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Romney's Lead Growing; Joran van der Sloot in Court; Rick Santorum's Path; Rick Santorum's Rise & Fall; Joran Van Der Sloot on Trial; Pageant Scandal

Aired January 6, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It is 10:00 here on the East Coast.

New developments tonight from the campaign trail, including some late polling out of New Hampshire that shows Mitt Romney's lead growing, new numbers as well out of South Carolina, the next primary state after New Hampshire, startling results.

The latest CNN/"TIME"/ORC shows a Mitt Romney resurgence there. Newt Gingrich, who held such a big lead a few weeks ago, collapsing. Rick Santorum appears to be rising.

Plenty to talk about there, but we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the candidates and President Obama on jobs. That's what the experts say is driving the election, right. Jobs and jobless numbers. All these candidates on the stump today in New Hampshire and South Carolina say they can do better on the job front than President Obama. Some though are making claims about their own job creating records that don't stand up to scrutiny.

At any event, their case against the administration today just got a little harder to make. That's because new job numbers came out. Unemployment fell again last month, down two-tenths of a point to 8. 5 percent. The economy gaining 200,000 jobs, 50,000 more than what's expected. And these are decent, not spectacular numbers for recovery by any means. And President Obama was cautious.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are a lot of people that are still hurting out there. After losing more than eight million jobs in the recession, obviously, you know, we have a lot more work to do.


COOPER: Well, state and local government workers have been hardest hit. Nearly a quarter million public sector jobs eliminated last year including more than 100,000 teachers. Jon Huntsman called today's jobs as reported good news but said we could be doing better. Ron Paul said the same but warned the financial crisis is not over. Rick Santorum and the other GOP candidates were less generous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's great that the economy is moving forward, but it's got, you know, a boot on the throat of the economy. It's called Obama's taxation, regulatory policy, and his continual beating up of people who try to create jobs in this country.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We created 200,000 new jobs last month. Working with Ronald Reagan in the early '80s we had a very simple formula. Sound money, lower taxes, less red tape, more American energy, and actually praise people who create jobs. That formula led by August of 1983 to 1,300,000 jobs being created in one month. Six times the number they'll create this month.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, he went on "the Today show" right after he was inaugurated. If I can't turn this economy around I will be looking for a one-term proposition. And we're here to collect. We're here to collect. We're taking it back.



COOPER: Governor Romney has boasted of his record about turning around companies when he had Bain Capital. He's staking his campaign on the contrast as he sees it between his performance as an executive and President Obama's record as a chief executive.


ROMNEY: I don't happen to think Barack Obama is a bad guy, I just don't think he has a clue. Having never worked in the private sector, never having had a real job, it's not a surprise he doesn't know how to create a real job.

I happen to think that if you want to create jobs, it helps to have had a job. And I have.

I went off on my own and started my own business. I have learned from that.

I spent my life in the private sector solving real problems.

I will first make America the most attractive place in the world for job growth, for investment, for small business, for big business.

I spent most of my life outside politics dealing with real problems in the real economy.

Being in the private sector for 25 years, therefore, knowing how the economy works, why jobs come, why they go. Not just watch jobs being created but actually creating jobs.

Creating jobs.

Create jobs.

Create jobs. It's time for someone who knows how to create jobs.


COOPER: A couple of days ago governor Romney had this to say about the jobs he created in the private sector.


ROMNEY: I'm very happy that in my former life we helped create over 100,000 new jobs. By the way, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president's created in the entire country. So if the president wants to talk about jobs, and I hope he does, we'll be comparing my record with his record and he comes up very, very short.


COOPER: He's made that 100,000 job claim before. Until now though we've been in the dark about specifics. There are 89,000 jobs at Staples, 50,000 at sports authority and 7900 at domino pizza. All of which Bain helped established or grow. That's what a Romney spokesperson told the Washington Post.

But "Keeping Them Honest" the post fact checker points out that those are current employment numbers, not jobs created while Romney was at Bain which was 12 years ago. There are no reliable figures on that.

But politico managed to uncover some of the job losses that occurred on Romney's watch. About 2200 at three companies that Bain acquired. Remember the 100,000 jobs was created is a figure that includes all the growth of Staples down most to sports authority long after Mitt Romney had anything to do with them whereas, the job losses are directly connected to his tenure.

As for his claims about the job creation record as government of Massachusetts is better that President Obama's record, technically correct but by no means a slam dunk. According to the post, he created 3400 jobs in his first three years as governor. The Obama job loss numbers though Romney campaign put out initially included the first three weeks in January before President Obama even took the oath of office.

That's significant because the -- as you remember, the economy was hemorrhaging jobs in January, 820,000 jobs. Then the Romney campaign revised their numbers taking out those three weeks but they kept February, March and April before any of President Obama's economic policies could take effect, tax cut, stimulus.

Now, in those three months another 2. 2 million jobs went away. But in fairness the Romney campaign, and keeping the White House honest, responsibility for the economy did belong to President Obama. The recession officially ended that June. The economy began growing. The job losses slowed and stopped.

The chart you're looking at is from the bureau of labor statistics. And the trend line is clear. Shows job losses peaking in January of '09 right when the economy was shrinking by about nine percent. And it shows an almost continuous upward slope to point where we're at right now with a positive trend and 2. 3 million jobs added since he took office. But still, not enough to overcome the jobs lost in 2009.

And the unemployment number, even though it's the lowest in three years, is also higher than millions of people can take. It may also be the higher than voters can tolerate. That depends on a lot of factors of course.

Our political panel weighs in tonight. Democratic strategist James Carville, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, and Erick Erickson, editor in chief for

So James, whether the talk is about the jobs that Obama created or didn't create or the jobs that Romney created or didn't create, it's still going to be all about the economy, right?


And I think today positive news for the president and they'll have it out and the record of bane capitol will be a legitimate issue in the campaign. And I'm sure they will raise the economy under President Obama. But, it looks like right now for the moment we've got little wind at our back which has not been the case for a lot of his administration. So they have got to be feeling a little better today.

COOPER: Erick, clearly Obama administration wants to turn what many see as Mitt Romney's greatest attribute, his time in the private sector, what he calls a job creator, they want to turn that into a negative, story after story of workers who have been fired and huge profits at Bain capital. Can they -- I mean, do they have a story to tell on that front?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think, to a degree, they do.

This is probably Mitt Romney's biggest vulnerability on this, because in poll after poll after poll show that while Americans so don't care for Barack Obama's policies in fixing the economy, they don't blame him for the unemployment. They still blame George Bush. Many of his advisers now work for Mitt Romney who is a guy who you can't put people on screen from swing states no less who lost their jobs because of Mitt Romney directly ordering layoffs at bane capital.

He did a good job junction at that posing his work with Bain with what the president did with General Motors. But when you have person after person over five months starting with this move on die org attack today of Republicans coming on camera saying they don't like Mitt Romney because he laid them off and shut down their town, then, you know, it becomes about who cost Americans more jobs or less jobs. Then you can personalize it. Americans still like Barack Obama.

COOPER: And Alex, with those numbers that came out, analysts seem pretty pleased with the job numbers today. If they keep up with the pace and people get the sense that things are getting better, even if the numbers are above eight percent, do Republicans need a plan B to beat Obama? ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think they need a plan B because I think you raced the issue. These numbers keep up. And they probably won't. This is breaking news. Something interesting happened in December. It was Christmas.

There's a lot of Christmas hiring going on. And a lot of Democrats I talked to are worried saying by this spring and summer a lot of that Christmas is going to wear off. And those job numbers will be down again. You have the European debt crisis looming and you have the debt figures. You know, we're now near 16 trillion going up which that depresses psychologically depresses spending in the country.

So, for all those reasons, unless Obama can make Christmas every month, it's going to be a problem for him. And by the way, Republicans can put faces on TV saying Barack Obama when he told people don't come to Las Vegas, don't come out here to work, they fired me. So there have been a lot of stories out there that you'll get from both sides.

COOPER: Jim, can President Obama still blame President Bush for the economy?

CARVILLE: Right. He can't, but the voters understand and if you look at the trajectory of hiring, it's pretty dramatic what he inherited. And then, you know, since June of his first year in office, that the line has, you know, not gone up fast enough. It's gone up. In terms of debt, we're expecting 155,000.

And, you know, the analysis there what month it was. And it came in stronger than that. Is he going to get 200,000 every month? Well, that's, you know, highly doubtful.

But, as long as he has some momentum to point to, that helps him a great deal. It's going to be a close election, but what he needs is some economic movement in the right direction and it looks like as of now he's got that.

COOPER: So, even if the numbers are still above eight percent, as long as he can show some sort of positive movement?

CASTELLANOS: I would say no, Anderson. I would say, no, that that's not enough that he's got to say, and I have got a plan to make it better. Here's how I'm going to do that's different. Here's how I'm going to work with Republicans with whom I haven't been able to work with.

And Republicans, you know, they have also got to do a little lifting here too. They can't take this for granted. They have got to say, hey look, President Obama has a plan to grow the economy. Let's take money out of your pocket, put it in Washington's pocket. Grow the economy top down from there. Political artificial spending.

Republicans have to counter that. they have got to say, hey, look, we'll take money out of Washington's pocket, cut taxes, spending there. Put it in your pocket. Grow this economy bottom up. Organically, naturally. There's a new and better way than Obama's old thinking. And so far, I'm not hearing that message from a lot of Republicans.

COOPER: Erick, and these latest polls in South Carolina, there's been obviously a big question mark about Romney, his ability to compete in the south. There was a sense he could be vulnerable especially in South Carolina. But, he's got nearly twice the support of his closest competitor, an 18 point lead. Is it possible the conservative core of the Republican party is warming to Romney.

ERICKSON: I don't know that they're necessarily warming. And I think they're getting post traumatic stress disorder from the last campaign season of the last year where we didn't even vote. They're ready for this to be over. They're seeing the way this is headed. Mitt Romney very well could be the nominee coming out of New Hampshire strongly and going into South Carolina. He's got Nikki Haley's support.

Conservatives are going to probably make Custer's last stand in South Carolina. And see if it turns out better for them than it did Custer. If so, this thing breaks it out for awhile. But Romney has got the momentum right now. And it's not that conservatives like him or are warming from them. It's that they're tired of campaign season already.

COOPER: James, do you agree with that analysis? Do you see the numbers in the same way?

CARVILLE: I have been in South Carolina. Remember, they're pragmatic. I mean, it's a very conservative state. I think President Bush fought and won carried South Carolina in 1988.

And, you know, it sort of reminds me what my daddy used to say when he cooked something for us. He says, you're going to like it because you've got to like it. And that's a little bit of Mitt Romney. You've got to like him because you got not have another choice. And I felt that for some time.

COOPER: It was going to be though a strong state for Rick Perry. It was supposed to be at least. I would venture to guess, I mean, Erick, are you surprised to see him in the back of the pack at this point.

ERICKSON: No, not after what happened in Iowa, no. And his campaign has got to reboot. If he cannot make a public showing that he got the message of Iowa, he's firing everybody. He's starting to rationally get ten business days to do it, by the way, then no. His last stand has come and gone. I don't know that he can do it.

If he can surprise people in South Carolina and have a stronger showing than what he's got, then maybe he can turn it around and move it into Florida. But otherwise, if it's close and Mitt Romney wins, people are going to legitimately say Rick Perry's to blame.

COOPER: And James, do you still stand by your Iowa caucus night statement that he is the worst candidate ever in American history?

CARVILLE: If you look at the promise he came with, the money he raised, everything else, I can't think of anybody who has been a bigger disappointment. You know, what I mean, he came home with -- ERICKSON: James, you're for getting Aaron Burr. Come on. I mean, Aaron Burr was far worst of a presidential candidate.

CASTELLANOS: Can't have been the worst candidate in American history. If he had been, I would have worked for him.


CARVILLE: Probably been a democrat.

COOPER: James.

CARVILLE: Remember, talking about him getting in and out. Remember Ross Parrot. He got in horizon president. He got out in the race and he said well, the reason he got out was the president tried to mess up his daughter's wedding. Someone said how can you mess up a Texas wedding?

COOPER: James Carville, thank you. Erick Erickson, Alex Castellanos, thanks.

Well, let us know what you think. We're Facebook. Google+, add us to your circles, or follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting tonight.

Still ahead: the evangelical votes in South Carolina and more of those really stunning new poll numbers. If they're right -- and that's a big if, I think -- the candidate you would expect evangelicals to back may not get their vote after all in South Carolina.

And later in the program, "Crime & Punishment": It was Joran van der Sloot could do to stay awake in court at his own murder trial in Peru. He seemed flat-out bored today. And then he sprang a huge surprise on everyone. We will tell you why his trial is now delayed.


COOPER: "Raw Politics" now and some truly striking numbers out of South Carolina, which is traditionally friendly to evangelical candidates and was pretty hostile in 2008 to Mitt Romney who is a Mormon. The numbers are from a new CNN CNN/"TIME"/ORC.

And they show Mitt Romney in the lead among likely voters describing themselves as born again as well as those who say they're not.

Governor Romney leading social conservative Rick Santorum in South Carolina. It's really eye opening result, kind of stunning result. Other polls show exactly the opposite. Won't be long before we find out which is right. But if this one is correct, it points to a Romney cake walk. And if that's the case, the whole thing could be over by the end of South Carolina for the Republicans.

Joining me tonight, chief political analyst, Gloria Borger and Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

So Ralph, the latest CNN/"TIME"/ORC poll shows Romney the clear leader among the evangelical voters in South Carolina, 13 percentage points ahead of the closest competitor, Rick Santorum. It's fascinating to me because it's conventional wisdom now is that Romney is going to have a hard time when he over the evangelicals because of his Mormon faith or other reasons. These numbers certainly seem to suggest otherwise.

RALPH REED, CHAIRMAN, FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION: They do, Anderson. And I think we need to await further polling because it's going to look a lot different after New Hampshire. Anderson, this is a state where four years ago Mitt Romney only got 11 percent of evangelical vote. It's going to be between 55 and 60 percent of the vote. So, if he over performs, as this survey indicates, it will be very difficult to stop him, indeed.

COOPER: It could be over with South Carolina as far as these -- I mean, if Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich or Perry can't do well among evangelicals in South Carolina, there's very little future for them.

REED: Well, I think two things are going on. You know, number one, the field is very crowded. Here you're going to have, for lack of a better term, the more conservative vote divided if things hold between Perry, Gingrich, Santorum and Ron Paul. That's the best news possible for Mitt Romney.

But I would add a word of caution and that is that this is not anything like the results we saw in Iowa. In Iowa Santorum got 32 percent of the evangelical vote. Romney got 13. I would be very surprised if this holds.

But I think what it does underscore is that unlike the sort of lazy caricature that is often applied to conservative voters of faith. In Iowa, Anderson, 61 percent of evangelicals voted for either a Mormon or Roman Catholic. Contrary to the stereo type, this is not just a dog whistle politics game where all you have to do is get up and quote scripture and say you're born again and you'll get their votes. It doesn't work like that.

COOPER: Gloria, were you surprised by the numbers?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson -- no. You know, it's interesting. I think when you look at the evangelical vote we now have to understand that they're not a monolith, it isn't a simple picture as Ralph says, and that they vote on a variety of issues.

This could also not be great for the Republican party as a whole that evangelicals, for example, disagree with some Republicans on the issues of capital punishment or even the environment so as you head into a general election, they may not be as dependable as they once were considered.

COOPER: Do you buy that, Ralph?

REED: I would be surprised, Anderson, and I will tell you why. If you look at the exit polls from the 2008 general election, John McCain actually got a higher percentage of the evangelical vote against Barack Obama four years ago than George W. Bush got in 2000 even though Bush was an explicit evangelical. He got 73 percent, and that was before Obama care, it was before the failed stimulus, it was before some of the moves that he's made on things like saying the defense of marriage act is unconstitutional.

I do think though that let's assume for a minute that the field stays where it is, if Romney ends up being the nominee, he's still going to have to wed himself to that faith-based grassroots element through a vice presidential pick, through a convention speech, and through general election themes.

But, whoever the Republican nominee is going to get a gift on the day they're nominated with regard to this vote, and that is they're going to be running against Barack Obama. And that will provide some built in intensity.

COOPER: And obviously, Obama supporters would disagree on the failed stimulus notion.

But, Gloria, John McCain won the South Carolina primary in 2008, Bob Dole did it in 1996. So, for all of the talk of how conservatives and evangelicals of South Carolina voters are, they also do have a pragmatic streak.

BORGER: Right, they do.

And, you know, don't forget last time around Huckabee did very well among evangelicals. What's happening now though to Mitt Romney's benefit is that while, is that yes, some evangelicals like him, and that's quite a hurdle to jump when you're a Mormon, by the way.

But the evangelical vote is being split. I mean, I'm here in New Hampshire and I spent the day with Rick Santorum at an event and what he does very cleverly, and this appeal to evangelicals as well as to others people who vote on economic issues, is he weaves his kind of values agenda with his economic agenda. And that is that a strong family equals a strong country. So that's kind of a message that appeals to a very, very broad spectrum.

COOPER: There was a report, Ralph, that a group of evangelical leaders were meeting in Texas, or this weekend, to try to look at who they could rally around as the anti-Romney.

REED: Right. There have been a number of those meetings. There were a number of those meetings to -- quote -- "stop McCain in 2008." And the challenge, Anderson, Gloria's already referenced.

Number one, you know, the United States is not Cuba. You know, that means it's a free country. So you can't just go up to a candidate and say, sit down and shut up. I mean, these are people who have invested years of their lives and raised millions and in some cases tens of millions of dollars. And at this point they only have another ten or twelve days to wait anyway.

The second issue is even if somebody does get out, you would still have something similar in South Carolina to what happened in '08 where Mike Huckabee would have won the South Carolina primary but for the votes that Thompson got in the up state especially in Greenville and Spartanburg counties.

One final thing that I don't think can be underestimated in South Carolina once we get there, Mitt Romney having Nikki Haley, who's both a devout Christian and a tea party favorite, that's an asset.

COOPER: I mean, just finally. You are skeptical of this new CNN ORC time poll that shows Romney 13 points ahead in South Carolina?

REED: Well, I don't want to say I'm skeptical. I want to say I want to inject a word of caution because we don't have a single poll either in South Carolina or Iowa or any other early primary states showing that kind of result.

COOPER: Right. And I should clarify its 13 percentage points ahead among evangelicals which is so startling -- Gloria.

BORGER: And Anderson, you know, Rick Santorum is going to go up on the air starting next Tuesday in South Carolina with a very large ad by which he has not done before. He's had some cable ads.

And so, you know, his campaign is telling me that they believe that's really going to up their visibility. And of course, they believe that their values message will resonate a lot more in South Carolina than for example it does in New Hampshire.

COOPER: Right. Don't be knocking cable TV, Gloria.


COOPER: Gloria, thanks very much.

BORGER: We're just less expensive.

COOPER: That's right. All right.


COOPER: Gloria, thanks.

Ralph Reed, thank you.

REED: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: One programming note to tell you about. Stay with CNN for special live coverage of the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. It starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. I don't think it will go as late as the Iowa one did. Well, we will see.

Still ahead tonight: Rick Santorum's path to the presidential race. He served in the House and the Senate for nearly two decades, but Pennsylvania voters turned against him in 2006. The question is why. We are going to take an "Up Close" look at that. Also ahead: a deadly day in Syria, more than 60 people reportedly killed -- the Arab league saying it will send in more monitors, the latest on that in a moment.


COOPER: "Up Close" tonight: Rick Santorum's political ups and downs.

His Republican presidential opponents have been attacking his history of earmarks, lambasting him for the huge helpings of pork he brought home for Pennsylvania when he served in the U.S. House and Senate.

That was before members of Congress were required to report their earmarks. In 2005 alone, for instance, Pennsylvania received $483 million in earmarks for 872 projects. Now, it was all perfectly legal, of course, and Santorum wasn't the only one who is doing it, who was bringing home the pork for their state.

Here's what got us wondering though. Why did Pennsylvania voters toss Santorum out of office in 2006 after he delivered all that bacon to the state? It wasn't a speaker -- a squeaker of a race either. It was a real drubbing.

Here's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Those in the state who personally know him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rick is what Rick is. He tells it like it is.

CARROLL: Or whether it's those here who simply know of him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's trying to establish a Christian unity.

CARROLL: You're not likely to find a shortage of strong opinions in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania about Rick Santorum. His number two showing in Iowa not so surprising to those who remember another race where he unexpectedly did well.

November 1990 as a 32-year-old newcomer, Santorum upset the seven-term Democrat, his campaign effectively raising questions about the incumbent's residency.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We worked hard and, you know, that's how we won.

CARROLL: Phil English was one of Santorum's campaign managers.

PHIL ENGLISH, FORMER SANTORUM CAMPAIGN MANAGER: What struck people about him was that he was a Republican who spoke to the aspiration of working families.

CARROLL (on camera): Rick Santorum's interest in politics was evident even while he was a student here at Penn State. He majored in political science. He organized a group of college Republicans and he was so successful at doing that he was named coordinator of President Reagan's youth effort here in the state.

(voice-over): When Santorum was a sophomore, he went to work for State Senator Doyle Corman who says even then Santorum was not one to hold his tongue.

DOYLE CORMAN, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATOR: He believes what he believes. He doesn't hide it.

CARROLL: Santorum opposes same-sex marriage. He favors a constitutional ban on abortion. Phil English says he has watched Santorum's career develop into becoming more associated with culturally conservative beliefs rather than the economic reform issues, which he says initially carried him into office.

ENGLISH: Increasingly what he's been identified with are divisive issues like abortion and gay rights. And over time I think that has become a bigger challenge.

SANTORUM: How are you?

CARROLL: Those divisive issues were just one factor that contributed to his being voted out of office in Pennsylvania. He has plenty of detractors here in the state. In 2006 he lost his re-election bid by 18 points, the largest margin of defeat for any incumbent Republican senator. Ironically, questions about Santorum's residency, whether he lived in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, or Virginia, ended up being another factor that led to his defeat.

Critics say he enrolled five of his children in an online cyber school in Pennsylvania while they lived in Virginia. Erin Vecchio is a Democrat and former Penn Hills school board member.

ERIN VECCHIO, FORMER PENN HILLS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: He was charging us, taxpayers of Penn Hills working class middle class people to cyber school his kids when he's living in a million dollar house in Virginia.

CARROLL: If Rick Santorum were to win the Republican nomination, there's no telling if he could even carry his home state. He left scars in Pennsylvania something even his friends like State Senator Jake Corman admit.

JAKE CORMAN (R), PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATE: He has passions in both directions. I think when people get to know him and that's where I think he was so successful in Iowa. If you just see what you hear on the news or people's opinions of him or a 30-second ad, it's easy not to like him.

CARROLL: Even so Santorum supporters say do not underestimate him.

Jason Carroll, CNN, State College, Pennsylvania.


Susan Hendricks is following some other stories for us tonight. She is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the Arab League says it will send 50 more monitors to Syria after another bloody day in Damascus. An apparent suicide bombing killed more than two dozen people. The second strike in the capital in two weeks. More than 60 deaths in all were reported across the country.

A Texas teenager is returning to the U.S. from Colombia after being mistakenly deported back in May. Immigration authorities say the 15- year-old told them she was from Colombia, gave them a fake name and age when she was arrested for theft last year. Her family has not seen since her she ran away from home back in 2010. They plan to sue the agencies involved.

In Australia, four people including two children were rescued after their boat sank off Sydney's northern beaches. A fire on their boat forced them to jump into the ocean where they clung to an icebox until they were found. Pretty amazing.

How about this guy? Meet the little (INAUDIBLE) that could -- Ollie (ph) is his name -- was buried in an avalanche that killed his owner sadly while they were skiing in Montana. The man's family thought Ollie had died too, but four days later, they got a call from the hotel where they had been staying on their ski trip.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was like, what? What happened? She's like, Ollie survived.


HENDRICKS: Amazing, Ollie somehow dug himself out from under that deep snow and found his way to the hotel. A four-mile trek, by the way. As you can see, he's doing just fine.

COOPER: That's crazy.

HENDRICKS: Isn't that crazy? Amazing.

COOPER: Wow. That is amazing. Good for him.

Time for tonight's "Shot" featuring our own Larry King. The King himself moderated a parody Republican debate. Take a look at part of the Yahoo! News Funny or Die, GOP online Internet cyber presidential debate.


LARRY KING: We have reached a very important part of the debate. The Reagan speed round. You know how this works. We give the candidates seven seconds and whoever can mention Ronald Reagan's name the most wins the round. Go.


KING: And the winner of the Reagan speed round is -- Jon Huntsman.


COOPER: Larry King.

Still ahead, nothing funny about a murder trial in Peru, but Joran Van Der Sloot, the Dutch national charged in the killing of a young woman cannot seem to stay awake in his own trial. Maybe he's bored, his behavior in court is infuriating his alleged victim's family and what he said today in court stunned everyone. Trial is on hold. We'll tell you why.

Also a royal murder mystery in England deepens -- why British police are asking the public for help.


COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" tonight. His face is recognized around the world for all the wrong reasons. Joran Van Der Sloot, the Dutch man now on trial in Peru for the murder of a 21-year-old woman. He became a household name in 2005.

He was arrested, of course, twice in the disappearance of American Natalee Holloway. She was with him on the night she was last seen in Aruba. He was considered a chief suspect, but Holloway's body was never found. Joran Van Der Sloot was never charged.

The case against him in Peru though is much stronger. Today, Day One of his trial, he was expected to enter a guilty plea actually; he once confessed. He ended up though surprising everyone. Here's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The curious case of Joran Van Der Sloot has taken another strange turn. In a Peruvian court expected to plead guilty to murder, instead he yawns, scratches, and tells the judge he's not ready to enter a plea.

Even with Dutch and English translators on hand the 24-year-old Dutch citizen chose to speak Spanish saying, "I want to give a sincere confession, but I don't agree with all the charges. Can I have more time?"

His odd saga has been going on for quite some time already. Van Der Sloot's trial is over the 2010 murder of this 21-year-old Peruvian, Stephany Flores. Prosecutors produced surveillance video showing her with Van Der Sloot in a casino going into his hotel room and never coming out.

Her body was found there. He beat her violently in the face, they say. "He beat her in the head," they say. "He beat her in the head. He took her pants off. He strangled her with his own hands and finally choked her to death with a piece of clothing stained with his own blood."

But the reason the Flores killing caused an international sensation was that it came precisely five years after the American, Natalie Holloway, vanished in Aruba. Van Der Sloot, one of the last people seen with her, was just 17 at the time and was heavily investigated. But officials never had enough evidence to charge him in connection with her disappearance.

(on camera): The U.S. government has sought to extradite him to stand trial here for extortion. He is accused of taking money from the Holloway family on a promise to lead them to their daughter's body. She has still never been found. Authorities believe he used the money to travel to Peru where he met Stephany Flores.

(voice-over): Peruvian police say he long ago confessed to the Flores killing, but his attorney has argued Van Der Sloot did not have a translator and if he killed her, it was in a fit of rage after she brought up the Holloway case.

What Van Der Sloot will eventually say remains anyone's guess. The court agreed to his request giving him more time to think about his own long, strange story.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: so strange, it was five years on the anniversary.

Digging deeper now, a lot of legal experts are following the trial closely including Jean Casarez, a correspondent for "In Session" on our sister network, TruTV. I talked to her a short time before the program.


COOPER: So, Jean, Joran Van Der Sloot was expected to plead guilty today to the murder of Stephany Flores in Peru, but he asked for time to consider the charges. Is it possible he's going to end up pleading not guilty and go forward with the trial?

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: I think it is possible, I really do. Because, you know, originally his attorney had said that he would plead guilty to simple homicide, which Anderson, is sort of like manslaughter, right? That it was great emotion that came over him and he committed this murder.

But they did not agree with the aggravators, that there was no cruelty. There was no brutality.

Well, suddenly Joran Van Der Sloot stands up in court today and the judge asks him if he will plead guilty to the charges of qualified murder, which is like a second degree murder, I would say. We had heard his attorney said he was going to do that with this acceptance of responsibility so he says that he's considering it, but he doesn't agree with the aggravators. Well, that's for the simple murder. He got his communication, his lines crossed. There have to be aggravators if you're going to plead guilty to qualified, like a second degree murder. So I think he got confused.

COOPER: Well, I'm confused. So qualified murder is what?

CASAREZ: I think it's akin to second degree murder. There is an intent to kill, but there's not a premeditation. It is not a felony murder. The maximum you can serve is 35 years in prison. It's not life in prison.

COOPER: So that's what he said he needs more time to decide whether or not he's going to plead guilty to that.

CASAREZ: Yes. Yes. His attorney said he was going to plead guilty to it, but now he might be changing his mind.

COOPER: OK, and, I mean he was caught on camera at one time yawning. The victim's father said he looks indifferent, prideful in court. What is going on in that courtroom?

CASAREZ: I couldn't believe it. As I watched his demeanor, he was bored. He was restless. He didn't want to be there. This is his murder trial. This is the first day of his murder trial where he could face 30 years in prison and he just didn't seem to care. He even looked at his watch and there wasn't a watch, Anderson, on his arm, but he looked at it as if there was one.

COOPER: He's obviously been the prime suspect in Natalie Holloway's disappearance. He was arrested twice, wasn't enough evidence to actually charge him with the crime. What I find so stunning is the murder of this girl was on the fifth anniversary of the Holloway disappearance.

CASAREZ: And the defense is using that. Because the defense is saying there is postpartum depression here of a sense in relation to that he had been through so much with Natalie Holloway's situation.

It was the five-year anniversary. He knows he's innocent. He did nothing, but he's been targeted from day one. Post traumatic stress disorder and it was just too much for him. He ended up by taking out those aggressions on Stephany Flores.

COOPER: There was an undercover Dutch journalist I remember who recorded secretly Van Der Sloot talking about Holloway's death. Though he later said that he -- Van Der Sloot later said he was on drugs. He didn't know what he said.

CASAREZ: Right. How many versions has he given to Natalie Holloway? There are federal extortion charges against him in the United States because he accepted $25,000 from Natalie Holloway's mother saying he would tell her where Natalie was buried and then he would get $250,000 total. He took the attorney of Natalie Holloway's mother to a location and lied about where the body was because the building he said she was under wasn't even built when Natalee was disappeared. So there are federal charges. Once he finishes his years in Peru, most likely he will be extradited to the United States.

COOPER: So that's something he would have to stand trial for in the United States?

CASAREZ: Yes. Here's the concern. There's a new law out. It's got to be ratified, but he could potentially serve his time in the Netherlands instead of Peru. Is the Netherlands going to want to extradite him to the United States? They may not want to.

COOPER: So that's -- wait, so if he's convicted in Peru, he could serve time in the Netherlands?

CASAREZ: Potentially.

COOPER: Because the jail conditions obviously in the Netherlands would be a lot better than Peru.

CASAREZ: Oh, I would think so. Potentially that could happen. Yes.

COOPER: Interesting. Jean Casarez thanks.

CASAREZ: You're welcome.


COOPER: Coming up, a crash in New Zealand kills everyone on board a hot air balloon. Details on that next.

Also new information about the dead body that was found on the Queen Elizabeth's estate; we're going to tell you whether efforts to ID the young woman's body were successful and what police are doing now.

Tiger Woods' ex-wife has torn down the more than $12 million mansion she bought a year ago. We'll tell you why next.


HENDRICKS: Hi there, I'm Susan Hendricks. More from Anderson in a moment, but first the "360 News and Bulletin".

A hot air balloon crashes near Carterton, New Zealand killing all 11 people on board. The cause right now is unknown. But an eye witness reports the balloon was on fire as it fell to the ground.

Police are unable to identify the body of a young woman found Sunday on Queen Elizabeth's estate; this is in Sandringham. They are asking the public now to come forward with any clues they may have.

A good start to the New Year, you could say, for U.S. Stocks. In the first week of 2012, the Dow and the S&P added more than one percent, while the Nasdaq shot up more than two percent. Tiger Woods' ex-wife, Elin, she has torn down her $12 million ocean front Florida mansion. That's the aftermath of it. It was a 17,000- square-foot, with eight bathrooms. Local reports say she will build a bigger place for herself and her two kids. Anderson -- to you.

COOPER: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is ahead at 11:00. Erin, what's up tonight?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": Anderson, we're looking into that unemployment number. Everyone says the economy is the number one issue this election and that number this morning was really good, but there is a big caveat. We're going to talk about that.

But also an amazing number I found looking into it today that actually puts together Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Is it morning in America? That is the big question.

Plus a young woman in Florida has two young toddlers who's been missing since November 17th -- Michelle Parker. We are going to talk to her mother tonight. We have been following the story and her mother has a plea that we want to share with our viewers tonight. All of that at the top of the hour.

Plus, Anderson, have you heard of the game "Age of Woolen"?

COOPER: Age of what?

BURNETT: Woolen.

COOPER: No, I have not.

BURNETT: Yes, ok. I had not heard of it either. But somebody that plays that game has paid $16,000 real dollars for a virtual sword. We will tell you about that.

COOPER: All right, Erin. Thanks.

Coming up, how do you make a child beauty pageant even more outrageous? Just add sugar. "The Ridiculist" is next.


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist". Tonight, we're adding a scandal that is rocking the world of child beauty pageants. Now we have talked about "Toddlers and Tiaras" before -- oh, have we talked about it -- the TLC show that takes us behind the scenes showing tiny beauty contestants and the moms who mentor them.

Now part of that mentoring, of course, includes putting fake breasts on four-year-olds. Then there was the forcing five-year-olds to get their eyebrows waxed -- that one was especially painful to watch. Dressing up two-year-olds in cone bras like Madonna or in other customs like Julia Roberts prostitute outfit from "Pretty Woman" at four years old. That was charming. Basically, the show is as jaw-dropping as nova without all of that pesky learning about science getting in the way. We thought we had seen it all when it comes to "Toddlers and Tiaras" (INAUDIBLE) but now, I hope you're sitting down, there's a doping scandal.

By dope I mean sugar. By scandal, I mean some moms are unapologetically giving their little girls massive quantities of pixie sticks to get them amped up for pageant competition.

For those unaware, pixie sticks are paper straws filled with powdered candy. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I like pixie sticks because there's sugar in them.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I had 10 pixie sticks today. I still got four more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bailey, she's so silly today. For some reason she can't get herself together.


COOPER: I like how she's like booze-drinking the pixie sticks. Apparently, this is the worst kept secret in the pageant world.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have tried the pixie sticks because they're called pageant crack.


COOPER: You heard right, they call it pageant crack. Moms calling it pageant crack. Unfortunately, pageant crack doesn't seem to work for everyone like this woman's six-year-old daughter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We went 15 bags at one pageant. It just doesn't anything for her.


COOPER: So having failed with the 15 bags of pixie sticks, mom had no choice but to go for the hard stuff. It's a special juice -- whatever, it looks like Mountain Dew.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of pageant moms and people know what the special juice is. The special juice is just to help energize her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here, here. Drink, drink, drink. Two big gulps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She just drinks it for pageants to give her that extra oomph.


COOPER: Let's take look at what extra oomph shall we that the special juice also known as "go, go juice" gives to a six-year-old, shall we?


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Go, go juice makes me laugh and play.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I am ready to go.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: My special juice is going to help me well.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: My "go, go juice" just keeps me running.


COOPER: Her "go, go juice". Not going to lie. I kind of want some pixie sticks and "go, go juice" right now. She has earned that one, doesn't she? Charming. But I will remind you when it comes to kids on a sugar high, there is a dark side. Remember the dinner scene from "Talladega Nights".


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I'm going to come at you like a spider monkey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You brought this on, man. What is wrong with you?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew.


COOPER: It's a funny movie.

I'm not here to lecture anyone on what to feed their children. All I'm saying is it might be slightly disingenuous to wonder why your four-year-old doesn't want to stand still for the judges in an itchy dress and pancake makeup after 12 pixie sticks.

Because at the end of the day, if you give your kids performance- enhancing crack, you have to be ready for the crash on "The Ridiculist".

That's it for us. Thanks for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now. Have a great weekend.