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Still a Man's World?; The Obama and Palin Factors in Tuesday's Elections

Aired November 2, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: the Obama factor vs. the Palin factor on Election Day tomorrow, how their role in key races will affect their parties and the country for a long time to come. He's facing his first test at the polls. With the economy hurting and voters out of work, she's injecting herself into a race that could signal big changes in the Republican Party, moving it farther to the right. We have the "Raw Politics" tonight.

Also tonight, "Digging Deeper": Is it still a man's world, in the White House, the board room, where you work? Despite gains, why women make much less money than men. Suze Orman and our all-female panel weigh in on how to break in to the boys' club.

Later, actor Nicolas Cage, star of some of the biggest box office hits ever deep in debt -- tens of millions of dollars gone, millions in taxes unpaid. How did this happen?

First up: Does the Republican Party have room for moderates? State and local elections tomorrow may have profound national effects, and President Obama and Sarah Palin are a big part of it. Two governor's races may test the president's ability to get others elected or turn into a referendum on his presidency, with angry voters expressing local rage at national problems, namely the economy.

As for Sarah Palin, she, tea party protesters and other conservative voices are front and center, driving moderates out of the GOP.

"Raw Politics" tonight from Tom Foreman.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If waves of angry conservatives gave Democrats a scare last summer, they may be terrifying Republicans this fall by forcing the party to choose between satisfying its base and attracting more moderate Americans -- a case in point, New York's 23rd Congressional District, a Republican stronghold for more than a century.

The GOP candidate, Dede Scozzafava, had been favored to win, a moderate who fit nicely into the national party's plans to claw back middle voters, especially women. But that was before big-name conservatives like Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh made it clear they wanted her out and a more conservative candidate in, calling Scozzafava a Republican in name only, a RINO, whose Democratic leanings have tainted the whole idea of a moderate Republican.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We can say that she's guilty of widespread bestiality. She has screwed every RINO in the country. Everyone can see just how phony and dangerous they are.


FOREMAN: Under the onslaught, Scozzafava's numbers crumbled. She suspended her campaign. And Doug Hoffman, the candidate for the Conservative Party, is now the chief challenger to Democrat Bill Owens.

For organizers of those two tea party events, who call this a grassroots victory, that's fine. They say they frankly want conservatives to win, and they don't care if they're Republican or not.

Brendan Steinhauser:

BRENDAN STEINHAUSER, DIRECTOR OF FEDERAL AND STATE CAMPAIGNS, FREEDOMWORKS: The grassroots uprising on the right is not about the party. It's not about getting Democrats out of office. It's not about, you know, ending President Obama's tenure. What it's about is electing conservatives to Congress, conservatives to the Senate.

FOREMAN: The driving force of this conservative surge is money, outrage over President Obama's expansive government, the soaring deficit and rising unemployment. Social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, are clearly taking a backseat.

Yet, at conservative bastions, such as the Heritage Foundation, folks like Rory Cooper is crowing.

RORY COOPER, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: You're seeing that the conservative movement not isn't dead, but it's thriving.

FOREMAN (on camera): So, Republican leads have a tiger by the tail., an impressive force that some believe could drag their party back into power, if it can be tamed. But, if it can't, others fear it could just as easily tear their party apart -- Anderson.



COOPER: So, is the Republican Party appealing to its base, at the cost of having a bigger tent? And, if so, what does that mean for their future?

Let's talk strategy with political contributor Roland Martin and tea party organizer Mark Williams.

Roland, what about it? What do you see is happening in Upstate New York in this 23rd District? What do you see is happening with the Republican Party writ large?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There is no doubt you are seeing the beginnings of a civil war play out in terms of -- of folks who are saying that we do not want moderates in terms of being involved in this party.

What is very interesting that you have these national Republican leaders who are backing an individual who knows nothing even about the local issues in that race. As a matter of fact, when Mary Snow of CNN interviewed him, he couldn't even name the top local issue.

So, I find it amazing they talk about representing the people, but he doesn't even know the issues in that district. But there's no doubt Republicans are right now battling as to what is the future direction of this party? And we're seeing it play out in the 23rd District of New York.

COOPER: Mark, do you agree with that?

MARK WILLIAMS, ORGANIZER, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: No, Dede is anything but moderate. She is also a member of the Working Families Party, which is ACORN's party in New York. I have gone up against them myself, having lived and worked in the Albany area for several years back in the past.

And the only real local issue in Upstate New York right now is jobs. They're strangling in Upstate New York.

MARTIN: Not sure.

WILLIAMS: They're being taxes to death. And they have no services.

He knows that. And -- and what you're seeing here is less of a civil war than it is Republicans taking the Republican Party back. Where are the Republican values in having a socialist candidate who, when she blows out of the race, endorses the Democrats? That doesn't make any sense.

MARTIN: Well, actually...

WILLIAMS: It's also a blowback to the closed-door machine politics of New York that hand-selected this woman, without any input from the people.

MARTIN: Anderson, a couple of -- a couple of facts here.

"The Watertown Daily Times, local newspaper there, they interviewed Hoffman, and asked him the three most important issues there. He couldn't even answer them. And he then said, hey, you should have sent me the questions beforehand. They said, we did, yesterday's editorial. So, first of all, Mark is absolutely incorrect there. That's a fact.

The second thing is this here. You talk about endorsing a Democrat. I'm sure Mark has no problem with former Democratic -- Joe Lieberman saying he's going to campaign for Republican candidates.

We also see this, Anderson. You have conservative Democrats. You have a Democratic Party that has no problem having liberal Democrats, moderate Democrats, and conservative Democrats. What Republicans are saying is, we don't want any liberal or moderate Democrats. We only want conservative Republicans.

And you cannot expand a party nationally only having just conservative Republicans. You're not going to win long-term.

WILLIAMS: You -- you have a party if you're a liberal. It's called the Democrat Party.

MARTIN: No, that's not true.

WILLIAMS: If you're a conservative who embraces constitutional values, you get the Republican Party. It's that simple.

MARTIN: It's very interesting, Anderson.

Zell Miller, a former governor of Georgia, he was a conservative Democrat. He was still a Democrat. You have people like Heath Shuler of North Carolina. He is considered to be a conservative Democrat. The point is, there are individuals who do not simply toe the line in terms of just being one ideology.

There are people who do believe in Republican principles, but disagree on some issues.

COOPER: We will be right back. We have with you guys on the other side. Hold on.


COOPER: And let us know what you think. Join Erica and me and the live chat now under way at I'm about to log on myself. Also tonight, women in the workplace and why, despite gains, women still make less than men for the same work and have less to show for their work than men.


SUZE ORMAN, AUTHOR, "SUZE ORMAN'S 2009 ACTION PLAN: KEEPING YOUR MONEY SAFE AND SOUND": The reason why, in my opinion, that women do not get to where I think they are meant to be is, they're simply afraid to really go for it.


COOPER: Well, do you agree with Suze Orman? That's not all she's saying. She will join us shortly.

Also, text us your thoughts and questions about actor Nicolas Cage's money troubles to AC360, or 22360.

We will have a guest who manages celebrities' money to explain how a world-famous actor who has made tens of millions of dollars for movies is having to sell off his homes and possessions -- again, AC360, or 22360. And, as always, standard rates apply.


COOPER: Back with our panel, political analyst Roland Martin and Tea Party Express organizer Mark Williams, talking about the big- picture effects of a string of state and local elections and initiatives. Voting begins tomorrow morning.

Now, before the break, we were focused on the race in the New York's 23rd Congressional District and how it's become kind of a test case for the conservative movement.


COOPER: Roland, to -- you know, if you look at who represented the district the last time, though, I mean, in terms, of social issues, they were -- you know, they were very conservative. So, what's wrong with this district choosing a -- a conservative to represent them?

MARTIN: But, again, it's not the district choosing.

First of all, you do have replacements there. You do have party leaders, the county chairmen in that district. They chose the replacement candidate. What you have is, you really have, in terms of this national influence, of people from outside of the district coming in and not -- saying, OK, we're going to anoint this particular person.

But, Anderson, I got to make this point, with Mark's last comment. This is very interesting. We're seeing right now moderate and conservative Democrats playing a huge role in the changing of the health care bill in Congress.

The point there is this here. You have folks like Mark who also -- talk about the left being radicalized -- you have people who want to radicalize the right. The point is this here. You can't have people who are not from the fringes of both parties represent a party.

So, conservative and moderate Democrats play a crucial role.


MARTIN: Mark, Mark, Mark...


WILLIAMS: Roland, since when is believing in the Constitution a fringe?


MARTIN: You are not going to have a strong Republican Party nationally... (CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: How does that make me a fringe?


WILLIAMS: I believe in the Constitution.


WILLIAMS: I don't believe in socialism.


WILLIAMS: That makes me a fringe?


MARTIN: Mark...


WILLIAMS: I will wear that label proudly.

MARTIN: Mark, let me finish.

I believe in the Constitution as well. But the point is this here. You cannot have a truly national party if you're pushing people out that you simply disagree with.

COOPER: Mark, what about that idea of the big tent for the Republican Party? I mean, years ago, there used to be a lot of talk about wanting the Republican Party to be a big tent. Does that -- from -- from your vantage point, is that a negative thing, because it -- you believes it waters down...

WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Not at all. America is a huge tent.

But this vile ideology of collectivism, the ideology of Marx and Lenin over that of Thomas Jefferson...

MARTIN: Oh, come on.

WILLIAMS: ... and Madison, that's what we're up against...


COOPER: But -- but, Mark, wait, wait, wait.


COOPER: Before Roland jumps in...


COOPER: Before Roland jumps in... (CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: As far as the way -- as far as representing the people of the 23rd District of New York, I have got far more roots there than -- than any of these people who sat behind closed doors in a smoke- filled room and imposed this socialist fake Republican of the 23rd District.


COOPER: But, wait, Mark...


WILLIAMS: And I have some experience in that area. I was one of the people who recalled Governor Gray Davis in California and was stabbed in the back by the GOP there, who brought us Arnold Schwarzenegger.

MARTIN: That was California. We're talking about New York.

WILLIAMS: So, the Republican Party, the leadership is a machine, just like anything else.


WILLIAMS: They need to -- and now the people are standing up and taking control.

COOPER: But, Mark, when you talk about -- you know, when I ask you about the big tent, you -- you draw a line between conservatism and basically the other side being Marxism and Leninism.

I mean, there are -- there are plenty of people in the middle who are -- would call themselves moderate Republicans or maybe even independents. You seem to make a strict, you know, line between, if you're not conservative, you're a Marxist or a Leninist.

WILLIAMS: What's your definition of conservative? I'm defining conservative as...

MARTIN: He can't -- see, Anderson, he can't answer the question.

WILLIAMS: ... a believer in American principles -- a believer in American principles and the American ideal, as...

COOPER: But can you have a liberal Republican or a moderate Republican?


WILLIAMS: .. Constitution of the United States.

Liberal, by definition, is an enemy ideology to this country.


WILLIAMS: It's the antithesis of what America is about.

MARTIN: Is Colin Powell -- Mark -- Mark, is Colin Powell an acceptable Republican? Is he Republican to you?


MARTIN: OK. So -- so, he is.

WILLIAMS: He's a Republican to me.

MARTIN: So, here's Colin Powell...


WILLIAMS: But Colin Powell did not -- Colin Powell is not a candidate in Upstate New York.

MARTIN: No, no, no, no, no.


WILLIAMS: ... those 11 guys behind closed doors disenfranchising an entire congressional district...


MARTIN: Mark...


WILLIAMS: ... by picking a member of the working people's party, ACORN's party, to represent the Republicans.

MARTIN: OK, got it. Mark, Mark, Mark, you're repeating that.

This is not just New York, Anderson. We're going to see this all across the country. And this -- it's going to be a problem. Republicans, they're going to poach independents...

WILLIAMS: I hope so.

MARTIN: ... away, and it will not help them long-term.

COOPER: And -- and, Mark, you say, long-term, this is a good thing for the Republican Party?

WILLIAMS: Hoffman is an independent. He's in the Conservative Party. He's not a Republican.

COOPER: But, Mark...


WILLIAMS: And we are going to -- you are -- you are seeing the beginnings.

New Jersey, Virginia, and the 23rd District of New York are going to be the first three victories in the countdown to judgment day, November 2, 2010.

COOPER: All right, Mark Williams, I appreciate your time, Roland Martin, as well.

Thanks, guys.

MARTIN: Thank you.



COOPER: John King, our chief national correspondent, has been doing some thinking, writing about tomorrow's election, what it says about a year -- what it says a year after the country made Barack Obama president. You can read his report at

Also, a program note for tomorrow. CNN is going to have special expanded election night coverage starting at 8:00 Eastern time, the governor's races, New York 23rd District, same-sex marriage in Maine, and how they change the national picture.

We will be live for two hours from 10:00 p.m. to midnight tomorrow.

Major news next from the war zone, word the U.S. could be dealing with a shaky partner, Hamid Karzai, picked in a dirty election, for years to come.

Later, Suze Orman and other top women in their professions are how women can make it in what is still, for many, a man's world.


COOPER: Coming up: Oscar winner Nicolas Cage in deep debt, deep financial trouble. Is he the victim of an unscrupulous adviser? Or should he be blaming himself for his lost fortune? A real-life whodunit starring a Hollywood A-list actor ahead.

First, Erica Hill has a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Afghan President Hamid Karzai declared the winner of a second term, after his closest challenger pulled out of a planned runoff election. The first round of voting in August was marred by fraud.

Here's what President Obama had to say about the situation today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Although the process was messy, I'm pleased to say that the final outcome was determined in accordance with Afghan law, that the results were in accordance with an followed the rules laid down by the Afghan constitution.


HILL: Mr. Obama said he congratulated Karzai in a phone call and also urged him to work harder to end corruption and to begin a new chapter of better governance.

In Pakistan, a suicide bomber killed 35 people near the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, where U.S. general secretary -- U.S. General Stanley McChrystal was meeting today with Pakistan's army chief. Now, it's not clear if he was actually there at the time of the attack. A second blast at a police checkpoint in Lahore wounded -- wounded at least 17 people.

The Navy's new assault ship the USS New York docking in New York today. The bow contains 7.5 tons of steel recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Firefighters, bagpipers and many of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 greeted the ship.

A 360 follow: bidding for a motorized La-Z-Boy chair...


HILL: ... topping 440,000 on eBay. But, then, Anderson Cooper, it hit a snag.


HILL: This, of course, is the chair that Minnesota police seized after its owner was caught driving it drunk. They were hoping to sell it online -- eBay, though...

COOPER: Oh, is this the one? I thought this was a -- a second model.

HILL: No, no, no. This is the original.


HILL: See, while you were away, they told us they were putting it up for auction, but that you couldn't drive it on the streets.

Well, today, apparently, eBay was forced to stop that auction, because the La-Z-Boy corporation objected on trademark grounds.

COOPER: Oh, really? Trademark infringement. Interesting.


HILL: And, so, it gets more interesting, doesn't it?

COOPER: Wow. When -- when will this be resolved?

HILL: Hopefully, not soon, because I'm enjoying it. (LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Me, too, although let's try to get that bar stool on eBay as well.

Suze Orman stops by next with some straight talk on getting past the boys' club. Suze and our guests have important tips for working women and how to earn more money at the office and get a promotion.

And, later, from Con Air" to flat-out con -- Nicolas Cage says his former business adviser bilked him out of millions, leaving him essentially broke. How could that happen? And could it happen to you?

You can talk to our experts by texting AC360, or 22360. Standards rates apply.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Tonight: new numbers, new challenges for women in the workplace.

Consider this. According to "Fortune" magazine, women make 77 cents for every dollar that men earn. But the money is just part of the story. The boys' club culture has been making news in recent weeks. At the White House, some criticized President Obama for playing basketball just with the guys.

We're also seeing it in late-night comedy, where a former writer for David Letterman wrote a scathing article of what she called a sexually charged atmosphere.

So, if there is a boys' club where you work, how can you, how can women break into it? We will talk to Suze Orman, Dee Dee Myers, and others in a moment, but, first, Erica Hill with the hard facts.


HILL (voice-over): It's easy to look at the headlines and say, women get a raw deal in the workplace.

CAROL EVANS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FEMALE EXECUTIVES: I think that people believe that you can get women for less money for almost any job.

HILL: By the end of this year, women will account for half the U.S. work force. Still, fewer than 3 percent of the Fortune 1,000 companies have a woman at the helm. When it comes to CEO pay, women take home just 58 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to the Corporate Library.

Money is one issue, work environment another.

EVANS: It's not so much the industry, but it's the culture of the company and how committed they are to getting women into top positions. Financial companies really need women's talents. And they know that. And, so, they work very, very hard at things like training and mentoring.

HILL: One myth dispelled, another boys' club exposed.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I have had sex with women who work for me on this show.


HILL: David Letterman's late-night confession didn't come as a surprise, though, to everyone.

Former writer Nell Scovell thought she had landed her dream job on "The Late Show," until she started.

NELL SCOVELL, FORMER "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN" WRITER: I didn't get the memo as a young girl that said you should have low self-esteem and put up with crap. So, I just -- I quit.

In a piece for Vanity, Scovell describes her time at "The Late Show" in 1990 as a hostile work environment, where she felt demeaned. Worldwide Pants, which produces "The Late Show," has not commented on her claims.

EVANS: Sexual harassment and using male power in positions of authority is not right. There's no excuse. I don't care what industry you're in. There is absolutely no excuse for that kind of behavior.

HILL: ESPN sports analyst Steve Phillips was fired last week after admitting he had an affair with a 22-year-old production assistant, who also lost her job. He was the target of similar allegations while general manager of the New York Mets.

Even the president's recent round of golf with chief domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes had some crying foul and photo-op, after criticism that Mr. Obama only shoots hoops with the guys, though Evans says, in this case, we should celebrate the women in his Cabinet, not dwell on who's getting court time.

Still, there is no denying, the road to equality is a long one.

EVANS: The boys' club is still pretty much intact. You wouldn't see those enormous differences between women and men at the top if there still wasn't an old boys' network or a boys' club.

HILL: And there is much work to be done.

Erica Hill, CNN, New York.



COOPER: Let's dig deeper into this idea of a boys' club and breaking into it. Let's talk with Maria Ho, a professional poker player who in 2007 became the last woman standing in the World Series of Poker championship event. Also with us, Dee Dee Myers, who was the White House press secretary for President Clinton, the first woman to hold the position. She's also author of the book "Why Women Should Rule the World."

We also welcome Suze Orman, the author and personal finance expert, host, of course, of "The Suze Orman Show" on CNBC, and Katrina Firlik, a neurosurgeon and author. She was the first woman admitted to the neurosurgery residency program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.

Suze, let me start off with you. You say women need to be more aggressive in terms of stating what they want in the workplace.

ORMAN: The reason why, in my opinion, that women do not get to where I think they are meant to is, they are simply afraid to really go for it. God forbid they should hurt somebody's feelings. They always say, I'm fine.

Men will really go for it. Women tend to go, oh, it's all right. It's for you. It's not for me.

I think we stand in our own way. I have always thought it. I will forever think it, until we change it.

COOPER: And, Maria, you see that around the poker table as well?

MARIA HO, PROFESSIONAL POKER PLAYER: I definitely agree with Suze. Aggression is a huge factor, especially at the poker table.

And, you know, like she said, we're the only people standing in our way. And, at a poker table, you pony up that money. Nobody can tell you -- there's no, you know, office politics. Nobody can say, hey, you can't play because you're a woman.

As long as you have got the money and you have got, you know, the confidence in your poker abilities, you can step up to the plate and challenge the best in the world at any time.

COOPER: Dee Dee, I mean, do you think it's that simple? I mean, on average, women make 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. And the wage gap for female CEOs is worse than that. They make 58 cents on the dollar, according to the Corporate Library.

I mean, it's not as simple as just, you know, putting yourself out there more.


I mean, one of the reasons women don't make more money is that, too often, women don't ask. Studies show that men are substantially more likely to ask starting at their first jobs right out of school. And over time, the wage gap multiplies, until you get to what we see among CEOs, which is women making 58 cents on the dollar.

So, I agree with what Suze and Maria were saying. But I think we need to find strategies that are comfortable for women. I don't think women are necessarily going to want to do things the same way men do. We need to learn to take credit for our accomplishments. We need to learn to take credit for the goods things that we do to put ourselves out there, not to say, oh, my accomplishment wasn't so great.

It was -- it was my team. It really was -- it wasn't me.


And, you know, another related point is that you have to have a big ego in fields like surgery or other male-dominated fields. But what I have learned, it doesn't have to be a loud, aggressive ego. It could be a very quiet, confident ego. But you do need a strong ego.

And I think that's acceptable, no matter what kind of ego it is.

COOPER: Suze, you talk about that a lot, how people -- women don't take credit for what they themselves have accomplished or helped others to accomplish.


I think they're afraid of how it might -- or they might appear. So, God forbid you should say: I'm a strong woman. I'm the best at what I do.

It's not something that is considered an admirable type of quality, when a woman does it. So, I don't know, Anderson. It's like, if women were just willing to really go for it, not care what other people thought of them, just went with it with everything they had, oh, they could rule this rule, because they absolutely -- this world, because they absolutely have the intelligence to do so.

MYERS: Well, I was going just to add to that, that I think that that tendency to downplay our accomplishments starts early. You see it in junior high and high school, where girls and boys achieve the same things, and -- or maybe even girls achieve more than boys, the boys will go, I'm going to be an astronaut, and the girls say, I don't think I'm smart enough.

So, we -- that is something we have to start at a young age, encouraging girls to, again, take credit for what they do and what they accomplish.


COOPER: (AUDIO GAP) ... the panel after the break -- their tips for getting promoted.

Also tonight, tough times for Nicolas Cage. He says he's having major money problems, millions of dollars in debt, selling off homes, possessions. How could a guy who makes $20 million for one movie go broke?

You can text your questions to AC360, or 22360. That's AC360, or 22360. Standard rates apply.

And just an incredible story: a mom watching in horror as a train rolls over her baby. You have probably seen this video. The child is OK.

Tonight, the mom is speaking out. We have her words -- ahead.


COOPER: We're back taking a closer look at the new reality for women in the work place. Now before the break, we showed you the stark difference in salaries between the sexes, but pay is only one part of the equation.

Let's back to our discussion. With us again, personal finance expert Suze Orman; professional poker player Maria Ho; neurosurgeon Katrina Firlik; and former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers, who has some tips on getting promoted.


COOPER: So Dee Dee, what do corporations need to do to make sure that women are being attracted to their industries and that women are being promoted to leadership roles?

MYERS: Well, they need to find among other things, ways to make their workplaces more flexible. In some instances that's not possible. But in so many instances, it is possible.

And in a competitive world, you know, companies need the best talent. They need the most skilled people. And a lot of those people happen to be women. So the companies that figured this out first are going to win. Figure out how to attract and retain the best people. And that means that flexibility is not a perk, another thing to be given to women. It's a strategic imperative.

COOPER: Dee Dee, how much of the way women are viewed in the workforce is -- is still kind of impacted by maternity leave, by, you know, the potential for getting pregnant?

MYERS: Well, there's no question that motherhood continues to be, you know, the mother of all obstacles to achievement on some level.

But you know, I think we've seen recent reports come out that show that 50 percent of the workforce is now women. The way we work -- the way the country works, the way the country works, has changed dramatically. Yet the institutions haven't changed to keep up with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maria, when you sit down at the table with a bunch of men, because I mean there are -- the number of women who play poker professionally is much smaller, obviously, than the number of men. Are you treated differently? Do you find that a disadvantage all the time or are there advantages to it, as well?

MARIA HO, PROFESSIONAL POKER PLAYER: There are no inherent disadvantages to being female at the poker table. And any stereotypes that men might bring when they see a woman walk through those doors and put down their money and sit down and play with them, that's always something you can use to your advantage. Because any time anyone is going to underestimate you, that's the time when you go in for the kill. That's the time when you catch them off their guard. And that's what you need to become a winning poker player.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Katrina, neurosurgery, I mean, it's a field which traditionally women haven't gone into in the medical profession. Why is that, and is that changing?

FIRLIK: Well, I think it is changing slowly. So about 5 percent of neurosurgeons are women. But that is changing a little bit. I think particularly with the work hours restrictions. You know, it's now a law that only -- that surgeons can only work 80 hours during their training. It used to be over 100, as a routine. And so I think that wasn't very family friendly.

And the new rules are a little more family friendly. And so I think more women are going to more male traditional fields.

COOPER: What about bias? I mean, bias still exists.

FIRLIK: Well, it does. I mean, usually, though, it's on first impressions. I've had many situations where you meet a patient or a colleague for the first time and they say, "Wow, you actually open people's heads?" That sort of thing.

But once you -- once you show can you walk the walk, talk the talk, people will see you as another guy, so to speak.

COOPER: So I want to ask this question to all of you. Suze, staring with you: "A woman out there who feels like she is butting her head against a glass ceiling or that there's a -- kind of a boys club at her work. What do you recommend?

ORMAN: I recommend that she decides to give to herself as much as she gives of herself. That she understands that if she undervalues who she is and what she does, so will the world.

So as she just simply goes in there and doesn't ask for what she wishes she could have, if she went in there and says, "This is what I want," with power and authority and security behind that, chances are she will get it.

COOPER: Dee Dee, your advice?

MYERS: Well, I agree with that. But I do think that there's more one way o skin that cat. So women can go very straight forward, as Suze has done and explains, and really demand what they want.

I think other women need to build support groups. They need to strategize with other women. They need to find out what's working. Because you do you have to have a way of going about it that's comfortable for you. Not every man is the same. Not every woman is the same.

COOPER: Katrina.

FIRLIK: I think the biggest piece of advice for women is to use humor to your advantage. I think, you know, you might be the butt of a joke or a slightly off collar comment. And you can walk out and protest, or you can try to come up with a funny rebuttal. And if that's kind of your style and you can make it work, I think that could be more powerful.

COOPER: Maria.

HO: I think that, you know, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. And when you're willing to put yourself out there and really say, "I'm confident in my capabilities," and just not have to be apologetic about, you know, who you are, what you think you're capable of, then I think people are going to start believing it, too. So as long as you believe in it, you know, it's all about projecting that to everybody else.

COOPER: Interesting discussion. Maria Ho, Katrina Firlik, Suze Orman, Dee Dee Myers, thank you very much.

FIRLIK: Thank you.

ORMAN: Thank you.

HO: Thank you.


COOPER: You can go to to read Suze Orman's advice for women in the business world.

Coming up, important new information about pregnant women and the H1N1 vaccine. What you need to know.

Also, he made $20 million from the movie "National Treasure," but now his personal treasure apparently is lost. Nicolas Cage, millions of dollars in debt, selling off homes, possessions. How could this happen? Is there a lesson in this for all of us? Text your questions to our financial expert at AC360 or 22360.

And later, three words for you: Al Roker, ewok. There was leg humping, there was moonwalking and that's just what the ewok was doing. What happened on "The Today Show"? We'll tell you. We have the video ahead.


COOPER: Up close tonight, the meltdown of a Hollywood fortune and the question: who's to blame? Turns out that Nicolas Cage, the Academy-Award-winning actor who's played his share of troubled characters, is facing a real life personal crisis. The news is striking, because Cage is successful. He works steadily, earns millions of dollars a year. But he also owes the IRS millions in back taxes. So how did his finances become such a mess?

Here's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nicolas Cage earned $40 million in just one year. So why is he crying poor? Cage blames his long-time business manager for allegedly mismanaging his money.

A lawsuit filed by Cage last month against Samuel Levin claims Levin, quote, "lined his pockets with several million dollars in business management fees while sending Cage down a path toward financial ruin." And that Cage is now, quote, "forced to sell major assets and investments at a significant loss because of Levin's incompetence, misrepresentations and recklessness."

The actor owes Uncle Sam more than $6 million in back taxes because, he says, Levin never filed his taxes.

(on camera) Here's what Cage claims Levin did, or should I say didn't do. According to the lawsuit, Levin was supposed to provide accurate accounting statements, prepare and file income taxes, and analyze the risk of potential investments in exchange for 5 percent of Cage's gross earnings.

Instead, the actor's accusing Levin of, quote, "gross mismanagement of his affairs" which resulted in significant monetary loss.

(voice-over) The 45-year-old Cage, who won an Oscar for his role in "Leaving Las Vegas," is suing Levin for at least $20 million, claiming professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

Levin did not return our calls for comment.

To free up cash, Cage, who is married to a former waitress and has a son with her, is unloading a handful of his homes around the country. On the market, this home in Belaire for about $10 million. This one in Las Vegas for the same price. His home in New Orleans for about $3.5 million. And this in Rhode Island, a 24,000-square-foot mansion with ocean views on 26 acres, list price, 12 million bucks.

He already sold this Bavarian castle in Germany for $2.5 million.

Does Cage have a case? Or should he have kept a closer eye on his own money?

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We're always all individually responsible for our own taxes. That's an obligation that can't be delegated to an accountant or to a business manager. When you sign your 1040 on the dotted line, you are responsible. And so Nic Cage is going to be responsible for his tax liability. KAYE: The lawsuit says Cage hired Levin in 2001 but that he first learned he was in dire straits after he replaced him in September 2008.

With 50 films in the last two decades and half a dozen more slated to be released in the next two years, Cage is a tireless actor. Good thing. It pays the bills.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: We should point out, with millions of Americans out of work, a lot of people are going to find it hard to sympathize with a Hollywood star who loses track of his tax payments and his multi- million-dollar fortune.

That said, are there lessons for all of us in this story? Joining me Evan Bell, who served as business manager for many celebrities, also CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom.

I mean, Evan, someone on the face of this sees this and says how can this happen? I mean, is it that hard to keep track of that much money?

EVAN BELL, BUSINESS MANAGER FOR CELEBRITIES: The answer is that it's really Nicolas Cage's responsibility. It's not his fault that his business manager didn't treat him properly. But it is his responsibility to review it and be involved.

COOPER: Do business managers usually get 5 percent? Do they work on a commission like that?

BELL: That's industry standard, yes, 5 percent.

COOPER: And I mean how hard is it to keep track of -- I mean, how easy is it for a business manager, if they wanted to, you know, squander money to do that or to line their pockets and not tell their client what's going on?

BELL: I wouldn't know because I've never tried.

COOPER: That's a good thing.

BELL: Having said that, our industry really has to be held to a higher standard. Nicolas Cage didn't have to approve every check. He didn't have to be aware of every stock trade in his portfolio. He didn't have to be -- understand every tax deduction. But his responsibility was to make sure that his net worth was growing. And that's a pretty simple thing to do.

On a regular basis, his job, his responsibility was to make sure that his asset base was growing. With his earnings and his asset base, his net worth should have been growing regularly and dramatically. And if it wasn't, he had to find out why. That was his responsibility. COOPER: Randi -- Lisa, Randi just laid out the allegations against the former business manager. How hard is something like this to prove?

BLOOM: Not necessarily hard. I assume there are a lot of documents. There are bank records, checks, credit card statements and so forth that are going to document everything.

Of course, we don't know what the defense is. Ordinarily, a financial officer to a very wealthy person like Nicolas Cage is going to have the client sign a lot of documents including what his tolerance for risk is. I mean, we don't know, for example, if Nic Cage wanted to have high-risk investments, which also mean you have a high risk of loss, which is what could have happened in the last year or so.

We just don't know how much was authorized by Nic Cage and how much was completely beyond what he wanted from this financial adviser.

COOPER: Evan, our viewers have been texting and writing questions. I want to go to a "Text 360" question. This is from Ann in New York City. She writes, "Does being in debt affect Nicolas Cage's Hollywood career?"

BELL: It won't affect it from a creative point of view. But it might affect him taking the jobs that he wouldn't take otherwise because he needs the money.

COOPER: Right. But he certainly has -- I mean, he has future earning power. So in that way, I mean, that -- there is light at the end of the tunnel for him if he's able to resolve these immediate problems. As long as he still stays employable, he'll have a steady source of income.

BELL: And as long as he watches his money. This could happen again. It's his responsibility to make sure this doesn't happen again.

COOPER: Lisa, you say with the amount of taxes that Cage owes, over 6 million, you may expect criminal charges?

BLOOM: Absolutely. I mean, that's a huge amount of taxes. The IRS does not take kindly to people not paying their taxes. I wonder, in fact, if this entire lawsuit is being done to try to protect Nicolas Cage from some kind of criminal or civil liability of the IRS coming after him so that he can say later on, "Look, it's not my fault. I had already filed this lawsuit."

Perhaps he's working out something with the IRS behind the scenes for $6 million. But remember Wesley Snipes. The IRS does not take kindly to people not paying their taxes, even if they're a major celebrity.

COOPER: But can't he say, Lisa, "Well, look, this guy defrauded me"? BLOOM: Everyone is responsible for their own taxes. And there's a picture of Wesley Snipes now, who also tried to blame someone else. Leona Helmsley had a similar problem. At the end of the day, when we sign the forms, we are responsible.

Now if it was simply a ministerial act, as apparently, he's claiming now, that "I thought the accountant was going to file it on my behalf. He was going to mail it off," and he didn't that, he's in a better position than simply saying that "I claimed deductions I wasn't entitled to" or something of that nature.

COOPER: So Evan, what's the lesson for folks at home who obviously don't have this kind of money but still, I mean, it's know -- know what you're spending, know what anyone you've, you know, signed over rights to, know what they're doing.

BELL: Absolutely. And I think Ronald Reagan said trust but verify. He could have trusted Samuel Levin to the end of the earth, but he should have verified. That was his job.

COOPER: Was it wise to have one person with that much control? I mean, you would think he would also have an attorney or perhaps an accountant or somebody also kind of checking the books?

BELL: Well, business managers are accountants, ordinarily. I think that Samuel Levin is also a CPA, as I am. And we take care of that. Ordinarily most of our clients have a manager. They have an agent. They have a lawyer. And we're all working in tandem, and everybody is looking over everybody's shoulders. So I'm very surprised that nobody else picked this up earlier.

COOPER: Evan Bell, appreciate your expertise. Thanks for being on. Lisa Bloom, as well.

Thanks, Lisa.

Coming up next, the video horrifying. A stroller with the baby inside rolls into the path of an oncoming train. The baby survived. Now his mom is speaking out. We hear from her for the first time, her incredible story ahead.

And how did in the world did an ewok end up humping Al Roker's leg on live TV? Oh, yes, we have the video and you kind of have to see it to believe it. It's our "Shot," coming up.


COOPER: All right. Let's check in with Erica Hill.

New guidelines in the battle of the H1N1 virus. A single dose of the vaccine will protect pregnant women against the virus instead of two as previously thought. Those findings today from federal health officials. Children under the age of 9, however, still need two doses of the vaccine.

Half a million pounds of ground beef being recalled because of a possible link to two death and more than two dozen E. coli infections. The meat was sold at various stores along the East Coast from Maine to North Carolina. For more details on this voluntary recall, log onto

Ford is announcing a profit. The only U.S. automaker not to file for bankruptcy this year now predicts it will be solidly profitable in 2011.

A 360 follow for you. It's tough to forget the video of that baby who survived being hit by a train. Still bothers me to watch it. After his stroller rolled onto the track. Well, his mother now speaking out. Here's what she told "The Today Show."


SHWETA VERMA, MOTHER: As you were approaching towards the ramp, I could hear him crying. And that's -- at that moment I was relieved. I was relieved by feeling that my boy is alive. My son is alive. And he is crying. So I unlocked the safety harness and I took him out in my arms.


HILL: Probably never want to let him go after. That all he had was a scratch on his head and he's fine.

COOPER: Unbelievable. So bizarre to watch that video again.

Time now for our "Beat 360" winners, our daily challenge to viewers, a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the photo that we put on the blog every day.

So tonight's photo, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dressed as Darth Vader. He greets children for a Halloween party in the East Room.

Staff winner tonight is Jay. His caption: "Dick Cheney, I am your father."


HILL: I noticed Dick Cheney-themed responses from the staff.

COOPER: Yes. Viewer winner is Ying Tor (ph) from New York, with the caption, "Press secretary Robert Gibbs woke up and finally realized that this job really does change you."


COOPER: Congratulations. Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.

So for tonight's "Shot," Erica. This is truly why we love live TV. Now, in case you missed it, a Halloween-themed segment on "The Today Show" last week got completely out of control, and it was all thanks to a couple of actors dressed up as ewoks. Watch and enjoy.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're awfully frisky.

You're not allowed to have vodka, sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a martini.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is the bootini. How cute. You actually take some decorative icing and then you're just going to put some blood...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is moonwalking. They're moonwalking.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's see that again. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's after too many martinis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you need an ewok to do party tricks, too. Look at these guys.

AL ROKER, "THE TODAY SHOW": Hey, hey, hey! Whoa!


HILL: Yes. A lovely finishing touch.

COOPER: I've watch this video now. It goes on for, like, three or four minutes. I watched it, I must say, many times today.

HILL: You can't get enough, can you?

COOPER: There are so many things -- I love Ann Curry's face in it. She's just like, "I've been to Darfur. Why am I doing this stupid segment?"

I love the guests...

HILL: I like pulling vodka away from an ewok.

COOPER: I love the guests on it who are like, "This is my segment. This is my big chance to be on 'The Today show.' And these, you know, ewoks..."

HILL: I want to talk about the bootini!

COOPER: Exactly. And the ewoks are just completely out of control. Now, there are rumors out there that the ewoks were plastered, throwing back a few drinks before the cameras were rolling.

HILL: Yes?

COOPER: We actually contacted one of the ewok actors. HILL: Not an easy feat.

COOPER: I -- yes.

HILL: Was he at the bar?

COOPER: I didn't actually speak to the ewok actor, but our crack staff did. This was the actor that was doing the moonwalk. He goes by the name Little Alex.

Little Alex told us he wasn't drunk and insists the producers told him to have fun. Asked to comment and he quoted "Today Show" executive producer, Jim Bell, who said, quote, "How do we know that encouraging an ewok to have fun would lead to a transgression on Al Roker's leg, we probably would have reconsidered our instructions."

HILL: Does that mean no more ewoks next year at Halloween?

COOPER: I think they should have ewoks every single day on "The Today Show." I would watch that thing religiously.

Now, I must say, the other fun video or picture I saw was you, Erica Hill, dressed up for Halloween on your show on CBS show on "CBS in the Morning."

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Dressed up -- there is the band Poison.

HILL: Yeah.

COOPER: Which -- who you are in this picture?

HILL: I'm on the -- well, if you're looking straight, I'm on the right.

COOPER: I guess I could tell that.

HILL: Sort of a C.C. De Ville-esque character.

COOPER: C.C. De Ville-esque.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Now, did you just have that outfit lying around the house?

HILL: Actually, my co-anchor, Chris Ragge (ph), everything was from his closet. The wig, you name it.

COOPER: That's all right. And you're a big fan of Poison, are you?

HILL: You know, there was a time in my life, perhaps, when I had another hairdo that you may recall when I was a big fan.

COOPER: If only we had that picture. Do we have that picture?

HILL: Poison, Motley Crue. You name it. Me and my sister, huge fans.

COOPER: Yes? Really?

HILL: And a little Bon Jovi.

COOPER: There's the hair.

HILL: There you go.

COOPER: There it is.

HILL: Lita Ford. I mean, the list of names goes on and on.

COOPER: Bring us back, now. When was that hair? Bring us back?

HILL: You want a date?

COOPER: Roughly? How old were you in that picture?

HILL: That was like -- I was, like, probably 11, almost 12. I begged my mother for months for that hair.

COOPER: Really?

HILL: Oh, yeah.

COOPER: What was it called?

HILL: I like to call it the Statue of Liberty hairdo. Perhaps a lion's mane. It is not, however, a mullet, Anderson.

COOPER: I feel like we're parsing a...

HILL: Oh, look.

COOPER: Oh, nice.

HILL: And then there's that do.

COOPER: Yes. I had the Flock of Seagulls hair cut.

HILL: You did. You know, it almost looked like you spray- painted it, like, purple. That makes it so much better.

COOPER: Exactly.

HILL: I was in Somalia with Flock of Seagulls, and I -- I didn't have access to a blow drier. It just sort of happened that way.

COOPER: All right. Enough.

HILL: It's never enough.

COOPER: We'll be right back.