tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN December 29, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
♪ my story is much too sad to be told ♪ >> piers: the one thing but, morgan freeman, i have established over the last hour, is your story is not too sad to be told it has been a story of joyous kayious, triumph, the occasional disaster, but above all great fun. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> piers: been a pleasure. >> has been a pleasure. piers, thanks it is 10:00 here on the east coast. we begin by keeping them honest. with the clock ticking to the iowa caucuses five days away, tonight the republican candidates are pulling out the stops. the latest cnn poll shows romney and paul battling it out for the lead. romney 25%, paul 22. santorum third place tripling his support since the beginning of the month. gingrich dropped to 14%, down from 33% early in december. perry 11%, bachmann and huntsman in the single digits.
huntsman is not in iowa. tonight, bachmann is doing it without two high-ranking members of her team. bachmann's iowa campaign chairman jumped ship and went to ron paul's campaign. bachmann says he is a sellout and was paid to go to the paul campaign. take a look. >> i had a conversation with kent sorenson. and in the direct conversation i had with him, he told me he was offered money. he was offered a lot of money by the ron paul campaign to go and associate with the ron paul campaign. no one else knows about that conversation other than kent and myself. i know what he said to me about that. >> he says he went to the paul camp because ron paul has the best change of beating romney and president obama.
in his statement, he says as for the ridiculous allegations that congresswoman bachman made, i was never paid. here is what he said on fox news with megan kelly. >> was money offered to you by anybody from the ron paul camp to jump ship? >> absolutely not. i did not accept money. i was never offered a nickel from the ron paul campaign. >> or anybody associated with it? >> never offered a nickel. >> it's a he said/she said. we don't know what conversation, if any, took place between them. tonight, there's another he said in the mix. another bachmann campaign official who came to sorenson's defense. her iowa political director said sorenson's decision was in no way financially motivated. while i personally disagree with kent's decision and will stay
with michele bachmann, i cannot watch him be attacked as a sellout. it's not the case or the basis of the decision. he planned to stay with bachmann. tonight, he is gone from her campaign. bachmann said he quit. ron paul said he was terminated. he told nbc news it was a mutual thing. i knew when i undermined her statement i was tendering my resignation. you can decide who is more credible. bachmann's other claim is less debatable. >> we have had kent sorenson's former campaign manager say kent told me flat out he was getting money. we saw incredible momentum, including the fact that last night we had 150 new people call us saying they want to stand up for me in the caucuses. we literally had thousands the last ten days and that caused the ron paul campaign to be very nervous because they saw the momentum shifting here in iowa
to my campaign and so then they came up with this plan apparently to offer a lot of money to kent sorenson. >> paul has 22% in the vote in the latest poll. it's up 5% from the start of the month. let's get to des moines, iowa. candy crowley, rich gayland and cornell belcher, a democratic strategist for president obama's re-election campaign, also a pollster for the president's 2008 campaign. cornell, bachmann says paul is losing steam in iowa, is he? >> i don't think he is. i don't understand why bachmann is pushing this story. this is a story that gets in the way of everything she wants to do. we are talking about people leaving her campaign. it's bad campaigning going on. if you look at ron paul as well as santorum, they have a lot of momentum going into the closing here. as any professional will tell you, you want him hitting his or
her stride and getting momentum at the end here. i think both of them have a better chance of winning than romney. >> you think ron paul or santorum have a better chance of winning than romney in iowa? >> i think they do. here is the thing. the caucusgoers, you are talking less than 11% are going to vote in the caucus. if you look at the history of iowa, it's a special electorate. you have the most, tell me which candidate is entering the first or second choice of most conservative or in church the most recently. romney is not the first of second choice of either one of the voters. we have an impact on the iowa caucuses like we saw last time going in neck-in-neck and huckabee finishing behind him. i think it's the same thing this time around. >> candy, ron paul has a lot of volunteers coming into that state, right?
>> he does. these are the people that do the door knocking. it is such a small group of people who go to the caucuses and every door knock counts. he can count on reliable, younger people caught up in the campaign, whether the antiwar message or the legalization of certain drugs, marijuana included. whether it's a small government message. whatever it is, he attracted a good number of young people. also here on the ground in iowa, what you hear from a lot of people is a little bit off what cornell just said. they believe when you poll the evangelicals, while it's important to them, the matter of abortion, stem cell research, that kind of thing that key and ranking higher in terms of importance are matters of the
economy. it's something they will point out to you. we know mitt romney is barely leading in the polls. he is here and playing big at the end. >> rich, what is it -- what do you make of michele bachmann seaying the paul campaign is paying members to jump ship. does that make sense to you? >> no, it doesn't but neither does hi reason saying ron paul is the most conservative to win this. most would say it would go to santorum. you get involved and that stuff happens. representative bachmann is grasping at straws. this is certainly not the conversation you want to be having at the pizza plaza in the last week of the campaign. you don't want to be defending yourself. going back to something else, another polling data point, in
contrast to something cornell was saying, generally speaking, even the most evangelical conservative iowa caucusgoers may not want romney as the first choice, but they certainly want barack obama as the last choice. for a lot of folks going into the precinct tuesday night, that will be in their mind. santorum or paul does not really have a chance of beating obama. >> this is the thinking that is upsetting the grass roots. you have the washington establishment pushing their candidate. listen to what the guy who jumped ship said. he was going to fight for someone who was a conservative with a chance to win. there's a grass root effort and movement against romney and the washington insider candidate. >> right. and the obama campaign would love to run against ron paul or rick santorum. >> we'll take on any of the field. >> you're going to have to.
>> let me ask you, cornell, there's a lot of focus on santorum's surge in iowa. he's still polling in third place. for a guy who's been living in iowa for this past year, he's spent a huge amount of time in iowa, is third place enough to do anything? does he have life beyond iowa? >> i think he's going to do better than the polling is showing now from sort of his momentum and make-up of the caucus. if he does third in iowa, santorum is done. same way huntsman is going all-in in new hampshire. if he finishes a distant third, it's time for him to go back to pennsylvania. >> rich, do you agree with that? >> no, i think what he and gingrich both will do is wave at
new hampshire by participating in the debates and head for south carolina, see if either one can stay alive through that. newt can, he's got enough money. santorum can live off the land. whoever beats the other in south carolina, the loser goes home. >> living off the land. candy, a breakdown was released of what political spots aired in iowa. almost half of them were aimed at newt gingrich. is this clearly textbook evidence that negative ads work? his numbers have dropped significantly. >> absolutely. negative ads work and sink in. you have to be cautious about rick santorum's rise. he's been in 99 counties, precinct captains in most of these places. the real reason behind his rise
is, a, he's the only guy left that hasn't had his time for attention. b, gingrich fell. we have seen this pattern. bachmann goes up, down. perry up and down, then herman cain. gingrich fell down. the limelight went to santorum. we'll see how much sticks. >> quickly, the one thing is, yeah, this keeps going up and down. it never goes to romney. they are looking for a candidate other than romney. santorum is at the right place at the right moment. >> the reason negative campaigns work, human beings love gossip. a 30-second negative ad is gossip. people pay attention to it. they wish it was different. >> rich, do you think it was
malpractice for the gingrich folks not to respond to that? >> yeah. he didn't have any money. if they had money, they would have gone up with some kind of retaliation ads. there's no question in my mind. if you are a lawyer and have the facts or the facts are against you, if the law is against you, argue the facts. if you have neither one, call the other guy names. >> thanks. the iowa caucuses five days away. we'll cover it all. tune in five nights from now, 7pm tuesday, january 3rd. join us on facebook and google. follow us on twitter@anderson cooper. coming up, a website linked to sex crimes in the past. some child prostitution. it's now a common thread. authorities say it's in three
murders in detroit. they are not backing down. multiple websites were linked to the victims. they are not backing down on the content. later, our exclusive look inside the battle of homs, syria. the syrian army holding soldiers at bay in one neighborhood in homs. we'll hear from them. ♪ sing polly wolly doodle all the day ♪
in crime and punishment, a twist in a story we have been following more than a year. police are investigating escort ads placed on backpage.com and three murders in detroit. police suspect a killer may be targeting escorts advertising online with that website. backpage.com takes in tens of millions of dollars each year for ads for adults. some are linked to sex crimes including child prostitution. officials say they are vigilent about monitoring the content of their ads and report abuses to the national center for exploited children.
criminals use these websites as a tool to target victims. take a look. four women found dead in less than a week. bodies stuffed in the trunks of cars. police will not say if it's the work of a serial killer. three of the victims posted escort ads on backpage.com. >> with the vast increase in the use of social media, we have to be vigilant. >> the first two victims were found in a car in this abandoned house on december 19th. two more bodies found christmas morning, burned beyond recognition. backpage.com reached out to the detroit police when they heard about the deaths. in a statement, they said backpage provided computer forensics or other evidence that show 70 different third party ads or other postings on 22 websites appear to be or are potentially related to this investigation. we are not aware of which of the
22 websites may have been used by the suspect to establish contact with victims. police declined to say if they were looking into other postings but they warned of dangers lurking online. >> we felt it was imperative to alert the public that deciding to meet unknown persons via the internet can be extremely dangerous. we implore people to be careful. >> it's not the first time backpage.com is caught in controversy. it's run by the owner of alternative newspapers. last year, craigslist stopped taking ads for adult services. they turned to backpage.com. a firm that tracks classified says backpage.com generated $2.1 million in escort and body rub listings in october alone, a record high. the site earned more than $23.9
million from adult services ads according to a.i.m. they are profiting from illegal activity and exploitation. >> we are trying to remove the adult section from backpage.com. it's a breeding ground for human trafficking. >> earlier this month, julian tarver pled guilty for meeting with two 15-year-old girls. earlier this year, cnn spoke with a 13-year-old who says she was sold on backpage.com for $300 an hour. >> if i ran away, i was going to get killed. if i called the cops, i was going to get killed. >> how old are the guys? >> you don't know until you walk through the door. they could sound like they are 21 and you walk in and they are old and disgusting. >> how many guys were you seeing a day? >> at this point, five or four.
>> the national association of attorneys general says they know more than 50 cases in 22 states involving trafficking of minors on backpage.com. the group warned as a practical matter, it is hard to detect underage trafficking. the sole purpose is to advertise prostitution. they say what they do is legal under the decencies act. they say they monitor and screen their listings. they have a no-nudity policy and report suspicious listings to missing and exploited children. we share the concerns of law enforcement that every effort be made to keep them from committing crimes. they go on to say, we do our best to provide a safe and legal environment through content filtration software.
not good enough say critics. they want the ads done away with. >> there's a section that is utilized by sexual predators and human traffickers to sell children for sexual purposes. it has to stop. it's that simple. >> the terms the ads use, back rubs, escorts, are familiar codes that is a signpost. one law enforcement adviser, i talked to him a short time ago. if you scroll through, they are advertising prostitution. how do you justify that? >> it's a question of compliance with the law. people post things on your website that you have no control over. we live in a marketplace of ideas on the internet.
that. how do you define illegal activity? >> if you are under the belief there's someone out there that can define which of the ads running in the detroit free press today are lawful or not lawful, it's an extraordinary challenge. >> i went on your site, there's a person whose name i won't mention with dollar signs in her name advertising on your site. how do you define illegal activity on your site. it's a question you don't want to answer. prostitution is an illegal activity. >> it was founded 50 years ago. they have always carried adult services in their ads. they have earned four pulitzer prizes for standing up to big businesses. they are unapologetic to that. >> i'm not making a moral judgment against your company making more than $20 million a year off these ads.
i'm not sure of the exact figure. according to figures i have seen, i have seen as much as $22 million last year. it's very profitable for you. i get that. i don't understand. it's hypercritical if you are saying we want no illegal content on the site, we are not hosting illegal activity, yet that seems to be proliferating on your site. >> let me cut to the chase. when you talk to my colleague at the bar later, he'll have his own views. let me give you the clearest problem. democrats and republicans have three times, in the last 17 years tried to ban content that would be harmful to minors on the internet. each time, a very conservative, pro-family, pro-children supreme court told congress we are a first amendment country and your law can't pass.
this is a great challenge for every internet service provider out there. the core issue here is what should responsible businesses do to make america's internet safer for communities and businesses? >> you would agree it's an illegal activity? >> of course. >> if prostitution is marketed on your site, is that something you are concerned about or something that that's just where the business is? >> as you know very well, anderson -- >> why not say we are market prostitutes. >> they are unapologetic they post these. there have been crimes and predators since long before the internet and newspapers. they are a factor of the landscape. criminals who misuse cell phone services, fedex and other kinds of businesses and the roads of our community to commit crimes.
>> how do you monitor -- law enforcement is concerned about children being trafficked on your site. >> absolutely. >> multiple kids have been trafficked on your site. how do you filter for that? >> well, we believe that we are an industry leader in protecting our website in two significant categories. we are proactive in working with law enforcement. in contrast, the guys on the front line, the men and women defending are happy with the response they get from back page. >> i have not heard that. i have talked to a number of police officials in various states and they cite your site as well as others as places where people are trafficked. >> here is where your facts are wrong. if you look at the materials i provided to your producer, law enforcement singles out our site for things they are not doing.
they have to pass 22,000 word tests, code words, misspelled words before they can get on the site. i think we are the only adult services poster in the country that has live, 24/7 human monitoring that looks at each ad before it gets on the air. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> you can watch it tonight on our website at ac360.com. the law shields websites like that, but critics say the ads are pitching illegal services with euphemisms. i talked to jeffrey toobin about
that with washington state attorney general, rob mckenna. why not -- if they are after adult services and prostitution, why not say we are profiting on prostitution that's our business model? >> i think they are embarrassed. it's legal what they are doing. they say the internet is more like a telephone than a newspaper in the sense that a crime committed over the telephone, you can't sue the phone company. you can sue a newspaper if they print something, even an advertisement that is defamatory. >> what do you think of that? >> it was never designed to protect illegal activity. the congressional alliance on the telephone analogy is failing. congress needs to revisit whether or not it's like a telephone or a newspaper. with a growing number of lawmakers, inevitably, they are going to turn back to that
assumption. >> he says we have letters across the country thanking us for responding to a subpoena or thank us for our involvement in stopping something. >> i don't know anyone in law enforcement who doesn't see backpage.com as a -- not quite a legal accomplice but a tool used by pimps to promote prostitution including the prostitution of teenagers. >> with child prostitution, they seem more responsive to monitoring that than adult prostitution. >> there's a big difference both as a business and legal aspect between prostitution, which is basically tolerated in big cities in america. it's the key to the business model of back page. that is how they make their money. >> my question is, why on this
website say it goes against our user rules to post ads or products or services -- >> it's false. i's not true. prostitution is a separate category. they are endorsing, embracing it. however, as far as i can tell, they are trying to avoid being involved with child prostitution. >> you agree with that? do they seem to be responsive on child prostitution? >> we have asked for document that is actually show us whether or not they have been as responsive as they have been. they promised us documents in late december, which we are waiting to see. they are not doing what they need to do. the second and more important point is, as long as they tolerate ads for prostitution, they admitted when they met with my staff, in my office. the other point is this, you know, this isn't just about child prostitution.
in human trafficking research, it's been evident most adult prostitutes are trafficking victims. 90% of prostitutes have been reached through academic research and they want out of prostitution life. >> let me push back a bit. there was a counter argument to this. isn't it better to have the ads on a site that does monitor to some degree? >> it's not better. the internet facilitates and has facilitates the expansion of prostitution and is contributing to child prostitutes being marketed. >> thank you. >> thanks. let us know what you think on anderson cooper. the arab league is under
pressure, one activist calling the mission a mockery. are observers being shielded from the violence or what is going on? plus, after massive displays of grief, north koreans show scenes from a second day of national mourning. stunning scenes out of north korea. we'll show them to you ahead. forty years ago, he wasn't worried about retirement. he'd yet to hear of mutual funds, iras, or annuities. back then, he had something more important to do. he wasn't focused on his future but fortunately, somebody else was. at usaa we provide retirement solutions for our military, veterans and their families. from investments... to life insurance... to health care options. learn more with our free usaa retirement guide. call 877-242-usaa. because for every two pounds you lose
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let's get a quick look on stories we are following. welcome back, "360" news. >> another day of mourning in north korea after wednesday's three-hour funeral for kim jong-il. thousands of people gathered for the late dictator. it focused on kim jong un. the speech is calling him the supreme leader. more than 1 million people have visited the september 11th memorial in new york less than four months after it opened. it's free to visit. you must reserve a time on the website. a museum at the site is still under construction. ready to end the year on a good note. stocks rose today spurred on by reform of housing, manufacturing and unemployment. the dow up 136 points. one collector will get a chance to earn more than 5,000
artifacts from the "titanic." they will auction them off as a single lot. it's valued at more than $189 million. what you get thr that kind of money? according to reports i have seen, fine china and ship parts. >> i had a relative who died on the "lusitania." >> what did you buy? >> a porthole, a piece of metal, basically. it doesn't sound good, but it was cool. and a postcard sent by somebody on the ship who also passed away. a passenger list that had my great uncle's name on it. >> every time i think you can't do anything stranger, you manage. >> what? i thought it was cool. i don't know. i'm so not cool. it's sad. all right. you are with us for new year's
you are with us for new year's eve? >> yes, you can change the subject very quickly. >> that will be cool. okay. check in with you. >> i'm embarrassed for you. >> thank you. we'll be right back. dry mouth may start off as an irritant. it'll cause cavities, bad breath. patients will try and deal with it by drinking water. water will work for a few seconds but if you're not drinking it, it's going to get dry again. i recommend biotene. all the biotene products like the oral rinse...the sprays have enzymes in them. the whole formulation just works very well. it leaves the mouth feeling fresh. if i'm happy with the results and my patients are happy with the results, i don't need to look any farther. i think we should see other people.
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up close on syria. an arab league fact finding mission. some activists say it was a ploy to buy time. the mission's leader is a military commander in sudan and was head of foreign intelligence in sudan. the government is accused of genocide in darfur. in every city, they reported more deaths, at least 35 people in all. this amateur video, let's take a look.
this amateur video showed soldiers firing at protesters in a suburb of damascus. you can hear them chanting "god is great." it's impossible to verify the video. they won't allow international journalists inside the country. one reporter got in. he snuck into the opposition's stronghold. we are not revealing his name for his own safety. he hopes to go back. tonight, we have more video. they are no longer willing to shoot and kill their own people. >> reporter: the neighborhood fighters took me into a house where their men were engaged in a shootout from snipers with the military.
these men say they are from assad forces. they call themselves the free syrian army. one of the men managed to take a rifle with a precision scope with him when he defected. most of the fighters from the free syrian army are ill-equipped, short on guns on ammunition with no heavy weapons. still, they kicked forces out and hold them. it's possibly the first place in syria beyond government control. checkpoints like this mark the frontline. >> reporter: the troops are 25 to 30 meters away from us with soldiers in tanks. we are here to prevent them from passing and killing young and old. >> reporter: the man introduced me to one of their leaders. this is one of the few willing to be identified.
he was a lieutenant in the army. his uncle is a former syrian defense minister. >> translator: we got orders in the army that went against my oath as a soldier. i had sworn to protect civilians. when i saw what they were doing to people, i defected on june 2nd. >> reporter: he was cheered at an anti-government demonstration. this area is surrounded by the syrian military and shelled by artillery. in a meeting in a safehouse, they insist even though assad has not used his air force against the uprising, only a no-fly zone imposed by the international community could help the rebels win. >> translator: we are in contact
with the soldiers in the army. a no-fly zone would help them. >> reporter: for now, a man with the army are fighting a war against an overpowering foe. they smuggle fighters in and out of the neighborhood evading government checkpoints. at night, they search everyone entering and leaving the area. >> translator: the street you see over there is controlled. they are known to kidnap our women and children. we try to prevent this. when strangers come here, we stop and search them. >> reporter: the people of this part of homs are not afraid to take to the streets. they are regular nighttime. after months of casualties, they have long lost their faith in non-violent protests.
many believe that real change in syria will only come from the barrel of a gun. >> remarkable look inside homs. joining us from stanford university, it is interesting, just watching that, it reminds me of the beginnings of the conflict in beirut back in the day where you have groups controlling neighborhoods. is this the start of civil war? >> absolutely. we talked yesterday about the center of this revolution. this is a divided city. when talking about it, you are talking an old neighborhood. this has been the target of the regime because this is the place where the syrian army is making their stand. it's interesting, the support who listened to and watched, there is a man, the defector, his uncle was one of the pillars of the assad regime. he was a companion. it turns and tells you something about the fight for a new syria.
>> a group like this, if the regime wanted to move in, they could try to retake this neighborhood? >> i think -- look, we live in a world where we can look at the bosnians were saved. they were saved after 150,000 people were killed. they are in the crossfire. i think what they have been -- what they witness, what they know about their situation is the solitude of the syrian people. if you take a look at the geography of syria, the geography favors the regime. when you think, here is a country with lebanon on one
side, subordinant to them. then iraq which is sympathetic to the assad regime, then turkey, which played cat and mouse with them. it will come in, then it doesn't. i think it's a recipe for a long, long war. >> and you think that's going to happen. >> this is where we are. the regime can't bury this. they can't overthrow the regime. when we take a look at the powers beyond, the international community has been disgraceful and the belief in the arab league has been such a sham. when you look at them saying he saw nothing frightening, when, with all due respect, the standards are of darfur. >> the head of the delegation works for a regime wanted by the
international court. >> exactly. when you realize he was chosen to be chief monitor, he was picked by the syrians. no other candidate was accessible and no other wants the job. the lebanese wouldn't do it. the egyptians would have done this kind of work out of contention given their own troubles. you come to this, the man wanted by the international -- we are in syria now. thank you for that. still ahead, the chilling 911 call made by a texas man who allegedly killed six members of his family, then himself. also, a driver's rampage through his neighborhood. amazing video i'll show you ahead. ♪ making your way in the world today ♪
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a disturbing discovery in the deadly christmas day shooting outside of dallas. the 911 call, the voice they uncovered, his words are chilling. >> hello, grapevine 911. you need help? are you sick? what was that? do you need an ambulance or police? hello? >> according to investigators, he killed six family members, including his estranged wife and two daughters before shooting
himself dead. several employees of bp could face criminal charges. prosecutors are looking into whether they falsiied information to regulators. take a look at this video from colorado. police arrested a driver they say intentionally rammed his suv into five cars, including that last one you saw there. a security camera captured all of it. the driver tried to run over several people. coming up -- well, change of subject. your choice for number two in the top ten countdown for the year. well, i don't give it to you. we'll be right back. [ coughing ]
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woman in particular, who was repeatedly warned to stop texting at a movie. she was kicked out. she left an angry voicemail. it's here for your enjoyment. i didn't know that i wasn't supposed to text in your little crappy movie theater. >> they serve beer. i'm not sure i mentioned that. i think she partook in the preparty during the previews. listen to the next offense. >> so excuse me for using my phone in the united states of america where you are free to text in a theater. >> i love living in the united states of america where you are free to text in a theater. what's with the constitution if a drunk girl can't constantly update facebook while people are
focusing on "kung fu panda 2." >> and it was on silent. it wasn't on loud, it wasn't bothering anybody. you guys were obviously being -- >> i'm sorry. texting in a dark movie theater is like lighting a road flare. people are going to see it. you might not. she didn't give up. she comes up with two more arguments for her defense. a combo of i didn't know defense seasoned with the i do it everywhere else defense. >> i was not aware that i couldn't text in your theater. all right? i've texted in all the other theaters in austin. no one ever gave a [ bleep ] about what i was doing on my [ bleep ] phone, all right? >> maybe she texts through every other theater in austin. as it turns out, they have a well-known zero tolerance policy against talking and cell phones. it's their crusade. all kind of creative
announcements about it. watch. >> electric cattle prod. if i hear someone talking. not an aggressive shock. >> if you vote for me, i'll make sure everyone is very quiet in the theaters. >> turn all your cell phones and beepers, please. >> find out who they are and cut their tongue out. >> so, i think it's clear where the alamo draft house stands on this issue. maybe a theater with that kind of policy isn't for everyone. >> you know, i will never be coming back to your alamo draft house or whatever. i would rather go to a regular theater where people are polite. >> they are full of polite people, shouting at the screen, bringing screaming toddlers to rated r movies at 11:00 at night. the ceo says he wants his theater to be different. here is tim lee, great american hero. >> we wanted to take a hard stand and say those people are