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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
O'Donnell Double Standard; Haiti "Stupid Deaths"; Kentucky Senate Showdown; Cholera Outbreak in Haiti; Hiccup Girl Charged with Murder; Questions over Facebook Donation
Aired October 25, 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: And good evening, everyone.
Tonight: Christine O'Donnell she says she's the victim of a double standard, the victim of sexism; targeted she says, because she's a conservative Christian woman. Does she have a case or is she actually the one who has been using the double standard? Tonight: we're "Keeping Them Honest."
Also tonight: Sean Penn on the outbreak of cholera in Haiti. Hundreds have died from the fast-moving disease, thousands infected, death that didn't have to happen. "Stupid Deaths" as one doctor I know calls it. Sean Penn takes us to the frontlines of the disaster and reveals why so little of that promised aid has actually been sent so far.
And later, more than just a burp in the story of "Hiccup Girl", remember, she got famous because she couldn't stop hiccupping? She's got a lot of bigger worries right now -- a first degree murder charge. We'll tell you what heinous crime she is accused of in tonight's "Crime & Punishment" segment.
We begin though, tonight as always "Keeping Them Honest." Tonight: Christine O'Donnell. New charges she is now making that as a conservative Christian woman she is the victim of a double standard, the victim of sexism. Listen to what Christine O'Donnell said when David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network asked her if people are beating up on conservative Christian women like her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: There's certainly a double standard you know, and I don't want to quote, Gloria Steinem but she says, you know, "You can look at a double standard if they wouldn't attack the male opponent that way."
And there is no doubt that they wouldn't say the things they're saying about me. They wouldn't do the things that they're doing if I weren't a woman. I'm not whining. But there is certainly is a double standard, especially when it comes to conservative women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So she's saying she's the victim of a double standard. That they, probably the media or political opponents, are saying things about her they wouldn't say about a male candidate.
Now, before you decide if what she's saying is true -- and we leave it up to you -- let's look at her record. Because during her primary battle with fellow Republican Mike Castle, one of the most damaging criticism of Christine O'Donnell was made not by liberal media outlets but in a recorded call made on behalf of her Republican challenger by a fellow conservative and a woman, A fellow conservative woman who used to be Christine O'Donnell's campaign manager.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KRISTINE MURRAY, FORMER CHRISTINE O'DONNELL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: She wasn't concerned about conservative causes. O'Donnell just wanted to make a buck. That's why I left and why I won't trust O'Donnell with my hard-earned tax dollars.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: All right, that certainly doesn't happen very often. And when Karl Rove very publicly raised questions about O'Donnell right after her primary victory, there was no evidence it was because she was a woman or because she was a conservative Christian. He was attacking her because of contradictory statements she, herself, had made.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: One thing that Christine O'Donnell is now going to have to answer in the general election that she didn't have to answer in the primary is her own checkered background.
And there are just a lot of nutty things she's been saying that just simply don't add up.
Why did she mislead voters about her college education? Why -- how did it -- well, how come it took her nearly two decades to pay her college bills so she could get her college degree? How does she make a living?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So there is no doubt the liberal media outlets had a field day with Christine O'Donnell's past controversial comments about everything from evolution to witchcraft. But even non-liberal media outlets felt a sense of responsibility to question her about life choices she made and about statements she made on television programs in the past for years.
Would a male candidate have been asked those questions? Absolutely. All candidates are asked about every aspect of their life and their positions. True, no one else has copped to one's dabbling in witchcraft. But evolution for example that's been a hot topic, it certainly came up in the last presidential election. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Governor Huckabee at a previous debate you and two of your colleagues indicated that -- that you do not believe in evolution. You're an ordained minister. What do you believe?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Senator Brown, I wonder if you want to spend 30 seconds and tell our audience out there where you stand on the issue of evolution.
Do you believe creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the nation's schools?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As for our coverage on this program, Christine O'Donnell, we've held her to the exactly the same standard we hold any candidate to, Republican or Democrat. We haven't made fun of her for the witchcraft stuff. We focus on statements she's made that seem to be contradictory.
For instance last week in a debate she couldn't remember what the 14th and 16th Amendments of the Constitution were. Now we pointed out in this program that it's easy to get confuse for most people but that most people aren't running for Senate and most people don't claim to have intensely studied the Constitution at a graduate level as Christine O'Donnell has repeatedly done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: We need people in Congress who are going to be advocates for our Constitution. If you can help me get elected, I will always vote according to our Constitution.
The litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is Constitutional.
And the Constitution is making a comeback. It's almost as if we're in a season of Constitutional repentance.
It is the Constitution by which I will determine how I vote on all legislation coming across my desk.
It's the constitution by which I determine all of my policies.
I also have a graduate fellowship in constitutional government from the Claremont Institute. It is the Constitution that I will defend. And it is by the Constitution by -- that I will make all of my decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The graduate fellowship by the way was a seven-day course. Now, sexism certainly exists and of course plenty of people have biases against a conservative Christian woman just as plenty of people have biases against the liberal atheist male candidate.
But Christine O'Donnell hasn't provided any specific example of her being victimized by sexism in this campaign. We wanted her of course to come on the program tonight but she only appears on programs she believed will be supportive of her. We wouldn't be unfriendly but we would hold her accountable for statements.
And while we haven't found any sexist comments made by one of O'Donnell's opponents in this race we did come across an instance when Christine O'Donnell herself almost gleefully bashed her former Republican primary challenger Mike Castle in the very same way she now claims she's being bashed. Listen to the language she used against Castle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: These are the types of cheap, underhanded, unmanly tactics that we've come to expect from Obama's favorite Republican, Mike Castle. You know? You know, I released a statement today saying, "Mike this is not a bake-off. Get your man pants on."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So unmanly and not a bake-off, get your man pants on. That's Christine O'Donnell talking about her GOP primary opponent, Mike Castle. Now, if you look up the definition of sexism in Merriam Webster's Dictionary there's actually a couple of them.
But one of them is, quote, "Behavior, conditions or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex". Now, you can decide for yourself if labeling a male political opponent unmanly and telling him to put his man pants on is sexist. But it certainly seems to be a double standard.
If someone told Christine O'Donnell to put on a skirt that would certainly be somebody that would raise an outcry understandably. We should point out this is not the first time that Christine O'Donnell has leveled an allegation of some kind of gender discrimination.
She filed a lawsuit in 2005 against her former employer alleging the gendered discrimination and wrongful termination. The suit against -- was actually against a conservative non-profit in Delaware where she had worked. She sued for $6.95 million but ended up dropping the lawsuit.
So is Christine O'Donnell the victim of a double standard, the victim of sexism? You can decide for yourself but without specific examples put forward by her campaign it's an easy charge to make and one that's not so easy to find in the record of this campaign.
Joining us now is Democratic strategist, Paul Begala and Dana Loesch, editor of BigJournalism.com and host on the radio station 97.1 KFTK in St. Louis. Paul, what about this? You say sexism -- sexism is definitely alive and well in politics. Is it alive and well in this particular campaign?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think it is. And -- and you're right. It is alive in politics. Look, I'm a big liberal but Sarah Palin is certainly has been the victim of some sexist caricatures, particularly I mean, you know photo-shopping her face on to a picture of a woman in a bikini. We don't do that to Mike Huckabee.
So -- it is out there, certainly, Hillary Clinton was -- was subjected to a lot of sexism when she ran for president. But I don't see it here. I think -- I think that by her own standards, she, quoting Gloria Steinem saying "If you would say the same thing about a guy". We would.
I mean, come on, if a guy said these kinds of eccentric things about sexuality, about -- about the Constitution, about dabbling in witchcraft, some guy claimed to have briefly dabbled with warlockism or whether it might be. You know, of course we would. So I -- I think, I think she's crying foul here.
COOPER: Dana, what about you, what do you think?
DANA LOESCH, NATIONWIDE TEA PARTY COALITION ORGANIZER: I don't think it's sexism. I don't, I don't -- I think that there are -- as Paul point it out, there are clear-cut cases of sexism. I think, Hillary Clinton, and I think that Sarah Palin, I think that Meg Whitman most recently have all been examples of this.
But I don't think that sexism has played any role in this race. And I -- I -- I have problems with Chris Coons, I have problems with Mike Castle, I have problems with some of the arguments that Karl Rove put out discussing Christine O'Donnell.
But sexism has no place here. This is about people looking at her as someone who is running their campaign as a person who is very new to politics. She's running her campaign like a freshman.
Now, I'm not being mean. I'm saying that she's running -- and it's refreshing, to see someone who is not completely just burdened by Beltway baggage and establishment status quo and all of that.
But at the same time, people are attacking her because of some of the things that she said, because of some of the things that are in her past and it has nothing to do with the fact that she's a woman.
COOPER: Do you think Paul, or Dana, do you think that this is a calculated move? Or this is just -- you know, she's just speaking from her heart? This is what she believes? She doesn't give a lot of interviews to national media and this just came up, or do you think this is some sort of calculated thing to garner votes? Frankly.
BEGALA: Go ahead Dana. LOESCH: Well, I think this is -- it's like -- it's some of the things that I've been witnessing lately. And like, with -- with the case of crystal ball, the woman who have the photos up on Facebook.
The first defense that I see some women, not all but some women run to is "sexism." And it's becoming as overused as the term "racism" is becoming overused. Not every single case is sexism. Now, you had Jerry Brown call Meg Whitman and denigrate her for being a female and use a slur, I don't know, if I call it "slur" but use a nasty word against her and then now it turns around a day later and endorses him.
That was the case of him using her sex against her. This is not anyone using her sex.
COOPER: It's not clear whether, just for the record it's not exactly clear whether he said it or somebody behind him said or a campaign aide or maybe --
LOESCH: Right, but it's with his camp. Yes. Yes, but Christine O'Donnell, this isn't sexism.
COOPER: Paul? Go ahead, Paul.
BEGALA: I agree, it's not sexism on the part of Ms. O'Donnell. I don't think it's calculated. I haven't seen much out of her campaign that seems to have been calculated. She's sort of an accidental candidate. And so I don't think that -- and you know, look, we're seven days out. People are going to say -- we're just beginning to get to the really crazy part of the campaign. I can't wait.
I mean, if they'll do it on my side of the aisle they'll do it on the other side of the aisle. When you put people under this much pressure and this much scrutiny, they're going to -- some of them are going to say some things that they, perhaps, later can't back up.
COOPER: Guys, stick around. We want to talk about this debate that just occurred about two hours ago in Kentucky between Rand Paul and Jack Conway. Obviously, the last time they had a debate it was a brutal slugfest. The two guys didn't even up shaking hands afterwards.
We'll show you what happened tonight.
Also why is a Democratic candidate telling President Obama to, and I quote, "Shove it?" We'll find out in a moment. The live chat is up and running at AC360.com. Let us know what you think about Christine O'Donnell and this charge of sexism.
And just ahead also, a new feature on 360 "Dirty Politics." See who's running the dirtiest ad or pulling the dirtiest trick this week.
And later tonight, ever wonder what it's like to be in the eye of a tornado? Well, we'll talk to the guy who is right in the middle of this absolutely riveting footage that he took. He'll tell us what it was like.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, you don't see this too often: A candidate telling the president, a member of his own party, to take something and shove it. Listen to what Frank Caprio, the Democratic nominee for Governor of Rhode Island said about being passed over for an endorsement by President Obama?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK CAPRIO (D), RHODE ISLAND GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I've never asked President Obama for his endorsement. And what's going on here is really Washington insider politics at its worst. You have two former senators, Senator Chafee and former Senator Obama, who, you know, have behind the scenes, tried to put together an endorsement. He can take his endorsement and really shove it as far as I'm concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So the Senator Chafee he is referring is Lincoln Chafee, independent candidate for governor. Back in 2008, Chafee who is a former Republican endorsed then candidate, Barack Obama. So the White House says out of respect for that relationship the president is withholding an endorsement in the race.
Let's bring back in Paul Begala and Dana Loesch. Paul, are you surprised that a sitting Democratic president would opt not to endorse a viable Democratic nominee in a heavily Democratic state like Rhode Island?
BEGALA: I wish I had my thesaurus -- surprise doesn't begin to explain it. It's unimaginable to me. The notion that the leader of the party is being disloyal to his party is I think its own precedent. I can't think of a time -- and he went to the state today. That's the thing too. You go to Rhode Island -- it's the most Democratic state in the union.
The Democratic Governor's Association has spent $1.5 million trying to elect Mr. Caprio there. And the president has just completely undercut them. Keep in mind, in a three-way race with Linc Chafee, who is a moderate to liberal former Republican, the key vote here unlike anywhere else, the swing vote here, is the liberal vote.
So liberals are the most prized voters in this three-way race in this very liberal state. And so Barack Obama, still beloved by liberals, he might have cost the Democrats this seat. He might have cost the Democrats the governorship in Rhode Island. And he's -- I think is still a Democrat, Obama -- Mr. Obama is -- it's unbelievable.
COOPER: Dana, do you think it was a calculated move though, for the candidate to say -- to "shove it" on the radio?
LOESCH: That's I -- I -- I do and I don't. I'm not quite sure. I -- I haven't obsessed over this race like I have others but everything that I know of Frank Caprio he's always been -- pretty well-represented. He's always presented his -- his viewpoints pretty articulately and he's never really just sort of tossed statements out off of the cuff like this which makes me think that this is calculated but then, why is it calculated? Why would he say something like this?
Is he worried? Is the gap closing between him and his opponent? Is he trying to make himself look more attractive to those independents and moderates out there? It raises a lot of questions. And then you have to think, well, if this was calculated is the president in on it, like in Missouri.
LOESCH: Robin Carnahan has totally run from Barack Obama; when he's in the states, she goes to the opposite end of the states. It's kind of chronicle, so I don't know if that is the same situation as with Missouri and Robin Carnahan or if he's just genuinely --
LOESCH: -- just that upset and he was calculated in saying so.
COOPER: Paul, what are -- what are you hearing.
BEGALA: I checked with some Rhode Island Democrats Dana, and -- and they did say that they think, perhaps, Frank Caprio overreacted to this on purpose for -- for effect and to get some attention that, perhaps he is --
COOPER: It certainly got a lot of attention.
BEGALA: It did. It's not the language I would recommend. But he is a -- a -- by all accounts from Democrats, perfectly qualified. This is not, say this guy Alvin Green. Ok, the Democratic nominee for Senate in South Carolina, every Democrat has disavowed him.
BEGALA: Well, they have. He's -- he's not a serious or -- or qualified person to be in the United States Senate and I understand if President Obama doesn't want to support him. I agree with that. But this -- this -- Mr. Caprio, for Democrats, perfectly attractive candidate --
BEGALA: -- it's very odd to me.
COOPER: I don't know if you all saw any of the debate tonight in Kentucky between Rand Paul and Jack Conway.
COOPER: Obviously, the last time the debate was -- it was probably one of the nastier debates certainly I've -- I've ever seen Rand Paul refused at the end to even shake Conway's hand. I just want to show the little clip from this time because I've got to tell you, it was not heated at all. It seemed purposely, designed to be as dull as possible even though they were sitting right next to each other.
I guess one of the most heated moments came when Rand Paul was asked about statements he made to Rachel Maddow and others about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His opponent tried to pin -- pin him on it and then Rand Paul fired back. Let's play the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK CONWAY (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, KENTUCKY: I watched on MSNBC, 20 of the most painful and embarrassing moments I've ever seen on national cable TV as my opponent questioned fundamental provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His words were had he been -- had he been in the Senate then he would have been seeking to modify the lunch counter provision.
RAND PAUL (R), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, KENTUCKY: I never said that I believe in anything remotely regarding segregated lunch counters. I never said I was for repealing the Civil Rights Act which is what Jack said over and over again on Chris Matthews show. And then, Chris Matthews came back on the next day and said Jack Conway was lying. And it was false is what he was saying and he ginned up a lot of interest on this. So he had some success but he was being dishonest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dr. Paul there is basically taking issue with his opponent's spin on a different MSNBC show -- MSNBC show which is not only the crux of his comments I guess to Rachel Maddow. I just want to roll that clip with the original comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: There's ten different titles you know to the Civil Rights Act and nine out of ten deal with public institutions and I'm absolutely in favor of -- one deals with private institutions and had I been around, I would have tried to modify that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It seems like Paul, for -- I mean, at this point in the race, you know, people have heard that plenty of times and have probably made up their minds about it. Why bring it up in the debate again?
BEGALA: Well, you're right. They've heard it. I'd say, I think that's where the moderator should have thrown the flag, blown the whistle or kept them honest, as you do, instead of just letting each one say "Well, you're a liar." No, you're a liar.
I watched the debate and it was both boring and unedifying. But Dr. Paul does have -- he did at least have this view that the government -- the federal government is powerless to stop private actors, lunch counters is the classic example from discriminating on the basis of race. That's an eccentric position but it is one that's held by libertarians like Dr. Paul.
And -- and I don't think the moderator should have let him get away with --
BEGALA: -- walking away from that.
COOPER: Dana, at this point do you think it matters?
LOESCH: I don't it matters. I think people heard it enough. I think that it was framed a certain way and I thought it was weird the way that it was allowed to kind of go on in this debate which I also found at the same time, boring but then I kept waiting for them to get amped up and reach behind their chairs and grab pillows and start girl-fighting because it was just getting right to that line.
BEGALA: That's sexist, Dana.
LOESCH: But -- well, no. Because they what are you saying? Boys don't use pillows when they fight, too? I'm kidding --
COOPER: I saw Rand Paul reaching for something at one point but I think it was just a glass of water.
LOESCH: His pillow.
LOESCH: Well, but that was a really weird moment. There were a couple of really odd moments where they spent the entire portion of that time going back and forth, yes, I did. No, I didn't. Yes, I did. No, I didn't.
LOESCH: So, I don't know if we got anything new from this debate.
COOPER: Yes. Yes. I don't think we did.
Dana Loesch, I appreciate you being on.
Paul Begala, as well, thanks.
Coming up: on a week until Election Day, tonight on "PARKER SPITZER": their guest was Nate Silver, who predicted the outcome of the '08 election with almost perfect accuracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "PARKER SPITZER")
KATHLEEN PARKER, CO-HOST, "PARKER SPITZER": Is there anything candidates do at this point, or is it sewn up, do you think?
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM: Really, first of all, a lot of people have already voted, right, because you can early-vote now in a majority of states. And, second of all, you know, most people have made up their minds.
And so, really, you're dealing with a universe of 5 percent of the electorate is really undecided. If you sweep those voters, it's still not enough if you're down by more than five points, which plenty of candidates are.
ELIOT SPITZER, CO-HOST, "PARKER SPITZER": And, you know, that -- that is the interesting point. I was in this game for some period of time. And it used be that, going into the last week or two weeks, there was still a significant bloc of undecided voters.
SPITZER: And you could make a play and make your last closing argument to them.
It seems as -- as though there is -- is greater polarization and there are very few less undecided voters still left to capture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was "PARKER SPITZER". You can see it every weeknight 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Up next: money and politics. You heard everyone from the president on down railing against secret money funding Republican campaigns. The question is, are Democrats guilty of doing the same thing? Well, the answer probably is yes. We're "Keeping Them Honest," both sides.
And later: my interview with Sean Penn about the totally preventable tragedy now unfolding in Haiti, the cholera outbreak. What about all that money pledged to help rebuild the country? Why has so little of it actually been delivered?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a tornado. We are in the tornado, in the tornado.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We are going to talk to the guy who shot these images, find out what it's like to be in the middle of a tornado and get out alive.
COOPER: Bringing you a new segment, giving you a look at the dirty side of politics. And, well, there's a lot dirty sides. We're going to examine the dirtiest ads, the dirtiest races, and the most unsavory moments on the campaign trail.
Tonight, we begin with a look at a political maneuver that some see as nothing more than a dirty trick. The Obama administration has been pounding away at Republicans for pumping millions of dollars into campaigns without revealing where those dollars are coming from. Republicans, in return, are reminding Democrats of that old adage, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Tom Foreman has been looking at the issues -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hey, Anderson.
The complaint from all these furious Democrats is that the floodgates of what they call secret money have just burst wide open for the Republicans, that corporations, individuals and organizations are dumping millions into groups that air ads during the election, while concealing the donor's involvement.
Now the Democrats are targeting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over here, which spent $36 million in 2008 to promote business-friendly candidates. They say that they will spend a lot more this year. They won't say how much, nor will they tell us who the donors will be.
Neither will American Crossroads. That's a group started former Bush White House's Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie. It's also raining money down to help Republicans and hurt Democrats.
So, the Democratic National Committee put together this ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, they're Bush cronies. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they're shills for big business, and they are stealing our democracy, spending millions from secret donors to elect Republicans to do their bidding in Congress. It appears they have even taken secret foreign money to influence our elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Wow, tough ads.
So, when CBS asked presidential adviser David Axelrod if he has any proof that the Chamber is spending foreign money on the election, he answered, "Well, do you have any evidence that it's not?"
The Chamber, for the record, flatly denies that accusation. And look at what Karl Rove is saying about the president himself: "I don't remember him ever saying that all these liberal groups were threatening -- or threats to democracy when they spent money exactly the same way we are," -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, I mean, is that a fair assessment? Have liberal groups relied on the same trick?
FOREMAN: Absolutely. The issue here is hypocrisy. Politicians in both parties have cried about the corrupting influence of this secret money, but they rely on it anyway, all the time.
The Campaign Media Analysis Group says outsiders have spent about $200 million on ads backing Republicans in this election but about 100 million backing Democrats.
So the Democrats are getting badly beaten in this contest in terms of the dollars, but they are certainly playing the same game.
And here's another trick. When taking out really controversial ads, you may notice groups sometimes don't make much of an effort to clearly spell out to the average voter, who they are.
Look at this attack ad on Sharron Angle, the Republican, running against Harry Reid in Nevada.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sharron.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sharron.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sharron Angle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your ideas are just too extreme and dangerous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You told rape victims to --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lemon situation to lemonade.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Giving criminals massages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For presidents?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a waste of taxpayer's money.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: AFSCME is responsible for the content of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: AFSCME. AFSCME -- you heard it at the end of that commercial right there. You know what this is? A woman's right organization maybe or an anti-crime group? Before I tell you, let me say we called them and said some Republicans are accusing you of hiding behind this acronym so that voters won't know your identity and your agenda. They said -- nonsense. We're very well known to the people of America.
AFSCME, in case they're not well known to you, is a government employees' union that leans heavily Democratic. Bottom line -- there plenty of dirty tricks facing any voter who wants either party to show me the money and where it came from -- Anderson.
COOPER: We're certainly talking about huge amounts of money Tom. Thanks.
We're following several other important stories tonight. Joe Johns has a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, breaking news in Philadelphia. Firefighters are battling a five-alarm fire at a warehouse that belongs to a company that is one of the nation's largest makers of manufactured housing and vacation homes. No injuries are reported.
Andrew Shirvell is threatening to sue the University of Michigan. That's what his attorney tells AnnArbor.com. Shirvell, an assistant Michigan attorney general protested and used a blog to attack the openly gay president of Michigan's student assembly, accusing him of promoting what Shirvell calls, a radical homosexual agenda.
Shirvell, a Michigan alum had been barred from the campus. His lawyer says they will sue if that order isn't lifted.
BP's new CEO, Bob Dudley, defended his company's handling of the Gulf oil disaster today and said others rushed to judgment before the facts were in. Meanwhile, Dudley's refusing to testify about the spill before congress.
And take a look at this incredible video -- the emergency management coordinator from Navarro County, Texas near Dallas, was tracking a storm last night when a tornado touched down and turned towards his vehicle. He was not hurt, believe it or not. But the twister destroyed at least five homes, ripped the roof off of a school and derailed a train. At least four people were hurt and the fascinating thing is with all that debris flying around nobody got hurt.
JOHNS: I mean the driver didn't get hurt anyway.
Still ahead, the deadly cholera outbreak spreading fast in Haiti. We'll talk to Sean Penn. He's been warning for months that this could happen. He wasn't the only one warning. He just got back from Haiti last night. He joins me about what he's seen.
And later, the teenager -- remember her -- whose non-stop hiccups made her famous. She was on a lot of morning shows hiccupping. Well, she's back in the news accused of first-degree murder. Police say she lured the victim to his death. That's our "Crime and Punishment" report tonight.
COOPER: In Haiti tonight, a public health crisis edging closer to catastrophe. The death toll from a cholera outbreak has climbed to at least 259; more than 3,000 people so far have been sickened. So far, the outbreak has been confined mostly to an area north of Port- au-Prince but experts are warning the disease is spreading fast and could possibly even reach the Dominican Republic next door.
The United Nations today called the situation extremely serious and warned that tens of thousands of people could become infected.
An infuriating and frankly unacceptable fact is that this public health crisis didn't have to happen. It was preventable and it was predicted. People were sounding alarms almost as soon as the dust had settled after the earthquake in January. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE TOYCEN, AID WORKER: When you see a lack of clean water, for example, lack of sanitation, it's the children -- especially the young ones that will die first that get sick and die of very simple things.
BAN KI MOON, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL: I know that there is frustration and there is a possibility of this disease spreading. That's the point where we are paying extreme caution and preparations for that.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Just everywhere you look there are tents like this. This is one of the things that people are most concerned about when they talk about a potential second wave of deaths. They're worried about infectious diseases in part because of living conditions like this.
RASHID KYSIA, VOLUNTEER DOCTOR: In my mind, the next phase of what's going on something epidemic like measles, like cholera.
SEAN PENN, J/P HAITIAN RELIEF ORGANIZATION: Hundreds of thousands of people are living in cramped tent cities, with no bottoms on it. Their tarp shelters are on contaminated soil that will create diarrheal diseases that are going to kill children in the thousands and thousands if we don't find a better situation for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Sean Penn back in April. The warnings from all those folks on the ground in Haiti; it's a testament to their hard work frankly that an outbreak of cholera hasn't happened in the squalor of camps so far where hundreds of thousands of Haitians continue live.
But that's the fear right now; that it's going to spread from the area north of Port-au-Prince into the capital and into those camps. This is the first outbreak of cholera in Haiti in 50 years. We should also point out that just a fraction of the aid that's been promised from countries around the world to Haiti for reconstruction -- only a fraction of that promised money has actually arrived; just $686 million according to the Associated Press. That is less than 15 percent of the nearly $9 billion that was pledged for this year alone in Haiti, pledged by some 50 nations and organizations around the world.
Zero reconstruction money pledged by the United States has made it to the ground, none. Lack of money has all but halted reconstruction work. The rainy season has created ideal conditions for the spread of a disease like cholera.
It's been a perfect storm. It didn't have to be this way. The crisis was preventable. The cholera outbreak has not yet reached the camp where Sean Penn's foundation operates in Port-au-Prince but they're bracing for the worst. They're getting prepared.
I talked to Sean Penn earlier.
COOPER: Sean, you were in Haiti this weekend, you just got back last night. How bad was it?
PENN: It's bad. The latest numbers I think are about 3,015 people infected, over 200 dead. I think five in Port-au-Prince and those are just the official numbers. And what we know about it at this point is that it's affecting a very regional area, in particular, the epicenter of it, but it's spreading very fast.
COOPER: I think a lot of people don't realize how quickly this thing can move. I mean cholera can -- it moves and it can kill very, very fast.
PENN: Yes. Cholera has a couple of characteristics. One is it's highly preventable, it's very treatable. But it has to be treated extremely quickly, between four and six hours after the initial symptoms or the patient will die.
So one of the big issues right now, there is a lot of question about how much -- how many supplies are in the country; whether or not there's enough medical staff to treat those in the country that are infected; and also, the way in which those supplies come -- are processed. Because there tend to be very bureaucratic means by which they are processed out of warehouses.
COOPER: Obviously, the nightmare scenario is it's spreading into Port-au-Prince. Right now, as you said the epicenter is north of the capital but it's spreading into Port-au-Prince, spreading into these tent camps where so many people still live crammed together.
You have some 55,000 people living in the camp, I think, at last count that I read. How bad could it be if it gets into your camp?
PENN: Well, again, that has to do with the ability to treat it. We're stockpiling now but it's slow and our access has been disappointing to those supplies in country. We have those things that we're initiating ourselves and with support we'll be able to do a lot more.
For example, in our camp we have a partner in Oxfam who supplies chlorinated water. While it's not pleasant to drink, it's safe to drink and to wash with and to wash fruits and vegetables with. There are many, many camps that don't have those services. And in those circumstances, one of the things that people have to understand is, well, don't use the water. The water is contaminated.
The only way the people will pay attention to that is if clean water is provided. So whether that's through filtration systems or trucked in water, this is going to be the essential element -- water, water, water.
COOPER: You know, it's as if people in Haiti do not have enough to deal, to have this on top of it. Billions have been promised by countries around the world and so far only a small percentage of the money that's been pledged has actually been handed over. I'm not talking about people's private donations, we're talking about billions of dollars by governments around the world. Do the Haitians -- do they feel abandoned?
PENN: I think the Haitians do feel abandoned and legitimately so. And the way that it works is very convoluted. Right now, we're seeing a lot of NGOs who are looking bad. I mean all of us are looking bad, because, especially if we work in camps because the people are still without other places to go. My organization has also done a lot of relocation into the neighborhoods as well as outside. And that's the priority to be able to do that to provide clinics and education and, hopefully, ultimately jobs in those areas.
COOPER: How long -- I mean do you think people in Port-au-Prince -- and we're talking about hundreds of thousands of people -- many, many hundreds of thousands of people -- how long do you think they're going to be stuck in these camps?
PENN: Well, I'll let your audience do the math. This is another callout to my fellow NGO partners.
There are 5,000 temporary shelters that have been established in Port-au-Prince. That's in all of these months since the earthquake.
PENN: 5,000 -- to get the people out of the camps, we have to establish 400,000 of them. On this timetable, I leave the math to others. The camps are a devastation. We have probably, the best organized camp and it's a terrible place to live. And it doesn't provide dignity, pride, health, security on any human reasonable level. And, yet, this is where they're going to be for some time.
I don't want to make predictions on how long it's going to be. Our job is to work every day to give them other options but it's going to be a long time. So in that meantime, we do -- we can't abandon them there. We can work to make less static processes, to improve the things we do in our camp and in all the camps throughout Port-au- Prince and Haiti. But right now there's not a -- they are not going to be less vulnerable soon.
So, again, when we come back to the cholera thing, this is why so much focus has to go not only into the medical supplies and staff, and all of the prideful sovereignty, whether it be of the government of Haiti or of United Nation's organizations, NGOs, all of that's got to stop right now and people have got to say -- here's the numbers. Here's how fast the infection rate is spreading and we've got to deal with this like these are our children and we have to do it right now. Otherwise, it's -- this is going to be one more of those great tragedies in human history that we will all have thrown up our hands and said "Oh, well."
COOPER: Sean Penn, appreciate you -- obviously all your work.
PENN: Can I say one more thing Anderson?
PENN: There's a prison in (INAUDIBLE), it's a prison for 80 prisoners. It houses 300 prisoners. And currently, I think they have eight cases of cholera in the prison. Some of these people stole a loaf of bread. So that's another thing that our partners asked that I had put on the air.
COOPER: Yes. Sean, amazing work as always and we appreciate you being on tonight, Sean. Thank you.
PENN: Thank you.
COOPER: We'll check the latest numbers on the shelter construction in Haiti to be sure we're up to date. It's higher than the 5,000 that Sean mentioned. According to USAID more than 17,000 transitional shelters have been built in Haiti. As Sean Penn pointed out, it's still a small fraction -- a tiny fraction of what's actually needed.
If you'd like to help Sean Penn's organization it's called the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, on the web it's JPHRO.org. You'll find the information on how to get involved.
Still ahead tonight, you remember the hiccup girl as we were calling her? She first made news when she was hiccupping and she couldn't stop for weeks? Now she's charged with homicide, first- degree murder -- the bizarre and disturbing accusations ahead.
COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" tonight: a truly bizarre follow- up to a story that went global three years ago. In 2007, you may remember Jennifer Mee had one of the worst cases of hiccups on record. She couldn't stop hiccupping. She was miserable and we put her in the media spotlight.
Well, now she's back, this time not a medical mystery -- it's a murder case. Randi Kaye has the details.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jennifer Mee thought she had problems three years ago when a bad case of the hiccups lasted for five weeks. She hiccupped as many as 50 times a minute, a bizarre condition.
Her very public search for a cure earned her the nickname "hiccup girl". Media from around the world competed for interviews with Mee, then just 15. This was her on the today show back in 2007. Listen closely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First it's kind of funny. It's not funny.
JENNIFER MEE, HICCUP GIRL: Not no more it's not, not at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you coping?
KAYE: Now Mee, at 19, makes national headlines again. Not for hiccups, but for murder. She and two others are accused of first- degree murder in the death of a Florida man, Shannon Griffin. The police say Mee had met the victim online.
CHUCK HARMON, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA POLICE CHIEF: They exchanged several back and forth on a social networking site on the Internet, led up to a series of phone calls where she enticed him to come down and meet with her at this particular address.
KAYE (on camera): When Griffin arrived investigators say Mee took him behind a vacant home kept walking when the other two suspects attempted to rob him at gun point. Officers found his body when they arrived at the scene just after 11:00 p.m. Saturday night.
An arrest affidavit says the victim was shot three times in the chest and once in the shoulder. The weapon, a 38 revolver, was recovered at the scene. Police say Mee told them she knew about the gun and they say she was close enough to hear the gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss Mee, the allegation is murder --
KAYE: Mee, who police say, didn't pull the trigger, was arrested yesterday afternoon. Today she was officially booked for murder. She entered a written plea of not guilty. The other suspects have not pleaded yet.
We were unable to reach Mee's lawyer for comment. Mee's mother told a local radio station her daughter had moved out of the house about a year ago. Through tears, she defended her daughter.
RACHEL ROBIDOUX, JENNIFER MEE'S MOTHER: Her case of the hiccups was a case of the hiccups. It was the curse of the hiccups. You know Jennifer as well as I do. She's a lovable, sweet little girl that wouldn't hurt a fly and where things went wrong I don't know.
KAYE: Before a doctor finally helped cure her hiccups with acupuncture Jennifer Mee had tried all kinds of remedies -- sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, pickle juice, even breathing in a bag. But it seems the only remedy she needs today is a good, strong defense.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Up next, the $100 million donation that has a lot of people talking. It's from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg for Newark, New Jersey public schools. To critics the gift raises a lot of questions. We dig in with our education contributor, Steve Perry, coming up.
COOPER: Here's an incredible statistic for you. In Newark, New Jersey about 50 percent of high school students do not graduate -- 50 percent. The mayor and governor hope to change that and become a model for education reform nationwide with help from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Their plan though, of course, has its critics.
With tonight's "Perry's Principle's" report, here's education contributor Steve Perry.
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): The announcement made big news on Oprah.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: A $100 million challenge grant.
PERRY: Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark, New Jersey schools. On stage to accept: a Republican governor and Democrat mayor.
But to critics, the gift raises many questions.
(on camera): Do you feel like it could help the school district?
BOB BRAUN, "NEWARK STAR LEDGER" COLUMNIST: We have no details on that -- on the gift except that it was $100 million in stock that's going to be given over five years.
We have no idea how it's going to be used.
Perry: You said it helps the politicians.
BRAUN: The rollout of the $100 million gift helped Chris Christie change the subject from his loss of $400 million in federal race to the top funds which might have -- would have come to New Jersey.
Corey Booker has not come up with an education plan, but shortly before the big rollout on Oprah, lost a very serious political battle.
PERRY (voice-over): A battle over budget cuts. Newark's public schools are failing with a 54 percent high school graduation rate. Currently, the state controls the school district.
Under the new plan, the governor authorizes Mayor Booker to develop a comprehensive education plan.
Democrat state senator Ronald Rice says that's wrong.
RONALD RICE, NEW JERSEY STATE SENATOR: It's the endowment conditions. One condition is that Mayor Booker must be the person to more or less be in charge here.
I'll get behind anybody who wants to give us some money but will he be able to negotiate the condition?
PERRY: We asked Mayor Booker and Governor Christie for interviews but they declined. In a statement, Booker said he would not take a formal role in running Newark schools. He said he wants to lead full committee engagement in shaping Newark's educational future.
Supporters say the Booker-Christie-Zuckerberg deal will help failing schools and for local leaders against the deal, what are you going to do to improve teaching and learning in Newark's public schools?
RICE: We're starting to look at how to do legislation to encourage or for parents -- we can legally mandate, get parents more involved in these school system.
PERRY: And the local media?
BRAUN: We have excellent education writers who write about these things. We also have the responsibility to question when Oprah has a big rolling out of something as to whether this really makes any sense.
COOPER: I mean clearly, the challenge is getting people with different ideas to come together or to solve problems?
PERRY: One of the reasons why I work with kids is because I don't particularly like adults. They're very difficult to deal with. As we see here, even the adults can't find a way to take something like $100 million gift and see it all as the same. It's all the finger-pointing.
What these adults can do, what the politicians, people in the media and the families can do is finds out what their contribution to the problem is and then they can find the place where they can create the solution. Each one of us has a role to play in both the problem and the solution.
A problem as large as education and more specifically education in Newark, there are a whole bunch of people who can reach in and take that piece of the pie out.
COOPER: Steve Perry thanks. PERRY: thank you.
COOPER: That's it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts now.
I'll see you tomorrow night.