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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Healthcare Hardball; Haiti Homecoming; Game of Death; Corey Haim Drug Arrest; Making Green Beer
Aired March 17, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, did a flight on Air Force One do it? We'll talk to the Congressman who took a round trip then did an about face switching his vote on health care reform.
And what's in that bill anyway? President Obama said the special favors would be out? The question is, are they? We're "Keeping them Honest".
Also tonight: a "360 Follow" on those 33 Haitian kids taken by missionary Laura Silsby. Not orphans it turns out; they all have families. Returning them to those families though is turning out to be a lot tougher than you would imagine but not for the reasons you might think.
And later, a game show where contestants shock each other with high voltage. Could you cheer as somebody delivers the big jolts of electricity into someone else's body? Could you push the lever? You'll be horrified to know just how many people did. They called it the "Game of Death". We'll take you "Up Close".
First up tonight, what the White House though, is doing behind closed doors to pass health care reform. They need 216 votes in the House, likely all Democrats and momentum appears to be going their way.
Now Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a liberal but a firm no for months, he changed his mind today. We'll talk to him in a moment.
Critics on all sides of the aisle, though, especially Republicans continue to raise questions about how this is getting done. They're still talking about that procedural maneuver that would let House members vote for the fixes to the Senate bill without first voting for the unfixed version.
Now, President Obama side-stepped that question today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And you don't like to talk about process but there are a lot of questions in these 18,000 that talk about process.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand -- BAIER: -- and there're a lot of people around America that have a problem with this process. You called it an ugly process last month.
OBAMA: Bret, I've got to tell, I've got say to you, there are a lot more people who are concerned about the fact that they may be losing their house or going bankrupt because of health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He was also asked about what exactly House members will be voting on perhaps as early as this weekend. And no word yet from the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, which will add up the cost -- that may come tomorrow.
But hints that some of the special items put into win votes the first time around and that stirred up such a storm are gone. But others are not.
Ed Henry tonight is doing the digging and he's "Keeping them Honest".
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was just a week ago the president's aides vowed he was getting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to strip all those questionable side deals out of the final health care bill.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And we've made it clear to the Senate -- that the president's position in the final legislation should not contain provisions that favor a single state or a single district differently than others.
HENRY: But "Keeping them Honest", we tried to find out if the special deals, like $100 million for just one hospital in Connecticut secured by Senator Chris Dodd have really been taken out. The answer is nobody, not even the president knows for sure. Because just a few days before the historic final vote, top officials at the White House tell CNN the final bill is still not finished so they do not know what's in and what's out.
The air of mystery has helped fuel Republican charges the legislation was created by an illegitimate process.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It was produced behind closed doors, it was produced with unsavory -- I say that with respect -- deal making, the Louisiana Purchase, funding the $300 million for one state. The Cornhusker kickback, which is, I understand now been done away with.
One of the things that as provisions to this legislation that was particularly offensive was the carve-out for 800,000 Florida seniors exempt from cuts in Medicare Advantage program. HENRY: A White House official told CNN, he's been told the provision protecting Floridians from Medicare cuts is out. But a top Senate Democratic aide said it was still up in the air. Both aides believe the so-called Cornhusker Kickback for Senator Ben Nelson that cushioned Nebraska from increased Medicaid costs is out of the final package.
But the White House official said the so-called Louisiana Purchase, $300 million in Medicaid help that won the vote of Senator Mary Landrieu is staying in. That's because it would apply to any state that has all its counties declared a disaster zone and not just post-Katrina/Louisiana.
DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I think that's different than a special states specific thing. In the case of Nebraska what everyone was outraged about was that it seemed to be a special deal just for one state. That's not going to be in this bill.
HENRY: But in fact, the White House cannot say with certainty that Chris Dodd's special $100 million hospital deal for the University of Connecticut will be cut. A White House official said the president has asked for it to be removed. But a top senate aide said Dodd is fighting hard to keep it in and may win.
COOPER: So, Ed, there's a lot of mystery about what is in and what is out. Did the president clear it up in the interview he did tonight at Fox?
HENRY: You know, he really didn't and he was asked specifically for example about that $100 million hospital in Connecticut and was vague about the details. And that's because when I've been pressing White House officials today, they are honest about acknowledging, even they do not know what is going to be in the final legislation and that is a remarkable statement, just hours before this historic vote.
I think, what does need to be said, though, in that Fox interview, the president was making clear, this is a system he's dealing with. He wishes that Congress would not act this way but he can't turn it around in just -- just over a year obviously. And it also has to be noted that the president has been pushing Democrats and they say, they'll do this, once the bill is finalized, they think that will be tomorrow. They're going to post it online for 72 hours for everyone to see it before it's voted on.
We'll see if they follow through on that.
COOPER: So the -- what the vote would be then what? Sunday?
HENRY: Sunday, yes. And what's interesting is that we're supposed to be leaving with the president to go to Guam, Indonesia and Australia on Sunday afternoon. Maybe this thing is going to be passed in the House Sunday morning.
Obviously the president will want to sign that before he heads overseas. There's been even some talk today, his trip could be delayed another day. There's a lot of chaos in Washington right now because nobody really knows where this is going to wind up -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, fascinating stuff. Ed Henry thanks.
A remarkable example of just how divisive this debate really is. Call it Bishops are from Mars, Nuns are from Venus. A group of Catholic nuns is urging a yes vote on the bill, breaking from American bishops who say, it doesn't do enough to block federal money from being used to fund abortion.
Well, let us know what you think. The live chat is up and running at AC360.com.
Up next, Congressman and former presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich on why he changed his mind and is voting for the bill. What President Obama said to him and if there was any arm twisting involved.
And later, what would you do? Could you actually shock someone with 460 volts of electricity because a game show host told you to? And it's called the "Game of Death". And what it reveals about what is inside all of us. Well, it's pretty scary and fascinating.
COOPER: "Raw Politics" tonight in the raw numbers of health care reform, in human terms, 30-some million Americans who would get access to insurance under the bill. In political terms, we're talking about 216 votes in the House, 51 in the senate to get it done.
Our next guest, a liberal Democrat from Cleveland, counted himself as a no vote until today. Quickly here's the quick before and after picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: The bill is a terribly flawed bill that will lock in the privatization of health care, $70 billion bonanza for the insurance industry.
I have decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation. If my vote is to be counted, let it count now for passage of the bill hopefully, in the direction of comprehensive health care reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And joining us now is Congressman and former presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich. Congressman, thanks for being with us.
You have said in the past that this bill represented a give away to the insurance industry, that it was a bailout, that the public option was taken out in what you called backroom deals. Do you no longer believe that? KUCINICH: Well, I don't take -- I don't take anything I have said. But what I have done, Anderson, is I have tried in every possible way to change this bill. I wasn't for the public option to begin with. I'm for single payer, most people know that, but what I saw at last, despite every effort I made, I couldn't change the bill.
Then I was faced with this possibility, either I'm going to be the decisive vote to kill the bill or I'm going to be a decisive vote to help pass it.
And that was a moment where I talked to the president and others and decided that I'll give it a chance to move down the road. That it's a first step and the things that I'm concerned about I'm going to keep fighting for. I want to help the states get the right to pursue single payer. I want to stay in the mix here and not abandon a chance here to use the passage of this as a lever to move towards other reforms.
But I don't like the bill, Anderson. I don't like it.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, just last week, you said that even if you were the deciding vote, that that wouldn't make you change your mind. So I mean, your critics will say well, that was just posturing.
KUCINICH: Well, I was certainly doing everything I could to change the bill. And I still am trying to get it changed. But by last week, it became abundantly clear that in fact I was looking at being a decisive vote and I did not want to be the person who took this whole process over a cliff because there are some things that we can do once the bill passes in order to create some room for a more comprehensive health care.
COOPER: How much --
KUCINICH: And so -- yes.
COOPER: -- of your time with the president made the difference? Because I mean, he went to your home state a couple of days ago, he's made his pitch to you personally. You rode on Air Force One. And I want to show our viewers a little bit of what happened at a town hall that you both have together. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Your own Congressman who is tireless on behalf of working people, Dennis Kucinich. Did you hear that, Dennis? Well, say that again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vote yes.
OBAMA: And I --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So someone in the audience saying, "vote yes". I mean, did the president give you something or promise you something, that he would campaign for you, raise money for you? Was there -- you know, obviously a lot of arm twisting is going on. Did he twist your arm?
KUCINICH: No. I was trying to convince him while we were on Air Force One. It wasn't the first conversation we've had, Anderson. I mean, I had four specific meetings with the president about health care. And before that, we campaigned nationally together. I understood his position. He wasn't for single payer, but I was trying to use any opportunity I had to impress upon the president the importance of a public option and of having an amendment passed that would protect the right of states to pursue single payer. He wasn't going to do that.
Now, when I finally understood after talking to him and the Congressional leaders said, there's no way we could that. Then, I'm faced with -- I've got to make a decision here. It's not the bill I want, it's not the bill I like --
KUCINICH: -- it's not the one I would have written.
But I've had to make a decision to see if we can move the process beyond where we are right now with this -- if this bill succeeds, then I'm going to be vitally involved in crafting health care legislation down the road and I'm going to do it with the President of the United States.
COOPER: Very quickly, you said today, you didn't want to see the Obama presidency destroyed if this bill doesn't pass.
COOPER: Do you think it would destroy the presidency if it doesn't pass?
KUCINICH: I think there's a lot riding on this, absolutely. I mean, there's -- I mean, the president is aware of that and I think, the whole country is.
One of the things I'm concerned about is that, you know, right from the beginning, his presidency had been under attack and there was an attempt to de-legitimatize him.
I think that the economy being what it is, people have built so much angst into this health care bill because we still have yet to successfully deal with unemployment, the fact that so many people are under water in their homes, so many people who are -- are waiting for an opportunity to get back in the game with banks loosening up their lending if that happens.
I mean, there's a lot of unsettling things happening in the economy, so the president's health care bill is like at the epicenter of what's happening and if it fails, it is damaging not just to him, but it's damaging to the country.
COOPER: Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake.com one of the big liberal blogs said that she was outraged over your decision and that you should give back donations that you received from people who supported your opposition to the bill. Are you planning to do that?
KUCINICH: We've already set that in motion. I mean, I knew immediately that once I changed my position, anybody who made a contribution to support me, based on holding out and voting against the bill should get their money back, absolutely. There's no question about that.
COOPER: Congressman Dennis Kucinich, I appreciate your time sir, thank you.
KUCINICH: Thank you, Anderson Cooper, I appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We're going to talk "Strategy" next with Dee Dee Myers and Bill Bennett about the reform bill's chance for passage.
And later, an arrest in connection with the death of Corey Haim: the questions about prescription drugs, stolen doctor's pads and whether Corey Haim was doctor shopping before his death. Jeffrey Toobin and Dr. Drew Pinsky join us.
COOPER: We're talking about health care reform and the last- minute arm twisting to get reluctant House Democrats to vote yes. The White House needs 216, every single Republican likely to vote no. Republican and Democrats, there are now upwards of 200 likely are committed no's.
Let's talk "Strategy" with political contributor and conservative, Bill Bennett, author of "A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears". Also Dee Dee Myers, Bill Clinton's former press secretary and author of "Why Woman Should Rule the World".
So Bill, the Democrats picked up a couple of more yes votes with Kucinich and Kildee. Do you think the Democrats are gaining momentum in their drive to pass this thing?
BILL BENNETT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I don't know. I know they picked up a couple of votes. The things I'm hearing is there's still a lot of arm twisting and still a lot of reluctance. Obviously they don't have the votes because if they did they would have the votes and vote.
COOPER: Yes and Dee Dee, I mean, Kildee's announcement gave hope to some that so-called pro-life Democrats might give their opposition this bill might start to crumble with Stupak because Stupak says he's still voting against it.
DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Right, but you know, you don't need to pick up every single member who was concerned about the abortion language to pick up enough to pass the bill. So I do think there's a little momentum gaining and I think it's going to be a slug right up until the very last vote. You know, there's going to be one or two members sitting in the cloak room hoping that they don't have to vote in favor of it, but when push comes to shove, they'll do it.
COOPER: And Dee Dee, why do you think Kucinich finally switched?
MYERS: Because I think the -- you can't let the purpose be the enemy of the good. We've been trying for 25 years to do something to get 30 or 40 million uninsured Americans some kind of coverage and this wasn't the bill that Dennis Kucinich wanted. But he understands this is the best bill we can get right now.
COOPER: But why only make that switch after you get a ride on the plane and you know the president calls you and --
MYERS: Well, because -- you know, we're heading down to the finish line. And there's just a few days left before everyone's going to have to cast a vote on this thing, or however -- however it ends up being adjudicated in the end. But I think the time was right for Kucinich to step forward as somebody who is a leader among very progressive, very liberal Democrats and say this is the best we can do. It's not perfect, but let's pass it and make it better.
COOPER: Bill, does Kucinich have any impact though, on moderate fiscally conservative Democrats, who've yet to come onboard? I mean, he wanted a bigger more expansive bill?
BENNETT: I don't think so. He's pretty much in his own sphere, in his own area of the universe, interesting guy. I won't be cynical here though, I don't know if there was a kick back or a deal.
But the most persuasive thing I think, I think Dee Dee would agree that the president can do in a situation like this, is to ask and say I really need your vote. When the head of your party, the President of the United States asks for that, it's a big deal.
Now there's a whole question as to what they get when they get this. Dee Dee says the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good. Is this good? The American people don't think it's good. But if they're going to do it, be careful what you wish for, as Bishop Butler says, because you may get it.
COOPER: And Dee Dee, what about this way that the Democrats may end up voting on this thing. I mean, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on ABC this morning that the Democrats are going to push this Senate Health care reform bill, using this -- this deem-and-pass procedure.
I just want to show our viewers what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STENY HOYER, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: This is not an unusual procedure. We're going to vote on a rule. It's simply like a conference report. The conference report comes back and you vote on it with amendments.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: What he failed note is that the senate bill will actually, you know, not be voted on and the votes only going to be on the changes to the bill. So this is really a historic piece of legislation, one of the biggest pieces of legislation of social change in decades. Shouldn't the American people see where their representatives really stand?
MYERS: Look, I would prefer if they voted on the bill. I think it is a big important piece of legislation. But I think at the end of the day, when all is said and done, this is a big, important, complicated piece of legislation. And I think the debate as soon as it's passed and signed will be about what's in the bill.
The technicalities of how it passes, even as ugly as it might get, I don't think will be as important as convincing the American people that this is in their interest. Going around the country and showing, how many million people now have coverage who didn't, how many people with preexisting conditions who couldn't get coverage now can?
This will affect people immediately and it's going to be incumbent on Democrat members to go home and to sell this, to remind people what's in it and convince them that its' in the interest of the country.
COOPER: Bill if it passes, does the way it passed matter? I mean, Republicans have used this -- this deem-and-pass method to push legislation through in the past?
BENNETT: I think Dee Dee's first word -- first modifier was the most correct. When it's ugly, it's ugly, it's shabby and as your own Jack Cafferty said, it's sleazy. Yes, Republicans have done this. They did it with Dee Dee's boss, Bill Clinton, welfare legislation, with capital gains tax cuts but there was bipartisan support. There is none here and there is strong public opposition.
I think he runs the choice of either being ineffectual if he doesn't get it or imperious, if he does. I don't think this is going to go down well.
COOPER: The bottom line, Bill, do you think this will pass?
BENNETT: No, I don't. No, I don't.
COOPER: Dee Dee, do you think?
MYERS: I do. I think at the end of the day, the president is going to do what Bill suggested, which is look these members in the eye and ask them and say look, we've been talking about this for generations, it's time to get it done. And I think that that will be the decisive factor.
COOPER: Dee Dee Myers, Bill Bennett, thanks for being on.
BENNETT: Thank you.
MYERS: Thank you.
COOPER: One final item on this topic. If you are a political junkie and know the vote count is changing by the minute go to AC360.com where you can find a running tally and see where your elected representative now stands.
Up next tonight, those 33 kids down in Haiti, missionary Laura Silsby took them from their families as you'll remember. Well, now the "360 Follow" on their return, reunited with their families and sadly some rude awakenings.
And later, a game show that's really no game at all. It involves electric shocks to contestants, it's called the "Game of Death" and it uncovers a deadly dark side of human nature.
COOPER: Our continuing commitment to cover Haiti, new developments tonight on a story that we've been following closely here on 360. Ten American missionaries arrested in Haiti on kidnapping charges in late January. You know about this, they were stopped at the Haitian/Dominican Republic border with 33 Haitian kids claimed they were orphaned by the earthquake.
Nine of those missionaries have been released, returned to U.S. Laura Silsby, the leader of the group remains in custody. That's her.
Well, today nearly all of the children were reunited with their families but it is not necessarily a happy ending.
Sara Sidner is in Port-au-Prince with the latest.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Daphnis Adrien waits to see his family after being separated for six weeks. It should be a happy moment, but it doesn't turn out the way you might think. Daphnis does not want to go home.
"I am leaving my mom," he says. But the mom he's talking about isn't his mom at all. It's the caretaker he's been with from a child protection group. He knows his biological mother gave him away after the earthquake and still today she makes no apologies.
"Life was so bad, he was leaving with foreigners to go to Santo Domingo to look for a better life and things went wrong," she says.
Daphnis is one of the 33 children taken by American Baptist missionary Laura Silsby and her crew, who had claimed the children were all orphans in desperate need of help after Haiti's earthquake killed so many parents.
It turns out none are orphans and under Haitian law they must now be reunited with their families. For little Jenny, the reunion is also a birthday president, she just turned one.
"I am happy I have found her," her mother says. But why did parents who say they love their children deeply give them away?
LINA WOLF NIELSEN, SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGE: These families lost hope after the earthquake that they would ever be able to provide for these children in the way they wanted to.
So they saw -- they saw this opportunity of providing -- of -- to give their children a better opportunity abroad and took it. And now they have been sensitized and better informed about the risks that this might entail for their children.
SIDNER: As the children begin to leave, SOS house mother Amonis Richard cries, sad to see them go, knowing what probably awaits them.
"If the parents could not take care of them in the first place, the kids wouldn't be here with me," she says.
A fear confirmed by 12-year-old Daphnis' mother. "He's crying right now because he knows we don't have a place to live." No place to live or even transportation to take them from the Children's Village. More than two months after the earthquake, homes, families and an entire country still shaken to the core.
Sarah Sidner, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
COOPER: And still no solution in sight as to what to do with all those homeless people in Haiti, hundreds of thousands. We're going to continue to follow the latest developments in the story and other important news out of Haiti here on 360.
And if you want to help the people in Haiti, you can find the information on CNN's "Impact your World" site. Just go to CNN.com/impact.
We're also following some other stories tonight.
Randi Kaye has a quick update in the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, an al Qaeda leader believed to have played a key role in a deadly attack on CIA employees in Afghanistan, was apparently killed by a U.S. missile strike. A U.S. counterterrorism official says, it appears Hussein al-Yemeni died last week in Pakistan. Al Yemeni is thought to be one of the masterminds of the December 30's suicide attack that killed seven CIA employees and contractors.
In Fargo, North Dakota the National Guard in a small Army of volunteers including school kids who have been excused from class to help are filling sandbags to keep rising floodwaters at bay. The Red River reached major flood stage early today. It is expected to crest on Sunday.
President Obama is expected to sign the jobs bill tomorrow. The Senate passed the bill today with 11 Republican votes. It contains about $18 billion in tax breaks and a $20 billion infusion of cash into highway and transit programs.
Charities here in the U.S. have raised close to $1 billion for Haiti, according to Chronicle of Philanthropy. Approximately $66 million of that total was in response to that star-studded telethon that was broadcast on major TV networks including CNN back in January.
And reporters and politicians took just a little break from the health care debate at the Radio and TV Correspondents Association Dinner tonight in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden got a few laughs with his photo collections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At our convention, President Obama addressed a stadium of roaring supporters. But let me set the record straight, he's not the only one that addressed the stadium.
Look, I got to level with you, one of the first things the President did, is said, Joe, we've got to have some ground rules here, ground rules related to our relationship and how you function in your job. So the next slide is one of our first days in the White House, the President is explaining to me exactly how far down I have to bow when I enter the Oval Office.
That's not the only ground rule. It's a real simple proposition, people beaten in the primary walk four paces behind. Look, I -- holy God, I have no idea how the hell I got there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Pretty funny. A few laughs.
COOPER: Yes, definitely.
All right, time 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.
Tonight's photo: elephants from the Ringling Brothers of Barnum & Bailey Circus stop near the U.S. Capitol, on the National Mall here in Washington of course to perform. Our staff winner tonight is Sean and his caption, "Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, your health care future right here under the big top."
COOPER: Our viewer winner is Rod from British Columbia. His caption, "Of course we tried but Nancy Pelosi insisted that elephants in the room were the last thing she needed."
Very good -- what noise is that? Rod your "Beat 360 T-shirt" is on the way. Congratulations.
Coming up next: a game show with a sick twist. This is an unbelievable story, contestants physically shocking complete strangers when they get an answer wrong. Could you actually do that? You're going to be shocked to see how many people did and we'll tell you the secret behind the game show.
And actor Corey Haim linked to an illegal prescription drug ring; the actor got thousands of dangerous pills from dozens of doctors in the last year, tonight an arrest in the case.
COOPER: "Up Close" tonight, "The Game of Death", that's the name of a game show that was really a psychological experiment and is playing out on French TV this week. Now, it's a game show format where contestants were encouraged by a rabid audience to shock another participant with what they think is a near lethal amount of electricity. The more he screams in pain, the more he gets shocked.
Now, they had no idea that this was fake and that the participant was really an actor. For the producers of the show, the point was to demonstrate that how much people will blindly follow orders and how the allure of being famous and being on television can lead someone to do just about anything.
Randi Kaye reports.
KAYE (voice-over): It's called the "Game of Death" and it's torture to play. On this French game show, contestants pose a question, but here's the catch, if their fellow player gets the answer wrong, he's zapped with increasing amounts of electricity, as much as 460 volts. The more wrong answers, the more voltage, the more pain.
The audience shouts for more punishment. Some contestants are reluctant but are swayed by the audience demanding higher voltage.
(on camera): But here's what the audience and contestants don't know, there is no electricity, no pain inflicted. The players tortured for their wrong answers are really actors hired to play the part. Their screams of agony, fake.
In fact, this really wasn't a game show at all but an experiment about how far some people are willing to go to inflict pain on a complete stranger.
(voice-over): Amazingly, only 16 out of 80 refused to inflict pain on the others.
DR. JERRY BURGER, SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY: They're in a situation where they have to act quickly. They can't stop and think about what is the right thing to do. They have to act right now. All of those things lead people to respond to the situational cues.
KAYE: The show is part of a documentary airing on French TV, which examines what its creators called TV's mind-numbing power to suspend morality and the striking human willingness to obey orders. When it was over and contestants were told it was just an experiment, some said they didn't even think about it, they just followed orders.
Others said they were worried but did not want to spoil the show. So they acted against their own principles when ordered to do something extreme.
BURGER: Everybody is torn and nobody thought that this was a lot of fun or something they enjoyed doing, but they could not find a way to stop themselves from going along with it.
KAYE (on camera): The blind obedience in this case is being compared to the behavior of German soldiers ordered to commit atrocities inside the Nazi concentration camps. In fact, the show's whole premise is based on an experiment from Yale back in the 1960s which uses similar method.
(voice-over): In the Yale experiment, the people inflicting the painful shocks thought the electricity was real too. That didn't stop two-thirds of them from giving the maximum shock available, 400 volts.
BURGER: Most people will in fact act in this horrendous way and press the shock levers that they think are delivering very dangerous if not lethal electric shocks to another person. The moral there is not that people are horrible or that were brutal or sadistic individuals, the lesson is really that in certain circumstances, in the right situation, the average typical well-adjusted person will act in these horrendous ways.
KAYE: One added element in the French game showcase, contestants had to sign a contract agreeing to obey orders, for them there was no turning back.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: So why would an average person be willing to inflict so much obvious pain on another human being. It sort of boggles the mind. Let's "Did Deeper" with Dr. Drew Pinsky.
I mean, I remember this experiment they had done in Yale. I think it was back in the '60s where people were administering electric shocks.
DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: That's right.
COOPER: Adding -- doing it in front of cameras, in front of an audience adds a whole other level of I guess, pressure.
PINSKY: Pressure, it's right. And it's an interesting thing to think about. You know what would make humans do that that? Why are we put together in such a way that we would likely to listen to an authority even when it disavows our own sense of value --
COOPER: And when the authorities actually are the host of the game show.
PINSKY: A game show.
COOPER: And you know and an audience.
PINSKY: And yes, it's bizarre isn't it? But I think, in this case it speaks so much to sort of what we call sort of a mob mentality or a group mentality where we lose the self to a group. And this is something that had evolutionary adaptation at one time.
I mean, if we were attacked by a lion here in this room, if we all group together evidently and thought as a whole, we probably more likely to survive. But the fact is, when we're in certain social situations, which of course, we affect one another very deeply in social situations, it also has an adverse potential, which is we can lose our own sense of compass, we lose our sense of value, we lose our sense of where we are and what we're actually doing.
And particularly, in this case, I think, they lose their sense of reality.
COOPER: Well, one of the persons said that they didn't want to spoil programming by disobeying which is just --
PINSKY: It's bizarre, right?
PINSKY: Yes -- yet if you we're in that moment -- and this is the part I think also very important to point out. We are used to thinking of or contemplating that thinking is something we should rely upon. But as you see and even in that explanation, for thinking is distorted. The thinking was set askew by the social circumstances.
So beware your thought processes. You have to really sort of become aware of what, where you are, who you are and how your surroundings are affecting you. And we're not used to taking a break and stopping and thinking about it. We just listen to our thoughts and sometimes they're off base.
COOPER: There have been some who likened this to some Nazi's activities during World War II. That you know, you would say, how can somebody do this and that there's sort of this group thing.
PINSKY: But that was the original intent of the studies back in the '60s to show how people sort of had this ability to follow authority blindly even when they were harming somebody else and doing something they would never do under other circumstances.
And in a way this study is now -- OK, because it's happened -- we've proved it before.
PINSKY: It's just being shown again in a bizarre context.
COOPER: It does say also something I think about the power of television -- PINSKY: Well --
COOPER: -- or the power of the desire to be famous or something.
PINSKY: I think you're right. I think that's where it sort to gets under our skin with this thing. It's about something as meaningless as television and fame and a show.
So it's not even about an experiment with -- the original -- the original study was with doctors in white coats --
PINSKY: -- to it was sort of imbued with authority. And that's what the -- this is a --
PINSKY: -- a good looking talk show host.
COOPER: It's as if Howie Mandel had the power of life and death over these things.
PINSKY: I -- and isn't that's really unsettling? Nothing against Howie, I love Howie.
COOPER: Yes, I know, it's great but like -- this is the French version of Howie Mandel, like you know.
PINSKY: And that's right. And so it sits with us -- it should sit in our craw the wrong way --
PINSKY: -- it's something that speaks volumes about the liability of our evolutionary heritage, frankly. Because there's a good potential in certain circumstances, but if we're not aware of its potential -- shall I call it illicit -- illicit consequence, we have to be very cautious.
COOPER: It would be interesting to see this done in the United States.
PINSKY: Yes, it's incredible. I think, I bet you and we can even make it a more bizarre circumstance here, I bet it would be -- and particularly if there's something where you are participating in the media.
PINSKY: Where you're seen by the media.
PINSKY: I think people would be more persuaded in this country.
COOPER: It's fascinating. Dr. Drew thanks.
PINSKY: My pleasure.
COOPER: Now, we're going to have more with Dr. Drew in a moment on another subject. Criminal charges connected to the death of actor Corey Haim. An arrest was made today, tied to an alleged prescription drug ring.
The latest on that ahead.
COOPER: On "Crime and Punishment" an arrest in connection with the death of actor Corey Haim. The California Attorney General's office announced the arrest today refusing to say who was taken into custody and for what charge.
But the development comes just days after authorities launched a probe into a prescription drug ring linked to the former child star who died, of course, last week. Investigators say that dozens of doctors gave Haim prescriptions for pills that could have harmed him and say the illegal drug ring involved using stolen identities from doctors to order official prescription pads.
Officials don't yet know what caused the actor's death but have not ruled out the possibility that he died of an overdose.
Joining me now is addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky and senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Dr. Drew, have you heard about drug rings that use fake identities to get prescription pads?
PINSKY: I've heard of everything, Anderson. I've heard of lots of things like this. I've had patients steal my prescription pads. I've had patients lie to doctors. I have more often than not, that the most egregious thing that I have come to understand is that the addicts in our town will learn who the doctor is that's easy to get medicine out of and they will go and frequent those particular doctors or urgent care centers.
COOPER: Because I mean -- in Corey Haim's case, according to the attorney general's office, I mean, he was going to ten to 12 doctors, going to, you know, more than 10 pharmacies.
PINSKY: We call that doctor shopping. It's not uncommon, unfortunately, there's not a good way to monitor that in our system just yet and the doctors sometimes feel justified in prescribing these medications to people. The reality that most people don't understand is, if you have a history of addiction and you're on opiate or a benzodiazepine, even if it's for a legitimate reason, you're in a harm's way. You could die.
COOPER: And are there laws, Jeff, that are supposed to monitor prescription pills like that?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, absolutely. That's why they are restricted. Laws say that they can only be prescribed under certain circumstances.
But the interesting thing about a case like this is, how much of it is the patient's responsibility because as Drew said, sometimes patients lie, patients steal prescription pads? Sometimes it's their responsibility and the doctors and the pharmacists are just innocent accomplices.
So the legal question is, is -- is this the responsibility of people who are helping him or just hanging themselves?
COOPER: You we're talking, you were naming those kind of drugs, I mean, according to authorities, he had gotten a prescription for Oxycontin, for Vicodin, for Valium. Why would somebody be using all those drugs? I mean, aren't those all pain killers?
PINSKY: Well, the valium is not, obviously, that's an anti- anxiety medication. But if somebody went in and said, "Doc, I've got the worst headache, the worst neck pain, the worst back pain of my life, -- I can't walk anymore." They know exactly what to say to get the right thing from the doctors.
But my patients, the addicts are a little smarter than that. They know that most doctors kind of pick up on that and not give them big supplies. They figure out who the guys are that are very liberal with their prescribing habits and those are the guys that my patients go and see.
COOPER: You know, some producers, I guess from show, "Celebrity Rehab" had actually called him up.
PINSKY: Correct, his name has come up every single season. People have approached me about him over the years. He never followed through. I made myself available to him. And I heard, although -- and see, I'm not involved in the casting, really. I can't say, "Hey you've an addiction problem, why don't you wait until the cameras heat up so I can treat you. I'd have to treat him right then.
So I don't get involved in the casting at all. But I have heard they had approached him this time as well.
COOPER: And his family is saying that they don't think it was a drug overdose, that the thing may have been a reaction to a pill he was taking that he just started to see an addiction specialist and was trying a new pill that -- that he had been prescribed I guess, appropriately. Who would be culpable in something like this?
TOOBIN: Well, in something like that, that would an accident. But first of all, there's a lot of unknowns here. What is the real cause of death, I don't think that's known. And what were the facts about how he got the drugs? You'd have to know all of that before you could even speculate about what the crime might be.
COOPER: You don't buy this.
PINSKY: No, I -- if an addict is on these drugs they're in harm's way, that's it. There's no such thing as -- and I've never seen a very successful taper as an outpatient. This just doesn't work, particularly if you're a hardcore addict who's been you know, dealing with this for many, many years.
But the fact is, this phenomenon as Jeffrey is alluding to is steeped in all kinds of epistemological issues. In other words some doctors --
COOPER: What does that mean?
PINSKY: Philosophical issues. Some doctors would defend prescribing to drug addicts, as something that -- it's cruel not to do. Some pain management doctors who would say, we should give him more medicines not less. And some of these doctors who may have been duped as you say into prescribing somebody with addiction medicines that are quite dangerous for them, may in that certain clinical situation have been defensible in making the choice to prescribe.
It's not advisable, not a good choice.
COOPER: But abuse of prescription drugs has been on the rise for the last couple years, right?
PINSKY: Oh, absolutely. And this -- again, this is the tip of an iceberg. This is what I keep calling the crest of the tsunami of my patients. I see this not just in young Hollywood. All my patients are dying young of prescription medication abuse and addiction. Some of it they're getting on the street, some of it they're getting with the participation of physicians, some of it they are responsible for themselves.
But it is a very serious problem and it's bleeding down to young people who are getting their hands on this and abusing it even without the addictive process.
COOPER: Dr. Drew thanks very much. Jeff, as well, thank you.
Well, as you can see, Dr. Drew Pinsky, he has a new show, VH1's "Sober House with Dr. Drew".
Still ahead, "One Simple Thing", this beer may not look like the green beer you drank at St. Patrick's Day. But it is definitely green.
We'll tell you why next on 360.
COOPER: Tonight "One Simple Thing", our series about changing the world one idea at a time; a story which seemed perfect for St. Patrick's Day. What if you could make a better beer that was also better for the planet, a green beer that has nothing to do with food coloring.
Here's Reynolds Wolf. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): At the Five Season's Brewery in Atlanta, they have been preparing for the perfect pour. They claimed to be the first brewery in the world to serve a micro-brewed green beer.
CRAWFORD MORAN, 5 SEASON'S BREWERY: Here we go, just like this.
WOLF: Master brewer Crawford Moran gave me the honor of tapping the very first keg.
MORAN: Not only does it make the beer better, but it's -- it's green-oriented.
WOLF (on camera): When you think about green beer, most people think of that stuff you have on St. Patrick's Day or that six pack that you left in a your car on a really hot day.
(voice-over): But here that term takes on an entirely different meaning.
(on camera): Crawford, what does green beer mean here?
MORAN: It means something different than Saint Paddy's Day stuff. It mean's beer that is made with pure, pristine rainwater. We just harvest it straight out of the clouds and just the way Mother Nature intended it to be.
WOLF (voice-over): You heard him right. The beer is made with pure rainwater. Now, the concept isn't new. People have been harvesting rainwater for drinking, cooking and farming for centuries. But what is new, is the brew pub has teamed up with rainwater harvest systems to create a beer made from 100 percent rainwater captured on site.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically what you do is you put this big tank under your downspout and you're collect water when it rains. The water comes off the roof, it comes through the down spout and goes through a series of different filters and collects them in the tank and then, from there we pump it through some more filtration into the brewery. And that's where we start with the beer.
WOLF: The management here insists that the water is cleaner than city water and it's softer too, one secret of making better beer.
MORAN: And as brewers, we really like to see soft water, so not a lot of mineral content in there. And rainwater, that's what it is.
WOLF: But don't just take his word for it.
MORAN: There you go.
WOLF: The proof is in the drinking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It definitely has a smooth taste to it. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's actually very smooth, very mild in flavor, really tasty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flavor of it is a little bit different, I actually like it a lot better.
WOLF: Now beyond taste, there's a bonus in green beer for both the environment and the 5 Seasons Brewery. They could be trucking in the water from a far off mountain spring, now that would pollute the air and cost money. So they use nature's source rainwater that is local and free. It's what the customers and owners of the brewery agree is a green, green win-win.
Reynolds Wolf, CNN Atlanta.
COOPER: Hey, that's it for 360, thanks for watching.