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Governor Rick Perry Will Run for President; Market Up Again

Aired August 11, 2011 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Hey, John, thanks very much. Good evening everyone.

A very big night in money and politics and candidates saying one thing and doing another. We're keeping them honest on that. But we begin with breaking news tonight.

A Potential gain changer in the GOP Presidential Race. Texas Governor Rick Perry is running. Jim Acosta got the story. He joins us now.

Jim, so this Saturday in South Carolina, Rick Perry is expected to make it official, although it might not be an official announcement throwing his hat in the ring, right?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And this is a game changer Anderson. The Republican source close to the Perry campaign has confirmed that CNN that the Texas governor will throw his cowboy hat into the ring if you will excuse me on Saturday at the RedState Conference in South Carolina.

His speech is expected to focus heavily on the Texas economy, half of the jobs created in this country. The Perry people will point out on the he last two years they were in Texas, Republicans are going to point to that as a success story.

Democrats say not so fast. Most of those jobs are low wage jobs. Democratic source told me earlier today, Governor Perry is all hat and no cattle. But after the speech in South Carolina, Anderson, he heads off to New Hampshire and he taped an interview with a TV station up there today. So, he's making all of the moves of a candidate tonight.

COOPER: He's also headed to Iowa this weekend but not he's taking part of the Ames Straw Poll, is he?

ACOSTA: That's right. This announcement in South Carolina on Saturday was designed to steal the show from the Ames Straw Poll this weekend, that's where all of the other Republican candidates are right now and what's become a GOP beauty pageant. But the story will be Perry's announcement on Saturday. You recall Sarah Palin just yesterday said she was going in Iowa this weekend with her bus. She short of step on Rick Perry's story. Now he is stepping on hers. Welcome to 2012, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, just beginning. Jim, thank you very much. Now, the front-runner, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and his remarks today on the campaign trail set off a storm. I will show them to you so you can decide for yourself what to make of them. Keep him honest tonight for saying one thing and boasting about doing the opposite. Criticizing President Obama for wanting to shrink the debts with a mix of spending cuts and new revenue.

When Romney was governor in Massachusetts, that's precisely the case he made to Standard & Poor's after they downgraded his state credit. His administration bragging a presentation about spending cuts and tax revenues. Governor Romney is in Iowa tonight for debate leading up to Saturday's Straw Poll today. Well, apparently trying to discredit the idea of raising taxes to save social security he made headlines. Listen.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And if we are ultimately, not just this year but over the coming decades going to be able to balance our budget and not spend more than we take in, we have to make sure that the promises we make and Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are promises that we can keep. And there are various ways to doing that. One is to raise taxes on people.

CROWD: Corporations.

ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend.

CROWD: No, they are not.

ROMNEY: Of course, they are. Everything corporations are ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?

CROWD: It goes to their pockets!


COOPER: Well, you can make of that as you will. It is a matter of opinion. This is on the other hand is a matter of fact. Mitt Romney was the first to criticize president Obama when Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit. And he persistently is critical of making revenue as part of reducing a debt and restoring our Triple-A rating. He pushed for a no tax solution. The house GOP cut cap and balance bill and slams the president as a tax raiser. Watch.


ROMNEY: The president to agree to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending, and to put in place a balanced budget amendment.

ROMNEY: There are three mathematical ways to fix a deficit. One is, you can raise taxes a lot and for some reason that's what the president always thinks about. Let's just raise taxes. Instead of lowering taxes, he raised them. Did you know that our employers pay the highest taxes in the world? ROMNEY: Come on, Mr. President. You can, by yourself, cut the spending, agree to cut spending, cap the spending, and put in place a balanced budget amendment.


COOPER: So Governor Romney says he favors a plan to cut the deficit without raising revenue and it's not for us to say whether it's a good or bad thing. You can make up your own mind about that. But keeping them honest, that's not the case he made back in 2004 when he was lobbying S&P to raise Massachusetts credit rating.

Politico obtained 27 pages of confidential discussion materials and 50 pages presentation the governor's staff gave to S&P. They say it's unclear whether Mr. Romney personally took part in show casing it but in April he said that he was proud of his role.


ROMNEY: The president really ought to personally sit down and meet with S&P. I did that the when I was governor. I met with the ratings agencies and talked about our future and tried to instill confidence in our future because how they rate our debt and how they rate our future as a nation will affect the interest costs that we end up paying and will affect homeowners and borrowers all over the country.


COPPER: Now, there's nothing unusual about a governor lobbying a rating agencies or his administration trying to make their case. The issue is boasting back then about doing almost precisely what he's slamming President Obama for advocating today.

Take a look at the governor's points in the governor's presentation. The state it says "Successfully managed revenue and expense positions in 2002 and 2003". A chart points of legislation 2002, the increased tax revenue by more than a billion dollars a year, a tax amnesty and tax loophole legislation worth $269 billion. The confidential discussion also highlights increasing fees, $271 million yearly starting fiscal year 2004.

Now, the irony is with the exception of the higher fees, the other tax items became law before Mitt Romney even took office. That didn't stop him, though, from taking credit for them with S&P. Also ironic, that makes taxes and spending cuts got results a credit upgrade. That approach the one Governor Romney benefited from back then is precisely the same as the one he says President Obama is wrong to pursue now.

Joining us to talk about Governor Romney, Governor Perry, and the rest of the field, Democratic Strategist Paul Begala and Eric Erickson, Editor In Chief for "".

So, Paul, how much will this kind of flip-flopping hurt Romney in the primaries given all the other flip-flops that he's done over the years?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONRIBUTOR: Eric knows his party and movement better. But I do think in the last 30 years the anti-tax position in Republican Party has become an article of faith. So much so that actually Ronald Reagan aide once said to me, Reagan couldn't make it today because he raised taxes as governor of California. He raised taxes as president. So that, that's such an article of faith that flip flopping on that, when your attitude flip-flop on abortion, rights in gay, rights in all other flip-flop. It really does, I think it makes Romney vulnerable.

COOPER: Eric, what about that? I mean, he's not really a darling of the Tea Party. Does this tax record on taxes make his job a winning demo that much more difficult?

ERIC ERICKSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REDSTAE.COM: Yes, I think it does. It's an accumulation of things. It's not just that. It's his health care position, the flip-flop on his immigration position, the flip-flop on this abortion position, flip-flops on, you name it.

Now, he can certainly say that most of these tax increases came in before he was governor and he was just being governor and saying what the governor had done. But it's not going to buy him to the primary. You know he's got a lot of criticism for what people have mockingly call the "Mitness" protection program the last couple of months and he might should have stayed there for a few more weeks.

COOPER: Paul, let's talk about Rick Perry. What do you make of he's entering the race by the way this weekend in an event of Eric Erickson? So, what do you make of his entering the race? How does it change things on the GOP side and for president Obama?

BEGALA: First off, good for him for going to Eric's place. I mean I'm all for sucking up and Eric has a powerful movement down there. I read I have yet to agree with a single word on it but I read it everyday Eric. It is indispensable.

And Governor Perry is showing the power of Eric in his movement. But I think as a Texan, I knew him a little bit, a million years ago when he was first starting out in the Texas legislation, I can't really say known. But I think he brings at least three things.

First, he can fire up that base, I think almost as effectively as Michele Bachmann who I think has been the most exciting candidate in the Republican Party. He can raise money I think as effectively as Mitt Romney. He is the best funded candidate and perhaps most important, he will say or do anything, anything. He's already flirted with so-session which didn't really work out quite well for the south last time we tried that. Six hundred thousand people dead in civil war. He's flirted with so-session. He even you know this is the most monsters' thing, he is alleging, allegedly pre-cited over the execution of one of his own constituents who was perhaps factually innocent. Lot of good reporting. Lot of good scientific evidence that the man was innocent. When that evidence came to Rick Perry, he ignored it, had that man executed any way and when it was being investigated by one of his own state words, he's accused of removing three members from that board so they could not finish the investigation properly.

COOPER: So Paul, when you say he will do or say anything, are you saying that he's a pure politician, that he doesn't really have strong ideals that he stands up for?

BEGALA: You know, I am certainly very conservative and I don't think he's going to move off of those. I just - he doesn't seem to have the kind of guardrails though, left or right that most politicians seem to have. I mean to me at least is really striking, I think that can be an effective thing in a politician. And I think he's going to be formidable. If I was Mitt Romney, I would be quaking in my Gucci's. But there is something about him. I mean, he's like you know a man with spinal tap when you turn the speaker up to 11. If you want a conservative who is a ten, he will turn that speaker up to 11.

COOPER: Eric, what about that? For conservatives particularly in the primary, how do you think he will do against the others in the field?

ERICKSON: I think he will probably do very well. When you look at the polling Mitt Romney seems to be capped out of the quarter of the Republican primary. You can't get much more sport than that nationally. Maybe up to a third in New Hampshire and a few other early primaries stage. But even not more that than. So Rick Perry has the potential, because of a huge fundraising base from Texas and being a popular conservative governor to consolidate the field quickly and make a two-man race. I think the Romney folks are fearful of that. But you know Paul is doing himself the service on full disclosure for Begala. He won't say this but I'll say this on his behalf that Paul Begala's personal dislike of Rick Perry has nothing to do with the partisan politics. It has everything to do with Rick Perry being an (Again). For now, I really can't blame Paul at all.

BEGALA: That is true. I would root for like Iran State against Texan, believe me.

ERICKSON: I can't wait to root against him in my own conference.


COOPER: Paul, do you see Rick Perry, though, change? If Rick Perry got the nomination, how does he change in a general election? You know he just had this big prayer rally. Do you still see him? I mean how does he change? To get independent.

BEGALA: I think Governor Perry has less of the capacity to move to the center than a Mitt Romney does. And I think that he could be trapped on the far fringes of the right. But he has been astonishingly successful in the second largest state in America. But he does not have that same malleability and flexibility as, say, a Mitt Romney conservatives will see that as a good thing, as a more principle thing. But I've never been one to say that I want to choose the opponent. Because I'm a democratic. In fact I'm advising a pro Obama pact our viewers should know but I don't believe in like saying, I remember the Carter people when I was a kid saying, we want Ronald Reagan. By golly, we got him. So I'm more humble now.

ERICKSON: Yes, you know Anderson, you look on Perry's record, if the issue is jobs and jobs creations, more than half of all the jobs created since Tim Geithner declared the summer recovery in August on 2009 were created in Texas. He's got a very strong message on that. He signed a balanced budget. He's got a flack for running a deficit but the actual skilled back the sides and scope of the Texas government and may give the democrats some avenues to attack him for what he could. But he signed the balanced budget and he's created a lot of jobs at least Texas has and he's the governor so he'll get some credit for that in the same way Barack Obama will get blamed for the national economy.

COOPER: Eric Erickson thanks very much. Paul, stick around. I want to talk to you up next for President Obama taking heat from his left.

Question, are Liberals experiencing buyer's remorse and so can you win back his base? Let us know what you think on face book. Follow me on twitter @andersoncooper. I'll be twitting tonight over this hour.

Later, the Wall Street roller coaster drum bells back up the hill yet again. And is your money along for the ride? Ali Velshi is joining us quickly to explain what's going on. So he'll check in right now if I choose to say.


ISAH SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the Syrian dictatorship may have pulled forces out of Hama but else where the military killing machine rolls on. There is new blood shed, new victims. Reports tonight of hundred more arrested. That and much more when "360" continues.


COOPER: Well, if you took here the last summer, there's pretty good chance President Obama would still look his age but the angry town halls, the healthcare food fight, the debt crisis, the market mess, they are all taking their toll not just on the president but on his supporters.

Take a look at the headline in Matt Miller's column in today's Washington post. Why the center left is fed up with Obama? In it, Miller says the recent string of bad economic news has made something in him in others snap. It's the sound, he says, of confidence in Obama's leadership breaking. He writes that events keep screaming that president is weak and says that's the way it smells to him.

The question tonight, is this one of those long, hot summers that has fermented this president or is it something more?

Let's turn once again to Paul Begala who works for another democratic president who frequently got better from Republicans and sometimes a center left. Also Candy Crowley on the campaign trail in Iowa joins us as well.

So Paul, what do you make about this? I mean, is this a real concern about - there is some on the left talking about running a candidate against Obama in the primary.

BEGALA: Yes. I think that a case of the current president. I can't think of any president who's been opposed in a primary and then went on to be re-elected. I don't think it's happening in the modern era. I see no signs of that. As I tell my kids NHD, not happening dude.

There's not going to be a primary challenge. In fact, President Obama is as strong as he's ever been essentially among Democrats. Now, there are some thoughtful commentaries. Matt Miller is a smart guy. He used to work for President Clinton as well. No left winger heat. And so, I would take it seriously but I don't see it at the grass root yet. Its kind at the elite level. The truth is, his problem with voters is among independents, it's not among his liberal base.

COOPER: candy, do you agree with Paul on that? Should the president have reached some sort type of a tipping point?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Listen, the folks that you've been talking about now that are unhappy with the president. I have been unhappy with him for quite some time. We are now getting to a crucial point in the election cycle this poll really does kick it off. You know, maybe a year in advance but we are revving up.

This is the time for those people have been unhappy for some time to send a message. And that's what this is. But you are talking about basically poor Democrats; they are not going to vote for a Republican.

So should he be worried? Yes, because there out there sort of counter messaging and all that kind of stuff. But not in terms of will they not go and vote for them because I just don't think your talking about people that are going to go out and vote for Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann or Jon Huntsman, who ever it happens to be.

These are democrats. They are going to vote democratic, maybe they might not put you know a sign in their front yard or they might not volunteer. But these are voters who are going to vote and vote for the president as unhappy as they are with him. But right now, they are sending him a message and that's what this is about.

COOPER: Paul, I think you tend to like more of a kind of bare knuckle political brawl. So if you were advising the president's campaign, which you are not, what would you tell them to do?

BEGALA: Well, I would tell them, listen to Candy and to throw a few punches.

Look, Alex Castellanos is a Republican our colleague, my buddy, he likes to say nothing you know it's a people of Earth like a threat from Mars.

OK. The Democrats will forget about all their complains over Barack Obama doesn't ride a unicorn and shoot jobs out of his ears if Obama and his team can focus on the Republicans. If I were David Axelrod, who I love and admire that he is strategist for the president, I would put a big picture of Henny Youngman in my campaign headquarters. Henny Youngman who famously said every time how's your wife? "Compared to what?" Compared to what? Right now it's compared to the dreamy expectations a few years ago. OK. those three words are got to be on every democrats' compared to what? Now, it's just compared to their dreamy expectation that they had a few years ago. I would rather have them focus on "compared to what?" Governor Romney or Governor Perry or Congresswoman Bachmann or any of that weaning Republicans. That will bring the Democrats back to Obama.

COOPER: So you are saying make this race not a referendum on President Obama? That would be for him a huge mistake? Make it all about the Republican candidate?

BEGALA: Right. That's easier said than done. Every incumbent wants to defend his or her record. Every politician wants to talk about themselves, let's be honest. But in truth, they will have to make a psychological shift, to make this choice and not a reverend doesn't and spend a lot of time talking about the other side. It's harder now because there's not a Republican nominee but there's a clear field and they all have ideas that are radically different from the president's and I think they ought to be engaging them.

COOPER: I want to ask another question to candy but I just got to clarify something. Somebody is talking in my ear Paul when you said, did you say that they were upset because president Obama doesn't ride a unicorn and shoot jobs out of his - what did you say? Out of his?

BEGALA: Yes. Out of his ears. I picked the right orifice. This is a family channel. But, out of his ears, that was pronounces ears. That's the word that I used. I sometimes slip.


COOPER: OK. Candy, you know often we hear of threats and challenges from the far left to democratic candidate. It doesn't seem to materialize but I mean do you think this is just - do you think the White House sees this as a major problem? Do you think the White House is as concerned as some on the left are about the state of affairs about where they think the president is? Because it does seem like, in some of there's statements over the last couple of weeks, that they think this is just kind of like opted writers, board in August coming up with stuff to write about.

CROWLEY: Listen, I think you have to always be concerned of the most isn't members of your party are unhappy with you in saying so publicly. But there are folks who understand where elections are won and that's what independence. And so, the president has to be looking there because again, the left is going to come with him. They are not happy at this point because there is a lot more. They want him to be tougher. They want him to stand up against Republicans. They want him to not agree to things that they consider completely unacceptable. They hated the whole debt limit fight. They think he caved the Republicans. He has held hostage, blah, blah, blah.

But in the end, at the end, in November of 2012, they are not going to vote for whoever the Republican is. So what the president has to look at is the independent who gave him this job in the first place, and that's where his attention is.

COOPER: I want to bring in Democratic Strategist Gary Pearce who blogged talking about Gary, you say some democratic activists are asking if they need someone stronger to fight the tea party. I mean, is that for real?

GARY PEARCE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it's more Washington and New York than it is North Carolina. I think, Anderson, Democrats heroes are like baseball fans. We're sitting up in the bleachers and the race is getting hot and our star player who was hitting 400 a couple of summer ago is seems to be in a slump. And we want to see him get some triples and home runs. It's a frustrating time.

But as everybody else has been talking here, a year from now, it will be August, Republicans will have to pick an opponent and Obama has been through this problem before where people had said that he was too weak. He always seems to rise to the occasion. He's sort of Mr. October. And we're counting on that again next year.

COOPER: Gary, I mean how much you think of this just a personality of the president that he is not you know I mean he said that all - that he is necessarily a political brawler?

PEARCE: He's not. He just turned 50 years old and most of us, once we're 50, we are not going to change who we are. And he got to be president and part in by saying we are not a collection of red states and blue states. We're the United States. That's what appeal to people a lot. And he has stuck with that. And he may be the only person in Washington who believes it but he seems to believe that Washington, the two parties ought to be able to work together and solve this problem. You know, bless him for doing that and I hope he keeps trying.

COOPER: Paul, has it, I mean I think you believe it's been a mistake for the president to kind of go for this bipartisan share point, you would argue that the republicans basically just been - have been playing him. Moving forward, how does he need to shift strategy, if at all?

BEGALA: Well, if he wants to keep his job, he has to move the needles on the American jobs. He needs a jobs package. And I heard earlier tonight, David Axelrod, his local advisor ticking off some good ideas that the president for extending some tax cuts for the middle class on the payroll tax. A patent reform bill and a South Korean trade deal.

It's not enough. He needs a big, major jobs package and then defy the Republican house not to pass it, then he could be Harry Truman and run against the do nothing congress and say, I came to this congress for the jobs package. I compromised a lot. But here's my jobs package. Why won't the house Republic pass it? And then you have to kind a fight that I think people want to see.

COOPER: Paul Begala, appreciate your time. Candy, Gary Pearce thanks so much for being with us. I'm sorry I have some technical problems getting you in to the conversation earlier.

Quick program, you know Michele Bachmann will be Candy Crowley's guest on this Sunday's "State of the Union." That's Sunday morning, 9am, right here on CNN.

Still ahead, the other breaking news tonight. They were following more turmoil in the stock markets. Another day of wild swings. This time swinging upward. What is driving all of the volatility? We'll talk to Ali Velshi.

Also, a crime and punished a young American woman vanishes in the same town in Aruba where Natalee Holloway disappeared six years ago. Latest on the investigation that coming up an update on that.


COOPER: Well, we're following other breaking stories tonight. A lot of people tonight are trying to make sense of what is happening in the stock markets. Today, another roller coaster ride. As you know the DOW industrials jumping 423 points nearly four percent to close above eleven thousand. The past six trading sessions have been incredible see saw. The DOW scored its two biggest gains of the year this week. Also it's biggest low of the year. Today all of the major indices were back in black. Some encouraging economic news helps stocks recover. I spoke to Ali Velshi just few moments ago about it.


COOPER: So, Ali what's the deal? It's up, it's down, what causes today's rally?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I think people were taking a step back looking at the heavy momentum of the selling the last couple of days and sort of re-evaluating whether it's justified. You even saw a movement out of Treasury bond in the United States as we've seen some heavy buying into the last few days while people are moving into, you know, as we call a flight to safety, going into safer investments.

They are getting back into stocks because there are a lot of people are saying that it's unreasonable. The stocks are priced so low that it's time to get back in. There are also rumors all day about some action that the Europeans would be taking to ban the short selling of financial stocks. Remember what happened back in here in the United States back in 2008. It serves to stabilize the markets so that means it will probably stabilize going into tomorrow. But just that rumor alone help things today a lot. And European markets and that continued into U.S. markets.

COOPER: You talk about it being irrational. The swings have been so radical every day.

VELSHI: Yes, they really have been. And Anderson, again, I have to remind you of back in the spring of 2009 before we sort of found a market bottom. This is what happens when there is this level of uncertainty.

Look, we trade by computers. There is something called high frequency trading. That's not the same as someone calling up their broker and buying and selling stocks. This all happens fast based on where the market is going.

It automatically triggers more sales or more buy orders. So we're going to see this kind of activity. Until there's some real leadership in this market, somebody convinced that the economies of the world and the United States are not as vulnerable as they appear to be right now, I think you're going to see a lot of the volatility. It's the new normal for a few months.

COOPER: The new figures, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits falling below 400,000 for the first time since April, what does that mean for the overall economy?

VELSHI: Well, it's a pretty good sign, Anderson. We got those numbers even before the opening bell. Even, you know, this morning, we thought the markets were going to do well and then we got this report.

It's good to see fewer than 400,000 people filing for unemployment benefits in a given week. It's a huge number, but it's a sign that things might be stable on the job front.

As you know, we got a better than expected jobs number for the month of July. We got that about a week ago. This is just further encouragement that it's not necessarily a double dip recession.

Everything's not necessarily bad. It was one sign and one sign that investors need desperately that these economic signals we've got right now are mixed, not all to the downside. And that helped markets along as well today.

COOPER: All right, some good news in that. Ali Velshi, thanks.

VELSHI: My pleasure.

COOPER: And now to Somalia. Since Monday night, we've been reporting on the famine there. Almost 30,000 kids have already died just in the last few months. As awful as that is, it's about to get much, much worse.

The World Food Program is the primary supplier of food aid in Somalia and they are expecting to run out of food, food aid in less than three weeks. The U.N. says 600,000, 600,000 kids are on the brink of starvation unless the international committee steps up and delivers on the financial pledges that they have made.

We're talking about 600,000 little girls and little boys. This is more than just a big number. These are some of the children. Each one has a name and a family that loves them. Here's another number you need to know, $2.5 billion.

That's how much the U.N. says they need to respond to the famine. It's a famine in the entire horn of Africa or I should say drought in the entire horn of Africa.

The famine right now is in southern Somalia, parts of Mogadishu. So far it's received half of the money that is need. Today, the United States pledged an additional $17 million. That's on top of $105 million it has already given. Here's what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Every few decades, the cycle repeats and it would be easy to throw up our hands and blame it all on forces beyond our control. But this cycle is not inevitable. The food shortages may be triggered by drought. They are not caused by drought.

But rather by weak or nonexistent agriculture systems that fail to produce enough food or market opportunities in good times and breakdown completely in the bad times. In other words, a hunger crisis is not solely an act of God.

It is a complex problem of infrastructure, governance, markets, education. These are things we can shape and strengthen. So that means this is a problem that we can solve.


COOPER: She said, this is not an act of God. Droughts may be an act of God, as Bono said in our program last night, but famines are manmade. An Islamic terrorists group has outlawed and prevented aide workers from giving aid to those in need in the south where the famine is at its worse.

They haven't allowed children to be inoculated, to be vaccinated and kids are dying of measles, mumps and diseases that no child should die of. We said that about 100 million has been given by the U.S. to Somalia.

We should also point out, the U.S. has actually given more than $500 million for the entire horn of Africa because this is a massive area, which has been affected by drought, the worst drought in 60 years.

Many of you have been asking to help in Somalia and I don't like to tell you whether or not too give money. But if you're interested, we've directed you to our "Impact Your World" web site, which is

Today, we checked in with some of the organizations listed and they told us they've seen an increase in donations just over the last several days. I want to thank all of you who have given. For anyone who still wants to help, you'll find a list of organizations at

Just ahead, new details in a mystery with chilling parallels that Natalie Holloway case, another young American woman missing in Aruba. She was even staying in the same resort town as Holloway. A report is coming up, but First, Isha Sesay joins in the "360 Bulletin." Isha --

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in Syria, activists said at least eight people were killed today in the ongoing crackdown on anti-government protesters. Security forces reportedly arrested 200 people in one city. CNN cannot verify either report because we're not allowed inside Syria.

In a session of parliament, British Prime Minister David Cameron said London police have admitted they took too long to arrest rioters and looters after four nights of mayhem. The losses to retailers are at more than $161 million. Cameron promised them assistance.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: If you've had your livelihood and property damaged, we will compensate you. We are on your side. And to the lawless minority, the criminals that have taken what they can get, I say this. We will track you down. We will find you. We will charge you. We will punish you. You will pay for what you have done.


SESAY: Doctors in Boston have released the first pictures of Charlotte Nash who received a full face transplant in May. She lost most of her face and both hands when a French chimpanzee mauled her more than two years ago. Nash said her new face has brought her back to life.

And the fastest aircraft ever launched failed for the second time. Most researchers said they lost contact with the unmanned hyper sonic vehicle over the Pacific. It was capable of gliding at Mach 20, that's about 13,000 miles per hour. Anderson, north for two for the U.S. military.

COOPER: Wow, that's surprising that that occurred. Isha, time now for the shot, a veteran returning from Afghanistan teams up with the Minor League baseball team to surprise his wife. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As she bounces across the middle, congratulations to her.


COOPER: That is Darla Harlow throwing the ceremonial first pitch before a Mississippi Braves game the other night. She thought she had been chosen randomly. Darla had no idea that the catcher was actually her husband Michael Harlow.

He's been in Afghanistan since last December. He missed his daughter's high school graduation. I love seeing these videos of the reunions, especially when dads go to their little kids' school for the first time.

I showed more serious stuff, more serious stories ahead including new details in the disappearance of a young woman in Aruba. Her name is Robin Gardener who vanished in the same town that Natalee Holloway visited six years ago. Now police are saying the man who reported Robin missing may have something to hide.

And a new twist in the Casey Anthony investigation, she has been acquitted of her daughter Caylee's murder, you all know that, but wait until you hear what Florida's Department Children and Families has to say about her in a new report. That and the ridiculous when we continue.


COOPER: Tonight's crime and punishment report, new details in the disappearance of Robin Gardener. A young woman from Maryland missing now in Aruba.

If your first thought is Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager disappeared in 2005 in Aruba, you're certainly not alone. Like Holloway, Gardener was vacationing in Aruba when she vanished seemingly without a trace.

She was even visiting the same town. The 35-year-old Gardener was last seen on a beach with her friend named Gary Giordano. He's the same man who reported her missing. But police say his story doesn't add up. Martin Savidge is in Aruba tonight and has the latest on the investigation.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last time anyone saw Robin Gardener was here at Aruba's baby beach. This man, Gary Vincent Giordano, says late in the day on August 2nd, they were snorkeling together when she simply vanished.

MICHAEL LOPEZ, GIORDANO'S LAWYER: The sea got rough. He couldn't stand anymore and she signed him to let's go back and when he reached shore, she was nowhere to be seen.

SAVIDGE: Giordano called 911 and a massive search was launched. Helicopters, a plane, boats, and divers, but days later, still no sign of Gardener.

LOPEZ: The body goes outside a reef, it goes deep immediately. It goes very deep. You can see it there. It goes under the water. The current will take it away.

SAVIDGE: This island paradise is, of course, no stranger to mysterious disappearances. More than six years ago, Natalee Holloway came to Aruba after graduating from high school, but never came home.

Despite years of searching, her body has never been found and the specter of her disappearance still hangs over Aruba. As for Gardener, her friends are not convinced her disappearance was an accident. Richard Forrester is Gardener's on again, off again boyfriend.

RICHARD FORRESTER, MISSING WOMAN'S BOYFRIEND: She's somebody that's concerned about getting her hair messed up, getting her makeup messed up. I can't see her snorkeling. I can't see her going in the water much more above her waist.

SAVIDGE: Just hours before she disappeared, Gardener also left behind a cryptic Facebook message. This sucks. Gardener had been vacationing in Aruba with Giordano, a man she met online and now Giordano who has a criminal record in Maryland including several theft convictions is under scrutiny.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a bit of a roller coaster friendship and some days he was nice and other days he wasn't.

SAVIDGE: Before Giordano boarded a plane back to the U.S., he was taken into custody at the airport by Aruban authorities. The statements made by the traveling companion led to such questions that on Friday, August 5th, 2011.

It was decided to detain him for further questioning on the possible drowning of the woman prosecutors said. His attorney says Giordano was completely innocent and that he is cooperating with the investigation.

LOPEZ: They suspect him for murder, but there's no proof, to my knowledge, I don't see any proof.

SAVIDGE: Investigators are going through the couple's rental car forensically for clues as well as Smartphones and computers. But since there were no witnesses who actually saw the couple snorkeling, they face a daunting task. Trying to figure out what really happened to Gardener.

FORRESTER: All I can imagine is that whatever was happening to her, she was screaming for me and I wasn't there.

SAVIDGE: Like Natalee Holloway, Gardener came to Aruba for what should have been a trip of a lifetime and now she, too, has disappeared without a trace.


COOPER: In that last Facebook message, it's so strange. What's the latest on the investigation?

SAVIDGE: Well, right now there appears to be a very different change in the feeling for the prosecution. They say that Giordano is no longer cooperating. They came out with this just a short while ago. They say that he stopped talking to authorities. His attorney is not talking to them and they now classify him as a suspect in this particular case. And they are also publishing his photo and telling people on the island, if you saw this guy, what was he doing and who was he with? We need to know more information about him, Anderson.

COOPER: So he is now an official suspect?

SAVIDGE: It is. I mean, it's kind of odd. I don't know whether it's a language thing or just a difference in the judicial system. Up until now they simply said they had detained him, which of course they picked him up as he was trying to leave the country.

But now in a press release tonight, they actually named him, they say suspect. They don't necessarily say prime suspect or anything like that. But one thing is clear, I mean, he was the last person with the woman when she disappeared.

He would be the first person you want to talk and ask questions about what happened to her and they still want to know more from him. They hope to get help from the federal government and the United States.

The FBI getting involved may search in fact even search Giordano's home and they want get information about phone calls and computer communications.

COOPER: And has Natalee Holloway's family gotten involved in the search at all?

SAVIDGE: Well, there is something called Natalee Holloway's Foundation and, of course, it was started up with the help of Beth Holloway, but they are not, Beth or anyone else with the Holloway family directly down here. But the foundation is helping to put out publicity in this particular matter.

You know, one of the things you've got to see and I've heard Beth as she's talked about this case is that, it has to bring up a horrible, horrible load of memories of her own daughter what happened here over six years ago and about the fact that her body has never been found.

That case has never been resolved on this island, which is why this case brings back so much to so many people.

COOPER: Yes. Martin, appreciate the update. Thanks very much.

A movie deal for the barefoot bandit, the young man -- remember the guy who went on a cross country crime spree and ended up down in the Caribbean, stealing five planes, several cars and boats, he's going to earn a big chunk of change. We'll tell you how much. He won't be able to keep it, though.

Also ahead, the ridiculous, tonight, we're putting the haters of Paula Abdul, a defense of Paula Abdul. The haters are in a spot of our ridiculous. We'll explain ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Isha Sesay is back following some other stories for us tonight with the "360 Bulletin." Isha --

SESAY: Anderson, a scathing new report on Casey Anthony. Florida's Department of Children and Families finds the 25-year-old "responsible for her daughter Caylee's death," officials say Anthony failed to protect from harm through her actions or lack of action. Last month, the jury acquitted Anthony on murder charges.

"I deserve to get shot" that from Lee Grace Dougherty who was shot by police and arrested in Colorado with her two brother after a nationwide manhunt. The three are now being held on more than a million dollars bond each. They face numerous charges including attempted murder of a police officer.

And remember the barefoot bandit? His cross country crime spree has landed the 20-year-old a $1.3 million movie deal. Yes, you heard right. The 20th Century Fox will make the film about Coltin Harris Moore with the proceeds going to his victims, Anderson. What do you make of that?

COOPER: Well, at least it goes to their victims. When I first heard that headline, I thought the guy was making the money. I can't believe, but then obviously --

SESAY: Then you read the small print.

COOPER: Yes, exactly. Coming up -- actually, let's take a look at what is on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." Let's check in with him and look what's coming up in "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT"? Piers --

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Thanks, Anderson. Tonight, I sit down with Hollywood royalty, the dude himself, Jeff Bridges. He starred in "Crazy Heart" and "True Grit". What it is like to play a drunk without actually being drunk.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would do something like for rooster for this guy, a wild turkey or something and that helped the other actors, too. But you don't want to get drunk.

MORGAN: I wonder what that smell was.


MORGAN: The magnificent Jeff Bridges at the top of the hour. Back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: Piers, thanks very much.

Still ahead tonight, she's a warrior and survivor and, in my opinion, a gift. Who else, Paula Abdul and all of the people hating on her, they are landing on her ridiculous. We'll explain straight ahead.


COOPER: Time for the ridiculous. Tonight, we're adding a group we're calling "Paula Abdul haters." Yes, that's right, bad news for you haters. You haters are a bunch of cold-hearted snakes and I'm looking into your eyes.

It all started with a new issue of "Us Weekly," which I've been to prove because like Wolf Blitzer I like to ponder that age old question, who are better, Demi Moore or Demi Lovato. The answer, of course, is Demi Moore.

Anyway, the magazine has a section entitled "Stars Shocking Demands." It features anonymous insiders dishing on celebrities like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, and, yes, Paula Abdul. Now first of all, any person who claims to be a Hollywood insider probably isn't.

I guess that's how the game is played. What I'm really annoyed by and don't annoy lover boy because he don't play by rules is that this supposed Paula Abdul insider makes it sound like her demands are somehow unreasonable.

For example, according to "Us Weekly" source, Miss Abdul requires her assistance to remind her that she's a warrior. The problem with that is Paula Abdul is nothing, if not a warrior. How do I know this? I know this because Paula said so.


PAULA ABDUL: I get to the point where I don't care anymore. They beat me down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are beating you down.

ABDUL: They beat me down. Well, I'm a warrior.


COOPER: Can't beat a warrior down. Another claim made by the shadowy insider, Paula Abdul requires her assistance to tell her that she's a gift. I mean, where do they get this stuff?


ABDUL: I'm tired of people not treating me like the gift that I am. It's hurtful.


COOPER: So basically, "Us Weekly" insider could just be anyone who watched Paula Abdul's reality show. Yes, I watched it. I love every single episode of it.

Now look, Paula Abdul haters, I've been fooled before. I wouldn't like to get my love caught in the slam indoors so how about some information, please?

I mean, it seems like you're basing your criticism on random things she said and then taking them out of context. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Someone who's interviewed Paula Abdul and enjoyed every second of it, I would never do that to her.


ABDUL: Have I ever told you guys, I really love Velveeta cheese?


COOPER: So the so-called insider who, let's be honest, is probably M.C. Smack Cat, also tells us that Paula's assistants have to carry around a tape recorder because she, quote, "doesn't trust her own conversations."

OK, I mean, the insider is now pulling stuff out of thin air. What reason would Paula Abdul have to not trust her own conversations?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, Paula Abdul live in New York City.

ABDUL: Good morning, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you looking forward to this season?

ABDUL: How about a lot of you coming in? It's a wild party where you are.


COOPER: What's even stranger about that, they put that on her reality show. Now, haters, especially you anonymous insiders, even though what you've done is a tacky betrayal just know that Miss Abdul prefers to take the high road.


ABDUL: Any publicity is good publicity. You've got to learn to eat it up and embrace it.


COOPER: That's right, Paula Abdul haters. Embrace it. Embrace the awesomeness and pop culture treasure that is Paula Abdul who, by the way, I can't wait to watch her on Simon Cowell's new show, "X Factor." How great is that going to be? So write whatever you want about our gifted warrior and embrace you spot on the ridiculous.

I'll be back at 10:00 with another edition of "AC 360." Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.