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Health Care Reform Compromise Reached?; Tiger Woods Brand Damaged Beyond Repair?

Aired December 14, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, we have got breaking news: a possible deal in the behind-the-scenes struggle over health care. And what a struggle it is. But to get the last votes needed, have the Democrats done away with real reform? This on a day President Obama met with bankers. We bailed them out, but what did we get in return? We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight and David Gergen joins us for an insider's briefing.

Also ahead, a 360 follow. We have been investigating self-help salesman James Arthur Ray. That's him there, the man whose sweat lodge ceremony ended up with three people dead. Well, tonight, for the first time, a former senior employee of James Arthur Ray is speaking out to us. She was at the sweat lodge ceremony. And what she has to say is simply stunning.

And, later, Tiger Woods, another sponsor dropped him, even as his biggest backer says it's standing by him for now. His brand is battered for certain, but is it beyond repair? We will take you "Up Close."

We begin, though, with the breaking news in the health care battle. Now, we're getting late word that Senate Democrats are close to dropping a key compromise that was hammered out just last week. The part being dropped would have allowed 55- to 64-year-old Americans to buy into health care.

Now, the reason that compromise was there in the first place was a tradeoff for dropping a public option earlier from the bill. But the compromise hit a major snag when Senator Joe Lieberman said this weekend that he was against expanding Medicare and wouldn't support health care reform that included it.

So, Senate Democrats held an emergency meeting just tonight. Senator Lieberman of Connecticut, independent, is one of the essential votes, basically, one of the 60 votes that they need.

Dana Bash joins me now live with the latest.

Dana, what do we know? Is this thing dead or not?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it looks -- according to Democratic sources, it looks like they are poised to drop this idea, and, for one reason. You said it. It is because of Joe Lieberman and his opposition and the fact that they realize, with coaxing from the White House, that they simply can't pass health care without Joe Lieberman, especially not on the timetable they're looking for, and that is by Christmas.

And we talked about last week -- and you just mentioned -- that part of the idea here was to appease liberals...

COOPER: Right.

BASH: ... who really have been demanding a public option. Well, guess what, Anderson? We talked to many of those liberal Democrats, senators, tonight, and they suggested they are not happy with dropping the Medicare buy-in idea, but they may have to live with it.

Just want to tell you one quick story. I just bumped into the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid. He was on his way out of the Capitol. And I asked him about our reporting and the fact that we are hearing he is going to drop this Medicare buy-in idea. He didn't directly confirm it, but he wryly complimented our reporting track record and then he got in the car.


COOPER: So, what I don't get and what, frankly, a lot of Democrats don't seem to get about Senator Lieberman is, didn't he support the idea of expanding Medicaid just, I mean, like three months ago? There's this video from three months ago about him talking about why he supported it. I want to show this to our viewers.


SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: My proposals were to basically expand the existing successful public health insurance programs, Medicare and Medicaid.

When it came to Medicare, I was very focused on a group post-50, maybe post -- more like post-55, people who have retired early or unfortunately have been laid off early who lose their health insurance, and they're too young to qualify for Medicare. And what I was proposing was that they have an option to buy in to Medicare.


COOPER: OK. So, that was three months ago. Why the flip-flop?

BASH: That's right. Lieberman was talking three months ago about the fact that, in the past, he has supported it.

He campaigned, Anderson, with Al Gore -- remember, when he was a Democrat, the V.P. candidate with Al Gore -- on this issue. And in the years following that, he still supported this. He was explaining there why.

His office admits -- they have no choice -- they admit he has changed his position. The reason they give is because they say that deficits have skyrocketed since then. He's worried about adding to that. And he also sees that the Medicare program has much more strain than it had in the past. And I will tell you, his -- his spokesman gave me a quote. He said, if anyone believes the situation has not changed, they also believe that Tiger Woods is not a controversial figure at this moment.

COOPER: All right. Dana, appreciate the latest.

We are going to have a insider's report on health care with David Gergen in a moment.

But, first, I have got to tell you about the president and his meeting with bankers today. Now, it's no secret -- I mean, we all know that Wall Street and big banks are going to back to business as usual, big bonuses and all. Today, we have more evidence of that.

Wells Fargo became the fourth bank to announce it's going to repay in full the bailout money it received this year. That was $25 billion. Citigroup, meantime, said it's going to return nearly half of the $50 billion that they got from taxpayers. And, of course, banks, once they give back the money, they are then free to award big bonuses as they like.

Now, President Obama told "60 Minutes" last night that bankers still don't get it. Take a look.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fat-cat bankers on Wall Street. The only ones that are going to be paying out these fat bonuses are the ones that have now paid back that TARP money and...


STEVE KROFT, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that's why they paid it back so quickly?

OBAMA: I think, in some cases, that was a motivation, which I think tells me that the people on Wall Street still don't get it.


COOPER: So, what exactly doesn't Wall Street get?

Well, I just want to show you some numbers over here at the wall. These numbers, since last year, taxpayers have laid out through a variety of programs an awful lot of money. Take a look. They have laid out more than $450 billion in bailout money to banks.

Now, that money was supposed to help melt the credit freeze, right? It was supposed to get banks loaning again. But take a look at this. Banks have actually slashed business lending by about 15 percent.

Now, these are some of the banks the president was talking about, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase. Now, in addition to paying themselves those monster bonuses this year, which we're going to show you in a second, the banks were also spending money.

And guess what they spent an awful lot of money on, even when they were supposedly in such financial trouble? They spent it on lobbying, lobbying against financial regulation, reform that would put tighter control on banks and protect consumers.

So, how much did they spend on lobbying? Look at this. Goldman Sachs, they spent month are than $2.1 million on lobbying, Morgan Stanley, more than $3 million. J.P. Morgan, well, they spent $4.3 million. In fact, all told, commercial banks have spent more than $36 million this year in lobbying.

Now, that's $36 million, a huge amount of money, right? But it's nothing compared to what they gave themselves in bonuses. Take a look at this. Banks gave nearly $30 billion in bonuses. And that's just for the three banks, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase, now, all of this while the American people are hurting. And the number that most Americans are dealing with and facing every day is this number, 10 percent. That's the national unemployment rate.

For a lot of people, these numbers just do not add up. So, are the banks bilking us? And for all his tough talk on "60 Minutes," is President Obama really doing anything about it?

Ed Henry tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, what is interesting, as you noted, the real reason why the president let the bankers have it today is the fact that they were bailed out by the taxpayers. Now they're healthy again. And they're handing out bonuses, but threat not handing out a lot of loans, the president last night using tough language, calling them fat cats.

Today, he was a bit more diplomatic here at the White House, but he still let them have it. Take a listen.


OBAMA: my main message in today's meeting was very simple: that America's banks received extraordinary assistance from American taxpayers to rebuild their industry and now that they're back on their feet we expect an inordinate -- extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy.


HENRY: What's happening behind the scenes is that Democrats close to this White House say part of the reason the president is expressing so much outrage is, there's real fear within the party that, heading into a midterm election year, some of this populist outrage could be turned against the president.

Literally, from day one, since he was sworn into office, he's been expressing outrage about the bonuses. He's been demanding that the banks lend more money. And there has been very little action. And that's why there's concern at this White House that, unless they get ahead of it, it could be turned around against them, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, the more you're seen just expressing outrage and stamping your feet, but not actually doing anything about it, the -- the more powerless you start to look.

What are -- I mean, from the bankers' perspective -- and important to get their perspective -- what are they saying? I mean, the president's called them out before.

HENRY: It was really interesting. I was waiting out at the cameras here outside the West Wing of the White House. A few of the bankers came out. And I was just stunned to hear some of them saying that, look, this is really an optics problem; they have actually been lending a lot in the last year, but their story hasn't gotten out; they have got to do a better job in 2010 of telling it.

And then Richard Davis of U.S. Bancorp was basically saying, the meeting went really well with the president. We're all in agreement. We're going to lend even more money in 2010.

So, I pressed him. I said, look, if you're really all in agreement, and you're singing kumbaya, why has there not been more lending? Take a listen.


RICHARD DAVIS, CEO, U.S. BANCORP: Well, we do agree, but there's also a time and a place for lending to be a risk/reward measurement, right? So, at the end of a recession, the qualifications of most borrowers are lower than they were at the beginning. And the banks right now, more than ever, you don't want us to make loans that are not strong and well-suited for the consumer or for the small business.


HENRY: Now, Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, disagreed with that today, saying, basically, the president is not talking about going back to the crisis and basically lending money to people who can't afford it, and cooking the books.

Instead, he's talking about lending money to people who are just trying to refinance their homes, take advantage of these historically low interest rates. They have the money to do it, but they're tied up in regulations right now. There's a disconnect there.

That's what the president is pushing on. So far, he's gotten little action. But what the White House is pointing to tonight is the fact that, as you mentioned, Wells Fargo now giving back some bailout money. Citigroup also today gave back some bailout money. They think, slowly, but surrey, the banks are getting the message. But slowly is the key word here, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, you see those mortgage rates, 4.8 percent, and you think, you know, wow, I want to refinance my -- refinance my mortgage. But it's not that easy. It's -- they're holding on to the money. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Ed, appreciate the reporting.

Let us know what you think. Join the live chat right now at

Ahead on the program tonight: what all of this means for President Obama's ambitious promises on health care and Wall Street reform. Are these just bumps in the road, or has he lost control of his agenda? You look at his poll numbers, they are way, way down. We're going to get an insider's briefing from David Gergen in a moment.

And, then, a 360 follow: A former employee of this guy, James Arthur Ray, is speaking out about what she saw during that sweat lodge ceremony. Remember, he's that self-help guru salesman, the self- styled guru who supposedly helps people, had this sweat lodge ceremony that left three people dead. An insider is talking to us tonight.


COOPER: Cracking down on Wall Street and passing health care reform were two key promises President Obama made while campaigning. But, tonight, as we said, big banks are poised to pay out huge bonuses once again, despite slashing their lending. And Senator Joe Lieberman is threatening to derail the Senate health care bill.

It's fair to ask what all of this means for the president's agenda and whether he's lost control of it, frankly.

Many of our regular guests have unique access and inside knowledge about the stories of the day. Starting tonight, with senior political analyst David Gergen, we are going to be turning to them for an insider's briefing.

So, David, dropping the Medicare buy-in, could we be seeing, I mean, a liberal revolt in the wake of this? Because, I mean, a lot of people haven't been following the minutia of this, but, basically, that idea of expanding Medicare to 55 and above, that was all for liberals, who were angered over the public option being dropped out.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Let's put this in a larger context, first, Anderson. For a president who's had more trials than anybody I can remember in a long time, sort of "The Perils of Pauline" all year, this has become a climactic week for his presidency in his first year, because he has to deal with the bankers.

He's got to -- he's desperately trying now to rescue health care and save that, and he's going to Copenhagen at the end of the week. And that -- that potential treaty is also going south. He has got to rescue that.

Now, on -- on this issue of health care, there's no question that the liberal part of the Democratic Party is increasingly frustrated, angry, angry at the process, because they thought they were going to get a public option. That was -- became very central to them, but never central to Barack Obama, central to them. The moderates and centrists said, we don't want to buy into this.

So, the Senate came up and said, OK. Instead of doing that, let's have this Medicare buy-in. Look it, Joe Lieberman even supported it some time ago. Lieberman turns against it over the weekend, very firmly. They're short of the 60 votes. And, tonight, they're doing anything they can at the White House to salvage this. And the reports are they have been pushing Harry Reid to accept Lieberman's change of heart, to drop Medicare.

And I -- there's no sign -- there's nobody in the liberal ranks yet who has said he will break ranks, like a Russ Feingold, but that is potential. And, Anderson, there's also a potential here that the liberals are going to get angry at the president and the White House for not fighting harder to keep people corralled and get more of their views through.

COOPER: But, I mean, so, if he gets Lieberman on board by dropping this expansion of Medicare, they still need, what, Ben Nelson, and they need to figure out some language on abortion that Ben Nelson will support.

GERGEN: That's right.

They -- they conceivably would -- if they drop Medicare, could pick up support from Olympia Snowe.


GERGEN: She's been very troubled by this Medicare proposal. And maybe they could get Ben Nelson.

But, Anderson, there's one more step in this. The liberals may have to accept in the Senate some form of the Stupak anti-abortion amendment before this over in order to keep the House on board.

So, there's a -- there are a lot of moving parts on this still, but it's clear the White House is desperate to get to 60 votes this weekend. They are willing to drop darn near anything and move this bill to the right and strip it down of whatever it takes....

COOPER: And that's because it...

GERGEN: ... in order to get those 60.

COOPER: That's because it's so essential now for the president to be able to say, I got health care reform, whether or not -- almost no matter what it looks like at this point?

GERGEN: That's exactly right.

Now, in fairness to the White House, when they started this process, they never thought public option was very important. It's not been part of the debate, frankly, about -- the White House has been for universal access, and people are losing sight of it. This bill does provide near universal access. No president -- seven presidents have tried this. None has succeeded.

Barack Obama may succeed, insurance reform, some other important reforms. But, to the left, the public option, and, indeed the Medicare buy-in, was a dramatic step toward a single-payer system, which has been -- you know, is very much an iconic proposal...


GERGEN: ... for a lot on the left.

So, this is the White House is sort of like trying to get a balloon up in the air and just throwing things over the side until you get a little -- until you can get a little height on it.

COOPER: I want to play something that President Obama said to Oprah Winfrey last night in the special that aired last night. Let's watch.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": What grade would you give yourself for this year?

OBAMA: Good, solid B-plus.

WINFREY: A B-plus?

OBAMA: Yes. I mean, I think that we have inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


COOPER: So, he gives himself a B-plus, his approval ratings hitting a new low. I mean, is he trying to put a game face on a bad situation, or, I mean, does the White House perceive that there are successes on the brink?

GERGEN: They perceive that they have done better than the public thinks.

You will remember, with the CNN, we had a big national vote here earlier this year, and people gave him less than a B-plus. And, Anderson, it's really striking that, last week, when he went to Oslo to receive the most prestigious prize in the world, the Nobel Peace Prize, at that very moment, his Gallup poll was at the lowest level of any president since Harry Truman at that time in his -- in office.

So, you know, he's got this -- this odd paradoxical situation, where he's pulling off a Nobel Prize, but his ratings are real low. But here's the deal. Because this week is so climactic, if he can pull off health care and if he can pull off Copenhagen at the end of the week, then the belief in the White House is, with unemployment already peaking, that he will be on the comeback trail, and the B-plus may be -- or even an A-minus will be merited.

But if either one of those or both fall apart, and he can't get them, then B-plus is going to be way too generous.

COOPER: Well, for me, that's the takeaway from this interview, that this is the climactic week for the president on those three fronts...


COOPER: ... with the banks...


COOPER: ... with health care and Copenhagen.

David Gergen, we will continue to watch it. Thanks.

Tomorrow on the program: Is it Groundhog Day on Capitol Hill? But perhaps it's just almost Christmas? Congress just passed a huge spending bill loaded up with -- get this -- 5,000 earmarks worth almost $4 billion of your money. And it comes at a time when Congress is talk -- is about to raise the debt limit, so the government can borrow even more.

So, what happened to the Obama administration's promise to end this kind of spending, this kind of earmarks? We're "Keeping Them Honest" tomorrow night.

And next: a 360 follow: a former employee of self-help salesman James Arthur Ray. Now, this is a guy we have been following for months now, since those three people died in that sweat lodge. A former employee tonight, for the first time, and only here on 360, is speaking out about what she saw during that sweat lodge ceremony that killed three people -- details ahead.

And, later, more fallout for Tiger Woods: another sponsor bailing on him. Has his brand been damaged beyond repair? We will take a look at that.


COOPER: Hey. Welcome back.

You know, we have been following the case now of James Arthur Ray for weeks. Take a look. We want to show you his picture. It's important you know who this guy is.

This is Ray. He styles himself a self-help guru. He gives big seminars across the country. For years, he has made a lot of money from people who are looking for something, looking for motivation, looking for success, looking for a whole host of things in their lives.

Well, you will remember, three people died after taking part in a sweat lodge ceremony Mr. Ray was in charge of. And he hasn't cooperated with police, nor have his employees.

But, tonight, in extraordinary detail, a former high-level employee is going to describe what happened during that sweat lodge ceremony. Instead of helping the victims, Ray allegedly ignored their cries for help, did nothing as they were dying.

Now, all the information you are going to hear tonight is new.

Gary Tuchman spoke to the former senior employee. He joins us now -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Melinda Martin is the first person who worked for James Arthur Ray the day of this sweat lodge tragedy to speak out against him. And what she tells us is chilling and sickening.

Melinda was Ray's event coordinator. she helped plan the sweat lodge event in Sedona, Arizona. And many people were overcome by the oppressive heat. And three people, James Shore, Liz Neuman, and Kirby Brown, died.

Melinda was outside the tent, as the sick came out, with many collapsing, while, she says, Ray continued to lead the ceremony inside the tent.


MELINDA MARTIN, FORMER JAMES RAY INTERNATIONAL EMPLOYEE: It was like an absolute MASH unit, helicopters coming down. You know -- well, when he came out, the helicopters weren't there. But, at that time, it was still bodies everywhere, passed out. And then they -- he walked out of there looking like a million bucks.

TUCHMAN: What was James Ray doing during this time?

MARTIN: Watching, standing above and watching. They hosed him down. And he said, oh, thank you. And then he walked past the guy who was screaming, saying -- he was earlier saying he didn't want to die, and, "Please don't let me die."

And when James walked by him, this guy went to -- said to James from his sitting down position, he goes: "I died. I literally died, and I came back to life." And James is like: "Hey, all right, man," gave him a high-five. It was like fantastic.

And James, I think, was completely oblivious to the pandemonium that was taking place around that sweat lodge.

TUCHMAN: What happened during the worst point of all this, the most horrifying point?

MARTIN: My worst point or my most horrifying point was when the ambulances arrived, and the helicopters arrived, and the paramedics came and they surveyed Kirby Brown, and they put her in an ambulance, instead of a helicopter. And that was the worst moment for me.

TUCHMAN: Because you knew that it was too late for her?

MARTIN: Yes. And after me giving her mouth to mouth, I would breathe into her mouth, her stomach would go up, and when it would go back down again, she would vomit into my mouth. And this happened four times. And I really thought I was going to bring her back. I really thought that she was going to survive.


COOPER: I mean, it's stunning that James Arthur Ray left it to his employees to be giving mouth to mouth, while he's just standing there being hosed down and giving people high-fives.

You also did another story recently. You tracked down another woman who had died, committed suicide, apparently, during another James Arthur Ray seminar.

TUCHMAN: Right. And that event, Anderson, it was in San Diego. James Ray told participants to not carry I.D.s or cell phones, and pretend they were homeless for a few hours in the downtown area. It was supposedly a self-sufficiency exercise.

In the middle of it, one of his participants jumped off a balcony and killed herself. For seven hours, she was a Jane Doe in the hospital and morgue because she had no I.D. Meanwhile, James Ray employees and participants had no idea why Colleen Conaway didn't leave the event with them.

But the medical examiner says he confirmed with the James Ray people that nation that it was Colleen who had jumped.

But Melinda says, the next day, she had this conversation with Ray.


MARTIN: During breakfast, I inquired, I just said off-handedly, hey, any idea how -- where Colleen is, or have you been able to find her?

And the staff, they just all looked at me like -- you know, like -- you know, like deers in the headlight.

He said: "Well, I have talked to my attorneys. And, basically, it's really important that you're not involved in this. And we have found her, and she's fine, and she's decided not to return to the event. And if anybody else asks you that, we have found her. She's fine. She's decided not to return to the event."

TUCHMAN: Well, obviously, now you know she decided not to return to the event because she was dead.

MARTIN: Right.

TUCHMAN: But he told you that she was fine, though, James Ray.

MARTIN: Right. And I had no reason to not believe him.

I thought it was strange that he was kind of angry with me for asking questions. I thought it was an innocent question.


COOPER: So, Gary, I know you were actually kicked out of a James Arthur Ray meeting when you tried to ask a question. He hasn't been talking to the media. What does he have to say about this?

TUCHMAN: Well, James Ray, Anderson, is not talking to us. But his company has given us a statement, in which it declares, food, water, hoses to cool people off, and staff members with CPR training, which included Melinda, were outside the tent.

The company says -- quote -- "No one had any reason to think that more precautions were required. If Mr. Ray or James Ray International believed anything more was needed, they would have done it." And they also say, "The moment James Ray learned that sweat lodge participants had become seriously ill, Mr. Ray and his staff members acted immediately."

Now, Ray phase the possibility of serious charges. The investigation continues. The sheriff's office in Sedona is not talking to reporters, but is talking to families of the sweat lodge victims. And some of them have told us they are confident, based on their conversations, Ray will be charged.

Melinda Martin, who the James Ray company does acknowledge helped those who were sickened, has also been interviewed by the authorities, and tell us she believes Ray and others will be charged.


TUCHMAN: What have they told you about that?

MARTIN: I think they told me there might be 10 people indicted. I don't know who those 10 people might be.

TUCHMAN: But might we presume there are other employees of James Ray who would be included in that?

MARTIN: Yes, you know, I hate to speculate. All I can do is speculate. And that would look bad.


TUCHMAN: Melinda says she has been assured she will not be one of the people indicted. She adds she has regular nightmares about the situation, has visited family members of the victims.

And if you're wondering about her employment with Ray, she took a leave of absence before receiving a note from the James Ray company that her portion was being eliminated.

And, Anderson, not a big surprise here, but, down the road, very possible that she could be a very important prosecution witness against James Ray.

COOPER: Right.

And I kind of assumed that, after all these of deaths happened, that James Arthur Ray would, you know, at least cooperate with police, but, if not that, then at least have some decency and kind of go into seclusion or cancel seminars.

He's still out there making money.

TUCHMAN: Well, here's the latest, OK? You can sign up for James Ray courses next year. So, he can make money in that way. But he has stopped holding these free seminars...


COOPER: Oh, really? Because you went to some seminars right after these things had happened.

TUCHMAN: We went to a seminar afterwards. I wasn't allowed in. My producer went in, asked James Ray a question in front of 150 people: "Why are you asking seminars two weeks after three people died?"

He said, "This is not a news conference." My producer then got booed out of the room. A few days after that, he decided not to hold the seminars anymore.

COOPER: Wow. Well, at least that's one sign.

All right, Gary, appreciate it. Thanks. We will keep you posted.

Still ahead: Remember the video of that Chicago teen getting beaten to death? For weeks, police were trying to get anyone with information to talk. Well, tonight, we got one of the teenagers involved in the brawl to speak with us. He's the one without a shirt. I don't know if you can see it -- see him there. There, he's highlighted.

His brother is charged with murder. And what he says about the fight and the honor student who was beaten to death may surprise you.

Also ahead tonight: A major sponsor drops Tiger Woods, while another calls his sex scandal a minor blip. We will take an "Up Close" look at the real impact on Tiger, Inc.


COOPER: Still ahead, new information about teenagers and drugs. What they're using now and why. But first, Erica Hill has the "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, up to two feet of snow is expected to fall overnight on Oregon's Mt. Hood, where two hikers are still missing. Anthony Vietti and Katti Nolan have been missing since Friday. The body of a third climber as found on Saturday. Iran's foreign minister says three foreign hikers being held there will be put on trial. The hikers were detained on July 31 when, according to their family, they accidentally strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while on a hiking trip in Kurdistan. They're being held on espionage charges.

On Wall Street, stocks hitting 14-month highs today. The Dow Jones ending the session at 10,501. That's the highest close since October 1, 2008. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ also closing at their highest levels in more than a year.

And Ashley Dupre, the former Manhattan call girl who was linked to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is now an advice columnist for the New York Post. Her column, "Ask Ashley" debuted in Sunday's paper. The Post says she'll offer no-nonsense advice about sex, love and relationships.


HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Relationships? OK.

HILL: Yes. Why not?

COOPER: Still ahead, a major sponsor cuts ties with, speaking of, Tiger Woods, while others consider doing the same. His image is tarnished. He's taken an indefinite break from golf. Even if he repairs the damage at home, can Tiger Inc. survive the scandal?

Plus the story behind this disturbing video. Tonight, one of the teenagers involved is speaking out. Why he says the four teens charged with beating an honor student to the death should be set free, coming up.


COOPER: Tonight, "Crime & Punishment," the video that shocked the country. A brawl between two rival gangs at a Chicago high school in September. Some of the teens brought makeshift weapons. One young man ended up dead. Sixteen-year-old honor student Derrion Albert was hit in the head with a wooden plank and killed. Four other teenagers are charged in the crime.

One of them is Eugene Riley. Now, his brother, Vashon Bullock, was also involved in the fight. He sat down with CNN's T.J. Holmes. And what he says about the fight and the death of Derrion Albert may surprise you. Listen.


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Let me get to this point about -- about Derrion. Did you know him beforehand?


HOLMES: How well did you know him?

BULLOCK: I didn't know him like that. All I know is he used to come sit in the back of the lunchroom and come sit with us.

HOLMES: What happened that day that had you end up in the middle of all that?

BULLOCK: One of the kids had threw a rock at my brother's car. I approached the boys like why you all -- why you all throwing rocks and stuff at the car and stuff? They picked up and break some bottles. They picked up bottles and brought them. They ripped the railroad tracks up just to fight.

HOLMES (voice-over): The video shows a shirtless Vashon with his brother, Eugene Riley, standing next to him, both empty handed, as another teen whacks Vashon with a wooden plank. When the brothers appear again, they're holding planks.

(on camera) So your brother comes over and does what?

BULLOCK: Swung on one of them. He was fighting with him. He had to protect himself -- himself and me. Because I am his little brother.

HOLMES: You're telling me you just -- your brother was simply defending himself and defending you?

BULLOCK: Yes. Because they threw it -- come on, I got hit in the back of my head. He got hit in the back of his head with a stick.

HOLMES: Derrion, as far as you know, was he ever -- was he ever part of the group that was jumping you?

BULLOCK: I ain't going to say he was fighting me, because I -- I couldn't tell.

HOLMES: So you assumed he was over there trying to swing on you.

BULLOCK: No, I ain't assuming. I know for a fact.

HOLMES (voice-over): But authorities have repeatedly said Derrion was nothing more than an innocent bystander, on his way from school, caught between two rival groups.

Derrion was still on the ground when Vashon's brother, Eugene, delivered a final blow.

(on camera) I know it's your brother, and I know you love him. But did you think it was necessary to take it that far, to hit this kid with, like you called it, a weapon?

BULLOCK: They brought those weapons to the fight. That's what people don't understand.

HOLMES: If Derrion was down, if he was clearly being jumped, why did your brother -- why do you think your brother had to go after and hit this kid who clearly wasn't a threat anymore, at least?

BULLOCK: A threat anymore? He was a threat. He was another body, another body with two hands that could have been swinging on anybody.

HOLMES: What did you think when you heard that Derrion had been killed?

BULLOCK: It was like -- that was sad. Ain't nobody meant to take his life.

HOLMES (voice-over): After video of the brawl was released, Vashon's brother, Eugene, was taken into custody, one of four teens charged in the killing of Derrion Albert.

(on camera) Do you think your brother should be in jail right now?


HOLMES: Why not?

BULLOCK: Because it was a fight. Fight happens daily; people die daily.

HOLMES: You know for the police and for our justice system, that ain't good enough. Your brother picked up something, he hit a kid, and the kid died.

BULLOCK: What about the other people that picked up the weapons and hit me? Where they at?

HOLMES: Don't you think somebody should be held accountable for Derrion's death?

BULLOCK: No, not accountable for the whole thing. It was a mistake. Nobody wanted him to die. Nobody meant for him to die. We just was afraid. Fights get took out of hand. Not intentionally, just because.


COOPER: That was T.J. Holmes reporting. Let's dig deeper now with CNN educator contributor, Steve Perry.

You know, it's so disturbing when you see this. I mean, this young man doesn't want anybody held accountable. Clearly, you know, he doesn't want his brother held accountable. But it just sort of seems like that there's this acceptance of, like, "You know what? It was just a fight, and these things happen."

STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there's a desensitivization to violence in this community. When you think about it for a second, since that weekend in which Derrion was one of just six teenagers to die, 85 -- over 85 people have been murdered in Chicago. In the same time period, just over 85 have been met -- have been murdered in Afghanistan.

This is an entire country versus a community. These children are desensitized to the point that they don't even see what it is that they're doing to contribute to it, because they've been practicing this for so long, this back and forth. He said people die every day.

I was in Chicago a couple weeks ago. And I asked a young man, "Does any of this surprise you anymore?"

He said, "No."

I said, "Even when kids get killed?"


We have given up on these children. We haven't given them access to quality education. I'm always surprised that...

COOPER: You -- you point to the education system?

PERRY: It's one of the places. It's one of the places. It's a very important place. The elephant in the room is as we listen to this young man, we can tell he's clearly inarticulate. Let's just be honest. He's clearly inarticulate.

COOPER: Right. Right, his ability to speak his thoughts is limited.

PERRY: Right. He wasn't born that way, presumably. He had access to a school system that did not educate him.

When we don't educate young people we make them dangerous individuals. Educated people are usually safe to be around. Uneducated people, not so much.

Let's take it one step further. I'm always surprised when I drive through communities, especially the one that they're talking about. When I see church after church after church. I see all these churches. With so many churches in a community how could there be so much strife? How could there be so much danger? At some point, this community has to begin to accept full responsibility.

The mayor has been the mayor for the entire life of most of these children who have been in the school system.

COOPER: Right. And we were there, I mean, right after this happened. And the mayor gave a press conference and, you know, the Department of Education, the head of education was there. The attorney general was there, and they were saying, enough is enough. But you know, you saw the mayor saying that and you're like, how many press conferences has this mayor given saying that exact same thing? And nothing changes.

PERRY: And the president is from there. Arne Duncan is from there. Yet, we're sending money overseas to fight a war when the most dangerous of the two places is in the United States right there in Chicago, USA.

COOPER: So for you, it's two-pronged. It's communities taking responsibility, parents, families, churches and -- and the education system?

PERRY: Absolutely. I don't understand how teachers and principals can comfortably take their salaries when they know they're not educating children. I don't understand how preachers can comfortably take their 10 percent on the weekend when they know that the community is not being safe.

Likewise, I don't understand how a mayor can feel comfortable running for office again when he's now heading up one of the poorest communities in the country and one of the slowest performing school systems in the country.

At some point we have to start holding some people accountable. This is not about making friends. This is about changing the circumstances. These children deserve access to a quality American life. They're born in America. This child is just one example. Seven people were murdered this past weekend. Almost 25 have been murdered in December. At some point, something has to jar us into understanding what we are creating killers.

COOPER: Right. And it doesn't -- frankly, truth be told, it doesn't even make national headlines anymore.


COOPER: It's maybe some local headlines, if that.

PERRY: If that. I mean, there are a number of sites that are dedicated to the murder rate in Chicago. You go on the Internet and just do "murder in Chicago," and there are a number of sites that come up. And they have little dots on them, little pins on them for the number of murders in each community. And they're different colors for different months, as if they're counting the national debt.

COOPER: It's remarkable. Steve, appreciate your voice. Thanks.

PERRY: Thank you.

COOPER: Steve Perry.

How long how big a problem is youth violence? Go to for some raw data on that.

Coming up next, Tiger Inc. Could Tiger Woods or Tiger Inc. be on the brink of collapse? New word from sponsors who are saying good-bye to the superstar. And controversy from one company leader that calls Woods' indirections a minor blip.

Plus, Berlusconi beaten up. Did you see this over the weekend? Update on the Italian prime minister's condition. He had some teeth knocked out. I think his nose is broken. It's really bloodied there. We'll tell you what happened after. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Up close tonight, Tiger Woods, the battered brand, the fallen superstar. While his alleged mistresses continue to speak out and continue to pop up, his self-imposed seclusion continues. He's on an indefinite leave from professional golf.

He's admitted to transgressions and infidelity. He's also asking his business partners for understanding.

One sponsor apparently has had enough. Accenture, a huge global consulting firm, severed its ties with Woods this weekend. And just today, the watchmaker Tag Heuer says they have to examine its long- term relationship with him. AT&T apparently doing the same.

Then today, Tiger got a major show of support from perhaps his biggest and most lucrative sponsor, Nike. Its chairman, Phil Knight, telling "Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal," quote, "When his career is over, he'll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now."

So is it a minor blip? Let's talk about it with Christine Brennan, sports columnist for "USA Today," and Rick Horrow, a sports business attorney.

Christine, all the ways to characterize what's happening to Tiger Woods, does minor blip fit in?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "USA TODAY": No, it does not, Anderson. Although coming from Phil Knight, who runs Nike and loves having that renegade image, we shouldn't be surprised that those would be the words that he would utter. This is the man who signed up Tanya Harding after the attack on Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.

COOPER: Did he really?

BRENNAN: Yes, he gave her $25,000. Not a lot of money, but he felt she was being maligned, and he wanted to support her. That's the kind of stuff they do.

COOPER: I have no memory of that. I blocked that out. That's incredible.

BRENNAN: Well, but -- but that's what Nike does.

I've got to say, though, minor blip, my goodness. It seems to me a bit of a slap in the face to -- to women, to husbands and wives, to children. Is that really the image that Nike wants to project?

COOPER: You know, Rick, it's interesting. When you hear minor blip, I was walking through an airport the other day, and you see those Accenture ads. And you look at them in a whole different way. Do you think more sponsors are going to go the way of Accenture and drop Woods?

RICK HORROW, SPORTS BUSINESS ATTORNEY: It's not only that they dropped him but how they dropped him. This is the first statement that Tiger may not have had a hand in drafting himself.

Gillette, the day before said they accept his privacy and the opportunity for hiatus. Accenture says this is no longer the right fit.

And I would also understand, and so would Christine, that this is a business reality as far as Nike. The Nike golf brand is Tiger. When Tiger came on tour, there was no such thing as Nike golf. There are 800 million reasons why Phil Knight might minimize this. That's the gross sales of Nike's responsibility and the commitment of the golf brand. So it probably is an inartful choice of words, but we understand the business realities.

COOPER: Yes. It will be interesting to see, to track those sales over the next couple weeks and months.

Christine, I want to play something for you. It's a promotional clip we found from Sky News in New Zealand. They taped an interview with Tiger Woods just last month, obviously, before his accident. It was supposed to air on Christmas day. It's been pushed up. He's asked about his family and, obviously, some people will view what he says as kind of contradictory to what's being known now.

Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the man who had it all.

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: It's been great, actually. The best thing that's ever happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fame, fortune and family.

WOODS: They got my wife's stubbornness, so that's enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man unaware that very soon, fate would make his answers sound like lies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Family first and golf second? Always been like that?

WOODS: Always.


COOPER; Christine, I mean, that's essentially what he said to "60 Minutes" a while back, that you know, family comes first. And I guess this speaks to the issue of hypocrisy, that I hadn't realized that he kind of crafted a very public image as a family man. I hadn't followed him that closely.

But clearly, I mean, he would bring his family not only to events but bring them up in interviews as part of his brand, basically.

BRENNAN: Exactly. And the Web site, family photos when the first child, the girl, and then the boy was born. And, you know, Michael Jordan never did that. And there's Tiger doing that, Anderson. And the family on the green after he wins a golf tournament. And, you know, he's playing to the country club crowd. He's playing to the corporate crowd in many ways.

A lot of his ads are these cross-cultural multimillion dollar ads that other athletes have never received. These are people who don't like to be duped or surprised. And here they are, looking at Tiger now, the charade, this image that has turned out to be a fraud.

And I think that's why there's such a reaction from some of these companies, in the sense that, hey, we don't like this. We don't like being misled.

COOPER: You know, Rick, is it a little bit like, you know, the French police officer who was shocked to learn there's gambling in Rick's Casino? I mean, you know, most Americans kind of know what happens to sports figures on the road or certainly have heard stories about, you know, the excesses of well-known sports figures on the road and what they have available to them.

Do you think they -- will sports figures in some way be looked at now twice and three times before a brand decides to invest in them?

HORROW: Anderson, this is absolutely the perfect storm. One of the most, if not the most, recognizable man in the history of the universe combined with the blogosphere Internet access, where accurate or inaccurate information is purveyed worldwide in a matter of seconds.

You know, corporate America in the world spends about $12 billion on endorsements. Because of all this, the contracts in the future, I guarantee you, will be shorter, smaller and easier to terminate.

COOPER: That's an interesting idea. Rick Horrow, appreciate you being on.

Christine Brennan, thanks, as well.

Coming up next, serious news for parents. Teens are less afraid of certain drugs than they have ever been before. We'll tell you which drugs are on the rise and why.

Plus, the Italian prime minister still in the hospital after an attack. The latest on Silvio Berlusconi's condition, ahead.


COOPER: A couple other important items to cover. Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, more American teens are smoking pot. That's according to an annual survey of 47,000 eighth, tenth and twelfth graders. Research says the national debate over medical marijuana makes the drug seem safer to teens. The research also shows fewer teens view prescription drugs and ecstasy as being dangerous. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case to determine just how much of your messaging your employer can see. At issue here is whether a California police department violated an officer's privacy rights by looking at his text messages which were sent on a device the department issued. Those messages were sexually explicit.

Overseas now to a bloody attack. Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi remains hospitalized after a man...

COOPER: Yikes!

HILL: Threw a statue -- yes, threw a statue in his favor over the weekend, breaking his nose and two teeth. A suspect is in custody.

And yikes for this guy. A deer in Colorado Springs. Look. He got a little too close to the lights.

COOPER: Oh, or he really likes Christmas.

HILL: I think he does. He's got the spirit with him at all times. The festive deer has been spotted in the area for, like, about two weeks now. Some residents actually tried to corner it so they could help get the lights off. No luck there.

The Division of Wildlife says as long as the lights are not covering the deer's mouth or feet, they're going to leave him alone, noting that his antlers should actually fall off in the winter.

COOPER: He might be one of those deer that hates Christmas and he's trying to destroy it.

HILL: Perhaps, Mr. Grinch. I don't know.

COOPER: I'm trying to figure out what the deer is thinking. Well, I hope he gets those lights off at some point. You think they would come off at some point.

HILL: I think they're really wound on there pretty tight.

COOPER: When he sheds his antlers, that's right. Thanks, Charlie.

HILL: There you go. As I just said. I'm glad you were listening.

COOPER: Did you just say that?

HILL: I did.

COOPER: You did? I'm sorry.

HILL: It's OK. We have Charlie for backup.

COOPER: Well, yes, Charlie's the hunter. So...

HILL: Charlie loves when we say his name on TV. So...

COOPER: For tonight's "Shot," showing some skills with the ukulele. This kid is so cute. Check this out: this rendition of the song, "I'm Yours."




HILL: I love it.

COOPER: It's so great. Jason Mraz, the guy who sings "I'm Yours," called the boy a little genius and said he has an extraordinary grasp on music.

HILL: Is he opening for Jason Mraz?

COOPER: He should. How cool would that be?

HILL: College fund, taken care of.

COOPER: Can we play more of this? Or are we out of time?




COOPER: Yes. He's great.

HILL: He's fantastic.

COOPER: Up next, breaking news in the health-care battle. We don't know his name, by the way. Otherwise, I would have said his name.

Breaking news in the health-care battle. Late word that Democrats have struck another deal to hold on to the votes they desperately need, including Senator Joe Lieberman's. We'll tell you what they gave up, ahead.


COOPER: Tonight we've got breaking news, a possible deal in the behind-the-scenes struggle over health care and what a struggle it is. But to get the last votes needed, have the Democrats done away with real reform?

This on a day when President Obama met with bankers. We bailed them out, but what did we get in return? We're "Keeping Them Honest." Tonight, David Gergen joins us for an insider's briefing.

Also ahead, a "360" follow. We have been investigating self-help salesman James Arthur Ray. That's him there.