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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Death Toll Rising in Syria; President Obama's Budget
Aired February 10, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, HOST: Thanks John. Breaking news from Syria, the death toll rising, another country stepping in to prevent more bloodshed tonight and we have satellite images of weapons on the ground. We'll show them to you.
Also a sneak peek at President Obama's budget. It's coming out next week. We have it now and in it a trillion dollar deficit in year one.
And a new photo showing Josh Powell a day before he killed himself and his two sons, plus the police discover disturbing images on his computer.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And we have breaking news on the crisis in Syria. It could be the most significant development since the uprising began a year ago. At this hour, Reuters is reporting that a possible peace deal is in the works. Now this is one that has the backing of Arab states, it's a draft resolution being circulated by Saudi Arabia which condemned the actions in Syria today.
We're getting word that this is now making its way through the U.N. General Assembly. We are trying to confirm this report. We're going to have an update as soon as possible. Once again breaking news on a possible peace plan for Syria and we're going to have much more on this at the bottom of the hour. As we get more we'll get it to you.
And now to our other top story, Groundhog Day, failure on repeat, the president is going to put out his budget on Monday and we know what's in it. It's going to let the Bush tax cuts expire on people making over $250,000 a year -- excuse me -- impose a minimum effective tax rate on millionaires, make some cuts to Medicare and run a trillion dollar deficit. It's pretty much the budget that he put forth last year which never passed.
In fact this and yes, I know I'm coughing, but I'm pausing here for effect. It has been 1,017 days since the United States of America, the biggest economy in the world by a factor of three, has had a budget passed by the Senate. This is embarrassing for us Americans. And it's part of why we got downgraded for the first time in history from our top notch AAA credit rating.
No maybe you blame the president for putting out essentially the same budget as last year which didn't pass then and that wasn't an election year. Maybe you blame Republicans for not compromising and passing it. But the bottom line is they are all playing politics in an election year digging their heels in to score points with voters.
In the meantime, we're all getting hurt as confidence in America's financial prowess and leadership falters. Dan Mitchell of CATO joins us, along with Maria Cardona; she's a Democratic strategist and CNN contributor. Good to have both of you with us.
Let me start with you Dan, looking through this, some of the numbers that we have, $1.3 trillion deficit in fiscal 2012, $901 billion fiscal 2013, and we're going have some cuts in Medicare and Medicaid as we pointed out. Bush tax cuts, they'll go away and the Buffett tax on millionaires is added.
DAN MITCHELL, CATO SR. FELLOW: Two things that you should understand. First, when politicians talk about budget cuts they are using the Washington math definition which is if you increase spending six percent instead of eight percent you get to claim a two percent cut. Medicare is going up under this budget. Medicaid is going up under this budget. They are all increasing.
The second thing to understand is that all he's doing on tax policy is playing the same class warfare game he played last year. He said we're going to raise taxes on the rich. That's obviously not going to fly with the U.S. House. And this whole Buffet tax is basically a turbo charged version of the alternative minimum tax, which everyone agrees is probably one of the worst features of our tax code. So I agree completely this is nothing but politics and of course we'll get some of the politics also from the Republicans on the Hill.
BURNETT: And Maria, we get -- we get politics from both sides here, but you know 1,017 days since we've had a real budget in this country. It is appalling when you think about it from that perspective to both sides.
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think that's true, Erin, but I think what you also have to take into consideration here is what are American families going through today? And what we're hearing from American families, middle class families, workers is that they want fairness in the budget. They want fairness in the tax code. And, yes, both sides have been playing politics, that's true, but I think what this president is focused on is how do you grow the economy.
How do you focus on fairness for American families when you see poll after poll these same families are saying that they do agree that the rich should be paying a little bit more in taxes. You have Buffett saying it. You have Bill Gates saying it. You have Bill Clinton saying it. You have all sorts of rich men saying they should be paying more. And when you also look at the polls, they also think that it's Republicans, the ones that have been obstructionist in trying to get to a place where we have growth, where we have job creation in a fair and balanced manner. BURNETT: Interesting. I mean and you went straight to the talking point for the Democratic side and Dan let me ask you this point, because in this budget the president talks about Medicare and Medicaid and a lot of other things, but it seems that the debate is going to come right where Maria just was, which is on tax increases and who should be getting them and who should not. Is this right? That's going to be what this comes down to?
MITCHELL: I suspect we'll be doing that all through this election year. My point to Maria is simple. If Warren Buffett and Bill Gates really think they should be paying higher taxes there is nothing stopping them from breaking out their checkbooks and sending a big pile of money to Uncle Sam. If they really think the crowd in Washington can spend that money better than they can invest it well I think they are smoking crack or something because they'll be insane.
I would much rather have Bill Gates and Warren Buffett investing the money than either Republicans or Democrats. My problem with what Obama is doing is that he promised hope and change and he's giving us the same policies we had under Bush in terms of bigger government, more regulation, more intervention. The only thing he's doing different, which actually makes it worse, makes us more like Europe, is he's throwing in the class warfare tax hikes and you do not make an economy more competitive. We're not going to get jobs coming here instead of going to India and China if we're raising tax rates.
BURNETT: Let me ask each of you -- all right, hold on one second on this tax issue. Dan, first of all, let me just get you on the record here and then give Maria a chance to respond. Is there any tax increase right now that you would accept? I mean (INAUDIBLE) if you closed all the loopholes and that meant people at the top ended up paying more. Is that OK? Is letting the Bush tax go away for anyone OK?
MITCHELL: Erin I'm perfectly happy to go on the record and say that I want to completely wipe out every loophole deduction credit exemption shelter that we have in the tax system. For 20 years I've been just droning on monotonously about having a flat tax.
MITCHELL: And yes that would mean a lot of rich people would may more. Some would pay less. But the key thing is we would have a tax code like Hong Kong that would be a dynamo for economic growth. We would get the politicians out of that corrupt business of trading loopholes for campaign cash --
BURNETT: All right.
MITCHELL: And we would dry up a lot of the lobbying sleaze in this town.
BURNETT: Now I, you know got to say I've read on that Hong Kong flat tax and I know there's two sides to that story, too, but Maria let me ask you this key question. If loopholes were closed and you could put real tax reform on the table, and that's what we got out, the 73,000 tax codes from the IRS. It's gone. We come fresh. Would that be a compromise? And then the Bush tax cuts are put off for a little while, but we get massive tax reform.
CARDONA: Well I think that is certainly something that the administration will be willing to look at. But, again, I go back to fairness and I will respond to Dan with a very simple response which is if the fix for this economy really was continue to cut taxes and cut taxes and cut taxes, why did the economy tank under President Bush when that's exactly what his philosophy was. The reason is, is because it wasn't a fair tax.
And every economist will tell you that you can't cut your way to growth and to job creation. So this president, by the way, has already cut Medicare by $500 million and the Democrats got eviscerated for it during the 2010 elections. It's one of the reasons why we lost the House. So he's willing to put cuts on the table of the programs --
CARDONA: -- that we find so dear, but it's all about fairness, Erin.
BURNETT: In a word and I mean it guys, in a word will we get a budget or will it be at least 1,382 days before we have a budget and we're talking about this in a year -- Dan, yes or no?
MITCHELL: Harry Reid has already said no budget from the Senate, four years no budget. Why do we still have a budget committee?
BURNETT: All right, I said one word. No. There, we got the answer -- Maria.
CARDONA: I'm going to go three -- if it's fair, yes.
MITCHELL: That's more than three --
BURNETT: OK, oh, you guys, all right. Well that's -- thanks very much to both of you.
MITCHELL: Thank you.
BURNETT: I think we got an answer to that question. We're going to be optimistic and hope that they can get this done for now.
All right, well Obama caved to Catholics who care about birth control today -- that's next. And "Under Surveillance" tonight, Twitter -- homeland security is apparently monitoring what you post and I mean it's pretty amazing what they're looking at. We're going to tell you exactly what is it and then China, smoke them if you got them. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: So after weeks of mounting pressure today the president caved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Religious organizations won't have to pay for these services. And no religious institution will have to provide these services directly. Let me repeat. These employers will not have to pay for or provide contraceptive services.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right that's President Obama today backpedaling after pressure from the Catholic Church on a health care mandate, which required all employers including religiously affiliated groups to offer free contraceptive coverage to workers. Now despite the new exemption the president's plan allows women working for those religious groups to still get birth control for free, but now the insurance companies have to pay for it. And you may say really?
Well the insurance companies have not formally commented on this, so it's unclear if the battle is over. But the president caved to pressure from Catholic groups. The Catholic vote is really important and powerful, 50 million strong in this country and one that the president needs for re-election.
Recent polling from Pew Research shows that Catholic support for the president's party has actually eroded by five points since 2008 when -- as you can see, 53 to 48 at that time. Penny Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America. James Carville is CNN contributor joining us tonight. All right, great to have both of you with us and Penny let me start with you. Catholic bishops were led by Timothy Dolan here in New York, who is a big rising star in the Catholic Church, had a problem with this. They say the compromise is a step in the right direction. What does that mean, step in the right direction? Is this done or not done?
PENNY NANCE, CEO, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Oh, absolutely it's not over. You know, I don't know what the president was thinking. You know Christians and Catholics and Christians from all over the world have been involved in the pro-life movement, taking care of the unborn for 2,000 years and it wasn't going to stop with the president's mandate. The problem is we've been Stupaked (ph).
This is not really a cave all the way. It's really going to be a problem for women of faith because somebody is going to pay for it, Erin. It's not like no one pays for it. You know that we all contribute to our health care premiums and our premiums are used for other people. And so therefore, because of the mandate, women that are members of Concerned Women for America, members of my staff will have to contribute and so for the president to pretend that he's taken care of this is not true. As long as the mandate exists it's still a problem. BURNETT: But James Carville, what happened here? Did the president not see this coming? I mean I'm a little confused as to how this just hit him.
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Presumably he didn't see it coming. Fortunately actually insurance companies are glad to put birth control pills in. It actually saves money on health care costs --
BURNETT: Well assuming --
BURNETT: Assuming that the women that the choice is getting pregnant or having birth control --
BURNETT: Some women pay for their own birth control, right?
CARVILLE: That's what insurance companies would say is that they pay for it and it nets out to no cost. Secondly, 98 percent of Catholic women in this country have used birth control, so I doubt if it's going to affect that much vote if 98 percent of the women do. I assume a lot of their husbands must know about it. And the truth of the matter is he compromised in a decision like this and I suspect that's where it's going to be.
And now it's going to start -- now we find out that all these Catholic hospitals and Catholic institutions were providing birth control coverage. So I wonder if they're all going to lose it as a result of this. And I'm sure that all these Catholic universities that they're going to go through here and try to determine if they are dispensing birth control pills at these infirmaries at these Catholic universities. It's going to be interesting to see where this goes. But we're going to have a big contraception brouhaha here and I'm not sure that's going to be very good. I'm kind of concerned for the women of America here.
NANCE: Yes, please.
BURNETT: Penny, I have to say one thing I find interesting about this whole conversation is all the percents that get thrown around.
BURNETT: And I'm poking a little fun at you James, only because 98, 99 percent of women --
BURNETT: -- that only 58 percent of Catholics support the president's plan. I don't know if people are totally honest about these issues in polls -- (CROSSTALK)
BURNETT: I will say that, but that doesn't mean it's going to go all your way, Penny.
NANCE: Well no, obviously, you know, there are a large number of women in this country, they're women of faith, evangelical women often use contraceptives --
NANCE: But this is not just about contraceptives. This is about abortive (ph) (INAUDIBLE) and that is a bright line for evangelical women. So this is a point of grave concern, but it's ridiculous to say this will cost less money. If you weigh the two perhaps side-by- side, but to say oh well it's cheaper to do abortions then by the way instead of allowing a woman to have a baby or let's just knock off grandma for that matter if we're trying to save money. I mean it's just -- this is nonsensical.
NANCE: And thank you, by the way, for taking -- sticking up for women there, James. We don't really need your help.
NANCE: Conservative women are very concerned about this issue.
NANCE: And it's a big deal to us and any time that the issue of faith butts up against --
BURNETT: OK, let James respond.
NANCE: You know what happens.
CARVILLE: I like -- you know -- I like the fact, you just heard this woman equate killing grandmother with taking a birth control pill.
NANCE: No I didn't.
CARVILLE: That's where this debate is going.
NANCE: No, I didn't --
CARVILLE: Please don't interrupt me, ma'am. I didn't interrupt you. BURNETT: Go ahead, James.
CARVILLE: You got a major candidate by the name of Rick Santorum who wants to overturn Griswold and wants to allow states that would favor outlawing contraception.
NANCE: No state is --
CARVILLE: That's what's going on in this country. That's his position. All right, he is an anti-contraception activist and right now --
NANCE: No he's not.
CARVILLE: -- he's doing pretty well in the Republican Party and so -- and my figure of 98 percent, Erin, you know exactly where I got it from. It's a figure that they asked Catholic women. On any poll I guess some people lie, but why would a Catholic woman lie that she was not following the teachings of the church. It seems like if anything, but you know my point is probably two percent of women for some reason or another can't conceive and don't need it, so it's probably 100 percent --
BURNETT: You know why it confused me? I'll be honest with you, James, because another poll that we were using on CNN said 58 percent of Catholics supported the president's plan.
BURNETT: So I figured if 98 percent of Catholic women were using birth control more of them would support the president's plan.
BURNETT: But I mean yes --
CARVILLE: Some used it and wouldn't support the plan, but those are figures that I'm quoting --
CARVILLE: -- are figures that have been published by different polls.
BURNETT: Yes, both of those polls have been published to be clear. So James, what does the president do from here though? Do you think this is over?
CARVILLE: You know, look, nothing -- I think he -- I think most people have said look the guy compromised and I think -- I think contraception has broad support across this country. I think we're going to be fine -- I think people are going to be interested to see what Mitt Romney's position is on Griswold, the fact that he wants to (INAUDIBLE) Title X, which is going to deny birth control pills to millions of women across this country, but I think we need to have a healthy debate about the role of contraception in American life. BURNETT: All right, well thanks very much to both of you. We appreciate it.
"Under Surveillance" tonight, is the government crossing the line by monitoring you on social media sites? And this is actually a question before Congress right now. Hearings next week will happen to discuss how the Department of Homeland Security monitors sites like Twitter, Facebook and "The Drudge Report". Is the government looking for suspicious activity or is big brother a more appropriate word to use here and are we having the government infringe upon our rights.
Paul Callan has handled a lot of personal privacy cases. He's OUTFRONT tonight -- Paul, good to see you.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you.
BURNETT: You're lucky you didn't get in front of the birth control beat today.
CALLAN: Yes, thank heavens for that.
BURNETT: That was rather a feisty conversation.
CALLAN: I never thought I'd see Carville shut down, you know, but --
BURNETT: All right. The government has been monitoring these sites for terrorist activity for awhile.
BURNETT: So that part I guess you could say is not new, but now we're seeing new reports that they're actually looking for, say you go on Twitter and you post something negative about DHS, the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, and that that might be grounds to monitor you. How do we know if they are going too far?
CALLAN: This thing that I read about today in these lawsuits are very, very frightening, and they seem to be going into a new area. They are monitoring social media. They have this government speak thing (INAUDIBLE). They call it the social media monitoring and situational awareness initiative. What situational awareness initiative? What they are trying to figure out is who is criticizing Homeland Security. And they want to know -- not just what citizens are doing this but what journalists are blogging about it and reporting about it. Now why would they want to do that? People who are worried about this say they are trying to restrict free speech.
BURNETT: But if you're on Twitter, and people are allowed to follow you, right, I mean you should assume people are going to read what you say. There's no law. Anyone should expect to not allow anyone to monitor you on Twitter, correct?
CALLAN: It's legal, but the question is does it show political speech? Is it repressive? If you have a system where you're worried that the government is going to be monitoring what you say and if you criticize Homeland Security, maybe you better not criticize Homeland Security, that's the argument. I think it's legal, Erin, frankly if you choose to post publicly your political views, you know what Homeland Security is saying, they are saying hey this is how America communicates Facebook, Twitter, all of these social sites. They are looking for the bad guys and they figure you know what the first thing the bad guy is going to do? He's going to attack Homeland Security. So it gives us a lead and they follow that lead to get the bad guy. That's their defense.
BURNETT: All right. Well we're going to see how this goes in the hearings. We're going to be covering this with Paul Callan. And everyone, as always, let us know what you think. The other week we asked you whether you were OK with drones watching you and we had some really passionate discussion about that on our Twitter and maybe DHS was watching you then.
All right, what did the UVA Lacrosse player tell police shortly after his ex-girlfriend was found dead? And a majority of Americans at this moment today we find out think that China is a bigger economic power than the USA. But do the numbers back that up?
BURNETT: In a Gallop poll released today a majority of Americans said they believe that China and not the United States is the world's leading economic power. Pretty stunning and it comes on a day when we find out that the American trade gap with China hit a record high of $295.5 billion in December, which brings us to tonight's number, zero. That's the number of cigarettes America exported to China last year. With more than 320 million smokers in China, a third of the world's smokers it should be a huge market for America's tobacco giants.
But in addition to being the largest cigarette consumer in the world, China is also the world's largest cigarette producer. They grow 40 percent of the world's tobacco and they only have to export about five percent. The remaining 95 percent consumed domestically by Chinese people. Well China lacks national health care system to go with the health problems that comes from so much smoking. According to the World Health Organization, a million people die every single year in China due to smoking related illnesses. And China -- in addition to health care problem also is an economy that still only about a third of the size of the United States, so a superpower in the making? Sure, but more powerful than the U.S. economically? I'm sorry, it's not really close, no cigar.
BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT, the "OutFront 5", slaughter in Syria.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least 28 people killed, more than 200 wounded.
BURNETT: System failure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been warning the police that he was capable of hurting those children. BURNETT: All this OUTFRONT in our second half.
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus in our own reporting, do the work and find the OUTFRONT 5.
Up first: President Obama releases his budget on Monday and we got a sneak peek. The president will let the Bush tax cuts expire for those making $250,000 or more a year. He also has added into this budget a minimum effective tax rate on millionaires. And made some cuts to Medicare. His budget forecast $901 billion deficit in 2013, much the same -- not in terms of that number but in terms of the budget was that one he proposed, it did not pass a year ago.
Number two, day three of the George Huguely murder trial. Today, prosecutors played a video recording of police questioning Huguely after his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love was found dead. Our producer in court told us two jurors, as well as Huguely cried, as the video played. And during one part he said, quote, "I may have grabbed her a little bit around the neck but I never strangled her."
Detectives also questioned the UVA lacrosse player about fresh bruises on his knuckles and cut on his arm but he said it came from lacrosse. The defense claims Love died from a fatal combination of Adderall and alcohol.
Number three: Ben Bernanke spoke about the state of the housing today to the National Association of Homebuilders. The Fed chairman said the high rate of foreclosure is going to go on for a while. He also said the housing market cannot recover until it's easier for people to get mortgages.
Economists tell the chairman's comments indicate it's unlikely that the Fed will actually expand by mortgage backed securities is a key part of the money, easy money that the Fed has been plunging in to the U.S. financial system.
Number four: consumer sentiment came off a five-month high. It fell 2.5 points. Consumer economist Cooper Howes told us that despite the little drop, consumer confidence is likely to improve but obviously Congress can still hurt thing. Why? Well, the possibility of a failure to extend the payroll tax cut looms large as a downside risk to consumer sentiment and spending.
Well, it has been 180 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
The problems in Greece right now weighing on the United States. The stock market suffered it's worse loss so far this year, but that was only 189-point drop.
And now we want to get to the breaking headlines on Syria that I first mentioned at the top of the hour. Here's what we know right now. A proposed peace deal apparently is in the works being circulated by Saudi Arabia. It's now making its way through the U.N. General Assembly.
And this breaking headline comes as we get death toll numbers rising just in the past few moments. The numbers came that 110 people died today, 64 civilians, six so-called rebels, and 40 government security forces. Among the dead were victims of twin blasts in one of Syria's largest cities, Aleppo, which had up to this point really no had a lot of violence.
And Ivan Watson is in Istanbul covering this for us. I spoke to him right before our program began and asked him the latest on that twin attack in Aleppo.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The state media is reporting at least 28 people killed, more than 200 wounded. They are blaming this, calling this a terrorist attack.
And when we've spoken with defector Syrian soldiers and officers linked with this Free Syrian Army anti-government movement, they've given some conflicting accounts as to whether or not their operatives were in that area when the bombs went off. They said they are not responsible but they -- some have said that they carried out some kind of an attack just moments before the bombs went off -- Erin.
BURNETT: Ivan, is your feeling that this then is truly spreading? You're talking about -- we heard so much about Homs. Now, you're talking about explosions in Aleppo. Is this truly becoming a national and civil war?
WATSON: Well, it's definitely been violence that's been spreading across the country now for the better part of a year. I mean, this started in March of last year. We've seen a number of cities that have been basically reduced to battlegrounds, facing siege-like conditions from the Syrian army.
The fact that the violence is moving or what looked like terrorist attacks to the city of Aleppo, what that's going to do is shake up segments of the Syrian society that have so far stayed with the government and have been spared the violence facing those that are protesting against the government. It's going to make them very uncomfortable.
BURNETT: And a significant development, let me ask you, Ivan, about Russia. Obviously, we've been talking a lot on this show about how Russia has been such a significant arms supplier, MiGs and surface-to-air missiles for the Syrian military.
Today, Russia is saying that the West, implying the United States has been involved militarily already in Syria. What can you tell us about that?
WATSON: I think we're going to get more and more accusations like this as great powers line up on both sides of the struggle inside Syria. We're seeing the development of a proxy war. We've seen, for example, the U.S. ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, very outspoken who had to shutter the doors of the embassy in Damascus just a few days ago come out with a statement that looked very targeted against the Russians, saying it's basically crazy to compare the Syrian opposition to the Syrian army.
Russia's line has been you have to talk to both of these sides in this struggle as if they were equally powered combatants -- which simply isn't true.
BURNETT: All right. Ivan Watson, thank you very much. Reporting tonight from Istanbul.
BURNETT: All right. So, is a peace deal imminent and could it be a breakthrough or is it a meaningless document from the United Nations?
Coming OUTFRONT tonight, Stanford University's Fouad Ajami, and author and former military intelligence officer, Paul Broadwell.
Good to have you both with us.
Paula, you've been working your sources on this issue. Is there some sort of a peace deal?
PAULA BROADWELL, AUTHOR/FORMER MILITARY INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Well, thanks for having me here this evening, Erin.
I don't know that we can put much hope in a peace deal. I think this U.N. General Assembly proposal is another signal to the Assad regime that the U.N. is serious but I'm not sure that Syria is taking it seriously.
BURNETT: So, that's what you were saying. There's also a General Assembly document, it's not even Security Council, and a lot of people are skeptical even of something that would have more, quote- unquote, "teeth" from the U.N.
FOUAD AJAMI, SR. FELLOW, STANFORD UNIVERSITY'S HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, sadly, we can just simply say that this is deja vu all over again. We've done this before. We did this in October. There was an effort by the U.N. that ended in failure. We did this a week or so ago and it ended in failure.
The United Nations is a dead end for this. There's no solution at the United Nations. There is no solutions at the Arab League.
The solution is on the battlefield. This is where we really are today. And that's why the powers of the world are called upon to recognize that if we are going to rescue the Syrian people, the time to do it is now.
BURNETT: And you talk about that.
BURNETT: You write in the "New York Times" about this --
AJAMI: In "The Wall Street Journal."
BURNETT: And the "Wall Street Journal." An Arab campaign, you're talking about similar to what happened in Serbia.
How would this work? Because Syria's military we've been reporting on is a really serious military, 320,000 ground troops, 5,000 tanks, 555 MiG jets. I mean, they can fight back.
AJAMI: You know, Erin, we've gone through this before. We said the same thing when we watched the genocide in Bosnia. We said the Serbs have 37 Nazi divisions. They are very great power.
And then when the American power came into the equation, we destroyed the Serbs and rescued the Bosnians. We did the same in 1999 again the same, and we said the same numbers and the same scenario. We did the same with the Iraq republican guard when we waged war against Iraq in 2003 and 1991.
These armies are nothing. The Syrian army is exhausted. The Syrian army is split. The Syrian army's officers are the Alawites, and the rank-and-file are Sunnis and they are eager to simply defect from this regime.
BURNETT: What happens, though, if there is military intervention? You know, you look at Iraq which is as many say still struggling with potentially a civil war, insurgents. You go in and you get rid of something and then who is responsible for putting something in its place?
AJAMI: Well, of course, the future is always uncertain, but, you know, I think Iraq is much more of a success story than its critics would like to say. I know Paula just did a book on the hero of the Iraq war, General Petraeus. And I think we can take some pride on what happened in Iraq.
BURNETT: Paula, let me ask you a question about the satellite images that we have gotten today that have been released from the U.S. military of Syria. Why has that -- why did they choose to do that? Is that sending a message of, hey, we're watching you, we can see what's going on? Which means we can do what Fouad exactly is saying, we could come in and drop bombs on you if we wanted to?
BROADWELL: Well, sure, it's probably a signal, Erin, that we do have this visibility on what's going on on the ground there. And, you know, other than satellite imagery, we probably have some human sources on the ground as well. So, I wouldn't underestimate the intelligence the U.S. has on the ground situation in Syria.
But just to come back to Fouad's suggestion, and I strongly admire Fouad's commitment to democracy and his ideals.
But we have to look very closely at what an intervention, military intervention would look like. I don't think it's very likely from the U.S., much less the neighboring countries, because, you know, it's unlikely we can target the right force and be effective with strikes. But if an alternative is arming opposition groups there, well, that doesn't seem to lead to anything but a militarized protracted stalemate.
BURNETT: Right. It seems, Paula, that we've seen them doing that. I mean, Libya, obviously, a very different situation. But we did that. Then you have people who end up doing bad things later who are armed.
BROADWELL: Right. Well, Libya is a very different situation than Syria. You have to look at Syria's neighbors. But you do see the controlling devolving now economically, and electricity and basic services are starting to retreat. There's an increasing refugee problem and they're fleeing to neighboring countries.
So, we have a little bit less control in Syria and the surrounding countries than I think we were able to do in Syria -- in Libya, excuse me.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you both very much, Paula. Fouad, also thanks to you.
Fouad, of course, is heading to Istanbul and to the Turkey-Syrian borders. So, you'll be on the ground there.
All right. Well, still ahead on OUTFRONT, protesters in Athens in the streets. There are big clashes today with police.
And disturbing images connected to Josh Powell. What he did just hours before he killed himself and his two young sons.
BURNETT: Now to tonight's "Outer Circle". We reach out to our sources around the world.
And we begin tonight with Athens. Protesters there battling with police angry about layoffs, cuts to wages and pensions. These cuts are necessary if a group of eurozone finance ministers are going to sign off on another bailout deal with to the country. The Greek parliament expected to vote on the plan Sunday.
Matthew Chance is in Athens for us.
And, Matthew, I'm wondering if Greece is actually in a position to approve the cuts or might they choose to default and send the world in a spiral?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the Greek prime minister says that default is not an option for this country. But to avoid it, parliament will have to pass tough new austerity measures being demand by the International Monetary Fund and others bailing Greece out. So, there is enormous pressure on the government not to accept. Thousands of Greek protested on the streets of Athens again today, angry that after two years of austerity, recession in this country seems to be getting worse. Unemployment in the country is now over 20 percent. And few people here believe frankly that more austerity measures are going to make things any better at all -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Matthew Chance, thank you very much. A bad situation unemployment, they're getting more unemployment and less money to pay down their debt.
And now to Saudi Arabia and the arms race showdown in the Middle East, because according to recent reports, Saudi Arabia is convinced Iran is going to get a nuclear weapon. And if Iran launches a nuclear test, the Saudi kingdom would immediately start buying nuclear warheads itself.
David Ottaway is a Middle East expert at the Wilson Center and we asked him how Saudis' entrance into the nuclear race is going to ratchet up tension in the Mideast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID OTTAWAY, MIDDLE EAST SENIOR SCHOLAR, THE WILSON CENTER: It would definitely ratchet up tensions, and if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia almost certainly will do the same. Or at least seek to do the same.
The Saudis help the Pakistanis financially develop their nuclear program, and they will expect Pakistan to help them obtain a nuclear capability. And then you'll have Turkey also wanting to develop a nuclear capability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Well, tonight, we have breaking news in the case involving Josh Powell. According to a search warrant, police have found a blood stained comforter in a storage locker that he rented in Washington state.
Now, Powell was questioned in the 2009 disappearance of his wife Susan. That case remains unsolved. But tonight, we have a photo of Josh Powell, you see him there, at a bank the day before he committed suicide, murdered his two young sons on Sunday in a fiery explosion at his Washington state home. An image unfortunately now we all are familiar with. All have seen this horrible picture.
We're also learning about some disturbing images found on Josh Powell's computer showing animations of incestuous sex acts.
Now, lots of questions and finger-pointing. Are there were warning signs that were ignored? What could have been done to save Powell's two sons?
And joining me now is former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin. Sunny, what do you make of these developments today? I mean, obviously, it's just a chilling and kind of makes your arm hairs stand up when you see that picture of him at the bank, going right before he killed those children.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. There's no question that we're learning so much more about this case and that the investigation is ongoing. I think, you know, the pictures of him at the bank and what he did at the bank, withdrawing so much money, it's clear that this was a plan that was in motion.
But, you know, taking it out of context, I don't think authorities would have known that he planned to not only kill himself but kill his children. But there were so many system failures I think when you think about what's happening in this case and what has happened in this case, Erin. Bottom line is from tragedy, I've always believed that when you look at what happened, you look at the facts, you look at the protocol, you can review, you can refine and you can reform.
But there's no question in this case, there were mistakes made, and certainly reform hopefully will be the result of it.
BURNETT: So, Sunny, what about the judge who oversaw the custody agreement to begin with. The judge did not disclose the full nature for example of those photos that run Josh Powell's computer, which were animations. So, I guess they weren't real children, it was somehow short of child pornography on the computer.
But the grandparents didn't know and maybe if they had known about those things, they would have fought harder on the custody. These children would never have had a custody arrangement with father.
HOSTIN: Well, that's right. I mean, the images were found apparently in Utah two years ago and were just sent to the judge. The judge, though, I think did the right thing in the sense that he put a halt on custody and ordered Josh Powell to undergo a psycho sexual evaluation, counseling, a polygraph test, and switched everything up at that point, but still maintained that they could have these supervised visits.
And that's because in a case like this, it is difficult, Erin, to remove visitation from a biological parent.
BURNETT: A biological parent.
HOSTIN: But there again, you've got to reform these laws when it comes to children.
BURNETT: And, Sunny, what about 911? I mean, this is a really hard, hard, hard topic for people, but did 911 fail as well? Let me just listen to play that call just a little snippet of it again.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SOCIAL WORKER: He won't le me in the house. DISPATCHER: Whose house is it?
SOCIAL WORKER: He's got the kids in the house ands he won't let me in. It's a supervised visit. He went to court on Wednesday, and he didn't get his kids back, and this is really -- I'm afraid for their lives.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: Should the 911 operator have done something different?
HOSTIN: I think so. I mean, certainly, this is part of the failure. I would rate this as a fail.
We are talking about, I think eight minutes, Erin, eight minutes, you know, between the time she called and the time that someone was dispatched. You've got to, when you call 911, presume that the call is valid and she explained that this was an emergency, emergency call.
HOSTIN: And so, you know, certainly, there was a problem here, and everyone I think that they can agree that the mistakes were made and that reform has to take place when you're talking about children -- children.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Sunny Hostin, thank you.
And now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with what's coming up on "A.C. 360".
ANDERSON COOPER, "A.C. 360": Hey, Erin, we're keeping them honest tonight on "A.C. 360".
Mitt Romney upping the ante on his credentials to be the GOP nominee, saying today, he was a severely conservative governor. That's how he described his term in Massachusetts. We are keeping them honest tonight, though, taking a closer look at those claims. Our panel Ralph Reed and James Carville join as well.
Also ahead in crime and punishment, accused child molester Jerry Sandusky heads to court. The former Penn State assistant football coach says he should have more freedom while under house arrest. He wants more access to the grandkids. The question is: should he get that?
Our legal panel also weighs in that, and complains that Sandusky's back porch overlooks the school playground.
Those stories and tonight's "Ridiculist" at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, thank you. OUTFRONT next, a brand new segment. We're talking to an author who says woman should put career before family. Join us. We got (ph) "Read In."
BURNETT: Tonight, a new segment on OUTFRONT called "Read In" where we share books that we like.
Now, we're not going to do a lot of self-help books, but one caught out eye. Of the 1.4 million jobs created since 2009 in United States, 1.3 million went to men, only 43,000 to women. That is a big and shocking disparity.
Mrs. Moneypenny, the author of "Sharpen Your Heels," says women need ruthless focus to make it in the working world. And she thinks the notion of having it all is single biggest culprit.
She came OUTFRONT to talk about her book and why even she, a woman who learned to fly a plane at age 47, who writes a column for "The Financial Times," has a successful marriage, a TV show, and three children, doesn't have it all.
She offers some interesting advice, though, for getting as close as possible.
HEATHER MCGREGOR, AUTHOR, "SHARPEN YOUR HEELS": You know, I'm here in America all week, these women have to run around the shower to get wet, and it's quite depressing. And I think --
BURNETT: You must have been in Los Angeles.
MCGREGOR: But, the truth of the matter is that something gives, you know? Joking apart, something has to give. And, you know, my priorities are my career, my children, and my husband and my friends, and then me. Actually what that means is of course is that my friends say I didn't get to see you as much as I would like, and even I don't get to see as much of my children as I would like.
BURNETT: You are saying, look, I put career first. A lot of women would never say that even if it were true.
MCGREGOR: Well, I know, and it is true in a lot of case. And by the way, it is true for a lot of men, and they would not say so either. But by putting my career first of all, investing in my career, I've built a successful business and I have employed great people, and I want to invest time in them, and I think by doing that, aim setting myself up to be better able to pay college fees for instance.
My children might thank me by being home a bit more now, but not when I can't help them in college.
BURNETT: So, you talk about having it all and how having it all is a recipe for being average and mediocre.
MCGREGOR: Yes, it is. Yes.
BURNETT: Which is -- you know, I actually met with a young girl the other day, and I have it all and there's no difference between men and women, in the way that only someone very young and very ambitious can --
MCGREGOR: Very naive.
BURNETT: And very naive, right, and there's something nice about it. And you want -- but how do you advice them how the deal with the fact that there is a reality that you cannot be great at everything?
MCGREGOR: Well, it is a big disappointment to women, and I think system of it is about the conditions. As we grow up, we inspire the women to reach for the stars. Younger women enter higher education in the United States in greater numbers than young men.
MCGREGOR: So, you would expect that later on, there are as many women at the top than men. But nobody tells them the truth, and no one tells them that they have to tell a choice. There are only 168 hours in the week, and you have to allocate.
This is not a book, this is a campaign, OK? I ask everybody who buys it or reads it, please give it away to somebody else. And as I hand them to people, I say, you got to promise me and look me in the eye and tell me that you'll give this to somebody else. There are 10 things that you need to do to bust through the so-called glass ceiling.
And, by the way, there is no such thing as a glass ceiling. You know, what matters is that we bust the myth that women can have it all, and then we will bust the glass ceiling. Lots of people realize that there are sacrifices.
BURNETT: Well, thank you very much.
MCGREGOR: You are very welcome.
BURNETT: Mrs. Moneypenny as she goes by, very engaging. Check out her column at "Financial Times," and also check out that book, because as you can see, some tough love and some controversial opinions definitely worth a read.
And speaking of powerful, exciting, engaging, charismatic women, Diane von Furstenberg is certainly on that list. It's going to be Fashion Week in New York City. She is an entrepreneur., started her own company, lots of adversity on her life of which she has overcome all of it. She is glamorous and extremely and she is going to be our special guest Monday. She's also, of course, a member of our strike team. And we're looking forward to seeing Diane. Hope that you'll join us to see her as well. in the meantime, have a great weekend.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.