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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Candidates Hurting Republican Brand?; Iranian Nuclear Scientists Targeted
Aired January 12, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is 10:00 here on the East Coast.
And we begin tonight with leading Republicans scrambling to start what Newt Gingrich calls Armageddon in the South Carolina primary and beyond, to stop it before their front-runner suffers, their brand suffers, and maybe their chances in November suffer.
They're telling the candidates to tone down the attacks on Mitt Romney, especially his record as CEO of Bain Capital. Not all of the candidates are. Neither are the super PACs supporting Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Today, FOX News and conservative talk radio were full of big-name Republicans pleading for restraint.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: You pick up the phone as soon as you're done here in two minutes. You say to Newt what?
RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: What the hell are you doing, Newt? You believe what -- you -- I expect this from Saul Alinsky. You know, this is what Saul Alinsky taught Barack Obama and the stuff you're saying is one of the reasons we're in the trouble we're in right now.
This total ignorant, populist view of the economy that was proven to be incorrect with the Soviet Union, with the -- with Chinese communism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, also today, Tom Donahue, president of the Chamber of Commerce, called the attacks on the Republican front-runner foolish, saying -- and I quote -- "I was very disappointed with the intramural carrying on within the Republican Party."
Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele also scolding Speaker Gingrich and Rick Perry for their attacks on Romney's record at Bain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It sounds as if you're attacking, you know, capitalism and the free- market system, and that's not what we're about. So to attack that to me is inconsistent with who we are and what we believe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Governor Perry has dialed back his rhetoric. You'll recall he was calling Governor Romney a vulture capitalist. He's not using that term anymore. That line of attack cost him the support of a prominent investor and South Carolinian Barry Wynn who likened it to hearing fingernails on the blackboard. Wynn switched his support to Mitt Romney.
Jon Huntsman, on the other hand, well, he's still slugging away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you have that candidate who talks about enjoyment in firing about people, who talks about pink slips, who makes comments that seem to be -- seemed to be so detached from the problems that Americans are facing today, that makes you pretty much unelectable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Governor Huntsman today on Daniel Island, South Carolina.
"Keeping Them Honest," though, just a day ago at the University of South Carolina, he was urging his fellow Republicans to lay off Bain Capital and job cuts. He's quoted in the "Washington Post" as saying -- quote -- "If you have creative destruction in capitalism, which has always been a part of capitalism, it becomes a little disingenuous to take on Bain Capital."
And the very next day he does. Speaker Gingrich, meantime was defending himself on FOX today, as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's not an issue about the whole capitalist system. That is a question about a very particular style of activity involving a very -- remember, we're not talking about the system. We're talking about somebody who is running for president of the United States and we're asking a question about his judgment, his values, the choices he made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So Speaker Gingrich is not backing down yet, neither is the super PAC supporting him. It's running a half-hour documentary- style infomercial profiling four companies that suffered job losses after Bain Capital acquired them. But "Keeping Them Honest," independent fact-checkers have identified many errors and distortions in the film including this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: His cash rampage would ultimately slash jobs in nearly every state in the country. Like popular children's toy seller KB Toys. Romney and Bain bought the 80-year-old company in 2000, loaded KB Toys with millions in debt, then used the money to repurchase Bain's stock. The debt was too staggering. By 2004, 365 stores had closed. Romney called it creative destruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, "Keeping Them Honest," though, in 2000 when Bain bought KB Toys, Mitt Romney was already long gone. He left Bain in February of 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympics.
When he was talking about creative destruction, he was talking about capitalism in general. Not the KB mess which not to say the job creation was job one at Bain or frankly at any private capital firm for that matter. They're in it to get the most return for their investors. That's how it works and themselves. And often that means handing out pink slips.
Now a lot to talk about tonight. Joining me, Democratic strategist, James Carville, and Republicans strategist Bay Buchanan.
James, if Democrats had this much infighting at this point in a primary election, would you tell them to knock it off?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I would certainly try to. You know, our infighting like in 2008 was awfully tepid, like I like you well enough, Hillary, compared to this. This is pretty even by, you know, any standard. This is some pretty rough stuff going on.
COOPER: Bay, you said that you in the Romney camp always expected to get hit on this topic. Did you expect it, though, from your own side?
BAY BUCHANAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, we never expected from our own side. We always expected that the left would raise it in the general election. They'd come after us. But to have a conservative, someone who claims to be the conservative in the race, to be coming after us by basically joining the war against capitalism and attacking Mitt Romney for his private sector successes is amazing.
COOPER: We've already seen, James, one big Perry backer jumped over to the Romney side over these --
COOPER: Over these attacks. Could this actually work in Romney's favor?
CARVILLE: I don't think so. And I think the next -- that volley here is going to be calling Romney to release all the government help that Bain got. I think you're going to see a lot of subsidies that they got, tax credits, and they were pretty aggressive in lobbying this stuff.
So I think the idea that he was some kind of a pure capitalist is not going to match up with the facts as they evolve in this case. COOPER: Well, Bay, Romney talks more about his job creation at Bain than he does about his job record as governor of Massachusetts. But Bain isn't in the job creation business. They're in the profit- making business. I mean, their job at Bain is to give an above- average return to their investors.
COOPER: Was it a mistake to make job creation --
COOPER: -- the message out of his time at Bain?
BUCHANAN: No, because what they focused on was two areas. The entrepreneurs had some ideas that they thought they could launch into real big -- good businesses. They'd come to Bain and need the funding. So they -- it was the funding that helped them get started like Staples or Sports Authority, created jobs. Likewise, struggling companies would go to them, and say, look, you know, we're having some trouble, can you help us out?
They'd come in, they may have to do re-management, they have to analyze to see if they thought they could make a success out of this business. They only invested when they thought they could turn businesses around or really have some future. Give them some real future. And so it's about creating jobs if they were successful. It wasn't always successful, but most of the time it was.
COOPER: James, do you buy that argument? Because I mean, if you look at the perspectives for Bain --
COOPER: -- or any of these private equity funds there -- you know, if you're thinking about investing in a private equity fund, you don't go into it because you want to help people create jobs, you go into it because you think you're going to get above-average return however it happens.
CARVILLE: Right. He chose to rub in the fact that he got good returns to investors. And he knows how to manage fun, that would be fine. But he's doing it to put job creation at issue. So if you put job creation at issue, you can't be petulant and whine about the fact that people are putting job destruction at issue.
I mean, look, Bain is going to cause Romney some pain, there's no doubt about it. And he was the one that put it forward and he is the one that put job creation as opposed to profit creation at issue. So people don't look at -- you just can't take one side, you got to get both sides.
COOPER: What about releasing record? Because I mean, a lot of these information is a privately held, you know, company. They don't have to release this stuff. It's hard to know what is correct and what is true. I mean, he said we've created 100,000 jobs, but when you start to actually look down at those numbers, they don't really add up.
BUCHANAN: Well, if you look at four of the big companies that really did well that he was involved in, Sports Authority, and you look up the -- the other -- and other three out there, the Children's Center. You can see Staples. You can see, you can go right into the records, they're all public. And you can add them up and you can see he created jobs.
COOPER: Yes, but a lot of those are created in -- many years after Bain stopped being involved and --
BUCHANAN: Sure. But -- I agree.
COOPER: And also he's saying, it's net net 100,000 jobs compared to --
BUCHANAN: He --
COOPER: -- the jobs lost, job --
BUCHANAN: But Anderson --
COOPER: We have no way of knowing that.
BUCHANAN: Anderson, in his numbers, he says, because of what we did, this is what happened. And he acknowledges many of the jobs have been created since he left. But if you don't have people who will help fund these companies struggling or new ideas, you're not going to create jobs.
It's what the private sector is all about. Free market. He has been enormously successful. The record shows it.
COOPER: James, you now Sarah Palin saying more transparency.
CARVILLE: Right. Yes, yes. Sarah Palin -- not only that, Sarah Palin says he should release his income taxes which she -- the only candidate in modern times to refuse to do that. Maybe Bay has a good reason as to why Mitt Romney like Ronald Reagan released his tax returns.
Why won't Mitt Romney? Do you have any idea, Bay?
BUCHANAN: It's a personal decision on his part, it's not required. And he's chosen not to. Any defense -- you know that's his position.
CARVILLE: Well, he runs on transparency -- he won't be transparent about -- Sarah Palin says he should and Sarah Palin says he should be more transparent about Bain. I mean, isn't she a heroine over --
BUCHANAN: Well, you know -- listen, what Sarah Palin says is fine, that's her opinion, she has a right to it. But the key is if you look at so many of these companies we're talking about, the record is public. People have looked into it.
CARVILLE: He knows she won't make it.
BUCHANAN: Even Obama's own adviser said there's no question he created jobs. That's something the president of the United States has not been able to do.
CARVILLE: He refuses to be transparent about that just as he refused to be transparent on tax returns. I mean, please don't attack President Obama for not being transparent when he's not transparent unlike any other candidate in modern presidential times.
BUCHANAN: I think the key here is, who can really come into the White House, turn this country around, create the kind of jobs, has the knowledge, the expertise and the leadership to really turn this country around? Clearly Obama has failed miserably, and the record of Mitt Romney is enormously --
COOPER: OK, well --
BUCHANAN: To be an enormous success.
COOPER: James, how much joy does it give you to use Sarah Palin's argument in your favor?
CARVILLE: Honestly, a lot.
COOPER: I can tell.
CARVILLE: I never think -- yes.
COOPER: You're beaming.
CARVILLE: I couldn't wait for you to bring it up.
COOPER: All right. James Carville, thank you. Bay Buchanan, thank you.
CARVILLE: Thank you.
CARVILLE: Thank you.
COOPER: He did seem to be glowing. Let us know what you think, we're on Facebook, Google+ Add us to circles. Or follow me on Twitter right now, @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting this evening.
Up next, another Iranian nuclear scientist killed apparently assassinated. There have been others. So who is killing these guys off? Iran is blaming the United States and Israel. We'll talk with Fran Townsend and Bob Baer.
Also, the Mississippi pardons fiasco, it gets deeper -- 199 pardoned, four released before a judge stopped it, now the four are missing, could soon be the subject of a nationwide manhunt. We have the latest on a real mess.
And later for the second anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, we return there to look for progress. Also the frequent tragic and totally preventable lack of progress. Sean Penn joins us, as well.
Let's also check in with Isha and see what she's following -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, one day after French journalist is killed in Syria, our Nic Robertson, one of the only Western reporters in the country, says the blame game of who's responsible has begun. Nic was on the scene just moments before it all happened. We'll have the very latest from there when 360 continues.
COOPER: Late word and mixed signals tonight on American involvement or the complete absence of it in the bomb attack that killed an Iranian nuclear scientist.
Real -- this is very much cloak and dagger stuff. A motorcyclist pulls alongside the victim's car, attaches a magnetized bomb which blows the scientist and his driver to bits.
Now Iran is pointing the fingers at both the United States and Israel. Secretary of State Clinton completely disavows any American connection to the attack. Late today so did Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We were not involved in any way, in any way with regards to the assassination that took place there. I'm not sure who was involved. We have some ideas as to who might be involved, but we don't know exactly who was involved. But I can tell you one thing, the United States was not involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, sounds pretty clear, right? But here's where it gets murky. A source close to Secretary Panetta tells CNN's Barbara Starr you cannot, repeat, cannot infer anything from what the secretary says. And that's only the American side.
There's also the Israelis who traditionally don't comment at all in this kind of incidence. However, this time an Israeli military spokesperson did weigh in. He said -- quote -- "I don't know who took revenge on the Iranian scientist, but I am definitely not shedding a tear." There's also the possibility this was done the Iranians themselves. As we said, this is real cloak and dagger stuff emerging into the sunlight.
Joining us now is Fran Townsend, national security contributor, and member of the CIA External Advisory Committee. In addition, we should point out in the name of full disclosure, that Fran and many other former National Security officials want the State Department to take an Iranian opposition group the MEK off its terrorist list. The European Union has already done so, that's the disclaimer.
Also joining us, former CIA officer and TIME. com intelligence columnist, Robert Baer, he and his wife, Dana, co-authors of "The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story."
I'm fascinated by this story, trying to figure out who did it. This is not the first Iranian scientist who suddenly gets killed in Iran.
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Right. This is -- I think if I'm keeping track right, I think this is four.
COOPER: Right. So if you're trying to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, this is one very direct way to do that?
TOWNSEND: Absolutely. You've taken out four key players in the Iran nuclear program and you've managed by doing that to also intimidate the whole body of the Iranian nuclear infrastructure who will all be frightened that they're going to be targeted next.
COOPER: So who do you think is behind this?
TOWNSEND: Well, you know, look, you have to -- we tend to report things as they happen, right? We will report incidents, journalists. But look at the larger context. I mean, go back to the plot, the Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador here in the United States. We've recently just this week the Iranians have convicted an American from Michigan accusing him as a spy and sentencing him to his death.
COOPER: Right. A former Marine who his family says was visiting his grandmothers in Iran.
TOWNSEND: Right. In the meantime, the U.S. Navy has fished several -- at least a dozen Iranian sailors out of the Arabian Gulf. And so what you see is this increasing tension, right? There's a whole series of these activities. It's not clear to us who's responsible or if they're related.
But I must tell you, in the world of foreign policy and national security, this is exactly the sort of -- as you put it cloak and dagger. It's a chess game. There are moves and there are counter moves. And the most important piece to this is you hope in this game of chess that one side or the other doesn't overreact.
COOPER: Bob, what do you think? I mean, we're talking about a magnetized bomb placed on a car by a moving motorcycle. I mean, this is the stuff of -- you know, out of movies.
ROBERT BAER, INTELLIGENCE ANALYST, TIME.COM: It's complicated. Especially in a city like Tehran. The police are everywhere.
BAER: It's an authoritarian regime. This is very hard to do, it's very hard to train somebody reliably to put a bomb like that, get away, not get caught, and I could go on and on and on.
It's a very complicated operation. It suggests the state was behind it or a very, very capable group. I myself think it was some sort of dissident group, perhaps at the behest of Israel. I know it wasn't the United States. There is no lethal finding against Iran, that kind of operation would leak out and we wouldn't get these kind of denials that we've gotten out of the administration today.
COOPER: I mean, Bob, I think back to -- remember, there was that -- I think it was a hit on a -- I can't even remember who the hit was on, but I think it was by a number of Israelis in Dubai that was videotaped from all different angles as they came into the country and came into the hotel and was viewed as kind of a fiasco of an operation.
This would be an even more complicated operation as you said, I mean, Tehran, there are police everywhere. There are people watching everything. I walked out of my hotel without a government minder, I got arrested within -- like half-an-hour in Tehran and was held for four days. So the idea that --
BAER: I did, too. I did, too.
BAER: I was there a couple of years ago. They stopped me every couple of blocks, and they issued us an I.D. card that was very sophisticated. You just can't wander around that town. It was clearly Iranians who did this.
COOPER: Right. The idea that --
COOPER: -- the CIA could get operatives into Iran to do an operation like this, which would involve many people, I find hard to imagine.
BAER: Now what I think it is, is a provocation. I mean, you know, the Iranian nuclear program will go on. It's obviously hurt by this -- in France, right.
People are scared, they're intimidated. But it's a humiliation to Iran and I'm afraid of this leadership in their attempt to kill al- Jubeir, a couple other things, the arrest of an FBI agent, of their overreacting, and I agree totally with Fran. We can see an escalation that could look very much like a war very quickly. COOPER: Escalation is a concern?
TOWNSEND: Yes, absolutely. And that's why it's not clear to us looking from the outside whether or not which of these are related and who the actors are. But the problem with that is as the tensions rise, the opportunity for an overreaction which could then result in an overt war increases. And so it's a pretty dangerous cat and mouse game that's going on here.
It looks like the United States is trying to take some of the tension out by the rescue of the Iranian sailors. But a lot of this will have to do with how do they treat especially this young man -- this former Marine from Michigan.
COOPER: And, Bob, if a group like -- like -- if the Secret Service in Israel was wanting to do something with this, they wouldn't necessarily use Israeli nationals, they would use agents, they would use people who they had recruited who could operate in Tehran.
BAER: They would use proxies, absolutely. It's too dangerous. They couldn't afford to get one of their own people. An officer caught there, arrested, tried, you know, the whole thing. They would do it at all. They won't take that risk.
And remember, we see some of the Israeli operations, like in Dubai, which was a fiasco for the Israelis because they were filmed. And then you have other groups like the Israeli military intelligence that, you know, when they sort of come after you, they get you.
COOPER: It's a fascinating stuff. At least I find it fascinating.
Bob Baer, thank you, Fran Townsend as well.
We'll continue to monitor this kind of stuff.
Coming up: Four convicted murders released from prison in Mississippi, they were among 199 criminals pardoned by Governor Haley Barbour in his last days in office. Now the state attorney general is starting a nationwide manhunt to find a number of them who they can't find. We'll get a live update next.
Also a French journalist killed in Homs, Syria, now France wants answers from the Syrian government.
And what we found in Haiti two years after the devastating earthquake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There would have been a tent here before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And in a space this size, as many as 15 people would have been sharing it, sleeping in shifts, so, yes.
COOPER: So this to you is a sign of progress? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight: In Mississippi, the controversy over outgoing governor, Haley Barbour's decision to pardon nearly 200 criminals is now focused on four convicted murderers. The four were released from prison on Sunday before the attorney general got a temporary injunction to keep pardoned criminals behind bars.
Now as part of that injunction, those four are supposed to be checking in with prison officials every day, but no one seems to know where they are.
Martin Savidge joins me now, live from Jackson, Mississippi, with the latest.
So the Attorney General Hood, who we had on the program last night, said today that the state might have to issue a nationwide manhunt for these four pardoned murderers. But since these men aren't wanted for anything in the moment, is that even possible?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it doesn't appear to be possible, Anderson, at this point. And believe me, every legal mind in the attorney general's office has been mulling that over today. How do they bring these men in if they can't really charge them with anything?
They have been pardoned of any previous crime. So that is the real problem, that's the real quandary that officials have been going through. They have been trying to figure that out because what they have to do is they have got to serve this court order. How do you serve it if you can't find them? And they can't get them to call in if they haven't been served. It's a catch 22 that goes round and round -- Anderson.
COOPER: So explain what these men were serving time for.
SAVIDGE: All right. Well, let me -- let me just refer to the notes here and tell you because David Gatlin, 1993, he was the one that shot his estranged wife in the head as she was holding their 6- week-old baby in her arms. Also shot another man who happened to be in the trailer at the time. He survived.
Joseph Ozment, 1994, he killed a man during an armed robbery. Anthony McCray, 2001, argued with his wife in a cafe in McComb, Mississippi, left, returned with a gun, and shot the mother of two in the back, killing her. And then there was Charles Hooker, a teacher, who in 1992 shot and killed the principal.
So you can see all of them very dangerous people.
COOPER: And last night, the attorney general implied they knew where these men are. You spoke with them today, turns out they actually don't know where they are.
SAVIDGE: Well, you're right. He did last night seemed to give the impression that the public shouldn't have to worry that these people were under observation and that they would be kept under observation. Well, it turns out they looked at the neighborhoods, they checked the families, they went to the places they thought these men might be, lo and behold, they weren't there.
And again, the problem, because they're pardoned, these men were not obligated to report to the Department of Corrections where they were going or what their future plans were. So the state's completely in the dark as to where they are tonight. They still have not located them.
COOPER: And -- and as if that's not complicated enough, if these guys have left the state, they're no longer subject to the power of state of Mississippi, are they?
SAVIDGE: That's exactly right. They are not. If they got out of this state, then there is no jurisdiction to go after them. And if they have committed no crime, which they haven't at this point, there's no way to enlist the help of, say, the federal marshals program or even any other state.
And there's no way to track them because they were pardoned. They're not part of the criminal justice system anymore.
COOPER: It's a mess.
SAVIDGE: It's a problem.
COOPER: Martin Savidge, thank you. Appreciate it. We'll continue to follow it.
Isha is back with some other stories. She joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, France is calling on Syria to investigate the death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier, killed yesterday in a mortar attack in Homs during a government-authorized reporting trip.
CNN's Nic Robertson was nearby when the attack happened. France is demanding to know who was responsible.
Growing outrage over video showing a U.S. Marine sniper team urinating on dead bodies possibly in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered a full investigation. A Marine Corps official tells CNN the Marines are thought to be from a unit based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He says two have been identified.
Coca-Cola has identified itself as a company that alerted U.S. regulators last month about low-levels of fungicide in some of its own orange juice and in competitors as well. Coca-Cola makes juice under the label Minute Maid and Simply Orange.
And Anderson, check this out. Scientists have discovered a new species of frog so small it can fit on a dime with room left over.
SESAY: Just 7.7 millimeters, 7.7 millimeters, in fact -- it's the world's smallest vertebrae. It lives in Papua New Guinea.
OK. Now, that is seriously cool.
COOPER: That's like, how did they even find that? That's crazy.
SESAY: Apparently, it was really -- it was really -- I'm going to get all nerdy on you now.
COOPER: OK. That is fine. This is nerd to nerd, so you're fine. You're safe.
SESAY: This is a nerd-off.
SESAY: It was -- basically, they live on the floors of tropical forests on -- on moist leaves, and so they feel they've adapted themselves over time and adapted their call. So even when they make noises, they sound like other insects, other creatures there in the forest. Yes. I'm seriously nerding out now, but it is totally cool.
COOPER: I could hear you say "moist leaves" all night long.
SESAY: I'm going to make a little recording and set it up for you. But for now, moist leaves.
COOPER: I like your accent.
Still ahead -- we'll check in with you again. Still ahead, how far has Haiti come? Two years ago today the country was in a desperate race to dig out survivors of a massive earthquake that reduced most of the capital to rubble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A lot of people have been able to leave the tent camps, but it's not as if they're returning to their homes. Often they return to a neighborhood like this where all the homes are still destroyed. It's just the foundation of the old homes. There's a little bit of rubble and rebar remaining.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Tonight, a 360 world view from Haiti. Today marks two years since a magnitude 7 earthquake devastated the already struggling country, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Much of Port-au- Prince, the capital, crumbled. Building after building reduced to rubble. Hundreds of thousands of people died; many more were left homeless.
CNN was the first international news organization to get in. My team and I reached Haiti the next morning, January 13. Here's just some of what we saw that morning.
COOPER (voice-over): For many, trapped in the rubble of downtown Port-au-Prince, the struggle to live continues.
(on camera) We've heard there may be somebody who's alive buried in there. People on the streets say there's a 15-year-old who's buried alive there and that they're talking. But we're going to go and try and see if that's the case if there's anything we can do.
But the street, I've never seen anything like this. Look at this. It's just -- it is just complete devastation. This is downtown Port-au-Prince, just a few blocks from the presidential palace, about a block from the national cathedral, which itself is pretty much destroyed.
(voice-over) Atop a pile of rubble that used to be a building, we find a small group of men who have been digging here for more than five hours to rescue a girl. Her feet are the only part of her still visible.
(on camera) This 13-year-old girl is trapped here. Clearly alive. You can hear her crying out. You can see two of her feet at this point. They've been able to...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language)
COOPER: She's clearly in some pain. They discovered her early this morning. Now a little past 12, and they're still digging. It's not clear how they're going to get her out. They only have this one shovel. They don't have any heavier equipment. Got to be very careful about what they're moving. They're afraid if they move this big slab that seems to be on top of her that other stones and pieces of cement could fall and crush her. They are arguing now about what to do next.
(voice-over) It's become an all-too-common sight, a coffin wheeled down a Port-au-Prince street.
(on camera) This young woman named Brigitte Jean Baptist, she was 28 years old. She was a journalist who's actually teaching a class, they say, when the walls collapsed on her.
(voice-over) Brigitte's father, sister, and brothers accompanied the coffin, barely noticing the other bodies still laying in the road. Brigitte was pulled out of the rubble alive. They couldn't find a doctor to treat her.
"She wasn't dead when we found her at 11," he says. "She died at 1. She could have been saved, but we didn't find any help."
These are the only pictures they have of Brigitte, all they have to remember her by.
(on camera) Her family isn't even sure if there is a space in the cemetery for them to bury her. And they frankly don't have much money to pay for a space. They spent all the money that they could find on her casket. They wanted to bring her body here as quickly as possible to try to give her a decent burial. Now they're just going to try to negotiate whatever they can.
(voice-over) At the cemetery, they're told to wait. There are too many bodies still to be buried, too many families consumed by grief.
GRAPHIC: January 18, 2010
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got somebody. We've got someone. We hear somebody.
COOPER: Believing they heard a faint cry, the firefighters insert a listening device into the rubble. Vlad is told to tell the victim to tap three times on whatever's nearby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language) Tap, tap, tap!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's your location?
COOPER (on camera): They heard a very faint tapping sound. They think she's alive, but there's so much noise around. It's very hard to tell. So now they're bringing in one of the dogs to see if the dog will pick up the scent.
(voice-over) Jasmine Seguar's (ph) dog is named Maverick, specifically trained to pick up the smell of a living human trapped in debris.
(on camera) What happened with the dog?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Showing some interest, but not a strong alert of a sign of live human scent. He hasn't given that to us.
COOPER (voice-over): It is possible for a living victim to be so deeply buried the dog can't smell them, so the team decides to go further in.
(on camera) What they're doing right now is painstakingly difficult and dangerous. It's like moving around pieces of a jigsaw puzzle but a jigsaw puzzle that can fall on top of you and kill you or crush the person you're trying to save. They have to be very careful about what blocks they remove and what order they remove them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're always thinking aftershocks. I mean, that's our first concern. Second is, is the structure still intact? Is it...
COOPER (voice-over): Unsure exactly which direction to dig, they once again try to get the little girl to tap.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell her to say something.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Tap, tap, tap!
COOPER: Again it seems they get a tapping response. A crowd gathers. So do others with pictures of their loved ones they believe may also be trapped inside. Another dog is brought in, a border collie named Hunter.
Despite Gunther's (ph) silent prayers, Hunter finds nothing.
COOPER: It's so hard to look at those images two years later.
What we saw in Haiti was impossible to forget. The scale of the loss was so immense. Since those first weeks, we've been back to Haiti to report on the recovery and the rebuilding. There has been progress, to be sure. The truth is, and everyone, indeed will tell you this: it's been far too slow.
Here's what we saw when we returned earlier this week.
COOPER (voice-over): Two years after the earthquake and for too many Haitians, faith is still all they have to hold on to. Recovery has been slow, the complex task of rebuilding made worse by corruption, confusion, and lack of coordination.
There are some signs of progress: two million Haitians were displaced by the quake. Now about 520,000 of them remain living in tent camps.
(on camera) So all of this used to be a filled with camps?
BEN KRAUSE (PH), JPHRO WORKER: Yes, exactly. People lived all the way up to the top of the hill here.
COOPER: Ben Krause (ph) works with Sean Penn's relief organization, JPHRO. They run one of the largest tent camps, which is much smaller than it was two years ago.
(on camera) You know, this spot, there would have been a tent here before?
KRAUSE (PH): Yes, and in a space this size, as many as 15 people would have been sharing it, sleeping in shifts. So yes.
COOPER: So this to you is a sign of progress?
KRAUSE (PH): Absolutely.
COOPER: Sean Penn and his relief organization still oversee this camp in Port au Prince. There were about 60,000 people here after the earthquake. There's now about 20,000 left in the camp. Their emphasis is to help as many as possible to get out of this camp, get out of the tent city, and move back into their neighborhood.
(voice-over) Penn's group has opened clinics and schools nearby, and are trying to build permanent safe housing for families.
(on camera) A lot of people have been able to leave the tent camps, but it's not as if they're returning to their homes. Often they return to a neighborhood like this where all the homes are still destroyed. Where just the foundation of the old homes, there's a little bit of rubble and rebar remaining.
(voice-over) In this hillside neighborhood, we found Fabio Allejo Caul (ph). This is all that's left of her home. She moved back here last year from a tent camp and lives with her daughter in this tin shack. It's filled with a few clothes and trinkets she salvaged from the wreckage.
(on camera) This is your husband?
(voice-over) Her husband was crushed to death during the quake when the neighbor's house fell on theirs.
(on camera) What do you hope happens now? What are you hoping for?
(voice-over) "My hope," she says, "is I'd like to work and help my child's education."
Jobs are hard to come by, however. Some 70 percent of people here are unemployed or underemployed. The new president, Michel Martoli, is trying to attract businesses to Haiti. He wants his government to have a bigger hand in determining the priorities for rebuilding.
MICHEL MARTOLI, HAITIAN PRESIDENT: We never had control of the money, of the money spent here, so today, we want to change that because we know better than everyone else, our problems. And today we have leadership who really wants to change Haiti. I think it's time to allow us to have means so we can come out from misery.
COOPER: Martoli has only been in office six months, but he's unlike past Haitian presidents. A popular singer, he insists he wants to root out corruption, corruption that makes businesses wary of investing here.
(on camera) How do you stop corruption?
MARTOLI: I need to be the example. I need to make sure that, whether it's my family or my friends, they don't abuse or use the power that we have today to enrich themselves or to do selfish things. And I'm against it, and I will act. As a matter of fact, I'm looking for somebody around me to jump on and...
COOPER: You want to find somebody...
MARTOLI: I want to. Because you need to be a countryman. You want to create countrymen. In order for the people to trust you, to believe in what you're doing, you -- you must do it right.
COOPER (voice-over): It's going to take a while to build that confidence among investors. But it's critical to the recovery.
Cecile Milan (ph) is the country director for Oxfam.
(on camera) So the immediate relief effort you think went well, but the reconstruction effort, the rebuilding effort you say has been going at a snail's pace.
CECILE MILAN (ph), COUNTRY DIRECTOR, OXFAM: Because not only -- it's not only to blame the international organization or the government, it is very difficult to rebuild in a big emergency like the earthquake.
COOPER (voice-over): Milan (ph) believes there needs to be better coordination between the government aid groups and local organizations. And they need to create a plan for reconstruction and job creation. She also fears donor countries will not live up to the commitments they made to Haiti.
MILAN (ph): Donors are here, and they promise things and they promise funds, and they need to do that.
COOPER: Just over half of the $4.5 billion pledged by donors has been dispersed, according to the U.N. And on this, the second anniversary of the quake, many Haitians are praying the international community has not forgotten them once again.
COOPER: Let's dig deeper now. Actor and activist Sean Penn has spent an extensive amount of time in Haiti over the last two years doing relief work through the nonprofit he founded, JP Haitian Relief Organization, JPHRO. I talked to Sean before tonight's program.
COOPER: So, Sean, two years after the earthquake, I want to talk to you about the big picture and also the work you're doing. In terms of big picture, how do you see things two years after the quake in Haiti right now?
SEAN PENN, FOUNDER, JPHRO: Well, there's -- there's two big pictures. One of the big pictures is that it -- that the hope that we all dreamed might come to Haiti is very present. A lot of that is due to some great efforts that have happened. But also because of the belief in the promise of future efforts and the clarity on what those efforts need to be. Not only to counter the devastation of the earthquake, but the overall poverty -- underlying poverty issue in Haiti.
I think now the most important thing for the world to know is that the job has started. And that the kind of vision of completion is beginning to get clearer and clearer and so continued support is just fundamental to it so that that hope isn't broken. COOPER: A little bit more than half the money that was pledged has actually been distributed by -- from donors around the world. About half the rubble has been collected. There's still about 530,000 people, I think, still living in tent camps. To you, what is the most hopeful thing that has happened? And what is the greatest obstacle right now?
PENN: Well, the most hopeful thing that's happened, I can speak to today, when you look at the tone of this -- the second year anniversary of the earthquake. Throughout the day, there is a general feeling in the streets of Port-au-Prince of forward motion. Vigils began later in the night. The people are becoming increasingly involved. They were able to elect a president that they wanted in this two-year chaotic period.
But we -- we are seeing that now that a lot of -- frankly a lot of the NGOs have left. And with that, unfortunately, there's less spending. But there is now a clarity of purpose with the NGOs that remain behind and the efforts being integrated with those of the government. And the government is quite -- is showing a great decisiveness, and I think that because of that, that we're really on the verge of turning a chaotic new momentum into a clear momentum.
COOPER: You've been able in the camp that the organization, JPHRO, has helped run and overseen for the last two years, you've been able to reduce the number of people in that camp. It used to be the largest camp. I think it was about 60,000 people at one point. I believe Ben Krause (ph), who we were with the other day, said it's down to in the 20,000 range. What's been essential for your ability to get those people back into their neighborhoods?
PENN: It's been working with the community leaders themselves, with the community where we were able to relocate people. It's taking -- it's both serving the emergency needs that continue for the people in the camps and very aggressively being -- working with our engineering group and our reconstruction group within the community, bringing clinics from camps into communities, but still where the people in the camps can access those clinics.
And all the other kind of livelihood supports and counseling that goes along with the training and the employment of the people in the area. And I think what's happened is that a team will reemploy roughly 1,000 people a day with 300 permanent staff. The -- that employment encourages an incredible kind of optimism and an energy, a belief that, if people get involved, that something happens.
So now we've moved -- JPHRO has moved into permanent home construction, working with the World Bank, and you know, we're seeing these incredibly positive signs, where -- frankly, where bolder action is taken, bolder action is followed.
And so where the hang-ups are, it's something that we have to very carefully and very kind of surgically talk about. Because we -- it would be misleading to tell donors that there isn't an encouraging sign here. But at the same time we want to be able to share with donors the specific answers about why there's been such a hold-up in the spending. And I think that we're starting to laser in on that, and the accountability will be there at the same time as the encouragement will be there.
COOPER: Sean, the work you guys have done is extraordinary. I appreciate you talking to us. Thanks.
PENN: Thanks very much, Anderson.
COOPER: We're going to talk more with Haiti's president tomorrow on this program. More of the report from Port-au-Prince.
One of the most dramatic stories that we reported on those first days after the quake was the rescue of a little boy named Monly (ph). Some of you on Twitter have asked us to find out how he's doing. We've actually been tracking him over the last two years.
He was 5 years old. He'd been buried under the rubble for nearly eight days. That was him when we happened to be there at the hospital when he was brought in. His home had collapsed around him. Somehow he survived alone in the dark under all that debris. Monly (ph) was severely dehydrated when he was pulled out. Remarkably, he was otherwise OK. Physically, no broken bones, no internal injuries.
There are, of course, scars that you cannot see. Monly's (ph) parents were killed in the quake. But Monly's (ph) a strong little boy. Here he is two years later. He lives with his uncle. That's his uncle Gary there in the blue shirt behind him. He says Monly (ph) is doing great. He's going to school and doing well. As I said, we've been following his progress over these last two years.
Still ahead, more than six years after she disappeared in Aruba, a judge declares Natalee Holloway dead, but not everyone in her family agrees with that decision.
And Stephen Colbert announces he is running for president in South Carolina. Is he for real or campaigning for another spot on "The RidicuList," maybe?
SESAY: Hi. I'm Isha Sesay with a "360 Bulletin."
An Alabama judge has officially declared Natalee Holloway dead. She vanished in Aruba in 2005. Holloway's father filed the petition last year. Her mother opposed the move, saying she will always hope and pray for Natalee's safe return.
Meantime, Joran Van Der Sloot, the main suspect in Holloway's disappearance, will be sentenced tomorrow in Peru for the murder of a 21-year-old woman. Van Der Sloot pleaded guilty this week. He was arrested in the Holloway case but never charged. An Indiana man faces several charges after police say he stole a car and then threatened to eat the police officers who arrested him, along with their families and dogs. That's according to our affiliate, WLSI. Investigators say 39-year-old Paul Brock's blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit.
And well-known "RidicuList" imitator Stephen Colbert is launching another run for president. He said on his show tonight, "Clearly, my fellow South Caroliniacs [SIC] see me as the only Mitt-ternative."
That's the latest -- Anderson.
COOPER: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is ahead at 11 p.m. Let's check in with Erin. What's up?
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Well, Anderson, the president sent a letter to John Boehner today, saying he needs to raise the debt limit again by $1.2 trillion. That letter came late this afternoon. We talked about it with the South Carolina king maker, one of the chiefs of the Tea Party, Senator Jim DeMint, our special guest tonight. We talk about the debt ceiling. We also talk about whether he will endorse Mitt Romney. We also talk about Mitt Romney's Mexican connection. It's actually pretty interesting. There's even a Twitter handle out there now, MittTheMexican.
All that coming up, top of the hour.
Plus, Anderson, you've talked a lot about the story about Governor Barbour in Mississippi pardoning about 200 convicted criminals. Well, the sister of a man who was murdered is on our show tonight. He has been pardoned, and she's going to talk about what this means for her and her family. That's coming up top of the hour.
Back to you.
COOPER: A lot of very angry people in Mississippi. Erin, thanks. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.