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The Politics of Health Care; MSNBC Anchor Keith Olbermann Suspended; Connecticut Home Invasion Jury Deliberating on Death Penalty; Interview With Sean Penn

Aired November 5, 2010 - 22:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Randi Kaye, in for Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching.

Tonight: playing politics with health care. Candidates who slammed President Obama for focusing, they said, on health care first, not jobs, why are they now fixated on health care, with so many Americans looking for work? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also tonight, Keith Olbermann suspended after giving money to three Democratic candidates. We will tell you about how much trouble he could be in. And we will ask our panel how much trouble he should be in.

Later: deciding whether the man behind Connecticut's home invasion horror should live or die, a mother and two daughters killed. Is there any case for leniency? "Crime & Punishment."

We begin, as we always do, though, "Keeping Them Honest."

Tonight: politicians who said one thing during the health care battle and another thing the closer they got to Election Day. They said President Obama was too focused on passing health care reform, and not on putting Americans back to work, legislation first, they complained, and jobs second.


SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: They want their president and Congress to focus on creating jobs and reviving America's economy. Instead, for more than a year now, we have seen a bitter, destructive and endless drive to completely transform America's health care system.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Mr. Speaker, the American people are asking, where are the jobs?

SEN. JON KYL (R-AZ), MINORITY WHIP: The American people have been telling Washington that promoting job growth must be the first priority. But, for more than a year, Congress and the president have focused instead on a controversial health spending bill, which the majority of Americans said they didn't want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, where are the jobs?

REP. PETE HOEKSTRA (R), MICHIGAN: Mr. President, where are the jobs?

GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R), MISSISSIPPI: I mean, we should have been focused on jobs in June, not health care, in September, not health care, Christmas Eve, not health care.

REP. JOHN CAMPBELL (R), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Speaker, I would ask you and I would ask the president, where are the jobs you promised?

BARBOUR: Well, it's interesting. The American people have been saying from the day Barack Obama got sworn in, jobs are the biggest issue in the country. Getting our economy back going is the biggest issue in the country.

But, for the last eight months, all they have heard about is the Democratic Party trying to ram health care down our country's throat.

BOEHNER: I have been asking the questions over the last three or four months, where are the jobs?


KAYE: All right. So that's the complaint, that President Obama put health care first and jobs second, that he wasted time better used to fix the economy and put people back to work on what they consider a scheme to expand government, at the expense of people's freedom.

Now, you can agree or disagree with that notion. That's not what we're talking about tonight. We're talking about politicians who said they were looking out for ordinary Americans more concerned about their paycheck than a big piece of Washington legislation.

And, in that sense, they were right. Polling bears it out -- 52 percent telling us the economy is the number-one concern. Just 8 percent said health care. So, given that Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about jobs and given that these candidates said that that's what they cared about, too, you would think that they would be focused like a laser on jobs, right? Not exactly. Watch.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: So I believe that, when we take majority in January, I hope that we're able to put a repeal bill on the floor right away.

BOEHNER: We're going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with commonsense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance.

CHIP CRAVAACK (R), MINNESOTA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: My target is the health care bill. That is one of the first things that I will be trying to either repeal or defund, because this is just a bad bill. It's bad for America, and it's bad for Americans.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: The country wants repeal of Obamacare. The country needs repeal of Obamacare, and the House of Representatives will repeal Obamacare. Then it's going to be...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry to press you on this.

NUNES: ... Harry Reid and the United States Senate.


KAYE: Looks like job one, as they say in the auto industry, will not be jobs, but health care repeal, or else.

"The New York Times" reporting the pressure is on from Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, which was a big supporter of Tea Party candidates during the campaign.

A FreedomWorks memo being sent to all incoming House Republicans, it says in part, "Politically speaking, your only choice is to get on offense and start moving boldly ahead to repeal, replace and defund Obamacare in 2011, or risk rejection by the voters in 2012."

And one footnote: There's new economic data out tonight. It shows private sector job growth for the fourth straight month, but the unemployment rate stuck at 9.6 percent.

Joining us now, Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and Dana Loesch, blogger, talk radio host, and co-organizer of the Saint Louis Tea Party Coalition.

Paul, let's start with you.

Will we see a fresh GOP move to repeal health care, do you think?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I think so. I think -- I do think, in fairness to the Republicans, many of them, probably most of them, did campaign promising to repeal Obamacare.

They're not going to be able to do it, and they knew it when they said that. Our constitutional system does not allow one party and one house to repeal legislation. They know that the Senate would never pass repeal, these House -- new House Republicans, and they know the president would never sign it. So it's a bit of a false promise to begin with.

But I do think they risk being wound around the axle of a year- long fight trying to undo or defund Obamacare, when in fact people do want jobs. I hope the president will step into that breach with a -- new ideas, with new proposals to create jobs, and -- and make that contrast.

Democrats can then be for jobs and let the Republicans be for trying to empower insurance companies to -- to have more control over your life.

KAYE: And, Dana, isn't this really what happened to President Obama? He said we could do both jobs and health care, but the perception, politically, that his energy was split, it cost him. And the fact is, as Paul said, Republicans don't control the Senate. They can't repeal this bill. So, was this really a genuine promise on their part? DANA LOESCH, ORGANIZER, ST. LOUIS TEA PARTY COALITION: I do believe so. I mean, there's a lot of things that the Constitution doesn't necessarily provide for, including what we saw the -- the -- the thing with the Commerce Clause in the health control law.

But, at the same time, when we listened to everything that Nancy Pelosi said and everything that President Obama said, Nancy Pelosi herself on video -- it's all over YouTube -- saying that the -- the health care bill will bring about four million jobs or some such.

Health care is tied so closely to jobs. So, while I think it's really important for Republicans to focus on the economy and make things easier, lessen up, so that these businesses can create jobs, you also have to note that health care has been so unbelievably wound in with jobs, that, I mean, you kind of have to address both sort of simultaneously.

KAYE: So, if nothing changes, are you saying voters will be happy with just a symbolic gesture?

LOESCH: Oh, no, voters are not going to be happy with just a symbolic gesture. Republicans need to go whole-hog with this. They really do. They need to put forth more than just a symbolic gesture.

And I think their speech has been strong, but whether or not they're going to follow that up in the next couple of years, that remains to be seen.

KAYE: Paul, let's talk about defunding...

BEGALA: Here's -- here's...

KAYE: Oh, go ahead.

BEGALA: Here's my proposal, then. Maybe Dana will agree with this.

These Republicans who ran, they said they hated Obamacare. They hate government-funded, government-guaranteed, government-mandated health care. They can't repeal it, but you know what they can do? Repeal their own. So repeal your own, Mr. Speaker Boehner, Mr. Speaker-to-be Boehner. They can decline to accept the congressional health care package, which is a really generous package of health care coverage, paid for by the taxpayers, guaranteed by the government.

So, they could at least repeal their own. They should become the change they seek in the world. They should lead by example and reject government-funded health care for themselves and their family.

How is that, Dana? Don't you think they should do that? Because it's socialism, you know.

LOESCH: Well, Democrats -- Democrats exempted themselves from this law. Democrats already exempted themselves from this law when they wrote it.

BEGALA: Well, that's not true, actually. That's actually not true.


BEGALA: That's actually not true. But -- but shouldn't they -- shouldn't they repeal their own health care?

LOESCH: Oh, so they are going to subject themselves to it, then?


BEGALA: Congress is covered by it, yes.


LOESCH: So, wait. You're saying that it's not true.

BEGALA: Right.

LOESCH: So are Democrats going to subject themselves to this legislation, then?

BEGALA: Well, of course they are. They're covered by it. They're -- they're -- they're going to be covered by the law. There was...




LOESCH: So, if they choose to not go on government care, will they accept the penalties that go along with that when those are enacted?


BEGALA: Dana, here's my point. The Republicans say they hate government health care. Democrats like it, so, of course they're going to accept it.

Why don't the Republicans decline -- why does not John Boehner, who has almost 20 years now been on government health care, why doesn't he decline it? Because it's good. That's why.

LOESCH: Well, why don't we just, actually...


BEGALA: And citizens want to have the same policy the politicians wrote themselves.


KAYE: All right. LOESCH: Paul, why don't we rework it and have actual good health care that really addresses being able to have portable insurance and buying across state lines?


BEGALA: Repeal their own, though.


BEGALA: But it's pernicious socialism. Ooh, ooh, ooh, scary.

LOESCH: Why can't we address that? Let's be serious for a moment and let's really address the problem.


KAYE: All right, you two, let me jump in here for just a second.

One thing the GOP could try and do is defund health care. Could we see a government shutdown possibly, Paul?

BEGALA: Oh, definitely. Yes. You're going to see a government shutdown, and then maybe, you know, impeachment. There's nothing going to stop these folks.

KAYE: Impeachment?

BEGALA: I mean, they -- they have -- oh, sure. You watch. Hide and watch.

There's already a -- Rush Limbaugh has called for it.


BEGALA: Mr. Beck, who's a -- this TV clown over at FOX News, has called for it.

LOESCH: Oh, come on.

BEGALA: A whole variety -- by the way, about a third of Republicans back in March, before the negative ads and everything -- back in March, one-third of Republicans -- 38 percent, actually -- in a Harris poll said they wanted to see Obama impeached.

So, they will get to that. But they will start with the government shutdown. Sure, they will. Now, they -- they have that power under the Constitution. The president, I doubt, would go along with some of their kind of radical plans.

And so we -- I think, definitely, late 2011, you're looking at a government shutdown.

KAYE: Dana, is...

(CROSSTALK) LOESCH: I think it will be gridlock.

KAYE: Do you...

LOESCH: I do think it will be gridlock.

KAYE: You do.

LOESCH: But, shutdown, I'm not so sure. Yes.

KAYE: Do you think that -- that -- that -- I mean, voters are saying that -- we saw the numbers in the intro. I mean, a very small minority of voters are saying that health care is their top priority.

LOESCH: Right.

KAYE: So, is this a push that's really more about scoring political points than -- than really addressing the country's priorities?

LOESCH: Yes and no.

I think one of the reasons that Republicans are prioritizing this is because the grassroots movement, which really sustained the life of the Republican Party this past couple of years, I think that they're sort of -- it's sort of a gesture towards the grassroots.

But, at the same time, I think that they recognize some of the un -- unconstitutionality of the provisions that were included in the law to begin with.

But, at the same time, it is unbelievably tied with jobs. You're talking about a congressional -- the Congressional Budgetary Office just -- it was like this year they released a report, their economic report, which said that this could cost up to 800,000 jobs. That's more than like Ford, GM and Chrysler combined. You have 550,000 union workers with those three auto plants. That's -- that's more than those -- that's more than that combined.

So, that's -- when you're talking about jobs, when you're talking about the economy, that absolutely has to factor in. But, at the same time, I think that there's a million things that we could do in the interim before we really go aggressively and look at health reform, and -- and talk about remedying things to -- to increase jobs, and like the Bush tax cuts, for instance, after the 1st of the year.

That's -- that's one of many steps that could be taken.

KAYE: All right, Paul, Dana, stick around.

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

Up next: NBC's Keith Olbermann has done plenty of complaining about money in politics. Tonight, he's on suspension without pay for injecting money into politics. We will explain. Later: the $200 million myth -- conservative talk radio slamming President Obama's trip to Asia, saying it's costing $200 million a day. They don't have the facts to back it up, and they also don't have our Ed Henry, who will join us from Mumbai, India, after doing a little price-checking of his own.


KAYE: We ordinarily don't talk much about the competition around here, but, tonight, seems like everybody is.

Keith Olbermann, who anchors "Countdown" over at MSNBC, is off the air, suspended indefinitely without pay. You will see why in just a moment.

First, you should know that he is a vocal critic of money in politics, especially big corporate money, especially undisclosed money.


KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST, "COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN": FOX has not only employed numerous Republican politicians, at least two of whom actually were Republican governors, many of whom are active GOP fund-raisers on air and off, but many of its media employees have also raised money for the party or openly campaigned for or endorsed Republican candidates.

We now have another million reasons FOX News is the Republican news channel, correct?

Congressman Clyburn, is there a legislative response to the idea there is a national cable news outlet that goes beyond having a point of view, and actually starts to shill for partisan causes and actually starts to donates to partisan groups of one party?


KAYE: That's Keith Olbermann railing against media figures spending money to influence politics without disclosing it. He gets pretty worked up about it.

With that in mind, take a look at a bit of some interviews he did with Raul Grijalva, a Democratic congressman from Arizona.


OLBERMANN: Congressman, good to talk to you again.

REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: Good to talk to you, my friend.

OLBERMANN: Congressman Raul Grijalva, who is one of the great representatives of that state, great thanks for some of your time tonight. Good luck with this, and we will stay in touch with you on it, if we can.

GRIJALVA: Thank you very much.


KAYE: Very friendly, very complimentary. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find an interview in which the two men disagree on anything, which is not unusual. Congressman Grijalva is a friend of "Countdown." And, by all appearances, Keith Olbermann is a friend of the congressman.

What is unusual and until undisclosed is this. Keith Olbermann was also a donor to Mr. Grijalva's campaign this year. In a statement to Politico, Olbermann writes: "One week ago, on the night of Thursday October 28, 2010, after a discussion with a friend about the state of politics in Arizona, I donated $2,400 each to the reelection campaigns of Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords."

He goes on: "I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky."

The revelation prompting quick action from his boss. Said NBC president Phil Griffin in a statement today: "I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."

Before taking this any further, some disclosure of our own: All three parent companies of all three cable news outlets give hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates and political parties, Democratic and Republican. As a matter of policy, neither CNN, nor MSNBC permit employees to do the same, with the exception of our political contributors. And, there, we try to be as up-front and open as we can about any conflicts of interest.

But Keith Olbermann was not up-front, while expecting others to be.

Back now with our panel, Paul Begala, Dana Loesch, also Joan Walsh, editor of and, a few years back, Keith Olbermann's editor.

Paul, let's start with you once again.

Keith's criticisms of the -- of news corporations' political contributions seem utterly hypocritical, now that it's clear that he's done the very same thing, would you say?

BEGALA: Well, I -- you know, I don't know. The guy, he's a liberal, obviously, and he gave money to liberals. Congressman Grijalva is the chairman of the Progressive Caucus. And Keith's a progressive.

I suppose what's fair for one -- obviously, you know, he did criticize FOX News, which gave $1 million. And that was apparently legal under the Citizens United ruling from the Supreme Court. So, I guess it's -- you know, it's not my network. It's not my job. It seems to me an employment dispute. There was a rule there. MSNBC apparently says he violated that rule, so I guess they are going to sanction him for it. But -- but I don't know. I just -- to me, it's not all that big a deal.

KAYE: You're not surprised at all? And you don't think anybody would be surprised...

BEGALA: Right. I would surprised...


KAYE: ... given that he...


KAYE: ... views on the air?

BEGALA: Yes. I would be surprised if he gave money to Michele Bachmann, one of the leaders of the conservative movement in the Congress.


BEGALA: But it seems to me like, dog -- not even dog bites man. It's like dog barks. What the heck?

KAYE: Joan, you're the editor of a liberal publication, and you know Keith. But you think the decision to suspend him may actually be the right one. Explain.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, SALON.COM: Well, I -- I think that there are still a lot of questions open, Randi.

There's a question about whether everyone knew that this policy of NBC News actually applied to MSNBC. There's some reporting on that today that said it -- it didn't necessarily apply. And Keith has not spoken since the Politico story. And Phil Griffin has not spoken. So, the actual clarity of the policy is now in dispute.

There's also a question, did it apply to CNBC? Because we have got plenty of hosts over at CNBC who -- Larry Kudlow, the main one, who have also contributed to Republicans.

So, you know, and I think NBC and -- and MSNBC are going to have to answer some more questions about whether this rule, if it was a rule, was applied fairly. There are other hosts. My friend -- again, my friend -- full disclosure -- Joe Scarborough, gave money to a Republican. Pat Buchanan gave money to a Republican.

So, there seems to be now a lot of murkiness about what NBC's policy actually was and when it began. And I'm not going to judge Keith at this point without having more answers to those questions.

KAYE: And, Dana, we know you don't see eye to eye with Keith on many things, so it may come as a surprise to people that you actually don't agree with the decision to suspend him. LOESCH: Well, I think as -- honestly, I'm trying to figure out what all the drama's about. For anyone to be surprised that Keith Olbermann would donate to -- to congressional Democratic campaigns is -- if you're shocked, I have a bridge to sell you.

And, plus, GE owns NBC, and I know that they contribute to organizations and causes and campaigns and all of that nature. But, at the same time, to me, I kind of side with Paul on this, in that this seems to be a rule that a private business had, and, if anything, it would be insubordination, if that.

I think the thing that -- I don't know -- I don't really understand why anyone's shocked over this, unless they think it's a credibility thing. But I don't look at Keith Olbermann as a news anchor. I look at him as sort of an editorial-like figure. And, so, I think, because of that, I don't understand the drama. I just don't see the need for it.

KAYE: Well, I think the drama or the shock goes back to the idea that he didn't disclose it. It wasn't that he gave money to these people.

LOESCH: Right. Well, yes, right.


KAYE: It was that he didn't disclose it, after criticizing news corporations.

WALSH: Right.


LOESCH: Yes, it was completely hypocritical. But...


WALSH: Disclosure is an issue.

And I will -- I will just stand up for -- you know, Salon actually has a policy of not allowing editorial employees to contribute to political campaigns.

And I will tell you why. It's important to us to be a news organization. And also, even though we are liberal, liberals disagree. So, you know, back in the 2008 campaign, I didn't want the problem of somebody reporting on Barack Obama, but having given to Hillary Clinton, or vice versa.

So, there are reasons to have those policies. But, if have you them, they should be crystal-clear and they should apply to everyone, and there should be no ambiguity.


WALSH: So, is it in Keith's contract? I would ask that. I would just ask how widely this policy was known about and how -- how fairly it was enforced at this point.

BEGALA: And...


LOESCH: Well, and I have an addendum to this, too.


LOESCH: Go ahead, Paul.

WALSH: Paul.

BEGALA: Go ahead, Dana.


LOESCH: Oh, I was just going to say...

BEGALA: The reporting I have seen suggests that...


KAYE: One of you wrap this up for us.


BEGALA: I think -- the reporting I have seen says the policy is that not that one cannot donate, but that one must disclose it to MSNBC or NBC bosses and then get permission.

So, maybe that explains the disparity that -- the allegations are that Mr. Olbermann didn't get his bosses' permission before he donated...


WALSH: Well, that's...


WALSH: My understanding, Paul, is that that's the NBC policy. And so one of the disputes is whether that even applied at all to MSNBC.


WALSH: And I'm sorry to come on here and be, like, not as informed as I would like to be, but nobody's informed right now about this.

BEGALA: Right.

WALSH: That's going to be the thing that we keep talking about.

LOESCH: Well, from -- from what I looked at it... (CROSSTALK)

KAYE: Well, when we see their policy, I'm sure we will get some answers.


LOESCH: Well, the statement given by his boss...

KAYE: What was that, Dana?

LOESCH: The statement that was given by his superior said that it could also be applicable on a case-by-case basis.

But the bottom line is that Olbermann's bosses didn't know about it until the Politico piece ran.

WALSH: Right. Right.

BEGALA: Mm-hmm.

LOESCH: So, he possibly could have gotten permission from them. But...

WALSH: Right.

KAYE: Well, we will -- we will know when...

LOESCH: We don't know. We never will.

KAYE: ... when all sides start talking, we hope.


KAYE: We will -- we will stay on this, I'm sure.

Dana, Joan, Paul, thanks very much, as always.


KAYE: Up next: We're one step ahead of President Obama with a live report from India, where he will be staying and where critics are trying to claim it will be costing taxpayers $200 million a day. We will separate fact from myth -- straight ahead.

Later, we will talk with Sean Penn in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, about the storm coming through, on top of the cholera outbreak and all of that earthquake damage.


KAYE: President Obama is on his way to India tonight, the first stop of a four-nation, 10-day Asian tour. He got off Air Force One in Germany to meet local officials as it made a stopover at Ramstein Air Force Base, before heading to Mumbai. There has been criticism in some corners over the cost of the trip. Some claimed, incorrectly, that the government would spend $200 million per day. The claim originated with the Press Trust of India, a news organization there. Its source was an anonymous Indian official. It was picked up here by Web sites like The Drudge Report, and then found its way to talk radio, where conservative hosts like Rush Limbaugh expressed outrage.

But nobody bothered to fact-check the claim for accuracy, including Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. She brought it up this week on 360 when Anderson tried to get her on record of how she would cut the budget deficit.

Anderson then explained how it's a mathematical impossibility.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Republican Paul Ryan has suggested sharp cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Are you willing to make cuts there?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Well, I think we know that, just within a day or so, the president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day. He's taking 2,000 people with him.

He will be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are five-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending. It's a very small example, Anderson.

COOPER: Take a look. President Clinton made a trip to Africa in 1998 that gives some sense of what presidential trips cost. Now, Clinton's trip was to six countries in Africa. He crisscrossed the continent over 11 days. It involved 1,300 people. And, according to the GAO -- GAO, the cost of it, adjusted for inflation, was about $5.2 million every day. So, that's what that trip costs, $5.2 million every day.

Now, let's look at comparison. President Obama's trip will be going to four countries in nine days, fewer days, fewer countries than President Clinton. We don't know the number of travelers. We don't know the final price tag, but there's no reason to believe it's even close to $200 million a day.


KAYE: Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest."

Senior White House correspondent Ed Henry is traveling with the president.

And, Ed, if you divide the cost of President Clinton's Africa trip per day, $5.2 million, by the size of his entourage of 1,300, it cost $4,000 per day per traveler. By that math, if President Obama's trip really did cost $200 million a day, he would need an entourage of 50,000 people. So, tell us, are there 49,999 people with you there in India...


KAYE: ... in addition to the president?


ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Look. Randi, I'm not good at math, but there are not 49,999 people beyond me. I can tell you that. There might be a few hundred people, maybe 1,000, if you stretched out all the Secret Service agents that justifiably need to be here for security.

I'll tell you anything thing that there's not. There's not 34 Navy warships that are going to be here guarding the president. That's what this original story said as well.

And what's laughable about that is, the Pentagon has now come out and said, look, if there were 34 U.S. Navy warships, that would be 10 percent of the entire U.S. Navy. So, come on. Ten percent of the Navy is not here in India right now. It's absurd.

And the critics are sort of keeping this alive in part by saying, look, you know, the White House won't say how much it's really costing, so somehow that proves that it's going to be $200 million a day.

Nonsense. The reason why they're not giving the figures, and the reason why we wouldn't give all the figures, if we had them in real time is for security reasons.

We're in Mumbai where two years ago this very month there were a whole series of terror attacks, killed about 168 people. So this is serious business, and the notion that it's $200 million a day is absurd.

KAYE: I am looking at those swanky facilities there behind you. Are those first-class, $200-million-a-day facility there that you're working out of?

HENRY: Yes. So we -- we decided to do the live shot in here, and this is our work space in part. And to be clear, we pay our own freight. This is not paid for by taxpayers, and we eat our meals and do our work space.

But I want to show you the gold-plated CNN nameplate we have, so if I get called on in a briefing, this is where it would be. That's why there's a podium over there. And if you take a listen to that, there's probably a lot of gold and diamonds in there. I'm not sure if you can hear them, this far away in Mumbai, but actually, it's pretty cheap cardboard.

So, you know, this is just a standard hotel ballroom here in Mumbai. And so I did have a really good veggie burger before, but I would say that it's pretty good, but I think the notion that that boosted it up to $200 million a day would be pretty absurd.

KAYE: Yes, you need some filet mignon for that. All right. Ed Henry for us in India tonight. Thank you.

HENRY: There's a lot of us. Maybe 50,000 of them.

KAYE: We are following a number of other stories tonight. Joe Johns joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

Hey, there, Joe.


The death toll from that Indonesian volcano soared today after a new eruption killed at least 69 people and injured dozens more. Thousands of people have been forced to bolt for cover as rocks and volcanic ash rained on villages once thought safe. More than 100 people have died since the volcano first erupted last week.

The Yemen-based arm of al Qaeda today claimed responsibility for last week's plot to send explosive devices on cargo planes bound for the United States. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula posted its claim on various radical Islamist Web sites.

Lawyers for a group of gay Republicans today asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a ruling that the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law is unconstitutional and must be stopped immediately. Earlier this week, a federal appeals court reversed that ruling, allowing the ban on gay troops to continue while the government appeals.

Some new hope today on the jobs market, that it could finally be turning around. The economy added 151,000 jobs last month. That's more than double what the economists expected. Despite the gain, the unemployment rate, though, remain unchanged at 9.6 percent.

So a little -- a little bit of good news at the end of the week for a change.

KAYE: Yes, we'll take it. All right, Joe. Thanks.

Now our "Beat 360" winners. It is our daily challenge to viewers, a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the photo we post on our blog every day.

There it is. Tonight's photo, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs listens during the daily briefing.

Well, our staff winner tonight is Bradley. His caption: "Hmm, 'Countdown with Robert Gibbs on MSNBC,' that sounds real good."

(SOUND EFFECT: "Ooooh!")

KAYE: Our viewer winner tonight is Lauren from Brooklyn. Her caption: "Hmm, I wonder what I would do with $200 million."


KAYE: Very nice, both of you. Lauren, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.

Coming up, Hurricane Tomas rips through Haiti, pounding the tiny island country with high winds and punishing rains. Now, flash floods and mudslides threaten millions of Haitians still reeling from January's earthquake. Just how much devastation can one country take? Activist Sean Penn is in Haiti tonight. We'll have the latest in our "Big 360 Interview."

And a convicted killer pleads for mercy in the horrific home invasion and murder trial in Connecticut. New details tonight as jurors enter day two of their death-penalty deliberations. That's just ahead.


KAYE: Hurricane Tomas and its heavy rains have caused severe flooding in Haiti. The eye of the hurricane passed to the west of Haiti this afternoon, but it's the winds swirling off the coast that are bringing the drenching rains. By the time it's all over, Tomas could dump between five and 15 inches of rain.

The southern part of Haiti got hit with torrential rains this morning. The immediate concerns are flash flooding and mudslides. Haiti is a mountainous country, but much of the landscape has been deforested. That means heavy rains in the mountains could set off mudslides that may bury communities in low-lying areas.

Tomas is compounding the devastation already in Haiti. Of the estimated 2 million Haitians who were left homeless by the magnitude 7 earthquake in January, it's believed about one million are still living in tent cities. And workers have been trying to get them to move to safer ground, but many are simply afraid to leave.

And despite billions of dollars pledged by the international community after the earthquake, much of Haiti's infrastructure is still rubble.

And it's struggling to deal with an outbreak of cholera that has killed more than 400 people and sickened an additional 7,000.

Actor Sean Penn is in Haiti as part of the international effort to bring relief to the Haitian people. I spoke to him a short time ago in tonight's "Big 360 Interview."


KAYE: It looks like the brunt of the storm avoided Port-au- Prince, but now the city and the surrounding areas are faced with what some are saying could be catastrophic flooding and mudslides.

How do you think people are going to deal with that type of flooding in a city where more than a million people have been living in tents all this time? SEAN PENN, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: Well, first of all, we most certainly avoided what was the -- the worst of the storm. I think, had the -- had the force of a hurricane hit Port-au-Prince at this point, we'd have had tens of thousands and maybe more casualties, because the people are living in such vulnerable conditions in the camps.

But what we -- what we see here and in talking to the people that we have in some of the more rural areas, the rains certainly left a breed -- a spreading ground for the cholera epidemic that was already rising.

There have been 7,000 cases of cholera so far reported, 450 deaths. And it's hard to say exactly how many cases have gone unreported and untreated, because of the -- the areas where the hot spots are and the amount of rural areas.

So now with all of this water and the potential for transfer of those things, that -- that once again becomes, you know, an urgent concern.

KAYE: I know there was some concern, of course, that the hurricane and the force of it would churn up a lot of the water there that's carrying the cholera. What is the scene there? Can you set it for us? Is it going through the streets there?

PENN: No, Port-au-Prince is actually quite calm right now. I haven't been outside the city today. But the people that I work with, the PHO doctors that we deployed to some of the hot-spot cholera- affected areas said that they -- that travel was very difficult; the roads were very wet and muddy.

But I really would say that there's an incredible sense of relief in the city of Port-au-Prince related to the hurricane. There are areas that were flooded. I haven't gotten all the reports on all of the camps. Our camp fared very well because of the mitigations that we were able to get done there, the drainage and so on. But -- but now our sites are very much back on the cholera issues.

KAYE: And it has been reported that there was a lot of fear and confusion when the residents were asked to evacuate the camps, as they waited for this storm. Your organization I know sent community leaders through the camps with bullhorns to announce the evacuation. How did the residents respond to that? Were they willing to go?

PENN: When we say that we went and talked about evacuations, we most certainly feared that the hurricane was going to hit. We believed that it was. All reports were that it was going to hit. And so, yes, we were urging any of those people that had hard shelters to go to, that they do that.

The camps, I think if this draws attention to anything, the camps are a terribly vulnerable place for people to be. And all -- all organizations have to work very hard to get people into -- into better circumstances than what they're in. But it's going to be a very long time before that's possible. KAYE: and let's talk about how this all worked, because the U.N. conducted a multi-agency mock hurricane exercise about four months ago, which actually was considered a failure. So what did you see were the biggest problems or as the biggest problems coming out of that exercise? And did you have see any of those issues addressed when dealing with the real thing today?

PENN: Housing, jobs, all of that sort of thing is the biggest failure. But in terms of response to an emergency that might have -- that might have happened in these last days, I think it's very clear that there aren't the clear clean water assets.

The area that's affected primarily by the cholera epidemic at this point is an area where the water that the people use for their everyday life looks like mud. That's not water that you can just simply use aqua tubs in. They need clean and purified water.

So wells, sustainable things obviously are best. But in terms of emergency relief, there was certainly not going to be the capacity in assets for any of those kinds of responses.

KAYE: Sean Penn, thanks for joining us tonight and thanks for all the work that you're doing there.

PENN: Thank you very much.


KAYE: Up next, Crime & Punishment. Tomorrow, a jury will continue to deliberate the fate of the man convicted in the brutal home invasion murders of a Connecticut mother and her two daughters. Should Steven Hayes die for his crime? We'll take you inside the courtroom for the powerful arguments from both sides.

Also ahead, my interview with miracle miner Edison Pena, how he survived those dark days underground and his big weekend plans, coming up.


KAYE: In "Crime & Punishment," new details in the Connecticut home invasion and murder trial that's riveted the nation. Tonight convicted killer Steven Hayes faces a possible death sentence for the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters back in 2007. Jurors could return their sentence as early as tomorrow.

After deliberating more than five hours today, the five men and seven women told the judge they want to continue tomorrow.

Just yesterday, Steven Hayes' lawyer pleaded with the jury to spare his client, insisting he's not, quote, "a rabid dog that needs to be put to death."

But prosecutor Michael Dearington wasn't having it. Reaching for the most brutal details of the crime, he told jurors, quote, "We cannot tie Steven Hayes to a bed, pour gasoline on him and set him on fire. But we do have the death penalty."

Joining us now, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, and Sunny Hostin, a legal contributor on "In Session," which is on our sister network TruTV. She is also a former federal prosecutor. Good to see you both.

Sunny, let's start with you. Let's talk about this note that the jury brought to the judge after deliberating for some time. They seem to be stuck. What is this about?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": They were stuck, and the note came down around 3 p.m. They had been deliberating from about 10 to 1, and then they took a break from 1 to 2.

And basically, the note said, "What does it mean to UNANIMOUSLY find the existence of a statutory mitigating factor?" And "unanimously" was all in caps. And then they sort of gave this interesting, what was supposed to be a hypothetical -- doesn't look like a hypothetical to me -- indicating where the jurors were.

And I think it was really shocking to most people that it wasn't a quick verdict and that they were really struggling with these statutory mitigating factors, meaning sort of almost leaning towards finding him -- or rather, leaning towards not giving him the death penalty. And there was just a gasp in the courtroom. I think people were very, very surprised, Randi, about that admission.

KAYE: And in order for him to get the death penalty, be given the death penalty, it has to be unanimous.

HOSTIN: It has to be unanimous. And the thing is, the way this judge has charged this jury, if they find just one of these statutory mitigating factors, their exercise ends there and he is given life in prison without the possibility of parole, rather than the death penalty.

KAYE: Right. So Jeffrey, is this good news, the fact that it's taking them some time to get through this? Is it good news for the defense?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is very good news for the defense. I think if you look at these notes and if you see how the day unfolded, it seems like the jury is leaning towards giving him life in prison.

And you know, there's a lesson here about the death penalty, which is, this crime is unspeakable. As we've often said in talking about it.

KAYE: It's horrific.

TOOBIN: It's just one of the worst crimes we ever -- you know, any of us have ever seen. But what determines the death penalty in this country is not generally the heinousness of the crime. It's the quality of the lawyers. And Hayes has excellent lawyers, who have really put forth a somewhat sympathetic picture of a loser who was manipulated by a co- defendant who is much more culpable here. I don't know if that's true or not.

But I think the lesson here is that, you know, lawyers matter in death-penalty cases, and it looks like Hayes may well benefit in that.

KAYE: You were in the courtroom, Sunny. I know that the defense lawyer did try and say, well, you know, he's going to -- it would be much worse for him to get life in prison without parole, much worse for Steven Hayes. He'd have to live in a cage. He would never be able to cook his own meal, always use a public bathroom.

HOSTIN: That's right.

KAYE: Did that seem to play well with the jury?

HOSTIN: I think it did. It was masterful. And I agree with Jeffrey. He's got amazing, amazing attorneys. And attorney Thomas Ullmann was the defense attorney that presented this argument.

He went in front of the jury and took Steven Hayes with him and held him, and put his hand on his shoulder, really humanizing him, and said, "This is not a rabid dog. He doesn't need to be put down. It's a fate worse than death, to put him in prison."

And I thought it was sort of this reverse psychology argument, but the jury was riveted. They were looking at Steven Hayes. They weren't coiling, and they were nodding their heads. And I thought this is something. This means something. And I think we're seeing that today with the jury's questions.

KAYE: Well, they did portray him, Jeffrey, as you said, as suicidal, drug addicted. He lived with his mother. Just a desperate, desperate life for his 47 years. Obviously, that seems to be working a bit.

TOOBIN: And what the defense team has done since day one of this trial is concentrate on the death-penalty decision. The issue of guilt was never in doubt in this case. There was really no...

KAYE: Right. They're just trying to spare him death.

TOOBIN: ... no defense to the fact that he was one of the participants here. But the other defendant, I think, is commonly regarded as the ringleader.

And Hayes' lawyers have just pushed and pushed the theme that this guy was a loser, a follower...

KAYE: Right.

TOOBIN: ... someone who got caught up in another person's, you know, evil scheme. And it may be that the jury -- the jury agrees. KAYE: Yes. We'll, we'll see what happens with this and, of course, we'll be watching. Joshua Komisarjevsky, his co-defendant, goes to trial in January.

All right. Jeffrey Toobin, Sunny Hostin, thank you. Good to see you both.

Still ahead, he survived 68 days underground, and this weekend Chilean miner Edison Pena is going to take on 26 miles in the New York City marathon.

I caught up with him today, and he is quite a character. You will see for yourself next.


EDISON PENA, CHILEAN MINER (singing): She wrote upon it, "Return to sender. Address unknown."


KAYE: This weekend, more than 43,000 people will run in the New York City marathon. Among them, Edison Pena, who is here by special invitation. The organizers of the marathon were that impressed with him, and so is much of the world.

The odds of Pena being here in New York are about as long as they get. Up close tonight, his story.


KAYE (voice-over): This was our first glimpse of Edison Pena, one of 33 Chilean miners rescued after more than two months underground. He was the 12th of 33 men pulled out of the San Jose mine.

(on camera) Was there a point when you were trapped that you didn't think you were going to make it?

PENA (through translator): Yes, many times. Particularly when the excavations would not come exactly where they were supposed to go. They would deviate.

KAYE: Did you pray in the mine?

PENA (through translator): A lot. A lot. All of us. And also I did a lot personally.

KAYE (voice-over): The mine collapsed, entrapped Pena and his co-workers on August 5. Recalling that moment is still difficult.

(on camera) Do you actually remember the collapse?

PENA (through translator): That memory practically doesn't come back into my mind. I don't remember it. I want to forget it. Ugly. KAYE (voice-over): But he does remember the darkness. He and his fellow miners lived for 69 days half a mile underground. No daylight, no running water, no bathroom. So Pena, who is 34, started running laps, three to six miles a day, deep in the mine. He ran to keep in shape, clear his mind, but mostly, he ran to survive.

PENA (through translator): Running in the mine, it was a way of showing myself that I wanted to live. It was a way to transform, of not going crazy, and the mine took shape on its self. It's a way of showing her she was not going to beat me.

KAYE: Because he didn't have any sneakers, Pena used pliers to cut down his mining boots to ankle height.

In the beginning, Pena ran in silence through the gold and copper mine. Then weeks later, after rescuers above ground had located them, Pena made a simple request. He wanted an iPod but not just any iPod. He wanted it loaded with his favorites, which meant the King.

PENA (through translator): I asked for Elvis. They threw it down through a chute, the music. It was wrapped in an envelope. And then when I opened it, wow, was I surprised.

KAYE (on camera): Let's try a few notes, por favor.

PENA (singing): Are you lonesome tonight? Do you miss me tonight? Are you sorry we drifted apart?

KAYE (voice-over): Pena took it one step further as a guest on David Letterman's show.


KAYE: This weekend Edison Pena won't have Elvis in his ear, but he'll have 43,000 other runners to motivate him as he competes in the New York City marathon.

He won't be running to survive, but to celebrate life. He expects it will take him at least six hours to finish, but he's in no rush. Life, he's learned, is meant to be enjoyed.


KAYE: Edison Pena, quite an inspiration. He did tell me, though, that he has a bum knee from being in the mine all that time, but he does hope to run the whole thing, though he might have to walk just a little bit of it. Good luck to him.

A lot more ahead at the top of the hour, starting with candidates who slammed President Obama for focusing, they said, on health care first, not jobs. So why are they now fixated on health care, with so many Americans looking for work? That's next.