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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Republican Congressman Akin's Blame Game; Obama's Green Energy Policy; West Nile Deaths Rise

Aired August 22, 2012 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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

And we begin tonight with breaking news with a tropical storm still out at sea, but heading right now for the Gulf Coast.

And if it keeps going the way it's going, which is always a big if, the storm called Isaac could become a hurricane and be on top of Tampa during the Republican Convention.

The National Hurricane Center is just out with new data tonight.

The National Hurricane Center is just out with new data.

Here to break it down is meteorologist, Chad Myers.

Chad, what do we know about this?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Anderson, it's still moving west now at 21 miles per hour. Here are the new numbers, 15.7, 62.2. There's the storm right there. Hurricane hunters are in there right now with their airplanes, not finding any increase in strength.

It's just about 40 miles, maybe 45. It did not get bigger today. That's some good news. That's the breaking just in. I want to talk about release right now. It is not getting bigger yet. Because this thing is about to head right over Haiti.

And Anderson, I know you've been there. And 400,000 people still live in tents in Port-au-Prince. Basically the city was knocked down by that big -- by that big earthquake. And now these people are going to be enduring 80- to 90-mile-an-hour winds and sideways rain.

I -- can you even imagine what that would be like?

COOPER: Yes. So many people still in those tents.

Chad, the city of Tampa, the RNC, they're watching, obviously, the storm very closely. You say Tampa is especially vulnerable to a hit from a hurricane. Right now, where is the tracking on this thing?

MYERS: Yes, the tracking really has the middle of this error cone right through the western part of Florida. So the Keys would get smacked, into Fort Myers, if it would stay in this cone. I guarantee -- and one thing I can guarantee, this cone will go left and go right over the next 4 1/2 days before it makes land fall somewhere.

It could go all the way into the Carolinas. It could track all the way into New Orleans. That's how big the cone gets. That far away.

Let me show you what these models look like here, from just kind of stretching out. All these computer models try to think what the atmosphere is going to do, what this hurricane is going to do. And tonight they are very clustered into Florida, at least over about 96 to 120 hours.

That's four to five days. Today is the day to make a plan. Tonight, make a plan. Tomorrow, figure out if that plan is going to work. Because after about 48 hours to go, everybody wants to get out of Florida. It's almost too late.

COOPER: But...

MYERS: This could be a big storm.

COOPER: But in terms of when it would hit Florida, right now it's on target to hit on Monday, is that right?

MYERS: That is correct. And no one really understands, because we don't ever get to take the time and tonight I have it. So I'm going to take the time to show you Tampa. That's where the center of that icon was that I just showed you. Around here, that's what the error would be at Tuesday 2: 00.

It could be offshore, it could be offshore here, but the most likely area in the middle, that would be 2: 00 Monday and you have 50,000 people going to Tampa.

COOPER: Wow.

MYERS: For the Republican national convention.

COOPER: And why -- you're saying is Tampa is particularly vulnerable, why?

MYERS: Yes, because you have this funnel effect, the bay itself. All this water would be funneled back into the bay and then you have all the water getting shoved up into there and you get into the MacDill Air Force Base, very low, five feet above sea level. That water will rise and buildings will go under water. That's not the forecast. But it can happen.

COOPER: I remember being in Tampa when the hurricane ended up hitting Punta Gorda. And we drove there the next morning.

Anyway, let's hope this thing doesn't hit there.

Chad, appreciate it.

COOPER: We move on tonight "Keeping Them Honest" on Congressman Todd Akin's shifting statements on who is trying to get him to abandon his Senate run, but frankly don't really stand up any better than his factually challenged claim that it's rare for rape or, as he put it, legitimate rape, to result in pregnancy.

We're also looking tonight at how bone-headed pseudoscience notwithstanding, there's very little difference, policy difference between Congressman Akin and vice presidential pick Paul Ryan or many Republicans who oppose all abortions for that matter.

Now, I should point out, we are not taking a position on abortion here. That's not our job. We're only pointing out that some Republicans, notably Congressman Ryan, now seem to be distancing themselves from positions they once vocally supported because Congressman Akin's tone, Akin's language in support of similar or even identical positions on the very same subject have turned out to be politically so toxic.

Republican Mary Matalin and Cornell Belcher debate the notion shortly.

But first, though, Congressman Akin's evolving list of people he says are out to get him. Last night, he sent out a series of tweets. He said, "I apologize, but the liberal media is trying to make me drop out." He included of course a plea for donations. Then he tweeted "We can't be intimidated by the liberal elite. I will continue standing for life. Will you?"

And a short time later -- quote -- "Return this if or retweet this if you won't let the liberal elite push you around," so a lot of liberal media, liberal elites language. Now when he was tweeting, we had already heard from such esteemed members of the liberal elite as the conservative "National Review," a string of Republican lawmakers, Governor Mitt Romney as well as Paul Ryan. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He should drop out of the race.

REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I think he should step aside.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: I would have liked to have seen him move aside.

AMY KREMER, CHAIR, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: If he looks at the bigger picture, he will do what's best and he will step aside.

STEVE LAW, AMERICAN CROSSROADS: He unfortunately doesn't recognize yet he's dealt a mortal blow to his candidacy.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm hoping he will give great attention to this issue today and will make a decision which is in the best interest of the values he has for the future of the country and for the country itself.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Not exactly the liberal elite there or not the liberal elite at all. This morning, Mr. Akin was pointing fingers elsewhere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: I know the party voters took a look at our hearts, understood who we were, had a chance to meet us in many, many different ways, and made a decision, and it makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: OK, so now it's party bosses. But "Keeping Them Honest" the list of people urging Congressman Akin to bow out now runs the gamut, left to right, top to bottom.

That's because his notion, which he now disavows, by the way, that rape rarely leads to pregnancy, is flat wrong medical speaking and for Republicans politically damaging. But the reality is his position on abortion is in line with many in the conservative mainstream.

You can agree or disagree with that anti-abortion position. You can disavow or reaffirm it. But "Keeping Them Honest" Paul Ryan today seemed to want to be trying to have it both ways, trying to maintain his anti-abortion credentials without the harsh Todd Akin language -- baggage, I should say.

Here he is talking about an amendment to an abortion bill last year which he and Congressman Akin co-sponsored.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: You sponsored legislation that has the language forcible rape. What is forcible rape?

RYAN: Rape is rape, period, end of story.

QUESTION: So the forcible rape language meant nothing to you at the time?

RYAN: Rape is rape. And there's no splitting hairs over rape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, he seemed unwilling to talk about what he meant by forcible rape which was in this bill just last year.

Congressman Ryan, we should mention, also said he's campaigning on the more moderate Romney position on abortion, not his own. And although he has voted on legislation which includes exceptions on rape, incest and the mother's health, his own agenda actually squares more closely with draft language of this year's Republican Party platform, which favors a constitutional ban on abortion, except to save a woman's life. In addition, Congressman Ryan is also on record in favor of criminalizing abortion. Here's what the local paper wrote when he was first running. "Ryan, a 28-year-old first-time candidate, said he's consistently opposed legal abortion and makes only one exception, cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother's life."

The article continues -- quote -- "Ryan said he's never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions or doctors who perform them, but added, 'If it's illegal, it's illegal.'"

Earlier, I spoke with Cornell Belcher and Mary Matalin. Cornell Belcher is a Democratic strategist and an Obama 2012 pollster. She of course is a GOP strategist.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Cornell, last year, Paul Ryan was co-sponsoring legislation with Congressman Akin that critics say was limiting the definition of rape or redefining it by talking about forcible rape. Now in an interview, he's saying rape is rape, end of story, doesn't want to talk about it more.

What's going on here?

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: They're trying to find a position that's not that extreme. I mean, look, you only have 20 percent of the electoral that's -- that, you know, thinks abortion should be illegal even in case -- in all instances. So it's clearly not where mainstream America is. Now when you look at -- you know, if you think about that independent woman voter in middle America, you know, this is a conversation that really is going to recoil here.

I mean this is doing a lot of damage to the Republican brand. They had a large gender gap going into 2008, and as long as, you know, this sort of extreme measures continue to be front and center for the Republican Party and for this ticket, you're going to see that gender gap continue to stay strong and grow. And truth is, and Mary knows this better than most, you know, if either candidate runs away with the woman -- with the woman vote in this country, that candidate is probably going to win the election.

COOPER: Mary, I mean, Paul Ryan does seem to be certainly avoiding wanting to discuss what he meant by forcible rape last year. But in terms of positions, he and Akin are actually pretty much on the same page. Ryan hasn't used the same language that Akin used and he didn't use the junk science, but in terms of what he actually believes, he and Akin kind of -- are very similar, no?

MARY MATALIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No. What Paul Ryan believes, I presume, because we share a faith, he's a Roman Catholic. He believes in the sanctity of individual and each life he believes in the sanctity of the unborn and the legislation that he -- and he and 235 Republicans and a couple of dozen Democrats signed on was no federal funding for abortions, which has been around forever. Paul Ryan is not known as a social crusader. Cornell is right, of course, that the woman's vote swings the elections, but he's wrong in presuming that women are so myopic that we think with our uterus. We're not as obsessed as liberals presumed to think we are with our reproductive equipment.

Women are obsessed with the economy, with the duration of unemployment and underemployment, with the deficit, with the debt, what that means for their kids. This is not going to be an election about abortion or about contraception or about gay marriages or about dogs on roofs, or any of the other distractions that the Obama team would want to foist on the Romney-Ryan team.

COOPER: Cornell, I was going to ask you whether or not what Ryan believes matters because he's not on the top of the ticket. But I also want you to be able to respond to Mary.

BELCHER: Only 20 percent of the electorate is actually with where Ryan and where Akin is on this thing. It is -- it is a viewpoint that's outside of the mainstream and it's absolutely going to hurt them because it's not about sort of the abortion issue, but it's about sort of who can relate to it.

And women look at this issue and they see, you know, Republicans having this -- this lengthy debate about reproductive rights and this -- this lengthy debate about birth control pills, which they -- which they had over the summer. And they had to scratch their head and think this is a party that just doesn't get it. They just don't understand me and my issues.

COOPER: Mary, I mean, do you really believe that this is not going to influence some people's vote? I know clearly the economy is issue number one, but when someone gets into that voting booth, particularly a woman, you think that this is not going to impact them?

MATALIN: I think it could if it wasn't soundly and roundly and universally condemned by every Republican from Mitt Romney to Rush Limbaugh.

Look, women, believe it or not, are used to men saying stupid things. And woe be to the male population if women attributed ignorance to all men based on the ignorance of one man. He was not the favorite candidate down there. He won in a three-way in a fluke. Everybody wants him to get off the ticket. The party is taking legal means to try to do that.

We're hoping that when he comes to his senses, we'll be able to prevail. My prediction is that they'll figure out a write-in ballot or some way. He does not speak for the party. It's the short and long.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Right. But you're focusing on the language. His position, though, is very much in line with many Republicans' position, in particular Paul Ryan. MATALIN: The Republican position is that we are -- we are pro- life. We support the sanctity of life, we support the protection of the unborn baby. The -- but -- what we' been doing for years now and this campaign is not going to fought over and slightly not going to change, that in the cases of the exceptions that we -- and no one -- even that legislation you're referring to that was a nothing (INAUDIBLE), that's been around forever, it doesn't ban anything.

It doesn't ban anything. So I don't -- I think there are a percentage of women, Cornell is right, who would -- and it's Cornell's job and the Obama campaign's job to extrapolate out from a narrow position on a social issue, a distraction for the rest of the campaign.

I'm just saying, women who care about birth control, I don't count myself in there, it's $9 a month. You can get it anywhere. And every poll, women care more about the assault on religious liberty than free contraception. And to the extent they care about something free, they'd rather -- the energy policy be addressed. They have cheaper energy than cheaper contraception. It's just a distraction, Anderson. Women are not that stupid.

COOPER: Mary Matalin, appreciate you being on, Cornell Belcher as well. Thanks.

Well, let us know what you think about the discussion. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting about this right now.

Also tonight: one businessman's story. He was the face of President Obama's green energy policy. Now a piece of that very same policy could bankrupt him -- "Keeping Them Honest" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: President Obama is in New York tonight just steps away, in fact, right now, fund-raising.

Elsewhere, a man named Bill Keith is in a world of hurt. He's in the green energy business and became something of a poster boy for the White House for green energy businesses. But now his business is in danger going bust that, he says, because of a policy the White House has been backing.

Drew Griffin tonight investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT: Basically we're in your garage.

BILL KEITH, PRESIDENT OF SUNRISE SOLAR, INC. : Right. Yes. This is where I started.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Bill Keith was just a roofer 10 years ago when he got the idea for this, a solar powered attic fan that he dreamed up and actually made in this northwest Indiana garage.

(on camera): And that just pumps hot air out of your attic?

KEITH: It just pumps hot air out of your attic, so if I take it out in the sun.

GRIFFIN: Let's do this. Yes.

KEITH: As soon as it starts sensing sunlight so it doesn't even have to be right in the direct sunlight. As soon as it starts sending it, it starts going.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Drawing hot air out of your attic, lowering your cooling bills, and using only the sun's energy to do it. (on camera): Sales have been good obviously?

KEITH: Yes. I think my first year we did $39,000 in sales. And it wasn't enough to cover all the expenses. And it kind of grew to where, you know, we -- probably our peak was a little over $2 million.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): He's one of those small business all- American stories. Developing green energy jobs that a new administration pushing green energy just couldn't resist.

KEITH: I got a call from the guy from the White House on a Saturday night at 7: 00 on my cell phone saying, you know, this is Greg Nelson from the White House, and I was like yes, right, who is it really? You know? And he said no, we would like to invite you to Obama's town hall meeting.

GRIFFIN (on camera): That's where you asked a question?

KEITH: Yes. When I asked the question.

Thank you, President Obama. I'm Bill Keith from Sunrise Solar. I manufacture a solar powered attic fan right here in Indiana.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): With that one town hall appearance, Bill Keith became a White House solar superstar.

KEITH: Can you come to Washington? Can you come to Philadelphia, Vice President Biden is doing this?

GRIFFIN: Each time asked to talk about his green energy business. But now the half dozen jobs Bill Keith created out of this garage are about to be lost.

KEITH: This is the good stuff here.

GRIFFIN (on camera): And this has been working for how long for you?

KEITH: Five-plus years now.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): This is the customized solar panel Keith needs to power his fans, but they are put together in Hong Kong. It is the only part of this fan that is not made in the USA. The plastic is from Indiana, the motor is from Chicago, the wires from New Jersey. The steel brackets, they're made just down the street.

KEITH: South Bend.

GRIFFIN (on camera): OK.

KEITH: You know, even my boxes are made here. And, you know, I -- the only thing that I can't get made here, and I have tried for 10 years, but the only thing is, is the panel.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): And that is suddenly a big problem. His customized solar panel assembled in Hong Kong is now part of a big business, big time trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

The Obama administration is trying to protect big U.S. solar panel companies from having to compete with cheaper solar panels made in China. And President Obama has placed a 250 percent tax on the very solar panels Bill Keith needs to keep his fans and his business running. This notice from U.S. customs advised him the solar panels he imported in May will face the full import tariff.

KEITH: Let's just take the small one, let's say 250 percent, right? So 2. 5. That's $270,000 that I would have to come up with out of my pocket to pay customs and border. These guys are going to put me out of business. And I don't have any help. I have been trying to get help. No one can -- no one will help me.

GRIFFIN: Last month, Keith decided to play his political card writing to what he thought was his personal contact at the White House, Greg Nelson, at the Office of Public Engagement. Under the subject line, "Hanging on for life here," Keith asked, "Can you help me before I have to close my doors and let everyone go? Please, I'm pleading with you."

The response from Gregory Nelson at the White House Office of Public Engagement? "Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I don't know what is possible, but let me talk to a few folks, ASAP. We'll circle back soon."

It's been nearly a month.

Late this afternoon, CNN did receive this e-mail from the White House basically stating the tariff highlights the degree to which solar panel manufacturers have faced unfair competition from countries like China and the president's move to impose a tax on Chinese made goods is a way to establish a level playing field with China for American businesses and workers.

The e-mail did not address how it was going to help Obama's former solar superstar to save his business.

(on camera): This is the kicker.

KEITH: Yes.

GRIFFIN: You were the star.

KEITH: I know it's a little disheartening. Actually it's hard for me to look at it. I thought about taking it down. I got swept up into this paraded around Washington, D. C. , invited multiple times. I was like, why am I getting invited? I will show you the tickets I got to the White House being invited to events. I get White House Christmas cards and even a letter from the White House. And I don't have my glasses on, Drew, but that last line there, what does that say?

GRIFFIN: "Please stay in touch with suggestions that will help us help you win the future." That's the guy I think that hasn't talked to you in a month.

KEITH: Yes. Yes. Disheartening.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Keith says he once believed President Obama was on the side of small business and understood what it took to keep garages like his open. Now on the brink of having to close his doors, lay off a half a dozen or so workers, he can't even get anyone in the White House to answer an e-mail.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Drew, why can't he get these solar panels made here?

GRIFFIN: He has tried.

He started out with a solar company in Michigan, Anderson, which worked fine for a while, but that company decided they were going to stop making small custom solar panels. He tried a company in New York. The panels were so poorly made, his fans kept breaking. He's tried to find a supplier anywhere in the U.S., even going to the Department of Commerce for help. They didn't have an answer, which is why he did go overseas.

COOPER: And he can't import these without the tax?

GRIFFIN: He's fighting with the administration right now. I should say with customs. You know, customs is out to protect the big solar panel makers in the U.S. Dare I say the Solyndras that are still in business. These companies make large industrial panels you would see on buildings and rooftops. The feeling is China is dumping their cheap solar panels in the U.S. markets, making it impossible for the companies to compete here in the U.S.

But caught in the middle is this guy like Bill, 95 percent American made product, he needs that one custom part to make it run. He says if he's forced to pay this tax, he'll be shut down.

COOPER: And unlike a company like Solyndra he doesn't get any loans or grants from the government?

GRIFFIN: Not one dime. He gets to question a lot, pays a lot of taxes, he says, but doesn't get any subsidies at all.

COOPER: Do we know how many businesses like his are being hit with this?

GRIFFIN: You know, we tried to get that answer from customs. They have notified about 165 importers that their solar panels face these penalties, additional taxes that range from 31 percent to 250 percent, or in Keith's case, possibly both. What customs couldn't tell us is the breakdown. How many of these are big businesses, how many are small, how many are just like Keith.

COOPER: We'll continue to follow it and see if he gets any more info from the White House.

Drew, appreciate it. Thanks.

Coming up, alarming news -- today, the number of people who died in America, in this country, due to West Nile virus, has jumped to 42. And more than 1,100 cases have been reported. The CDC is now saying it's the largest outbreak ever seen in America.

I will speak to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about what you need to know to protect yourself.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: An African-American man is shot to death, handcuffed in the back of a police car. Authorities say it was suicide -- new details tonight about what happened and what Chavis Carter's girlfriend says he told her in a phone call before he died -- next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: As we mentioned before the break, the West Nile virus outbreak is now the largest ever seen in the United States.

According to new data from the CDC, the number of reported cases now stands at 1,118, which is the highest number on record through this point in August -- since the disease was first detected, I should say, in the U.S. in 1999.

Now, so far this year, 42 people have died from the West Nile virus in the United States. The CDC expects the number of cases to keep on growing.

I spoke about the situation, about what you need to know about it with chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: How would a person know they even had it? Because I read that something like 80 percent of cases are asymptomatic.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Or they have such mild symptoms they wouldn't know to go to the doctor or get it checked out. And you're right. Three times the number of cases, as is average for this time of year so far in 2012.

There are going to be a smaller minority of patients, Anderson, who develop symptoms that are more characteristic. They get fever. They will get swollen lymph nodes, as the body is trying to respond to the infection. They can sometimes get a characteristic rash, which is usually around their chest or their back.

The most rare situations, the ones that people are talking about that can result in death, is about 1 in 150 cases. And it's known as the neuroinvasive form of West Nile virus, and it is exactly what it sounds like, Anderson. It actually invades the area around the spinal cord, around the brain. People will become comatose. They may become weak or even paralyzed in their legs. It's very frightening but again rare. But that's typically what happens when they die.

COOPER: So who's at most risk for the severe symptoms? And also -- I mean, obviously, it's spread from a mosquito, but does it spread person to person at all?

GUPTA: It doesn't spread seem to spread person to person. It really does seem to be, you know, a truly mosquito-borne illness.

As far as, you know, the people most at risk, unlike flu, for example, which typically affects the very elderly and young children, this tends to mainly target people who are over the age 50, so older, but not old people. And also people who have weakened immune systems for some reason, either because of medications or some disease that they may have. They tend to be the most at risk.

So -- and those people, they're not only more likely to get the West Nile virus. They're also more likely to actually get that variant, or that more aggressive form, the neuroinvasive form.

COOPER: And why is there such a big increase in cases this year? I know you talked to the CDC.

GUPTA: Yes, you know, it's really interesting. Because I think there's all sorts of speculation. You talk about the idea that there has been an early spring; there's been a milder winter.

But, you know, so much of this, as opposed to looking it as a nation, you look at local phenomenons. So in certain states that may have had a lot of rainfall. There may have been certain conditions which allowed the mosquitoes to not only breed more easily, but actually grow to biting age, if you will, more quickly.

So typically, you're sort of seeing an accelerated schedule. Most of the cases of West Nile typically occur the back half of August into September. But here you're seeing those cases appear more early, which is why at this time of the year in particular, the cases are so much higher. But I think it's mainly weather related.

COOPER: We've got a digital dashboard question from Facebook. Kimberly wanted to know what precautions can people take to avoid infections.

GUPTA: Yes, it is a good question. I'll preface by saying, you know, there's no vaccine yet, Kimberly. A lot of people are working on something like that. But we don't have one as of yet. So a lot of it does fall on the consumer. You do hear about sprayings, for example, are taking place in certain cities.

But the individual, you remember the dusk and dawn are going to be the worst times of day. And even though it's hot, particularly in some of these states that are hard hit, you know, wearing long pants, wearing long sleeves is going to be a benefit. And then insect repellant in the form of Deet, for example, something you want to wear.

Mosquitoes like to breed in standing water. So get rid of standing water around your area.

COOPER: All right. Sanjay, appreciate it, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: There's a lot more we're following tonight. Susan Hendricks has a "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the girlfriend of Chavis Carter, a Arkansas man who was fatally shot while handcuffed in the back of a police car last month, told an investigator that Carter called her from the car and said he had a gun with him. That is according to Jonesboro Police, who have released a statement today, describing their investigation so far. An autopsy report ruled Carter's death a suicide.

A first-person account of that raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden will be released on September 11. The publisher, Penguin, says a Navy SEAL wrote the book under a pen name.

And the Mars rover Curiosity has proved that it can, in fact, rove. NASA says Curiosity completed its first drive, turning in place 120 degrees, then backing up.

COOPER: Amazing pictures. I never get tired of that.

Thanks, Susan.

Chicago's homicide rate is surging. Cook County Hospital sees the carnage up close. More victims of violence coming through its doors. Ted Rowlands tonight takes us inside the hospital's trauma unit. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A royal brouhaha. Someone took naked photos of Prince Harry in Las Vegas in his hotel suite, sold the photos to tabloids. We want to know what kind of sleazy person would do that. We'll talk to Richard Quest about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, we pick up where we left off last night, when Ted Rowlands showed us what he saw on a recent Friday night he spent with some Chicago police officers as they patrolled the streets, trying to control a spike in violence. Chicago's homicide rate has surged 31 percent so far this year, and there's still four months more to go.

This month alone there had been at least 38 homicides, and a lot of victims end up at Cook County Hospital, where the trauma unit is stretched thin by the city's surge in violent crime. Ted spent a day with its doctors and nurses. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Twelve-thirty a.m., a 22-year- old gunshot victim arrives at the Cook County trauma unit. He's in pain but stable and able to speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen. Just slow down and relax.

ROWLANDS: After rolling him on his side, doctors start counting the holes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four, five, six. What were you doing when this happened to you? When this happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was walking.

ROWLANDS: They end up finding 13 bullet holes. Each one is bandaged until doctors can see the X-rays. Then they'll need a plan to save this man's life.

Meanwhile, two more patients just arrive adding to what fools like chaos, but to the staff, including attending physician Dr. Andrew Dennis, it's just another normal day in the Chicago trauma unit.

DR. ANDREW DENNIS, COOK COUNTY HOSPITAL TRAUMA SURGEON: They come and they come. It's like machine-gun fire. You can expect this to happen every single night.

ROWLANDS: Like the city of Chicago's homicide rate, the Cook County trauma unit's patient count is up about 30 percent from last year.

On this night there will be seven gunshot victims and two stabbing victims. That's in addition to 18 others involved in battery cases or motor vehicle accidents.

Upstairs in the operating room, a 29-year-old gunshot victim is in surgery. Doctors opened up this man's stomach and removed this 9- millimeter bullet. He has damage to his intestine and tailbone but is expected to survive.

(on camera) The trauma unit treats everyone from start to finish beginning with emergency care, surgery if needed and then follow-up. Unfortunately, some of these patients come back.

So what happened to your leg here? (voice-over) New wounds reveal old ones. The x-rays for the gunshot victim in bed two show gunshot pellets from a previous shooting.

DENNIS: So now I've got metal all over, and I don't know what's new and what's old.

ROWLANDS: And look at this man's scar. It shows where he was shot at point-blank range with a shotgun last year. Dr. Dennis handled that case.

There are some patients that can be difficult to deal with. This guy was stabbed by his girlfriend and came in intoxicated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got stabbed in my back. I don't want to sit down. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

ROWLANDS: Security is high. Some patients have police officers actually with them, trying to get information from them as they get treated. A group of detectives showed up to talk to the victim with 13 bullet holes who, according to the x-rays, may now have a major problem.

(on camera) How did this get here, is my question.

DENNIS: It either went this way or it came up through the arm.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): A bullet in his shoulder may have traveled through his chest, which could be life-threatening so Dr. Dennis orders more X-rays. Dying is common here. These death packets with information for families are sitting out on a table ready to use.

DENNIS: There's a lot of death that happens here. It's unfortunate. Not all of it is violence, but a good portion is.

ROWLANDS: It's after 2 a.m. when the x-rays come back. The 22- year-old with 13 bullet holes is in the clear. The bullet that was of concern came through his arm. He was sent home the next morning, leaving the bed open for the next person, who unfortunately, will be arriving soon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So is this the only trauma unit in the city?

ROWLANDS: No, actually there are five level 1 trauma units in the city of Chicago. Three of the five, Anderson, have seen an uptick in business, unfortunately, because of the increase of violence in the streets of Chicago. Here at the Cook County trauma unit they see an incredible 5,000 patients a year.

COOPER: Wow, amazing. Ted, appreciate it. Thanks.

The photos are making headlines around the world tonight: Prince Harry naked inside a Las Vegas hotel room. We want to know, though, who would be so slimy as to accept an invitation to hang out with the prince and his friends and then sell the pictures of him in the privacy of his own hotel suite. We've got details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, by now, you've no doubt heard that someone sold photographs of Britain's Prince Harry naked during a strip billiards game in his hotel suite in Las Vegas. The celebrity Web site TMZ ran the photos. And Harry, third in line to the throne, is once again the center of a royal kerfuffle, which frankly strikes us as unfair.

It's not like Prince Harry played strip billiards, whatever that may be, in public or broke any laws against indecent exposure. He was in a suite at a fancy hotel when the photos were taken where he no doubt expected a measure of privacy, but his privacy was invaded, no doubt. Earlier, I spoke about it with CNN's Richard Quest. \

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Richard, I've got to say, I think this is so unfair that -- that anyone is making a big deal about this. This is a guy in the privacy of a hotel room, allegedly with friends. He's doing what plenty of guys his age do or would like to do in Vegas. He's on vacation from military service. How are these photos being received in England?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The argument you just put forward is exactly that which the palace is suggesting. It was a private room and a private occasion. He was on a private holiday.

Unfortunately, Anderson, this is the same man that, less than two weeks ago, stood in front of the world, representing Her Majesty the Queen at the closing ceremony of the Olympic games. And you can't have one without the other, so the argument goes.

Yes, he may be a 27-year-old enjoying hijinks, but surely he's had enough scandals, they say. And there's been enough in the history that he should have known better. And that's what the argument basically comes down to. He should have known better in his judgment and the right to privacy. You choose.

COOPER: Well, the thing -- the thing I always wonder in these cases is what jerk actually took these pictures and then sold them to tabloids? It's like the person who took that picture of Michael Phelps at a party years ago, apparently, you know, with what looked like a pot bong. These are people who are probably thrilled to be in the same room with Prince Harry, and then they go and do -- and then go and do something like this. I'd like to know the name of the person who took these pictures.

QUEST: You can't have your argument both ways, Anderson, on this one. And that's the point. What was Harry doing playing strip billiards?

COOPER: It was late at night, whatever.

QUEST: Remember, with strangers. COOPER: But what kind of a slug would be in the room with him and then -- you know, probably all excited to be in the room, and then take these pictures and sell them? I just think the person must be a slug. And I wish they would be revealed so we can know about them. I'd love to ask them some questions.

QUEST: Well, that's certainly an issue that's one of the reasons why, extraordinarily in the U.K., those pictures are not available. None of the major newspapers are showing them. None of the newspapers are showing them. None of the television networks are showing them. They are -- there's a degree of self-censorship about this particular case, obviously, because of the phone hacking scandal. Obviously because of the Levinson inquiry into these issues. Obviously because they know they've been drinking at the Last Chance Saloon, and so they've run in the opposite direction. A degree of self-censorship that few of us have ever seen before.

What is also being asked tonight is where was his security? What were the bodyguards, the official police bodyguards, doing? Why haven't they removed people's cell phones? Why didn't they intervene?

Now, they say that's not their job. They say they have to build trust. They can't be the nannies and the watch guards, as well as being the bodyguards.

And that's where we stand tonight. A 27-year-old who now looks rather shame-faced, having revealed perhaps more than he ever intended, heading back to Britain, where no doubt there will be some stern words from Her Majesty. And probably a few snickers from everyone else.

COOPER: I just don't know what the guy has to be ashamed about. I think the people -- the person who took this picture probably has more to be ashamed of, frankly. That's just my opinion.

But has Prince Harry's image changed a lot due to his military service? Because I mean, you know, he did get in trouble over the years for a variety of things. What is the public perception of him these days?

QUEST: He's the rascal rogue that the nation loves. He is everything that William is now not. William is sensible and steadfast and married and headed towards kingship in the fullness of time, and Harry is the Princess Margaret of our generation. He is Prince Andrew. He is the one who's going to give us some cinnamon and spice in the royal family.

And the beauty of it is -- and this is where I probably shift the argument completely. The beauty of it is, it is his duty and service in the armed forces that has changed the perspective. He demanded to go into battle. He demands to be treated like anybody else.

He is the sort of person that the British people, the British working man looks at -- well, the British working woman -- the British woman looks and thinks "I wouldn't mind a bit of that." And the British working man thinks "I wouldn't mind having a pint with him in the pub."

And that's Harry's attraction. He is a bit of everybody. And I think what does this do? People just simply will, like with Princess Margaret, like with the others, they'll shrug: "Ah, it's Harry."

COOPER: Richard Quest, appreciate it. Richard, thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: All right. Let's check back in with Susan Hendricks. She's got a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Susan.

HENDRICKS: Hi, Anderson.

With Tropical Storm Isaac approaching Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military judge has cancelled a pre-trial hearing for Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and four other men accused of staging the September 11 terrorist attacks. The hearing had already been postponed by an Internet outage.

A parole hearing today for the man who murdered Beatles great John Lennon. This is the seventh time Mark David Chapman has gone before a parole board and no word on when a decision will be made. Lennon was gunned down outside of his Manhattan apartment in 1980.

Whoever purchased last week's winning Powerball ticket at a Michigan convenience store has connected, and they contacted state lottery officials. That ticket is worth $337 million. The winner has one year to claim the prize, which is the third largest in Powerball history.

And police in Oceanside, California, would like to know who thought it was funny to duct tape a box turtle to several balloons and send it into the air. You see it here. It's not funny. The balloon got caught in some trees, leaving the turtle dangling. And fortunately, Anderson, it was rescued.

Back to you.

COOPER: Susan, thanks very much.

Coming up, it is New York City. It's August. Why is Al Roker freezing? "The RidicuList" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." You've heard of where in the world is Matt Lauer? Well, tonight we're asking what in the world is up with Al Roker? And I ask this question with the utmost admiration and affection for Al Roker. I really like the guy.

Now a few days ago on "The Today Show," Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer were talking about an upcoming performance from Lionel Richie. Savannah Guthrie was saying that Lionel Richie takes her back to the days of junior-high-school dances. And then this happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, "THE TODAY SHOW": Real awkward.

AL ROKER, "THE TODAY SHOW": That's exactly how he dances.

MATT LAUER, "THE TODAY SHOW": A certain amount of distance.

GUTHRIE: Exactly. Yes. They say in Catholic school, leave room for the Holy Ghost. Anyway, it's a big day in music history.

LAUER: Thirty-five years ago today, Elvis Presley passed away, the King of Rock 'n' Roll. As Mark Cohen (ph) says in his great song, "Walking in Memphis," "There's a pretty little thing waiting for the king down in the Jungle Room." Natalie Morales...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, I think they were talking about Elvis, something in the Jungle Room. I couldn't pay attention, because Al Roker just kind of froze like that. He stood completely still with that look on his face for 17 seconds. Seventeen seconds. That's like a day and a half in live TV time.

And I need to know what that was about. It's not as if he didn't know he was on camera. He wasn't caught like a deer in the headlights like our favorite college newsroom employee who told us all that the stop, drop and roll technique is not just for fires anymore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Students can register for the lottery starting tomorrow, and the registration is open until Friday. The UAA will notify the winners of the lottery by Monday, December 15, and vouchers can then be picked up from Tuesday through Thursday.

Now, students with more than 90 credit hours have the best chance of getting tickets. But everyone is welcome to sign up.

Live from the newsroom, Tara Minnelli (ph), WUSG News.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We love that person around here. But you know, even if there was a printer to hide behind on "The Today Show," I don't think Al Roker would have done it. It seemed like he froze on purpose, because as we all know, trained broadcasting professionals always -- and I mean always -- know when they're live on the air.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So here at this point in the show, we're usually doing much different. Much more different? What? Oh, hey, sorry, didn't realize we were on the air.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Yes. I know. I still have no explanation for what happened that night. I don't know. It was a complete brain freeze.

But we actually do have an explanation for what was up with Al Roker. He says he just wanted to see how long he could hold the pose, and the director kind of egged him on. So it wasn't really a glitch in the matrix after all, as I initially thought.

But one thing is for sure: if Al Roker ever shows up in your neck of the woods, whatever you do, do not challenge him to a staring contest, because you will most certainly lose.

And that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.