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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Romney Closes Gap in Latest Polls; Jerry Sandusky Speaks from Jail; High Stakes for VP Debate
Aired October 8, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Ashleigh, thanks. Good evening, everyone.
We begin tonight with breaking news. Late polling that reads like a battle damage assessment from last week's presidential debate. Both nationally and in one battleground state it shows a big swing toward Mitt Romney. Now take a look. Late this afternoon, there was this latest national Pew Research poll. Governor Romney now holding a four point lead among likely voters who were surveyed October 4th through the 7th, in other words, after the debate.
Now that is a big swing from mid-September when President Obama was ahead by eight. So that was this afternoon. Then just a short time ago, a poll running in the "Detroit Free Press" shows the president's lead shrinking to just three points in Michigan. Mr. Obama had a 10-point lead there last month.
Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, is in Michigan tonight. He's addressing a rally at Oakland University in the town of Rochester just outside Detroit.
The question tonight, if the mood of voters is changing here, could it also be a sign that it's changing in Ohio as well, another key battleground state? The poll in the "Free Press" and the Pew poll not the only good news for the Romney forces. They got a big boost as well in Gallup's tracking poll which shows a 47-47 tie among likely voters contacted on the 4th through the 6th. In pre-debate polling, Mr. Obama -- President Obama, led by five.
Now as for today's Pew poll, the Obama campaign takes issue with the party makeup of people surveyed, saying it tilts Republican compared to September. The Romney campaign, on the other hand, says it's pleased with the numbers.
Joining us now, Jim Acosta with the Romney campaign in Newport News, Virginia, and on the phone, Dan Lothian with President Obama's campaign.
Jim, you're on the trail with the Romney campaign. What's the reaction to the latest polling, because Republicans were complaining about these polls as soon as last week. Now the poll is good news for them. Are they complaining?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I have to tell you, I just saw Mitt Romney standing out in a drenching rain in Newport News just a couple of hours ago, and he still had a smile on his face. So they're pretty happy. They have not seen poll numbers like this in some time. And I have to tell you, Anderson, I talked to a senior Romney advisor about this Pew Research Center poll and they look at a couple of things here, Anderson, in relation to these polls.
They are looking at the enthusiasm that is coming out at some of their campaign events. So I can tell you, we've been at several of these campaign events over the last several days and they are getting some big turnouts, sometimes in excess of 10,000 people, and while yes, that may not be Obama campaign numbers, those are good numbers for Mitt Romney.
Another thing that they're looking at, they are looking at undecided voters. So they feel like undecided voters, because of that debate being viewed by so many millions of Americans last week, that Mitt Romney was able to reach through the filter of the media as they like to call it, Ann Romney referred to it that way in an event in Florida last week, and beyond those campaign ads, those very nasty campaign ads coming from the Obama campaign to talk directly to the American people, and they feel like that's a factor as well.
Anderson, they're also looking at what they call persuadable voters, those are voters who can swing back and forth, and if you look at that latest Pew Research Center poll, which showed the president with an eight point lead just a couple of weeks ago, now he -- now Mitt Romney has a five-point lead.
Obviously there is some give-and-take there in terms of these numbers, but I have to tell you, I did talk to another Romney campaign aide who was sounding a bit more cautious saying that they would prefer that this poll had come out on November 4th, not October 8th.
COOPER: Yes. We're going to talk to Cornell Belcher, a campaign -- a pollster for the Obama 2012 campaign in a moment.
But, Dan, the president's campaign, are they saying anything publicly about these numbers, acknowledging them one way or the other?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are. Yes, I talked to a couple of campaign officials. And they told me that the state of the race is what it has been, which is, as they said, quote, "close and competitive," in these key battleground states. They believe with a slight lean towards the president but as you pointed out, they are raising some questions about the sampling use in the polling, the number of Democrats versus Republicans in this poll versus the last poll.
But I think, in general, what the campaign has done is even when the poll numbers have been very high for the Obama campaign, they are sort of downplaying them publicly, saying that they always run as if they are five points down, that they're pushing hard toward the finish line. And so again, they're sort of taking this more sort of modest view of these numbers that come out, but nonetheless, they are concerned. I mean, the president has been leading in all the polls for the most part throughout this heated campaign. Now it shows Mitt Romney with some movement post-debate and so there's a little bit of concern with these latest numbers that have come out now.
But again, they believe they still have a little bit of an edge in the key battleground states, places like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and that's where this race will matter most.
COOPER: Dan, I'm curious, I mean, on the campaign trail since the debate, we saw President Obama the day after kind of using lines that I guess a lot of his supporters wish he had used during the debate. How has the tone been different on the campaign trail since the debate in the last week?
LOTHIAN: It really has been much more aggressive. We saw that from the president in Wisconsin. I was with him in Ohio as well, where the president came out swinging, hitting Mitt Romney on taxes. You heard him repeat at every stop the whole Big Bird line. He even repeated that over the weekend at a couple of campaign events in Los Angeles, brought up the 47 percent. which is something that the president did not touch on at all during the debate.
But also you see the campaign pushing back hard like today responding even before Mitt Romney made his speech on foreign policy. They had a couple of ads ready to go and then put together a conference call with campaign officials and also Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, and they were hitting him hard, saying that he's erratic, unsteady, irresponsible, that something that the campaign was not as quick to do in the past but post-debate, a much more aggressive tone from the campaign.
COOPER: And, Jim, I mean, you've been following Governor Romney for a long time. Have you seen a marked -- you know, you talk about a smile he has on the campaign trail. Have you seen a big difference in how he's been campaigning since the debate?
ACOSTA: Absolutely. You know, one thing that we should touch on is in that Pew Research Center poll, it shows an 18-point swing to Mitt Romney among women voters, and I think that may vindicate some of what people were observing at that debate last week, Anderson, when a lot of people thought Mitt Romney was sort of moving to the middle in certain areas, on bank regulation, on -- at least trying to do so on health care reform and on taxes, even though the Obama campaign was accusing him of Etch-A-Sketching throughout that debate.
That may have -- that may have been a factor on why the women vote, according to this poll, has swung so dramatically in Mitt Romney's direction. But at the same time, it may be counterintuitive to say this, Anderson, they are also trying to energize the base. And that is why you saw Mitt Romney give that very muscular speech today over at Virginia Military Institute talking about the potential for war in the Middle East if events continue the way that they are going right now. That was pretty tough talk coming from Mitt Romney in that speech earlier today -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Dan Lothian, thank you very much.
Let's talk about what the polls could be telling us. Ari Fleischer joins us, who's a part-time unpaid communications advisor to the Romney campaign. Also Obama 2012 pollster, Cornell Belcher and senior political analyst David Gergen.
So, Cornell, this is the first poll taken entirely after the debate although it's just one poll, certainly not a good indicator for President Obama or his campaign. What do you make of it?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, I think we always said that this is going to be a tight race and it's going to continue to be a tight race. I mean there's other polls out there, I mean, the -- the political battleground poll came out today showing the president slightly ahead. Reuters poll came out, I think, Friday that showed the president slightly ahead.
But look, it's not -- and it's not going to be about the polls. We all know this is going to be a close race. I think Romney did a good job of selling it to those undecided leaning Republicans out there and you're seeing them move home. Like -- you know, quite frankly, we knew they were going to move home at some point. I think he closed that case with them. So he's getting those undecided leaning Republicans to come home to him.
And it's going to be a close race like we always said it would be.
COOPER: Ari, a lot of Republicans last week were complaining about previous polls that showed Governor Romney trailing, saying they were skewed. What do you make of this poll?
ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it's skewed.
This poll is plus five assuming a Republican higher turnout. And I just don't think that's going to be the case. Look, obviously, I like the poll numbers that Pew has but that doesn't matter. The real issue here is in 2004 when George Bush beat John Kerry, the turnout between the two parties was even. In 2008 when Barack Obama won with this huge election, there's seven-point Democratic advantage.
The previous Pew poll was ridiculous. It had a 10-point Democrat turnout advantage. Not going to happen. This one has a five-point Republican advantage. As much as I'm a partisan Republican, I have a hard time believing that, Anderson.
What we do know is there's been tremendous movement toward Mitt Romney. When you get your clock cleaned in a debate, it starts to hurt.
COOPER: And, David, in terms of narrative, is this exactly the kind of narrative that Obama -- that Romney needed going into this, you know, with just a couple of weeks away? DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very much the narrative he needed because his campaign was about to be blown away. President Obama generally has been running a much better campaign than Mitt Romney has, but in the last week or so, the Mitt Romney campaign, I think, is getting its act together. He had a very, very good debate, obviously.
He was more personal on the stump, he was -- in Florida the last few days, he was willing to talk in an emotionally connective way. He gave a foreign policy speech today that was -- you know, had a lot of vagueness in it but was by far and way the best foreign policy speech in my judgment he's made, the most comprehensive on the Middle East. And so he's finding his voice, finding solidity but the polls, I think, if anything, are really hard to understand right now.
Anderson, it's not only this Pew poll but we had one of the strangest days in polling in Gallup, I have ever seen. This morning they put out a tracking poll that said the race was tied. This afternoon they put out a second tracking poll said Obama had a five- point lead.
What can you make of that?
BELCHER: Gergen, being a pollster is a tough job, you know. It's a tough job.
COOPER: Cornell, what do you make of that, of the Michigan poll?
BELCHER: I think you're seeing a lot of fluidity in the electorate right now. Look, Romney had a great debate, you know, but I think that's somewhat fool's goal because I talk to my friends that worked on the Kerry campaign about great debates. So a fool's goal, and I think -- you know, I think Romney did give the -- give the electorates a chance to take a second look at him, particularly those undecided voters who -- who were leaning Republican from the start.
I wouldn't put a lot of weight in any of these national polls for the next couple of days anyway. I think in the next week or so, you're going to see some battleground state polls come out. And I think those will be a more clear indication of whether or not the dynamic has changed.
COOPER: Ari, before last week, President Obama was showing strong signs of improvement on the economy, closing the gap in most polls. But I want to show you a number. The Pew poll, it shows that 54 percent of registered voters agree with the phrase, doubts that Obama knows how to turn the economy around. What do you make of that?
FLEISCHER: Well, that's been consistent, and it's been Mitt Romney's hope. If this is an election about the state of the economy and whether the president is partially or enough to blame for the bad economy, he's going to lose. That's why you see the president has been launching all the attack against Bain and other things that he was doing. So that's been the weakness and the numbers, too, that I'm looking for on the inside the polls are Mitt Romney's attributes and his ratings among independents because forget whether the polls are skewed for D's or R's, as long as Mitt Romney keeps winning independents, chances are Mitt Romney is going to win.
In this Pew poll, he won independents today, having nothing to do with whether it's skewed one party or the other. That's something to keep your eye on, Anderson. Romney's favorability is moving up, the president's is moving down. Attributes on the economy is going the wrong way for the president and Mitt Romney's winning independents.
COOPER: It is, David, just amazing to me how quickly narratives change in this election. I mean last week, it was, you know, doomsday for Romney, then the debate happened. Who knows what it's going to be next week. I mean is it still wide open?
GERGEN: I think it's moved from a race that was heavily tilted toward Obama, the president was just beating Romney as a campaigner, and the debate has now made it much more of a horse race, and we're likely to see fluidity right to the end and the wind may go, Anderson, because we see these numbers move three, four points on a debate. It may be a couple of points on the unemployment numbers.
The wind may go to the guy who has the last big play. Who has the last big favorable play. I don't think these debates are fool's goal. I know Cornell wouldn't have said that if Obama had won. I think they were really an important turning point but it's turned it into a much, much closer race.
COOPER: Yes. Cornell, Ari, David, thank you. Fascinating stuff.
GERGEN: Thank you.
FLEISCHER: Thank you.
COOPER: Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter right now @Andersoncooper. I'm tweeting tonight.
Coming up, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan facing off on Thursday. We'll look at whether the stakes are even higher than they were four years ago when Sarah Palin created moments like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In "Raw Politics," conventional wisdom says vice presidential debates don't make or break elections, but Thursday's vice -- excuse me, vice presidential debate comes on the heels of President Obama's poor showing in Denver, which puts more pressure obviously on Joe Biden to do well. We're going to have more on that in a moment with our political panel.
Four years ago, Vice President Biden, of course, debated Sarah Palin but he'll be facing a much different opponent this time around. Take a look.
PALIN: Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?
COOPER (voice-over): It started with a warm handshake and smiles all around. A friendly start to the vice presidential debate in 2008, pitting Joe Biden against then relative newcomer to the national stage, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: John McCain said at 9:00 in the morning that the fundamentals of the economy were strong, 11:00 that same day, two Mondays ago, John McCain said that we have an economic crisis.
PALIN: We're tired of the old politics as usual and that's why, with all due respect, I do respect your years in the U.S. Senate, but I think Americans are craving something new and different.
COOPER: Biden was on his best behavior, carefully aiming his attacks at her running mate, John McCain, not at Palin himself. And that was by design.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He had to be careful not to be talking down to her in any way, not only because she didn't have any national experience but also because she was a woman, and both of those things are a little tricky to deal with.
COOPER: Despite a lack of substance in many of her answers, analysts say Palin did just fine in that debate.
PALIN: Say it ain't so, Joe. There you go again.
COOPER: Partly because Biden didn't challenge her directly much.
BIDEN: It's good to see you all.
COOPER: Later this week, Biden will be on the debate stage once again against a much more seasoned politician this time and he's expected to come out swinging.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's fast on the cuff. He's a witty guy. He knows who he is and he's been doing this for 40 years. So you're not going to rattle Joe Biden. Joe is very good on the attack.
BORGER: But don't forget, the traditional role of a vice presidential candidate is to go on the attack. That's their job. So I think we'll see a lot more of that in the vice presidential debate than we did in the first presidential debate.
COOPER: Vice presidential debates have been contentious in the past. In 1984, then Vice President George H. W. Bush seemed condescending towards his opponent, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me help you with the difference, Miss Ferraro, between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congresswoman Ferraro?
GERALDINE FERRARO, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me just say, first of all, that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy.
COOPER: In 1988, Dan Quayle's self comparisons to John F. Kennedy drew this blistering response from his opponent, Lloyd Bentsen.
SEN. LLOYD BENTSEN (D), TEXAS: Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.
COOPER: The debate in 1992 was described as a free-for-all with Dan Quayle and Al Gore continually interrupting each other.
DAN QUAYLE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In foreign countries --
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Just not --
QUAYLE: Foreign aid -- Senator, it's in your book on page 3.
GORE: It's not.
COOPER: Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards barely kept their debate civil in 2004, with Cheney blasting Edwards for his attendance record in Congress.
RICHARD CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.
COOPER: In Thursday's debate, Biden is expected to go after Paul Ryan on issues like Medicaid, Social Security and foreign policy.
BORGER: I wouldn't be surprised if you got a zinger or two from Joe Biden. I don't think he's worried about being perceived as talking down to Paul Ryan.
COOPER: And the personal moments could matter, too. Biden showed his emotional side during his last debate.
BIDEN: Look, I understand what it's like to be a single parent. When my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravely injured, I understand what it's like as a parent to wonder what it's like if your kid's going to make it.
COOPER: And because the two men have never gone head-to-head against each other, in this debate, just like last week's, anything could happen.
COOPER: So the stakes this Thursday are higher than usual. What are both candidates have to do to score a win? Let's talk about it with chief national correspondent John King and chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
John, so this new Pew poll showing Romney with a lead certainly raises the already high stakes for both tickets on Thursday night. Vice President Biden, Paul Ryan. Does either have an advantage, you think, going in?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you could say Paul Ryan is younger, he has more passion, he has more energy. You could say Joe Biden is more experienced, 36 years in the Senate, he's the sitting vice president, he's been on this stage before. So Biden on paper has more experience at this. Ryan says he's outgunned. We'll see how it goes.
Let's be honest, Americans pick presidents, not vice presidents. So where can you go back in history and find a game-changing, race- changing vice presidential debate? But you mentioned, Governor Romney does have some momentum right now. The Republican base is energized right now, and so this is how his campaign views this. Paul Ryan can continue that momentum or he can do something that chokes off that momentum. That's the big question.
COOPER: There was a lot of pressure back in 2008, Gloria, when Biden was going against Palin.
COOPER: And he had to come off as not being condescending, not seeming sort of -- dismissive of her. It's a very different dynamic right now.
BORGER: Yes. He didn't want to appear patronizing at all during that debate. He had to really watch himself, and he's told me since then that that was sort of the hardest thing for him to do. He doesn't have any of those constraints this time around. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, experienced legislator, I think he's going to take the gloves off.
I mean in talking to the Biden folks today, one of them said you can expect the vice president to draw a sharp contrast. When the campaign starts talking about sharp contrast, you know that he's going to go on the attack.
COOPER: He's pretty -- I mean he's obviously known for a lot of his off-the-cuff remarks, Gloria.
COOPER: But he is also pretty disciplined in terms of being a campaigner and being out there. BORGER: And if he isn't, he will be, because they understand how important this is, and he will have to discipline himself at -- in a different way, as he did during the Sarah Palin debate. It was a different kind of discipline. This time, I guarantee you he's going to stay on the attack, he's going to draw contrasts, not only between the president and Mitt Romney, but also between Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.
He knows a lot about Paul Ryan on Medicare, Social Security and also, I was told, foreign policy. He's going to try to talk a lot about that.
COOPER: It's also interesting, John, I because, mean, you talk about the generational divide between these two but unlike the presidential debate where you basically had a former law professor and a former CEO, these are two guys with blue-collar backgrounds and, you know, have spent a lot of time out there campaigning.
How noticeable do you think that's going to be?
KING: It takes one to know one. So let me put it this way. These are the two beer drinkers in this race. The president and Governor Romney, no insult intended, can seem a bit elite, detached sometimes. These are more blue-collar guys. They're comfortable in an Irish pub, they're comfortable in a VFW post. And that's their job on the campaign trail. Go out and get those working class voters who could be key especially in some of those Midwest battleground states.
So stylistically, you know, there's an age generation. They're somewhat alike, these two, and that's what's so interesting about this. Because Gloria is right, liberals are looking for Biden to put up the fight the president did not bring to the first debate. And both campaigns view this, Anderson, as a base election.
You have here a leading conservative, potential 2016 candidate if Mitt Romney loses and the vice president of the United States, a leading liberal, who hasn't ruled out a 2016 run of his own. So --
BORGER: And --
COOPER: Wait a minute, wait a minute. There's a 2016 subplot already going on?
BORGER: It's not even such a subplot --
COOPER: John, it's not even over yet. 2012 is not even over. You're exhausting me.
Are you kidding me? What -- so what, you think because they both have an eye on 2016 already?
KING: Without a doubt. Look, if Mitt Romney loses, and Paul Ryan turns in a strong performance not only in this debate but in the final four weeks, he would be the odds-on early frontrunner. Very, very, very early frontrunner. And Joe Biden, a lot of people say wait a minute, he'd be too old. Trust me. He has told his political team rule nothing out. Now is he just saying that because if he rules out running, he loses leverages, he loses a stature? Maybe. But if you talk to his political team, they say at the moment he's going to keep looking at it. They say he feels great.
BORGER: I think he's --
COOPER: And it's exhausting.
BORGER: I know. Tell me about it. I -- I think he's really interested in 2016. I think the generational issues really are going to be fun to watch.
COOPER: Interesting. John, Gloria, thanks.
COOPER: Up next, more breaking news. Convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky is speaking out from his jail cell just hours before he's sentenced for his crime. That's going to happen tomorrow. He does everything from attack the victims to talking about his sex life at home. We've got the tape. You can hear it for yourself. And we're going to hear from the attorneys on both sides of the case next. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Breaking news now. Jerry Sandusky releases an audio taped message from jail just hours before he's going to be sentenced in his child sex abuse case. Why he says it is a flawed conviction. Ahead on 360.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight. Serial child molester Jerry Sandusky will be sentenced tomorrow and we can already predict there was going to be no expressions of remorse for recruiting, grooming and ultimately raping all those boys.
We know he won't express remorse. We know he won't take responsibility because tonight on the eve of his sentencing hearing, the former Penn State football coach and children's charity founder has put out a jailhouse tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY SANDUSKY, CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER: They can take away my life. They can make me out as a monster. They can treat me as a monster but they can't take away my heart. In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage. Our love continues.
The young man who is dramatic, a veteran accuser, and always sought attention, started everything. He was joined by a well orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won.
I've wondered what they really won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sandusky made those remarks in a Penn State radio station. And that's not all he said. Jason Carroll joins us. He's in State College. On the phone is Michael Boni, the lawyer for victim number one. Also renowned criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.
Michael, you say Jerry Sandusky is really opening the wound for the victims by releasing this tape.
MICHAEL BONI, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED PENN STATE VICTIM NUMBER 1: Yes, Anderson. I believe he is. What's happening is that Sandusky is taking every opportunity to continue to torment these victims.
He's now accusing them, in fact, he made a direct reference to victim one by saying he started everything. There is no conspiracy here. There is no making these accusations for any reason other than to put Mr. Sandusky behind bars for the rest his life because of the heinous acts that he perpetrated on these victims.
COOPER: Mark, what about this? I mean, he is alleging this basically huge conspiracy against him by just about everybody, putting out a statement like this the night before the sentencing hearing, is that something you would ever advise a client to do?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. The last thing you are going to want to do is advise a client I want you to go in there, you're better off just saying nothing.
However, as a practical matter, he's going to get a life sentence, whether it's a number of years, whether it's consecutive, whatever it is, at his age any substantial prison term is a life sentence.
I've always wondered why a lot of defendants when they have been convicted get up and show remorse when they're facing hundreds of years to life or multiple life sentences, you know, at a certain point, I think you can look at it two ways.
Either he's truly the victim of a conspiracy and he's just speaking the truth, or as a lot of people would argue, look, somebody who is a serial pedophile is never going to admit to it, it doesn't matter how damning the evidence is, and this is just one more step in that progression, if you will.
So it certainly does not surprise me. He knows, and this shows you that he knows that this judge is not going to run the sentences concurrently, which means at the same time. The judge is going to stack these sentences.
I'm sure he's been told that by his lawyer, and whatever sentence he gets, which will probably be 40 or 50 years, something of that nature, to life, is tantamount to a life sentence. COOPER: Jason, what can you tell us about Jerry Sandusky's time in prison? He's actually written you letters, I learned.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Anderson. He's written me two letters to be specific. Basically in those letters, he made it very clear that he wants to focus on his appeal.
He's been doing a lot of writing. He maintains his innocence. He believes in his innocence. His wife, Dotty, believes in his innocence. She has come by the prison on a number of occasions to visit him.
And I think you are going to hear a little bit more about that, more about the fact that he believes that he is innocent when he addresses the court tomorrow.
COOPER: Michael, I want to play another part of the tape where Jerry Sandusky references the accusers. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY SANDUSKY, CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER: -- evaluate the accusers and their families and realize they didn't come out of isolation. The accusers were products of many more people and experiences than me. Look at their confidants and their honesty.
Think about how easy it was for them to turn on me given the information, attention and potential perks. We didn't lose to proven facts, evidence, accurate locations and times. Anything can be said. We lost to speculation and stories that were influenced by people who wanted to convict me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's clearly reading a statement which given his interview to Bob Costas is probably a wise move rather than just speaking off the cuff, but he's essentially saying your client and the other victims were doing this for financial gain and what he called potential perks. When you heard that, what did you think?
BONI: Yes. Well, I was outraged, Anderson. It's preposterous. With victim one's case in particular, he basically reached out to the police, told his mother, very relatively shortly after the years of abuse that he suffered.
Remember, he's still 18 years old. He was abused up until the time he was 14 or 15. He really didn't have time to prepare an elaborate conspiracy before going to report his abuse to the authorities. It's just a preposterous insinuation.
I understand from Mark that he understands that this can happen. I'll never understand this as long as I live. It just seems so, so wrong and heinous to me.
COOPER: Mark, in terms of an appeal, I mean, are there any grounds for an appeal?
GERAGOS: Well, one of the things that he says in his statement, and which obviously to anybody who reads this, clearly was vetted by his lawyer as you said, they weren't going to give Costas another chance to win another Emmy, this is going to be based on the lack of time for preparation for the trial.
And that will be his kind of centerpiece of the appeal. Remember, they had asked for a continuance. The lawyers had said repeatedly they did not have time to prepare. That is an awfully, awfully tough grounds for appeal.
I have been in that situation before and courts don't look all that friendly or openly towards that basis.
COOPER: We are going to play that portion of the tape coming up. We've got to take a quick break. More with our panel. We will also talk to the attorney for Jerry Sandusky. He will also be joining us ahead on that. We got to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
COOPER: More than two years ago, Tiffany Harley told police she and her husband were ambushed on their jetskis on a lake along the United States/Mexico border. That he was shot in the head. She was forced to leave his body behind. Now a suspect is in custody. Tiffany Harley's reaction when we continue.
COOPER: Back now with more on the breaking news, the pretty surprising jailhouse tape that surfaced tonight on Penn State radio.
Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach, convicted serial child rapist, not expressing remorse, not really taking responsibility, in fact, not taking responsibility at all, blaming the victims, the system, the courts, and just about everybody that convicted him. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDUSKY: We must fight unfairness, inconsistency and dishonesty. People need to be portrayed for who they really are. We have not been complainers. When we couldn't have kids, we adopted. We didn't have time to prepare for a trial. We still gave it our best.
We will fight for another chance. We have been given many second chances and now will ask for one. It will take more than our effort. Justice will have to be more than just a word. Fairness be more than just a dream. It will take others. Somebody apolitical with the courage to listen, to think about the unfairness, to have the guts to stand up and take the road less traveled.
I ask for the strength to handle everything and the willingness to surrender only to God regardless of the outcome. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Back with us, Jason Carroll, Michael Boni represents victim number one and criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos. And on the phone, Sandusky attorney, Karl Rominger.
Karl, appreciate you being with us. Clearly, this statement seemed to be vetted, I assume you looked at it before. Did you advise Jerry Sandusky to release this statement and if so, why?
KARL ROMINGER, JERRY SANDUSKY CO-COUNSEL (via telephone): I have not seen that statement prior to the release, nor had Joe Amendola. We would tell him probably not to do it, but the reality is given the mandatory minimums that apply in this case, it's probably not going to make an effective difference in the length of his sentence, vis-a-vis his life expectancy.
COOPER: So you didn't know he would be making a statement in advance?
ROMINGER: I did not.
COOPER: When you heard it, what did you think? What do you think of it?
ROMINGER: Well, it sounds like Jerry. He maintains his innocence. If he's innocent, God bless him. Get your word out there. I understand his frustration. We were rushed to trial.
Commonwealth had three years to prepare. We couldn't get one continuance for Jerry Sandusky. I can get three continuances for a parking ticket. I couldn't get one in the biggest case in Pennsylvania history.
COOPER: I want to play another part of his statement. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDUSKY: I'm responding to the worst loss of my life. First, I looked at myself. Over and over I asked why, why didn't we have a fair opportunity to prepare for trial. People need to be portrayed for who they really are. We've not been complainers. When we couldn't have kids, we adopted. When we didn't have time to prepare for a trial, we still gave it our best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: To your point that he didn't get a fair trial, how at this point, you're hoping for an appeal, what's the likelihood of that?
ROMINGER: Well, we believe we have strong grounds for appeal, both on the failure of the court to grant one continuance to prepare, given the fact, the dump of documents and information pre-trial. And second of all, the prosecutor made statements about Jerry not giving a full and fair explanation in a statement to Bob Costas, which they chose to present to the jury, and then complain that it wasn't full and complete.
Our position is that's a violation of commonwealth v Johnson, a Pennsylvania case that suggests that any commentary on incomplete silence is impermissible.
COOPER: Mark Geragos, what do you make of what you're hearing from Karl Rominger? Are you surprised that he's saying he didn't hear about this in advance? As an attorney that's got to be --
GERAGOS: I'm surprised -- exactly right. I'm surprised by the vetting. I agree with Karl. I think it's what I said before you put him on the phone, given what he's facing in terms of time, what difference does it make ultimately?
In fact, I'm always surprised when defendants go quietly. The document dump is particularly as a defense lawyer, you always wonder why is it that the prosecution gets to start off and have a giant head start.
Then you get the case and it's on your mark, get set, go, and you're trying to play constant catch up, then they dump stuff on you at the last minute and you're still supposed to get your arms around that and defend it.
The argument is, well, the prosecution's got to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense has just got to raise a doubt. I just think, you know, in fundamental fairness when somebody is facing basically a life sentence.
That you should err on the side of caution and as he says, give him his one continuance. The other comment, I think that that's grounds for appeal. It's what we call at least federally griffin error, things of that nature, when you're commenting on somebody's failure to explain.
Well, that's a violation if taken structurally of the Fifth Amendment. You have a right to remain silent. If they're introducing it, why are they then saying he didn't explain? They're saying he didn't take the stand.
COOPER: Michael, think there are grounds for appeal here?
BONI: Well, I'm listening to Karl and to Mark. In this case, I really don't. This defendant was hit with an avalanche of evidence and was convicted on 45 of 48 counts against him. I think that the evidence here is overwhelming.
I think the fact that there was an alleged attenuated time for the defense to prepare a trial does not explain why Jerry Sandusky is picking now to proclaim his innocence when he could have done so at the trial. He didn't then. I understand it's his Fifth Amendment right not to, but it does question, you know, the veracity of what he's saying now and why he chose now to proclaim his innocence. He had the chance and --
COOPER: Jason, does it surprise you to hear that Sandusky didn't talk to Mr. Rominger in advance of this statement?
CARROLL: Well, I can tell you this. Joe Amendola told me that he was the one, in fact, who helped make the arrangements between Jerry Sandusky and the radio station, so I don't know how much of a heads up he got, but that arrangement was made by Joe Amendola.
I can also tell you that the interview was given to a man who Jerry Sandusky has known for many, many, many years. He was identified to me as a very old friend. A little bit more also I can tell you about what is expected with Jerry Sandusky tomorrow.
I'm told when he addresses the court, it will probably take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Again, he's expected to read a statement. He will not adlib. He's expected to talk about the philosophical reasons why he believes this has happened to him.
He probably will tell the court that he says that everything that happens for a reason and hopefully, some good will come out of this and that he will continue to fight.
Also tomorrow, Anderson, Dotty Sandusky, who has remained at his side throughout this entire ordeal, will be in the court. She has submitted a letter to the court supporting her husband.
His children, Kara, Jeff, E.J. and John, have also submitted letters to the court as well as former Second Milers. In addition to that, an old time friend, Dick Anderson, one of Sandusky's old time friends, Dick Anderson, will submit a letter of support as well. These are some of the people who continue to believe in his innocence.
COOPER: So Karl, just quickly, Jason was saying that Joe Amendola, another attorney, helped organize this interview. Do you know if he vetted this statement?
ROMINGER: I don't know if he vetted it or not. I have some concern with what he said, obviously, because it could affect sentencing but at the end of the day it's not going to make a difference. I think I've said if he really wants to speak his mind, it doesn't really matter in this case. If he's innocent, then he should keep proclaiming it.
COOPER: Karl Rominger, I appreciate you being on. Jason Carroll, Michael Boni, and Mark Geragos as always. Thank you very much.
Up next, a major break in a murder mystery that we have been following closely on this program. An arrest in the death of an American, David Hartley, who was killed while jet skiing with his wife on Falcon Lake. Tonight, his wife, who some had suspected in some way of being involved in the killing, she is speaking out. Tiffany Hartley in her own words, next.
COOPER: Let's see what other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we begin with a "360 Follow." A Zetas cartel drug leader is detained in Mexico, suspected in dozens of killings, including the death of an American two years ago on a lake that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexican authorities believe Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobado, also known as the squirrel, has a connection to the execution of David Hartley. His body has never been recovered. Hartley was shot in the head while on the lake with his wife, Tiffany. She is shocked by the arrest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIFFANY HARTLEY, HUSBAND MURDERED ON FALCON LAKE: If this gentleman, this suspect, does have involvement, we want to know where David's at and get some evidence of his remains and let us as a family two years later be able to have some closure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: To Pennsylvania now, this is certainly no way to celebrate a wedding. One man died after suffering a heart attack and three others were arrested for their alleged involvement in a fight between two wedding parties at a Philadelphia hotel. The man who died was the uncle of the bride.
In California, gas prices have climbed to a record high. The average price of a gallon of regular is $4.67, an increase of 50 cents in one week. The spike is blamed on a shortage of a summer blend of gasoline.
High above New Mexico, a skydiver hopes to set a new world record tomorrow in a free-fall jump from the edge of space. Felix Baumgartner will try to become the first person to break the sound barrier falling from 120,000 feet in a space suit with a parachute.
COOPER: That's incredible.
HENDRICKS: It is. Wish him luck.
COOPER: Yes, good luck, really. Susan, thanks.
Time now for the shot with the election just weeks ago, "Parenting" magazine did some pint-sized polling at a block party in Brooklyn. Here's what the kids had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know who the president of the United States is?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: No.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Broccoli.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to live in the White House?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because I think my home is special.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to be president one day?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to be president?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to be the president?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: No.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I think a woman should be president.
COOPER: There you go.
Coming up, what would it take for you to put on a panda costume at work? The "Ridiculist" is next.
COOPER: Time now for the "Ridiculist." Tonight we're adding people who dress like pandas. I don't mean people who dress up like pandas for Halloween or to visit sick kids in the hospital or something. I make an exception for that, of course.
But if you're dressing up like a panda at your job, you get to be on the list tonight. I don't know, maybe it's time to seriously think about a career change. Take these guys at a nature preserve in China.
They had to wear panda costumes while they helped the national panda get ready to be released back into the wild. As if the costumes were not enough, an engineer at the China Giant Panda Protection Research Center said the workers also had to smear panda urine and feces on themselves to mask their human scent.
As a general rule, I think when the words smear and feces show up in your job description, it might be time to dust off the old resume. Oddly, this is not the only time we have seen grown men dress like pandas at work.
Speaking of panda feces, who can forget about the guy who invented panda tea, fertilized with mountain of panda poop. The head of the company apparently went to his business meetings dressed like a panda. Why, because he could.
He even gave television interviews in costume, explaining the finer points of the panda's digestive system wearing a fuzzy panda head and somehow a completely straight face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The digestive and absorption abilities of the panda are not good. They keep eating and they keep producing feces. They're like a machine churning out organic fertilizer. They absorb less than 30 percent of the nutrition from their food. That means more than 70 percent of these nutrients become waste.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: See, here's my thing with the panda outfits. Nobody is going to take you seriously if you're dressed like that unless you work on a children's television show, there's no excuse to put on a fuzzy costume in the course of your employment. No excuse whatsoever, none.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Are you the bunny! How am I the bunny? This has taken a turn I really didn't expect. All right, why not. Is that OK with you? Want me to dress up like the bunny? Do you guys do anything the chimps tell you? This is the weirdest thing I have ever -- this is like a joke. Hello.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Look, if you didn't see it, I don't even know how to begin to explain it. But in my defense, the apes wanted me to do that so I did it. The apes told me they wanted me to do it.
How? I can't even begin to explain and I did not have the smear or anything on myself so that's a plus because really it's all about maintaining one statement.
That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now another edition of 360 at 10 p.m. Eastern. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.