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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Secret Spending; Political Smackdown; Rutgers Cyber-bullying Suicide; Bullying and the Law; "Pirate Lake" Murder
Aired October 4, 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: We're focusing all this week on bullying and devoting part of every night to covering the problem and possible solutions, vigils for Tyler Clementi this weekend, the Rutgers student who threw himself off the George Washington Bridge when classmates allegedly streamed video of him with another man onto the Web.
We wanted tonight to know about his life and the life of his roommate. And why would he do what he is accused of? New details tonight.
Also tonight, tens of millions in campaign money pouring into this election, but where is it coming from? Who is trying to influence your vote? We're "Keeping Them Honest." Following the money, we have uncovered some giant loopholes that allow people and corporations to practically buy an election without ever revealing themselves.
And later: imagine heading out on a lake on jet skis and getting attacked by bandits. It happened to one American couple ambushed on a lake along the U.S.-Mexico border. The wife escaped, her husband shot in the head. Details tonight.
We begin tonight, though, "Keeping Them Honest" with people and corporations trying to buy elections. Now, they are spending tens of millions of dollars to sway your vote. But they're trying to keep it secret. They are spending all that money, but they aren't running for office. And they are not putting themselves in front of the voters -- zero accountability, and it's all perfectly legal.
According to a report from Public Citizen, in the 2004 election, 98 percent of outside political groups disclosed the names of their donors. This time around, it's 32 percent. So, where is the money going? Well, in a lot of cases, to fund the ads for candidates around the country.
Here's one new ad that popped up in West Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NICK RAHALL (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I happened to have been an early supporter of Barack Obama. I campaigned with him in the hills of West Virginia. And I proudly chaired the Arab Americans for Obama campaign, a nationwide group dedicated to mobilizing Arab Americans and bringing light to those issues we care about. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call Nick Rahall and tell him what you care about at 202-225-3452.
The West Virginia Conservative Foundation is responsible for the content of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right, so that's the ad. And you can agree or disagree with the message. That's not what we're talking about. What you can't do is find out who is pushing that message.
Now, I know it says the group's name at the end of the ad. Here it is, in case you missed it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The West Virginia Conservative Foundation is responsible for the content of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Who is behind the West Virginia Conservative Foundation? The ad buy cost nearly a quarter million dollars. So, whose money is it? Well, we put a team of staffers and interns on it today to try to find out.
First thing we wanted to know, is the group affiliated with Congressman Rahall's challenger, Spike Maynard? We called his campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNE CLIFFORD, CNN AC360: This is Anne Clifford (ph) calling from CNN's AC360. I was wondering if I could speak with Mr. Carpenter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Spike Maynard's office told us they had nothing to do with the ad or the organization.
So, next, we called the head of the State Republican Party, Mike Stuart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm calling from CNN's AC360.
We had a couple of quick questions we were wondering if we could ask you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Mr. Stuart denied any GOP connection to the ad.
He also, until recently, headed up the West Virginia Conservative Foundation. But he wouldn't disclose any donor names.
And after all our calls, we still haven't been able to find out whose money paid for that ad.
And it's not just conservative groups. It's liberal ones as well, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, the American Dental Association. There's a group called "Florida Is Not for Sale", which, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, spent $50,000 to attack a Senate primary candidate.
According to "The Washington Post," outside groups have spent $80 million so far in this campaign. That's five times greater than it was for the 2006 midterms, and the campaign is not over yet.
And there's a huge loophole. These groups only have to start reporting buys within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of the general election, meaning none of the money spent before that, none of it, gets reported.
So, why can these groups now spend virtually unlimited money from individuals, from unions, from corporations? Well, it's because of a recent Supreme Court ruling. And thanks to a loophole already in the tax code, if those groups set themselves up as a certain kind of non- profit, they can use that now unlimited money without reporting who or which corporation or which labor union it's from. They are funding attack ads across the country like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know which smells worse, my diaper or this new bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Coalition to Protect Seniors is responsible for the content of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yikes. Coalition to Protect Seniors. So, who is that? Well, "The New York Times" tried to track it down, and they got nowhere, just like we did today.
It used to be that secrecy in politics only covered the voting booth, but now the secret ballot has company. We call it the secret buck.
With us now is Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation; also senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
So, Jeffrey, how much of -- of a game-changer was the Supreme Court ruling?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Citizens United, January of this year, this was the decision that Barack Obama attacked in his State of the Union message. Justice Alito reacted visibly.
Basically, what this decision said is that corporations, labor unions, organizations have free rein to spend as much money as they want, and reporting restrictions are very -- are very much not included in that either. So, it really -- Citizens United opened this wide up.
COOPER: Bill Allison, you have been tracking campaign spending for a long time. How does this cycle compare to what we have seen before when it comes to transparency?
BILL ALLISON, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION: We are in much worse shape than we were before.
There are about 160 some groups now that are running these types of ads. There were about 80 under the 2006 cycle altogether. And we're still not at the end. I mean, there are groups are popping up even today.
COOPER: And if people, Bill, are running or funding this, if they want to stay in the shadows, is there any way to find out who they really are?
ALLISON: It's really difficult. I mean, all they have to file are very minimal information about them, the name of a treasurer, the name of a custodian of records.
And these folks can be working for P.R. firms or lobbying firms, or, in one case, the West Virginia Conservatives Fund, it appears that the person who holds the record of the address of this organization is a residential address.
So it's really difficult to find out who these organizations are and who's behind them.
COOPER: What's the Supreme Court reason for -- for allowing this?
TOOBIN: Well, it -- it basically, the -- the main idea is that the Supreme Court said, corporations are like individuals. And individuals have -- have a right -- if I wanted to buy an ad to support or oppose a candidate on my own, I could. And, basically, they extended that idea to organizations.
That is counter to about 90 years of previous Supreme Court precedent, which had said, look, organizations have power that's beyond what individuals have, so the -- so the government can regulate those, can limit how much they can spend, can limit disclosure.
But if corporations are exactly the same as people, it's a different -- that's a different scenario, and they have much greater freedom.
COOPER: And the campaign finance law that just went down in the Senate, would that have made a difference in this?
TOOBIN: It certainly would have. That -- that was the fix that President Obama was talking about in the State of the Union address when -- when he got into a confrontation with the Supreme Court. COOPER: Right.
TOOBIN: It got more than a majority in the Senate, but it was filibustered. And so it would have had some more disclosure requirements, but not -- not as much as the old law. But it lost.
COOPER: You know, Bill, there are some people who are going to be sitting at home and saying, well, look, what's the big deal? I mean, why does this really matter?
ALLISON: I think what is really difficult, if you look at that Nick Rahall ad that you began the piece with, you have no idea who is paying for that.
Now, that may be somebody who is concerned about support for Arab Americans or running this particular committee for Barack Obama. It could be somebody who's upset about Nick Rahall because of his work on coal mining legislation.
If you -- if the voters don't know who's paying for the ad, it's very hard to be skeptical. It's very hard to say, I'm going to be a caveat voter. I'm going to take a close look at this and maybe take this with a grain of salt.
COOPER: It also seems now a trend you have a lot of money starting to move from political parties, which have to report its donors to these outside groups which don't have to. And what does it mean looking ahead for -- for this next presidential election?
ALLISON: Well, and I think the real question is, what is going to happen? I mean, we don't know if the Disclose Act is going to be passed. Even if it is passed, it's going to take the FEC some time to set up the mechanisms to report all this money. And you may go into 2012 flying completely blind about these different groups.
And if you look at what's happening in this election, you have these groups; there's American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. These are all set up by friends of Karl Rove, Republican operatives. And they are almost functioning as a shadow Republican Party.
And the difference is, unlike the Republican Party, they don't have to say who's paying the freight for these ads.
COOPER: Can foreigners, you know, buy ads and do this? Or could a foreigner set up a group?
ALLISON: Right now that's something that I believe campaign finance law still bars.
But the problem with a lot of these organizations is, especially the -- the C4s, we really don't know who the donors are. And it's entirely possible that foreign money could get in or be -- come through a couple of different channels, maybe with a second-party donor. You really -- I mean, it makes it really hard to follow the money and know who's giving what.
COOPER: Interesting stuff.
Bill Allison, I appreciate it.
Jeff, stick around. We are going to talk about another story shortly.
Let us know what you think at home. Is this a concern? Join the live chat right now at AC360.com.
Up next: former wrestling tycoon Linda McMahon taking a big shot at her opponent's war record, his opponent taking a shot right back. Are they hitting below the belt in their campaign ads? We're putting them to the test.
And later: just who were the Rutgers University classmates who allegedly streamed video of Tyler Clementi's picture you see there with another man onto the Internet? And what happens to them, now that he's taken his own life? Details and the latest ahead.
COOPER: Some bombshells today in a Senate race that was supposed to be kind of a snoozer, not to mention a slam-dunk for the Democrat. We're talking about Connecticut, where new polling shows State Attorney General Dick Blumenthal leading former WWE CEO Linda McMahon by a dozen points. Now, months ago, that gap was 40 points.
Bombshell number one today, a report in Politico -- and, no, these are not Politico staffers -- at least we don't think they are -- that the WWE teamed up with "Girls Gone Wild" several years ago to produce a racy pay-per-view event featuring wrestlers and girls, well, who, I guess, were -- had gone wild.
Bombshell number two, the McMahon campaign released an ad featuring Blumenthal appearing to suggest he served in Vietnam when, in fact, he only served during Vietnam and never saw combat.
Meantime, over the weekend, Blumenthal launched an ad suggesting McMahon was open to lowering the minimum wage.
Tom Foreman has been looking at all these ads, seeing which ones play fast and loose with the truth -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hi Anderson.
The fight for Democratic Senator Chris Dodd's seat in Connecticut had party strategists feeling fine back in the spring, when their man, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, had a 30-, 40-point lead over GOP rival and Republican Linda McMahon, seem to have an Achilles' heel as well.
She is the former CEO of WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment. And Democratic Party operatives were pounding her with headlines about deaths in pro wrestling, money disputes, steroids, that partnership with "Girls Gone Wild," and even a clip on the Internet of her kicking a guy in the crotch. And now that the race has tightened down to a near tie, Mr. Blumenthal is piling on, too. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She took $10 million from the state to create jobs, but fired 10 percent of her workers. Her business is under investigation for failing to pay Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment. She took home $46 million, and now she's talking about lowering the minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's all in it for her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A lot of body-slams there. So, what's true here?
FOREMAN: Well, a WWE spokesman says the company received about $10 million in tax credits as part of Connecticut's program to encourage film, TV and entertainment industries. And, yes, they laid- off about 10 percent of their 614 workers. But that was before the money from that tax credit came through. Since then, they have refilled almost all of those jobs. And they expect to add 140 more next year.
Her business is under investigation, but this question about benefits revolves around whether all of its workers are regular employees or some are private contractors. That's what the -- what raises these questions about the company's responsibility, especially to wrestlers who may suffer long-term health consequences.
WWE also says that McMahon's immediate family may have made around that number of $46 million last year, but her salary and dividends amounted to less than $1 million. And her campaign says, furthermore, she does not want to lower the minimum wage, as this ad claims, but her comments do make it clear that she will closely scrutinize any proposal to increase it.
So, if we move on from all of this and consider all the facts we've heard thrown out there so far in this ad and the reaction from the campaign from it, we go to our sliding scale of truth, and we find that this ad clearly at this point, Anderson, appears to be, at best, a stretch.
COOPER: And -- and Blumenthal obviously has troubles of his own, Tom, right?
FOREMAN: Yes, he absolutely does.
His problem lies way back in the Vietnam War. Look at this attack ad released by Ms. McMahon just today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you lie about serving in a war? RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam.
I served in Vietnam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dick Blumenthal did --
BLUMENTHAL: I served in Vietnam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- again and again.
BLUMENTHAL: I served in Vietnam.
When we returned, we sought nothing of this gratitude.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He covered one lie with another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: We know that Mr. Blumenthal twice, in 2003 and 2008, implied to audiences that he served in Vietnam, but he did not go. He was in the Marine Corps Reserve here in the United States.
When he was called out on this last spring, Mr. Blumenthal said he misspoke; he did not want to deceive -- deceive the voters. And, he says, elsewhere in those speeches, he correctly characterized his service.
So, calling it a lie seems like a bit much. His campaign repeated that today and said there's really nothing new here. Still, he did say it. He admits it. So, putting it into this ad, we have to put that into the category of -- just barely -- right on -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Tom, I appreciate it, "Keeping Them Honest."
Just ahead: a battle brewing within the Tea Party. You'll hear one Tea Party favorite, Sharron Angle, trying to talk a Tea Party opponent out of the race.
And later: a jury getting the case in the horrific Connecticut home invasion murder -- a mom and two daughters killed -- details ahead.
COOPER: Political embarrassment for Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate trying to unseat Senator Harry Reid in Nevada. It's one of the most closely-watched races in the country obviously; recent polls showing the candidates are pretty much neck and neck.
But now an audiotape of Angle has been released. It's a recording of a meeting she had last week with a third candidate in the race, a guy named Scott Ashjian of the Tea Party, where she urges him to drop out and support her, and promises him access to top congressional Republicans in Washington if she's elected.
Angle also kind of belittles national leaders of the GOP. The recording, it turns out, was made by Scott Ashjian himself.
And our Gary Tuchman broke that part of the story today. He joins us now with tonight's "Raw Politics" -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, in her quest to defeat the Senate Majority Leader, Sharron Angle of Nevada has called Harry Reid "Let's make a deal" Harry Reid.
The Tea Party favorite has continuously criticized what she calls backroom dealing, but now allegations that she, herself, is a backroom dealer, and the criticism comes as the result of a secretly-recorded conversation by a man who says he is the true Tea Party Senate candidate from Nevada.
Listen to what Sharron Angle says on the tape.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SHARRON ANGLE (R), NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that you can do some -- some real harm. Not to Harry Reid, but to me. And -- and I'm not sure you can win, and I'm not sure that I can win if you're hurting my chances.
ANGLE: And that's -- that's the part -- that's the part that's scary to me.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Scott Ashjian is running as a third-party candidate in the Nevada race and had a face-to-face meeting with Sharron Angle last week in which she asked him to drop out.
The problem for Angle is that Ashjian now admits he had a rolling tape recorder in his pocket. He tells CNN the secretly recorded of -- Angle because he was tired of being ridiculed and lampooned. Now, Ashjian initially gave his tape to Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston, who played it on his radio show.
As she asked Ashjian to drop out of the race, it appears she is telling him, in exchange for quitting, she has influence that she can use to help Ashjian in the future.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ANGLE: That's really all I can offer to you is, whatever juice I have, you have as well. You want to see DeMint, I have juice with DeMint. I go to Washington, D.C., and I say, I want to see Jim DeMint, he's right there for me. I say I want to see Tom Coburn, he's right there for me. I want to see Mitch McConnell, he's there.
(END AUDIO CLIP) COOPER: So, Gary, I mean, is there any chance this woman on the tape is not Angle?
TUCHMAN: Well, her campaign does not deny, Anderson, the authenticity of the recording. And, surprisingly, it doesn't even complain about it being secretly recorded.
In a statement, the Angle campaign tells us -- quote -- "Sharron expressed what many working families in Nevada and across the country are feeling. They are angry with Harry Reid. They are angry with Washington, D.C. and they want blunt, plainspoken leaders who are willing to shake things up."
And you can't argue, Anderson, her secretly recorded words are pretty blunt and plainspoken. By the way, Anderson, Ashjian is not dropping out of the race.
COOPER: I'm guessing this is the last time that Angle is going to agree to meet with this guy, at least without, you know, searching him beforehand, or something.
TUCHMAN: That's right, maybe a body search if they meet -- meet again, yes.
COOPER: Yes. As we said, the race is pretty -- pretty close right now, neck and neck.
We're following other stories tonight. Joe Johns has the "360 Bulletin" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
Today, the State Department clarified its travel alert for Americans in Europe. A spokesman said credible information about potential terror threats justified issuing the alert, but the information is not specific enough, naming countries of concern.
Pakistan says a suspected drone attack today in Northwest Pakistan killed eight German nationals believed to be jihadist militants. It's unclear if there's a link between today's strike and the alert about potential terror attacks in Europe.
The search has been called off for two Americans whose balloon is believed to have crashed in the Adriatic Sea off the Italian coast last week. They were competing in a race when they went missing.
And a "360 Follow": last week, we showed flight attendants on a Philippines carrier conducting a safety demonstration to the music of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Cebu Pacific Airlines now says that a regular safety demo with no music was done before the flight took off, as per regulation.
Then, during the flight, it says this performance with the music was done at cruising altitude, intended to add some fun to the flight. So, for the record, no need for a complaint to be filed, they already did the real demonstration. COOPER: All right. Well, that's good to know. I still would have wanted to get off the plane.
Still ahead: We begin our week-long series of reports, "Bullying: No Escape," new details tonight anybody Tyler Clementi. And we all know -- we've all heard about the case, the young student who killed himself after his roommate allegedly spied on him with a Webcam streaming the video of him kissing a man.
We wanted to find out more about Tyler, though, about his life, who he was, and his roommate as well, and also what can be done to try to help stop this sickening series of bullying-related suicides.
Later: an American couple go for a jet ski trip on a lake. So, imagine that. You go out for a jet ski trip. Attacked by bandits, this couple was, possibly drug cartel gunmen. We'll tell you where it happened and why only one of them managed to escape.
COOPER: Take a look at these photos: Phoebe Prince, Carl Walker- Hoover, Hope Witsell, Jaheem Herrera, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, and just 12 days ago, Tyler Clementi, all of them kids, all victims of bullies who took their own lives.
All this week, we're partnering with "People" magazine, taking an in-depth look at bullying. But what a lot of people don't realize now is that, these days, it's not just happening to kids in schools.
For kids who are bullied, there's really no escape. It's not happening just in the schools. It's also happening online, on -- on cell phones, and kids are dying because of it.
Students at Rutgers University held a vigil for Tyler Clementi over the weekend. He, of course, was just 18 years old. He was an incredibly talented musician with great potential. He jumped off the George Washington Bridge after a Web cam video of him kissing another man was streamed online. Tyler's roommate at Rutgers University and another student in Tyler's dorm are now facing criminal charges.
Tonight, Randi Kaye has more on how the whole tragedy unfolded.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like many universities, Rutgers randomly assigns a roommate for each of its new freshman. So it was pure chance Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi came to share a room here at Davidson Hall; Clementi, shy and modest and Ravi, charming and loving attention. But just three weeks later, it all crashed down.
(on camera): How much did Ravi and Clementi know about each other when they started sharing a room at college? Likely not much, if anything. They grew up about 60 miles apart from each other in New Jersey. Before school, Ravi lived here with his family in Plainsboro, an upper middle-class suburb, about a half an hour from the Rutgers campus.
(voice-over): Steve Greenstein has lived next door to Ravi's family for more than six years. His daughters went to high school with Ravi.
(on camera): What kind of guy is Ravi? What kind of family did he come from?
STEVE GREENSTEIN, RAVI FAMILY NEIGHBOR: Everything I saw and knew over the last six and a half years would tell me that they're an exceptional family. Good people. Family people. This would be something that's totally out of character or shocking to me and probably the rest of the neighborhood.
KAYE: You saw him around the neighborhood? What was Ravi like?
GREENSTEIN: Very friendly kid, outgoing. Big Frisbee player. Always outside throwing the Frisbee with a friend across the street here.
KAYE (voice-over): Ravi graduated from West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School. In his senior high school yearbook, Dharun Ravi was named Best Dancer. He was well-known for break dancing. He also played Ultimate Frisbee.
Those who know him tell us he was a good student. Some say he led a charmed life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He drove like a BMW. So, like, his parents, like, gave him everything. He, like, was really smart. He took AP classes.
KAYE: When he graduated last spring, Ravi's parents took out an ad in the yearbook: "Dear Dharun, it has been a pleasure watching you grow into a caring and responsible person."
(on camera): For Ravi and Clementi, college held so much promise. Clementi grew up here in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and graduated from Ridgewood High School.
In a statement his family described him as, quote, "a fine young man and a distinguished musician."
(voice-over): Tyler Clementi excelled at violin. He had been accepted to the prestigious graduate level symphony orchestra at Rutgers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He possessed a technical ability that far exceeded some of our final year undergraduate students on his instrument.
KAYE: Two 18-year-olds, very different young men: one introverted, one an extrovert. Roommates for only three weeks when the event that would lead one of them to take his life began. On September 19, Clementi asked Ravi if he could have the room alone. He was having a date that night.
(on camera): Ravi gave Clementi the room. Then he allegedly went down the hall to fellow student Molly Wei's room and used her computer to stream live video of Clementi's date online. Authorities say Ravi had set up a Web cam in his dorm room to capture his roommate's intimate encounter.
(voice-over): A high-tech peeping Tom. But what he saw was Clementi kissing a man. Prosecutors say that on Twitter, Ravi encouraged others to watch Clementi's date. "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into Molly's room and turned on my Web cam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
Two days later, authorities say Ravi tried to catch his roommate again. Online, he wrote, "Anyone with iChat I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it's happening again."
As word spread, Clementi was humiliated. The dorm room the two shared had become a prison for Tyler Clementi. There was an anonymous posting on the forum JustUsBoys.com, entitled "College Roommate Spying." We don't know if it came from Tyler Clementi, but the Web site says it came from someone at Rutgers.
The writer told of a student who had turned on his Web cam and tweeted that his roommate had a guy over. If that was Clementi's post, he also wrote he'd alerted the head of the dorm.
Still, it all became too much for Clementi. On September 22, three days after his date was first streamed online, Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge.
Clementi's final posting on his Facebook page read, "Jumping off the GW Bridge, sorry."
This student lived next door to Ravi and Clementi.
DANIELLE BURNBAUM, DORM NEIGHBOR: They never fought. I never saw them fighting. I didn't even see them ever talking.
KAYE: Strangers turned roommates for just a few weeks, now forever linked by tragedy.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
COOPER: Well, the roommate, Ravi, and his friend, Wei, have been charged with invasion of privacy. They could also face additional charges. So far neither has entered a plea.
The Internet, as we've been following, has made an age-old problem even worse, allowing bullies to publicly humiliate their victims as never before. It creates a permanent record. The question is, are the laws keeping pace with the changing scope of bullying. Rosalind Wiseman is the author of "Queen Bees and Wannabes." She now joins me. Also back with us is senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
I mean, there are in a number of states. There's 45 states that have laws against bullying, but are laws really the answer, though?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I have to say, we're all so heartbroken about this case that there's a desire to see the law fix it. But I'm very skeptical of the law's ability to make much difference and, in fact, could make the situation worse.
Remember, we're talking about teenagers, maybe young teenagers who are the victims and the perpetrators of bullying. Do we want the cops investigating this all the time? Do we want police streaming through high schools, junior high schools, investigating what people have on the Internet?
I mean, I suppose in extreme cases, yes. But this has got to be schools and parents, much more than law enforcement. It's just not going to work, I think.
COOPER: Rosalind, you work with -- in a lot of schools across the country. I mean, is law enforcement the answer?
ROSALIND WISEMAN, AUTHOR, "QUEEN BEES AND WANNABES": Yes. No, I work with a lot of district attorneys who really believe and want for this to be an issue that families and schools work on together, to discipline kids.
So that there are three goals here. One is that you teach what the values of the community are about that don't include degrading other people, that you give concrete consequences. And you allow for a re-integration of the bully into the community.
And really, when we get to the place where it's stalking, it's harassment, where it is really a district attorney's purview and responsibility, that is when they would come in. So of many of the district attorneys that I work with are saying, "We want schools and parents to work on this, and we will come in when we believe it's our responsibility."
COOPER: It's interesting, though, Rosalind. I've been reading a lot; particularly, right now, a case in Minnesota, where there are a lot of conservative groups, anti-gay groups who say, you know, this is an attempt to promote some sort of gay agenda in schools, if you talk about, you know, trying to make the school a safe place or a place that's accepting of students who, at a younger, younger age, are saying that they're gay.
WISEMAN: Well, what I want to see from those organizations is exactly what they are saying is taking place in the classroom. What exactly is the teacher saying, what exactly are the parents reporting because I'm actually -- I need to see exactly and I think we all need to see exactly what are behind these accusations. Because so far, it just this amorphous kind of commentary on this, you know, pro- homosexual agenda.
And if you work in schools, what you know is it is hard to get all different kinds of programs into schools that have -- and for a young kid, especially, it's -- what we're dealing with is good-touch, bad-touch. And that's hard to get into schools.
So we really have to know exactly what these people are accusing when they're talking about these issues and then we can address it on a factual basis.
COOPER: But in order to address it in these schools do you have to make -- I mean, you believe you have to be very specific in the language you use and you have to address things like homophobia?
WISEMAN: Of course you do. Of course you do. Because otherwise, what happens is -- and really, we ought to call it for what this is. If we do not address this in terms of racism and homophobia and classism, then what you're doing is enabling people to get away with degrading behavior, and really, that is an anti-child agenda. That is an anti-educational agenda.
And so common sense -- parents who have common sense and educators who have common sense know that that's what this is about.
TOOBIN: But let's be clear, too. These groups don't think homosexuality is normal. They think it's wrong. They think it is a menace to society. So they are the ones who are making it harder for kids, who feel isolated enough as it is, to come forward.
I mean, this is not some sort of value-neutral approach by these conservative groups. They are trying to make homosexuality an outcast condition, and that's part of the problem.
WISEMAN: Absolutely. And really, what that really comes down to is being anti-child and anti-against the dignity of every single child who walks in through the doors of that school.
COOPER: Are teachers accountable, legally, if they see bullying going on and don't intervene?
TOOBIN: In extreme, extreme cases. If teachers are derelict in a very obvious situation where they don't warn a student or they don't come to a student's aid, there is the possibility that you could sue the school district. But you are talking about a tiny fraction of cases. Most bullying takes place, I think, in an environment where the law doesn't really apply. You are never going to -- so it's much more going to be involving school discipline, parental discipline, not the courts.
COOPER: Rosalind, you work in a lot of schools. Why is it that, you know, if the "N" word is used a teacher would intervene, but if the "F" sword is used against a student who's perceived to be gay, or who may be gay, why is that still a word which is allowed to be used liberally in schools wherever you go?
WISEMAN: Because it is so normal, meaning so common that people say, "Well, what's the big deal? It's just what we say."
And just like -- and when I talk about this, that we talked about racism generations ago, and we -- and it became unacceptable. It has to happen in the same way.
Because otherwise, what happens is, you have to keep saying to people just because it's common doesn't make it right. Racism is not right. So is not -- so isn't homophobia and going against people of different ethnicities. Just because you are degrading somebody, and people have done it for a long time, does not make it right.
COOPER: I find it interesting -- I saw a promo. I was in a theater this weekend and saw a preview for some new Vince Vaughn movie. And in it, he says -- in the preview he says, "Oh, that's so gay" and using "gay" as a pejorative term. I found it surprising that only would they put that in the movie but that they would put that in the preview to the movie.
WISEMAN: Yes. That's actually pretty disappointing. And I really think people need to take responsibility for the things that they do that contribute to this even if they haven't realized it before, that now they realize that by saying things that seem innocuous they really aren't, because it creates an environment where being gay is bad.
And so everything associated with that becomes -- becomes bad, and it becomes that much easier to degrade anything associated with it. And that contributes to why kids are feeling so badly when they are gay.
TOOBIN: I saw that same promo, actually, tonight. And it really jumped out at me, as well, that it's OK to say, "That's so gay" as a mainstream -- as a mainstream insult.
COOPER: The other actors in the scene. I mean, Queen Latifah was in the scene. I don't know the other names of the actors. But that nobody raised this as an objection, I found kind of amazing.
TOOBIN: We should see which company makes the movie. It may be our own.
COOPER: It may be. Jeff Toobin, appreciate it.
Rosalind Wiseman -- we'll look into that. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.
WISEMAN: Thank you.
COOPER: Tomorrow, our weeklong look at bullying continues. Ellen DeGeneres is going to be on the program. She's been speaking out a lot about this issue, has a lot of thoughts about it. We'll have a conversation about that; voicing outrage about the cruelty that has spiraled out of control not only just in our schools, but also beyond.
Take a look at what she said on her Facebook page. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: We can't let intolerance and ignorance take another kid's life. And I want anyone out there who feels different and alone to know that I know how you feel. And there is help out there. And you can find support in your community. If you need someone to talk to or if you want to get involved, there's some really great organizations listed on our Web site.
Things will get easier. People's minds will change, and you should -- you should be alive to see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I'll talk to Ellen tomorrow night on 360.
And again, all this week we're focusing on this issue, bringing you in-depth reports on bullying. On Friday, one-hour-long special, "BULLYING: NO ESCAPE", in partnership with "People" magazine and the Cartoon Network. It's a town-hall meeting with a lot of kids, a lot of experts from across the country. It's important stuff. Watch it Friday.
Up next tonight: bandits lurking on a U.S. lake along the U.S./Mexico border. A woman claims they shot her husband dead while they were jet skiing. We'll tell you what happened. We talked to a Good Samaritan who helped her when she got back to shore. And we talked to a man who says he was also attacked on the same lake.
Also ahead tonight, the jury deliberating in the Connecticut home invasion case deciding, whether one of the suspected killed a mother and her two daughters. Details next.
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight: boaters, jet skiers, fishermen have long used a lake called Falcon Lake, which straddles the border between the United States and Mexico, as a recreational paradise. But now something else is on the lake. Mexican pirates or bandits believed to be connected to Mexico's violent drug cartels.
David and Tiffany Hartley were jet skiing on the lake last week when she says they were approached by boats carrying gunmen who opened fire on the couple.
Tiffany says David was shot in the back of the head, fell into the lake. She made it back to shore, where she called 911.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 DISPATCHER: Ma'am, were you shot at on the Mexican side or the U.S. side?
TIFFANY HARTLEY, HUSBAND KILLED ON LAKE: Yes.
911 DISPATCHER: So it was on the Mexican side. OK, did you see anybody?
HARTLEY: There were three boats.
911 DISPATCHER: Ma'am.
911 DISPATCHER: Ok. Are you sure that your husband got shot?
911 DISPATCHER: Was he -- was he thrown out of the jet ski, he's in the water or something?
911 DISPATCHER: So you more or less know where -- where he is?
HARTLEY: Yes. But he's -- he's on the Mexican side.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: David Hartley's body has not yet been recovered.
This is not the first time that sportsmen on Falcon Lake have been attacked by Mexican bandits. A short time ago I spoke with a fisherman who was threatened by gunmen. I also spoke with the Good Samaritan who helped Tiffany Hartley out on the water. For his safety, we're not identifying him.
COOPER: I want to start with that phone call. When Tiffany Hartley came toward you on her jet ski and you were at your house on the lake, what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was this jet ski coming towards me. I noticed there was a boat behind it, but it turned around after it started to make it toward the shore.
COOPER: And what did she tell you happened when she came up to you?
As she was coming towards me I noticed she was looking over her shoulders. As she got closer the first words out of her mouth were, "Do you speak English?" I nodded and I said, "Yes, I do." She right away told me, gave me instructions as far as to call law enforcement and an ambulance because "my husband's been shot".
As I helped her to get off the jet ski and come to shore, she told me he had been shot in the head and that she tried to make it back for him. She tried to go around, come back for him, but she couldn't get him on the boat or on the jet ski, for that matter.
COOPER: So she had actually tried to bring his body out of the water? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was too heavy for her. She said that he weighed about 250 pounds, and she couldn't get him over.
COOPER: What sort of condition was she in? She must have been distraught?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was frantic. Crying, sobbing, I mean, she was -- she looked very, very jittery.
COOPER: Richard Drake, how does this compare to your own escape on the lake? What happened to you, Richard?
RICHARD DRAKE, ATTACKED ON BORDER LAKE: I was fishing in a bass club tournament down there in May of this year, and I was going down the middle of the lake. And I heard something over my left shoulder. And when I looked back, there was another bass boat that had three people in it. And two of them were carrying AK-47s, and they started waving the guns and yelling for me to pull over. So, you know, I was on the American side when this happened.
COOPER: So you were not in Mexican waters. You were on the U.S. side?
DRAKE: Yes. But I was going down the center of the lake. The lake has big markers that create the international boundary. And I was going from one marker to the next.
COOPER: Had you been warned beforehand about, you know, what might happen on the Mexican side?
DRAKE: I had been warned. The talk amongst the fishermen who had been going down there and fishing a lot was that there were some people being robbed. And don't go over on the Mexican side. So I wasn't on the Mexican side. I was going down the middle of the lake when they kind of came out of the brush and kind of ambushed me.
COOPER: So what did you do? I mean, you turned around and just -- high-tailed it out of there?
DRAKE: Yes. They were, maybe, you know, 15 yards over my left shoulder and they started yelling. And I looked back and saw them waving guns. And you just kind of think, oh, my gosh what did I get myself into here? And in an instant you think, do I pull over? Or take my chances and, you know, and hit the gas? And fortunately, I had a faster boat than they did, so I outran them. They chased me for about a mile, mile and a half, and then they tailed off.
COOPER: And to our caller, you live down there. This is your backyard where drug trafficking is allegedly happening, where these people are involved in this stuff on the Mexican side. Do you fear living down there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do. I very much fear for my life and my family's well being, just knowing that I'm so close to the water and to the border. COOPER: So what do you think needs to happen? I mean, do you see law enforcement down there? Do you see Border Patrol down there a lot?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but I think the resources are pretty much stretched out. We need more, like, government to get in there, maybe the National Guard or somebody needs to really step up.
COOPER: Yes. We should point out that the Hartleys were about three -- it's believed about three miles or so into Mexican waters when this incident may have occurred and then came back to U.S. waters.
Richard, I appreciate you talking with us and to our caller as well. Thanks for all you did in this and I wish you the best of luck.
DRAKE: Thank you.
COOPER: Scary stuff.
Up next, "Crime & Punishment": The fate of one of the men accused of that home invasion, the torture and murder of a Connecticut mom and her two young daughters. Well, the case is now in the hands of a jury. We'll have the latest on the case.
COOPER: We're following several other stories tonight. Joe Johns joins us again with the "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in Connecticut, jurors began deliberations in a widely-watched murder trial. Steven Hayes is charged with 17 counts including capital murder in the killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters during a 2007 home invasion. Hayes could face the death penalty if convicted.
Federal agents say a federal judge in Georgia bought drugs for a stripper with whom he was having an affair. According to court documents, Judge Jack Camp, Jr. was caught with cocaine and other drugs. Camp is also charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm.
In Michigan, a court hearing involving a state assistant attorney general is postponed until October 25. That's when a judge will decide if Andrew Shirvell will be ordered to stay away from Christopher Armstrong, the openly-gay student body president at the University of Michigan. Armstrong has filed for a personal protection order. As we've been reporting, Shirvell is accused of harassing and stalking Armstrong for weeks. Shirvell took a personal leave of absence from his job last week -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, I don't know why it was delayed. That seems like an awfully long time for someone to wait for a case for a personal protection order. We'll continue to follow it. Joe, tonight's "Shot," Levi Johnston in a music video. The singer is someone named Brittany Senser (ph), who I admit I've never heard of. I don't know if our viewers have. It's a video for her R&B song "After Love".
The question is, is there the video that broke up Levi and Bristol? I don't really care, but take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Looks pretty pedestrian to me, literally.
We got this video from People.com, which wonders if shooting the video added to Levi's breakup with Bristol. Over the summer, apparently, she told "People", as you well know, Joe, because I know you read the article that Johnson lied to her about why he was going to California when the video was made.
JOHNS: Oh, man.
COOPER: It was the deepest cut of all.
JOHNS: Yes, well, it hurts. But, you know, who knew?
COOPER: Who knew?
Also that movie, by the way, that Jeff Toobin and I were talking about. Apparently, it's called "The Dilemma," and it's by Universal Studios.
Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts now.
I'll see you tomorrow night.