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Kids Without a Country; Risk vs. Frisk; Amazing Animals: Smarter Than You Think

Aired November 19, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for watching, everyone.

Tonight: members of Congress playing politics with children's futures -- 1,200 kids, orphans, being adopted by American families, they have been waiting for months for crucial vote in Congress that would make them U.S. citizens. The bill has overwhelming bipartisan support, Republicans and Democrats, but a vote has been mysteriously delayed. Are lawmakers using these orphans to advance their own agenda? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also tonight: the politics of the pat-down. The outrage over overly aggressive screening procedures is real, but are all the attacks on the TSA fair? Tonight, one congressman is calling for airports to get rid of the TSA altogether, but even he admits that wouldn't affect the tough screening procedures. So, why is he calling for it? Find out tonight.

And in our "Amazing Animals" series, we have talked about the intelligence of dogs, and dolphins, and apes -- tonight, lemurs. They're more than cute. They're very smart. It turns out, for instance, they don't like to gamble. Who knew? Scientists say that actually may be a clue in human evolution. We will explain that ahead.

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

Tonight: members of Congress playing politics with the lives of orphaned kids. We're talking about 1,200 children, Haitian orphans, who are here in America right now in the process of being adopted by American families.

Now, we all remember the images of Haitian orphans after the quake. Americans opened their hearts, their wallets, desperate to help these kids. American politicians flew down to Haiti to rescue planeloads kids. The U.S. government expedited the adoption process for these orphans.

But now it seems some politicians have forgotten these kids. There's a bill that would clear legal obstacles to U.S. citizenship for the orphans. It's called the Help Haiti Act. It easily passed the House back on July 20. Fifteen days later, on August 4, it was amended and passed in the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent, Republicans and Democrats, unanimous consent. Because there were some changes in the Senate bill, the House needed to vote on it again. And that is where politics have come into play. It has been four months now since the House got the amended version of the bill, and it has still not been voted on. It was supposed to be voted on this past Monday, in fact.

On Sunday night, the Help Haiti Act was the third item on the agenda for the next day. You see it right there. They were going to vote on it. On Monday afternoon, at 2:14, when an updated schedule was sent out, it was still on the agenda for later that day.

But then, about four hours later, when another updated schedule was sent out at 6:03 p.m., the bill was gone, removed from the agenda, along with several other bills. There was no explanation. Someone just took it off the list.

It turns out our elected officials don't have to reveal who decided to remove it or even why they did it. They can do this sort of thing to 1,200 children, to 1,200 orphans, and they can remain nameless. So, that was Monday.

And we thought, OK, maybe they're -- they're just going to add it back to the agenda on Tuesday, or on Wednesday, or on Thursday, or even on Friday. After all, the House was in session all this week. But the Help Haiti Act was never added to the agenda again.

Now, you might just say, well, look, they were very busy. They had a lot to do this week. No doubt. But, since Monday, they have made time to vote on a number of other bills, including House Resolution 1715 congratulating Joe Paterno on his 400th win as Penn State football coach.

The House also approved Resolution 1475, which congratulates the town of Tarboro, North Carolina, on its 250th anniversary. There was also House Resolution 1428, recognizing Brooklyn Botanic Gardens on its 100th anniversary.

Now, no disrespect to fans of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or Penn State football or the residents of Tarboro, North Carolina. We congratulate them all.

But there are 1,200 kids in limbo and 1,200 families, American families, scared that their kids have no rights, no citizenship, no clear path to get it. Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, who sponsored the Help Haiti Act, can't even get an answer as to why the bill was removed from the schedule.

But get this. Democratic sources say there's talk of attaching the highly controversial DREAM Act to the Haiti bill, and the vote would happen later this month. Now, the DREAM Act would give amnesty to illegal immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children and go to college or serve in the armed forces.

Democrats could have a tough time getting the DREAM Act passed when Republicans gain control in January, so some hope to get it voted on this way instead. See, this way, if Republicans vote against it, Democrats can say, well, look Republicans don't care about orphans. In other words, it's politics. They're gambling with the lives of these orphans, possibly stalling a piece of legislation, so they can add on another piece that's a more important part of their agenda. They're playing politics with kids.

Joining me now is Congressman Fortenberry and Rebecca Williams, whose daughter Darline from Haiti is one of those 1,200 children waiting for word.

Ms. Williams, if the House doesn't pass this bill, I mean, your daughter's future is in limbo, because the clock is -- is ticking. Explain why. She's 16. And, after 16, these kids can't become citizens. Is that correct?

REBECCA WILLIAMS, ADOPTING HAITIAN ORPHAN: Well, it's my understanding that we had to file a certain form, an I-600, prior to her 16th birthday, which was two days ago. That was done. Actually, it was twice. We did it once down in Port-au-Prince last year, and it was lost. All of her paperwork was lost.

So, we have had to readopt her here. It is my understanding that, you know, a number of these families, almost 1,100 families, are suffering from this problem. And we just want a clear path to citizenship for our children. You know, we want a clear path that...

COOPER: Why do you think Congress has failed to act?

WILLIAMS: You know, I don't know. And I'm not a politician, and I don't know. But I think it's unconscionable that they're -- somebody's playing with these children's lives, with my family's life.

My daughter is -- she is 16. She wants to be a productive American citizen. She wants to get a part-time job. She wants to learn to drive. She can't do any of those things. She can't get a Social Security card. You know, she -- I mean, it's terrible to say, but my daughter will tell you that she does not exist.

My daughter will be the first one to tell you: I don't have a country. I'm not a Haitian and I'm not an American. She says: I'm not even a person. I don't exist.

How sad is that?


COOPER: Congressman Fortenberry -- yes -- Congressman Fortenberry, it seemed like there were a bunch of politicians who were kind of tripping over themselves back in the wake of the earthquake to be seen helping Haitian orphans. Some even flew down in planes.

Now it just seems like no one's paying attention to this. Do you -- did you -- did anyone tell you why this thing wasn't voted on, on Monday or on Tuesday or on Wednesday or on Thursday?

REP. JEFF FORTENBERRY (R), NEBRASKA: Well, I think Mrs. Williams said it perfectly. It's unconscionable.

This is a very simple bill that would help the Haitian orphans who were caught up in the tragic aftermath of the earth quake who had to be evacuated quickly to the United States. It would define their legal status, and they're currently in legal limbo.

As you mentioned, it's passed the House, it's passed the Senate. It has wide bipartisan support. Because it was amended in the Senate, it's come back to the House. We fully expected this on Monday to pass. It could be law by now. And these families who have opened their hearts and their homes to these children should have the assurance that their legal status is in good order.

It's just inexplicable -- inexplicable. And if it is the result of partisan politics -- politics, these children are being used as partisan pawns for more controversial immigration measures, we suspect, and that's simply wrong.

COOPER: Speaker Pelosi's office -- and we reached out to them -- they said, look, this kind of stuff happens all the time. We just ran out of time. They hope it's going to be voted on down the road.

I mean, do you buy that, that this was just a question of running out of time on Monday?

FORTENBERRY: Well, you went over the legislative calendar. Hey, I voted to acknowledge Joe Paterno's 400th win. Congratulations. I'm a Nebraska Cornhusker. But we're glad to acknowledge the good coach.

But if we had time to do that, and we did not have time to answer the questions that are in the minds and the hearts of these American families, who have opened their homes to these Haitian orphans, to me, that's just bad process.

And I think it's part of the reason that Americans are so cynical about the way in which Congress operates. This is simply a bill that would help Haitian orphans who are now in the United States.

COOPER: Ms. Williams, if it's true that members of Congress, or Democrats, are considering using the Help Haiti Act as basically a way to push through, you know, the former controversial DREAM Act, I mean, do you feel like your child is being used?

WILLIAMS: Yes. Yes, definitely.

And I feel like our family is being dragged through this -- this limbo status, you know, interminably. It's just -- I don't know. I just -- we just want a clear path to citizenship. Other children who come in as adoptees from other countries are given citizenship once their adoptions are complete.

My daughter has a Florida birth certificate. What -- what doesn't -- what makes her not a citizen? She's -- you know, plays -- she's a cheerleader. She plays soccer. She's part of her church family. She's, you know, trying to be a productive person and getting a part-time job. What part of that doesn't make her an American citizen?

My husband and I are both retired military, you know? We are an American family. One of the first things she did was attend a motorcade for a fallen airman here at MacDill Air Force Base. And she proudly flew her little American flag that day, thinking at that time she was an American citizen.

And now she knows she has no status. Like I say, how sad is it that you have got a person who lives in America thinking she doesn't have -- she doesn't exist, she's not a person? She's -- she will tell you that.

COOPER: And, Congressman Fortenberry, correct me if I'm wrong, though, if this is attached to the DREAM Act and that, you know, for -- for political reasons, that -- that fails to get passed, because it's far more controversial, not as popular as this bill is, then -- then, basically, this all starts from scratch again. I mean, this would have to be redone, rewritten, reintroduced.

FORTENBERRY: That's correct.

And you -- or -- or we could bypass this process and some -- if somebody wants to introduce the DREAM Act on their own, and have a debate about it, and let the legislative body work its process separate from this, fine. But this bill should be released.

You heard Mrs. Williams. And, in my mind, she's an American hero. And her daughter deserves better than what they're getting now. This bill has been tied up for months and months. There's no reason it shouldn't go through now.

And if it's attached to a much more controversial measure, for which there is no consensus in the Congress or any consensus across this country, and -- for that matter, it may stall this legislation, and we may have to start over.

But what worries me more deeply is that it's another sign of the dysfunction of Congress, that we can't get a simple bill through that would help these Haitian orphans define their legal status and give their families assurance. That's what we need to do. We need to do it now.

COOPER: Well, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, I appreciate your -- your time tonight.


COOPER: And, Rebecca Williams, our best to your -- to your daughter, and I hope things work out for you soon. Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you so very much. Thank you.

COOPER: Before we leave the topic of Haiti, I just want to give you an update on someone we met. It's actually good news coming out of Haiti. And we like to bring you that when we can. We met a little boy right after the earthquake. His name was Johnny. Or that's what we were told his name was. We came across him at General Hospital in the pediatric tent. You may remember him. We did a story about him. He mentioned him. He wasn't speaking, couldn't speak back then. He had no clothes. He was wearing a crude cast on his lower leg, even though doctors said it was his femur that was actually broken.

They told us that both his parents had died. After our story aired, we learned an orphanage named Denidas (ph) Children had taken Johnny in. They sent us pictures him at the orphanage a few months later, and he looked much, much better. He was smiling. He was making new friends, we were told. And we were obviously thrilled for him.

Just this week, even more good news. The orphanage discovered that Johnny's parents are actually alive. They had been living at a relief camp. They saw Johnny's picture on a Red Cross posting. They thought he was dead. Through that, they were able to find him. Mom, dad and Johnny were brought together again.

Their lives are certainly tough. They now still live in a squalid camp, like hundreds of thousands of other Haitians, but at least they are together, and they are alive.

Join the live chat right now under way at

But coming up next: pat-down outrage, a lot of travelers upset in America's airports. They say they're being groped. Florida Congressman John Mica is calling on airports to stop using TSA agents and use private screeners instead. But would that really change anything? I will talk to him in a moment and also talk with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson in the "Raw Politics" tonight.

Plus, "Keeping Them Honest," President Obama says he is setting a new course after his party's losses in the midterm elections. A lot of fellow Democrats say he needs to step up more, show more leadership. We will talk to James Carville, who had this message for the president this week. It's caused a lot of controversy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he being a wimp, or is he sounding the right tone and being on the right course, and is his approach right?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know, because I'm the guy in the campaign that said, if Hillary gave him one of her balls, they would both have two.



COOPER: Well, obviously, millions of us are going to travel by air this holiday season. That means we're all going to be subjected to tougher security procedures at airports. I'm in L.A. tonight. I was this morning when I flew here -- the pat-downs, the full-body scanners.

And there's growing anger about those pat-downs and the -- the enhanced screening machines. Take a look at these photos from "The Denver Post." This is what pat-downs look like. A lot of travelers say they feel like they have been groped. And any traveler who decides they don't want the full-body scan, as is their right, will definitely get a pat-down.

Congressman Ron Paul says Americans need to stand up and say no to this procedure.


REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: If you can't grope another person, and if you can't X-ray people and endanger them with possible X-ray, you can't take nude photographs of individuals, why do we allow the government to do it? We would go to jail.

If an individual, he would be immediately arrested if an individual citizen went up and did these things, and yet we just sit there and calmly -- and say, oh, they're making us safe.


COOPER: Well, he went on to say that every member of Congress and the executive branch should get a pat-down. Maybe then, he believes, they will listen to the travelers.

John Pistole, however, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, the TSA, who has had a pat-down he testified about in a hearing this week, defends them, saying pat-downs are needed to keep the flying public safe.

The TSA blog says that, of the nearly two million passengers a day who are screened, very few actually get a pat-down. But it's not the primary screening procedure. It's a secondary one. Some are also raising safety questions about the full-body scanners, about the radiation that may be used.

Medical and science professors at the University of California at San Francisco even wrote to the Obama administration earlier this year expressing concerns. "We're writing to call your attention to serious concerns," they said, "about the potential health effects of the recently adopted whole-body backscatter X-ray airport security scanners. This is an urgent situation, as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary screening step for all air travel passengers," they said.

They claim that not enough independent research has been done and that they're concerned about the effects of the radiation from the scanners, especially on people over 65, people with HIV, cancer patients, kids, and teens, and pregnant women.

Now, it's important to point out that many in the scientific community don't share those concerns. And, this week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had this to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANET NAPOLITANO, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: These things, yes, they have been examined six ways to Sunday. I mean, the FDA, Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Science and Standards Association have all measured the radiation involved in an AIT. It's almost immeasurable, it's so small.

It's the equivalent to maybe about two minutes worth of being in flight. You know, you're exposed to radiation when you fly in a plane anyway. So, these things are really minuscule.


COOPER: Well, today, Congressman John Mica, a Florida Republican who is the ranking member on the House Transportation Committee and will likely become committee chairman when Republicans take control of the House in January, he sent a letter to John Pistole at TSA. He said he's concerned about the pat-downs and the scanners, that the pat-downs are overly intrusive.

And he called on the TSA to reconsider the screening procedures. Congressman Mica is also calling on airports to consider using private security companies, instead of TSA screeners, as federal law would allow them to do.

So, let's talk about the "Raw Politics" with Congressman John Mica and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security.

Appreciate both of you being with us.


COOPER: Congressman Mica, first, let's talk about these new screening machines which many travelers think are too invasive. Do you believe these -- the machines are too invasive?

REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: Well, yes. I was actually quite shocked when I found out just this week that what they have deployed doesn't have a filter on it.

We have talked about these, and I advocate use of this technology, not for primary screening, but people who alarm the system, or are on a watch list, or should be subject to further screening.

But I was stunned, because I know this technology is available, that they went out, and now they do have imagery that I think is unacceptable to be viewed.

COOPER: Because back -- I mean, what your critics say is that, back, years ago, under the prior administration, that you were far more -- that you were basically a big advocate of these machines.


MICA: Absolutely. Absolutely.


COOPER: Right.

MICA: I supported...


COOPER: Let me just play for our...


COOPER: Right. In 2002 -- well, let me just play for our viewers...


COOPER: In 2002, on CNN, you were asked whether you thought the advanced scanners were too invasive. You said -- and I quote -- "I don't, not in an era of Richard Reid, when they can be detained, they can fit a profile, they can walk through existing equipment and not be detected. We have a new era of terrorism. There's an indication that too many people -- that too many people may be concealing an explosives within their bodies. And I think they're going to need this equipment. I'm doing everything I can to get it online."

MICA: Yes. And...


COOPER: So, have you had a change of heart?

MICA: Absolutely not.

The equipment that I was shown and I was assured that a -- filters had been developed to block out, again, personal private body images -- parts of the body that shouldn't be shown.

The other thing, too, is, I can't believe that they would deploy this equipment, buy this equipment, and not consult with Congress and let us know what they were deploying is in fact invasive. I support the technology, but with caveats.

COOPER: So you're saying, back then, you thought -- you didn't know that the machines...

MICA: Oh, I...

COOPER: I mean, they didn't show...

MICA: Oh, we knew...

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: You -- you were supporting this, but you hadn't seen what the machines were capable of, or...

MICA: Yes. Oh, I -- I saw the machines. And my concern was, again, the privacy issue.

And I was assured -- and I -- again, I checked it this week. And you can buy filtering equipment to filter that out. They went ahead and, without consulting us, bought, to me, offensive equipment that should not be used, and it does invade the privacy of people.

We need this kind of equipment, but it can be done the right way. TSA could screw up a two-car funeral.

COOPER: Representative Jackson Lee, a traveler can opt out of going through these new scanners and will then get this extremely thorough pat-down. I have had it done. It is very intrusive. There's no doubt about it. Do you believe it's too intrusive? Is it too much?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Well, first of all, I take great issue with the definition or the description of TSA messing up a funeral, a two-car funeral.

And, frankly, Anderson, I would like everybody to be reminded that we might have wanted to have this kind of equipment on 9/11. We saw 3,000 or more Americans lose their lives. This is a different America and a different world. And so we have to confront issues head on.

I would like to say to my good friend, Congressman Mica, who I look forward to working with, first of all, this is a pilot program. There are only 400 of these AIT machines across America. And there's certainly an opportunity as we review this.

The Homeland Security Committee was advised of this equipment. In fact, I viewed this equipment in a number of airports over the last couple of months. And so we're testing it. We're determining what is the best approach or best quality.

My understanding is that the viewers of this particular image are hidden away, and there is a way of protecting the privacy of those who choose to use the AIT.

Where we made our mistake, Anderson, was not providing the broad- based information, the emphasis on privacy and the right to explain to travelers just what they would be choosing.

Now, pat-downs are limited. If you go to a metal detector or opt for an AIT, you go through and you're fine. If it is necessary for a pat-down because you alarm or there are some other problems -- I was traveling this morning, and one of the passengers said, I need a pat- down because I have a metal leg or some form of metal on my personal body.

That person volunteered that. And so we have to be very much in context. What happened on 9/11? What happened on Christmas Day 2009?

COOPER: But, Congresswoman -- but, Congresswoman -- Congresswoman -- Congresswoman, though...

LEE: It's very important to emphasize that.

COOPER: Congresswoman, you did write today -- you co-wrote a letter to Mr. Pistole about the enhanced pat-downs, and you did say -- you said, "For the reasons stated above, including privacy, civilian liberties concerns raised by the public and advocacy organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, we respectfully request you reconsider the enhanced pat-down protocols."

So, do you want them to reconsider it?

LEE: Yes, you're absolutely right. My committee in particular had the oversight.

What I want them -- in fact, I was briefed by Administrator Pistole today, as that letter was being written, and the intent of that letter -- and I will be at my airport on Monday and Tuesday, at Bush Intercontinental Airport, both speaking to officials, watching what is going on. But we wrote that letter because...


COOPER: OK. But you do want to -- you do want a change in protocols?

LEE: No, we wrote that letter because we're listening to the American public.

The protocols that I want to have changed is to articulate the privacy right of our traveling public, to listen to the traveling public, and to be able to modify those protocols according to the needs of the traveling public.

When I say that, to make sure that those protocols are used when it is appropriate, meaning the more extensive one. But I don't want them to stop. I do want the public to be informed.

COOPER: Right. OK.

LEE: I want to make sure that children are not patted down in the incorrect manner.

COOPER: OK, I got it.

LEE: And I don't believe the legislation by Congressman Paul is appropriate, nor do I believe we need to go back to privatizing the Transportation Security Administration or TSO. More professional training, yes.

COOPER: Congressman Mica...

LEE: More privacy information, yes. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: OK. I got it.


COOPER: Congressman Mica -- Congressman Mica, let me ask you about that.

You want the TSA -- you have written to a number of airports saying they should go to private screeners, contractors, not using TSA, which is totally under the guidelines. It's totally legal.

But -- but even private security contractors would still have to use the exact same TSA methods, because the TSA sets the federal guidelines.

So, what's the advantage of going to private contractors?

MICA: Well, there -- there are many advantages.

I happened to draft the legislation. And we already -- while we set up five airports initially with private screening under federal supervision, and when I had an independent analysis done, and we compared apples and apples, we found out, not by my estimation, but by, again, independent evaluation, that the private screeners under federal supervision -- and, again, we have that in place -- perform statistically significantly better.



COOPER: Do you have proof of that? Can you release proof of that?

MICA: Oh, yes. I will be glad. I will give you a GAO study that -- that compared that.

But it's beyond that. TSA, in my opinion, is out of control. I have 3,000 -- 3,590 administrative personnel making, on average, over $105,000 just in Washington, D.C. I never intended when I wrote the TSA law to have that kind of bureaucracy...


MICA: ... or another 8,000 out in the field, and 67,000...


MICA: ... growing to 67,000 people. It's a massive, bloated bureaucracy.

LEE: Well...

MICA: It needs to be trimmed and tamed. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We're way over time.


LEE: Anderson, the average salary of a TSO officer is from $30,000 to $60,000.

MICA: Yes.

LEE: I don't think we want to go back to pre-9/11.

I do believe that Congressman Mica is right. We can always assess the excessive overhead, administrative costs, but we don't want to go back to a privatized system of protecting the nation's airports and air travelers. We don't want to, if you will, go back to the opportunity of more terrorism and terrorist acts.


LEE: We have been lucky for the last eight years, or nine years.


COOPER: I have got to jump in.

LEE: But let's not forget what happened on 9/11.

COOPER: We would love to have you both back on.


MICA: It was the government that -- it was the government that failed on 9/11. They never set the protocol to a standard.

COOPER: Congressman Mica...

MICA: Thank you.

COOPER: Congressman Mica, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

Still ahead: Democrats and progressives beginning to send a blunt message to President Obama, basically telling him it's time to man up, including our own James Carville, who had some pretty choice words for the president. We will show you what he said and we will talk to him about that.

Plus, our special series "Amazing Animals: Smarter Than You Think" -- tonight, inside the mind of lemurs. I don't really know anything about lemurs, but it turns out they're actually pretty smart. They don't like to gamble. And that actually shows -- has clues about human evolution.

We will explain ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Covering a number of stories tonight. Let's check in with Susan Hendricks with the 360 news and business bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, more dramatic testimony in the kidnapping trial of Brian David Mitchell. He is accused of abducting Elizabeth Smart from a Salt Lake City bedroom in the summer of 2002 when she was just 14. His estranged wife, Wanda Barzee told jurors that Mitchell manipulated her into doing things by saying he's orders were, quote, "divine law." Barzee is serving a 15- year prison sentence for her involvement in the kidnapping.

The Beverly Hills police chief says there is no theory yet on the killing of well-know Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen. She was gunned down in her car on Tuesday. Earlier, the mayor said the slaying was targeted.

Wesley Snipes is heading to prison. A Florida judge today denied an appeal by him. He ordered the actor to begin serving a three-year prison sentence for tax evasion.

And a whopping midnight debut for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1." Fans spent $24 million to see the midnight screening early Friday morning. Part two, the "Harry Potter" finale is due out next July.

And, Anderson, fans were camping out around the country to see part one.

COOPER: Yes. I must say, I want to see it. It looks kind of cool. It looks good.

HENDRICKS: Yes, I just want to know when he grew up.

COOPER: I know. They're all so old now. Which of course means that we're all getting older, I guess.


COOPER: That's not a good thing.

All right. Susan, thanks.

Up next: James Carville is saying he's not sorry for what he had to say about Hillary Clinton and President Obama, and a certain slang word for the male anatomy. We'll let him explain.

And our series on animal intelligence tonight. What scientists are learning about lemurs, including why they don't like to gamble.


COOPER: Well, you may remember just after the midterm elections this month and his party's losses, President Obama started spreading this message. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Moving forward, I think the questions going to be: can Democrats and Republicans sit down together and come up with a set of ideas that address those core concerns. I'm confident that we can.

I'm doing a whole lot of reflecting and I think there are going to be areas in policy where we're going to have to do a better job. And so, you know, one of the things that I've got to take responsibility for is not having moved enough on those fronts. And I think there is an opportunity to move forward on some of those issues. But I do think that, you know, this is a growth process, and an evolution.


COOPER: So, the president, who's, of course, the leader of his party as well, says he's ready to move forward.

This week, Mr. Obama came out of a closed-door meeting, however, with congressional Democrats with nothing much new. Plenty of fresh complaints, though, from those present who said he wasn't offering enough passion, enough leadership. We should point out, though, none of those critics would speak on camera. The feedback came in anonymous quotes.

Also, this week, prominent Democratic supporters reportedly talked about going around the president and create third party groups to raise cash for the 2012 presidential campaign. They'd be similar to the groups that Karl Rove, like Karl Rove's backed American Crossroads group that provided a lot of cash for Republicans in this year's elections.

The thing is President Obama is against these third party groups. It's not stopping prominent Democrats, however. "The Huffington Post' reports billionaire George Soros, who was at the meeting, said liberals need to pressure the president and if they won't budge, they should promote their agenda on their own.

How frustrated are some Democrats? Listen to this exchange about the president between a reporter and Democratic strategist James Carville at an event this week sponsored by the "Christian Science Monitor."


REPORTER: Is he being a wimp or is he sounding on the right tone and being on the right approach?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't know, but I'm the guy on the campaign that said if Hillary gave him one of her balls, they'd both have two.


COOPER: James Carville certainly has a way with words. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: So, James, referencing your comment about the president's manhood, I guess -- this is the Democratic president we're talking about here, the leader of your party, pretty tough words. Do you stand by him?

CARVILLE: Look, it was a joke I told during the campaign of 2008, it was reported in "The New York Times," reported in "Newsweek." And I said, as I was saying -- the joke I told in 2008, I kind of repeated it, to me, it's not that big a deal. I'm not sorry I told it. I don't apologize to anyone.

The only thing I would feel sorry for is if somebody offended by it. It's just a joke, and I was making a larger point. I thought that the president should be tough on these banks and that's what it is. That's about what it amounts to.

I'm not going into rehab. I'm not praying with my priest. I'm not reconsidering my life. I'm not doing any of that stuff.

COOPER: It is -- as you said, it's not the first time you compared the president's manhood unfavorably with Hillary Clinton's.

I just want to -- here's how the president responded the last time this happened during the 2008 primary season before he was president. He said, "Well, you know, James Carville is well known for spouting off his mouth without always knowing what he's talking about. I intend to stay stoke used on fighting for the American people because what they don't need is 20 more years of performance art on television. And that's what James Carville and a lot of folks are expert at -- a lot of talk and not getting things done for the American people."

CARVILLE: But he's right. I'm a cable TV commentator. I'm not in public office. (INAUDIBLE). If somebody would have said something like that, I can understand he didn't much care for it. I understand that sometimes I say things that maybe rub them the wrong way, but I'm a cable TV commentator, not a president or senator or congressman.

COOPER: There's obviously a lot of discontent and a lot of -- from what we're hearing behind closed doors, anger being directed to the White House by Democrats, by, you know, senior Democrats, Democrats in Congress.

What is your advice? I mean, what do you think is going on, what needs to be done if one wants the Democratic agenda to move forward?

CARVILLE: Very good question. And that's what I was addressing. I think that we obviously were forced to deal with the fact that American finance had come close to and maybe still has, will wreck the world economy, and I just don't think that they've been tough enough on these bankers. I don't think they've been tough enough in dealing with this. I the think the policy has proven to be the only thing he can do when you have this kind of thing that they're confronted with. I also was critical of the message that was coming out where they said the economic program was working as opposed to we're fighting every day against interest and interest in the Republican Party between the captains of banking, who have actually harmed this country, and, you know, we're fighting very hard against powerful interest to make what progress we can. I think that would have been a more effective message.

But, look, having said that, I contributed to this president. I voted for him. I support him. I still support him. If he runs again, I can't imagine that I would vote for anybody else but this president.

But that doesn't mean that I'm -- can't be sort of critical of things when I see something. I'm doing my job.

COOPER: I mean, a lot of Democrats are opposing (ph) him for not being more partisan, for basically, you know, sort of still talking about bipartisanship. There are some Democrats which are now thinking about -- I've read Harold Ickes and others are thinking about, you know, basically forming independent groups like the Republicans have done in the last year, to great effect to these midterms, like Karl Rove's group, to try to funnel money into, you know, for candidates and stuff down the road, which is something the president has actually objected to in the past.

CARVILLE: Yes. And I mean, I think a lot of people are going to go their own way and do things, and I don't have a problem with that. But I think there's a lot of things that the president can do, and hopefully that he will do that will put him back in good speed with the American people.

COOPER: You know, he said, look, we haven't pausing to advertise what we've been doing and that's -- maybe that's part of the problem. Is it just a public relations problem? I mean, or is it -- does it go deeper than that?

CARVILLE: Well, yes, some of it is. I think they could have explained to us what their strategy was and what they're doing. I just -- I think some of it is that we should have been a lot tougher. You know, we should have done something about compensation for these banks that got bailout money. We should have done something to show that we're really not very happy with what they did. I would have certainly had the attorney general be a lot more aggressive, say, Attorney General Cuomo was in New York.

So, I mean -- and I think that the Democrats paid a price because it looked like we were too lackadaisical about what happened during these bailouts and people thought that irresponsible behavior was being rewarded in this instance. And you really can't blame them. You know, I don't blame people for being mad about this. It's something to be mad about.

COOPER: James Carville -- I appreciate your time, James. Thank you.

CARVILLE: You bet. Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: Still ahead, our amazing animal series -- what scientists are learning from lemurs' powerful brains that -- that's right, lemurs. I didn't really know they had powerful brains, they seem to have very small brains. But apparently, they have very good heads on their shoulders and a good head for numbers. But they cannot stomach gambling.

And later, why is Steven Seagal signing up to be a lawman in yet another state? He makes our "Ridiculist" tonight. We'll explain why. Ahead.


COOPER: So when you think of super smart animals, lemurs immediately come to mind. Right? Probably not. Probably don't even know much about lemurs, I certainly didn't.

Apes and elephants and dolphins are well-known for their big brains, their intelligence, but some scientists say that lemurs also have impressive cognitive abilities. For instance, lemurs have a knack for numbers. Did you know that? I didn't. They also hate to gamble.

Randi Kaye tonight explains.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first thing you notice about lemurs are their eyes. They are big and wide and full of curiosity.

(on camera): There you go. You are just the sweetest little thing. What are you thinking? That's what we're here to find out. What's going on in that little brain of yours, huh?

(voice-over): That's what scientists at Duke University's Lemur Center are trying to figure out. And so far, they are pretty impressed. They say lemurs are deep thinkers who understand numbers and sequencing, even abstract thinking.

(on camera): Here at Duke, they have the largest captive collection of lemurs in the world. Lemurs have actually received a lot less attention than apes and monkeys when it comes to researching how they think.

But the folks here at the Duke Lemur Center are looking into how lemurs think because they believe they can offer some insight into how our primate ancestors actually thought about 75 million years ago. Isn't that right?

(voice-over): Duke University Professor Elizabeth Brannon heads up the lemur research here.

ELIZABETH BRANNON, DUKE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Hey, Pedro. Thanks for helping out today.

KAYE: She says lemurs are so sophisticated when it comes to numbers, they rival monkeys. And like human babies, lemurs understand numbers without actually understanding language. We got to see for ourselves how smart lemurs are.

My jaw dropped as I watched these primates from "Madagascar" take tests on a computer. This lemur has learned to recognize which square has more red dots. He uses his nose and if he picks the right one, which he mostly does, a sugar pellet drops down. Lemurs love sweets.

BRANNON: We're asking, can the lemur learn an abstract rule about number? Can the lemur learn that he always has to choose the smaller number or the larger number? And apply this to pictures that he's had no training on.

KAYE: In this next test the lemur has to work from memory. Before the computer test, the lemur was shown several pictures, but he never saw all the pictures together. Scientists want to know if he can remember which pictures came first in the sequence when he's shown just two of those pictures on the computer screen in no particular order.

Can lemurs think abstractly and infer things they hadn't been taught directly?

BRANNON: We're teaching him that one picture, picture A comes before picture B, and that picture B comes before picture C, and we want to know whether he can figure out the relationship between pictures A and C.

KAYE: Professor Brannon says this lemur successfully memorized the relationship between the pictures and still remembered it for this test, even though he hadn't seen the pictures in the last two years.

BRANNON: For a long time, it was thought lemurs weren't capable of doing a lot of things that other primates were in the cognitive domain. So, in some ways, this is surprising how well they're able to do in this task.

KAYE: What else surprised Professor Brannon? That lemurs, like humans, avoid risk.

BRANNON: We figured out they really don't like to gamble.

KAYE: How does she know? Because in this test, lemurs are taught if they choose the photograph of the train, they could get a bunch of sugar pellets as a reward or possibly no pellets at all. If they choose the safe option, the flag photo, they always get one pellet.

Brannon says lemurs are smart enough to make an association between the photograph and the outcome. There are exceptions. But even when the risky choice will sometimes deliver more treats, most lemurs prefer the safer option, the photo that guarantees them one treat.

BRANNON: Even if we give them six, seven or eight pellets in the jackpot, they still prefer a single pellet -- even though the average payoff is much greater in the risky side.

KAYE: Why does any of this matter? Professor Brannon says it can help humans figure out how our thinking evolved.

BRANNON: What are the fundamental building blocks upon which complex human cultures and systems of knowledge are built? And by studying these kinds of thought processes in lemurs and monkeys and apes and other animals, we can begin to shed insight into that kind of question.

KAYE: And while Professor Brannon doesn't expect lemurs to be learning calculus anytime soon, she does believe we've only scratched the surface of their amazing intelligence.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Durham, North Carolina.


COOPER: They are truly amazing looking.

Still ahead, Steven Seagal makes our "Ridiculist." We'll explain why -- ahead.


ANDERSON: Time now for the latest name to be added to our "Ridiculist," our nightly list of hypocrisy, double talk, or just downright silliness or ridiculousness.

So, who made the "Ridiculist" tonight? Actor and martial artist, shaman, and all around awesome lawman Steven Seagal.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is creating something he's calling an immigration posse in Arizona. The posse he says is going to give regular citizens a chance to fight the problem of illegal immigration. Fifty-six people have just been sworn in to this immigration posse whose duties will include searching for vehicles carrying illegals, as well as spotting safe houses where they might live. And you can agree or disagree with Sheriff Arpaio and his methods.

What concerns us tonight is that Steven Seagal has signed up for this immigration posse. And that is just ridiculous because Mr. Seagal has already signed up to protect the people of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. He has an entire show on it on A&E, a show entitled, appropriately enough, "Steven Seagal Lawman." If you've not seen, it you are really, really missing something special.


STEVEN SEAGAL, ACTOR: Today, I'm going to teach these boys some new tricks.

We can flip it like that. But from here, you've got to be able to turn him over so that he can't go for a weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's quick. I mean, it's either you comply or he breaks your arm.

SEAGAL: I just want you guys to feel this, just this kind of thing. Go ahead and come.

Here's a hole. Look at that. I found a hole. Now I've got him. You see?


SEAGAL: You all right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. I had a flash back from "Above the Law."

SEAGAL: This is not Hollywood. It's for real.

That's right. Steven Seagal, deputy sheriff.


COOPER: Steven Seagal is not just deputy sheriff, he is the most awfully awesome deputy sheriff in the world. He whispers sweet worlds of justice like nobody else. He may not be able to run fast, but when he whispers in that soft, incomprehensible drawl, criminals just stop dead in their tracks and give up.

However, for all of his magical power and superhuman martial arts strength, not Steven Seagal can protect both Louisiana and Arizona at the same time. It's unfair for us to expect him to and it would be ridiculous for him to try.

So, for one night only, we put Steven Seagal on the "Ridiculist."

Coming up at the top of the hour: members of Congress playing politics with lives of orphan kids, 1,200 orphan kids, Haitian orphans, waiting for citizenship being adopted by American families. They're limbo. Why isn't Congress acting? We're keeping them honest.