little high.

But if they could scale that up so that people have better access to better food, that would be a great step.

BURNETT: I feel like you have it tough. And I mean this. You grew up Warren Buffett's son. So you have all this opportunity, all these expectations, all this responsibility.

How hard was that?

BUFFETT: It's pretty hard to say it was hard. No one's going to feel sorry for me.

BURNETT: No, OK. That's true.

BUFFETT: It's a question I can't win with. But I think there were times when I was young enough that -- particularly when my dad was getting a little more famous, people would give me a hard time.

My brother and sister and I had so many advantages. You know, both living in this country and having the family that we have, and having incredible parents. When they gave us, all of us, this money to be able to try to use in a very effective way, the biggest gift really was they said, go do what you think you can do best. My mom and dad never told any of us how we should do it.


BURNETT: Finally tonight, remembering journalist, author, and essayist Christopher Hitchens. The long-time "Vanity Fair" columnist died late last night after a battle with cancer. He was 62.

John Avlon is here to talk a little bit about him. I know you were a great admirer of his and you had a chance to meet him.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I did briefly. But this is just a man who was a hero to so many writers and a mentor to so many writers, and I did have the privilege of meeting him on a few occasions.

But today was an extraordinary outpouring of respect and affection for this man, one of the great essayists of our time -- someone who was always a fearless and fun, and someone who always would strike a complete moral clarity, with no regard for political correctness. And his writing was great.

But his enemies were hypocrisy and cruelty and stupidity and oppression. And he was prolific. And in the last several months, his battle with cancer was waged with similar heroism.

He's just someone who was such a literary hero to so many people, and at the same time to appreciate and honor and respect him and appreciate him.

BURNETT: It's just amazing. You were talking a little bit about it today with our staff. You know, there were times he was hated by the people over here and hated by the people over here, but when the end came, respected by both.

That's a really, really hard thing to be.

AVLON: It is. And it's the mark of an independent thinker and a fearless thinker. You know, one of his -- one of the great quotes I love by him, and he has a whole book of great quotes called "The Quotable Hitchens." "One of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at authority."

BURNETT: We'll take that as a motto on this show.

AVLON: For a long time.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks so much to John Avlon.

And let's hands it off to Anderson.