Return to Transcripts main page
David Letterman's Bombshell; Third Political Party in America?
Aired October 2, 2009 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Max Baucus and his gang of six senators say government should not run insurance. Really? Guess what? That's not how you voted in the past. Hypocrisy? I will report. You decide.
David Letterman reveals the bombshell of the day. And you want to know who and why and what. And the bigger question, is he in trouble? What are the rules for workplace trysts? Your questions for Penelope Trunk and Ashleigh Banfield.
Even a communist is getting a look.
RICK NAGIN, CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE: We would all be a lot better off if working people and their organizations were running things, instead of big business.
SANCHEZ: Are Americans so sick of Democrats and Republicans and money in Congress that they're now getting serious about a third party?
Also, the very first pics of people digging themselves out just moments after the earthquake struck. You will see it as part of our national conversation for Friday, October 2, 2009.
SANCHEZ: Hello again, everybody. It is Friday. I'm Rick Sanchez here with the next generation of news. It's a conversation. It's not a speech, and, as always, it's your turn to get involved.
By the way, new developments in the David Letterman story, and we're going to be getting to those in just a moment as they come in. Man, this is an incredible story.
But this story is somewhat incredible throughout the course of the day as well. Don't say the word Olympics in Chicago today. It's a sore subject. Watch what happened a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACQUES ROGGE, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: The city of Chicago, having obtained the least number of votes, will not participate in the next round.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Well, that's that. All right, look at the guy standing there with his mouth wide open. He can't believe it.
Well, believe it, open-mouth guy. Chicago was one of four short- list cities hoping to host the world in 2016. Not only did it not get picked; it was the very first one eliminated -- ouch -- despite this presidential appeal, by the way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I urge you to choose America. And if you do, if we walk this path together, then I promise you this. The city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I found myself dreaming that maybe...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: All right, so Chicago is out. Who gets the Games? The suspense is killing me. Here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGGE: Rio de Janeiro.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: What? Rio? What in the world does Rio know about hosting a huge international party and celebrating humanity with music and love and goodwill? What's that? They throw the best party in the world every single year? Oh.
It's Rio de Janeiro, Olympic city, 2016, first ever South American city to host these Games. And it looks like the news has gone over pretty well. By the way, the president is on his way back to the United States. A defeated man? Hardly, although he was defeated on this one. We're going to have a live picture of his plane arriving in maybe just minutes from Copenhagen, Denmark.
All right, the story, I mean, the story -- oh, here we go, here we go, here we go. The president is in fact here. I should have said seconds. There is the president of the United States with the first lady, who also by the way made a very, very strong appeal for these Olympics.
Many would argue that she's actually more of a Chicagoan than he is. He went there, worked there. He wasn't raised there, like she was. There's the president arriving back. No, they did not win the Olympics, but he gets to stay in the White House.
(LAUGHTER) SANCHEZ: All right. The story that everyone -- and I mean everybody -- is talking about on this Friday, Letterman's affairs with women on his staff, affairs, the alleged extortion attempt against him, and all the ramifications that follow.
We have got very new information on this case, including the indictment that's unsealed now against this CBS News producer. Also, we have got new pictures coming out of Indonesia just as they climb out of the rubble just moments after that quake hit. It's incredible to watch.
And also the after-show right here on CNN.com/live at 4:00.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back.
We have been following what's going on with this David Letterman situation. And by the way, we're going to be devoting a big chunk of the back half of the show to that in just a little bit.
Here's one we're looking at right now. This is one of the prevailing questions that we have seen so far. Robert, let's go to the Twitter board, if we can.
"Why did Letterman think it was appropriate to put out his dirty laundry on national TV. Audience thought it was a joke, ha ha."
Well, there's a lot of people with similar responses and different responses as well. We're going to get to all of them.
This week, though, I have been showing you the correlation between the money that's given to members of the Senate Finance Committee and how they voted on the public health care option. And as you saw, the more money that each senator got from the health care lobby, the more likely they were to vote against public insurance, public option.
Now, to be fair, many of those who voted against it will tell you that I'm full of it. They will also tell you that the money they had gotten, the millions of dollars, had nothing to do with how they voted, that the real reason that they voted against it, many of them say, is because they don't want the government to get involved in private insurance. They call it the beginning of a government takeover.
They would never vote for that because it's -- quote -- "socialism."
In fact, here, listen to Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa express it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: You don't want the government running everything. The government is not a fair competitor. It's not even a competitor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you don't want Medicaid?
GRASSLEY: It's a predator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, the point being made by Mr. Grassley and in fact all of them, Democrats, Republicans, on this particular committee, Senate Finance Committee, is that they're predators, the government.
That's what Grassley is saying, right? Funny thing. We here don't remember Grassley or any of them saying, that, for example, Iowa, Mr. Grassley's own state, got hit by floods last year and the government had to ride in and rescue with a pledge of more than a billion dollars.
Speaking of floods, and speaking of insurance, you just heard Grassley say that you can't trust the government to get into the insurance business without it taking over, right? That's pretty much what he was saying, right?
Well, that's why he and that gang of six brain trusts voted en masse against the public option. But guess what? All six voted to fund federal flood insurance. Now, you want to know how that works? The insurers get paid for writing the policies, but, when the floods come, guess who's on the hook? The government.
So, what is that, if not government insurance, or, as some might call it, socialism?
Here's what appears to be the point here. This is important. When it's about protecting business and property, they voted for it. Didn't matter if it was socialism then. When it's about people, what, to hell with them?
Here's how many of you have put it as we have been having this conversation on the Twittersphere. I mean, this is really a pretty remarkable revelation. They have telling us they won't vote for this. The government is not allowed to be involved in insurance. They don't want them there.
But, last year, they had a chance to vote on government being involved in insurance, and they voted that government should be involved in insurance. When it comes to property, it's OK. Now, government insuring your health? Government helping to insure your very way of life? That's socialism.
Look, my blog's always open to every single one of you. Just go to CNN.com/Rick Sanchez. You will see the comments. You will see what the representatives and the senators have said. And, more importantly, you will see what viewers are saying about this.
All right, given how many stories I bring you like this, are some of you starting to wonder how you could just throw the bums out, all of them, Democrat, Republicans, seriously? How many of you are thinking about maybe a third party in America, a different perspective?
Carol Costello will file a report on Americans and the possibility of a third party when we come back.
SANCHEZ: Interesting. We already got a comment on something I mentioned just moments ago.
I told you about that thing we found about the Finance Committee thing and socialism now. But a year ago, they voted on a very similar insurance measure, and they voted for it back then, and they didn't think it was socialism then. Hmm.
Twitter board, please.
Maggie Clarke is watching. And you know what she says? She says I don't even have the half of it. She says: "Insuring flood-prone homes is akin to insuring just the obese diabetic smokers. It's even worse than you are portraying it, Rick," she seems to be saying.
My thanks, Maggie. Thanks for getting my back on that.
Welcome back. You know how we have spent much of this showing you in detail and by adding up the numbers how the senator who voted in favor of the big insurance groups and against the public option got $10 million? That's what part of story yesterday -- $10 million, they got, as campaign contributions, which is perfectly legal, by the way -- it's important to note that -- from health care companies who are mostly insurance groups.
Now, I just told you how their socialism argument didn't really cut the mustard when it came time for another kind of insurance, flood insurance, reform law that they voted on last year, even though the measure was a 2007 measure. It has a very long name. You can look it up.
All right. Those are two examples of why Americans may be now more than ever looking for another way, a third party. In one case, they're saying, you know what? Maybe it shouldn't be about Republicans or Democrats. Maybe they're too much the same.
That's why, as Carol Costello begins this report, you will see that the very first candidate she talks about is a communist.
RICK NAGIN, CANDIDATE, CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL: Anything that's on your mind.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rick Nagin, candidate for Cleveland City Council, registered Democrat and member of the Communist Party.
NAGIN: I believe in socialism. I -- I believe that -- that corporate greed is the source of the problems in this country and that we'd all be a lot better off if working people and their organizations were running things instead of big business.
COSTELLO: Nagin, long considered a fringe candidate in Ohio, is hot this year. He survived the primary and may win the November election. And while much of the country may be aghast that voters are seriously considering someone who espouses communist beliefs, some say it's a sign of the times.
JOHN AVLON, AUTHOR, INDEPENDENT NATION: Voters are getting more and more frustrated with politics as usual. They want some alternatives.
COSTELLO: "Just Sayin'" -- are Americans ready to elect a third party?
BOB BARR, LIBERTARIAN: I think the time is really right for that.
COSTELLO: Bob Barr ran for president on the Libertarian ticket in 2008. He lost, but says today interest in the Libertarian party is at an all-time high.
BARR: There's a sense of unease among people in this country that the two major parties simply are no longer listening to them and responding to the people of the country.
COSTELLO: According to Politico. com, independent candidates are poised to run serious campaigns for governor in half a dozen states, among them, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. And some analysts say they have strong support.
AVLON: A vast majority of Americans are independent and centrist, so that's where the sweet spot is for an independent candidate.
COSTELLO: Back in Cleveland's Ward 14, Council hopeful and self- described Democrat-Communist Rick Nagin says he's offering voters who are suffering economically something different, and something very much the same.
NAGIN: I consider myself to be a very patriotic American. I love this country. I'm proud to pledge allegiance to our flag, and if I'm elected, I will be very proud to swear to uphold our constitution.
SANCHEZ: All right, let's see what your reaction is already. We just filed that report and already it's coming in.
Let's go to MySpace, because I think somebody on MySpace, they're serious about this. "The possibility of a strong third party? Finally. The mental revolution is under way and gaining power. Hallelujah. Now, this is hope and change."
Flip it, Rob. Let's go over to the Twitter board, if we possibly can. Boy, I will tell you, a lot of you guys are really grooving on the fact that we are talking about these things and really taking on the big -- big government and big policies. And look at this.
"This insurance double standard has existed for years. Expose and report like a news reporter. Don't let this one go."
I told you I wasn't going to let it go. I have been reporting on it every day now for two weeks, and I'm going to stay on top of it, swear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was yesterday arrested outside the CBS office on West 57th Street and will be arraigned today in the state supreme court, part one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: He's not very exciting, but what he's talking about is exciting America. They can't believe they woke up to the news this morning or watched it last night, David Letterman, the bombshell. A CBS News producer has been hauled off to jail. He's accused of extortion. Letterman reveals to his audience that he has been sleeping around with his staff?
Penelope, the Penelope Trunk, and Ashleigh, the Ashleigh Banfield, are going to be joining me to talk about this one, really to join you, because you're going to be asking the questions and having the conversations with them, because this opens a whole Pandora's box about everything having to do with who has sex in the workplace, what's appropriate, who should call out who. There's a lot here. And we're going to talk about it.
Also, villages in Indonesia are flattened. We're now getting the very first video of -- this video is interesting. It's actually the people who were reacting just seconds after the quake happened. These are pictures that are just now coming out of the moments just after the quake happened. It's pretty remarkable to watch how these people dealt with this. Stay with us. We're going to be right back.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back, many of you reacting to what we're talking about these days. In fact, this is one of those days where America just has big conversations. I guarantee you, like me and my wife, and not my little guys, but my teenagers, might actually engage in this conversation about what's going on with David Letterman. And how often does this happen in the workplace, where a guy sleeps with the help?
I mean, look, by the way, we have got Penelope on today and a lot of people are excited about that. Let's go to MySpace.
It says: "Yay, Penelope."
And then the guy under that says, look: "You just read my comment. Thank you, Rick. Made my day."
If that's all it takes, man, happy to do it.
By the way, you can get involved with this show. We're doing something different now. We're excited about this. If you like our show, you know, we want you to come here. If you're ever in Atlanta, and you decide to do the CNN tour, where you pay a couple of bucks and you need to go all the way up stairs up there, well, you can also come here.
We're doing something special now. It's the Twitter tour, the Rick Sanchez specialized Twitter tour. I will have you here in the studio with me for the very end of the show. And you will be able to participate in the after-show as well.
So, it's kind of cool. It's like something we're trying we have never done before. And here's what you got to do. If you want to do it, when you come here, and we can hang out for a while, it's 877- 4CNN-TOUR, 877-4CNN-TOUR.
Call that number and the folks who answer the phone will hook you up. All right.
For four months, Honduras has been in crisis, a coup, a de facto president, protests, street clashes, violence and death. The ousted president sneaks back into the country as we have told you. Stop. There may be a solution. Manuel Zelaya tells a Honduran newspaper today that he is willing to stand trial.
Now, that's a big gamble. Think about it. If he wins that trial, if he wants to go to trial, and if he wins that trial, he gets to be the president of Honduras. If he loses, they would say he defied the constitution and he goes to jail. So, president or inmate? All from one trial. Obviously we would be watching it.
By the way, there's an American angle to this story. You're not going to believe it. Look at this picture. That is an American congressional delegation led by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. Jim DeMint, that's him second from the left. He's in Tegucigalpa, we have just learned. He and three Republican congressmen flew down to Honduras today and there they're meeting with the de facto president, Roberto Micheletti.
Get this. The White House officially banned all official contact with the leaders of the Honduran coup, preferring that they figure this thing out for themselves, telling Americans stay out of their business until they can work it out. But these three senators have decided to go down there and try and tell the Hondurans what they should do with their government.
Whether they get in trouble for this, how it comes out, we will let you know. We will be following it. Jim DeMint.
All right, let's change the subject. This is awful, smashed and crumbled buildings in Indonesia. We're still getting some brand-new pictures in from the earthquake zone. And what we're seeing is worse every day. Take a look at this. This building was a martial arts studio. And look at the stunned and horrified people crawling out of the rubble.
The eventual death toll may be even worse than initially thought. This picture you're looking at right there was taken just moments after the earthquake hit. Those people are minutes away from the realization that something has happened. They're not quite sure what it is. And they're just crawling out.
Officials now believe 3,000 people -- remember, we told you 500, then 1,000. Yesterday, we told you 2,000, and today we're telling you 3,000. That's the way many of these stories are often told. That many people may have lost their lives when this quake hit on Wednesday.
Changing the subject again, health care, and the public option, what's the White House saying about all the reporting that we have been doing this week on this? They watch, you know, us. We take you to la Casa Blanca next.
SANCHEZ: I hadn't thought about this one, because I'm thinking about it now because somebody is tweeting. Go to the Twitter board. I don't want to boost anybody else's ratings but my own, but this is true and it is kind of funny. Listen to this.
Dean is writing to me. He says: "Man, oh, man, got to watch Leno and Conan tonight. That's going to be funny."
I guess so. I wonder if they will mention it. I wonder what they will say.
Linda Douglass is here to talk health care reform from la Casa Blanca, the White House. She is the White House communications director on health care reform. She's been trying to keep us up to date now for some time on this. She is a former broadcast journalist, which makes us tend to like her. And we understand that she's not quite hearing us yet.
Linda, you got me?
LINDA DOUGLASS, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF HEALTH REFORM: I hear you.
SANCHEZ: You hear me now, huh?
DOUGLASS: I do.
SANCHEZ: You're a former broadcast journalist. I just told everybody that.
DOUGLASS: This is true. So far so good.
SANCHEZ: That means that you're not so good at spinning, then.
DOUGLASS: Well, listen, we just try to tell you what the facts are. That's exactly what I'm going to do today.
SANCHEZ: I don't know why you said we.
SANCHEZ: What, you got a pea in your pocket or something? Because I know damn well that some of the folks on Washington don't just tell you what's going on. They spin stuff.
Anyway, hey, speaking of broadcast journalists, you guys have been a little upset with some folks who go on TV and aren't broadcast journalists and say things that just aren't true, right?
DOUGLASS: Well, you know, certainly, there has been efforts made by some of the folks who hop on TV to try to mischaracterize things that go on in the administration or to say things that are just downright untrue.
SANCHEZ: Hey, Linda, Linda, Linda, your boss is talking.
SANCHEZ: Talk about timing.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the things that I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win. And so, although I wish that we had come back with better news from Copenhagen, I could not be prouder of my hometown of Chicago, the volunteers who were involved, Mayor Daley, the delegation, and the American people for the extraordinary bid that we put forward.
I do want to congratulate Rio de Janeiro and the nation of Brazil for winning the 2016 Olympics. I think this is a truly historic event, as these will be the first Olympic games ever to be held in South America. And as neighbors in the Americas, as friends to the Brazilian people, we welcome this extraordinary sign of progress and the fact that the 2016 games will be in the Americas. I had a chance to talk to President Lula, and gave him a hearty congratulations, and told him that our athletes will see him on the field of competition in 2016.
Again, I want to thank everybody who worked so hard to put America's bid together. Not just Mayor Daley and the delegation, Pat Ryan, but most especially the thousands of Chicagoans who volunteered over these past few years.
They put in their heart and soul into this bid. I have no doubt that it was the strongest bid possible. And I'm proud that I was able to come in and help make that case in person. I believe it's always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America, and invite the world to come see what we're all about. We obviously would have been eager to host these games, but as I said, this nation and our athletes are still very much excited to compete in 2016.
And we once again want to just say how much we are committed to the Olympics spirit, which I think represents some of the best of humanity. I also wanted to say a few words about the unemployment numbers that came out today.
As I've said before, my principal focus each and every day, as well as the principal focus of my economic team, is putting our nation back on the path of prosperity. And since the period last winter when we were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month, we have certainly made some progress on this front. But today's job report is a sobering reminder that progress comes in fits and starts, and that we're going to need to grind out this recovery step by step.
From the moment I took office, I made the point that employment is often the last thing to come back after a recession. That's what history shows us. But our task is to do everything we can possibly do to accelerate that process. And I want to let every single American know that I will not let up until those who are seeking work can find work, until businesses that are seeking credit are able to get credit and thrive, until all responsible homeowners can stay in their homes.
That's our ultimate goal, and it's one that we are working every single day here in the White House to accomplish, whether it involves implementing the Recovery Act that's already helped to bring back America from the brink of a much worse situation, or lowering the cost of health care for businesses and families. And that's why I'm working closely with my economic advisers to explore any and all additional options and measures that we might take to promote job creation.
And whenever I see statistics like the one we saw today, my mind turns to the people behind them -- honest, decent Americans who want nothing more than the opportunity to contribute to their country and help build a better future for themselves and their families. And building a 21st century economy that offers this opportunity, an economy where folks can receive the skills and education they need to compete for the jobs of the future, will not happen overnight. But we will build it. Of that I am both confident and determined. And on behalf of every American, I will continue in that effort each and every day, for as long as I am in this White House.
Thank you very much, everybody.
SANCHEZ: And there is the president of the United States talking about two issues -- one disappointing, but not terribly important compared to the other, the job losses here in the United States, the fact that we lost out to Brazil to represent the Olympics, something that obviously meant a lot to the president because he is a Chicagoan. His wife is not just a resident, she grew up there. She talked very fondly about her dad's experiences being a Chicagoan. But obviously the president even became more earnest when he started talking about the situation with the unemployment rate and the effect it's having on our economy.
Let's get back to Linda Douglass, if we possibly can.
I can't believe this guy upstaged you the way he did, and he's your boss.
DOUGLASS: Well, you know, let me just say right here that one of the most important things we can do absolutely seriously, Rick, to bring jobs back into this country and to get the economy moving again is to fix the health care system. Health care costs have risen three times faster than wages, and they have doubled in the last 10 years.
SANCHEZ: Well, let me ask you about that. You're way behind on health care reform. The president wanted it done weeks ago. Your party's split on the public option. You wanted bipartisanship, the Republicans are united against you.
How is it going otherwise?
DOUGLASS: Well, I would say that I completely disagree with your analysis of the timetable in the following way -- we now have the fifth of five committees that have pushed through their bills. All this committee has left to do is vote. We are closer than we have ever been in decades. Anybody who has watched the process we'll tell you that.
I heard a very senior journalist who wrote a book about health care just saying to a group the other day, "We are closer than we have ever been." The bills are almost in agreement. There's about 80 percent agreement in the different parts of the bills.
We are moving forward very fast. There's great progress.
SANCHEZ: Well, what do you say to the guys on the Senate Finance Committee? In fact, here. Let me play something for you. What do you say to this?
I think we got that, right?
This is Congressman Alan Grayson. He said the Republican health care plan amounts to basically, if you're sick, you die quickly. He got a lot of heat from it. Then he went on and didn't apologize, and then he appeared with Wolf Blitzer and took everybody else on.
Watch this. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (R), FLORIDA: These are foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who think they can dictate policy to America by being stubborn. And I think the time is over. We had an election. That's it. Now we have to move ahead in just the way the president wants to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: You know, the folks on Twitter who I talk to every day -- and you know I got this whole Twitter thing going, right?
DOUGLASS: Oh, I do.
SANCHEZ: Stop talking to me like that. They say they wish the president of the United States and the administration had as much -- this is not the word they used, but it's the word I'm going to use, intestinal fortitude as that guy.
DOUGLASS: Well, I don't want to get into it what the congressman said. I mean, look, we wish, I think, in this country that everybody spoke with civility about the issues that are so important in the country. And I think the tone that is used when talking about the other party is very important when you're trying to reach agreement and common ground.
You know, Republicans understood, as well as Democrats -- you may be hearing some party leaders and some partisans saying, well, we just want to keep the status quo the way it is, we want to let the prices rise, we want to let the costs rise for American families, we want to let the insurance companies keep denying insurance coverage to people who don't have coverage. There certainly are Republicans saying that, but there are others who have been home, they've listened to their constituents. They know that people are being crushed by these rising costs.
They know inaction is not an option this year, as Democrats do. That consensus is absolutely building in the Congress.
It's going to be very hard to go home and say to your constituents, oh, we're going to leave it this way it is, we're going to let your employer now start to compensate you with health insurance rather than wages, because that's what's happening right now in this country. Members are going to have a very hard time explaining that if it happens.
SANCHEZ: Well, you seem confident. I admire you for that.
You know, judging by some of the votes that have been taken so far, the Senate Finance Committee, for example, the way they have all voted not necessarily with their hearts, but possibly even the way that they're being given campaign contribution, it's troubling to my viewers, it's troubling to many Americans. We're going to continue to watch it.
And I really appreciate you coming on and taking us through this, and giving the American people that verve of confidence that you just did. Appreciate it.
DOUGLASS: Thanks, Rick.
SANCHEZ: All right. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was arrested yesterday outside the CBS office on West 57th Street and will be arraigned today in the state Supreme Court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: A CBS producer is indicted. Serious trouble for this guy. He's accused of trying to extort money from David Letterman, which made David Letterman then go on the air on his show yesterday.
Strange moment. Did you see it? Because we're going to be showing you the whole thing. He goes on the air and apologizes for the affairs that he has had with his staff.
We're all over it.
Penelope Trunk trump is going to be joining us. You know her. Ashleigh Banfield is going to be joining us. You know her. And I'll be here to referee, I guess.
We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back.
I'm Rick Sanchez, here in the world headquarters of CNN.
You heard in fact that comedian David Letterman took to his show last night and just shocked his audience. At first they thought he was just in the middle of a joke, but then he went on to tell them that he had had affairs with many of his staff members, and that he had to say that because somebody was trying to extort him.
Well, the guy who was trying to extort him is a fellow named Joe Halderman. He's a producer, and he's now in big trouble. He's charged -- in fact, let me do this. Let me bring in Susan Candiotti, because nobody digs on this kind of stuff better than Susan does.
She's been at the Manhattan courtroom all day today, watching the goings on there.
Susan, bring us up to date. Who is this guy? What's his background? What did he have to do with David Letterman?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first let's start off with what just happened.
The guy, his name is Joe Halderman. He works as a news producer at CBS News and has worked there, according to his lawyer, for 27 years, since 1982. He's won an Emmy, he's traveled all over the world covering news for CBS.
Here's what the allegation is, and you talked about part of it right now.
CANDIOTTI: In response, the prosecutor has said that they have what they call compelling evidence and tried to set a high bond of $500,000, saying that this man is a flight risk and is willing to do anything. They said that he very much -- his defense attorney spoke up and said, Your Honor, he loves his children, he's not going to go anywhere. This is a responsible man, and he's going to stay put. And the judge ultimately set the bond at $200,000 cash, or a $200,000 bond. So, his attorneys, of course, are trying to work that out.
I talked to his lawyers about what he feels about these allegations. The lawyers said, "We're going to fight this case." When Halderman was asked by the judge, "How do you plead to this charge?" Halderman said in a clear voice, "Not guilty." He came to court wearing a jacket and a tie.
Now, the lawyer says they're going to try to make bond on this. We don't know whether it will be possible right now.
SANCHEZ: You and I have known each other for so long, Susan. You know, you're obviously one of the most respected journalists out of south Florida for many years. You and I have worked stories together for many years.
I never thought I would have to ask you this question, but let me ask you, because it's what people want to know. Was this guy, Halderman, sleeping with one of the same women that Letterman was sleeping with, and is that what this is really all about?
CANDIOTTI: We don't know the answer to that.
CANDIOTTI: We don't know. What we do know is this -- there is a producer who worked for the Letterman show, and records do state that she, at least until a month or two ago, did live at the same address with Mr. Halderman. Beyond that, don't know. This is a producer at the show, a woman who, rather, works at the show that you have seen on television many times.
SANCHEZ: Right. What a story. And still so many questions out there.
Susan, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Let us know if you've got anything new.
When we come back, we'll going to talk to two women who are also digging on this story. Ashleigh and Penelope are joining us next and they have a lot to say about this, and maybe in two completely different directions. Stay where you are, your questions as well. Can we play the clip now and push things back a little bit Chris? All right, let's take a quick break, then we'll play the clip, then we'll bring the ladies in. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: We do something every day that we call Fotos del Dia but today Fotos del Dia turns into a big part of the David Letterman show because he is in news and he shocked the world yesterday, certainly his audience when he came out and started talking about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW": I had a little story that I would like to tell and the home viewers as well. Do you feel like a story?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: All right, here's the set up. At 6 in the morning Letterman finds package in his car.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LETTERMAN: I get to looking through it, and there's a letter in the package and it says that I know that you do some terrible, terrible things. And I can prove that you do these terrible things and sure enough, contained in the package was stuff to prove that I do terrible things. And he's going to take all of the terrible stuff that he knows about my life and he seems to in this packet, there seems to be quite a lot of terrible stuff he knows about and he's going to put it into a movie unless I give him some money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: How much money? Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LETTERMAN: I don't think I got to mention the amount up until now, but he was asking $2 million.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: I mean what kind of terrible things could possibly be worth $2 million?
(START VIDEO CLIP)
LETTERMAN: The beefy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. Now, my response to that is, yes I have. I have had sex with women who work on this show. And would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would, perhaps it would, especially for the women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: It's amazing the way he's turned something this serious into a bit. a comedy routine. I can't wait to get Penelope and Ashleigh's take on this. Here's how he wraps it. (START VIDEO CLIP)
LETTERMAN: It's been a very bizarre experience. I feel like I need to protect these people. I need to certainly protect my family. I need to protect myself, hope to protect my job and the friends everybody that has been very supportive through this, and I don't plan to say much more about this on this particular topic, so thank you for letting me bend your ear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: He doesn't want to say an awful lot about this particular topic, but the topic is obviously not going to go away. We've got two of the best coming up, Penelope Trunk and Ashleigh Banfield are both going to be joining us, both certainly understand the legal side of this, and Penelope in particular understands the workplace side of this. Can't wait to get your information, got more of it here as well.
Stay there. We'll be right back. This will be, I promise, this will be good.
SANCHEZ: I told you we're going to be doing something new, we'll going to invite you not just to twitter me and not just to my space and face book but actually to be here in studio with me. It's called the cnn Rick Sanchez twitter tour and if it's not called that, that's what it's going to be called-- this is what it's going to look like.
Say hi, guys. You get to come into the studio and get to join us and get to have fun, and by the way, you're on TV in the after show as well. You get to ask questions, and you get to hang around with me afterwards. Something my kids would probably say big deal, 877-4cnn- tour. 877-4cnn-tour, call that number if you want to come and you want to hang out.
All right. Let's get back to David Letterman and let's get in the two people that I want you to meet. This is Penelope Trunk. She's been on with us before. Penelope is famous for writing what she thinks, okay? She's unflappable, this one, and Ashleigh Banfield, as you know, has always been one of my favorites. She and I have worked together not just here but another net works and we've got a whole history, she and I. Penelope ...
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HOST "OPEN COURT": ... why that pause, Rick?
SANCHEZ: We got what?
BANFIELD: Why that pause?
BANFIELD: Watch it, my friend.
SANCHEZ: Penelope, let me -- yes, that's right. Since we're talking about workplace relationships, you better be careful, right? I wanted to begin with you, Penelope. What's your take?
PENELOPE TRUNK, CEO, BRAZENCAREERIST.COM: I don't think it's a public issue. I think it's just between Dave Letterman and the women that he's having sex with, and I think it's really smart of him to go on air and just get it done with. He said what he has to say. I thought he handled it really well. Good for him.
SANCHEZ: But, there's a shame involved in this, too, isn't there? I mean, some guys who are caught doing something are going to have a really tough time with having to explain to their wife and their children that they've been doing this. He seemed to say, the hell with it, I've got to go on national television and say I've been screwing around with my employees. Ash, what do you think of that?
TRUNK: I think we already know.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: He may not have been married at the time he made this. It might not an issue at all.
SANCHEZ: We don't know that.
BANFIELD: Penelope is right. It may not be an issue at all. I'm really interested in this legal issue with regard to not only the charge of larceny. I mean, you can you go away for a solid amount of time for that. It's 5 to 15 year in New York, but I want to know where the pictures came from? Who set up the camera? Are these stolen pictures or surreptitiously recorded pictures? I think there's a whole big story that we may or may never find out if this thing gets brought out what.
SANCHEZ: What does it say about sex in the work place in the United States? I mean look, I guarantee you whoever he was having an affair with was someone who on the work ladder so to speak was beneath him. In other words, it was someone who was maybe not subservient to him but someone who answered to him. Isn't that a problem? Don't most big companies, and I'm sure including cbs have policies against things like that? Any one of you, Penelope?
TRUNK: I think it assumes -- it's kind of insulting to the women. I mean, you're assuming that those women didn't feel like they could handle it. So, I mean, it's not like the women are taking him to court.
SANCHEZ: Wait a minute, wait a minute, Penelope. Let's suppose I'm your boss which I'm obviously I'm not. But let's suppose I'm your boss and you ...
TRUNK: ... that would be a treat.
SANCHEZ: Come on, you're too kind. But let's suppose that there are 20 other people out there who do the same job that you do and know you and I are having a physical relationship. It doesn't that immediately start thinking that anything you get afterwards is a promotion based on the fact that I'm sleeping with you?
TRUNK: Well, I think that that's my issue to navigate, so if I think that's bad for me and my career, then I won't do it and if I think that I could handle that in my career I would do it. If you look at the industry he's in, people last in those jobs for a very short amount of time. So it's not like he sleeps with someone when she's 23 and then when she's 35 she's still working for him. It could be anything. The women aren't complaining.
SANCHEZ: But Ashleigh, there are policies. I know this company has one. I know every company you've worked for has them. There are laws on the book to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen. I mean, David letterman is not completely guiltless here.
BANFIELD: Look, there's policy and there's law. Policy is one thing, and some workplaces, certainly large corporate entities have disclosure rules with regards to their -- their company policies. It's not illegal to have an affair or have a relationship with someone you work with, certainly if it's consensual.
If that person who is on the receiving end of unwanted sexual advances feels like it's a harassing and feels his or her job is threatened in some way, then that person has recourse and certainly in the civil arena there's a whole bunch of recourse. I don't know if that's going to be an issue in this particular story. The issue here is big-time criminal larceny. It is very serious. You know, same kind of prison terms as you can get for kidnapping.
SANCHEZ: Okay. All right. There's a legal side. There's the plaintiff, there's the defendant. This thing gets really interesting. You and I will stay here and continue this on cnn.com/live.